#LetThemServe

I had a longer piece planned on something entirely different but time is short and so I’m going to drop everything for this. http://www.becketlaw.org/media/calif-attorney-general-drags-little-sisters-poor-back-court/

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, California and Pennsylvania are suing the Little Sisters of the Poor.  I don’t know much about the Pennsylvania Attorney General.  I’m just going to guess by the last name the closest thing to Catholicism that he embraces is Georgetown, his alma mater.    Now Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, on the other hand, has claimed he’s a “proud Latino and proud Catholic.”  Despite that claim, he has filed suit against the LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR!  Let that sink in for a moment. 

Why would anyone sue the Little Sisters of the Poor?!  Let me spell it out to you.  They are Catholic, they stuck to their religious convictions, they WON, and now must be squashed like bugs for it.  This is nothing but a futile attempt to take money from the poor to protect the ideologues who have a big old basket of sour grapes at the moment.  They haven’t quite figured out that we’re pretty intent on not letting them win.  The Little Sisters aren’t Notre Dame and they are not going to roll-over.  They are good, charitable women who aren’t going to ditch their faith to accomplish their mission and we’re going to help them triumph over these evil fools.

The liberals have discounted how really angry this makes the faithful Catholics.  In fact, it ticks off our Protestant brethren, too.  Heck, I have liberal leaning Catholic friends who are really not comfortable with this.  We might not all embrace the same doctrines and ideologies but sane people don’t usually go around suing smiling sisters who SERVE THE POOR AND VULNERABLE.  There might be a special place for those who think that’s a good idea.  Good luck with that.

So, I ask my fellow Catholics who are free or can take a vacation day to attend the hearing on December 12th in California and December 14th in Pennsylvania.  If we don’t stand up for these ladies, the most sympathetic victims in this ridiculous persecution, what kind of Catholics are we?  Now is not the time for apathy.  I realize that we cannot all attend but we certainly can promote, advocate and donate, offer  a rosary, a prayer, time in front of the Blessed Sacrament on behalf of the good sisters with such a pure mission.  Do whatever you can but do something!

And a special note to the clergy…I also realize that some of you can’t leave your posts but, with the dawn of cell phones, MANY of you can.  You should, at THE very least, be leading the charge of support in your parishes.  Even on short notice, I hope to see many priests and some bishops from all over California and Pennsylvania at these hearings standing up for your sisters!  Where you lead, people will follow.

So, if apathetic is where you tend to go, please take one more look at these ladies and find some way to support them while they care for our poor and vulnerable and our religious freedom.  Let’s show the world they picked the wrong ladies to persecute! #LetThemServe

 

 

 

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The Fanboy Meltdown

Uh oh…
https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/us-bishops-electing-naumann-lead-pro-life-committee-break-tradition

So sorry, Michael Sean Winters.  I think many of your hopes and dreams just flew out the window today. While you claim there was a “break from tradition”, I’m pretty sure that it’s tradition to pick the guy who will most likely not sell out the pro-life world by trying to attach “seamless garment” issues around the necks of the babies and their mothers. And so tradition was actually followed.

The U.S. bishops broke tradition this morning selecting Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, to serve as chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee. He defeated Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago on a vote of 96 to 82. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this amounted to the bishops giving the middle finger to Pope Francis.

Imploding much over there at National catholic Reporter, Michael?  Wow!  Really?!?!  Picking a longstanding, hard-working advocate for life is “giving the middle finger” to the Pope?  How do you figure?  You might be possibly confusing yourself with the pope.  Talk about ideologue. I know you were working hard to get him those votes, but geez, engaging in calumny is kind of a no-no.  I would think even you would get that.

The Pro-Life Activities Committee has always been led by a cardinal, a way the bishops have signaled the priority they assign to that committee. The current chair is Cardinal Timothy Dolan who, like Naumann, is a protégé of Cardinal Justin Rigali. Some of us who have been watching the bishops for a long time from the bleachers on the left have a saying about Rigali’s career: “He has ruined everything he ever touched.” In giving his committee report on Monday, Dolan singled out Naumann for praise. It was a none too subtle placing of his finger on the scales.

Wait! Now Dolan’s sticking it to Pope Francis, too? You’re losing it, Michael. For a man who just wrote a piece deriding Catholic publications you perceive to be dividing the Church, aren’t you being just a tad bit hypocritical on the USCCB? I guess it’s OK because your guy lost? Please. I feel like I’m watching the screaming snowflakes after the last presidential election throwing their tantrums and demanding safe-spaces. Please, feel free to retreat to mom’s basement and color.

The contrast between the two candidates for chair of the Pro-Life Activities Committee was the starkest of the choices the bishops faced. Naumann and Cupich are both representative of the two divergent understandings of how the church should interact with the ambient culture. Naumann is a culture warrior. Cupich champions engagement and dialogue.

Uh, Archbishop Naumann is a pro-life warrior. Cardinal Cupich tried to bar the priests and seminarians in his former diocese from participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign until that was made public, and then he sort of allowed it.  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2011/09/i-dont-get-bp-cupich.html http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2011/09/16/bishop-cupich-priests-may-participate-in-40-days-for-life/

Archbishop Naumann told pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius not to present herself for Communion, while Cardinal Cupich has said he’d wouldn’t deny anyone. https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=236

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/on-giving-communion-pro-abortion-politicians

And then there’s the rest of his pro-life resume:

Archbishop Naumann has served on the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities since 2015. From 1984 to 1995, Archbishop Naumann served as the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Coordinator in St. Louis. In 1986, during his tenure as Pro-Life Coordinator, the Archdiocese of St. Louis established a Project Rachel ministry. Also, under his leadership, the Archdiocese of St. Louis established the Lifeline Coalition, a network that included Catholic Hospitals, Catholic Charities, Birthright Centers, and residential homes for unwed mothers to coordinate and improve services for families experiencing an untimely pregnancy.  Archbishop Naumann was also one of the founding Board members for the Vitae Foundation that uses mass media and social media to communicate Pro-Life messages.

Cupich? Anyone got the resume for Cardinal Cupich?

I’m thinking that the other bishops might just have thought Archbishop Naumann has much better pro-life credentials than Cardinal Cupich, plain and simple. No dis to the Holy Father. They’re not putting politics before the vulnerable.

In 2008, Naumann told Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that she should not present herself for Communion because of her pro-choice position. This interpretation of Canon 915 was first advanced by Cardinal Raymond Burke but it was never the position adopted by most bishops who thought it a mistake to politicize the Communion rail. Naumann also ordered his parishes to cease hosting Girl Scout troops over concerns they were somehow involved with Planned Parenthood. He is not exactly a poster child for the culture of encounter.

Uh, they weren’t “somehow involved”, they were directly involved. Duh! You’re kind of making the point for me. Archbishop Naumann is much more consistent and serious about the life issue. You have little to no qualification if you don’t even know of the GSA and PP connection.

Cupich, on the other hand, has openly embraced the consistent ethic of life approach first introduced by his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Many of the zelanti in the pro-life movement deeply resented Bernardin’s effort, wanting a singular focus on abortion. I recall an auxiliary bishop telling me that after he gave a talk that advocated the consistent ethic of life, his ordinary called him and told him, “We don’t use that language here.”

Yes, we deeply resented Cardinal Bernardin, but it was for sooooooo many reasons. We don’t simply want a singular focus on abortion. That said, the “seamless garment” is inconsistent with Church teaching, and I’m reasonably sure you know that. Hey, Mr. Winters, if you’ve never seen it, please read “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion.”   It might be of some help to you in regards to the seamless garment problem as well as worthiness to receive Holy Communion, neither of which you seem to get. You might also want to familiarize yourself with the word “intrinsic.” It escapes so many over there at NcR. (Actually, I’m sure it’s a purposeful oversight.) It’s short. Let’s take a look, shall we?

  1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?” The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” nos. 81, 83).

  2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it'” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

  3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

  4. Apart from an individual’s judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

  5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

  6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

Underneath the issue of how to approach pro-life issues was a deeper issue: How do the bishops feel about Pope Francis? Cupich was plucked out of the relatively small diocese of Spokane by Francis and sent to Chicago, his first major appointment in the U.S. hierarchy. Francis also named Cupich to the Congregation for Bishops which vets candidates for the episcopacy and, consequently, is charged with shaping the next generation of leaders in the church. 

How is your whiplash doing? Division and attacks were all so evil just the other day.  What happened? First of all, may Cardinal Cupich’s tenure be short! Second of all, not embracing Cardinal Cupich’s “Catholic lite” isn’t a slap in the face to Pope Francis any more than being annoyed by Cardinal Mahony was a slap to Saint Pope John Paul II. Popes can make mistakes in their choices. And, if you persist with this silly line of thinking, I might think that you are stomping on the memory of Pope Benedict for not being thrilled with Archbishop Naumann. Yes, you are trying to make two things go together that do not.

I do not discern any similar stark choice among the other candidates. In the contest for conference secretary, which brings membership in the executive committee, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City lost to Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron by a vote of 88 to 96. Vigneron’s selection takes effect immediately.

Bahahaha! Well, you might want to take a look at the contrasts between some of the candidates in some of those other races. Yeah, there is some starkness in a few of them. Regardless, it has nothing to do with Pope Francis and all equal a sad day for the NcR staff.

The Committee on Doctrine will be led by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, who garnered 110 votes to the 95 votes cast for Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo, Ohio. The race for chair of the Communications Committee pitted Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre, New York, against Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia: Burbidge won with 116 votes to Barres’ 70 votes. The National Collections Committee contest was won by Bishop Joseph Cistone of Saginaw, Michigan, over Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa. The vote was 124 to 65. The Committee on Cultural Diversity saw Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland facing off against Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, and Perez won on a vote of 107 to 77. All of these elected will serve as chair-elect for one year and take over the chairmanship next year.

At their June meeting the bishops voted to make their Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty a standing committee. They elected Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, the immediate past president of the conference, to serve as the first chair of the permanent committee. He defeated Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee by a vote of 113 to 86. Kurtz will assume leadership of the committee immediately.

I guess none of these meant as much to Mr. Winters, which was apparent by the drooling mess he was over Cardinal Cupich the other day (link to fanboy). When I saw the results, it was quite apparent a hissy-fit was about to ensue, and so it did.

Michael Sean Winters: Fanboy

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/you-have-see-riveting-video-cardinal-cupich

You have to see this riveting video of Cardinal Cupich

He talks of scandal, adult spirituality and libertarianism

Nov 13, 2017

by Michael Sean Winters Opinion

Last week, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago participated in a conversation with journalist E.J. Dionne at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Politics. The entire exchange was riveting, and I will deal with some of the things Cupich said presently. You can see the video here.

Well, if you consider “riveting” to mean “you can’t help but look when there’s a traffic accident”, I might agree.  However, this is just more of the same old thing from Cardinal (I still can’t believe I have to use that title) Cupich.

But, if you go to minute 24, you see the most important thing that Cupich said. Dionne began by asking about the controversy surrounding Fr. Tom Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis, in which the former director of the bishops’ doctrinal committee suggested that the faithful were scandalized by Pope Francis. Cupich replied: “I don’t think that people are scandalized by the pope. I think they are being told to be scandalized. I think there is a difference.” To use a Catholic word: Bingo!

Yeah, that’s it.  You people who are scandalized – you’re all simply brainwashed.  You engage in group think and you don’t have a thought of your own in your head.  You’re being told by whoever that you must be scandalized.

Seriously? Does this really work with his readers? I’m reasonably sure that most of the people who are frustrated at this point are still “defend the Pope first” type of people.  In fact, the majority of the ones I see are ones who still put out the papal tweet of the day.  There might be a gleeful batch of “everyone’s wrong all the time” people out there, but most are just like me.  We want to be the “Rah-rah Pope!” types but are having trouble mustering the enthusiasm to do so and wish he would reverse on his stance on taking interview questions ahead of time.  The majority of us aren’t calling him the anti-Christ but instead find ourselves taking up the position of St. Vincent of Lerins, as Dan Hitchens points out here. (An uplifting read for those who are depressed over the state of the Church today.)  We’re the types who pay enough attention and do enough research to actually get upset when we see people twisting Church teaching (Ahem! Michael…), but yeah, we’re the ones who blindly obey when we are told to be scandalized.  Do I sound like someone who says “Yes, master!” in a zombie-like fashion? Gag.

I have complained about the thin agenda for this week’s U.S. bishops’ conference meeting. Here is something they need to discuss: How is it that people, who are in some sense on the bishops’ payroll or working at organizations with clear links to the church, are leading such a noisy opposition to Pope Francis and seem perfectly willing to break down the unity of the church in voicing that opposition?

I might point out that you are on the National catholic Reporter’s dole.  What, again, have you been doing for years over there?  Just because “United in dissent!” is your motto doesn’t mean that you are uniting the Church in any fashion.  Seriously (or, rather, more seriously) your publication declares itself right on the home page as “The independent news source.”  Unity hasn’t exactly been NcR’s goal, unless unity means uniting people in your dissenting way of thought.

So, just for fun I went to NcR and searched for Pope Benedict.  What was interesting to note is that John Allen, Jr., wrote about 95% of the articles on Pope Benedict. In short, it seemed the goal of NcR writers at the time to hide in their blanket forts and pretend Benedict XVI wasn’t even elected. Let’s see what some of the other “uniters” had to say:

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/sept-17-2006-twenty-fourth-sunday-ordinary-time : But there’s another short passage that Jesus proclaimed, that it seems to me if Pope Benedict had been thinking about this, he would have been much more careful in what he said.

 

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/franz-where-are-you-when-we-need-you : The world has been debating for over a week now whether Pope Benedict XVI simply forgot that he was a universal pastor and international politician as well as past professor or simply didn’t care to attend to all three roles at one time. Whatever the case, in one university speech all three facets of this current papacy came into play.

In this speech, universal pastoral sensitivity, as well as the political responsibilities that come with the papacy, seem to many to have been abandoned. In their place, his long-time identity as professor — meaning someone who has the luxury, indeed, the responsibility to pursue abstract ideas free of the social consequences of their implications — had free rein.

 

 

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/fourteenth-sunday-ordinary-time-1
And I think of another quite extraordinary example too. One that I think is really noteworthy. It’s something that Pope Benedict is about to do. In October of this year, he is going to beatify an Austrian peasant, Franz Jägerstätter. Probably most of us never heard of him. But Franz grew up not very far from where Joseph Ratzinger grew up. Joseph Ratzinger went into the Nazi army, became a soldier. Franz Jägerstätter refused to serve in the army, refused to kill. And of course he paid a price for it. He was beheaded on Aug. 9, 1943. But now he’s going to be proclaimed before the world as one who faithfully followed Jesus.

And it’s such a contrast and I think there’s great courage on the part of Pope Benedict. Because it’s so easy to see the difference. Joseph Ratzinger now our Holy Father followed Hitler’s orders went into the army, prepared to kill. Franz Jägerstätter refused and now is proclaimed a saint, one for us to imitate and to follow. (I’m throwing this one in because it’s supposed to show some sort of great divide between these two men in their actions against Hitler when there was more similarities than differences.  Maybe Bp. Gumbleton doesn’t know how to Google but it’s weird because he fancies himself the expert on Blessed Franz Jägerstätter.

 

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/third-sunday-lent : “Even recently, Pope Benedict rewrote the prayer for Good Friday in which, in those long petitions that we use, we pray for the Jewish people, God’s chosen people. It was revised after the Vatican Council because the prayer before that was very insulting to Jewish believers. But now the Pope has revised it again and now it’s offensive.

 

https://www.ncronline.org/news/us-bishops-great-inertia :  Whole thing. Too much to copy.

In short, Michael, you live in a big ol’ glass house.  Stop playing with rocks.

The bishops know that EWTN and the National Catholic Register both regularly highlight any and all news stories about resistance to the pope. It seems that, some weeks, if Cardinal Raymond Burke sneezes, Edward Pentin has to write a story about it — and always the same story: It was a truly orthodox sneeze, conformed to the unchangeable and irreformable intrinsic nature of a sneeze, a sneeze worthy of St. John Paul II. Yet there is Bishop Robert Barron doing ads for the Register and saying it presents “the Catholic perspective” — not “a Catholic perspective” but the Catholic perspective. Does the good bishop read it?

Well that deserves a few “Pinocchios.”  Please, people, check out National Catholic Register yourself. Don’t let yourselves be brainwashed into believing the misrepresentation posted by Winters. (See what I did there? To use a Catholic word: Bingo!) Go ahead, I dare you!  I double-dare you!  It’s the last thing Winters wants.

First of all, Michael, are you really going to complain that the Register wants to report THE Catholic perspective as opposed to your “independent” Catholic perspective?  I wouldn’t think you would want to draw attention to this little disparity.

Next, I just scanned the front page of articles by Register staffers (see center column), and guess what?  One article on the Pope praying for earthquake victims, and ZERO articles on Cardinal Burke.  Yes, I understand that’s today and tomorrow could change, but I’m reasonably sure Cardinal Burke sneezed and I’m a tad bit disappointed no Pentin!  You got my hopes up,Michael!

By the way, I believe it’s your publication that has 3 different articles today on your perceived resistance.  Oops.

In years past, the bishops would look into “problems” if LifeSiteNews or the American Life League accused someone, somewhere, of not upholding their interpretation of a Catholic’s civic obligations. Remember the review of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development? Why was that necessary? Remember the kerfuffle over Catholic Relief Services? And the perpetual campaign against Catholic Charities? Will the bishops now concede that groups like LifeSiteNews and the American Life League and the Lepanto Institute can — and should — be ignored? That perhaps it might even behoove the bishops to make clear that these organizations do not speak for the Catholic Church.

OK, for those of you who don’t know, Catholic Relief Services passes out birth control.  Gee!  No reason to comment there.  Google, people.!  I’m perfectly fine with you checking the veracity of LifeSiteNews, American Life League, Catholic Whoever, but if there’s a problem with the story, how about you report what the problem is, Michael, rather than merely suggesting they are “not upholding their interpretation of a Catholic’s civic obligations.”  I think we’re actually obliged, as Catholics, not to cooperate with evil. Don’t you? Oh, wait, your group actually DOES want to cooperate with evil: https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/laudato-si-should-have-lifted-ban-contraception (Please note, NcR has no trouble being critical if it doesn’t jive with their thoughts.)

Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Charities?  They have similar skeletons.  Mr. Winters also forgot to mention the Bellarmine Foundation, which has done extensive work undermining the Church.  Here’s a link to help him with his list of organizations he feels should be investigated just on his say-so.  https://bellarmineforum.org/2015/09/12/why-not-give-to-the-catholic-campaign-for-human-development/

Again, Mr. Winters, how about you support your accusations with some facts on CCHD, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services to rebut these “evil organizations” reporting on them.  What?  You can’t?  Please note this, people.  Mr. Winters’ accusations are the epitome of the saying, “Big hat, no cattle.”  You’re adults, verify yourselves.

Another thing Cupich said in the discussion is worth repeating. When discussing why some people are upset about Francis, Cupich said: “He’s calling people to have an adult spirituality, rather than being infantilized in their spirituality.” He noted that people who like telling other people what to do have trouble with the sense of responsibility to which Francis is calling us all.

Oh, yeah.  That would upset people like Cardinal Burke to no end.  No, seriously, he doesn’t believe in adult spirituality?!?  (insert rolling eyes)  Please.  And what is with “people who like telling other people what to do?”  In my world, we call that parenting, and it’s all about responsibility.  What Cardinal Cupich is really trying to say here is, “Those big old meanies who try to teach you what is right and what is wrong, don’t listen to them! I’m the only one you should listen to because, well, me!”

The codification of ecclesial practice and norms was a leitmotif of the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II: He authorized the catechism, he updated the universal code of canon law, he issued a compendium of the church’s social doctrine. There is always a need for such codification: No society exists without laws and rules. But, that codification is there to serve the church’s essential mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ, our risen savior; it is not there for its own sake. As St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “the Word of God is not imprisoned.”

Babbling.  Translation: Just don’t worry about all those rules.  They’re so judgey.

As Pope Francis likes to say, “The Word still wants to take on flesh.” Rules and codes can imprison the Spirit if they replace the kerygma as the central focus of ecclesial life. The Lord said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” That is not a vision of certainty or even clarity, and some people crave certainty and clarity.

As far as what “Pope Francis likes to say”,  I’ll have to take your word for the quote because I can’t find it anywhere but this article.  A link would have been nice. Anyone?  Regardless, it almost seems like we’re just going to throw a whole bunch of random thought, add a bible story and see if the confusion sticks.

One of the most constant refrains among the complaints against Pope Francis is that he sows confusion. Only if you have placed law or ideology at the heart of ecclesial life is his approach to governing the church confusing. He is calling to maturity. He calls for discernment, not libertinism, and discernment is always done with and within the church.

Huh?  Did he really use the word libertinism there?  Yes, I think it was it was a typo based on the title of the article but kind of funny.  Seems like that’s what the likes of Cupich, McElroy, and Martin are pushing for.  For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone from “my side of the fence” put down discernment, and I’d put money on the fact that Michael Sean Winters probably couldn’t find anything to back this up.  Of course, what does Mr. Winters and club want us to discern?  Whether we can thwart the teachings of the Church and still be worthy of Heaven?  Good luck with that.

As Jesuit Fr. Jim Martin pointed out in responding to the Weinandy’s strange account of how he came to the conclusion that Jesus wanted him to write to the pope: “If one’s idea of discernment is seeking signs like this, then why would one trust, say, a divorced and remarried Catholic to consult his or her conscience about whether it is permissible to receive Communion? It is no wonder that discernment seems so arbitrary to some people. And so frightening.”

Let’s see.  Father Weinandy asking for a sign from God whether or not he should write a letter is the same as discerning whether or not someone living in sin should double-down on a mortal sin?  Yeah, that’s totally comparable.  For the life of me I cannot see why people act like Fr. Weinandy is mentally ill for asking for a sign.  How many saints have done the same?  Are they always given?  No, but some have been quite clearly given the signs they’ve asked for, which is a special gift.  I do think it funny, though, that the NcR crowd frowns on Fr. Weinandy’s “discernment” when we are told that Pope Francis wants us to discern.  Make up your mind.  Oh, I get it!  We’re just supposed to discern in a manner that brings us to the same conclusion as Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Fr. Martin, and, I guess, Michael Sean Winters.  Got it.  That kind of discernment is just peachy.  No scoffing if you come to their conclusion.

By the way, I’ve got to laugh at the severe over use of discernment.  There’s not one in the bunch that can say “judgement”, which is what discernment actually means.  The “j” word, however, has been dumped on by this crowd so many times they’ve got to dance around it.

Cardinal Cupich’s conversation with Dionne contained other gems, such as his criticism of libertarianism. Dionne joked that the press had their headline: Cupich criticizes libertarianism at University of Chicago! His comments about abortion were very strong, which is always a bit of a risk in a secular venue. I encourage everyone to watch this video. Cupich is, par excellence, a bishop for the era of Francis: engaged, sympathetic, compelling. If only the rest of the body of bishops would follow his lead.

Drooling much?   I mean, the keyboard is probably pretty soggy at this point. Somebody’s getting a “Cardinal Cupich Fanboy” shirt for Christmas.   Well, as usual, Mr. Winters doesn’t fail to disappoint when it comes to linking to quotes, Church teaching, and facts, but hey, he hit the jackpot in conjecture, say something until it’s true and slander. Same old, same old.

#CatholicCyberMilitia

 

 

Notre Dame Just Didn’t Want Their Formal Cooperation With Evil to be Mandated

Apparently, Notre Dame just wanted the glory all to themselves?!?!

This kind of turned out as we thought, didn’t it?  One would have to conclude that Notre Dame only joined in the fight against the HHS mandate for fundraising reasons at this point.  “We want to look as persecuted as the Little Sisters and have people rally around us, too!”  That was our guess all along. Sorry to you who wasted money donating to ND for that.  

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The University of Notre Dame told its employees Tuesday that they will continue to receive no-cost birth control coverage in a reversal from what the university told its faculty and staff last week.

The Roman Catholic university in northern Indiana sent an email to employees saying its insurance provider is continuing to offer contraception coverage not funded by the university. Notre Dame notified employees a week earlier that contraception coverage would end Jan. 1.

That step came after President Donald Trump’s decision in early October allowing employers and universities to cite religious or moral objections to end birth control coverage that was available under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said the university had believed insurance companies would discontinue the no-cost coverage at year’s end but has been told by its provider Meritain Health that it would continue such coverage indefinitely.

So, in other words, Notre Dame was simply counting on the insurance companies to get them out of the backlash of their intention to have contraception covered for their employees and students.

The university fought the federal health care law’s original mandate on religious grounds, but that lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed on Oct. 17, after the Trump administration removed the requirement.

Let’s look at the scorecard here. The Notre Dame doubters were totally right here. Notre Dame fought the HHS mandate, supposedly on religious grounds. Notre Dame didn’t want to pay for the birth control coverage. Trump waives the mandate. Notre Dame assumes insurance company will end free coverage. Insurance company does not, but Notre Dame is fine with the free coverage because:

Notre Dame, as a Catholic institution, follows Catholic teaching about the use of contraceptives and engaged in the recent lawsuit to protect its freedom to act in accord with its principles,” Notre Dame said in a statement. “Recognizing, however, the plurality of religious and other convictions among its employees, it will not interfere with the provision of contraceptives that will be administered and funded independently of the University.

Let’s look at what Humane Vitae says about birth control:

 

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

And:

Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

So all you who hold a “plurality of religious and other convictions”, you’re on your own. Your salvation is apparently not Notre Dame’s problem.  They’re just fine with supporting something hurting the moral fabric of society and taking the lives of innocent children because, you know, tolerance and all.

Meritain Health is a subsidiary of Aetna, which didn’t immediately comment on whether it made coverage changes to accommodate Notre Dame.

Three Notre Dame students were among five women who joined a lawsuit filed last week challenging Trump’s rollback of the birth control coverage rule.

And, they were probably all Catholic.  Sigh.

The lawsuit filed by the National Women’s Law Center and Americans United for Separation of Church and State argues the new rules violate the equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution and the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Last week, Notre Dame notified students who receive the school’s insurance plan that their no-cost contraceptive coverage would continue until August. The university said Tuesday that students will be able to choose such coverage after August separately through Aetna Student Health.

A spokeswoman for the National Women’s Law Center didn’t immediately comment on the impact of Notre Dame’s decision.

And so the students of Notre Dame are on their own, too.  Bravo, Fr. Jenkins, et. al.  Sorry, you can’t wash your hands of it, Notre Dame.  Not one employee or student should ever be allowed by the institution to have access to something so spiritually, morally and spiritually damning as artificial birth control.  Please note, Humane Vitae is addressed to ALL of human creation and does not exclude “a plurality of religious and other convictions.”

Back to Humanae Vitae:

18. It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a “sign of contradiction.” (22) She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.

Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.

In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization. She urges man not to betray his personal responsibilities by putting all his faith in technical expedients. In this way she defends the dignity of husband and wife. This course of action shows that the Church, loyal to the example and teaching of the divine Savior, is sincere and unselfish in her regard for men whom she strives to help even now during this earthly pilgrimage “to share God’s life as sons of the living God, the Father of all men.” (23)

And Fr. Jenkins, you might want to pay particular attention to this:

To Priests

28. And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to spell out clearly and completely the Church’s teaching on marriage. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church. For, as you know, the pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth. (39) And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience. Nor will it escape you that if men’s peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice. Therefore We make Our own the anxious words of the great Apostle Paul and with all Our heart We renew Our appeal to you: “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (40)

Theologian Deathmatch: Round 2

And the fun never stops…

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/11/02/open-letter-father-weinandy-his-predecessor-amoris-laetitia-and-pope-francis

Dear Father Weinandy,

You may remember me as your predecessor as executive director of the Secretariat for Christian Doctrine at the U.S.C.C.B. You replaced me in January 2005.

Do I detect a note of snark? 

I am writing this open letter to you in response to your open letter to Pope Francis in which you address what you describe as a “chronic confusion” that seems to mark his pontificate.

According to Sandro Magister’s introduction to your letter, you had asked Jesus for a sign as to whether you should write your letter, you received that sign and thus “no longer had any doubt that Jesus wanted me to write….” I cannot enter into the subjective conditions that inspired you to write, but I need to note that “Amoris Laetitia,” toward which you express great concern, was the fruit of two synods and broad consultation throughout the church, is widely recognized as an act of ordinary Magisterium, and thus enjoys presumption as having been guided by the Spirit of the Lord.

Stop right here.  I have to wonder if you also prayed for a sign before writing this, or if you simply wrote out of anger, Monsignor?  By the way, Father, if you’ll note, the dubia and Fr. Weinandy’s letter are simply seeking clarity.  Do you really have a problem with this?  Can you deny that there are divergent interpretations of the infamous chapter 8 footnotes? Still, you are framing this as something it’s not.  Fr. Weinandy isn’t rejecting ordinary Magisterium anymore than the four cardinals were when they put forth the dubia.  I also think that you might be tugging at the heartstrings of the people in the pews by saying that Fr. Weinandy is rejecting something by seeming to suggest “ordinary Magisterium” a little more, well, ordinary than it actually is.  Not quite that simple.

http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2016/04/12/the-slow-decline-of-the-ordinary-magisterium/

But, that said, most of “what’s in” Amoris, or at least most of the controversial passages of Amoris, are not ‘magisterial’ because most of those of Amoris, and most of ‘those passages’, seem to address (if sometimes ambiguously) pastoral practices (not propositional points), or they indicate how the pope perceives (accurately or otherwise) pastors coming across to people in irregular unions (and so at most are empirical surmises), or they urge a given demeanor with persons as Christ would relate to them, and so on. In other words, while Amoris is quite capable of contributing to the ordinary papal magisterium based on its authorship, audience, and circumstances, and while it does contribute to that magisterium in some respects, most of Amoris is, in fact, not ‘magisterial’ in content. Just as most utterances that popes and bishops use to contribute to the ordinary magisterium are mixed in with many non-magisterial comments having no teaching value, so Amoris mixes several, rather minor, uncontroversial ‘magisterial’ comments on Scripture and marriage with a few controversial, but not magisterial (because they are not propositional, and are instead exhortatory) comments on pastoral approaches. And, no, I do not think that this is to read Amoris the way I would prefer to read it; I think it is to read Amoris the way the Church reads her teaching documents.

So, it sounds a little like you’re trying to get people to think that every last letter of Amoris Laetitia is an exercise of ordinary Magisterium.  Is that correct?

Your first concern is centered on Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.” You maintain that the Holy Father’s “guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous.” I believe that the vast majority of bishops and theologians do not agree.

I might actually agree with you when it comes to the word “intentionally”, as I stated in my last post.  There’s little to no way of knowing what the intention was.  Regardless, it was ambiguous.  How do we know this?  Duh.  There are two very distinct interpretations of it.  If it was clear, this would not be the case.  And, while I can’t say “intentionally”,  I also don’t really believe you can say “vast majority of bishops and theologians.”  If wishes were ponies… 

The pope does indeed open the door to the possibility that some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can be admitted to the sacraments after careful discernment. Rocco Buttiglione, one of the foremost interpreters of the teaching of St. John Paul II, sees no contradiction, but rather continuity between “Familiaris Consortio”and “Amoris Laetitia.” And most recently Cardinal Gerhard Müller stated that there are conditions which open the way for those in second marriages to receive sacraments.

First, does anyone remember the Holy Father saying, “Being integrated into the Church does not mean ‘taking Communion.’”? Anyone?

Next, Cardinal Muller can’t seem to make up his mind on much of anything in the past year.  (Anyone else think that?) He might be having the same problem as many of us.  He’s just another reason clarification is needed, because he’s also said this

There have been different claims that Amoris Laetitia has rescinded this (previous) discipline, because it allows, at least in certain cases, the reception of the Eucharist by remarried divorcees without requiring that they change their way of life in accord with Familiaris Consortio 84 (namely, by giving up their new bond or by living as brothers and sisters).

The following has to be said in this regard: If Amoris Laetitia had intended to rescind such a deeply rooted and such a weighty discipline, it would have expressed itself in a clear manner and it would have given the reasons for it. However, such a statement with such a meaning is not to be found in it [Amoris Laetitia]. Nowhere does the pope put into question the arguments of his predecessors. They [the arguments] are not based upon the subjective guilt of these our brothers and sisters, but, rather, upon the visible, objective way of life which is in opposition to the words of Christ.

Let’s actually look at Familiaris Consortio https://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2famil.htm, because I’m betting Msgr. Strynkowski’s banking on you not.

4. Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this is an evil that like the others is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay. The synod fathers studied it expressly. The church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.

Pastors must know that for the sake of truth they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is, in fact, a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned and those who, through their own grave fault, have destroyed a canonically valid marriage.

Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.

Together with the synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the church, for as baptized persons they can and indeed must share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace. Let the church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother and thus sustain them in faith and hope.

However, the church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon sacred scripture, of not admitting to eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the church which is signified and effected by the eucharist. Besides this there is another special pastoral reason: If these people were admitted to the eucharist the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of penance, which would open the way to the eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the convenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage.

This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons such as, for example, the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”[180]

Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful forbids any pastor for whatever reason or pretext, even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new, sacramentally valid marriage and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

By acting in this way the church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to his truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord’s command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity.”

So, do two footnotes in Amoris Laetitia negate what’s very clearly stated in Familiaris Consortio AND what some bishops around the world are holding their flock to?  This is why the dubia is so important.  We have two opposing sides (or none at all) when it comes to admitting divorced and civilly remarried couples to Communion.  Again:

Reconciliation in the sacrament of penance, which would open the way to the eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the convenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage.

This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons such as, for example, the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”[180]


Like Fr. James Martin, SJ, says, I am not a theologian.  All I can do is give you my view from the pew and say that clarification is needed big time, since we should never be forced to judge moral decisions based on footnotes. That would certainly be lacking in charity. I think all of the “theologians” sometimes miss the fact that the vast majority of members of the Church are people like me.  They need to come down from their ivory towers and understand that if we’re saying that we need clarification, we need it. I’m thankful to those members of the clergy who are willing to represent us in these affairs, because, clearly, they are sticking their necks out.

Back to the “open rant”:

Your second concern is that the pope’s manner “seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.” I would note, first of all, that the Holy Father’s homilies, based on the Gospel, call us to a discipleship that is rigorous and uncompromising. Second, I interpret his criticism of those who make doctrine an ideology as a challenge for us to never isolate doctrine from its source in the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

So, it’s your interpretation that, because Fr. Weinandy feels that it’s important not to demean Church doctrine, he isolates doctrine from mercy?  Your proof for that is?????

Your third concern is the Holy Father’s “choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.” Unless you are willing to name these bishops and the views counter to Christian belief that supposedly they tolerate, this remains a gratuitous assertion and damages the unity of the church.

Oh!  Me! Me! Me! I’ll name them.  Elevating Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Farrell, Cardinal Joseph Tobin (not, not, not Bishop Thomas Tobin), and appointing Bishop McElroy were all nightmares. Then there’s the Fr. James Martin, SJ, appointment. And that’s just in the U.S. 

And now you want me to name the views counter to the Church?  OK.  When Bishop Paprocki told priests that gays and lesbians in same-sex marriages should not receive Communion or be given Catholic, Cardinal Cupich said that wasn’t his policy. Martin just admitted he can’t say what he really thinks because he’s a priest.  Bishop Joseph Tobin – how about we just look at what New Ways thinks of him:

But Cardinal Tobin’s welcome to Mass on May 21 has been the most significant of such recent gestures, because of the symbolism of a cardinal welcoming a group of gay Catholics, some of whom were married to same-sex spouses, to participate in the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the center of a cathedral, no questions asked. 

Pretty much sounds like he didn’t give ANY instruction on the reception of the Eucharist.

Bishop McElroy has adopted the same stance as Cupich in regard to the Paprocki order.  Ross Douthat does a good job here of dissecting his recent “synod” in San Diego.   Besides this, McElroy also has a super deformed idea of “internal dialogue” and “primacy of conscience” 

Bishop Farrell?  Well he and Archbishop Chaput directly contradicted each other on Communion for those in irregular circumstances.  https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/popes-new-point-man-on-family-rips-abp.-chaputs-amoris-guidelines-on-commun

Your fourth concern is the pope’s encouragement of a “‘synodality’ that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church.” Here, again in an open letter to the pope, it would have been more responsible to specify what these various options have been. To do anything less is to foster suspicion of bishops and theologians by some circles in the church.

Let’s look at what synodality is: https://www.catholic.com/qa/what-is-synodality

Synodality is related to collegiality. Collegiality refers to the individual authority of each bishop as a successor of the apostles. Each bishop is essentially autonomous and equal (with the exception of the Bishop of Rome). On matters of local governance, one bishop cannot tell another bishop how to run his diocese.

Synodality refers to groupings of bishops. An example would be the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. According to canon law, national episcopal conferences can set certain laws and practices for their regions above and beyond what an individual bishop can do. However, because these groupings of bishops have no authority outside of each individual bishop’s authority, the group needs to have its authority specifically declared by Church law. Otherwise it carries no weight other than encouragement.

Both methods of Church governance have practical pros and cons.

That said, we can’t have doctrine subject to synodality.

I also have to laugh at your proposal that a lack of specifics can cause suspicions.  Sounds a little like “Pot meet kettle.”  It seems like you keep asking for specifics but then don’t even come close to doing so yourself.  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Your fifth concern is that bishops feel that the pope is not open to criticism and indeed resents it. What is your source for this? Indeed, there has been much criticism of the pope, but he has remained silent. I am not aware of anything that he has said in public to indicate that he resents criticism.

Really?!  The “change of jobs” for Muller, Burke, Father Samir Khalil Samir, etc., by the Holy Father himself, not to mention a myriad of replacements by the liberal fan club is kind of telling.  And then there are all of those labeled as Pharisaical, rigid, etc. for their worries.  My gosh!  There is a whole website full of them papal insults.  Fine, it’s his prerogative.  I’d probably expect some resentment.  Quite frankly, I enjoy some of them because they’re sometimes funny and creative, kind of like Shakespeare’s.  That said, you can’t say they’re not happening. 

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, urged that dissent from ordinary Magisterium should be disclosed privately to church authority—see “Donum Veritatis” (No. 30). In a world and even an ecclesial environment of sound bites and facile partisanship, that becomes even wiser advice.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Msgr. John Strynkowski

As you say, specifics would be nice.  Maybe you could tell us who is dissenting from what?  You asked Fr. Weinandy for specifics, now I’m asking you for some.  Fair’s fair!  Is style now considered “ordinary Magisterium?”  Fr. Weinandy’s letter talked of ambiguity and flame throwing.  It didn’t talk of doctrine other than to say “There’s so much ambiguity nobody can discern what we’re talking about when it comes to the indissolubility of marriage and the liberals are running away with it.” 

This isn’t the first time Catholics have had a problem with “papal style.”  Anyone remember St. Catherine of Siena?  She chastised not one but two popes about everything from where they lived to controlling their tempers.  Are we going to say she was a dissenter???

For those who haven’t bothered to read the dubia yet, please at least read this excerpt:

Most Holy Father,

Following the publication of your apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, theologians and scholars have proposed interpretations that are not only divergent, but also conflicting, above all in regard to Chapter VIII. Moreover, the media have emphasized this dispute, thereby provoking uncertainty, confusion and disorientation among many of the faithful.

Because of this, we the undersigned, but also many bishops and priests, have received numerous requests from the faithful of various social strata on the correct interpretation to give to Chapter VIII of the exhortation.

Now, compelled in conscience by our pastoral responsibility and desiring to implement ever more that `synodality to which Your Holiness urges us, with profound respect, we permit ourselves to ask you, Holy Father, as supreme teacher of the faith, called by the Risen One to confirm his brothers in the faith, to resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity, benevolently giving a response to the dubia that we attach the present letter.

May Your Holiness wish to bless us, as we promise constantly to remember you in prayer.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Joachim Meisner

Despite the spin, clarification, not rejection is the name of the game for the dubia authors and Fr. Weinandy. They are not dissenting. If they were, why would they appeal to the Holy Father for clarification at all?

 

 

Here’s Hoping the Darkness is Dispelled!

Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!  What in the heck is happening?!  I’m sure that most of you saw the news but if you didn’t, here it is.

Fr. Weinandy’s note of explanation:

At the end of this past May I was in Rome to attend a meeting of the International Theological Commission, of which I am a member.  I stayed at Domus Sanctae Marthae.  Since I arrived early, I spent most of the Sunday afternoon prior to the meeting on Monday in Saint Peter’s praying in the Eucharistic Chapel.  I was praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.  I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.  I was also pondering whether or not I should write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety.  On the following Wednesday afternoon, at the conclusion of my meeting, I went again to St. Peter’s and prayed in the same manner.  That night I could not get to sleep, which is very unusual for me.  It was due to all that was on my mind pertaining to the Church and Pope Francis.  At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time.  When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign.  This is what the sign must be.  Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran.  After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine.  During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time.  That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain.  Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, “Keep up the good writing!”

So, does ANYONE have a problem with his worry and actions thus stated?  I’m not sure a day has gone by in the last few months that someone in my Catholic world hasn’t asked, “What is going on?!?!?!?!”

So many times we just have to act on a wing and a prayer, and much more often than not we simply have to pray to the Holy Spirit and hope we get it right.  Quite frankly, I’m going to have to remember to put in some seriously detailed requests for validation after reading this.  Probably won’t get a sign like this, but you never know. Maybe I should have a little more faith that I will! Now, “Who is the sign really from?” will likely be the next question asked by those who don’t like Fr. Weinandy’s letter.  Whatever.  Again, all we can do is throw up a prayer and hope we got it right and I think that is what Fr. Weinandy did.

The next morning I did all of the above and by the time I met my seminarian friend for lunch what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind.  However, towards the end of the meal an archbishop appeared between two parked cars right in front of our table (we were sitting outside).  I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop.  We recognized one another immediately.  What made his appearance even more unusual was that because of his recent personal circumstances I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese.  (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.)  We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing.  I then introduced him to my seminarian friend.  He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation.  He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book.  Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

Asked for a sign, and taking him at face value, he got it!

In the light of Jesus fulfilling my demanding “sign,” I want to make two comments.  First, I decided to write Pope Francis a letter, which I intended then to publish unless he adequately addressed the issues I raised.  Almost two months after having received my letter, I did receive an acknowledgement from Vatican Secretariat of State informing me that the letter had been received.  This was simply an acknowledgement and not a response to my concerns.  Second, I find it significant that not only did the Lord fulfill my demand for a sign, but also did so in, what I believe, a very significant manner.  He accomplished it through an archbishop.  By utilizing an archbishop, I believe, that Jesus’ fulfillment of my request took on an apostolic mandate.

I have no way of validating whether he got the sign right or wrong, and neither can you or anyone else, for that matter.  It’s really between him and God.  I’m glad he gave the reason he made the decision, but really, those who are willing to accept the method he employed will. Those who hate it won’t accept it and will likely label his interpretation demonic, which is kind of ironic since I’m not too sure some of those folks actually believe in Satan.

On to the actual letter:

Fr.Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office.  You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church.  All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth.  The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

So, to the people trying to paint this as a Lefebvre situation, don’t.  Nobody is saying anything or anyone isn’t valid.  Like Burke, Brandmueller, Caffara, and Meisner, they all recognize and respect Pope Francis as Pope Francis and only he can fix it.  They all appealed to the Pope to use his authority to bring clarity.  They aren’t trying to start a parallel Church and usurp authority they don’t have.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate.  The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.  This fosters within the faithful a growing unease.  It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace.  Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

Let’s pause. It is his pontificate and there is great confusion.  There is no denying it, and while it’s not always his ambiguity that causes that (we also can’t say that the liberals paraphrase him crazily on a regular basis and most of the time out of context), he’s not offering correction and clarification to most who are doing that.  This has ZERO to do with me being a “hater” and everything to do with being a simple fact.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.”  I need not share my own concerns about its content.  Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.  The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching.  In “Amoris Laetitia,” your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.

Just as I can’t tell you whether or not Father Weinandy’s sign is genuine, I can’t tell you whether the Holy Father is intentionally ambiguous.  I really don’t need to know his intentional, or unintentional and there most definitely have been traditional interpretations as well as those that imply a change in Church teaching.

Now, there can be no denial that there are disputes and there is confusion, although I’ve heard some try.  They say that everything is crystal clear and the problem is with those who think there is confusion.  What???  When you’ve got two bishops with dueling interpretations on a crucial issue, there’s confusion.  When you have a boatload of them duking it out on the barque, it’s mass confusion.  That’s where we are.  Can we deal with reality, people? THERE IS CONFUSION.

There are many different opinions on why there is confusion.  Great.  I have mine, you have yours, etc.  The finger pointing is endless.  Personally, I don’t care.  I simply want clarity, and I REALLY don’t think that it’s wrong to ask for it.  I mean, how many of us pray for ambiguity and confusion?  I’ve appealed to the Vatican for situations in my locale and I got help.  This is a Church-wide issue today.  Appeals for clarity are necessary.

As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means.

Yes. Yes, it does.  We’ve heard the diverging interpretations of “accompaniment”. We just want to know which one is correct, and we want EVERYONE to know which is correct.  There can’t be two correct interpretations. Some of us have families and need to have teaching to be clear for our children, grandchildren, etc.!  If wanting our kids to have correct teaching is “rigid”, color me rigid!

To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.  The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.  Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.  Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.

Pope John Paul II had people coming after him all the time.  He didn’t go after them with ad hominem attacks.  There was no name calling of anyone.  Neither was there with Pope Benedict XVI.  If there was a problem, they took “legal” action and at least tried to speak in filial language.  They didn’t use the media to call out their “enemies.”

This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.  Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions.  Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

I’m always wondering what the heck the “advisors” are telling the Holy Father that he would throw out such monikers.  I know the Holy Fathers have all lived in somewhat of a bubble as soon as they assume the papacy.  However, I’d like to think with the dawn of the internet they wouldn’t be so insulated, but we really see Pope Francis scanning the blogs?  Nah.  Now, one could say he picked the kind of advisors he wanted.  Who knows?  I’m not really sure how the heck you can keep the stupidity of some of the appointees a secret.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.  Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.  Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.  But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.  Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth.  What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Well, doctrine is truth and the truth will set you free.  I think I’ve heard that somewhere.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.  What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.  This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.  As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the “sensus fidelium,” are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

THIS!  But, again, what’s more is that some of us have families to protect and some of these bishops are trying to lead our kids astray.  Do you know how many emails I get from families who are trying to get their kids to live the chaste life and carry their crosses only to have bishops like Bishop McElroy negate that message???  I’m in the mom zone.  I hear from people like trying to raise their kids in this world.  It is painful.  All we want is for our kids to get to heaven and we’re exhausted from fighting Satan on a daily basis in the secular world, and now we have to fight some of our own bishops for the souls of our children?! My main job is to get my family to heaven so if anyone wants to throw a rude nickname my way, go ahead.  I’ve got far more to worry about than that.  I’ll gladly accept Catholic Cyber Militia.  Think that bothers me?  Heck, I’ve already had it slapped on a t-shirt!  I DON’T CARE! That said, fear of being branded will likely silence the less activist minded people who have been dealing with bad bishops for years.  That saddens me because they have children too and they’re being beaten to silence by the ad hominem attacks.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity.  But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite.  Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion.  Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Moral relativism does this, too, which is what priests like Martin, Cupich, and McElroy love and promote.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern.  You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church.  You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think.  But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?  Why is this?  Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.  Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises.  Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

They’re definitely losing jobs left and right.  Thanks to those who continue to speak up on behalf of our families.  We’re tired of our children being used like chips in a high stakes poker game of who will fold first.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?”  The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.  Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness.  In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

The premise that God decided to give us a period of very clear light and dark is probably a really good guess.  We’d have to be naïve to think that these forces weren’t around during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  They were but they were much subtler. I’m glad they’re out there for all to see, I just wish they didn’t occupy a position of authority, which makes it much easier for them to lead people astray by offering them exactly what they want to hear instead of exactly what they need.  I’m hoping this is paving the way for a very strong pope who will take on filial correction as an art form.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so.  May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

July 31, 2017

Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Apparently, Fr. Weinandy is no longer at his job at the USCCB and it’s being framed as political and a pre-VII vs. post-VII thing.

November 1, 2017

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the nature of dialogue within the Church today.

Full statement follows:

“The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.  Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity all have debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological and pastoral issues. In more recent times, these debates have made their way into the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good.  However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political – conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II.  These distinctions are not always very helpful.”

Uh, where does Fr. Weinandy mention any of those things???  Until yesterday, I had never heard his name (maybe I should have) so I Googled.  I didn’t see one put down by Fr. Weinandy of Vatican II.  In fact, I saw him quoting docs from it.  And, really, who in the world would work for the USCCB who took the pre-Vatican II stance?  I’m reasonably sure he would have been gone long ago.

Christian charity needs to be exercised by all involved. In saying this, we all must acknowledge that legitimate differences exist, and that it is the work of the Church, the entire body of Christ, to work towards an ever-growing understanding of God’s truth.

I agree, but it doesn’t seem like you’ve exercised by this missive.

As Bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “presupposition” to his Spiritual Exercises: “…that it should be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it.” This presupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our Holy Father.

This, of course, is just a partial quote. Let’s look at the whole thing.

It should be presupposed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it. Further, if one cannot interpret it favorably, one should ask how the other means it.  If that meaning is wrong, one should correct the other person with love; and, if this is not enough, one should search out every appropriate means, through which by understanding the statement in a good way, it may be saved.

Dubia, letters, dubia, letters.  Anyone? Bueller? This has been attempted on many occasions by many people.  They’re trying to solve the problems with Amoris Laetitia by seeking clarification, but they have gotten repeatedly kicked in the face for it!

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishops working towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith, therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG, no. 23).”

Where is the lack of loyalty coming from?  Is it coming from all the letter and dubia authors???  Puh-lease!  Doesn’t he understand that bishops’ conferences all around the world are coming up with different interpretations of Amoris Laetitia???  How well does that work for unity?  For heaven’s sake, how about we read Lumen Gentium in its totality?  This is why so many of our clergy are appealing to the pope.  I’m sure for every query sent to the Holy Father there are thousands we haven’t seen.

This statement from Cardinal DiNardo is really, really weird in general and I’m kind of shocked it was made by him.  By all means, good cardinal, let’s discuss dialogue in the Church today but maybe we could not slander a seemingly good priest while we’re doing it because what he wrote and his characterization of it are completely different things.

Update:  Within hours of this going up I had more than one person who has knowledge of Fr. Weinandy say they were totally shocked that he wrote this and that he’s not really considered a staunch conservative when it comes to the Faith.  Like I wrote above, I couldn’t find anything showing a disposition portrayed by Cardinal DiNardo.

 

Reprimand or Vatican Job Fair?

Here’s hoping this is the smackdown of all smackdowns, and God bless the Brothers of Charity for appealing to Rome.  It’s unclear in the article, but the video at this link shows that the three Brothers of Charity voted against killing people.  I’m sure it’s likely a bit surreal to them that they got voted down on this, since their order, you know, runs the hospital!!!

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) — What happens when a dozen laypeople, responsible for a Catholic hospital, betray the institution they represent? We are about to find out. The twelve lay members of the Brothers of Charity hospital group in Belgium have been summoned to Rome.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued the summons.

Now, a few years back, I would have had no doubt that a reprimand was coming, but these days I’m kind of wondering if this might instead turn into a job interview for The Pontifical Academy for Life, The Pontifical Academy of Science, or the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. I’m reasonably sure the brain trust that invited Paul Ehrlich and John Bongaarts (notorious population control advocates) to speak,  or who got Nigel Biggar appointed to The Pontifical Academy for Life would L-O-V-E to get these twelve morons from the Catholic hospital in Belgium appointed somewhere in the Vatican.  It’s getting so insane over there that I’ve gotten over being stupefied.

The Brothers of Charity are a monastic order which operates fifteen hospitals in Belgium. Their hospital board is comprised of 12 laypeople and three brothers. Last spring, the board voted to permit euthanasia of mentally ill patients in their hospitals. This is in direct opposition to the Church’s teaching that euthanasia is evil and impermissible.

Just to clarify, again, three Brothers actually voted against it and appealed to Rome for some help.  Let’s hope they get a lifeline and not a noose.

The bishops of the Church in Belgium have also affirmed that Euthanasia is evil and cannot be allowed. The board does not seem to care what the Church teaches, and has issued a paper stating that “euthanasia” is the “therapeutic liberty” of doctors. In other words, doctors should be allowed to administer euthanasia without the hospital interfering.

Soooo many things wrong with this.  Let’s remember: IT’S A CATHOLIC HOSPITAL! 

If the position paper is accepted by the medical establishment at large, then euthanasia becomes a right, and doctors can practice it freely in any hospital.

Coming to hospitals worldwide.  Sigh. 

Euthanasia is the practice of killing people by medical means, with an emphasis on speed and painlessness. The practice is intended to end the lives of people who are suffering, usually the terminally ill. The practice has since spread to include children, as well as physically healthy people.

It’s all fun and games until someone’s trying to have you killed, and then it’s really way too late. Not only are they killing people left and right, they’re guilting them into it. In too many countries, patients aren’t even allowed to make the “choice”, coerced or not.  I have to stop and point out that you are sadly mistaken if you think it’s not happening in the United States already.  Please, make sure you have a durable power of attorney for healthcare, make sure that you have someone trustworthy in charge of your medical care if you are incapacitated, and NEVER sign a POLST, which is a toe-hold for the dissolution of your and your loved ones’ rights.  Many good people are uneducated about the POLST.  Please read here if you love your family.

There are several problems with euthanasia. The practice violates the Fifth Commandment, and is considered a grave sin against God. There are concerns that elderly people, as well as the sick, will be gently encouraged or pressured to avail themselves of euthanasia. People who are responsible for bearing the bulk of expenses or providing the majority of care may plot to have someone euthanized. It’s the same as murder, except it is legal under secular law. Once intended only for the terminally ill, the practice is spreading.

The slippery slope is very real.

The Church wants to understand the process by which the board arrived at their decision. It may offer a correction of their thinking and ask the board members to reconsider their position. If the board refuses to change its statement, then the Church will have to seek a different means of controlling its own hospital and protecting the people within.

This last statement is a little weird. The Church wants to understand how these people became so evil or haughty as to reject the moral authority of the Brothers of Charity??? It MAY offer a correction??? It may ask them to reconsider???  I hope that’s not the case, because the only thing the Church should do here is make an unequivocal statement that this is a grave evil and may NEVER happen.  End. Of. Story.