Wow! Bad week for those opposed to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone! I’m sure some are still passed out celebrating the Irish referendum but while they were on the floor, Cardinal Wuerl dropped a 10-chapter (not counting introduction and conclusion) pastoral letter on why they are wrong. On the heels of that, the Vatican Secretary of State said the Irish vote legalizing gay marriage was a “disaster for humanity.” Completing the trifecta, Pope Francis (you know the guy they are counting on to be so “compassionate” – in other words, the guy who was supposed to rubberstamp sins with a big OK) has said about 100 times in a week or so that “marriage between a man and a woman.” Don’t think Truth is going anywhere anytime soon, no matter how you wish it away or insist it depends on popular vote.
Cardinal Wuerl’s letter can be found here: http://www.adw.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Being-Catholic-Today-Pastoral-Letter.pdf
An article with Cardinal Parolin’s and the Holy Father’s comments here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/vatican-stands-by-cardinal-s-remarks-on-referendum-1.2227805
Do you think Sam Singer’s going to tweet these? Really, you don’t? Yeah, I guess not. Not exactly following his game plan of having Archbishop Cordileone removed by the Holy Father. His poor head must be exploding right now. Cue a bunch of nasty tweets out of frustration about Archbishop Cordileone in 3 … 2 … 1. Knowing Sam, however, he’s probably hoping that the Pope will now remove Archbishop Cordileone AND Cardinal Wuerl.
At some point, the dissenters are going to have to stop the silly game of pitting Pope against his Archbishop. I can’t figure out if they really think the Pope doesn’t know what goes on around here and they think they can shame him into removing our good Archbishop, or if they really don’t grasp the fact that the Pope and the Archbishop both teach the same things. Either way, the dissenters are both confounded and confused, or they seek to make everyone else so.
Let’s look at THE letter of the week from Cardinal Wuerl. It’s directed at his area, but it’s the same type of shenanigans – dissenters saying the Church shouldn’t be Catholic. There are a lot of amazing passages which are not only aimed at his area but go right along with the San Francisco handbook flap. Excuse the heavy quoting, but it’s so awesome I just had to do it.
The Church is not a business, a club, or a special-interest group. The Church is not the result of like-minded people coming together and deciding to form an organization, nor are her moral teachings decided by popular vote or societal trends.
SAY WHAT?! What do you mean her moral teachings are not decided by popular vote or societal trends??? Crazy talk, Cardinal, just crazy talk! Apparently you have not consulted with Sam Singer, Fr. Donal Godfrey, Concerned Parents and Teachers, nor the “100 Prominent Catholics”!
Love this little story Cardinal Wuerl threw in there.
Years ago, in an effort to provide a fuller vision of life to a group of youngsters whose experience was confined to the inner city, we organized a day trip to the country. The day began with a breakfast that included genuine freshly-squeezed orange juice. Cautiously taking a sip, many of the children asked, “What is this stuff?” When told it was orange juice, they simply said, “No it isn’t.”
They had never known the real thing. The only experience they had of anything approximating orange juice was an artificial “orange-flavored drink” sometimes given as part of the free breakfast program. That occasion comes to mind when I reflect on the limited and even contrived version of our faith that some people hold.
Yes! Yes! Yes! We’ve been serving Tang to the kids in the Bay Area’s Catholic schools for at least 30 years! They really don’t know the taste of the True Faith! They have no idea what they are missing and how it can be the most flavorful thing they’ve ever imagined! They’ve been robbed!
One may choose to be a member of the Catholic Church or not. No one is forced to belong to the Church. We never lose our baptismal dignity of being part of the family of Christ, but we are free to choose to participate or not participate in the life of our family. If one becomes a member of the Church, he or she is expected to believe what the Church believes and attempt to live it out as best he or she can, including participating in the Mass and other sacraments, providing a good example and witness to others, and helping others to know Christ.
So many people like to point this out to our handbook-opposing friends. I’m sure some don’t do it with the best of intentions, because frankly they are just tired and annoyed and they are giving in to it by trying to show our friends the door, but I really think this is important! The Catholic Church is all about free will. You can choose to believe it and the Church will love you, or you can choose to disbelieve it and the Church will still love you. Regardless, the Church will not change for you because it has your best interest at heart.
When we come to the institutions of the Church – its parishes, schools, universities, charitable organizations, health care facilities and more – these too must reflect a genuine Catholic identity with visible communion with the Church, both universal and local, and fidelity to Catholic teaching. As Pope Francis has implored, each of these institutions and those involved in their operation must be oriented toward the mission of the Church (Evangelii gaudium, 27). The purpose of these entities – and the task of those who work for them – is to lead people to Jesus.
Wait! I thought the purpose was to tolerate and accept everyone and whatever they want to do and to make everyone feel comfy and included? That’s what the Concerned Parents and Teachers, et. al., told me. I’m so confused!
Furthermore, a particular responsibility is incumbent upon the bishop with regard to Catholic institutions and their Catholic identity (Veritatis splendor, 116). His is the responsibility to see that our Catholic institutions are places where the faith permeates the culture. Our schools, for example, at all levels, should provide the environment where revealed truth, reason and charity are engaged in an ongoing effort to shed greater light on the human condition. In whatever area of endeavor, the Catholic identity of the effort should be found, for example, in a mission statement. And the message it voices should exhibit a vision of life that is rooted in Christ, articulated in his Gospel and manifested in his Church.
At this point I’d just like to say I TOLD YOU SO! Please see about half of my other blog posts. (Yes, that was a shameless plug!)
Similarly, those who agree to assist the Church in her mission and ministries represent the public face of the Church. Whether Catholic or non-Catholic, they should respect our Catholic identity and avoid behavior that contradicts the very mission of the Catholic institution.
The wider community benefits from the presence of authentically Catholic institutions and faithful Catholic disciples because the richness of Catholic teaching can engage the secular culture in a way that the light of the wisdom of God is brought to bear on the issues of the day. On the other hand, members of the Church, those who serve in Catholic ministries, those people served by them, and the community at large are all impoverished, not enriched, when the ministry’s Catholic identity is diluted or lukewarm.
Oooh! Did you see THAT? The Cardinal totally just backed up the Archbishop’s handbook. Don’t cry, Sam! Just embrace it! The Church is calling you back to your roots!
Pope Francis writes eloquently of the act of assent that is required of those who want to belong to the Catholic Church or who seek to share in her mission and work. His words were addressed specifically to teachers but are applicable to all the areas of Church ministry. “We need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness” (Evangelii gaudium, 45).
You do realize this is the guy that you are hoping will remove the Archbishop for saying what he just said, right?
Our failure to live up to the demands of the Gospel is a reality of life, but we are blessed with God’s mercy and forgiveness. The Lord’s capacity to forgive is infinitely greater than our ability to sin. However, failure to always fulfill our Christian obligations is not the same as the decision to reject specific obligations, teachings, commandments and requirements set by the Lord. It is inevitable – though no less deserving of our repentance – that we will sin. But our moral failings must not cloud our belief in the truth of Christ’s teachings. And believing in that truth, we must not fail to proclaim it.
OK, I’m going to get a little bit serious here. I get upset when I see people parroting “DUI!” As I’ve said before, the Archbishop’s handling of it is the perfect example of what we should do when we blow it. Own it! Confess it! Ask forgiveness and move on resolving not to blow it again! The thing that really breaks my heart is that “the opposition” – who are really our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter how annoying they might be – are continuing to ”reject specific obligations, teachings, commandments and requirements set by the Lord.” Our hope is at least purgatory. How about theirs? They’re continuing on with their resolve to sin some more and jump headlong into the near occasion of sin. Who’s praying for them and trying to help them? I’ll tell you who: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. People on “our side” like to say, “Just get rid of the dissenters.” He is holding out hope for them to embrace the Faith. He’s not naïve. He knows it’s a long row to hoe but he’s doing what a good bishop does. He’s going for the lost sheep (yes, there’s way more than one around these parts). We need to pray and pray like crazy he is successful in winning them back – not just winning the handbook battle (although that’s got to be a big goal to protect the students). He’s not going to win them all. Sad fact, but true. Still, maybe he can win some and protect the students which he will do because, well, he’s just that kind of guy. Back to Cardinal Wuerl:
Catholics grew up with the impression that their heritage was little more than warm, vaguely positive feelings about God.
Those years of experimentation left many Catholics weak, spiritually and intellectually, and unable to withstand the tsunami of secularism that came in recent decades. We lost many people because we failed to teach them about right and wrong, about the common good, about the nature of the human person. This left many no longer able to admit that we are sinners who need Jesus because many no longer know what sin is.
Sound familiar? Archbishop Cordileone and the Cardinal Wuerl have decided enough is enough! Quite frankly, we’ve been failed by the Fr. Jenkins (Notre Dame) and Fr. Godfreys (University of San Francisco) of the world and their “I’m OK, you’re OK” kind of Catholicism, while the Archbishop and the Cardinal (and more) are standing up for us all.
By the way, while he doesn’t specifically mention “Primacy of Conscience” argument that those opposed to the Archbishop have made, Cardinal Wuerl does allude to it and totally trashes their conclusions. Make sure you read this document. Most excellent!
Disagreement simply cannot be denounced as discrimination. Some commentators see this situation as a uniquely American way to live both freedom and diversity. It rests upon the understanding that diversity is real and disagreement is not discrimination. Such freedom cannot be negated by a newly created definition of discrimination.
Right! So Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church aren’t bigots after all! Please take note, Concerned Parents and Teachers and the rest of the club.
The many challenges Catholics face demonstrate the need to be vigilant. We rejoice in the constitutional protection of our freedom, but we cannot take such safeguards for granted. We must speak out and clearly say, when speaking to the world situation: No Christian should be forced to convert to another faith. Closer to home, no Christian should be forced to accept a secular view of life with its own vision of morality. No Catholic institution should be denied its freedom simply because it wishes to follow the Catholic faith.
I would like to add that no Catholic institution should be denied its freedom simply because their teachers were allowed to unionize. Some have the mistaken notion that because there is a union, the Catholic Church must somehow ditch her missions and ministries. Wrong!
Sadly, it is not unusual to encounter Catholics who were raised in Catholic families, educated at institutions that identify themselves as “Catholic,” and who may attend Mass regularly, yet do not necessarily know or understand their faith or believe it.
Clearly the Cardinal has been to California.
One new effort to abridge religious freedom is the legislation that would require Catholic schools to retain teachers who by their words or actions publicly contradict the teaching of the Church. Some now wrongly claim it is discrimination for the Church to insist that those who teach in Catholic schools present Catholic teaching in word and in witness.
As Catholics, who we are cannot be separated from how we live. Jesus taught us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and care for the sick and those in need, and the Catholic Church’s history of educating and serving the poor is long and well known. However, there is a false notion that the beliefs of Catholics can be separated from how we live. Ministries such as Catholic Charities, Victory Housing, and our high schools are not independent of the Church. They are as much a part of the Church as our parishes.
In according with religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment, Catholic organizations should be free to operate by the tenets of the Catholic faith, should not be forced to accept the government’s moral views, and should not be required to provide a platform for persons who oppose in both word and action the mission of the Church.
Other factors undermining our Catholic mission and identity come from within, either through explicit dissent, miscatechesis or personal conduct that tends to draw people away from the communion of the Church.
I read stories about other places in the country, and even in Cardinal Wuerl’s locale, but this sounds very, very applicable to the situation in the Bay Area.
More and more, however, measures passed in the guise of “anti-discrimination” are being used divisively to favor one group over another and deny equality to others. Suddenly terms like “discrimination,” “freedom of choice” and “human rights” have been distorted and turned upside-down to restrict religious freedom.
-to disparage as bigoted and mean-spirited anyone who seeks to uphold fundamental truths about the human person that have been recognized throughout history. In a time when for many the supreme civic virtue is “tolerance,” the Catholic faith is considered intolerable. In a time when prejudice has been all but outlawed, anti-Catholicism gets a pass. It is, as more than one scholar has observed, the one remaining acceptable prejudice.
However, there is a difference between one’s identity, which we are called to respect, and one’s actions, which we can very well find offensive even immoral. There are some things that the Church simply will not do, and it is not discriminatory to say, “We do not do that.”
Can I get an AMEN? He goes on to beautifully explain the concept of embracing the sinner but not the sin.
I don’t think I can quote the whole of Chapter 9, but it’s awesome and basically says, “Hey dissenters – We haven’t changed, we won’t change, and you telling us to change doesn’t mean a darn thing! You can try to make us change, but you will fail.”
Chapter 10 is about how awesome the Catholic Church is, and sadly, the conclusion uses the “M” word: martyr. Our martyrdom, thankfully, will likely not be a literal beheading (although you never can tell around here). It will likely be an attempted financial beheading via lawsuits (and that’s already been threatened). In order to prepare for that battle, I ask you to pray for Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Cordileone, and to donate to the fund below (and no, I have nothing to do with Catholic Vote but appreciate their effort).