Control-F Does Not an Argument Make!

This is fun! Cardinal Cupich apparently doesn’t like anonymous commentators. So, of course, I would suggest more of them pop up in the future! If he doesn’t like them, that’s a good indication that it’s the way to go. He’s got no game, so he’s calling people out for their anonymity rather than what they say. He’s trying to make it look like he’s got substance but if you look at the references he gives, not so much. I think people are beginning to see that he’s all hat and no cattle.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/09/the-synod-on-youth-an-exchange

On September 21, Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput presented a critique of the Instrumentum Laboris for the 2018 Synod on Young People, sent to him by a respected North American theologian. Below we publish a response to this critique from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, followed by a note from Chaput.

Dear Editors:

The increasing use of anonymous criticism in American society does not necessarily contribute to healthy public discourse, but in fact can erode it. For this reason, the anonymous critique of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL) for the 2018 Synod, published by First Things on September 21, 2018, raises essential questions about the nature of theological dialogue in our Church and the problematic nature of some forms of anonymity. It also raises fundamental questions about why First Things would publish such an anonymous critique.

What’s the problem with anonymous critiques, Cardinal Cupich? My feeling is you’re just bummed that you can’t label this person a foaming at the mouth, alt-right Catholic because you don’t have a clue who it is. Poor you.

The mature vision of Donum Veritatis (On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian), speaks of dialogue that is public and forthright in the search for truth, generous in spirit, fair in critique and balanced in tone. The anonymous critique published by First Things rejects these elements, substituting selectivity, condescension, and the deployment of partial truths to obfuscate the fullness of truth. Worse, this piece distorts the truth at many points and shows condescension toward the issues raised by the bishops’ conferences of the world on which the IL is based.”

The ”mature vision” went out the window when you and your ilk decided to regularly go ad hominem instead of addressing the arguments made, or you try repeatedly to employ the “If I say it enough, it’ll be true!” tactic. I mean, just look at this paragraph! The critique rejects a balanced tone, deploys partial truth and shows condescension?!? How about you put that “mature vision” where your mouth is and dissect the anonymous critique point by point? Whining about how it’s anonymous doesn’t really make an argument against what it says, does it? Oh you will? Let’s see how that goes!

For example:

The critique represents a woeful lack of understanding of magisterial teaching in asserting: “The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.” Yet there are seven references to magisterial teaching in the document (see numbers 53, 87, 115, 193). The interest in listening is precisely so that the teaching may be effectively received (see discussion in 53).

I thought that, just maybe, you’d actually do a point by point, but nope. We’re going to selectively quote out of context. So, in charity, I will give the actual context from the anonymous theologian AND the actual context from the IL. Remember, the theologian sent this to Archbishop Chaput, it wasn’t really meant for prime-time play so he snipped some.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/09/thoughts-on-the-instrumentum-laboris

II.  An inadequate grasp of the Church’s spiritual authority

The IL upends the respective roles of the ecclesia docens and the ecclesia discens. The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.” Most problematic is §140: “The Church will have to opt for dialogue as her style and method, fostering an awareness of the existence of bonds and connections in a complex reality. . . . No vocation, especially within the Church, can be placed outside this outgoing dynamism of dialogue . . . . [emphasis added].” In other words, the Church does not possess the truth but must take its place alongside other voices. Those who have held the role of teacher and preacher in the Church must replace their authority with dialogue. (In this regard, see also §67-70).

And the context of the quote from IL that the theologian used:

http://www.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/en/fede-discernimento-vocazione/instrumentum-laboris-for-the-synod-2018–young-people–the-faith.html

Within this dynamic, the Church will have to opt for dialogue as her style and method, fostering an awareness of the existence of bonds and connections in a complex reality – which it would be reductive to see as being made of fragments – as well as the tension towards unity that, without being absorbed into uniformity, allows for the convergence of all its parts, preserving their individual distinctiveness and the richness they have together as a whole (cf. EG 236). No vocation, especially within the Church, can be placed outside this outgoing dynamism of dialogue, and any true effort towards accompaniment of vocational discernment will have to be measured against this horizon, devoting special attention to the poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters. 

Archbishop Cupich is asserting something the theologian didn’t state. The theologian did say, “The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is ‘listening.” However, he did NOT say there were no other references to magisterial teaching. That said, just for fun I went and looked at the references Cardinal Cupich made for magisterial teaching. While he provided a nice list, none of it proves that the critique “represents a woeful lack of understanding of magisterial teaching.” It does, however, show that Cardinal Cupich apparently has a reading comprehension problem. Here they are for you (my comments and definitions for abbreviations are in bold):

“53. In the ecclesial domain, the importance of the body, affectivity and sexuality is recognized, but not always convincingly presented as a key element in educational and faith journeys, by rediscovering and appreciating the meaning of sexual difference and the vocational dynamics that are peculiar to males and females. Sociological studies show that many young Catholics do not follow Church teachings on sexual morals. No BC (Bishops’ Conferences) gives solutions or prescriptions, but many believe that «the sexual question must be discussed in a more open and unbiased way». The PM (Pre-Synodal Meeting) highlights how Church teachings on controversial issues, such as «contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation, marriage» (PM 5) are hotly debated by young people, both in the Church and in society. There are young Catholics who believe that Church teachings are a source of joy and would like the Church «to not only hold fast to them amid unpopularity but to also proclaim them with greater depth of teaching» (PM 5). (Not sure where the magisterial teaching is here.)

87.  The Second Vatican Council clearly recovered mankind’s vocational horizon when it used such terms to express both how all human beings are destined for communion with Christ (cf. LG 3.13; GS 19.32), and the universal call to holiness (cf. LG 39-42) (Lumen Gentium), locating individual vocations within this interpretative horizon: vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life, as well as lay vocations (cf. LG 31), especially in their spousal form (cf. LG 35; GS 48.49.52). Subsequent magisterial teaching developed along the same lines, recognizing the analogical character of the term “vocation” and the many dimensions that characterize the reality it designates with respect to each personal mission, and to the communion of all people.” (Document fails to identify the “subsequent magisterial teaching” to which they are referring.)

115.        For those who accept and draw inspiration from it, Christian wisdom offers valuable instruments such as the Word, the teachings of the Church and spiritual accompaniment; these are all aids to interact with the living norm that is Jesus, to get to know him intimately to the point of “having his heart”. Therefore, a true journey of discernment requires a listening and praying attitude, meekness towards our teacher and the willingness to make tough decisions. This is also what the young people of the Pre-synodal Meeting have discussed: «Spending time in silence, introspection and prayer, as well as reading the Scriptures and deepening self-knowledge are opportunities very few young people exercise. There is a need for a better introduction to these areas. Engaging with faith-based groups, movements, and like-minded communities can also assist young people in their discernment» (PM 9). A fundamental step in this direction is practicing what the tradition calls “examination of conscience”, which actually aims to make people aware of the signs of God’s presence and enables them to recognize his voice in the practicalities of our daily lives. For this reason, Pope Francis recommends this practice to all Christians, and even more so, to young people who are trying to find their way: «I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord who loves us, a sincere daily “examination of conscience”» (GE 169) (Gaudium et Spes). Within this dialogue with Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, what one DV (Vatican Dicastery) wishes for young people can indeed take place: «A formation of their affectivity, that might help them to connect more to good and truth rather than their comforts and interests». (OK, I can get on board with GE being a magisterial document.  But, again, simply mentioning a magisterial teaching doesn’t mean that the critique about the document being “premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.”) 

193.        In some contexts, catechesis takes place in schools and therefore the teaching of religion is very important for young people’s vocational growth. All this is an invitation to the Synod to think about the relationship between schools and Christian communities as educational alliances.

Those who do not agree with them, still wish to be part of the Church anyhow, and ask for greater clarity on this issue. Hence, the PM asks church leaders to «speak in practical terms about controversial subjects such as homosexuality and gender issues, which young people are already freely discussing without taboo» (PM 11). (Not even sure where he was going with this reference.)

Back to Cupich’s lame rebuttal:

Additionally, the critique falsifies the truth when the author focuses singularly on paragraph 144, relying on the fallacy that the absence of a matter in one paragraph means it is absent throughout the entire document. The anonymous author writes: “Nowhere, however, does it note there must also enlarge this view with the great certainty that there is a God, that he loves them, and that he wills their eternal good.” Yet the document recommends that we turn to the varied activities of God 78 times.

Cupich continues…

Then there is the section about naturalism and the absence of soul; just more examples of false reporting. The document refers to the body or embodiment on 20 occasions and 71 times on the spiritual.

I’m not sure why Cardinal Cupich is saying the author focuses “singularly on paragraph 144.” Even in the section where the author critiques paragraph 144, he cites several other paragraphs. It’s like he’s just going to say “Poof!  I make it true!” and hope nobody looks. In addition, I can’t stop laughing.  Cardinal Cupich seems to have hit control-F and wrote down the count for times “God” used instead of comprehending the entire quote.  Honestly, are his followers this dumb, or does he just think they are? I mean, I’ve seen atheists write entire articles with the name “God” throughout, but that doesn’t mean they accept the thought that God loves them and wills their eternal good. 

Instead of quoting in context, point by point, and disproving the points with actual points from the Instrumentum laboris, Cardinal Cupich does word counts for his smoking gun.  Sigh. Use your head, people. The author of the critique actually went painstakingly through the Instrumentum laboris and Cupich hit control-F and entered in “God”, “body”, and “embodiment” but I’m relatively sure that American Magazine and the National catholic Reporter will find Cardinal Cupich’s “arguments” to be THE most compelling arguments every made in the history of man! Sigh.

Seriously, here is the evil, anonymous author’s critique, in context:

  1. Naturalism

The IL displays a pervasive focus on socio-cultural elements, to the exclusion of deeper religious and moral issues. Though the document expresses the desire to “re-read” “concrete realities” “in the light of the faith and the experience of the Church (§4),” the IL regrettably fails to do so. Specific examples:

  • 52. After a discussion of the contemporary instrumentalized conception of the body and its effects of “early sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, digital pornography, exhibiting bodies online and sexual tourism,” the document laments only its “disfiguring the beauty and depth of affective and sex life.” No mention is made about the disfigurement of the soul, its consequent spiritual blindness, and impact on the reception of the gospel by the one so wounded.
  • 144. There is much discussion about what young people want; little about how these wants must be transformed by grace in a life that conforms to God’s will for their lives. After pages of analysis of their material conditions, the IL offers no guidance on how these material concerns might be elevated and oriented toward their supernatural end. Though the IL does offer some criticism of exclusively materialistic/utilitarian goals (§147), the majority of the document painstakingly catalogues the varied socio-economic and cultural realities of young adults while offering no meaningful reflection on spiritual, existential, or moral concerns. The reader may easily conclude that the latter are of no importance to the Church. The IL rightfully notes that the Church must encourage youth “to abandon the constant search for small certainties (§145).” Nowhere, however, does it note that she must also enlarge this view with the great certainty that there is a God, that he loves them, and that he wills their eternal good.

This naturalism is also evidenced in the document’s preoccupation with the following considerations: globalization (§10); advocating for the Church’s role in creating “responsible citizens” rather than saints (§147) and preparing youth for their role in society (§135); secular goals for education (§149); promoting sustainability and other secular goals (§152-154); promoting “social and political engagement” as a “true vocation” (§156); encouragement of “networking” as a role of the Church.

The hope of the gospel is noticeably missing. In §166, in the context of a discussion of sickness and suffering, a disabled man is quoted: “you are never prepared enough to live with a disability: it prompts you to ask questions about your own life, and wonder about your finiteness.” These are existential questions for which the Church possesses the answers. The IL never responds to this quotation with a discussion of the Cross, redemptive suffering, providence, sin, or the Divine Love. The IL is similarly weak on the question of death in §171: suicide is described as merely “unfortunate,” and no attempt is made to correlate it to the failures of a materialistic ethos. This is also seen in the tepid treatment of addiction (§49-50).

Just to show he can cite the Magisterium Cardinal Cupich goes on…

I will close with a quotation from the Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae, 3 from the Second Vatican Council, which St. Pope John Paul II cited in paragraph 32 of Ut Unum Sint: “As the Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom affirms: ‘Truth … is to be sought after in a manner proper to the dignity of the human person and his social nature. The inquiry is to be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue, in the course of which men explain to one another the truth they have discovered, or think they have discovered, in order thus to assist one another in the quest for truth. Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it is by a personal assent that individuals are to adhere to it.” 

Exactly. Teaching, instruction, communication and dialogue doesn’t equal control-F. The author of the critique went through Instrumentum Laboris and gave it a quite thorough read.

What is needed is a concern for the church that is animated by a love for truth. What is needed is the spirit of synodality that Pope Francis has made the very heart of the Church’s upcoming moment of dialogue and teaching in search of ways to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generations.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Archbishop of Chicago”

What’s needed, in charity, is to cancel this debacle before the youth of the world are led astray! Sorry youth. I’m not against a gathering for you but this one is already off the rails.

I’ll let Archbishop Chaput complete the smackdown:

I’m grateful to Cardinal Cupich for his useful comments, and as I indicated in my own original comments, “others may disagree” with the critique of the Instrumentum I quoted. I do not. In fact the critique I selected is among the most charitable I’ve received from scholars; others have been longer, more thorough, and less gentle in assessing the 33,000-word text. But this is not unusual. A synod’s Instrumentum is always—or at least should always be—a work in progress, open to discussion and adjustment by the Synod Fathers. I’m sure we can count on that process in the upcoming synod conversation. As to the anonymous nature of the critique: I certainly agree with the cardinal that unnamed sources can be regrettable. So is the toxic environment in many of our academic communities that makes them necessary.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

BAM!  Apparently Cardinal Cupich doesn’t remember that people have been fired by the likes of his cronies for offering honest critique. These guys might find themselves permanent residents of St. Luke’s Institute. “Toxic environment” is dead on. If you want to engage in honest discourse, how about you stop throwing out-and-out hissy fits every time someone disagrees with you? Egomania is a sure way to stop people from engaging in fruitful discussion, Your Eminence! #ResignNow

It’s Your Fault, Laity!

What in THE heck is this about? It’s like they’re sending in the B-team to try out some new strategy to see if it can fly in the heartland. “Let’s try to float this one in the less populated areas so if it bombs, we can keep it on the down-low.” Sorry. That’s not how the internet works.

Bishop addresses issue of clericalism

By Bishop Thomas Zinkula

For The Catholic Messenger 

It is important to search for what is at the root of the current tragic state of affairs in the Church. Some people want to scapegoat obligatory celibacy, a male-only priesthood or homosexuality. However, U.S. demographic statistics demonstrate that married, non-celibate men are a significant source of child abuse, so we need to look more deeply.

Some of us want to see reality, maybe that’s just me. Some of us want to stick to the subject and some want to point to a different group as just as evil. Methinks Bishop Zinkula misses his old career. (He used to be a lawyer.)  He’s certainly got the “blame the victim” and “provide another suspect” tactics down as you will soon see. I’m so tired of the trite arguments. Like I’ve said before, when my kid does something wrong, they pointing to someone else doing something wrong simply doesn’t fly.

With regard to homosexuality, which is perhaps the most commonly suggested reason, about 80 percent of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse are male, but research has found that most of the perpetrators didn’t consider themselves to be homosexual. They instead were “situational generalists” (i.e., they abused whomever they had access to and control over, boys or girls).

Well, well. Apparently, we’ve noticed that people aren’t buying the fact it’s pedophilia anymore, so we’re trying something new and exciting.  PROVE IT, counselor! Points for style though. You shall now henceforth be known as the guy who coined the term “situational generalists” in response to this crisis. It wasn’t even found in the John Jay report, and they twisted themselves into pretzels trying to say “not homosexuality”. Kudos to you. However, odds are, Your Excellency, that if one wants to have sexual contact with a post-pubescent person of the same-sex, they are suffering from same-sex attraction, not “situational generality.” I’m going to go out on a limb and assume people aren’t going to dump their vows for just any weakness. They’re not simply going for pleasure. If that was the case, they wouldn’t involve others. They’re attracted to an act with a specific group. 

I agree with Pope Francis that the root cause of the problem is clericalism. In his letter to the people of God (8/20/18), the Holy Father wrote, “To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.”

It’s only clericalism on the part of one specific group of people. What you’re about to propose has nothing to do with it.

So, what is clericalism? Clericalism is an exaggeration of the role of the clergy to the detriment of the laity. In a culture of clericalism, clerics are put on a pedestal and the laity are overly deferential and submissive to them. Pope Francis notes that clericalism is not only fostered by priests, but also reinforced by lay people.

Um, wow! Your lawyering days served you well. So now this mess is all OUR fault? We are kind of darned if we do, darned if we don’t. If we say, “Uh, hello, bishop, you are acting in a horrible manner!”, we are dissenters (or maybe right-wing extremists, neo-nazis, alt-right, etc.)  On the other hand, if we just pray, pay, and treat you with respect, we’re responsible for clericalism.

Let’s look at the actual definition of “clericalism.” The Oxford Dictionary, the first thing that popped up when I typed in “clericalism” states it quite succinctly. 

  1. (especially in Roman Catholic contexts) the misuse or overextension of the clergy’s authority:

The bishop goes on.

Please allow me to define who I am talking about.

More like re-define to fit your spin.

Technically, a “cleric” is someone who is ordained: a bishop, priest or deacon. But, sad to say, “clericalism” may also affect those preparing for ordained ministry as well as those serving as lay ministers.

Perhaps a few examples of clericalism would be of assistance:

Coddling seminarians and telling them how special they are.

Insisting that priests or deacons go to the front of the line at meals and wakes because they are more important and busier than everyone else.

People telling me, when I am pondering an issue, “Whatever you want, Bishop.”

Well then.  I guess I can’t be accused of clericalism by your definition.  How’s that working for you?

In reality, most people show respect for the vocation and submission to the paternal structure of the Church family as children would honor their father. Some would also call this our recognition of “in persona Christi Capitas,” but somehow this has led to you guys misusing your authority? Sorry, I’m going to continue to do all I can for my parish priest, and I will continue to kiss my bishop’s ring. My respect for your ministerial priesthood has nothing to do with others’ lack of respect for their ministerial priesthood.

The issue here is privilege. Which can lead to a sense of entitlement, superiority and exclusion. Which can lead to a mindset that the rules don’t apply to me. This, in turn, can lead to an abuse of privilege and power, which tragically includes the sexual abuse of minors. …

So, let me get this right. The laity’s respect for the clergy led to big heads and that led to the abuse of minors?!?! So, again, it’s all the fault of the laity. Please.

In order to overcome clericalism, we need to reclaim the common priesthood of the faithful. As St. Paul tells us (1 Cor 12:12-31), together we make up the body of Christ — each with our particular vocation, each necessary for the healthy working of the body. We should not equate distinct roles with differences in worth, dignity or holiness.

Meh. You’re confusing (although blurring is probably better term) the Body of Christ with the Ministerial Priesthood. The laity does not act in persona Christi. That’s something special to you.  Quite frankly, the clergy not believing that and holding it dear is what led to this crisis.

There’s the Body of Christ: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p2.htm
And then there’s the Ministerial Priesthood. The differences are noted. (Emphasis and comments mine):

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a6.htm

Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ

1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.”20 The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.”21

1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, “each in its own proper way (not common way), in the one priesthood of Christ.” While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially.22 In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace –a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit–, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

In the person of Christ the Head . . .

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:23

It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).24

Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.25

1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers.26  (Could just be why we show respect.) In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.27

1550 This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. The power of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way. While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the minister’s sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church.

1551 This priesthood is ministerial. “That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service.”28 It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred power” which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all.29 “The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him.”30

. . . “in the name of the whole Church”

1552 The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ – Head of the Church – before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.31

1553 “In the name of the whole Church” does not mean that priests are the delegates of the community. The prayer and offering of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and through his Church. The whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays and offers herself “through him, with him, in him,” in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. The whole Body, caput et membra, prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood represents Christ that it can represent the Church.

And the bishops closing argument: 

As Pope Francis advocates, let’s work together to create a new culture and renew the Church. … Together, as clergy and laity, we are preparing to exercise our common baptismal mission to share the joy of the Gospel with others as disciples of Christ.

What’s all this rot on “preparing to exercise our common baptismal mission?”  I don’t know what you’ve been doing all of these years, but leave the rest of us out of it. How about you bishops do your job and guard the faithful before you start telling us we’ve failed in exercising our baptismal mission in the Body of Christ?!    

We need to rid the Church of sin and restore reverence in, well, a great many things. Aside from creating disorder in the world via our own sins, do not try to lay this on the laity.  The blame is the doorstep of those who engage in sodoclericalism.  I’m not usually for  buzzwords, but it’s far shorter than repeatedly saying, “clericalism on the part of those trying to normalize same-sex attraction.”  Too verbose.

This started with clergymen trying to cover for other clergymen so their agenda to normalize same-sex attraction wouldn’t get whacked (actual “clericalism”)  and then, of course, it had to be extended to other deviants, because, plain and simple, it’s kind of hard to thump someone else when you’re every bit as guilty.  Nobody was going to out McCarrick, because they didn’t want their own bad behavior to come to light.  Abuse breeds abuse.  This crisis wasn’t because of the faithful in the pews.  We’ve got our own issues. #AllYourFault

 

 

Come Into My Parlor Said the Spider to the Fly

I’ve been sitting here watching how this shakes out and have asked around to find out if, indeed, Fr. Kalchik was told to go to St. Luke’s Institute.  It appears he was, but the diocese ain’t saying (kind of shady), so it’s only a guess.  I am sooo glad somebody finally addressed this:  http://wdtprs.com/blog/2018/09/read-and-weep-soviet-style-psych-tactics-used-against-priests-by-bishops/  However, I’d also like to tackle it specifically in light of Fr. Kalchik’s circumstances. For all that has transpired in this case, this is the most heinous thing.  His is a unique case, although I suspect there are more priests out there who have suffered as much as he.

First of all, I don’t think many people know about St. Luke’s Institute.  That place should have been burned down years ago.  Nobody should be sent there, much less someone who has suffered as much as Fr. Kalchik.  It’s founder, Fr. Michael Peterson, was an openly same-sex attracted psychiatrist who, as an openly same-sex attracted guy, still entered the priesthood.  While the institute was opened to help clergy and religious suffering from alcohol and drug dependency, two short years later it became the place to send abusing priests.  And this is where the “it’s all pedophilia” mantra started to come into play.  Fr. Michael Peterson was not going to be the guy to admit it went far beyond pedophilia.  Pedophilia has been a minute part of the crisis. To his credit, he warned that the recidivism rate was going to be high, yet he still couldn’t admit a vast amount of same-sex attracted men were putting themselves in a constant near occasion of sin.

A few presidents later came Fr. Canice Connor, who infamously said, “It is so rare as to be unreported that a priest has ever used violence in abusing a child. We are not involved with the dynamics of rape, but with the far subtler dynamics of persuasion by a friend.  We must be aware that the child still sometimes retains a loving memory of the offender.”  Oy. Epic, epic fail.

Then we have Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault who stole money for himself and his male lover.  But yeah, let’s keep sending people to St. Luke’s.

Phil Lawler details some of this and more, years before all of this recent crud came to light: https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1445
Finally, there’s all that was covered in Fr. Z’s blog linked above.  St. Luke’s Institute has an abysmal track record for acknowledging the root of the problem, returning offenders to active ministry, and they can’t even keep their own faculty in line, not to mention their persecution of orthodox priests for not getting in line with the homosexual lifestyle and liberal agenda. In short, for many bishops, it’s a re-education camp, pure and simple.

So, let’s think about this.  Why would anyone send a victim of homosexual rape and molestation to place that, apparently, is quite full of rapists and molesters?  What a completely sadistic idea! Talk about abusive.  We’re not just talking about someone Cardinal Cupich and club would deem “rigid.”  We’re talking about a person who is twice a victim of sexual attacks by homosexuals.  But, hey, let’s send Fr. Kalchik to live with people who are just like his attackers. So loving.  That is simply an extremely devious and sick idea. Cardinal Cupich I trying to play the loving father role.  He’s banking on the fact that most don’t know what St. Luke’s is. I’m going to do my part to see that isn’t the case.  I’m really done letting people get away with this. St. Luke’s needs a psychologist just for their HR department!

Yes, I realize that there are priests and religious at St. Luke’s who are being treated for things other than breaking their vows of celibacy, chastity, and attacking people.  That said, there are many other treatment options.  St. Luke’s is unnecessary.  For any good it may have done, it’s also done a boatload of irreparable harm to many a good priest because it has a big ol’ conflict of interest all the way around.  Cardinals and bishops with their own complexes should no longer be able to get rid of their problem priest by sending them off for psychiatric imprisonment (care would not be the word) at a facility the Church funds.

#ResignNow

Cardinal Will Let Vatican Ignore Vigano Testimony?

I am going to hope that there’s a whole lot of commentary and quoting out of context going on at Patheos, because this wasn’t so good.

“A very bad example” and “a very serious offense”, not to mention a “not positive” answer to the abuse crisis and “an unfair attack”. Not mincing his words, Cardinal Marc Ouellet has condemned the “rebellion” against Pope Francis of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and his ultraconservative co-conspirators. A “serious” issue, according to the cardinal, that must be resolved in a “spiritual” way, not a “political” one.

What the what?!?  You know what I think is an unfair attack?  Covering up harassment, molestation and rape.  My gosh!  We’re at the breaking point because we worry more about hurting peoples’ feelings than protecting the victims of these heinous crimes!  While I’m completely on board with resolving this issue by spiritual means, why in heaven’s name are we considered “ultraconservative co-conspirators” if we simply want a FULL investigation and a release from Pontifical Secrets when it comes to harassment, molestation and rape?!?!?!  Hope this was just standard Patheos babbling.  This isn’t a rebellion against Pope Francis, it’s a crusade for the truth in an effort to keep this from happening again! 

The Canadian prelate, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican, was speaking on the sidelines of the Plenary Assembly of the European Bishops in Poznań, Poland.

Oh, that must have gone over well with the solid bishops of Poland!

“We are facing a crisis in the life of the Church”, Ouellet acknowledged, referring to the sexual abuse scandal that has exploded in the Catholic Church around the world, from Germany to Australia, and just this weekend extended to the Netherlands, where 20 of the 39 bishops active from 1945 to 2010 have been accused of the cover-up of as many as 20,000 sex crimes against children committed by priests and religious.

YES, WE ARE FACING A CRISIS! Yet somehow you frame our ire over this as “political”?!?  Give me a break!  Again, Cardinal, if these are indeed your thoughts and not the Patheos spin, we moms and dads are completely aware that any of these victims could have been our children.  Clearly this doesn’t compute for SOME of our spiritual fathers. IT. IS. HEARTBREAKING. You seem to see these cases as sad little third-hand stories, but we see them as reality.  We see them as somebody’s children, and this doesn’t change no matter how old the victims are.  Thousands of victims have been robbed of their innocence and faith, and thousands of parents have been devastated by the evil done to their children.  We see our children’s faces when we hear these stories.

According to Ouellet, the sex abuse crisis is one being felt “at the level of leadership, of the bishops”. But beyond prescribing possible solutions to the problem, the cardinal went so far as to issue a clear warning to those prelates (and priests and faithful) who think that everything will be fixed by blaming, investigating or even sacking Pope Francis.

Again, it isn’t clear if this is Patheos or Cardinal Ouellet.  Whoever it is, we’re not that naive, but an investigation would be a darn good start. You’d think the innocent would be on board with investigating the cover-ups which have been confirmed time and again to have taken place.  Honestly, at this point, I’m suspect of any prelate trying to stop an investigation.  It smacks of trying to suppress the truth. The solution can’t ever be to suppress the truth and hide those that caused this problem.

“To express solidarity with the Holy Father… is a conditio sine qua non of solidarity between ourselves as bishops to bring forward the mission of the Church”, the cardinal stressed in this regard.

Wait just a second.  You are applying “solidarity with the Holy Father” in a ridiculous manner.  This whole debacle on the Vigano testimony doesn’t have to do with a teaching on Faith and Morals.  In fact, it has little to do with morals at all.  It has to everything do with an accusation that MANY prelates covered up MANY evil deeds.  Have you forgotten that?  I’m reasonably sure that “conditio sine qua non” (indispensable condition, for those who like English) doesn’t apply to tolerating a cover-up which everyone admits happened but for which nobody wants to take the blame.

“We need the participation of more women in the formation of priests”

As for what can be done to fight against the scourge of sex abuse in the Church, the Canadian cardinal spoke clearly, affirming that “we need the participation of more women in the formation of priests: for teaching, [for] the discernment of candidates, for the balance of effectiveness”.

What we need is a release from Pontifical Secrets, as the women on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors have said, but that has been ignored. While he throws a bone to the women demanding more say in the hierarchy of the Church, women who are already on commissions haven’t been listened to, so why would we EVER think that putting women in a position of forming priests would do a darn thing? Can you say, “lip service?!”

“Certainly with the recent news there is a growing awareness of the gravity of this problem of abuse in the Church,” Ouellet continued, adding that “something more needs to be done” regarding the prevention of aggressions against young people. Measures such as, for example, the creation of common “criteria” for judging negligent bishops who engage in cover-ups and the coordination of the various Roman dicasteries so that, at long last, the dispositions of Pope Francis in his motu propio As a loving mother can be put into action.”

Um, how about we just go back to St. Basil or St. Peter Damien’s ideas on the topic?  Let’s go over those again:

St. Basil:
Any cleric or monk who seduces young men or boys, or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publicly flogged and shall lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting in his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men.

St. Peter Damien:

Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them.

Quite frankly, as a loving mother, it’s good for our children to know that there are consequences for their actions. 

“ Another key part of the reform of the Church regarding the protection of minors, added Ouellet, must be to let the “anger”, “dissatisfaction” and “frustration” of the faithful come to the surface “in complete freedom”, since that “is the way for these problems to be treated”.

“I believe that pastors must not only listen but also invite the people who have suffered to manifest themselves, because if these wounds are not expressed, they will destroy peoples’ lives”, affirmed the cardinal. “There is a work of reparation [and] reconciliation that must be carried out”, he concluded.

So, let me get this totally straight.  First, prelates and the faithful shouldn’t want an investigation on the Vigano testimony because an investigation won’t be fixed by investigating?  (Not sure when anyone said that an investigation is a be all end all measure.)  Next, we need women involved. (Most pandering suggestion ever, since women – from the women on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to the almost 50,000 women who wrote to the Holy Father asking pertinent questions – have already stated their solutions and have been ignored.) Finally, we need to let the “anger”, “dissatisfaction” and “frustration” of the faithful come to the surface “in complete freedom”, since that “is the way for these problems to be treated”. (At the same time, you tell them they’re practically schismatics for wanting an investigation of the Vigano testimony.)

Again, I’m hoping that the weird citing of quotes means this is Cardinal Ouellet out of context.  If this is accurate quoting, however, I wish I had been able to participate in the formation of your priesthood.  Probably would have hit you upside the head a time or two!  If this is a Patheos spin, I sincerely hope Cardinal Ouellet will call them on it. 

Tripling-down on Accusing Greatly!

After Pope Francis tripled-down on his “Great Accuser” homilies, I finally got around to reading them for myself, and yep, they were as sad as reported.  I never want to take reporting at face value without going to the source.  I hate to say it, but after reading them, I get the feeling that Pope Francis thinks we are naïve, or maybe he’s just naïve himself.  Either way, he picked the wrong bible verses to latch onto.  Personally, I think it always a bad PR move to put yourself in the role of Jesus, Job, etc.

It also seems to me that Pope Francis also did what he was preaching to everyone else not to do.  In our Church, an accusation doesn’t get any bigger than accusing someone of acting like satan. Not one, not two, but three “shoot the messenger” homilies have been lauded by a whole lot of people who have been quite legitimately outed for the clericalism of their compadres who want to normalize same-sex attraction.

So no, Holy Father, I don’t think this is a Job situation at all, or at least you have GREATLY miscast the characters.  I think it’s more like a Paul and Timothy situation. I just can’t believe God nor Job would want the evil deeds of others hidden.  Do you?  Let’s look at Job.  :

Job 1:6-20

One day, when the heavenly powers stood waiting upon the Lord’s presence, and among them, man’s Enemy, the Lord asked him, where he had been? Roaming about the earth, said he, to and fro about the earth.  Why then, the Lord said, thou hast seen a servant of mine called Job. Here is a true man, an honest man, none like him on earth; ever he fears his God, and keeps far from wrong-doing. Job fears his God, the Enemy answered, and loses nothing by it. Sheltered his life by thy protection, sheltered his home, his property; thy blessing on all he undertakes; worldly goods that still go on increasing; he loses nothing. One little touch of thy hand, assailing all that wealth of his! Then see how he will turn and blaspheme thee. Be it so, the Lord answered; with all his possessions do what thou wilt, so thou leave himself unharmed. 

So here we’ve got satan telling God that Job only follows Him because he hasn’t faced any hardship.  Yeah, that has everything to do with Archbishop Vigano.  Sorry.  If Archbishop Vigano didn’t rock the boat, he’s probably be leading a pretty cushy life right now. So the character assassination is way off base here. Talk about hardship, he’s in hiding.

Now let’s look at 1 Timothy.  This one sounds a bit more familiar and applicable to the situation. Maybe it should be adopted by anyone who feels the least bit bad that THOUSANDS of people have been molested and raped at the hands of priests.  The “worrying about my image” homilies really need to cease. My comments interjected:

 

1 Timothy 1:3-20

There were some who needed to be warned against teaching strange doctrines (Sounds quite familiar these days!), against occupying their minds with legends and interminable pedigrees (Some are definitely legends in their own mind, like the ones who end in SJ), which breed controversy, instead of building up God’s house, as the faith does. (Breeding controversy is exactly what the likes of Cardinals Wuerl, Tobin, and Cupich, Bishop McElroy, and Frs. Martin, Rosica, and Reese do.) The end at which our warning aims is charity, based on purity of heart, on a good conscience and a sincere faith. (What?  Paul and Timothy aren’t the “Great Accusers” but there warning is aimed in charity, purity of heart, good conscience, and sincere faith?  Somebody else tell me they see the likeness to Vigano, not Cupich!) There are some who have missed this mark, branching off into vain speculations; who now claim to be expounding the law, without understanding the meaning of their own words, or the subject on which they pronounce so positively. (Do we not see that at EVERY turn with Cupich, Tobin, Kasper, Martin, Reese, Rosica, and a multitude of others???)  The law? It is an excellent thing, where it is applied legitimately; (Yes, the Pontifical Secrets have their place but, as Archbishop Vigano points out, they were never meant to cover up for abusing priests, bishops, and cardinals!!!) but it must be remembered that the law is not meant for those who live innocent lives. It is meant for the lawless and the refractory; (Hmmm. Lawless and stubborn.  That would appear to those charged in Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.) for the godless and the sinner, the unholy and the profane; for those who lay violent hands on father or mother, for murderers, for those who commit fornication or sin against nature, the slave-dealer, the liar, the perjurer. All this and much else is the very opposite of the sound doctrine (and which faction has been trying to promote same-sex attraction as normal and healthy?) contained in the gospel I have been entrusted with, that tells us of the blessed God and his glory. How I thank our Lord Christ Jesus, the source of all my strength, for shewing confidence in me by appointing me his minister, me, a blasphemer till then, a persecutor, a man of violence, author of outrage, and yet he had mercy on me, because I was acting in the ignorance of unbelief. The grace of the Lord came upon me in a full tide of faith and love, the love that is in Christ Jesus. How true is that saying, and what a welcome it deserves, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I was the worst of all, and yet I was pardoned, so that in me first of all Christ Jesus might give the extreme example of his patience; I was to be the pattern of all those who will ever believe in him, to win eternal life. Honour and glory through endless ages to the king of all the ages, the immortal, the invisible, who alone is God, Amen. This charge, then, I give into thy hands, my son Timothy, remembering how prophecy singled thee out, long ago. Serve, as it bade thee, in this honourable warfare, (And this is one of the reasons the charge of “civil war” doesn’t faze me. This is indeed a spiritual war for souls.) with faith and a good conscience to aid thee. Some, through refusing this duty, have made shipwreck of the faith; (Oh, yes, some definitely have done so.) among them, Hymenaeus and Alexander,(and Cupich, McElroy, Farrell, Wuerl, Kasper, etc., etc., etc.) whom I have made over to Satan, till they are cured of their blasphemy. (No accusing there!)

So, you can see between the two verses, there are valid accusations by St. Paul (I mean he even named names) and a supposition by satan.  Why Pope Francis even tries to go there is beyond me.  It’s like somebody whipped out a concordance and just looked up “accusations” then said, “Hey! There’s a verse that says satan is an accuser. Let’s go with that against Archbishop Vigano!”, but they never bothered to actually read the rest of the verse. To make matters worse, they then repeated it and will likely continue to do so.  I’m not sure that betting the laity will take anything on face-value is the way to go these days anymore.  Google makes it so easy to fact check these days, and people have messaged me saying “I was researching this scandal and came across you!”  People are fact checking, as depressing as it is.

That said, there is exposing truth and there is promoting lies.  These are obviously quite different. God is the author of Truth, and satan is the author of lies.  To say that putting forth truth comes from the devil sounds like something an abuser would say, don’t you think?  Fr. Rutler said it best in his interview with Raymond Arroyo:

https://youtu.be/ard3AOk9Bn0?t=646

Well, I’m a parish priest I am in no position to fault or correct the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ. I can only express what moral theologians would call admiration, that is astonishment, at attributing to the Pope, uh, repudiating to the Pope, imputing to the devil, an exposure of the truth. Now, I, the devil is the Prince of Lies the last thing he wants to do is to expose the truth so if the truth is being exposed. that is not the devil’s work. That is the Holy Spirit.

This is how most of us feel, especially the victims of abuse. We are utterly amazed that those exposing truth are being compared to satan, especially when the accusations have been corroborated time and again. Satan is the author of lies and tries to suppress the truth. His accusations are false and misleading.

Maybe the Vatican sound-bite creators might want to do some pondering on this verse:

Romans 1:18

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness

And for heaven’s sake, can somebody in the PR department at the Vatican, at the very least, let the Holy Father know that the “I’m silent like Christ.” isn’t going over well here?

Fr. Martin – Don’t Be That Guy!

Only from the mind of Fr. James Martin, LGBTSJ, can we get this shocker.  I had another post all tee’d up but this one deserved a response.

I understand the desire among some church leaders to call for the church to fast and pray in response to the sex abuse crisis. It’s a recognition that we are all the Body of Christ, the People of God, united as one, in Christ’s name. And we are all called to prayer. However, in this case, to imply that the laity, in any way, should perform any kinds of penances, including fasting, is simply wrong. The laity should not have to do one minute of penance for the crimes, sins and failings of the hierarchy and the clergy. And yes, we are all one, but it’s important, especially in this case, not victimize people all over again. To use the model of the sacrament of reconciliation, it is the sinner, the one seeking forgiveness, who repents, not the one, or ones, sinned against.

MartinTweets

Put your eyes back in your head. Yep, he actually said that. It was so fantastical that I screenshot that puppy for you. Oh, Fr. Martin, where in the heck is the Catholicism in this three tweet rant? Sorry, Blessed Mother. All of those times you urged us to prayer, fasting, and penance to hold back God’s wrath and drive the evil out of the world, well, you were wrong. Oh, and your spot at the foot of the Cross was useless, since you were free from sin. Not your problem. And Apostles, you wasted your time, too. Please, please, tell me that even some of the Fr. Martin groupies cocked their head at this one!!!

Sorry, Father Martin.  “Not my problem, responsibility or duty” is a total train wreck of understanding the Body of Christ.  You don’t have to do the crime to do the time.  Kind of like Christ didn’t have to die for our sins, nor was it the personal fault of the children of Fatima that Russia was spreading her errors.

Don’t believe me?

Col 1:24  24 Even as I write, I am glad of my sufferings on your behalf, as, in this mortal frame of mine, I help to pay off the debt which the afflictions of Christ still leave to be paid, for the sake of his body, the Church.

Luke 13: 1-5 1 At this very time there were some present that told him the story of those Galileans, whose blood Pilate had shed in the midst of their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said in answer, Do you suppose, because this befell them, that these men were worse sinners than all else in Galilee? 3 I tell you it is not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent. 4 What of those eighteen men on whom the tower fell in Siloe, and killed them; do you suppose that there was a heavier account against them, than against any others who then dwelt at Jerusalem? 5 I tell you it was not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent.

Our Lady of Fatima:

Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the suffering He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?

Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.

Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.

Look, my daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me.

There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.

https://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/FIRSTSAT.HTM

We could go on to quite a few more apparitions but I’ll leave you with one last biggie:

Jesus to Saint Faustina:

You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.

It is about souls, isn’t it, Father Martin?  Last time I checked, that would be a yes.

Disorder comes into this world through sin, whether our personal sin or not, and penance and reparation are the ways we can help restore order.  I realize you absolutely hate the word “disorder”, but it is a reality of sin entering the world.  I find it odd that you talk about the Sacrament of Confession in your tweet, since you try so hard to hide the fact that some sins are indeed sins.  Yes, confession by a sinner is good for the entire world, but clearly, the world ain’t getting into line to have their confessions heard. Might be because you’ve misguided them in the area of personal conscience, but what do I know.

Sorry, I want disorder gone from the world as much as possible for my children and future generations of the Mad Mom family tree.  If you think I’m going to wait for, say, Rembert Weakland to atone for his sins and do penance and reparation before I start doing some penance and sacrifice for the disorder in the world, you’d be crazy.  He’s still a little bitter that his lover turned on him for money and the Church didn’t let him get away with sin.  Seriously, I’m still a bit stunned that you would, even for a moment, suggest that the only people who should beg for God’s mercy over this scandal would be those who did it or covered it up.   Sorry, I’ve got kids living in this world.  I can’t wait for the likes of Weakland, McCarrick, Wuerl, Cupich, Farrell, or McElroy to get their heads on straight.  They’re still trying to figure out who to throw under the bus in their places.

Father, you might have missed this gem by your fellow Jesuit, Fr. John Hardon (may he rest in peace).  Well, you might have seen it, but clearly, if you did, you chose to ignore some downright solid theology on sin, penance, reparation, etc.  He was a Doctor of Theology after all and, of course, the Society of Jesus was none too fond of him, so he might be one to pay attention to, but that’s just me.

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Lent/Lent_002.htm

Notice, all along I have been using the first person plural, “we”, because penance and reparation are owed to God not only because I have individually sinned, but because we human beings have sinned and are sinning, in our day, on a scale never before conceived in the annals of history.

We know better than Cain after he killed his brother, Abel. We are our brother’s keepers. We are mysteriously co-responsible for what other people do wrong. There is a profound sense in which all of us are somehow to do penance and make reparation, not only for our sinful misdeeds, but for the sins of our country and, indeed, for the sins of the whole human race.

We return to our question: Why penance and reparation? Because, in Christ’s words, “Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish”.

So, yeah, Fr. Martin.  The idea that the entire Body of Christ, we who are all sinners in some manner (might be a foreign concept to you), should perform penances, including fasting, is totally and utterly correct, and the hierarchy of the Church would be totally right in asking us to do so.  The laity should most certainly do far more than a minute of penance for the crimes, sins, and failings of the hierarchy and the clergy, too.  And they shouldn’t just do it for the wayward clergy, but for the entire Body of Christ, from the abuser to their victims, with the endless hope for God’s mercy on our world and in our Church.

Just one final thought, Fr. Martin.  I find it super creepy that you are trying to dissuade people from doing acts of penance, reparation, fasting, etc., or from our pastors asking us to do so.  There’s only one person I can think of off the top of my head who tried to dissuade someone else from fasting.  Don’t be him, Fr. Martin. #ResignNow

Pontifical Secrets

I’ve been trying to read through all the bishops’ and cardinals’ statements that have come out since Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.  I have to admit, I don’t usually draw attention to my bishop because, well, I don’t want him to be a target for the dissenting machine.  I’ve always found him to be a masterful strategist balanced with a truly pastoral heart, even for those who annoy the heck out of me, as he should, right? He’s definitely got a knack for teaching and encouraging his flock to aim for Heaven.

Anyways, one thing that stood out in his statement but I didn’t quite understand before I had some discussions with smart people and did a little more research was this:

They need access to all the relevant documents, most of which are protected as “Papal Secrets.” They need to interview priests who worked in the Roman Curia and U.S. diocesan offices, who also would be released from the “Papal Secret” and allowed to testify.

We need to find out the truth. Only the truth will set us free. And only the pope can authorize the steps that need to be taken to find the truth.

At first, I thought “papal secret” was some sort of colorful phrase.  Did you know a “Pontifical Secret” is actually a thing?! With Canon Law and penalties attached to it?! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_secret#cite_ref-3  I also found the history surrounding Humane Vitae helpful in understanding why they are not necessarily a bad thing.  https://www.nytimes.com/1974/03/15/archives/vatican-tightens-secrecy-rules-after-leaks-of-popes-papers.html Some days, I’m not sure why we wonder how Dan Brown made millions?  This sounds like the stuff novels are made of, and it kind of lends credence to the rumors that Vatican investigators have been dispatched to search for Archbishop Vigano to bring charges. You should read the link above for details, but here’s a quick summary of what’s covered under “Pontifical Secrets”  (Bold is me.)

“The instruction Secreta continere lists ten classes of matters covered by the pontifical secret:

  1. Preparation of papal documents, if pontifical secrecy is expressly demanded

  2. Information obtained officially by the Secretariat of State in connection with questions requiring pontifical secrecy

  3. Notifications sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about teachings and publications and the Congregation’s examination of them.

  4. Extrajudicial denunciations of crimes against the faith and morals or against the sacrament of Penance, while safeguarding the right of the person denounced to be informed of the denunciation, if his defence against it makes this necessary. The name of the person making the denunciation may be made known to him only if it is judged necessary to have a face-to-face confrontation between denouncer and denounced.

  5. Reports by papal legates on matters covered by pontifical secrecy.

  6. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of cardinals

  7. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of bishops and papal legates and the relative inquiries.

  8. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of the chief officers of the Roman Curia.

  9. All matters concerning cipher systems and enciphered messages. (No intrigue there.)

  10. Any matter that the Pope, a Cardinal in charge of a department of the Roman Curia, or a papal legate considers to be of such importance that it requires the protection of papal secrecy.[3]”

In short, they have a practical purpose to keep the Church from being scandalized or confused, but on this issue of abuse and cover-ups, that ship has sailed. This isn’t the 1300s anymore. The victims now have a serious voice called the internet. The scandal is now found in keeping silence, and Bishop Barber seems to realize that. That’s not to suggest that everyone on the planet gets to see everything, but probably something more like a Catholic grand jury is warranted.

Just before this cover-up wave hit, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors asked for the “Pontifical Secrets” penalties to be loosed in regards to the abuse scandal, and in certain respects on contacting authorities, it was. That said, where it really counted, peoples’ lips are still sealed. The Vatican was fine in dioceses contacting the local authorities when abuse allegations are made outside the confessional, but when it comes to their own files, they seem, to understate it dramatically, a tad bit hesitant.  What happens when people contact Rome about, say, a certain cardinal, but Rome does zip OR looses sanctions already in place against said cardinal? It would seem, as far as present circumstances go, that Rome tries to point back to the local diocese, country, etc., and say, “Sorry, it was them!”

I would like to point out that it seems when there was a problem in Australia with a certain “conservative” cardinal, the American liberal publications were all pointing out that the Pontifical Secrets should be lifted per the suggestion of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Also, just two weeks before the McCarrick scandal hit, the National catholic Reporter posted this.Yet, now that their buddies have been implicated, they’ve fallen strangely silent. One of the last things they want now is for Pontifical Secrets to be revealed. It would likely implicate way too many of their hopes and dreams in this scandal. Double-standard?  Oh, yeah!

I highly doubt that Archbishop Vigano is going to escape sanctions over this without more bishops and cardinals calling for the remedy to canonical penalties against revealing Pontifical Secrets. Either way, though, I think he very consciously made the decision to give his testimony knowing full well that some want his head on a platter. He also did it knowing full well that the cat was out of the bag. It was a little too late to protect the Church from scandal. As Bishop Lopes and hundreds of others have said, EVERYONE knew but nobody did anything about it because the “powers that be” didn’t want anything done. There were even reprisals against anyone attempting to stop it.

Bishop Barber is the first leader I’ve seen, since all hell broke loose, calling for the “Pontifical Secrets” to be lifted on the cover-up scandal now rocking the Church, but every bishop and cardinal should follow his lead. Those who have the information need to see that this doesn’t mean they are facing the threat of excommunication should they reveal the truth. They take that threat very seriously, as good Catholics should, and nobody wants an all-out schism in the Church. By calling for an end to Pontifical Secrets in the cover-up scandal, Bishop Barber is strategically and lovingly trying to avoid this very real and possible outcome. Should they be lifted, I’m quite sure a whole lot more facts would come out keeping us from the same mistakes repeatedly, schism would be avoided, and truth will heal the Church’s ails. Let’s let the chips fall where they may.  If a bishop, cardinal, or even pope is afraid of the truth coming out at this point late into the scandal, they really need to ask themselves why? (Ahem, Cardinals Cupich and Tobin!)

As Bishop Barber so rightly stated:

We need to find out the truth. Only the truth will set us free. And only the pope can authorize the steps that need to be taken to find the truth.

#ReleasePontificalSecrets #OpenTheFiles