Fr. Martin & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

In case you didn’t see it, Archbishop Chaput sent out a warning in his column today on Fr. James Martin, SJ.  Clearly, Archbishop Chaput has done his homework and researched Fr. Martin and read his book.  Here’s the good Archbishop’s missive here. And then Bishop Paprocki sent out a statement backing Archbishop Chaput’s caution. Even Bishop Stika weighed in on Twitter. I don’t always agree with him on non-theological things but I thank him for this. I expect (or at least hope) more bishops will follow. Lastly, I woke up this morning to find Archbishop Chaput responded to the response.

Now that we’re all caught up, Archbishop Chaput’s caution probably ruined Fr. Martin’s day, so he quickly sent out a reply. I’m going to reply to Father Martin’s reply so you can see even more clearly that Archbishop Chaput was dead on. 

Archbishop Charles Chaput graciously sent me his column today before publication, and I welcome this thoughtful response to my lecture at St. Joseph’s University this week. Here is my response:

Dear Archbishop:

The Peace of Christ!

Many thanks for sending your column ahead of time. I’m sorry that you felt the need to publish it.

There is a way to fix it, Fr. Martin, and I hope you will listen very carefully to Archbishop Chaput, who has clearly been very nice to you and is trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I think my main response is that it’s difficult to respond to critiques that I am “implying” things, when I am assiduous in my writings and talks about not challenging church teaching. I have written clearly about that here, among other places: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/04/06/what-official-church-teaching-homosexuality-responding-commonly-asked-question

Saying you are not challenging Church teaching and then giving a wink and a nod to those that do is kind of the same thing.  Here’s a few instances of you not really doing what you say you do. (Hat tip to LifeSiteNews.) https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/eight-extreme-things-fr.-james-martin-just-said-about-catholics-and

Briefly put, I mean and I’m no theologian, but, you know, for a teaching to be really, um, authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God, by the faithful. So you look at something, like, say, the Assumption…people accept that. They go to the Feast of the Assumption, they believe in the Assumption. It’s received. From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives – not just before marriage as it is for most people but their entire lives – has not been received. Now, I say this and people go crazy. And this is simply based on LGBT people that I speak to. Now there are some that believe that – I would say it’s a very small percentage of people, right – but that’s a simple fact. You can say that they don’t agree with it. I would say the teaching therefore has not been received by the community to which it was largely directed. And so the question is, you know, what do we do with that? Now that’s the kind of question to circle back to your original question – that reflection, you know, what do we do with a teaching that has seemingly not been received by the community to which it was directed – is a theological question that bishops and LGBT people need to think about.” – Fr. James Martin, SJ

Church teaching is only authoritative if it is accepted by the faithful?!? Sigh. In other words, he’s saying that if you don’t believe it, then it’s not true. Yeah, no undermining of the faith there.

Why is it so terrible to go to a gay wedding, but it is not terrible to go to a Jewish wedding? You know, let’s say – seriously – if your daughter, let’s say if you decided to convert to Judaism and you married Andy who was Jewish, right, your parents would probably be disappointed, I would assume, you know, or confused, or whatever. But the idea that they couldn’t go or would refuse to go um, it’s very surprising to me. So I think Catholics need to see it in light of that, that it is a different tradition…different belief system than most Catholics are used to…but it’s supporting the person that you love. So it’s very sad to me that people still agonize over this. -Fr. James Martin, SJ

So much to unpack in this one. First, no, you should not go to the wedding of a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic. Now, what Fr. Martin is talking about, it seems, is an apostate to the faith – someone who says they are no longer Catholic and are now part of some other church. It’s a little fuzzier here, so maybe some sort of canonist can weigh in. Next, just in an effort to be clear, the Church does not bind non-Catholics to Canon Law so, of course, the Church recognizes the marriage of two Jews, unless the two Jews are a homosexual couple, because the Church is crystal clear that two men and two women are not proper matter for any marriage.  It is not a marriage because, quite literally, no marriage can truly exist between two people of the same sex. There is only sodomy or masturbation, but the mutual self-giving and marriage of their bodies is absent.  This can never be rectified as in an apostate marrying outside the Church. So, yes, it a terrible thing because you’d be witnessing a union that isn’t a union and can NEVER be under Natural Law or Canon Law.

I always say that LGBT people have more faith than, I think, straight people because of that. I mean imagine you – what you have just described is really interesting, Brandon. You have internalized rejection already. You don’t need to even be told that you’re rejected in the Church, you’ve internalized it and that’s very sad… A lot of the people that Jesus came into contact with did the same thing. Think of like the woman with the hemorrhage, right, who doesn’t even feel worthy to kind of stand up and greet him, she reaches down and touches the hem of the garment; or the Samaritan women, right, who comes to the well at noon in the heat of the day because… we think, she’s been married five times and she’s probably embarrassed. Maybe people didn’t know enough to tell her you’re not welcome to come out at the regular time when other women come; she comes because she is embarrassed and she kinda internalized that and that’s sad. So I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or, you know, soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing? And think of all the people in Church who have all sorts of other things on their conscience…it’s up to the institutional Church I think to make you feel welcome. -Fr. James Martin, SJ

I wonder why Fr. Martin didn’t offer this as proof he fully supports Church teaching and doesn’t seek to challenge it??? It’s never going to be OK for Brandon to kiss his partner in a romantic way, and he will NEVER have a husband. Your “assiduous” statements don’t look so assiduous when you contradict Church teaching repeatedly.

I would tend to agree with you because I would say that there – you could have some uh, hard and fast, and legitimate and reasonable theological objections [to same-sex marriage] in terms of the sacramentality, in terms of uh Biblical…and even though we shouldn’t read the Bible literally – Catholics don’t read the Bible literally – um…but I also think that, for the most part, I do find that there is a very high correlation between people who are against that [same-sex marriage] and people who are in fact homophobic. And so it’s that whole ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ argument, I know it’s not exactly the same, but it reminds me of that in a sense – people say, well I can be against gay marriage and not be homophobic. But then when you hear a lot of people, they sound pretty damn homophobic. And I can say, ‘hate the sin and love the sinner,’ but when you listen to them, there’s no sense of love at all. – Fr. James Martin, SJ

Uh, so is he saying that he’s homophobic or is he saying he’s for re-defining marriage?!?! Geez. Of course, he’ll deny both. But let’s just say that’s true.  If he’s managed to not be “homophobic” but against re-defining marriage, where in the world does he get off saying the rest of the Catholic Church can’t possibly do the same???  

Look at Humanae Vitae. Humanae Vitae is still in effect, and as far as I can tell, the large majority of Western Catholics have made their peace with that. And yet that Church teaching has not changed. And that’s a much older Church teaching. I mean, in the sense that’s – Humanae Vitae’s 1968 and a lot of stuff we’re talking about is, you know, very new. -Fr. James Martin, SJ

You’re going with “It’s outdated and doesn’t apply” argument, Fr. Martin? Yeah, Humanae Vitae is SO Old Testament. All of this crud we’re dealing with now is so new. Really? The world has never dealt with homosexuality? The struggle is actually biblical, Father.

Also, the lecture at St. Joseph’s University this week, which prompted your article, is the same lecture that I presented at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin last year, the text of which was vetted and approved beforehand by the Vatican.

And?  That isn’t really a defense of the points Archbishop Chaput made. The list of tragic speakers at the World Meeting of Families was long and probably why

One of the reasons that I don’t focus on same-sex relations and same-sex marriage, which I know are both impermissible (and immoral) under church teaching, is that LGBT Catholics have heard this repeatedly. Indeed, often that is the only thing that they hear from their church.

The problem is, as shown above, you have indeed suggested, implied, etc., that the Church’s teachings will change. You can almost hear the good old Jesuit “mental reservation”: “…are both impermissible (and immoral) under church teaching as it stands right now.” Sorry. Sometimes you don’t hold your tongue well enough. Your slip is showing. You want to be a savior to same-sex attracted people instead of leading them to the Savior. The Church has said far more and you disparage Her to them.

I’ve only included what could be found in one nice neat place, but if you delved into Fr. Martin’s social media pages, you would find much more evidence of Archbishop Chaput’s points. Fr. Martin consistently highlights groups that completely contradict the Church like Out@StPaul and New Ways Ministry without ever correcting their errors. He’s just hoping you don’t know that.

What I am trying to do instead is encourage Catholics to see LGBT people as more than just sexual beings, to see them in their totality, much as Jesus saw people on the margins, people who were also seen as “other” in his time.

Wow! That’s a stretch, because from where most of us stand, you appear to encourage people to embrace being a slave to their sexual inclinations. Jesus totally went after the people on the margins.  He didn’t, however, leave them there wallowing in their sin. He met them, told them to repent and sin no more, and told them the way was narrow. He didn’t just hang out with them acting as if all was grand with their lives.

I remain grateful for your asking people not to engage in ad hominem attacks, and I appreciate the careful tone of your letter and have always appreciated your kind communications with me.

Thanks again for sending this.

Peace,

Jim

Most attacks are not ad hominem, they are quite substantiated with your own words, “Jim”.

Schism for Dummies

The charges of schism being thrown around are getting a bit ridiculous.  Let’s chat, shall we?

First, what ISN’T schism.

Schism isn’t a dislike for the Holy Father’s leadership style. Schism is not questioning things put forth in a “working document.” Schism is not asking people to pray and fast that the crud put forth in a working document never sees the light of day in any final document proposed by the Church. Schism isn’t asking the Holy Father to make clear the teaching put forth in a document (i.e., the dubia). Schism isn’t wishing the Holy Father would never speak again to reporters on a plane. Schism is not EWTN reporting on Catholic news.  Schism is not Archbishop Vigano putting out his testimony. Schism isn’t even asking the Holy Father to resign. Schism isn’t a critique of how the Vatican or Holy Father is handling the abuse scandal.  Schism isn’t supporting Archbishop Vigano’s request for an investigation into the whole McCarrick debacle.

I’ve seen some ridiculous half-wit “theologians” suggesting that pretty much anyone who disagrees with THEM is schismatic. They seem to think that if they bandy the word around enough, the “uneducated masses” will be whipped into submission by the mere thought of it. They even put forth the question to the Holy Father on a plane (who, by the way, said there was no schism at this time) and got him to say the word which, somehow, is supposed to give their charges validation. “A-ha!  The pope said the word so you are in schism!” WRONG!

Let me give you a little list of all the people who have been charged with schism by the liberal Catholic elite.  Let’s see, Archbishop Vigano, for sure; Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Strickland of Tyler, and Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, because they were three of MANY bishops who said the charges made by Archbishop Vigano should be investigated; Cardinals Burke and Brandmueller, because they dared to ask the Holy Father for clarification in their dubia; Archbishop Schneider, because he and Cardinal Burke asked people to pray and fast  before the synod, because of the pretty awful stuff is being discussed. (Prayer and fasting – the horrors! How dare they?!) I guess all of EWTN can be counted, too, because Raymond Arroyo dared to defend himself when a book about how EWTN was trying to overthrow the Holy Father was glorified on a flight. Oh, and EWTN, again, for broadcasting a Mass where the priest giving the homily said that the faithful was being asked to pray and fast before the upcoming “Amazon Synod.” I’d love to know what they are scared of. You want to fast and pray for me?  Please do. And, of course, there’re all those mean Catholic bloggers, radio hosts, commentators, etc., who are scratching their heads about some things the pope says. Yep, all are in schism, it seems, except those who want to change any Church teaching that doesn’t jive with their ideologies.

So, who are all the people declaring or suggesting schism? Thomas Reese, SJ, Massimo Faggioli, Dawn Eden Goldstein, Michael Sean Winters, and all of their ilk.  And don’t forget, the “Well, I didn’t say they were in schism.  I’m just retweeting something I thought was interesting!” crowd. (Yes, Fr. Martin, I mean you.)

The actual definition of schism found in Canon 751 goes like this

Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

Ironically, none of the accusers are canon lawyers, but they accuse a good canon lawyers to be in schism.  Let’s see, who knows Canon Law better?

The other thing I find totally ridiculous, especially after this week, is that not one of these accusers has pointed toward Germany.  In fact, I failed to locate one story at National catholic Reporter on this as of this writing. If it exists, their search engines don’t work.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/marx-says-german-synod-will-proceed-despite-vatican-objections-82211  Why is this? This is a hell of a lot closer to schism (if not actually in schism) than anything else to which the NcR, America Magazine, or Commonweal types point. I mean, the German bishops were told by the Magisterium that their “binding synodal path” was “not ecclesiologically valid.” Their response? We’re doing it anyway. Who’s removing “submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him” again? Apparently, Cardinal Marx.!

Does anyone see the difference in asking the Holy Father to exercise his authority (a la the Dubia 4, Archbishop Vigano, etc.) and rejecting an instruction from the Magisterium as the Germans are doing? The faithful Catholics are appealing to the very authority they should, while the Germans are usurping authority they don’t have. American schism, my foot! The liberals pushing for a declaration of schism are the biggest hypocrites around. Not one of the faithful listed above and accused by the liberals has ever rejected the authority of Pope Francis. In fact, they’ve made request upon request to the Pope to clarify.  To top it off, not even Pope Francis has declared them such. So, not only are the liberal accusers actually willing to reject authority when it suits them, they are also willing to usurp authority where they have none. They need to give it a rest, but sadly, they won’t.

 

And Another Thing, Massimo…

I’d really, really like you to explain why you singled out three bishops whom you declared “devout schismatics” when there are 40ish American bishops (depending when the list was published and who has since passed away) who declared support, admiration, or simple credibility of Archbishop Vigano’s letters. Where’s the accusation of “devout schism” for all of them? I’m reasonably sure most are also fans of the Rosary, oppose candidates being pro-abortion, and fight for traditional marriage. I realize that these are things you would consider a part of a “particular conservative political culture,” but most of us simply call that “Catholic.” I know you still have a problem understanding that distinction, so how come they didn’t make the schismatic list you’re creating in your head? I mean, I would at least think Bishop Paprocki and Bishop Thomas Tobin would have made your list! By the way, these lists below of supporting bishops are from last year, too. Wonder where the number is now that so much more of his testimony has been proven to be true by others? Hmmm, Massimo?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Catholicism/comments/9av4d1/the_growing_list_of_catholic_prelates_and_other/

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-bishops-cardinals-who-support-investigating-viganos-claims-live-upd

It would seem you must have some personal vendetta against these particular bishops to overlook the vast number of others who believe the same way. I realize that you’re banking on the faithful not to bother fact checking anything you say, but you might have learned by now that’s not going to happen.

I think Villanova might want to reconsider Massimo’s employment for, at best, rash judgment. It is kind of a big deal, Villanova, when one of your employees declares some pretty awesome bishops to be in schism. How many of your other employees fail to have a rudimentary knowledge of the definition of schism and also leap to rash judgment? Not really a selling point for your university.

Might be nice to drop Villanova a big ol’ note. 

Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA
Office of the President
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1699

Phone: 610-519-8881
Fax: 610-519-4514

Email: president@villanova.edu

Alumni, you can also go here:

Alumni Relations
Garey Hall

Phone: 610-519-4580
Fax: 610-519-7583

Email: alumni@villanova.edu

 

Massimo’s “Look at Me!” Moment (AKA, Life)

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/villanova-historian-says-chaput-cordileone-and-strickland-are-devout-schismatics-18811

Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 18, 2019 / 06:35 pm (CNA).- A Church historian at Philadelphia’s Villanova University has said three U.S. bishops are “devout schismatics” who try to diminish the authority of Pope Francis.

“They are devout in the sense that they publicly display their preference for a traditionalist Church and its devotions, such as the rosary. They are schismatics because they openly promote the undermining of the bishop of Rome among the Catholic faithful,” Massimo Faggioli wrote in a July 16 essay for La Croix magazine.”

What the what???? Does the Rosary scare you that much, Massimo? Seriously, this is the most outlandish accusation I’ve EVER seen. We’re going to lump saying the Rosary with removing submission to the bishop of Rome????  Really?!?!?! This really deserves about a hundred more punctuation marks but…?!?!?!?!?!?!  Massimo kind of needs to take a sabbatical and reflect on, well, anything other than himself.

Massimo has got no game, so he’s just going to throw out the schismatic bomb with ZERO back up. When has Cordileone, Strickland, or Chaput EVER removed submission from the Holy Father? The “Let’s throw it out there and see if it sticks” method won’t work here, because I, and anyone with half a brain or access to Google, am going to call you on this.

Faggioli made specific mention of three U.S. bishops: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, and Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas.

The historian said the “schismatic instincts” of those bishops were manifested when in August 2018, when they “sided with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to Washington who called on Francis to resign.”

Hey, Massimo, which bishops/archbishops called on Francis to resign? Oh, yeah, none.  Give me a break. You know very well that some of them appealed to Pope Francis to respond to the “Vigano” letters, while others just said that Vigano was simply a man of virtue and that the whole thing was troubling and should be dealt with. It’s quite interesting you seemed to focus on those who most defy your mission in life, since there are many others who sided with them, but whatever.

Viganò released on Aug. 25, 2018 a “testimony,” which, among other things, accused Pope Francis of ignoring warnings about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual deviancy, and then raising McCarrick’s status within the Vatican.

After the testimony was released, Strickland issued a statement calling Vigano’s allegations “credible,” and Cordileone said he could confirm that some of Vigano’s statements were true.

Do you have doubt of that, Massimo?! I think we can safely say that many of Archbishop Vigano’s statements have been proven to be quite true over the last year. Are you saying otherwise? If so, which ones? Put your money where your keyboard is. Regardless, neither of these statements would constitute “schism” as you would suggest. I realize you’re just an historian and not a canon lawyer but maybe you should actually a look at the definition of “schism” before you start flapping you gums. 

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith. Apostasy is the total repudiation of the christian faith. Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.  

The article goes on…

Contrary to Faggioli’s claim, however, Chaput did not endorse Vigano’s allegations. While a spokesman told reporters in August that Chaput “enjoyed working with Archbishop Vigano during his tenure as Apostolic Nuncio,” he declined to comment on the former nuncio’s allegations.

Oops!

The spokesman said that the Chaput could not comment “on Archbishop Vigano’s recent testimonial as it is beyond his personal experience.”

In 2013, Chaput told radio personality Hugh Hewitt that the election of Pope Francis had made him “extraordinarily happy, because quite honestly, he is the man I was hoping would be Pope eight years ago.”

Double oops!

Two years later, Chaput hosted Pope Francis in Philadelphia for the 2015 World Meeting of Families. Reflecting in 2018 on that meeting, Chaput wrote that the pope’s “time with us was filled with powerful public moments and deeply grace filled intimate gatherings hallmarked by an overarching spirit of mercy, compassion, and charity.”

“[Pope Francis] has repeatedly challenged us to bear witness to Christ through concrete action—by serving the poor, by helping immigrants, by preserving families, and by protecting the sanctity of life. It’s the kind of challenge we can and should answer with a hearty yes each day,” Chaput added.

You’re a three time loser, Massimo. 

In his essay criticizing “devout schismatics,” Faggioli wrote that “dissent against this pope has become radicalized with schismatic instincts because this kind of political devotion is more about a partisan ideology than about the Church. Catholicism was exposed to ideological manipulation by those who do not really care for the Gospel, but who are more interested in a particular conservative political culture.”

“Particular conservative political culture?” Normally if you follow the teachings of the Church and Canon Law, you’re considered a faithful Catholic. In Massimo’s mind you’re somehow “interested in a particular conservative political culture.” I totally agree that Catholicism was exposed to ideological manipulation but it had little to do with a “particular conservative political culture” and everything to do with a bunch of narcissistic, liberal minded ideologues that thought of themselves far more than they ever thought of the teachings of the Church!

“Chaput, among those identified as a “devout schismatic,” has frequently emphasized his unwillingness to align with a political party.”

So, Massimo is totally wrong again. Shocker.

Just a few more little pesky facts Massimo didn’t bother to look into before he started spouting off. Both Archbishop Cordileone and Bishop Strickland are canon lawyers.  They might know a thing or two about schism even if Massimo doesn’t quite get it. Next, Archbishop Chaput campaigned for Robert Kennedy and supported the election of Jimmy Carter. Of course, today’s democrat isn’t grandma and granpa’s democrat but still. Archbishop Chaput has made it quite clear that the teachings of the Church trump all political parties.  http://webarchive.loc.gov/all/20121205203427/http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204504.htm

Last time I checked, Massimo does not have canonical jurisdiction to declare schism and his lack of knowledge on the matter gives him even less jurisdiction. If “devout” is a reason to declare “schism”, then a whole lot of people are going to be found in such a place. This is just stupid.

In 2016 he criticized Catholics, especially politicians, who accept “the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new ‘Church’ of our ambitions and appetites,’ in order to achieve political or personal goals. The group of those who do so “cuts across…both major political parties,” Chaput said.:

“Quite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both envies and resents. And the price of our entry has been the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new “Church” of our ambitions and appetites. People like Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Kennedy, Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are not anomalies. They’re part of a very large crowd that cuts across all professions and both major political parties.”

And? There’s a problem with that statement, Massimo? If Massimo considers Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden to be faithful Catholics, I have oceanfront property in Iowa to sell him. By the way, here’s the quote in context. https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/a-new-kind-of-sacrament

The Church’s canon law defines schism, the charge Faggioli makes against the three bishops, as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

See? And while Massimo is totally happy to declare three bishops schismatics, he’s perfectly fine not showing proof when he declares them such.

Faggioli could not be reached for comment.

Totally not surprising. He’s stepped in it deeper than normal and can’t actually back up the accusations. Don’t you kind of feel like he lost a bet with someone? I guess when someone jumps the shark this big you kind of hope there’s some sort of rational explanation for it. Maybe his ratings are down?

A Failure to Communicate? Definitely!

This ought to be fun!  Just can’t wait to see what the Soros lackey is going to tell us about the youth of today and same-sex attraction.  Anyone know if he actually knows any youth?  Just curious. BTW, he’s been a bit of a player for quite a while now. Here’s a little background.

A Failure to Communicate

The Synod’s Mistake on LGBT Catholics

By John Gehring

November 2, 2018

And this title might be the only place where any agreement between me and John Gehring might lie.  Of course, his definition of “mistake” and mine would differ greatly.

The recently concluded Synod on Young People reflected Pope Francis’s call for a listening church that accompanies people and discerns together. Unlike synods in previous papacies, where a final script was essentially drafted in advance and most bishops dutifully signed off, a more authentic process unfolded during the month-long gathering that ended last Sunday.

Wait!  What?  Seems like that’s more or less exactly what happened, albeit minus the “LGBT” acronym, because they knew there was no way in hell they were going to get that in.

A mode of engagement that prioritizes a humble posture of encounter is essential if the Catholic Church hopes to stem the tide of young people leaving an institution they often view as irrelevant, hypocritical, and aloof. In fact, those who are raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people as the primary reason they leave, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.”

Huh??? The Public Religion Research Institute?  Oh my.  Hysterical.  I mean, John, why didn’t you just put out your own poll asking people who agree with you what they think?  People, do the research.  https://catholicvote.org/public-religion-research-institute-misleads-on-catholic-attitudes/

Can I tell you why people leave the Church?  It’s simple:  It’s HARD to be Catholic!!!  It’s hard to pick up a cross.  Our catechesis has been largely abysmal for many years now, and we’re not getting the message across in most of our churches of the benefits of carrying that cross.  Duh! Everlasting life, and the spiritual world in general, have been reduced to a fable. It’s no wonder people are being sucked into the secular world. They’re offering more.  We’re just given homilies on how to be nice.  Well, not at my parish, but that’s why I go there.  They’re actually offering me something I need and want.  Oh, and we do pretty well.

“We’ve gone from talking about young people and from talking to young people to talking with them,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

I am absolutely not against talking with young people.  I do it as often as I possibly can.  Whether or not they agree with me, they know that I have their best interest in mind AND I will tell them as much of the truth as I can. 

A hopeful church that listens from below and engages in dialogue is better positioned than a fearful, fortress church to fulfill the Second Vatican Council’s proclamation to read the “signs of the times.” For young gay Catholics and their allies, the synod offered a space where bishops could learn from the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties, of the LGBT faithful. Signs pointed to a potentially important step forward. In a document prepared before the synod, the Vatican used the term “LGBT” for the first time. “Some LGBT youth,” it read, want to “benefit from greater closeness and experience greater care from the church.” Not exactly a revolutionary statement, and rather painfully obvious. But the use of “LGBT” was striking and significant. The church has a major language problem when it comes to respecting the dignity of gay, lesbian, and transgender people. Catholic teaching documents typically use “homosexual” or refer to “homosexual tendencies.” Using the LGBT descriptor—often preferred by many gay, lesbian, and transgender people—is a sign of respect.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa, son!  Heck of a parsing of Gaudium et Spes.  Nice try, though.

4. To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. Some of the main features of the modern world can be sketched as follows.

Thanks for channeling Fr. Martin, but no thanks. We need to scrutinize the signs of the times, not just roll over for them.  Gaudium et Spes shows us that these are all perennial questions.  This isn’t some knew ideology.  In fact, it’s all been repeated time and again, and as usual, Truth and her answers do not change.

Archbishop Chaput very eloquently pointed out:

What the Church “holds to be true about human sexuality is not a stumbling block.”

“It is the only real path to joy and wholeness,” he continued. “There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.”

This is Truth.  This is dignity. This is respect. Describing people by their sexual appetite is lowering them to a creature who’s being is controlled by a sexual appetite. We are not. We have free will. 

But the final report from the synod did not use the term “LGBT.” Several bishops, including Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, criticized its potential appearance. For the church, he said, “there is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are.”

Can I get an AMEN?  Seriously.  If our sexual appetites define us, we are in big trouble.  In fact, this is kind of what’s been happening with this abuse scandal.  People give in to the notion that that’s how they are made and there’s nothing we can do about it, so we should be free to act on it. It seems to be just peachy for those who want to act on their homosexual appetite, but should it be with children or someone who doesn’t desire it, it’s evil.  Nope.  Both evil.

Some bishops and other church leaders foster a toxic culture that scapegoats and demonizes LGBT laity and clergy

Head in the sand time again.  How about we state this little fact:  80% of these abuse cases (and with the latest round, probably more) have been perpetrated by homosexual priests.  So, I think it’s safe to say that they seem to be the ones who readily give into their weaknesses. Can we at least agree on that? 

This observation reflects, perhaps unwittingly, a certain theological arrogance.

Or maybe your lack of acceptance of the facts reflects a bit of narcissism instead?

Saying there are “no LGBT Catholics,” when many Catholics who love and contribute to the church embrace that description, is disrespectful at best, and at worst denies a person dignity. Chaput warns of “sexual appetites” defining who we are—a reasonable caution—but it seems that the archbishop is the one who is reducing being gay, lesbian, or transgender to sexual mechanics, as if our friends, neighbors, and family members are little more than a bundle of physical urges rather than complex and multidimensional human beings. I understand the instinct not to balkanize the church into islands of identity. We are “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church,” in the words of the Nicene Creed. Our shared faith unifies.

Hey, man, the Church is made of sinners, but dignity isn’t brought about by what we want to be called. Dignity is given to us by God in our creation.  Are you saying someone who proudly states “I am a porn star” is somehow brought dignity by that label? How about those who want to be labeled a satanic high priest?  I mean, you can’t deny that there are plenty of people like that, yet somehow we’re just supposed to say, “Oh, that’s what you want to be classified as? Awesome!” Please.  This is just your pet proclivity, so you are going to demand we all say, “Oh, OK, whatever you want,” as if that somehow imparts dignity to a person.

But the church does recognize and often names those who reflect our diversity. Some dioceses have offices, retreats, or specific events for Latino Catholics, African-American Catholics, young-adult Catholics, and senior Catholics. None of this is reductionist. There is a proud tradition of celebrating Irish-American and Italian-American Catholics’ contributions to the church, distinct cultures that are nonetheless part of the beautiful mosaic of Catholicism. In the same way a Latina Catholic doesn’t exclusively define herself by being a Latina, identifying as an LGBT Catholic doesn’t circumscribe one’s identity, but acknowledges its significance as part of the whole.

And as Archbishop Chaput points out, we’re don’t call ourselves heterosexual Catholics.  For goodness sake.  Get a wee bit of grasp on reality and stop comparing apples to Toyotas. This is a ridiculous comparison.  If someone wants to say they are a cat, are you just fine with that?  I mean, I’m sure they feel that this is their special diversity.  You can’t have it both ways, John.

For Archbishop Chaput, the church should not use LGBT because it is wrong to, in his words, “categorize people.” This is a laudatory concept, until you reflect on the irony of that statement coming from a leader in a church that uses language often viewed as clinical and demeaning by the very people it seeks to describe. Homosexual “inclinations” and “intrinsically disordered,” words used in official church teaching, also categorize people, and in ways that exclude and wound.

Nice try again.  He actually said:

“It follows that ‘LGBTQ’ and similar language should not be used in Church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way.”

Your beef seems to be with Archbishop Chaput, but he’s showing YOU what the Church has never done. Heaven forbid a member of the Church would reflect what the Church actually does and does not say. I mean, hello, “inclinations” and “intrinsically disordered” is found in Church teaching, so you getting mad at Archbishop Chaput is just targeting those who hold to those teachings, including many people suffering from same-sex attraction.  Seriously, you act as if everyone with same-sex attraction has hurt feelings about this.  Sorry.  It ain’t so. 

San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy has suggested the church needs to rethink such language. In an interview with America magazine, he said the description “intrinsically disordered” is “very destructive language that I think we should not use pastorally.” He added that “in Catholic moral theology, it is a philosophical term that is automatically misunderstood in our society as a psychological judgment.” The church can’t be a “field hospital” for the wounded, to use a central metaphor from Pope Francis, if its own language wounds.

And yet, many people suffering with same-sex attraction don’t feel the martyrdom you are trying to imply on their behalf.  What about them?  Oh, a wee bit of an inconvenient truth that more and more people who consider themselves same-sex attracted aren’t going to be riding in your parade?  They, like the saints, embrace Church teaching and are willing to take up their crosses. And you know what?  We’re going to be right there with them struggling with our own crosses. 

The synod’s final report included some positive things: reiterating the church’s condemnation of any violence directed at sexual minorities; acknowledging that ministry to gay and lesbian people is already being done in the church; and emphasizing accompaniment. Perhaps presaging a future and much-needed discussion on the broader dimensions of how the church addresses human sexuality, the report noted that “there are questions related to the body, to affectivity and to sexuality that require a deeper anthropological, theological, and pastoral exploration.” This is significant, and it rattles conservative bishops. “The Catholic hierarchy is acknowledging that the church needs to update its understanding of the science of sex and gender, and that also means updating the church’s theology on sexuality and its ministry to gay people,” David Gibson wrote in an analysis for Religion News Service.

The fact that you think that the Church’s teaching on sexuality needs to be updated and is somehow outdated is rattling to any faithful Catholic.  There’s so much beauty and richness that you cannot seem to grasp. Can you say “Theology of the Body?”  I know it can’t be grasped in a day but give it just a little read before you bother to comment.

Archbishop Chaput characterized that line in the final report as “subtle and concerning.” The church “already has a clear, rich, and articulate Christian anthropology,” he told the National Catholic Register. “It’s unhelpful to create doubt or ambiguity around issues of human identity, purpose, and sexuality, unless one is setting the stage to change what the church believes and teaches about all three, starting with sexuality.”

BOOM!  Just because John Gehring and buddies missed it doesn’t mean that it is there.

Whatever discussions may yet take place in the church, an editorial in The Tablet underscored a painful truth. “Few progressive Catholics would have dared to dream that Synod might open a conversation about ‘intrinsic disorder,’ or that it might acknowledge that even the acronym LGBT excludes queer, intersex, and asexual Catholics,” the editors wrote. “What is, perhaps, most heartbreaking is that LGBT Catholics pinned their hopes on so little: being discussed in a language that wasn’t overtly offensive, with words that will—for many gay people—trigger memories of bullying and harassment.”

Dear progressive Catholics, you want to have a conversation about “intrinsic disorder” or anything else, I’d be happy.  Just drop me a line.  I’m not being sarcastic here.  For some reason John Gehring thinks we are unwilling to talk to you, or at least that’s what he’d like you to believe.  I am totally willing to talk and to struggle with you as you carry your cross, and I hope you help me to carry mine.  Our struggles are all different, but we all need the Body of Christ to make it through this life and gain everlasting life. 

Several U.S. bishops, including Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, have articulated a strong message of solidarity with LGBT Catholics. Putting this accompaniment into practice will require calling out organizations such as Church Militant, a group that bullies, threatens, and demeans LGBT Catholics and their allies. A few weeks ago a pastoral associate at a San Diego parish submitted his resignation after he “endured physical and emotional violence from groups like Church Militant and LifeSiteNews for the past year and a half,” according to an email he sent to friends and associates obtained by the National Catholic Reporter. The harassment included slashed tires, death threats, attacks outside Mass, and “hundreds of letters, phone calls, and emails.”

I’ve already addressed Aaron Bianco here, so I’m not going to go there again, but if you missed it, here’s my response to this flap: 

Of course the Catholic Church doesn’t condone this abuse; in fact, the Catechism explicitly denounces it. Nevertheless, some bishops and other church leaders foster a toxic culture that scapegoats and demonizes LGBT laity and clergy. Former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has called for Pope Francis’s resignation, warns of “homosexual networks” with the “power of octopus tentacles” that are “strangling” the church. “It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord,” Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, wrote in a letter to Catholics in his diocese. Such language only tills the soil for potentially violent acts.

Seriously, can’t we talk about sin without having it be a threat somehow? Sorry, again, my kids have to live in this world, John.  You don’t get to play the martyr card.

As James Baldwin wrote: “It is a terrible, an inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one’s own.” When the church continues to deny LGBT people their full humanity, isn’t that the risk it takes?”

Oh, yes.  James Baldwin who knows all the beauty and intricacies of the Catholic Church.  Geez.  You had the chance somewhere to quote St. John Paul II, but you went with James Baldwin as your “saint” of choice?!?

And, just for the record, the Church wants nothing less than dignity and salvation for all Her children.  The Church NEVER discriminates amongst God’s children.  The same rules apply to all of us.  It ain’t easy.  There’s a lot about the narrow gate but the Body of Christ is meant to struggle together.

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

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?

 

 

Don’t be Chicken Little, be the Little Red Hen

I have to admit, I’ve been ignoring Catholic news lately.  It’s just too exhausting with half of the faithful cannibalizing each other and the other half running around like Chicken Little.  The frenzy has been a bit too much, and guess what?  In my little world, it doesn’t mean a darn thing.

I’ve now lived under three different popes that I can remember.  (I’m too young to remember JPI and his predecessors.)  Every single one of them made some sort of cataclysmic mistake that supposedly ruined the Church forever.  Sorry, I just don’t get my knickers in a bunch that easily, and I’m certainly not going to be the one that makes the liberal dissenters smile.  I’m sure the Cupiches and McElroys of the world are smiling like the cat that ate the canary right now, and that’s what really, truly bugs me to death.

Seriously, don’t you think they’re laughing at the confusion over Amoris Laetitia? I’m sure they think it’s hysterical watching the Catholic pundits right now.  You’ve got those bending over backwards to say, “Everything’s fine!  Nothing to see here!” You’ve got others calling them papolators.  You’ve got some, I’d say rightly and respectfully, asking for clarifications, and others calling them schismatics with no evidence whatsoever. Still you have others saying you can’t even be concerned in the slightest.  I’m sure all carry some truth and some error at this point, but the worst part about it is watching the Kaspers and his club reveling in it.  Can we just stop?

I think we can all agree (I’m talking faithful Catholics here) that there is some confusion going on here.  If you don’t, just leave this site now.  No use in discussing it further.  Most of us would like some clarification from the Holy Father.  That said, let’s just look at the scenarios in front of us.  Let’s say Pope Francis decides never to make a formal clarification and just keeps issuing comments which contradict the liberals.  Yes, I suppose it makes their life blissful because they can then feign ignorance until the cows come home.  That said, what if the pope did issue a clarification?  It would then be status quo as usual for the faithful.  With a wink and nod, the liberals will still continue to muddle the truth and lead people astray.  When it comes right down to it, the Burkes and Chaputs of the world are going to teach the truth as they have always done, and the Cupiches and McElroys of the world will continue their mission to make everyone comfy and cozy in their sins.  Either way, the faithful under the wink-and-nod-dissenters are going to suffer as they always have – terribly.  The local bishop really affects our day to day Catholic life which is why who you get and don’t get is terribly important.  Think about it.  Your kids may not know what the flap is about Amoris Laetitia but they might be sort of led astray when the local bishop dons a Barney costume at the end of Mass (and, yes, real story).

It’s also very interesting to note that, if you look at the Chaputs and Burkes of the world, there are plenty of people who are going ballistic on their behalf, but if you look at them, they look like they’re getting plenty of sleep.  They aren’t fomenting on the reign of terror of Pope Francis.  If they aren’t, why are we?  Again, this just gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

Now, is Pope Francis my favorite pope in the history of the Church? No.  Do I wish he did things differently?  Yep.  Do I lie awake at night thinking he will be the end of the Church?  Now that would be ridiculous.  Do I pray for him?  Yep.  People often ask me why I don’t write about this or that thing that Pope Francis did.  My answer:  What would it matter? First, a lot of it is “fake Catholic news” or soundbites. Second, I’m far more concerned with what the bishops in my country and my diocese do.  Like I said, no matter what happens with the dubia, the crazy are going to keep doing crazy.  I mean, seriously, look around!  Bishops were pushing birth control and “gay marriage” with some pretty clear teaching on the subject.  That’s where I’m willing to expend my energy.  If we can’t influence the people around us and communicate the Faith in a way that’s clear despite what happens in the Church and in the world, we’ve dropped the ball.  Same goes for our local bishops.  Do we really think that cannibalizing each other and running around screaming ‘’The Church is falling!” is going to get it done?  Please.  Fix it yourself in your own little world and stop making the liberal dissenters smile.

Need an example?  For years, Lincoln, Nebraska, was one of the few super faithful dioceses in the country.  Bishop Flavin and Bishop Bruskewitz kept their heads down and taught the Faith, while many other dioceses in the U.S. were “experimenting.” They didn’t worry about what was going on in my little, influential, dissenting diocese here in California (or in Flavin’s case, Weakland’s diocese).  They stomped on dissenters in their own little area, no matter their bent.  They made Church teaching abundantly clear and all, but the dissenters, loved and followed them.  It was downright weird talking to people in that diocese.  They knew the Faith.  That diocese has produced at least four other bishops. I’m betting their dioceses are all lucky (and we most definitely lucked out getting one around my parts)!  Both those bishops could have ranted and raved about their popes not doing x, y, and z and letting them ruin the Church, but they didn’t.  They just did their job.  That’s what we need.  We need bishops who are going to do their job no matter who is attacking them.  In Flavin’s case, it was Archbishop Rembert Weakland.  In Bruskewitz’s case, well, really, who wasn’t attacking him?  He got it from all sides.

So, if you really want to know where we should expend our energy, it’s with our bishops. You should be dogging those that lead people astray.  Don’t make it easy on them to get away with it.  And the good bishops?  You should be encouraging them to lead like they don’t care about getting fired, removed, given some fancy title somewhere remote, etc.  It drives me crazy to see a faithful bishop back off because, well, the optics are that they’re scared about their jobs.  I get it, you can’t lead the faithful if removed from the job– or can you?  I seem to remember many a leader leading from a prison cell.  And I’m sure many of those backing off where they should be going ahead are also trying to keep the low-hanging fruit from hitting the ground but I’m not sure why pausing on the truth would achieve this goal. Truth is love and conveying it and practicing it should be the priority.  I’m unaware of the teaching that says back off the truth if becomes a PR nightmare.

The Wolves are Cozy on the Couch

This has been an awful week for the Catholic Church, hands down.  Can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but the trifecta of bad cardinal appointments stings like hell (and I mean that literally).  I was hoping the devastation would be offset by a Cardinal Chaput appointment, but my hopes were dashed.  The liberals won this battle, pure and simple.  So what are we to do?  What is happening with the Pope?  Why is this happening?  Etc., etc., etc.  These are just some of the questions my poor readers are asking. Sorry this post is going to stray far from the sarcastic norm.

Those of you who read the blog regularly have probably noticed that I don’t criticize the Holy Father.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have questions and thoughts in my head that I don’t convey.  Why don’t I relay them?  Because what good would it do? It would simply  give comfort to the enemy.  He certainly is the Pope.  Anyone who believes a less than stellar pope is not THE Pope doesn’t know history all that well.  We’ve had some pretty awful ones, and we’ve also had great ones who have made less-than-desirable moves.  I mean, who was it again that elevated Cardinal Mahoney?  If that wasn’t an epic mistake, I’m not sure what was. Yet that pope was the guy whose right hand man was Pope Benedict.  Heck, he’s canonized! Everyone has a bad day.  I hope that’s what’s going on here with Pope Francis. 

So, what is the girl who sits on her hands and avoids all attempts to criticize the Pope going to say?  Well, first of all, I feel your pain and I’ll try to be a voice for you.  Yes, these were bad appointments that are going to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the Faith – namely Fr. James Martin, SJ, and his cohorts in crime.  There’s no way to spin it.  However, it’s one battle.  It ain’t the war, and we already know the outcome of that.  It’s just a matter of how bad things will be until we get to that outcome.

So what about Pope Francis?  I’m hardly Rocco Palmo, but my GUESS is that this is what you get when you have a cardinal from Argentina elevated to the papacy.  He was so far removed from the politics of Rome that he doesn’t know who the enemy really is. He has, frankly, Argentinian notions about the rest of the world, and I think he’s actually seen that some of these notions weren’t quite what he thought.  He was insulated there and he’s insulated now. He has no clue and simply trusts those that appear to be friendly really are.  Heck, I’ve seen that happen to great bishops right here in America.  It’s amazing how well the dissidents can gain confidence when they adjust those halos.  However, the faithful bishops and cardinals had better figure out a way to clue him in that he is being handled, or the Church that my kids have to live in is going to tank for the foreseeable future. 

One thing I notice here in the States is that we have this really weird view of collegiality.  Rarely do faithful bishops or cardinals take on a bishop who is undermining doctrine and morality. They’ll all get together on topics where they feel they can win in society, but not on the issues that affect all of us.  Or, at least, this is the view from the pew.  I mean, if the good guys really care about the laity, why don’t they something???  If my husband saw his brother abusing his family, he certainly wouldn’t sit there and say, “Not my problem!”  His brother’s family would also be his family, even if he isn’t the head of their household.  My husband would also lend a brother a hand if they were in crisis and needed back up when they were in the right.  Unfortunately, I don’t really remember the bishops around the United States rallying around Archbishop Cordileone when he rightly wanted to hold his teachers to Catholic standards.  A rally cry instead should have gone up from all the faithful bishops that he was quite right to try to protect the students of the Catholic schools.

Heck, from my point of view, it seems as if the bishops living 20 minutes from each other don’t even consult together.  SOMEBODY, please call for a national summit of faithful bishops, because the laity is dying here!  I mean DYING!  Where the laity is concerned, giving Cupich a red hat doesn’t just affect the people of his diocese.  It affects us all!  The liberal priests, bishops, and cardinals are what they are.  We need the more-than-a -few good men to help us out here.  Why is it the liberals can band together but you guys cannot? It’s almost like watching the Republican party flail around these days.  Meanwhile, over in National catholic Reporter land, they have no qualms about forming an army to put down one faithful priest, bishop, or cardinal at a time.  Then there’s the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good.  Anyone catch Wikileaks this week?  Yes, our conspiracy theories have been validated.

In all seriousness, I would like to see the guys who love their flocks, the Church, the lost, AND my children all get on a plane and knock on Pope Francis’ door and give him the real score.  There is strength in numbers, and this isn’t just a saying.  You can’t let Cardinal Burke do all the talking and be relegated to Malta for the unforeseeable future. When one of you does something necessary to preserve the Faith in one area, you should all be publicizing it in your own dioceses.  Back each other up! More importantly, unite for the sake of MY children. 

Sometimes I feel like we faithful are an afterthought to many of you. That might be unfair but I guarantee that’s how many of us feel. You need to stop worrying about your job, and I’m not saying that in the “That’s all you care about way!”  I know that you want to stay with your flock to affect the most positive of outcomes, but it’s not working. You are essentially being extorted because you’re trying to do it all by yourself.  Cupich and club are undermining you at every turn, and you guys are still plodding on and keeping your noses to the grindstones.  I get the intention, but I think you all need to start being as “sly as the serpent and as gentle as doves” in a little more proactive way.

Your eminences and excellencies, just stop for a moment and pretend you are a father with children (because you are). If another parent or your child’s teacher is telling your child that homosexuality is just another lifestyle choice or that sex outside of marriage was fine, or that it would be just fine for your child to get an abortion because “their circumstance” warranted it, what would you do???????  Would you simply say, “Well, what can I do?” or would you give them a stern talking to about influencing your child to commit spiritual suicide?  I know you don’t have biological children, but darn it, we are supposed to be your spiritual children, yet you are letting the wolves come in and gnaw on us.  You’re reaching out to the lambs already taken from the flock, and I wouldn’t want you to stop, but what about the rest of us? Think long and hard because that’s what’s happening to your flock.  Nobody wants to feel bad about their sin, so they will cling to anyone telling them that they are just peachy.  As a parent, I’m not going to let that happen.  We’re going to fight as a family to keep that from happening.

I get that the bishops are “leaving the ninety-nine to go after the one”, but in our present scenario, when you go after the one, a bunch more are lost.  We’re hemorrhaging the salvation of our young.  There’s no longer just one straying because the shepherds aren’t closing the gate when they go after the one and the wolves are getting in.  It’s a reality that those of us “real world” parents are experiencing.  We’re killing ourselves to make sure all the good you do isn’t undone, but we feel like we can’t get our spiritual fathers to support us because they’re busy with the other children.  You need to find balance like all parents.

Again, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go after those who are straying.  When kids stray in a family, mom and dad have to go after them relentlessly, but at the same time, they need to make sure that no more stray by presenting a mixed message.  The worst thing a parent can do is cave to emotional blackmail.  If I love my child, they are going to know it, but they are also going to know the truth and they will know that I have nothing but their immortal soul in mind.  You can be both firm and loving.  I’m not sure if this is a point lost on those with no biological children, but it needs to be understood.  Saying “No!” can often be the most loving thing you can say, and no, the wandering will not always like it.  So?  We just keep reaching out to them.

I once had a priest curtly ask me, “With all due respect, who are you?!” when I was expressing my concerns about the Pope’s in-flight interviews and the dissenting clergy exploiting them.  My answer?  “Who am I?  I’m a girl who’s concerned about the Pope’s in-flight interviews and the dissenting clergy expounding on them!”  Is that wrong??? Are we simply to keep smiling?  Can I not be concerned? Are we supposed to be in denial about how such things are being used?  I don’t claim to be anything special, but I’m betting I’m echoing the concerns of a good chunk of the laity.  I’m not going into schism and disobedience. I’m just terrified, and I want our fathers to know how terrified we are for our families. I’m not urging the bishops to go rogue.  I’m urging them to be strategic.  We really are in a war.

So, what is the laity to do?  Pray, fast, beg our bishops to fight for their children, and prepare for the next battle.  In other words, carry on.

The Frog Doth Croak Too Much!

I spent a day cleaning up all my old “donotlink” links.  I’m so sad that they shut down because I loved being able to refer to the idiot sites without giving them an extra hit for the hit counter.  This is one such site. http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com/2016/08/the-comprehension-of-canines-and.html

The comprehension of canines and Archbishop Charles Chaput

On Tuesday we learn about research which concludes that dogs understand what we are saying to them. Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it. That research was published to a peer reviewed scholarly journal.

Apparently Archbishop Charles Chaput’s cognition works a bit differently. Chaput only seems to understand what he wants to hear. He most certainly does not comprehend the importance of peer review. The Philadelphia archbishop will soon replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as the Church’s point man on suppressing gay rights with regard to marriage. Chaput writes:

Before we go on, I’ve written about Mr. Hart’s view before here.   https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/the-slowly-boiled-frog/  There is still no evidence to conclude that he is now, or ever was, a practicing Catholic so I’m not sure why he’s so fixated on the bishops of the Church who follow Church teaching.

Mr. Hart cutely tries to compare Archbishop Chaput’s understanding to dogs’ understandings of language.  That falls a little flat when Mr. Hart shows a bit of confusion. He seems to like peer reviewed, scholarly journals but doesn’t like papers based on peer reviewed, scholarly studies that disagree with him.  Hypocrisy noted.

The goal of my column this week is simple: pointing readers to The New Atlantis, one of the nation’s best journals about science, technology and their intersection with ethics. Earlier this week (August 22), The New Atlantis released an important new overview of nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies from the 1950s to the present on issues of sexuality and gender identity, with findings from the biological, psychological and social sciences.

I’m not really sure why Mr. Hart didn’t link to this scholarly piece of work, which took in the results of many studies, but here you go: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/number-50-fall-2016  It’s loooonnnnngggg but worth the read.  Mr. Hart really doesn’t want you to read it because it will make it much harder to dismiss when you do.

Exactly how Chaput would characterize a pretentious quarterly blog, without peer review as “one of the best” is relegated to that conservative catch-all: God works in mysterious ways. It will remain a mystery because Chaput lives in a protective bubble. No one will challenge him directly and he does not respond to critics. His concern is theology and the catechism. He doesn’t care how many kids get f**** (Censored by Mom because profanity does not an argument make!) up in the process as long as the Church’s teachings are defended. 

Do you have any concrete arguments to the contrary?  Where does the science go wrong?  When was the last time you read 200 peer reviewed papers on anything, Mr. Hart?  What’s your medical, psychological or statistical background again?  Oh yeah, you don’t have any.  You really don’t have a background in ethics, that’s for sure. 

The overview, entitled “Sexuality and Gender,” can be found on line here. (See above because Mr. Hart stripped out and doesn’t want you to see.) While the body of the overview may be data-dense for the average reader, the report’s executive summary, conclusion and prefatory notes to each section are clear, well-written and accessible to any interested adult. And we should be interested, because sexuality and gender identity are now sharply disputed topics with big implications for the health of individuals and our wider culture.

So, I’m still trying to figure out where Hart alleges Chaput to be wrong.  Overview of 200 peer reviewed papers.  Check.  Data dense.  Check.  Footnoted to the hilt?  Check.  In fact, far more noting that Mr. Hart will give, since he failed to even link to the paper.  Hart doesn’t like the outcome of the stats, pure and simple. 

Chaput seems to have taken some pointers from a Baptist creationist. Argue and teach the controversy. In point of fact the science on sexual orientation and gender identity is most certainly not “sharply disputed.”

OK, let me break this paragraph into multiple chunks of fallacy.  Let me just ask this first. What in the @#$%#$%?  Is this guy at all in reality land?  Not sharply disputed?  Where would that be? Because that’s not the view from Planet Earth!

The overwhelming consensus on both is that they are innate with some fluidity.

Um, this is where I think that Mr. Hart shows his cards.  If he had read the study, he would note that’s exactly what the doctors have both stated. 

However, while biological sex is an innate feature of human beings, gender identity is a more elusive concept. (http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/conclusion-sexuality-and-gender

You, Mr. Hart, have just agreed with their findings.  That said, you have “sharply disagreed” with their finding that you can’t say that people are “born that way.” 

 Repackaging good science to contend otherwise does not establish a scientific dispute. But there is a controversy.

Wait, if we’re not “divided sharply” then there would be no controversy, right? I suppose he doesn’t consider all of the guys with fancy letters after their names scientific if they don’t agree with him.

It is between science and religious dogma.

They are not contrary, my friend.  Did you notice that neither Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer nor Dr. Paul R. McHugh are ordained?  How about Johns Hopkins hospital?  Surely that must be a religious institution because they won’t do sex change operations.  Face it.  You may not like it but actual people in the field of medicine, science, and psychology do not agree with you. It’s got to be hard for you when the science agrees with what the Church has said.  Ouch!

 Science is based on research that third parties review, primarily for methodology. Religious dogma, for the most part, is superstition based on ancient texts of dubious origin and provenance. “Studies” that torture science to draw conclusions that conform to religious dogma are just more superstition. There should be no controversy that children are best served by real science. Sadly that is not always the case.

I don’t think that Mr. Hart would know true science if it bit him in the behind.  True scientists take in data from all sorts of sources.  They don’t cherry pick. They look for studies that show good statistical methodology.   Like I said, reasonably sure that he didn’t read the study before he started flapping his gums.  I’d like for him to show where the good doctors ignored science.  Until he’s ready to do so, instead of throwing out conjecture, he should just shut the heck up on the good archbishop who has clearly done his due diligence in reading the study.