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”.

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

 

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?

 

 

The Catholic Church Thinks We Deserve Better!

When I started writing in the blogosphere, it was simply a way for me to say what many others were thinking – a way to vent and give my family a little break from my ranting.  I never really thought anyone would read it, but I’m very thankful it’s turned out the way it did.  I’ve “met” some amazing people around the world and I’d like to talk about one guy in particular.  He’s a FAR better writer than I will ever be, and his incredible patience and charity in the face of adversity amazes me.  He’s one of the main reasons I give Fr. James Martin, SJ, any attention.  Honestly, Fr. Martin doesn’t affect my family much, if at all, but his actions do affect my friends and many I meet.  He has injured so many people, body and soul, that the mom in me just can’t stand for it.  He and his cronies are predators of souls and I will continue to repeat that as long as it is so.  I hope my little voice over here annoys him like a thousand flea bites.

So, on to my amazing friend, “Thomas from Michigan.”  I have asked his permission to reblog a comment he made.  Why?  Because he nails it.  He’s got “street cred” and should carry far more weight than I can in the arena of same-sex attraction (SSA).  Go ahead, liberals, try and tell him he doesn’t have a clue.  By the way clergy, if you’d like some advice from him on ministering to people suffering from SSA, I’ll gladly put you in touch.  (FYI, I made that last comment without consultation.  Thomas is probably cringing as I throw him under the bus!  Sorry, Thomas, I’ve just got this idea that people like you are going to save the Church.)

Let me set the stage for you…

I have a long time dissenting reader.  I have to say, though, I really do love her.  I suspect that annoys the heck out of her, but I realize she’s a product of her lack of Catholic education.  I’m a little tweaked that she was robbed.  Anyways, here’s one of her comments on my last post, Open Rebellion Coming to a Church Near You:

OMM, I genuinely want to know why you and the others here are afraid of gays and their lifestyle being accepted by some in the church. How does it affect you? Do you think your children will catch it? Do you speak out as loudly against murderers, adulterers (Trump), thieves, etc. Maybe you do, I just don’t see it in your blog.

(She completely points out she’s missed quite a few of my posts but, whatever.)

Here’s the super-important part of “Thomas from Michigan’s” reply (emphasis mine – please go to link for full exchange, although there wasn’t a reply to Thomas from our liberal friend, because there was NOTHING she could say about it.):

The Holy Mother Church loves all of her children–even me. For nearly a decade, I was out and proud. (Nearly a decade has passed since that chapter of my life closed.) I was quite hostile to any religion that didn’t approve of my behavior. I was the president of a social group for gay men over the age of forty. I can’t even remember all of the sexual partners I had–and I was considered a bit of a prude. I especially enjoyed hooking up with men who were in what they themselves described as “committed relationships.” I regularly made fun of those who attended Dignity’s Mass. I also got three different STDs (sexually-transmitted diseases), kind of like getting three prizes in one box of Cracker Jacks.

This is the lifestyle you appear to think the Church should accept: sodomy, fellatio, promiscuity, sexually-transmitted diseases, and significantly shortened lifespans. The Catholic Church thinks we deserve better.

Biggest mic drop EVER!  THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THINKS WE DESERVE BETTER!  It’s so simple, people.  Fr. Martin can spin it all he wants, but this should be the central message from our Church to combat his stupidity.  How about something like:

We don’t want your  death – spiritual and/or physical. The Catholic Church wants better for you!

Of course, the same message applies to all of us.  The Church wants to help us conquer sin because She wants better for us!  Duh!

Thomas continues:

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” includes homosexual behavior in its discussion of the Sixth Commandment–the one that says adultery is wrong. The fact that many in our culture–and Church–seem to think other forms of adultery are acceptable doesn’t mean they are. All baptized persons are commanded to be chaste. The fact that some priests want to give some people an exemption doesn’t change that.

That segues nicely into this! For those of you who don’t follow my Facebook page, I shared this video from Jason Jones, which perfectly explains to my liberal friend where we faithful Catholics are coming from (can you believe I’ve finally figured out how to embed these?!).  While I’m not sure Fr. Martin is a “New Donatist”, this sums up the feeling the faithful Catholics have about Fr. Martin.:

+


We are all in this together and we’re supposed to help each other struggle on!

Onto Fr. Martin’s lapse of sanity this week.  He’s LIVID with Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield.  If Martin is livid with you, I’m sure you deserve a hearty “Kudos!”, Bishop Paprocki!  I’m reasonably sure it was not your intent, but you know you must have done something right.  Fr. Martin is TERRIFIED that other bishops will follow suit and really drive home the deadliness of sin. He can’t have that!

martinpropracki 

As you can see, Fr. Martin is going to use the whole kitchen sink approach in the hopes you will get lost and the pile-on will make Bishop Paprocki look really mean ol’ guy.  Sorry, Fr. Martin.  Bishop Paprocki follows Canon Law, unlike some people I know.

Let’s look at it, shall we?

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P4C.HTM
CHAPTER II.
THOSE TO WHOM ECCLESIASTICAL FUNERALS MUST BE GRANTED OR DENIED

Can.  1183 §1. When it concerns funerals, catechumens must be counted among the Christian faithful.

  • 2. The local ordinary can permit children whom the parents intended to baptize but who died before baptism to be given ecclesiastical funerals.
  • 3. In the prudent judgment of the local ordinary, ecclesiastical funerals can be granted to baptized persons who are enrolled in a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial community unless their intention is evidently to the contrary and provided that their own minister is not available.

Can.  1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:

1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;

2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;

3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

  • 2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.

So, as we see, Fr. Martin’s nice little list is ridiculous.  Does he have a clue what the distinction of “manifest” means?  You bet he does! He’s just trying to use a bit of smoke and mirrors to make you miss that one.  If you’ll notice, Bishop Paprocki said that signs of repentance negated exclusion.  Nice try, Fr. Martin.  So, yeah, the person who announces to the world “I use birth control even though the Church says it’s a mortal sin! Look at me!” probably shouldn’t be getting the funeral in the Catholic Church.  Why?  Because they are manifest sinners who are causing public scandal.  Duh.  Mary and Joe Anonymous are birth controlling Mass attendees but don’t go around shoving their sin in everyone’s face?  Do you really think they are going to be denied?

Fr. Martin knows all of this.  He’s not uneducated in the matter.  He’s just hoping to confuse all of those who might not be.  Like I’ve said before, he’s a predator.

So, Father Martin, tell me exactly how Bishop Paprocki’s guidelines go against Canon Law.  Oh, that’s right.  They don’t.  And, by the way, BISHOP PAPROCKI IS A CANON LAWYER and you are not, Father.  I just Googled, and Ed Peters, of course, has already destroyed you and your ilk here.  Please, good people, share this one: https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/bp-paprockis-norms-on-same-sex-marriage/

Let’s look at your other insinuation, Fr. Martin.  “Unjust discrimination” my foot. I missed the part in Catholic teaching where every social ill must be addressed by the local bishop on the same day.  The reasons these directions have to be issued these days is because of people, especially priests like you, who are making clear teachings murky.  I think what you fail to understand is that threat of exclusion from the Sacraments is a remedy for the sick soul. Actually, I’m pretty sure you do understand. The problem is, Fr. Martin, you are encouraging the illness.  It is supposed to urge them to repent before it’s too late, but with people like you running around telling them they are being persecuted instead of loved, they’re dying without repentance.

I’m just going to hit on one last thing that hit last night before this “went to press.”  The Gaffigans.  Not really sure what the heck they were thinking with this:

gaffigan

I’m so proud of my gay kids. Happy #pride2017 #pridenyc

How could a family who seems to have a grasp of the Church’s teachings on Natural and Moral Law in the area of being open to children be so wrong on this one is beyond me.  And how about just a little science?  Are Jim and Jeannie really cheering on the dramatically increased diseases found in the “gay lifestyle” they are cheering? Are they fine with encouraging behavior that brings early death to so many?  Let’s just take a look at a few of these beauties:

Anal Cancer
Chlamydia trachomatis
Cryptosporidium
Giardia lamblia
Herpes simplex virus
Human immunodeficiency virus
Human papilloma virus
Isospora belli
Microsporidia
Gonorrhea
Viral hepatitis types B & C
Syphilis
hemorrhoids
anal fissures
anorectal trauma
retained foreign bodies
“Gay Bowel” syndrome
Hepatitis A
Giardia lamblia
Entamoeba histolytica
Epstein-Barr virus
Neisseria meningitides
Shigellosis
Salmonellosis
Pediculosis
scabies
Campylobacter
typhoid
HHV-8
incompetence of the anal sphincter
Kaposi’s sarcoma
Bacterial vaginosis
Mental illness
(and many others)

But love is love, right? Hello!  Typhoid and Giardia are now falling under sexually transmitted diseases.  What the what, Jim and Jeannie????  Care enough to talk reality?

If anyone is going to try and make yourselves feel better  by bringing up the fact that there is a presence of some of these diseases/problems in the heterosexual community, save it.  DO THE RESEARCH!  Having one or any combo of these is the NORM in the “gay lifestyle.” Some are most certainly found in promiscuous heterosexuals, too, which is one reason why the Church is against that, too.

How about we stop calling it “pride” and start calling it “dangerous”?  That’s the reality.  We haven’t even gotten to the spiritual aspect of the “gay lifestyle.”  I was just called a hater last night by our resident liberal friend.  Really?  Look at the above list!  Do you want this for your friends??? I look at people like my friend Thomas and I get very mad at the Fr. Martins of the world who encourage the disease, moral decay, and spiritual death under the guise of “love.”  Peddle your rusty, rotted bridge somewhere else, Fr. Martin.

If you are a person suffering from same-sex attractions, Catholic or not, please look further into the reality of the Church’s love for you.  Fr. Martin – I can’t say this any more clearly – is trying to aid in stealing your soul.  The Bishop Paprockis of the world are the ones who truly love and care for you.  As Jason Jones points out, we should all be struggling together.  Don’t fall for the pandering of Father Martin and company.  They have an agenda and their main aim is NOT your physical or mental well-being or for you to live an eternal life with Our Lord.  THE CHURCH THINKS YOU DESERVE BETTER!

Pray for Fr. Martin.  The Church wants better for him too.  Hopefully he’ll see that and struggle along with the rest of us.

Dubious or Dubia?

This was a rather disappointing read from Crux.  https://cruxnow.com/analysis/2016/12/11/anti-amoris-critics-cross-dissent-church-must-move/

The anti-Francis revolt spearheaded and legitimated by four mostly retired cardinals has acquired a newly vicious tone. A line has been crossed.

Anti-Francis?  Says who?  Let’s say my kids say something to the effect of “Dad, you said x.  Bobby thinks it means this and I think it means that.  Which is it?” Does this mean that they are anti-Dad?  Please.  Can we just admit that there is some big-time confusion?  You’ve got bishops saying “Come, active sinners, to Communion!” and others saying “We long for you to fully embrace the teaching of the Church and to repent so you can receive Communion!”  Two very different interpretations and only one of them can be right.  My money is one that supports the permanency of marriage.

I don’t just mean the line of good manners and respect. That was crossed some time ago, when the four cardinals made public their letter challenging Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and threatened him with a kind of public censure. Since then the tone of disrespect and contempt of some writers who back them has plumbed shocking new lows.

Bitter much?  How about we actually look at the text of the 4 Cardinals’ letter and the dubia which is so woefully absent.  I will actually dissect this down below to just to make sure people see it.  It’s not really all it’s been portrayed to be, which is probably why some have so much trouble quoting it. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-text-and-explanatory-notes-of-cardinals-questions-on-amoris-laetitia

But far more important than tone, the critiques have crossed a frontier into a territory marked “dissent”.

Whoa there, buddy!  That is a HUGE accusation.  Again, let’s back it up with some quotes.

Dissent, to be clear, is not the same as disagreement. Catholics often disagree with this or that decision or statement of a pope, object to his theology, or don’t share his priorities. And pope Francis is not only relaxed about disagreement, but positively encourages it.

Dissent is different. Dissent is to disagreement what disbelief is to doubt.

Dissent is, essentially, to question the legitimacy of a pope’s rule. It is to cast into doubt that the development of the Church under this Successor of St. Peter is a fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit.

And, again, look at the dang text.  For you to put words into the Cardinals’ mouth that they didn’t utter (and actually dispelled) is quite, well, awful.

Dissent is nothing new. At the time of the Second Vatican Council, the dissenting party set its face against its pastoral direction, as well as key developments in liturgy, religious freedom and ecumenism.

Under John Paul II, on the other hand, the dissenters were convinced he had betrayed the Council. They argued for women priests, an end to mandatory celibacy and an opening in areas such as contraception.

Now, under Francis, the dissenting party opposes the synod and its major fruit, Amoris Laetitia.

PROVE IT!

Because dissenters almost always end up looking and sounding like each other, the four cardinals and their supporters look every day more like those lobbies under the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI calling for liberal reforms.

Oh yeah.  Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Cupich are two peas in a pod.

Catholics know that going against the pope is a serious matter, and so when they dissent they adopt a regretful, pained tone that stresses conscience and the impossibility of betraying whatever they have absolutized – their idea of unchanging tradition, say, or their version of the Second Vatican Council.

Or…  Maybe they are pained at the confusion flying about ALL OVER THE PLACE!  Please.  Are we really going to say that every “dubia” put forth was done by a bunch of dissenters?  Here’s an earth shattering bomb shell.  Dubias are not uncommon and they certainly don’t equal dissent. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2016/11/24/submitting-dubia-is-a-standard-part-of-church-life-its-not-unreasonable-to-expect-a-clear-answer/

What they have in common is that they are almost always lay, educated and from the wealthy world or the wealthy parts of the developing world. They are mostly intellectuals and lawyers and teachers and writers who put great store in their reason.

Wait! “It’s a bunch of rich, educated white dudes!” is really your argument, Mr. Ivereigh?  Personally, I put a great store in all of these men.  Do you have some evidence of why we should feel the contrary?  Just conjecture, huh?

What to them seems entirely self-evident – arguments, logically developed from absolute first principles, backed by a few emeritus bishops, building to a case that cries out to be answered – almost always meets with silence from Rome. At this point there is a reaction of anger and stupefaction which over time coagulates into suppurating resentment.

Projecting much?

Some will break off, claiming the one true Church lies elsewhere or nowhere, but most resentfully stay, “clinging onto my faith by my fingertips” as they like to say, or “still a Catholic – despite the pope’s best efforts to drive me out.”

Wouldn’t it be best to wait to see if that happens, rather they to pre-accuse some of schism?

Clinging to the pain of their betrayal, they take refuge in their progressive or traditionalist liturgies and incandescent websites, firing off letters and petitions from lobbies and associations, vainly demanding, as “faithful Catholics” that the pope do this, that, or the other.”

Oh those nasty bitter clingers!  Who is this guy?!  Obama? I’ve never seen any of these gentlemen play the martyr card and at least one of them probably could.  Still, they are men who know their history and have spoken about the ills of schism.  In fact, I know of at least one who has said he will have no part in it. 

But even as they insist that there is a debate to be had, a case to answer, a matter to be settled, the train is leaving the station, and they are left on the platform, waving their arms.

Yeah, you might want to pay a little more attention to Catholic news.  They’re hardly being left behind.  They’re right in the thick of it and many are making the clarifications to their own diocese that these bishops are asking the Holy Father to give to the universal Church.

The Second Vatican Council set the Church on a path of pastoral conversion. John Paul II united the Church around an understanding of the Council based on a hermeneutic of continuity. In both cases, there was strong resistance, but most Catholics recognized the development as legitimate, as Peter acting for the good of the Church, as a doctrinally faithful response to the signs of the times.

The same is true now. Most Catholics understand the synod, and Amoris Laetitia, as an inspired response to our times, a means both of rebuilding marriage and of helping to bandage those wounded by the failure of marriage.

How are priests running around telling divorced and re-married couples to decide for themselves if they can receive communion when they are still considered married by the Church (or the complete misrepresentation of “internal forum”) a good thing for them, the teaching on the permancy of marriage, etc.?

This is why Francis can no more respond to the cardinals’ dubia than Benedict XVI could answer a petition to ordain women as deacons: because the Catholic Church has its own mechanisms of development, based on consultation and spiritual discernment.

Well, there’s apples and oranges if I ever saw it.

Put another way, whether it is a conclave or a synod, the Catholic Church likes to lobby-proof its deliberations, precisely to allow the Holy Spirit space to breathe.

Oh tell me, Amazing Carnac, how is it that you are so sure that the presentation of a dubia is not inspired by the Holy Spirit?  Hmmmm…  And as far as “lobby-proofing” deliberations goes…  Did you notice what in heaven’s name happened at the actual synod???

Francis cannot answer the cardinals directly  – although he has done indirectly countless times – without undermining that action of the Holy Spirit present in the most thorough process of ecclesial discernment since Vatican II.

I love the omniscient tone he’s taking.

As he last week told the Belgian Christian weekly Tertio, everything in Amoris Laetitia – including the controversial Chapter 8 – received a two-thirds majority in a synod that was notoriously frank, open and drawn out.

Um, no.  I knew this must be somehow Cardinal Cupich related!  Please, the 2/3 is not exactly true, as Edward Penten points out:  http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/synod-fathers-rejected-communion-for-remarried-divorcees :

Controversial passages never passed

But defenders of the Dubia argue that Cardinal Cupich’s comment that the controversial propositions in question were “voted on by two-thirds of the bishops” is especially problematic.

It is often forgotten, they point out, that despite the strenuous efforts by the Synod secretariat and others to manipulate and jostle the synod fathers into accepting the most controversial propositions (allegations detailed in my book The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?), none of the three most controversial propositions managed to obtain a two-thirds majority during the first, Extraordinary Synod on the Family, in October 2014. 

One of them was a proposition relating to the “Kasper proposal” of admitting the divorced and remarried to holy Communion after a period of penitence. That failed to pass, and only a proposition calling for “careful reflection and respectful accompaniment” of remarried divorcees made it through.

Back to Ivereigh:

Roma locuta, causa finita, as Catholics used to say. And the case is even more closed this time, because it is the universal Church which has spoken, not just the pope.

To respond to the cardinals would be tantamount to rewinding the clock, to refuting the very process of the synod, in order to rehash arguments that the synod settled, if not resolved.

And now we have to go back to the fact that dubias come about all of the time.  Are they “turning back the clock?”  No!  They’re asking questions.  Again, read the dubia!  What is so horribly awful about these questions? Do you think the Holy Spirit has a problem with clarity?

And as far as “Roma locuta, causa finita” goes…The problem is with the interpretation some are giving.  GET A CLUE!

Let’s remember what happened. At the start of the two-year synod process, there were two groups wanting to resolve the question of access to the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried one way or the other.

One group wanted to open up an Orthodox-type pathway back to the sacraments, the other wished to restate and reaffirm the teaching and discipline of Familiaris Consortio (John Paul II’s 1980 exhortation, which on that topic calls for discernment of different situations, but precludes any return to the sacraments unless the couple promises to live together as brother and sister.)

So, you think it right that a couple not lawfully married in the eyes of the Church should… what? A) Conform to the teachings of the Church regarding marriage and the Eucharist or B) not integrate into the Church and receive Communion without guilt?  When did Familiaris Consortio become a bad thing and are we saying that Amoris Laetitia is opposed to it???

Faced with that yes/no question, of precisely the sort that the cardinals have put to Francis, the synod rejected a yes/no answer.  The synod affirmed the general principles of FC but developed John Paul’s teaching on the discernment of situations while refusing to impose the same blanket ban on readmission in all cases.

What the what???  We’re changing the teachings on the permanency of marriage and the sin of adultery? 

The synod decided, by a two-thirds majority, that they wanted both to preserve the doctrine of indissolubility in the current discipline of the Eucharist while at the same time creating sufficient pastoral latitude in the application of the Church’s law to allow pastors to respond to situations where there was a subjective lack of culpability.

OK, I think we’ve already shown the 2/3 angle is a crock.

Which situations? AL doesn’t specify, which has allowed the four cardinals and their supporters to claim the document is ambiguous and confusing. But how could it spell it out, without becoming a manual of casuistry?

The whole point is that there is no new law, no new doctrine, no new norms, because the synod determined that there should not be. “There is no general norm that can cover all the particular cases,” as Cardinal Christoph Schönborn says, adding: “The general norm is very clear; and it is equally clear that it cannot cover all the cases exhaustively.”

So nothing is new but we have a whole lot of priests and Cardinal Cupich followers out there claiming there is.  I mean, they don’t even have the definition of “internal forum” correct.  This is all the cardinals want.  Clarity.  

And that’s the heart of the matter. The synod kept the law – how could it not? It’s the law of Jesus – but defended a latitude in its application, recognizing, as did Jesus, that the law is necessary but insufficient, and has to be applied in such a way that respects the particularity of each person’s story.

First, I believe he’s equating the synod with the confusion surrounding the document that came out of it.  The Church has, on many occasion, clarified when there is confusion.  Heck, even further documents have come from such confusing times, such as Humanae Vitae.

Amoris Laetitia took the synod’s settlement – forged, by all accounts, in the white heat of the German group – and asks the Church to create mechanisms of accompaniment that will allow for this discernment.

It says: Let’s hear this particular couple’s history and see where sin has created blockages and wounds, and where God’s grace is needed.

And on the way, what will happen? It might mean ending a relationship and returning to a valid marriage; it might lead to an annulment; in some cases it might lead to re-integration into a parish, but not the sacraments; in some cases it might require living as brother and sister, and a return to the sacraments.

Does Mr. Ivereigh seriously think this is what’s being put forth by Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, half of the Germans, etc., etc., etc.?  Holy cow, man!  Where are you living?  I know you’re British but you can’t honestly think this is what’s being put forward as integration and “internal forum,” can you???  Please, walk among the liberal dioceses and publications like America or NCR and see what’s going on and why the dubia was so needed!  It has nothing to do with “correcting the Pope” and everything to do with correcting the idiots saying that people can live as man and wife in invalid marriages!  Do you think there’s a problem between the Cardinals and your three proposed outcomes???

And in some, rare cases it might lead, yes, to being admitted to Communion where the lack of subjective culpability is beyond doubt, where, for example, an annulment is impossible, where the marriage is irrecoverable, where there are children by a new union, where a conversion has taken place in a person that creates a new state, and where the notion of ‘adultery’ simply fails to capture a reality. (Father Thomas Reese has suggested the kinds of distinctions Pope John Paul II had in mind in Familiaris Consortio.)

Fr. Reese, SJ???  I really, really should have known!  If this is what the Holy Father is saying, why are we not quoting him?  I mean, he gave a pretty lengthy answer on a plane and failed to mention it: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/fresh-start-pope-calls-for-integration-of-divorced-into-church-life.cfm

One bishop in South America whom I recently interviewed, when I asked about Chapter Eight of Amoris in an interview, kindly but firmly cut me short. “I can’t talk about that,” he said. “Every case is different.”

There speaks a pastor. There speaks the synod. There speaks the pope.

Wait!  You seem to assume that this bishop agrees with the Pope.  What if he’s actually disagreeing with him?  Again, this is why the dubia.  I guess I need to say it repeatedly.

The one message I’ve had from other bishops and cardinals I have spoken to this year in preparation for a new book is that what AL calls for can only be grasped by a pastor.

Only one who understands the complexities of the workings of sin and grace in a person’s life grasps the paradox: that to insist on the universal, equal application of the law in all circumstances is to contradict God’s supreme law of mercy, which puts the individual before – not above, but before – the law.

Bahahaha!  What?!

The four cardinals, with their heavily loaded binary questions carefully crafted to exclude precisely that paradox, reject the synod’s settlement of this question, and in so doing they reject the validity of the Holy Spirit’s action.

They are trying to return to the logic of the liberal media and the hysterical pro-family groups who descended on the first synod to defend Christian teaching on marriage. Yet the synod rejected that logic in favor of an ancient tradition of pastoral theology.

Oh brother.  Not too many mischaracterizations here. Possibly slander? Defamation? And a whole big dose of “Who the heck are you?!”

To the four cardinals, three of whom wrote a book prior to the first synod insisting that nothing could change, this of course looks like capitulation. (Cardinal Burke, it is worth remembering, was removed as head of the Vatican’s highest court because he rejected any reform to the annulment process – a reform sanctioned by the synod – on the grounds that it would undermine marriage).

And they will continue to see it that way.

He seems very insistent on putting words into peoples’ mouths.

So, too, will the lay elite intellectuals and journalists who continue to scream that the entire edifice of Catholic teaching on indissolubility will unravel as a result, and construct elaborate arguments that AL cannot possibly say what it says.

Um, first of all, no, it can’t unravel.  What it can be is ignored, twisted, and simply lied about by liberals.  Silly me.  When has that ever happened?!  I mean, it’s not like that’s happened to the Church’s teaching on birth control or anything. 

It is not easy for young converts fleeing the Anglican doctrinal muddle in search of rock-like objectivity, and who saw the synod through that prism. Nor is it easy for the culture warriors, who are all too happy to look away from the pain of people’s shattered marriages to focus on the defense of the institution of marriage faced with divorce and the hook-up culture.

Hello????  I think you misunderstand why we’ve been having mass Anglican conversions as of late.  They’ve come because their hierarchy has muddied the waters and they like clarity and tradition.

Next, who is looking away from shattered marriages?  In fact, I’d have to say this is exactly what the four Cardinals are trying to prevent.  It’s not one or the other.  You can try to defend the institution AND help those already harmed by the nightmare one or both spouses have brought to the marriage or the failure of the liberal Church to equip the couples to survive life by teaching them beauty and permanency of marriage and sexuality.  Does Ivereigh really think simply continuing the clean up after the disaster is sufficient?

And it is not easily grasped by those Pope Francis calls the “doctors of the law” in whom fear of being swamped or contaminated by a world of relativism and sin is so great that it becomes the single driving focus of their attention.

They suspect that Amoris undermines the affirmation of objective truth in Veritatis Splendor (which it doesn’t, but it certainly shifts the focus away from the defense of truth to the defense of the way Grace works in a soul.)

OK, if anyone says relativism isn’t a problem in the Church of today, I’d say they are the ones not quite in grasp of reality.  Ivereigh seems to continue to insist that he knows what’s driving the four Cardinals despite the fact they have never said anything of the like.

Many are good people, clever people, faithful Catholics, who want to defend the Church and promote the Good and the True. Some I consider friends. And as their friend, I have to tell them that in their anxiety and fear they have been tempted down the road of dissent, rejecting a Spirit-filled process of ecclesial discernment.

Wow!  Thanks, dude.  Clearly you are far more in tune with God’s wishes than any of us.  You are really in touch with the Holy Spirit and the rest of us are just completely lost! (Sarcasm alert.)

(They argue, naturally, that the synod was ‘manipulated’ or ‘steamrolled’, and therefore merely political. But these are not arguments, but stories dissenters need to tell each other.)

Thousands of people he’s never met but he know their needs.

More importantly, as their friend, I have to warn them: the train has left the station, the Church is moving on. And they will end up like the betrayed progressives of the John Paul era, locked into a kind of resentment that made them poor heralds of the Gospel.

MMMmmm… probably not because they know history and they know popes come and they know popes go.  They know the gates of hell cannot prevail but they will do as much as possible to help people through confusing times.

Just last week, the Congregation for the Clergy released a comprehensive new format for seminary formation. The priest of the future, formed by Amoris Laetitia, will learn to walk with people “with a disposition of serene openness and attentive accompaniment in all situations, even those that are most complex, showing the beauty and demands of Gospel truth without falling into legalistic or rigorist obsessions.”

I’ve been busy and honestly, I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about but I have googled the whole quote, parts of the quote and I can only find it from that article.  Feel free to shoot me a link and I’ll comment more. I’m sure it must be out there because he used quotes and all.

Long after the cardinals’ dubia are no more than a footnote in the history of this papacy, long after Ross Douthat’s predicted schism from the columns of the New York Times has failed to materialize, the next generation of priests will be applying the magnificent teaching of Amoris Laetitia, and the noisy, angry strains of dissent will have faded into a distant memory.

I  have to admit, I like this guy’s style.  He just waves a verbal wand and “Poof!” it’s a reality.  People are irrelevant and dissenters!  I mean, I half expected him to say something like “Arent’ they cute?!” or some other smarmy comment.  Somehow, however, I don’t see the four cardinals bowing to the pat on the head he’s giving them.  He might have wanted to start with someone a little closer to his league, albeit still out of his league.  But seriously, an A for effort!

I, personally, think the clergy will be much better off with clarity.

Francis expected protest, especially from this quartet of red hats, and is saddened by it.  But he is not alarmed or shocked. He sees it, as Father Antonio Spadaro told Crux, as the outworking of a Spirit-filled process.

Wait! I thought he was already punishing these guys.  Which is it?  They’re not relevant enough to think about or they’re the biggest of scoundrels?

He knows that the dissenters have dug their trench, and many will stay firmly in it, glowering while the rest of the Church develops a new pastoral strategy for marriage and family. But Francis also knows that this is their choice, which is the choice of every dissenter.

You mean this rest of the Church? https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/12/11/lincoln-bishop-says-no-communion-divorcedremarried/

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/catholic-teaching-on-marriage-and-communion-is-unambiguous

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/us-bishops-guidelines-no-communion-sexually-active-divorced-remarri-0

http://www.sj-r.com/entertainmentlife/20160715/bishop-thomas-john-paprocki-catholics-marriage-and-holy-communion

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/09/22/bishop-says-amoris-doesnt-permit-communion-divorcedremarried/

https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2016/09/17/no-simple-path-communion-divorceremarried-canadians-warn/

https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/news/2015/10/final-synod-document-strongly-backs-church-teaching-beauty-of-family-life/

Oh, yeah.  I guess these guys are just a sampling of all the bitter clingers who missed the train.

And he knows that, in order to be faithful to the Holy Spirit’s action, his own choice can only be to ignore the cardinals and press on.

“Make it so Number One!”  Sigh.

OK, I’m posting the text of the dubia in its entirety since so many people are flapping their gums without bothering to quote a dang bit of it.  Prepare for debates and give it a good read.  If you’ve read it, go ahead and get to wrapping those Christmas presents!

  1. A Necessary Foreword

The sending of the letter to His Holiness Pope Francis by four cardinals derives from a deep pastoral concern.

We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the Church. We have noted that even within the episcopal college there are contrasting interpretations of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.

The great Tradition of the Church teaches us that the way out of situations like this is recourse to the Holy Father, asking the Apostolic See to resolve those doubts, which are the cause of disorientation and confusion.

Ours is, therefore, an act of justice and charity.

Of justice: With our initiative, we profess that the Petrine ministry is the ministry of unity, and that to Peter, to the Pope, belongs the service of confirming in the faith.

Of charity: We want to help the Pope to prevent divisions and conflicts in the Church, asking him to dispel all ambiguity.

We have also carried out a specific duty. According to the Code of Canon Law (349) the cardinals, even taken individually, are entrusted with the task of helping the Pope to care for the universal Church.

The Holy Father has decided not to respond. We have interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection and the discussion, calmly and with respect.

And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.

We hope that no one will choose to interpret the matter according to a “progressive/conservative” paradigm. That would be completely off the mark. We are deeply concerned about the true good of souls, the supreme law of the Church, and not about promoting any form of politics in the Church.

We hope that no one will judge us unjustly, as adversaries of the Holy Father and people devoid of mercy. What we have done and are doing derives from the deep collegial affection that unites us to the Pope, and from an impassioned concern for the good of the faithful.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Joachim Meisner

 

  1. The Letter of the Four Cardinals to the Pope

To His Holiness Pope Francis

and for the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller

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

 

Rome, September 19, 2016

  1. The Dubia

It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

  1. Explanatory Note of the Four Cardinals

CONTEXT

Dubia (from the Latin: “doubts”) are formal questions brought before the Pope and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking for clarifications on particular issues concerning doctrine or practice.

What is peculiar about these inquiries is that they are worded in a way that requires a “Yes” or “No” answer, without theological argumentation. This way of addressing the Apostolic See is not an invention of our own; it is an age-old practice.

Let’s get to what is concretely at stake.

 

Upon the publication of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia on love in the family, a debate has arisen particularly around its eighth chapter. Here specifically, Paragraphs 300-305 have been the object of divergent interpretations.

For many — bishops, priests, faithful — these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union, while others, admitting the lack of clarity or even the ambiguity of the passages in question, nonetheless argue that these same pages can be read in continuity with the previous magisterium and do not contain a modification in the Church’s practice and teaching.

Motivated by a pastoral concern for the faithful, four cardinals have sent a letter to the Holy Father under the form of dubia, hoping to receive clarity, given that doubt and uncertainty are always highly detrimental to pastoral care.

The fact that interpreters come to different conclusions is also due to divergent ways of understanding the Christian moral life. In this sense, what is at stake in Amoris Laetitia is not only the question of whether or not the divorced who have entered into a new union can — under certain circumstances — be readmitted to the sacraments.

Rather, the interpretation of the document also implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life.

Thus, while the first question of the dubia concerns a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, the other four questions touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.

THE QUESTIONS

Doubt No. 1:

It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance, and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

Question 1 makes particular reference to Amoris Laetitia, 305, and to Footnote 351. While Note 351 specifically speaks of the sacraments of penance and Communion, it does not mention the divorced and civilly remarried in this context, nor does the main text.

Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 84, already contemplated the possibility of admitting the divorced and civilly remarried to the sacraments. It mentions three conditions:

The persons concerned cannot separate without committing new injustices (for instance, they may be responsible for the upbringing of their children);

They take upon themselves the commitment to live according to the truth of their situation, that is, to cease living together as if they were husband and wife (more uxorio), abstaining from those acts that are proper to spouses;

They avoid giving scandal (that is, they avoid giving the appearance of sin so as to avoid the danger of leading others into sin).

The conditions mentioned by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and by the subsequent documents recalled will immediately appear reasonable once we remember that the marital union is not just based on mutual affection and that sexual acts are not just one activity among others that couples engage in.

Sexual relations are for marital love. They are something so important, so good and so precious that they require a particular context, the context of marital love. Hence, not only the divorced living in a new union need to abstain, but also everyone who is not married. For the Church, the Sixth Commandment — “Do not commit adultery” — has always covered any exercise of human sexuality that is not marital, i.e., any kind of sexual relations other than those engaged in with one’s rightful spouse.

It would seem that admitting to Communion those of the faithful who are separated or divorced from their rightful spouse and who have entered a new union in which they live with someone else as if they were husband and wife would mean for the Church to teach by her practice one of the following affirmations about marriage, human sexuality and the nature of the sacraments:

A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married. However, people who are not married can under certain circumstances legitimately engage in acts of sexual intimacy.

 A divorce dissolves the marriage bond. People who are not married cannot legitimately engage in sexual acts. The divorced and remarried are legitimate spouses and their sexual acts are lawful marital acts.

A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married. People who are not married cannot legitimately engage in sexual acts, so that the divorced and civilly remarried live in a situation of habitual, public, objective and grave sin. However, admitting persons to the Eucharist does not mean for the Church to approve their public state of life; the faithful can approach the Eucharistic table even with consciousness of grave sin, and receiving absolution in the sacrament of penance does not always require the purpose of amending one’s life. The sacraments, therefore, are detached from life: Christian rites and worship are on a completely different sphere than the Christian moral life. 

Doubt No. 2:

After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

The second question regards the existence of so-called intrinsically evil acts. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, claims that one can “qualify as morally evil according to its species … the deliberate choice of certain kinds of behavior or specific acts, apart from a consideration of the intention for which the choice is made or the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned.”

 

Thus, the encyclical teaches that there are acts that are always evil, which are forbidden by moral norms that bind without exception (“moral absolutes”). These moral absolutes are always negative, that is, they tell us what we should not do. “Do not kill.” “Do not commit adultery.” Only negative norms can bind without exception.

According to Veritatis Splendor, with intrinsically evil acts no discernment of circumstances or intentions is necessary. Uniting oneself to a woman who is married to another is and remains an act of adultery, that as such is never to be done, even if by doing so an agent could possibly extract precious secrets from a villain’s wife so as to save the kingdom (what sounds like an example from a James Bond movie has already been contemplated by St. Thomas Aquinas, De Malo, q. 15, a. 1). John Paul II argues that the intention (say, “saving the kingdom”) does not change the species of the act (here: “committing adultery”), and that it is enough to know the species of the act (“adultery”) to know that one must not do it.

Doubt No. 3:

After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

In Paragraph 301, Amoris Laetitia recalls that: “The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations.” And it concludes that “hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

In its “Declaration,” of June 24, 2000, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts seeks to clarify Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy Communion.” The Pontifical Council’s “Declaration” argues that this canon is applicable also to faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried. It spells out that “grave sin” has to be understood objectively, given that the minister of the Eucharist has no means of judging another person’s subjective imputability.

Thus, for the “Declaration,” the question of the admission to the sacraments is about judging a person’s objective life situation and not about judging that this person is in a state of mortal sin. Indeed, subjectively he or she may not be fully imputable or not be imputable at all.

Along the same lines, in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 37, St. John Paul II recalls that “the judgment of one’s state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one’s conscience.” Hence, the distinction referred to by Amoris Laetitia between the subjective situation of mortal sin and the objective situation of grave sin is indeed well established in the Church’s teaching.

John Paul II, however, continues by insisting that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved.” He then reiterates the teaching of Canon 915 mentioned above.

Question 3 of the Dubia, hence, would like to clarify whether, even after Amoris Laetitia, it is still possible to say that persons who habitually live in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, such as the commandment against adultery, theft, murder or perjury, live in objective situations of grave habitual sin, even if, for whatever reasons, it is not certain that they are subjectively imputable for their habitual transgressions.

Doubt No. 4:

After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

In Paragraph 302, Amoris Laetitia stresses that on account of mitigating circumstances “a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person involved.” The Dubia point to the Church’s teaching as expressed in John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor, according to which circumstances or good intentions can never turn an intrinsically evil act into one that is excusable or even good.

The question arises whether Amoris Laetitia, too, is agreed that any act that transgresses against God’s commandments, such as adultery, murder, theft or perjury, can never, on account of circumstances that mitigate personal responsibility, become excusable or even good.

Do these acts, which the Church’s Tradition has called bad in themselves and grave sins, continue to be destructive and harmful for anyone committing them in whatever subjective state of moral responsibility he may be?

Or could these acts, depending on a person’s subjective state and depending on the circumstances and intentions, cease to be injurious and become commendable or at least excusable?

Doubt No. 5:

After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

Amoris Laetitia, 303, states that “conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God.” The Dubia ask for a clarification of these affirmations, given that they are susceptible to divergent interpretations.

For those proposing the creative idea of conscience, the precepts of God’s law and the norm of the individual conscience can be in tension or even in opposition, while the final word should always go to conscience that ultimately decides about good and evil. According to Veritatis Splendor, 56, “on this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called ‘pastoral’ solutions contrary to the teaching of the magisterium, and to justify a ‘creative’ hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.”

In this perspective, it will never be enough for moral conscience to know “this is adultery,” or “this is murder,” in order to know that this is something one cannot and must not do.

Rather, one would also need to look at the circumstances or the intentions to know if this act could not, after all, be excusable or even obligatory (Question 4 of the Dubia). For these theories, conscience could indeed rightfully decide that, in a given case, God’s will for me consists in an act by which I transgress one of his commandments. “Do not commit adultery” is seen as just a general norm. In the here and now, and given my good intentions, committing adultery is what God really requires of me.  Under these terms, cases of virtuous adultery, lawful murder and obligatory perjury are at least conceivable.

This would mean to conceive of conscience as a faculty for autonomously deciding about good and evil and of God’s law as a burden that is arbitrarily imposed and that could at times be opposed to our true happiness.

However, conscience does not decide about good and evil. The whole idea of a “decision of conscience” is misleading. The proper act of conscience is to judge and not to decide. It says, “This is good.” “This is bad.” This goodness or badness does not depend on it. It acknowledges and recognizes the goodness or badness of an action, and for doing so, that is, for judging, conscience needs criteria; it is inherently dependent on truth.

God’s commandments are a most welcome help for conscience to get to know the truth and hence to judge verily. God’s commandments are the expression of the truth about our good, about our very being, disclosing something crucial about how to live life well. Pope Francis, too, expresses himself in these terms, when, in Amoris Laetitia, 295: “The law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception.”

Translation provided by the cardinal signatories

2015 Fishwrap of the Year

Good Christians, fear, for sinners here…except at NcR, apparently.  Sin and sinners fell off their radar a long time ago.

Well, vacation is over. We’re still enjoying the last of Christmas, but it’s back to work. I’m always hoping for a good old-fashioned Christmas miracle, but on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I sadly saw that National catholic Reporter is still operating in its “anything but Catholic” way. This little piece caught my eye a few days back, but it’s as nauseating as ever:

 

https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/editorial-our-persons-year-2015

Editorial: Our persons of the year for 2015

As we live through them, it is often difficult to recognize truly important, history-changing events, events that will touch future generations intimately and profoundly. Very likely, though, the U.S. Supreme Court decision of June 26, 2015, in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which found same-sex marriage a constitutional right, is one of those events.

“The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the 5-4 majority.

Catholic moral theologian Lisa Fullam was struck by “how strongly” the four principles and traditions the court cited as the foundation for its decision “echo Catholic doctrine on marriage.”

As the church formulates a response to this new reality, she suggested, “a good first step for Church leaders would be to applaud the Court’s decision in light of its overlap with Catholic values … and take note of the powerful spirit of love and commitment vivifying lesbian and gay marriages as well as straight marriages.”

Bahahahaha! It’s not surprising they found some “moral theologian” who agreed with their position under a Jesuit rock at Santa Clara. She, of course, is not unknown in these parts. The bats have not been totally cleared from the belfry around here. Not only is she a little sketchy on the “Catholic doctrine on marriage,” she’s also a little sketchy on history. It’s hardly a “new reality”. It’s older than Sodom and Gomorrah. The only difference now is that some “inside” the Church are now suggesting we embrace a court decision as some sort of mission for Catholics, because there might be an “and”, “but”, or an “or” that it has in common with a Church document.  Yeah, the court ruling and Church doctrine are twinsies.

I do give Ms. Fullam kudos for using “vivifying”, though. Fun word. Must be that Jesuit edjamacation. That said, sin doesn’t animate or bring alive anything. It does just the opposite. We don’t live in a Tim Burton world where the evil and the distorted are life-giving. We really need to start reading the classics again, people. Playing God and creating Frankenstein’s monster is contrary to life and beauty, and it never ends well. We need to stop trying to put a shiny new coat of paint on an old sin and calling it “new and wonderful,” and now, “just.” And, who in the heck is Ms. Fullam to tell the Church who She should applaud, anyway? I’m sure she’d have the Church applaud Nancy Pelosi for all her fine, Catholic missionary work!

The divided court, though, reflects divides in the nation. The day of the decision, NCR reported that the political and religious response ran the gamut from despair and anger to jubilation.

“Today, love prevailed and our nation became a more perfect union,” wrote Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the gay and lesbian anti-defamation group GLAAD. “#LoveWins,” President Barack Obama tweeted.

Well, silly me! If Barack Obama tweeted… Sigh! Clearly, the National catholic Reporter haven’t grasped that popularity is irrelevant to Truth. It hardly represents the mind of the Church, nor does it vivify God. That’s really what the NcR ilk hope to achieve, though, in their own distorted way. They hope to animate God and the Church like their very own personal puppet. I hate to tell you, but salvation doesn’t work that way.

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., called the decision “a tragic error.” Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., declared himself “bitterly disappointed.”

The court’s decision did not surprise Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, he said. “The surprise will come,” Chaput continued, “as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today’s action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions.

These are the gentlemen who hold to the mind of the Church. They speak the timeless Truth on marriage, unafraid of the consequences of doing so. Instead, they worry about the consequences of NOT speaking out. They’re the ones who really, truly care about all of the souls in their care and seeing each and every one of them gain heaven.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, on the other hand, celebrated “the increase in justice that this ruling ushers in” and noted that Catholics were at the forefront of the marriage equality movement. “Our commitment to the values of love, inclusion, family, and justice have inspired millions of Catholics — both straight and LGBT. … It is wonderful to see the true values of our faith and our country affirmed today.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Wrong on both counts Marianne.  Our Faith did not affirm “gay marriage,” nor did our country.  Five Supreme Court justices blew that one.  And justice? Let’s talk a bit about this. It’s clear that people like Duddy-Burke and the crew at NcR can’t really tell the difference from what the Church says about things and what their own crazy little world says. Let’s take a gander at what the Church actually says about justice:

http://www.newadvent.com/cathen/08571c.htm:

Justice is here taken in its ordinary and proper sense to signify the most important of the cardinal virtues. It is a moral quality or habit which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each and to all what belongs to them. Of the other cardinal virtues, prudence perfects the intellect and inclines the prudent man to act in all things according to right reason. Fortitude controls the irascible passions; and temperance moderates the appetites according as reason dictates. While fortitude and temperance are self-regarding virtues, justice has reference to others. Together with charity it regulates man’s intercourse with his fellow men. But charity leads us to help our neighbour in his need out of our own stores, while justice teaches us to give to another what belongs to him.

What belongs to us and why, you may ask?

Because man is a person, a free and intelligent being, created in the image of God, he has a dignity and a worth vastly superior to the material and animal world by which he is surrounded. Man can know, love, and worship his Creator; he was made for that end, which he can only attain perfectly in the future, immortal, and never-ending life to which he is destined. God gave him his faculties and his liberty in order that he might freely work for the accomplishment of his destiny. He is in duty bound to strive to fulfil the designs of his Creator, he must exercise his faculties and conduct his life according to the intentions of his Lord and Master. Because he is under these obligations he is consequently invested with rights, God-given and primordial, antecedent to the State and independent of it. Such are man’s natural rights, granted to him by nature herself, sacred, as is their origin, and inviolable. Beside these he may have other rights given him by Church or State, or acquired by his own industry and exertion. All these rights, whatever be their source, are the object of the virtue of justice. Justice requires that all persons should be left in the free enjoyment of all their rights.

The end of justice is not to simply have our desires met. Justice is supposed to help us reach our destiny of everlasting life. Everlasting life is something most often forgotten by Fullam and buddies.

<snipping most of the rest of this typical NcR article>

The question remains whether these days will be painful as Chaput suggests or, as Arthur Fitzmaurice, resource director for the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, told NCR June 26, “a chance for us to step away from the charged political debate to a pastoral dialogue on what it means to be LGBT and Catholic.”

I’m reasonably sure the pastoral dialogue began a long time ago, Mr. Fitzmaurice. It might be a bit helpful if you took your fingers out of your ears and stopped stomping your feet long enough to hear your pastors. Heck, how about your fellow Catholics do the same? Here is someone else you’ve failed to minister to: http://www.cuf.org/2011/01/i-am-not-gay-i-am-david/   All should read, read, READ this one!  Please, show me something David Prosen says that doesn’t resemble justice in the eyes of the Church, then compare him with the “persons of the year.” How does their cause resemble justice?

<snipping a ton more>

NCR is already on record advocating for church personnel policies that ensure that employees can enter into legal, civil marriages without fear of losing their jobs.

NcR is kind of on record telling the Church to get over Herself and just let people jump on the expressway straight to spiritual death, but whatever.

Today, we address a more fundamental issue: How will we as a church live with our gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters? We are past the time of “love the sinner” platitudes.

Sin, it’s so passe’.

<snipping the Cupich suck up and shaming of anyone who does not believe “gay marriage” to be a civil right and who refuse to jump on that bandwagon>

Bourke and DeLeon are emblematic of this major challenge facing the church today, because they force us to ask not how will we live out a hypothetical situation, but how will we live with Greg and Michael. They give flesh to an abstraction.

And here’s the usual “faithful Catholics don’t know a single soul who lives with a homosexual inclination” tripe. Yawn. I have to wonder where they think we live? Do they think we live in our houses with our curtains drawn and crocodiles in the moat surrounding it?

How will we live with Greg and Michael?  The same way we live with our friends, family, co-workers, etc.  We LOVE them.  We love them so much that their everlasting life is our priority.

The answers the church is giving now are confused, uneven and often cruel. Greg and Michael — and countless gay, lesbian and transgender Catholics — deserve better.

Oh, my! It’s rare, but I totally and utterly agree with this comment. Of course, for confusion and cruelty to cease, NcR’s superstar seamless garment crew would need to shut the heck up, and we all know that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. So, instead of wishing on those stars, I will wish that the Kurtzes, Cordileones, Paprockis, Chaputs, etc., start speaking even more loudly and lovingly, develop many different programs to reach those individuals and families who are suffering, and continue to love them!

For their historic roles as plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges and for their faithful public witness as gay Catholics, we name Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon NCR’s persons of the year for 2015.

And this, my friends, is why the National catholic Reporter will probably continue to earn the Fishwrap of the Year award in perpetuity.

WWFD? Take a Look!

Here’s a little clue that the media, the LGTBXYZ crowd, etc., might just not know what the heck they’re talking about when it comes to Pope Francis. We’ve all heard “Who Am I to Judge?” spew out of their mouths and onto our laptops ad nauseam, but with a severe lack of context. Those folks might want to read this article (http://news.yahoo.com/pope-shows-no-mercy-blasts-rome-mayor-pretend-201914363.html) and do a little bit of honest soul searching before trying to use Pope Francis to tear down the Church.

Here are some highlights:

Rome (AFP) – Pope Francis raised eyebrows in Italy on Tuesday by slapping down the left-leaning mayor of Rome as someone who “pretends to be Catholic”.

<snip>

“He pretends to be Catholic, it came on him all of a sudden. It doesn’t happen like that,” Francis said.

The pope’s cutting comments on the politician — who observers say rubbed the pontiff up the wrong way with his vocal support of gay marriage and euthanasia — came as Francis returned from a barnstorming visit to the United States and Cuba.

Asked on the flight home if the pope had invited Marino, Francis said, “I didn’t invite the mayor. Is that clear? I asked the organisers and they didn’t invite him either.”

The thing is, the Pope is Bishop of Rome. He is the head of Marino’s world. Isn’t it interesting to see how the Holy Father handles the flock of his own diocese? It’s not a shock to me, but I think it’s probably a shock to those who think same-sex marriage and euthanasia are A-OK.

“If the most popular man in the world takes down one of the least popular in Italy, that says that all the rules of the game have been thrown up in the air, including possibly those of mercy,” said the Turin daily, La Stampa.

The Italian media apparently doesn’t quite get it, either. Mercy doesn’t mean letting sin slide. It means giving God’s forgiveness to the contrite. It means correcting error. It means teaching truth. It doesn’t mean flinging the sheep into the world of moral relevancy where everyone gets to decide what sin means to them. It isn’t the warm fuzzy place people think it is. Just ask the child who never learns the street is a dangerous place and gets hit by a car.

Next time the media wants to contrast Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Paproki, etc., with the Holy Father, they might want to notice how similar they are. The answer to the trite question of “What would Francis do?” is exactly what these bishops are doing: trying to keep their flock from error.