Why Abortion Is Preeminent

Since high school theology teacher Rich Raho decided to call out Bishop Strickland, I decided to give him a little attention. (Before I start – parents, if you have kids in his school, find another school, your money is wasted.) I don’t mean to besmirch Raho’s educational accomplishments, but a BA in Psych and a Master of Divinity don’t make him equal in knowledge of the Faith to the likes of Bishop Strickland. So, when I see Raho trying to take Bishop Strickland to task, I have no choice but to point out that he is not in the same league.

Raho has fallen prey to pride in the same way as the America Magazine or National catholic Reporter folks. They’re trying desperately to quiet those who champion an end to abortion, and in doing so try to paint those who do as somehow opposed to Pope Francis.

Let’s first take a look at Raho’s latest folly:

raho1

My response?

raho2

Let me help Rich out and explain the whole “preeminent” language voted on by the USCCB, because he really doesn’t seem to have a clue. Sadly, Cardinal Cupich and Bishop McElroy have aided and abetted his confusion, too.

“Preeminent” has nothing to do with valuing one life more than another. This is what the dissenting liberals (who really couldn’t care less about stopping abortion) try to tell you. “Preeminent” has every thing to do with who is in the most danger of death at the time. Barring a miraculous event, ever single baby who goes through whatever abortion procedure is chosen will die if that procedure takes place and they cannot fight for their lives. This is not the same for any other tragedy, although I suspect out and out euthanasia is on the horizon. Does this mean that any life is worth less than any other? Nope. It means that the danger of death is assured for this evil like no other. Homelessness, hunger, poverty, etc., etc., etc., are all tragedies, but death is not assured. Should we fight to help all? Absolutely! But, seriously, it is ridiculous to downplay the fact that thousands of children are being killed every day in this country simply because there are other tragedies going on.

Rich would have some serious issues proving the “preeminent” wording of the USCCB is in any way deficient or falling short of anything. Always wonder if he actually knows what the definition is.

pre·em·i·nent

/prēˈemənənt/

adjective

  1. surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way:

Being proximate to death makes abortion THE preeminent issue of our world. Rich hasn’t answered my little question to him on Twitter, though. Why? He knows he can’t, because I’m pretty darn sure he might have a heart and would save the child in danger of death first. That admission blows his lame argument out of the water. I’m pretty sure Pope Francis would do the same in that instance. That’s the reality of abortion.

Schism for Dummies

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

First, what ISN’T schism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

And Another Thing, Massimo…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email: president@villanova.edu

Alumni, you can also go here:

Alumni Relations
Garey Hall

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

Email: alumni@villanova.edu

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article goes on…

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

Oops!

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

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

Double oops!

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

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

You’re a three time loser, Massimo. 

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

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

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

So, Massimo is totally wrong again. Shocker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faggioli could not be reached for comment.

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

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

AB Cupich Lectures Us Instead of SCOTUS

I didn’t see Archbishop Cupich’s statement on the SCOTUS ruling until after I posted last night.  Wow!  And here I was complaining about McElroy’s ambiguous statement!  I think I’d take that over the Cupich’s statement!  It seems this Archbishop thinks a lot of his ability to send a message without really saying anything at all, and he also seems to think he’s getting the “red hat” no matter what the heck he says or doesn’t say.  Where is the Catholicism in his statement (below)?  I’m really going to hope and pray the “red hat” doesn’t head to Chicago anytime soon.  We need a Cardinal Cordileone, not a Cardinal Cupich!  We need someone who’s going to bleed Church doctrine, not one who wants to confound and confuse everyone.

So here’s Archbishop Cupich’s statement:

STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP BLASE J. CUPICH

ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO

June 28, 2015

This week the Supreme Court of the United States issued two rulings with particular meaning for the Catholic Church.

In the first, the Court preserved subsidies for the 6.4 million low-income Americans who depend on them to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We have issues with provisions of that legislation and will continue to advocate to preserve our religious freedom. However, we understand that for millions of individuals and families, most of them the working poor, this decision preserves access to health care and the promise it offers of a healthier, longer life.

In the second decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that two persons of the same sex have a constitutional right to marry each other. In doing so, the Court has re-defined civil marriage. The proposed reason for the ruling is the protection of equal rights for all citizens, including those who identify themselves as gay. The rapid social changes signaled by the Court ruling call us to mature and serene reflections as we move forward together. In that process, the Catholic Church will stand ready to offer a wisdom rooted in faith and a wide range of human experience.

First of all, the Supreme Court didn’t “rule,” the Supreme Court legislated.  It rewrote existing law AND it rewrote the Constitution (no amendment process needed according to them!).  Sorry, Archbishop Cupich, the equal rights of all were already protected, and marriage, quite frankly, never fell under the equal rights clause.  There have always been constraints on marriage, which is why we needed a license for it.  There was never an open season to marry whomever you loved.

How, Archbishop, are we supposed to move forward together?  “Gay marriage” is and always has been an affront to the Truth and the dignity of the person.  The Supreme Court further tore the fabric of society.  It’s not time for “mature and serene reflection.”  It’s time for the Catholic Church to do something.  Do you want us just to accept it simply “because it’s the law of the land?”  Are we also just supposed to accept transsexual restrooms?  Participate in gay weddings?  Sorry, Archbishop, I have children, so I will fight this line of thinking tooth and nail for them.  Peace in our country is out the window now just as your fellow bishops in Colorado and others have told us.

It is important to note that the Catholic Church has an abiding concern for the dignity of gay persons. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (n. 2358). This respect must be real, not rhetorical, and ever reflective of the Church’s commitment to accompanying all people. For this reason, the Church must extend support to all families, no matter their circumstances, recognizing that we are all relatives, journeying through life under the careful watch of a loving God.

Umm, we DO care about the “gay persons.”  The Church has and the Church always will care about and for them.  We care about their immortal souls and their temporal well-being.  What you fail to clarify here is that we cannot support homosexual unions in any way, shape, or form, for the good of their soul.  We must encourage them to lead a heroic life of chastity and virtue.

Let’s look at your “oh well, we all just need to get along” statement juxtaposed to Bishop Strickland’s very pastoral statement (and the statement all bishops and cardinals should be making now):

While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided. We must treat these individuals with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons. Christ rejects no one, but he calls all of us to be converted from our sinful inclinations and follow the truth He has revealed to us. Nevertheless, our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions. (https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/news/2015/06/bishop-stricklands-statement-on-u-s-supreme-court-decision/)

See the difference, Archbishop Cupich?

It is also important to stress that the Supreme Court’s redefinition of civil marriage has no bearing on the Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony, in which the marriage of man and woman is a sign of the union of Christ and the Church. In upholding our traditional concept of marriage, we are called to support those who have entered into this sacred and loving bond with God and each other.

Nice of you to note six paragraphs in that there was a redefinition of civil marriage and it doesn’t equal the Sacrament of Matrimony.  There is no “traditional CONCEPT of marriage,” there is a traditional TRUTH of marriage!  How about we use the actual definition used by the Church?

 1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm)

There’s a lot of other good stuff there which you left out, Archbishop Cupich.  You might want to give it a read.  At least your flock might want to read it, because I’m not too sure they’ll ever hear it from you.

This will be especially important for the members of our own Church as we walk together, respectful not only of the political demands of equality, but above all else, guided by the higher claims of divine revelation. Our aim in all of this will be to hold fast to an authentic understanding of marriage which has been written in the human heart, consolidated in history, and confirmed by the Word of God.

What the heck does that even mean?  Umm, no.  I don’t have to respect the false political demands of equality.  In fact, I shouldn’t.  There’s only one kind of marriage, and there is NOTHING equal about it.  Suffice it to say that Church teaching was rather lacking in this statement.  There’s no surprise that there was not one mention of the children who are going to be harmed by this.

This isn’t the first time Archbishop Cupich has failed on this issue, though.  The state of Washington voted in favor of gay marriage when he was in charge of the Diocese of Spokane. (Thank God for Bishop Daly!) His statement now was just as bad as then (http://www.dioceseofspokane.org/bjc_2012/letter-74.htm) :

A Letter to Parishioners: Referendum 74

by Bishop Blase J. Cupich

August, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

On Nov. 6, Washington voters will decide the fate of the law passed by our state legislature and signed by the governor, which redefined marriage to include same sex unions. If a majority of voters “approve” Referendum 74, the same-sex marriage law will go into effect on Dec. 6, 2012. If a majority votes “reject,” the law will fall, but, “registered domestic partners” will not be deprived of any of the rights granted to them in laws passed in 2008 and 2009, namely all the rights of traditional marriage. “Registered domestic partnerships” just will not be called “marriages.”

Admittedly, the conflicting positions of this issue are deeply held and passionately argued. Proponents of the redefinition of marriage are often motivated by compassion for those who have shown courage in refusing to live in the fear of being rejected for their sexual orientation. It is a compassion that is very personal, for those who have suffered and continue to suffer are close and beloved friends and family members. It is also a compassion forged in reaction to tragic national stories of violence against homosexuals, of verbal attacks that demean their human dignity, and of suicides by teens who have struggled with their sexual identity or have been bullied because of it. As a result, supporters of the referendum often speak passionately of the need to rebalance the scales of justice. This tends to frame the issue as a matter of equality in the minds of many people, a value that is deeply etched in our nation’s psyche.

Likewise, many opponents of the law redefining marriage have close friends and family members who are gay or lesbian. They too recognize the importance of creating a supporting environment in society for everyone to live a full, happy and secure life. Yet, they also have sincere concerns about what a redefinition of marriage will mean for the good of society and the family, both of which face new strains in our modern world. They are asking the public to take a serious and dispassionate look at what a radical break with centuries of marriage law and practice will mean.

My genuine hope is that we all can value the coming vote on Referendum 74 as an opportunity to have a substantial public debate regarding this critical issue, carried on with respect, honesty and conviction. When addressing issues of depth and passion – indeed, most importantly at such times – we should be committed to the proposition that our public dialogue must be marked by civility and clarity, and that it should generate light rather than heat. As a means of contributing to that effort, I ask your careful consideration of the attached reflections which outline some of the reasons for the Catholic Church’s position recommending that citizens vote “reject” on Referendum 74, and thus overturn the law that redefines marriage. I offer these thoughts with respect, but also out of a sense of duty to contribute to the debate for the good of our state.

But, I also want to be very clear that in stating our position the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility towards homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity. As the 2006 statement, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops unequivocally states:

All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected. In keeping with this conviction, the Church teaches that persons with a homosexual inclination “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). We recognize that these persons have been, and often continue to be, objects of scorn, hatred, and even violence in some sectors of our society. Sometimes this hatred is manifested clearly; other times, it is masked and gives rise to more disguised forms of hatred. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Oct. 1, 1986, no. 10.)

In the peace of Christ,

Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich Bishop of Spokane

Did that make you as nauseated as I am?  The only Church teaching he managed to muster again and again and again was how we cannot treat homosexual people in an un-Christian manner.  Duh!  Did you have large numbers of your flock doing this, Archbishop?  I missed all those news stories on how wholesale violence against homosexuals is occurring in progressive Washington State.  Why is it you think you’ve done such a poor job with your flock that they’d be anything less than charitable towards their homosexual brethren?  Why is it that you equate being against homosexual acts and the homosexual lifestyle with hate?  I might remind you that the Church calls homosexual acts sinful.  Is that hate?

Look, I’m not sure if you think we’re all living in some sort of ivory tower, but we don’t.  We have homosexual family members, co-workers, customers and fellow parishioners.  Our kids go to school with children of homosexuals.  We coach our teams with homosexual families, etc., etc., etc.  We probably know far more, as Catholics, about how to live and interact with homosexuals than you ever will.  It’s a day-to-day thing for us.  It’s not a platitude or photo-op for us.   It is life and it didn’t just start on Friday, June 26, 2015.  We don’t need the lecture.  We need authentic Catholicism where we’re taught about sin, how to deal with it, and how to overcome it in our lives.

Hey, here’s a novel idea!  How about a quoting the full Church teaching on homosexuality to help those suffering with homosexual inclinations?  That was absent from both of your missives.  Maybe you could prevent things like souls being lost to their sins?  Wow, what a concept!

It was at least nice that Archbishop Cupich attached Church teachings on the issue to the Referendum 74 letter.  That’s more than he did on the recent SCOTUS ruling.  That said, it might have been really nice if he actually taught the Church teachings rather than including them as an aside to “contribute to the debate” though.

Before someone asks, no, I can’t read the Archbishop’s mind, but I can tell you that he is not communicating the Church teachings on lovingly ministering to his flock with the homosexual inclination.  His lack of clarity on Church teaching is deafening.  I don’t know if he just doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable or if he actually thinks the Church is wrong on homosexual acts.  My guess has to be the latter because I’ve yet to see him talk about sin or those in jeopardy of losing their immortal soul.  I’m hardly alone in that guess.  I mean, he can’t even quote Church teaching on it!  Bishop Strickland has shown more compassion, wisdom, and love to the homosexuals in his flock than Archbishop Cupich has EVER shown.  But Archbishop Cupich has made it clear the “positions of this issue are deeply held and passionately argued.”  The phrase “Thanks, Captain Obvious” comes to mind. Too bad we’re just not sure where the heck he stands on homosexual acts after all the ink spilled.  It would seem they are just fine with him as long as we don’t call it marriage!

I was really hoping Archbishop Cupich was going to rise to his new station.  Sadly, it doesn’t appear this is going to be the case.  All he’s done is to continue to dilute Catholic teachings (or at best, just act like they’re a guide to further the discussion) for our brethren with homosexual inclinations and those living in adultery (in case you didn’t know, he wants to give Communion to the divorced and remarried). There doesn’t seem to be anything resembling an effort to get them to lead a life of heroic virtue.  There only seems to be an attempt to make them feel comfy.  I hope the “red hat” is going to go to someone who supports the Holy Father’s desire to truly minister to those with homosexual inclinations and who will truly defend marriage and the family.  This is about far more than “deeply held positions”, Archbishop Cupich.  This is about Truth and people’s immortal souls.

The Tragic Error

I know “THE RULING” came out on Friday, but if you didn’t hear a homily this weekend that at least mentioned the SCOTUS marriage debacle or Religious Freedom, that might be why we’re in the mess we’re in today.  A disaster of this epic proportion at least deserves a nod, don’t you think?  Let’s hope by next weekend, we’ve all heard about it from our individual pastors.

Thanks to Catholic World Report, I was able to spend the day reading the comments from many of the U.S. Bishops (http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/3985/bishops_across_the_country_weigh_in_on_scotus_ruling.aspx). I’m sure they’ll be posting more as they come in, but I have to say, I was underwhelmed by most of them.  I realize these are just preliminary statements, but you’d think that something of this magnitude would deserve more than just a short paragraph or two.  Some of them didn’t even bother mentioning the children who are affected.  As a mom, it has been just devastating to me to think about how this is going to affect my children, grandchildren, and children in general.  Thank you to those bishops and cardinals who took the time to mention that all children deserve a mom and a dad as the norm (you can keep your anomalies to yourselves; nobody is trying to offend you by not listing them all).  Considering how long it’s taking us to turn around Roe vs. Wade in the mind of the public, it is likely going to affect my great-grandchildren and beyond.  Kennedy was Reagan’s worst mistake

I really can’t decide whose statements are the worst.  Many were just lacking.  I have to admit I’m a tad bit annoyed at the bishops who reminded us that we must be civil and respectful of all human beings even if they disagree with us.  I missed who was advocating something other than being Christian.  It seemed more of a media play.  One comment I wasn’t particularly thrilled about was this ambiguous one from Bishop McElroy:

The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial counties will continue to honor and embody the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman as a gift from God–in our teaching, our sacramental life and our witness to the world.  We will do so in a manner which profoundly respects at every moment the loving and familial relationships which enrich the lives of so many gay men and women who are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, and ultimately our fellow pilgrims on this earthly journey of life.

Why wouldn’t we respect loving, familial relationships of people with homosexual inclinations?  There’s certainly nothing wrong with those.  Is he separating the words “loving” and “familial” for a reason?  What kind of familial relationships are we talking, NON-loving familial ones?  Ask me why I’m asking. Why, thanks!  Back in the Archbishop Quinn days, Bishop McElroy (then Msgr. McElroy) appeared to be part of the club that rejected the Vatican’s prohibition of homosexual adoption and the broad extension of civil rights to homosexuals.  He didn’t feel it was binding on them but rather an advisory (https://web.archive.org/web/20080906233415/http://www.ignatius.com/Magazines/CWR/charities.htm). Of course, that’s how most things from the Vatican were received in the SF Archdiocese during the Archbishop Quinn days.  They were simply opinions to be ignored, so forgive me for being skeptical about Bishop McElroy’s current statement.  If Bishop McElroy is hinting that we must be respectful of homosexual acts or their desire to adopt children, nope we don’t.  Given the history, it’s really hard to tell.  Now’s not the time for unclear statements.

As far as the good statements, here’s an amazing one from Bishop Strickland of Tyler, TX.  Your Excellency, thank you for giving one of the biggest tongue lashings on this one.  I’m going to quote it in its entirety, because I don’t want anyone to miss one line of it (https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/news/2015/06/bishop-stricklands-statement-on-u-s-supreme-court-decision/):

Bishop of Tyler

TO THE PRIESTS, DEACONS, CONSECRATED RELIGIOUS AND CATHOLIC FAITHFUL OF THE DIOCESE OF TYLER, OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF OTHER FAITH TRADITIONS, AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL IN THE THIRTY-THREE COUNTIES OF NORTHEAST TEXAS THAT MAKE UP THE DIOCESE OF TYLER:

On the morning of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 decision establishing the legal right of two individuals of the same sex to legally marry in all 50 states. By doing so, the Court has acted in contradiction to their duty to promote the common good, especially what is good for families. I join with the Bishops of the United States in calling this decision a “tragic error.”

Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it.  In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family. Regardless of this decision, what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.

Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings. Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.

While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided. We must treat these individuals with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons. Christ rejects no one, but he calls all of us to be converted from our sinful inclinations and follow the truth He has revealed to us. Nevertheless, our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction, and there are even some who are members of our local churches, this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.

We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.

Given this and recognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages, and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or use for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.

Finally, I call on the Catholic faithful of the Diocese to turn in prayer to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, asking their intercession for our nation that all of us may come to a greater understanding of the beauty, truth and goodness that is found in marriage as revealed to us by our Savior.

I instruct that this letter is to be publically read by the priest-celebrant following the proclamation of the Gospel at all Masses of obligation in the parishes, missions and chapels of Diocese of Tyler on the weekend of July 3-4, 2015.

Given at the Diocesan Chancery On the 26th day of June Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen

Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland Bishop of Tyler

Now, I don’t really know the Diocese of Tyler or Bishop Strickland (I just simply have more going on then to know them all – sorry, it’s a mom thing – I barely can keep my kids straight some days), but I’d have to say the faithful there have been blessed by this statement.  It is clear in every respect, and when he said, “let me be unambiguous,” he meant he was going to be the opposite of Bishop McElroy!  This is how it’s done!

Bishop Strickland is right!  We should not just sit here and resign ourselves to it. We should work, no matter how long it takes, to overturn this sucker.  Yep, it’s likely to take as long as overturning Roe vs. Wade, but we must chip away at it constantly and save as many of our children as we can.

Bishop Strickland is the one bishop I saw who used the “dignity” statement and yet clarified to the hilt that we couldn’t condone sin and we ALL should turn away from our sinful inclinations.  Bravo!

I am really glad Bishop Strickland is in Texas, for his sake, because I’m just guessing he’ll be a little better received there than if he were in San Francisco.  If the “100 Prominent Something or Others” here in the San Francisco area thought their teacher handbook had inflammatory language in the beginning, they’d be out of their minds with this one.  (Let’s hear it one more time!)

Given this and recognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages, and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or use for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.

I pray this man continues defending the Faith in this amazing and concise way! God bless Bishop Strickland!

I also want to give a few other tips of the hat.  Once again, Cardinal Wuerl seemed to have put a lot of thought and effort into his statement, which I appreciate, because this is so crucial.  Here are a couple highlights (http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2015/06/the-implications-of-the-supreme-courts-ruling-on-same-sex-marriage/):

Our faith is not based on human preferences but the revealed Word of God.

<snip>

The ancient Maxim “love the sinner but hate the sin” is central to our behavior because it refers to all human beings. The Lord asks us to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” but he does so in reference to how we are to love one another (Matthew 5:48). In the Sacraments, he also gives us the grace to do so. The Church has and always will meet people where they are to bring them closer to Christ.

Bishop Wenski made a short but strong statement that shows us what we’re in for in this country, and it’s not pretty. He shows the history of bad laws and their consequences (http://www.miamiarch.org/CatholicDiocese.php?op=Article_Statement+by+Archbishop+Wenski+on+Supreme+Court%92s+decision+on+same-sex+marriage):

Roe v. Wade has resulted in more than 50 million abortions.  Yet, abortion still troubles the conscience of America and an increasing majority of Americans reject “abortion on demand”.

This decision redefining marriage will also bring bad consequences. Losing the understanding of marriage in our culture as a conjugal union of a man and a woman in a permanent and exclusive commitment conducive to welcoming and raising the children born from such a union weakens the family as the basic cell of society; and it imperils the human flourishing of future generations. Allowing “an act of the will” to be substituted for “legal judgment” is a recipe for tyranny.

The Michigan bishops’ joint statement (http://www.micatholic.org/advocacy/news-room/news-releases/2015/bishops-respond-to-decision-to-redefine-marriage/) heavily focused on the rights of the child (we miss you out here Archbishop Vigneron!):

Every child has a mother and a father and even though each child deserves to be loved and raised by them together, we are conscious of and loving toward those circumstances in which this arrangement of a married mother and father in the home is not reality. Married couples unable to conceive children or family structures that differ – single parents, widowed parents, adopted children and those being raised by grandparents or other family members – merit compassion and support for their life situations, which at times can be difficult and challenging. The Church and her ministries must remain conscious of and respectful toward these differing dynamics, especially when support, counsel and love is sought.

The Colorado Bishops’ Conference also defended the rights of children and predicted doom and gloom. Sadly, I’m sure they are correct (https://t.e2ma.net/message/mm60g/ew4jvd):

The coming months will likely be filled with more questions than answers, given the thousands of laws nationwide related to marriage that will be adversely impacted by the court’s action. We are concerned that hateful rhetoric and discrimination against those, whose religious and moral beliefs support the true definition of marriage that has existed for millennia, will intensify. We will continue to pray that people with differing views on marriage will be able to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation or hostility, and more importantly that religious freedom and liberty will be supported and defended.

The days, weeks, months and years ahead will require courage, strength and prayer. All people of good will must remain united in defense of marriage between one man and one woman, while bearing witness to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

I’m sure Archbishop Coakley will get dinged for using rhetoric, but he chose the correct adjectives – tragic and devastating.

(http://www.archokc.org/top-news/5514-archbishop-coakley-statement-on-supreme-court-ruling-for-same-sex-marriage).

Read them and weep my friends. These are indeed the times that try men’s souls. Maybe some trials are very good for the souls. I suppose something has to wake up the slumbering and a little persecution will do that. I just pray for our future generations. If our cardinals, bishops and priests stand up and lead, we’ll be fine. If not, it’s going to be a long, long road of tragedy and devastation.