Michael Sean Winters: Fanboy

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/you-have-see-riveting-video-cardinal-cupich

You have to see this riveting video of Cardinal Cupich

He talks of scandal, adult spirituality and libertarianism

Nov 13, 2017

by Michael Sean Winters Opinion

Last week, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago participated in a conversation with journalist E.J. Dionne at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Politics. The entire exchange was riveting, and I will deal with some of the things Cupich said presently. You can see the video here.

Well, if you consider “riveting” to mean “you can’t help but look when there’s a traffic accident”, I might agree.  However, this is just more of the same old thing from Cardinal (I still can’t believe I have to use that title) Cupich.

But, if you go to minute 24, you see the most important thing that Cupich said. Dionne began by asking about the controversy surrounding Fr. Tom Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis, in which the former director of the bishops’ doctrinal committee suggested that the faithful were scandalized by Pope Francis. Cupich replied: “I don’t think that people are scandalized by the pope. I think they are being told to be scandalized. I think there is a difference.” To use a Catholic word: Bingo!

Yeah, that’s it.  You people who are scandalized – you’re all simply brainwashed.  You engage in group think and you don’t have a thought of your own in your head.  You’re being told by whoever that you must be scandalized.

Seriously? Does this really work with his readers? I’m reasonably sure that most of the people who are frustrated at this point are still “defend the Pope first” type of people.  In fact, the majority of the ones I see are ones who still put out the papal tweet of the day.  There might be a gleeful batch of “everyone’s wrong all the time” people out there, but most are just like me.  We want to be the “Rah-rah Pope!” types but are having trouble mustering the enthusiasm to do so and wish he would reverse on his stance on taking interview questions ahead of time.  The majority of us aren’t calling him the anti-Christ but instead find ourselves taking up the position of St. Vincent of Lerins, as Dan Hitchens points out here. (An uplifting read for those who are depressed over the state of the Church today.)  We’re the types who pay enough attention and do enough research to actually get upset when we see people twisting Church teaching (Ahem! Michael…), but yeah, we’re the ones who blindly obey when we are told to be scandalized.  Do I sound like someone who says “Yes, master!” in a zombie-like fashion? Gag.

I have complained about the thin agenda for this week’s U.S. bishops’ conference meeting. Here is something they need to discuss: How is it that people, who are in some sense on the bishops’ payroll or working at organizations with clear links to the church, are leading such a noisy opposition to Pope Francis and seem perfectly willing to break down the unity of the church in voicing that opposition?

I might point out that you are on the National catholic Reporter’s dole.  What, again, have you been doing for years over there?  Just because “United in dissent!” is your motto doesn’t mean that you are uniting the Church in any fashion.  Seriously (or, rather, more seriously) your publication declares itself right on the home page as “The independent news source.”  Unity hasn’t exactly been NcR’s goal, unless unity means uniting people in your dissenting way of thought.

So, just for fun I went to NcR and searched for Pope Benedict.  What was interesting to note is that John Allen, Jr., wrote about 95% of the articles on Pope Benedict. In short, it seemed the goal of NcR writers at the time to hide in their blanket forts and pretend Benedict XVI wasn’t even elected. Let’s see what some of the other “uniters” had to say:

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/sept-17-2006-twenty-fourth-sunday-ordinary-time : But there’s another short passage that Jesus proclaimed, that it seems to me if Pope Benedict had been thinking about this, he would have been much more careful in what he said.

 

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/franz-where-are-you-when-we-need-you : The world has been debating for over a week now whether Pope Benedict XVI simply forgot that he was a universal pastor and international politician as well as past professor or simply didn’t care to attend to all three roles at one time. Whatever the case, in one university speech all three facets of this current papacy came into play.

In this speech, universal pastoral sensitivity, as well as the political responsibilities that come with the papacy, seem to many to have been abandoned. In their place, his long-time identity as professor — meaning someone who has the luxury, indeed, the responsibility to pursue abstract ideas free of the social consequences of their implications — had free rein.

 

 

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/fourteenth-sunday-ordinary-time-1
And I think of another quite extraordinary example too. One that I think is really noteworthy. It’s something that Pope Benedict is about to do. In October of this year, he is going to beatify an Austrian peasant, Franz Jägerstätter. Probably most of us never heard of him. But Franz grew up not very far from where Joseph Ratzinger grew up. Joseph Ratzinger went into the Nazi army, became a soldier. Franz Jägerstätter refused to serve in the army, refused to kill. And of course he paid a price for it. He was beheaded on Aug. 9, 1943. But now he’s going to be proclaimed before the world as one who faithfully followed Jesus.

And it’s such a contrast and I think there’s great courage on the part of Pope Benedict. Because it’s so easy to see the difference. Joseph Ratzinger now our Holy Father followed Hitler’s orders went into the army, prepared to kill. Franz Jägerstätter refused and now is proclaimed a saint, one for us to imitate and to follow. (I’m throwing this one in because it’s supposed to show some sort of great divide between these two men in their actions against Hitler when there was more similarities than differences.  Maybe Bp. Gumbleton doesn’t know how to Google but it’s weird because he fancies himself the expert on Blessed Franz Jägerstätter.

 

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/third-sunday-lent : “Even recently, Pope Benedict rewrote the prayer for Good Friday in which, in those long petitions that we use, we pray for the Jewish people, God’s chosen people. It was revised after the Vatican Council because the prayer before that was very insulting to Jewish believers. But now the Pope has revised it again and now it’s offensive.

 

https://www.ncronline.org/news/us-bishops-great-inertia :  Whole thing. Too much to copy.

In short, Michael, you live in a big ol’ glass house.  Stop playing with rocks.

The bishops know that EWTN and the National Catholic Register both regularly highlight any and all news stories about resistance to the pope. It seems that, some weeks, if Cardinal Raymond Burke sneezes, Edward Pentin has to write a story about it — and always the same story: It was a truly orthodox sneeze, conformed to the unchangeable and irreformable intrinsic nature of a sneeze, a sneeze worthy of St. John Paul II. Yet there is Bishop Robert Barron doing ads for the Register and saying it presents “the Catholic perspective” — not “a Catholic perspective” but the Catholic perspective. Does the good bishop read it?

Well that deserves a few “Pinocchios.”  Please, people, check out National Catholic Register yourself. Don’t let yourselves be brainwashed into believing the misrepresentation posted by Winters. (See what I did there? To use a Catholic word: Bingo!) Go ahead, I dare you!  I double-dare you!  It’s the last thing Winters wants.

First of all, Michael, are you really going to complain that the Register wants to report THE Catholic perspective as opposed to your “independent” Catholic perspective?  I wouldn’t think you would want to draw attention to this little disparity.

Next, I just scanned the front page of articles by Register staffers (see center column), and guess what?  One article on the Pope praying for earthquake victims, and ZERO articles on Cardinal Burke.  Yes, I understand that’s today and tomorrow could change, but I’m reasonably sure Cardinal Burke sneezed and I’m a tad bit disappointed no Pentin!  You got my hopes up,Michael!

By the way, I believe it’s your publication that has 3 different articles today on your perceived resistance.  Oops.

In years past, the bishops would look into “problems” if LifeSiteNews or the American Life League accused someone, somewhere, of not upholding their interpretation of a Catholic’s civic obligations. Remember the review of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development? Why was that necessary? Remember the kerfuffle over Catholic Relief Services? And the perpetual campaign against Catholic Charities? Will the bishops now concede that groups like LifeSiteNews and the American Life League and the Lepanto Institute can — and should — be ignored? That perhaps it might even behoove the bishops to make clear that these organizations do not speak for the Catholic Church.

OK, for those of you who don’t know, Catholic Relief Services passes out birth control.  Gee!  No reason to comment there.  Google, people.!  I’m perfectly fine with you checking the veracity of LifeSiteNews, American Life League, Catholic Whoever, but if there’s a problem with the story, how about you report what the problem is, Michael, rather than merely suggesting they are “not upholding their interpretation of a Catholic’s civic obligations.”  I think we’re actually obliged, as Catholics, not to cooperate with evil. Don’t you? Oh, wait, your group actually DOES want to cooperate with evil: https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/laudato-si-should-have-lifted-ban-contraception (Please note, NcR has no trouble being critical if it doesn’t jive with their thoughts.)

Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Charities?  They have similar skeletons.  Mr. Winters also forgot to mention the Bellarmine Foundation, which has done extensive work undermining the Church.  Here’s a link to help him with his list of organizations he feels should be investigated just on his say-so.  https://bellarmineforum.org/2015/09/12/why-not-give-to-the-catholic-campaign-for-human-development/

Again, Mr. Winters, how about you support your accusations with some facts on CCHD, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services to rebut these “evil organizations” reporting on them.  What?  You can’t?  Please note this, people.  Mr. Winters’ accusations are the epitome of the saying, “Big hat, no cattle.”  You’re adults, verify yourselves.

Another thing Cupich said in the discussion is worth repeating. When discussing why some people are upset about Francis, Cupich said: “He’s calling people to have an adult spirituality, rather than being infantilized in their spirituality.” He noted that people who like telling other people what to do have trouble with the sense of responsibility to which Francis is calling us all.

Oh, yeah.  That would upset people like Cardinal Burke to no end.  No, seriously, he doesn’t believe in adult spirituality?!?  (insert rolling eyes)  Please.  And what is with “people who like telling other people what to do?”  In my world, we call that parenting, and it’s all about responsibility.  What Cardinal Cupich is really trying to say here is, “Those big old meanies who try to teach you what is right and what is wrong, don’t listen to them! I’m the only one you should listen to because, well, me!”

The codification of ecclesial practice and norms was a leitmotif of the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II: He authorized the catechism, he updated the universal code of canon law, he issued a compendium of the church’s social doctrine. There is always a need for such codification: No society exists without laws and rules. But, that codification is there to serve the church’s essential mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ, our risen savior; it is not there for its own sake. As St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “the Word of God is not imprisoned.”

Babbling.  Translation: Just don’t worry about all those rules.  They’re so judgey.

As Pope Francis likes to say, “The Word still wants to take on flesh.” Rules and codes can imprison the Spirit if they replace the kerygma as the central focus of ecclesial life. The Lord said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” That is not a vision of certainty or even clarity, and some people crave certainty and clarity.

As far as what “Pope Francis likes to say”,  I’ll have to take your word for the quote because I can’t find it anywhere but this article.  A link would have been nice. Anyone?  Regardless, it almost seems like we’re just going to throw a whole bunch of random thought, add a bible story and see if the confusion sticks.

One of the most constant refrains among the complaints against Pope Francis is that he sows confusion. Only if you have placed law or ideology at the heart of ecclesial life is his approach to governing the church confusing. He is calling to maturity. He calls for discernment, not libertinism, and discernment is always done with and within the church.

Huh?  Did he really use the word libertinism there?  Yes, I think it was it was a typo based on the title of the article but kind of funny.  Seems like that’s what the likes of Cupich, McElroy, and Martin are pushing for.  For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone from “my side of the fence” put down discernment, and I’d put money on the fact that Michael Sean Winters probably couldn’t find anything to back this up.  Of course, what does Mr. Winters and club want us to discern?  Whether we can thwart the teachings of the Church and still be worthy of Heaven?  Good luck with that.

As Jesuit Fr. Jim Martin pointed out in responding to the Weinandy’s strange account of how he came to the conclusion that Jesus wanted him to write to the pope: “If one’s idea of discernment is seeking signs like this, then why would one trust, say, a divorced and remarried Catholic to consult his or her conscience about whether it is permissible to receive Communion? It is no wonder that discernment seems so arbitrary to some people. And so frightening.”

Let’s see.  Father Weinandy asking for a sign from God whether or not he should write a letter is the same as discerning whether or not someone living in sin should double-down on a mortal sin?  Yeah, that’s totally comparable.  For the life of me I cannot see why people act like Fr. Weinandy is mentally ill for asking for a sign.  How many saints have done the same?  Are they always given?  No, but some have been quite clearly given the signs they’ve asked for, which is a special gift.  I do think it funny, though, that the NcR crowd frowns on Fr. Weinandy’s “discernment” when we are told that Pope Francis wants us to discern.  Make up your mind.  Oh, I get it!  We’re just supposed to discern in a manner that brings us to the same conclusion as Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Fr. Martin, and, I guess, Michael Sean Winters.  Got it.  That kind of discernment is just peachy.  No scoffing if you come to their conclusion.

By the way, I’ve got to laugh at the severe over use of discernment.  There’s not one in the bunch that can say “judgement”, which is what discernment actually means.  The “j” word, however, has been dumped on by this crowd so many times they’ve got to dance around it.

Cardinal Cupich’s conversation with Dionne contained other gems, such as his criticism of libertarianism. Dionne joked that the press had their headline: Cupich criticizes libertarianism at University of Chicago! His comments about abortion were very strong, which is always a bit of a risk in a secular venue. I encourage everyone to watch this video. Cupich is, par excellence, a bishop for the era of Francis: engaged, sympathetic, compelling. If only the rest of the body of bishops would follow his lead.

Drooling much?   I mean, the keyboard is probably pretty soggy at this point. Somebody’s getting a “Cardinal Cupich Fanboy” shirt for Christmas.   Well, as usual, Mr. Winters doesn’t fail to disappoint when it comes to linking to quotes, Church teaching, and facts, but hey, he hit the jackpot in conjecture, say something until it’s true and slander. Same old, same old.

#CatholicCyberMilitia

 

 

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Here’s Hoping the Darkness is Dispelled!

Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!  What in the heck is happening?!  I’m sure that most of you saw the news but if you didn’t, here it is.

Fr. Weinandy’s note of explanation:

At the end of this past May I was in Rome to attend a meeting of the International Theological Commission, of which I am a member.  I stayed at Domus Sanctae Marthae.  Since I arrived early, I spent most of the Sunday afternoon prior to the meeting on Monday in Saint Peter’s praying in the Eucharistic Chapel.  I was praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.  I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.  I was also pondering whether or not I should write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety.  On the following Wednesday afternoon, at the conclusion of my meeting, I went again to St. Peter’s and prayed in the same manner.  That night I could not get to sleep, which is very unusual for me.  It was due to all that was on my mind pertaining to the Church and Pope Francis.  At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time.  When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign.  This is what the sign must be.  Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran.  After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine.  During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time.  That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain.  Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, “Keep up the good writing!”

So, does ANYONE have a problem with his worry and actions thus stated?  I’m not sure a day has gone by in the last few months that someone in my Catholic world hasn’t asked, “What is going on?!?!?!?!”

So many times we just have to act on a wing and a prayer, and much more often than not we simply have to pray to the Holy Spirit and hope we get it right.  Quite frankly, I’m going to have to remember to put in some seriously detailed requests for validation after reading this.  Probably won’t get a sign like this, but you never know. Maybe I should have a little more faith that I will! Now, “Who is the sign really from?” will likely be the next question asked by those who don’t like Fr. Weinandy’s letter.  Whatever.  Again, all we can do is throw up a prayer and hope we got it right and I think that is what Fr. Weinandy did.

The next morning I did all of the above and by the time I met my seminarian friend for lunch what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind.  However, towards the end of the meal an archbishop appeared between two parked cars right in front of our table (we were sitting outside).  I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop.  We recognized one another immediately.  What made his appearance even more unusual was that because of his recent personal circumstances I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese.  (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.)  We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing.  I then introduced him to my seminarian friend.  He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation.  He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book.  Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

Asked for a sign, and taking him at face value, he got it!

In the light of Jesus fulfilling my demanding “sign,” I want to make two comments.  First, I decided to write Pope Francis a letter, which I intended then to publish unless he adequately addressed the issues I raised.  Almost two months after having received my letter, I did receive an acknowledgement from Vatican Secretariat of State informing me that the letter had been received.  This was simply an acknowledgement and not a response to my concerns.  Second, I find it significant that not only did the Lord fulfill my demand for a sign, but also did so in, what I believe, a very significant manner.  He accomplished it through an archbishop.  By utilizing an archbishop, I believe, that Jesus’ fulfillment of my request took on an apostolic mandate.

I have no way of validating whether he got the sign right or wrong, and neither can you or anyone else, for that matter.  It’s really between him and God.  I’m glad he gave the reason he made the decision, but really, those who are willing to accept the method he employed will. Those who hate it won’t accept it and will likely label his interpretation demonic, which is kind of ironic since I’m not too sure some of those folks actually believe in Satan.

On to the actual letter:

Fr.Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office.  You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church.  All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth.  The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

So, to the people trying to paint this as a Lefebvre situation, don’t.  Nobody is saying anything or anyone isn’t valid.  Like Burke, Brandmueller, Caffara, and Meisner, they all recognize and respect Pope Francis as Pope Francis and only he can fix it.  They all appealed to the Pope to use his authority to bring clarity.  They aren’t trying to start a parallel Church and usurp authority they don’t have.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate.  The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.  This fosters within the faithful a growing unease.  It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace.  Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

Let’s pause. It is his pontificate and there is great confusion.  There is no denying it, and while it’s not always his ambiguity that causes that (we also can’t say that the liberals paraphrase him crazily on a regular basis and most of the time out of context), he’s not offering correction and clarification to most who are doing that.  This has ZERO to do with me being a “hater” and everything to do with being a simple fact.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.”  I need not share my own concerns about its content.  Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.  The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching.  In “Amoris Laetitia,” your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.

Just as I can’t tell you whether or not Father Weinandy’s sign is genuine, I can’t tell you whether the Holy Father is intentionally ambiguous.  I really don’t need to know his intentional, or unintentional and there most definitely have been traditional interpretations as well as those that imply a change in Church teaching.

Now, there can be no denial that there are disputes and there is confusion, although I’ve heard some try.  They say that everything is crystal clear and the problem is with those who think there is confusion.  What???  When you’ve got two bishops with dueling interpretations on a crucial issue, there’s confusion.  When you have a boatload of them duking it out on the barque, it’s mass confusion.  That’s where we are.  Can we deal with reality, people? THERE IS CONFUSION.

There are many different opinions on why there is confusion.  Great.  I have mine, you have yours, etc.  The finger pointing is endless.  Personally, I don’t care.  I simply want clarity, and I REALLY don’t think that it’s wrong to ask for it.  I mean, how many of us pray for ambiguity and confusion?  I’ve appealed to the Vatican for situations in my locale and I got help.  This is a Church-wide issue today.  Appeals for clarity are necessary.

As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means.

Yes. Yes, it does.  We’ve heard the diverging interpretations of “accompaniment”. We just want to know which one is correct, and we want EVERYONE to know which is correct.  There can’t be two correct interpretations. Some of us have families and need to have teaching to be clear for our children, grandchildren, etc.!  If wanting our kids to have correct teaching is “rigid”, color me rigid!

To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.  The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.  Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.  Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.

Pope John Paul II had people coming after him all the time.  He didn’t go after them with ad hominem attacks.  There was no name calling of anyone.  Neither was there with Pope Benedict XVI.  If there was a problem, they took “legal” action and at least tried to speak in filial language.  They didn’t use the media to call out their “enemies.”

This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.  Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions.  Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

I’m always wondering what the heck the “advisors” are telling the Holy Father that he would throw out such monikers.  I know the Holy Fathers have all lived in somewhat of a bubble as soon as they assume the papacy.  However, I’d like to think with the dawn of the internet they wouldn’t be so insulated, but we really see Pope Francis scanning the blogs?  Nah.  Now, one could say he picked the kind of advisors he wanted.  Who knows?  I’m not really sure how the heck you can keep the stupidity of some of the appointees a secret.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.  Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.  Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.  But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.  Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth.  What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Well, doctrine is truth and the truth will set you free.  I think I’ve heard that somewhere.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.  What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.  This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.  As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the “sensus fidelium,” are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

THIS!  But, again, what’s more is that some of us have families to protect and some of these bishops are trying to lead our kids astray.  Do you know how many emails I get from families who are trying to get their kids to live the chaste life and carry their crosses only to have bishops like Bishop McElroy negate that message???  I’m in the mom zone.  I hear from people like trying to raise their kids in this world.  It is painful.  All we want is for our kids to get to heaven and we’re exhausted from fighting Satan on a daily basis in the secular world, and now we have to fight some of our own bishops for the souls of our children?! My main job is to get my family to heaven so if anyone wants to throw a rude nickname my way, go ahead.  I’ve got far more to worry about than that.  I’ll gladly accept Catholic Cyber Militia.  Think that bothers me?  Heck, I’ve already had it slapped on a t-shirt!  I DON’T CARE! That said, fear of being branded will likely silence the less activist minded people who have been dealing with bad bishops for years.  That saddens me because they have children too and they’re being beaten to silence by the ad hominem attacks.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity.  But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite.  Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion.  Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Moral relativism does this, too, which is what priests like Martin, Cupich, and McElroy love and promote.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern.  You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church.  You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think.  But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?  Why is this?  Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.  Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises.  Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

They’re definitely losing jobs left and right.  Thanks to those who continue to speak up on behalf of our families.  We’re tired of our children being used like chips in a high stakes poker game of who will fold first.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?”  The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.  Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness.  In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

The premise that God decided to give us a period of very clear light and dark is probably a really good guess.  We’d have to be naïve to think that these forces weren’t around during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  They were but they were much subtler. I’m glad they’re out there for all to see, I just wish they didn’t occupy a position of authority, which makes it much easier for them to lead people astray by offering them exactly what they want to hear instead of exactly what they need.  I’m hoping this is paving the way for a very strong pope who will take on filial correction as an art form.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so.  May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

July 31, 2017

Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Apparently, Fr. Weinandy is no longer at his job at the USCCB and it’s being framed as political and a pre-VII vs. post-VII thing.

November 1, 2017

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the nature of dialogue within the Church today.

Full statement follows:

“The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.  Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity all have debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological and pastoral issues. In more recent times, these debates have made their way into the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good.  However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political – conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II.  These distinctions are not always very helpful.”

Uh, where does Fr. Weinandy mention any of those things???  Until yesterday, I had never heard his name (maybe I should have) so I Googled.  I didn’t see one put down by Fr. Weinandy of Vatican II.  In fact, I saw him quoting docs from it.  And, really, who in the world would work for the USCCB who took the pre-Vatican II stance?  I’m reasonably sure he would have been gone long ago.

Christian charity needs to be exercised by all involved. In saying this, we all must acknowledge that legitimate differences exist, and that it is the work of the Church, the entire body of Christ, to work towards an ever-growing understanding of God’s truth.

I agree, but it doesn’t seem like you’ve exercised by this missive.

As Bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “presupposition” to his Spiritual Exercises: “…that it should be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it.” This presupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our Holy Father.

This, of course, is just a partial quote. Let’s look at the whole thing.

It should be presupposed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it. Further, if one cannot interpret it favorably, one should ask how the other means it.  If that meaning is wrong, one should correct the other person with love; and, if this is not enough, one should search out every appropriate means, through which by understanding the statement in a good way, it may be saved.

Dubia, letters, dubia, letters.  Anyone? Bueller? This has been attempted on many occasions by many people.  They’re trying to solve the problems with Amoris Laetitia by seeking clarification, but they have gotten repeatedly kicked in the face for it!

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishops working towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith, therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG, no. 23).”

Where is the lack of loyalty coming from?  Is it coming from all the letter and dubia authors???  Puh-lease!  Doesn’t he understand that bishops’ conferences all around the world are coming up with different interpretations of Amoris Laetitia???  How well does that work for unity?  For heaven’s sake, how about we read Lumen Gentium in its totality?  This is why so many of our clergy are appealing to the pope.  I’m sure for every query sent to the Holy Father there are thousands we haven’t seen.

This statement from Cardinal DiNardo is really, really weird in general and I’m kind of shocked it was made by him.  By all means, good cardinal, let’s discuss dialogue in the Church today but maybe we could not slander a seemingly good priest while we’re doing it because what he wrote and his characterization of it are completely different things.

Update:  Within hours of this going up I had more than one person who has knowledge of Fr. Weinandy say they were totally shocked that he wrote this and that he’s not really considered a staunch conservative when it comes to the Faith.  Like I wrote above, I couldn’t find anything showing a disposition portrayed by Cardinal DiNardo.

 

I, Me & the Papacy

I’ve been doing a lot of reading trying to get back to the blogosphere after a nice vacation.  I don’t often have a chance to plow through everything listed on Catholic headline sites. I usually just pick what jumps out at me, so after subjecting myself to just about every story in today’s headlines, I’m a little depressed.  Looks bleak these days for the Faith, despite knowing the end of the story. 

So much jumped out at me it’s hard to know what to tackle first.  Maybe the vacation was just a little too long!  This, however, is the article that kept gnawing at me.  

Those who read me know that I usually don’t comment much on Pope Francis.  My main reason for not doing so is that I just don’t believe in spitting into the wind.  I’ve got a wide variety of friends – both in my personal life and in the blogosphere – who hold every opinion on him, everything from questioning his validity to thinking he is the savior.  I think I probably hold the opinion of many in the middle: on some days I’m happy, on others I’m befuddled, but this one struck me in the most negative of ways. Why?  I just got the sense that it was all about him. “I, me, I, me, I, me…” and that’s not really a feeling I want to have about our Pope.  I want to feel like the Pope is the guardian of the Church and not treating it as his personal sandbox and these comments don’t help.  To be fair, the question was on his interviews, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many I’s and Me’s coming from the person who is supposed to represent the Church, not himself.  From the very first quote:

I know this can make me vulnerable, but it is a risk I want to take,

I wanted to yell, “This isn’t about you, it’s about souls! People with evil intentions are using your interviews to prey on those souls!” To be fair, the quotes they expound on are often totally out of context, misquotes, etc. However, fool me once shame on you, fool me repeatedly and I might actually be the fool or so “rigid” in my ways that I can’t see that my ways might be a problem and require another tactic.

I might as well just go over all the quotes.  Next:

“The Lord ‘interviews’ the disciples who are walking discouraged,” he said. “For me, the interview is part of this conversation the church is having with men and women today.”

OK, but does anyone remember what happened after the “interview”?  There was a complete and utter smackdown for not getting it.

25 Then he said to them, Too slow of wit, too dull of heart, to believe all those sayings of the prophets! 26 Was it not to be expected that the Christ should undergo these sufferings, and enter so into his glory? 27 Then, going back to Moses and the whole line of the prophets, he began to interpret the words used of himself by all the scriptures.

He didn’t say, “Oh, you missed everything that you’ve been taught but that’s just fine.”  Where is the response Christ gave, the clear delineation of where they ditched all that had been taught?  That’s what we hope comes out of the dialogue, but it never quite seems to happen.  We want Pope Francis to be a true father and then break bread with the children.  As a parent, that’s what I want to see from my pope for my children.  Sure, meet them on the Road to Emmaus when they are struggling and confused, but then give them the Truth and remind them what Christ did for them and what He left for them – the Church and her Sacraments.

“The interviews and Q&A sessions “always have a pastoral value,” Pope Francis said, and are an important part of his ministry, just like inviting a small group of people to his early morning Mass each day.”

I’d quibble here.  They COULD have pastoral value.  I don’t think it means they always do, especially when the responses are not clear.  I mean, the Holy Father picked the Road to Emmaus story.  After Christ’s “interview,” he reiterated EVERYTHING they had been taught about the Christ from “Moses and the whole line of prophets.” 

The chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives, “is, let’s say, my parish. I need that communication with people.”

I don’t think ANYONE has a problem with him communicating with people.  The problem people find is his lack of clarity.  That’s kind of what the whole dubia thing was about.  The four cardinals REALLY had communication with their flock, their priests, other cardinals, bishops, etc.  They deserved the “dialogue” that the Holy Father speaks of, because they represent a HUGE number of Catholics, despite the Spadaro spin.

“There, too, on those trips, I like to look people in the eye and respond to their questions sincerely,” he wrote. “I know that I have to be prudent, and I hope I am. I always pray to the Holy Spirit before I start listening to the questions and responding.”

Cannot fault the method at all, but the problem is it’s been a problem more than a few times now.  It seems like when it’s gone awry so many times, it might not be prudential to do it again and again.  That said, who knows if the chaos that results ever gets back to him.  You’d think yes since it’s the topic of the interview, but who the heck really knows anymore.

This one really got me:

His favorite interviews, he said, are with small, neighborhood newspapers and magazines. “There I feel even more at ease,” the pope said. “In fact, in those cases I really am listening to the questions and concerns of common people. I try to respond spontaneously, in a conversation I hope is understandable, and not with rigid formulas.”

Oh, how I wish that were true all the way around.  A couple comments on that. First, he should ALWAYS be on guard. Next, the press represents the common people?!  And then we’re back to “rigid.” Was Christ being “rigid” when he laid out every word spoken about him by the prophets?  I just wish he understood that clarity is good, clarity is not rigidity.

“For me,” he said, “interviews are a dialogue, not a lesson.”

Anything jump into anyone’s mind?  How many times did the disciples call Christ “teacher?”  I don’t remember him being called “dialoguer.”  Honestly, I want him to be the ultimate pope.  I want him do things like pay his own hotel bill and call “gender theory” a nuclear weapon, but these quotes didn’t bring me there.

Even when the questions are submitted in advance, the pope said he does not prepare his answers. Watching the person ask the question and responding directly is important.

OK, you’ve got the questions in advance.  They’re not going to change, but one can’t prepare a well thought out response that might be less easily twisted and still listen and respond directly to the question???

And finally…

Yes, I am afraid of being misinterpreted,” he said. “But, I repeat, I want to run this pastoral risk.

Why would anyone want to run the risk of being misinterpreted and run the risk of souls being led astray???  Look, I’m only human but I just don’t get it.  If my child comes to me with a weighty question, you’d bet I’d take the question in advance if I could get my hands on it!  If I had the opportunity, I wouldn’t go with, “I’m trying to be a genuine, authentic parent and have a genuine, authentic dialogue with my child, so I’m going to pass on the opportunity to be prepared and take a parental roll of the dice!”  That’s really what we’re talking about here. I’m not going to play craps when a soul is at stake.  Would I be “rigid” or loving with my want of clarity for the soul of a child I carried and raised?  My kids would probably go with rigid.  Ha!  That said, my children, just like the rest of us, don’t always want the truth, right?  We want the nice cushy road.  I don’t understand why the truth can’t be given with the love surrounding it like a halo.  Like so many, I just don’t get the logic of Pope Francis some days. 

The article on papal interviews wasn’t the only story that caught my eye.  In fact, this story hit the very same day.

Now, Pope John Paul II visited a prison (and the guy who shot him), and Pope Benedict XVI visited a prison, but Pope Francis decided to invite 20 prisoners out of prison to lunch. Guess what?  Two prisoners of unknown and possibly dangerous convictions escaped.  I cannot help but see this incident as symbolic of what’s going on in the Church today.  The Holy Father wants to extend what he thinks are new and improved overtures of kindness to some who are sure to feel “marginalized” (the Jesuits’ favorite word!), and some of the more nefarious “inmates” in the Church decide to run wild (ahem, Fr. Martin!).  Now, do I think these overtures are anything but genuine and done out of love?  My guess is that they are. (I’m sure some of you are about to throw “naïve” and “pollyana” at me.  Get your own blog!) That’s really not the point.  That said, I can very well say that prisoners escaping is not a good outcome.  People with evil ideas will do what they are going to do, but it doesn’t mean we have to make it any easier on them to do so.  My feeling is “no.”

When I was wondering what other papal interviews looked like, I came across this interview of Pope Benedict.  When he says “I” and “Me” he’s putting himself in the role of the faithful, not the Pope.  I’m throwing it in because it was great and touches on what we need from the Church and some of the topics of this week like Luther.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying the pope is a heretic (not in my job description).  I’m not saying he’s got evil intentions (out of my purview).  I’m not speaking to anything doctrinal or canonical the Pope may or may not have done (well, well above my pay grade).  I am speaking to this article and the Holy Father’s remarks expressed in it, and they concern me and I’m betting it concerns some of you.  I’m just here to say I feel your pain and you totally have reason to feel like you look like a confused German shepherd these days.  This too shall pass.

confused shepherd

For those feeling a bit, let’s be honest, annoyed, cheer up!  We’re either in end times as some have said, or we’ve got miles to go.  Either way, pray for the Church and pray for the world. Avail yourself of the sacraments and let’s pray that the Holy Father gives some clarity to our own personal “dubias” as well as those already stated.  I can’t imagine anyone having a problem praying for clarity (well, except for those who ascribe to the “confound and confuse” method) no matter what your feelings on the Holy Father.

 

Show…Me…the Canons!

Fight the false history, people!  Here’s a newsflash!  People who commit mortal sins should not be receiving Communion! This applies to you.  This applies to me.  This also applies to people who find themselves in really sad and/or hard situations. This does not now, nor has it ever meant, that said sinners are necessarily excommunicated.  That’s a whole separate issue.
Lately, I’ve seen many try to confuse the situation by suggesting that people who are not free to receive Communion are excommunicated.  Seems to be the new liberal strategy of the day.  The fact is, most people who may not receive Communion are simply in a state of mortal sin that doesn’t rise to the level of excommunication.

Now, some are creating imaginary canons and applying imaginary scenarios to them.  Ed Peters clarifies that nicely.  Might be nice if the Crux folks investigated a bit, but sadly, I think this is their chosen method of operation as of late.  They seem to be running on a “Let’s just say that John Paul II did something and hope nobody actually verifies it”, adding a “He who frames the question…” flourish, concluded with a “Repeat the lie until everyone believes it” move.

https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/

Fr. James Keenan writing in Crux this week makes his own a question raised (last July, it seems) by Rocco Buttiglione in L’Osservatore Romano: “Is there any contradiction between the popes who excommunicated divorced and remarried persons and Saint John Paul II who lifted that excommunication?

That’s fake canon law. John Paul II never lifted any excommunication against divorced and remarried Catholics because, quite simply, there was no excommunication against divorced and remarried Catholics for him to lift. Shall we talk about it?

Let’s all watch Ed school those so desperate to admit all to Communion.

Buttiglione writes in the L’OR piece upon which Keenan draws: “Once upon a time, divorced and remarried persons were excommunicated and excluded from the life of the Church. That kind of excommunication disappears from the new Code of Canon Law and Familiaris Consortio, and divorced and remarried persons are now encouraged to participate in the life of the Church and to give their children a Christian upbringing. This was an extraordinarily courageous decision that broke from an age-old tradition. But Familiaris Consortio tells us that the divorced and remarried cannot receive the sacraments.

Gracious! However far back in Church history Buttiglione needs to search for an excommunication of divorced-and-remarried Catholics, he apparently thinks that the 1917 Code itself excommunicated divorced and remarried Catholics and that, only by making a “courageous decision that broke from an age-old tradition”, could John Paul II ‘disappear’ that “excommunication” from the new (1983) Code of Canon Law.

I’ve kind of learned along the way to ask for citations mainly because it’s fun to watch their heads explode when they don’t actually have one.  So much “fake Catholicism” out there nowadays, I really don’t trust much.

There is just one problem with Buttiglione’s and Keenan’s canonical narrative of a pope kicking down a penal door locked against divorced-and-remarried Catholics—and thus with their broader ‘if-John-Paul-could-then-Francis-can’ claim, namely: the 1917 Code did not excommunicate divorced and remarried Catholics.

Oops.

Oops is right, and it’s a biggie for Crux peeps!

Neither Buttiglione nor Keenan provide a citation for their claim about what canon law allegedly did up to the time of John Paul II (nor, come to think of it, did Abp. Scicluna who was, it now seems, uncritically repeating Buttiglione’s claim and extending it to embrace adulterers!), so one is left to guess at what they had in mind. But a couple of ideas occur to me, some of which I have addressed before.

Ed points out what I said earlier: the liberal spin doctors are in full swing with each repeating the error as truth and it won’t be long before they’re all parroting the same talking points.  It spreads like a wildfire.  The response we need to keep repeating in our best Jerry Maguire voice is “Show me the canons!”  Heck, let’s even slow it down a bit for dramatic effect.  “Show…me…the canons!”

Maybe Keenan and Buttiglione had in mind the Pio-Benedictine excommunication levied against Catholics who attempted marriage in violation of canonical form; problem is, this sanction was applicable to all Roman Catholics (not just to divorced-and-civilly-remarried ones) and, more importantly, it had already been abrogated by Paul VI in 1970, a dozen years before the 1983 Code went into force!

Or maybe Keenan the American (if not Buttiglione, an Italian) recalled when American Catholics who divorced and civilly remarried were indeed excommunicated for that offense; problem is, that rule was peculiar to American (not universal) canon law, it dated back only to 1884 (hardly ‘age-old’), and, most importantly, it too had already been abrogated in 1977—again by Paul VI, not John Paul II—several years before the 1983 Code was promulgated.

Cue Britney Spears, JCL: Oops, they did it again!

Or maybe by “new” Code of Canon Law, Buttiglione and Keenan meant the 1917 Code which, in its day, was certainly new; problem is, I can’t find an excommunication for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics in the main, pre-Code, penal document of the 19th century, Pius IX’s Apostolicae Sedis moderatione (1869). Do Buttiglione and Keenan know of one? Of course, even if one were found lurking somewhere, it had obviously ‘disappeared’ from codified canon law some 65 years before John Paul II arrived on the scene.

So, in short, John Paul II had zippo to do with lifting excommunications on divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics.  Is this just poor education on the part of Keenan, Buttiglione, Scicluna, and the growing number embracing this falsehood, or is it simply tactics on their part?  Regardless, thanks to Ed Peters for showing us the error of their ways.

Or maybe Buttiglione and Keenan understand by the term “excommunication” a much older usage that sometimes blurred the distinctions between “excommunication” (as a canonical penalty, c. 1331) and “denial of holy Communion” (as a sacramental disciplinary norm, c. 915); problem is, their claim about what John Paul II supposedly did demands that they use canonical terms as he and the Church understand them today—and as Buttiglione himself recognizes when he notes above that, despite the (alleged) lifting of a (non-existent) excommunication, divorced-and-remarried Catholics are still prohibited the sacraments (a statement wrong in some respects, but right enough in this regard).

So what does this mean? So much confusion exists about “excommunication.”  I often refer people to this and so I shall again: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm  Excommunication is FAR different from not being free to receive Communion.  When you are excommunicated, you are barred from ALL of the Sacraments, public worship, and the Christian community in general. When you are in mortal sin, you are to refrain from Communion and encouraged to the hilt to cease sinning and get thyself to confession to rectify the mortal sin, but you are never to cease your Mass-going obligations.  Big difference!

So much contextualizing and back-storying, just to address one more fake canon law claim. But at least such research allows one to argue better not ‘if-John-Paul-could-then-Francis-can’, but rather ‘John-Paul-didn’t-and-Francis-shouldn’t’.

Sadly, it is necessary, Ed, and we thank you for doing so.  The question is, are people going to start doing their own homework or are they simply going to go with what’s most convenient for them to buy?  Honestly, people!  We’re talking about eternal life here!  It’s worth putting in just a little effort to go beyond the comfortable.  I mean, I’d love to believe that I no longer have to deal with hard situations in life and can just get to heaven because I mean well despite my sins, but I’m not so sure I’d be happy with the everlasting outcome of that stupid move.  I’m a mom.  The reality we employ around here is that the easy way, more often than not, is the wrong way, and at some point, the wrong way will bite us in the end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quoth the Raven “Never More People!”

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…

Sorry. Couldn’t help it. Edgar Allan Poe has been running through my head.  The talk of limiting people is just kind of morose and throw in the name and there you have it. It will all fall into place as you read on.

 Lifesite has now posted an update to THE story last week and have clarified they got the original quote, which had sent Catholic new media outlets spinning, wrong: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/correction-vatican-academy-member-misquoted-in-story-on-pope-francis  Here’s the original Peter Raven quote they gave:

Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable.

And the revised quote:

We need at some point to have a limited number of people which is why Pope Francis and his three most recent predecessors have always argued that you should not have more children than you can bring up properly,

First, Catholic news media…I realize that you’re all in a big hurry to out-scoop everyone else.  I get it.  It’s kind of your job.  That said, can we please stop attributing ideas to the pope when they come from some knucklehead who clearly doesn’t quite understand what the last three popes have actually said?!  I’m still seeing “Vatican” at odds with Catholic teaching.  One guy on an academy at the Vatican does not the Vatican make.  Peter Raven made the comment and I don’t believe it’s ever even been put into writing nor put forth as an official teaching. One idiot, one idiotic statement.  It’s important to note that he attributes this to the last three popes and not just Francis.  Anyways, that’s the view from over here.  It’s not just one outlet.  It’s multiple outlets.  

Next, even with the clarification, it was a stupid statement. People are acting as if the actual quote erased the stupidity found in the erroneous quote.  Bad on Lifesite for getting it wrong and kudos for correcting it but the Catholic Church has never said that we at some point have to have a limited number of people and the latter part of Peter Raven’s quote is not nor ever has been the reasoning for PETER RAVEN’S emboldened and underlined pro-population control premise.

Frankly, the real scandal and news story is that this guy is in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the first place.  Steven Mosher at the Population Research Institute has done a nice job showing the disaster in the current academy.  https://www.pop.org/content/earth-not-%E2%80%9Csick%E2%80%9D-and-mankind-thriving-never Maybe somebody can answer this question for me.  Is Peter Raven even Catholic?  I seriously can’t find that link anywhere and I consider myself pretty good at Googling.  I mean, aren’t there any Catholic scientists out there that might, perhaps, make a better authority on Catholicism AND scientific fact than Raven that might get the last three popes right?  Yes, yes.  I realize that you don’t have to be a Catholic to be in this academy.  The point is to examine  all sorts of scientific information free from the influence of race, creed or religion (you can tell the academy was started when science was still based on facts) but if he’s going make a statement on Catholic teaching, might it be helpful if he was one?! Or one who might know the Church’s teaching even if he doesn’t buy it??  Shouldn’t the non-Catholic guy stick to the science thing and stop trying to tell us what the Catholic teachings are?  There’s some  idea for you.

Peter Raven has an agenda and is twisting the Pope’s (actually the last 3 pope’s) words to fit that agenda. That’s kind of a no-no for the reason behind this academy.  It’s supposed to be agenda free.  He should be promptly fired, dismissed or however it is that you are told to get lost from an “academy.”  Again, it is not a teaching of the holy fathers that we need to limit the number of people.  It is their teaching that if you cannot properly feed, care for, etc. your children, you may resort to natural family planning.  Does this mean that if you can’t go on a trip you should use NFP?  NO!  Does this mean if you think there are too many people in the world and Mother Earth is rebelling against us because of that you should use NFP?  NO!  Does it mean if your children can’t have the latest xbox you should use NFP so that the rest of your children will not be deprived?  NO!  Should you prayerfully and in consultation with a spiritual director consider using NFP if you are struggling to feed, clothe, and shelter your children?  YES!  You may still come to the conclusion after prayer and consultation that God is calling you to have more children at the present time and work through the struggle or you may decide to exercise some self-control until such time you can responsibly feed, clothe, and shelter your kids.  That’s between YOU and God. I’m pretty sure most of you know this but there’s always the liberal lurkers who are going to try to run with this.  Peter Raven is a goof who can’t get past his own bad science and theology.

Before I could get this done, I noticed that Deal Hudson made some of the same points here: http://www.newsmax.com/DealHudson/vatican-peter-raven-pope-francis/2017/03/07/id/777396/  I disagree with Paul Raven = Vatican or Paul Raven = Pope, but it still had some great points.  I definitely agree the appointments made to some of the academies are tragic and nightmarish.  I hope they will receive an all new makeover with factually correct theological people and, where applicable, factually based scientific people instead if these “scientists” who wouldn’t know the scientific method if it bit them in the behind. You know, the ones who are constantly trying to bend the facts around their hypothesis instead bending their hypothesis around the facts.

 

Let’s Just Set Reality Aside, Shall We?

I’m glad to see John Allen weighing in on this one, but I’m not exactly sure what he’s saying.  Maybe you all can help?  It seems as confused as the reactions to Amoris Laetitia itself. https://cruxnow.com/analysis/2016/12/17/thoughts-turning-heat-amoris-debate/

Thoughts on turning down the heat in the ‘Amoris’ debate

John L. Allen Jr.December 17, 2016

EDITOR

Someone trying to remain objective about today’s debates over ‘Amoris Laetitia’ would probably have a hard time concluding that either side has a strong claim to the moral high ground, since both are charging the other with virtually the vilest crime in their respective vocabularies.

First of all, is the debate really about Amoris Laetitia or is it about how it’s being interpreted (one could say muddled) by Cardinal Kasper and club?  I mean, I’ve seen many good bishops around the world give pastoral directives on Amoris Laetitia. Not one has said to ignore it.  They have said, “This is how is should be implemented!”, but it’s not in the way Bishop McElroy, Cardinal (that still hurts to say) Cupich, and Cardinal Kasper seem to want.

As most everyone knows, Pope Francis has both fans and critics within the Catholic fold. For those with long memories, that insight rates up there with “water is wet” and “the sun came up this morning” in terms of news value, since every pontiff in the long history of the Church has faced much the same situation.

On this we can concur.  However, that hardly leads to the “dissent” label being thrown around as of late.

Fans of Francis, however, often insist that the dynamic under this pope is different than the previous two, St. Pope John Paul II and emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, because today papal critics generally are not being accused of dissent, and thus are not being threatened with possible ecclesiastical sanctions.

Well, that may or may not be the reality.  I mean, a whole lot of the liberal members of the clergy have said that Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Pell, etc., have all been “demoted” or fired from their spots.  So, which is it?

For now, let’s set aside the fact that this assertion isn’t even true anymore, since here at Crux our own Austen Ivereigh recently leveled precisely the charge of dissent against at least some critics of Francis’s document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, though certainly without any call for sanctions.

RIGHT!  He just heaped on where the liberal clergy left off.  His condescension was really on display.  Why are we setting this aside, though?  It happened, yet it would seem you don’t want to deal with it.

Let’s also set aside the truth that the number of people subject to formal censures, gag orders, publishing bans and the like during the John Paul and Benedict years was remarkably low – zero, in fact, under Pope Benedict – and the idea of papal “thought control” was mostly a fiction.

There were occasional hints of tighter discipline, such as the requirement for a mandate for Catholic theologians in John Paul’s 1990 document Ex Corde Ecclesiae, but for the most part those decrees, in time-honored Catholic fashion, were implemented with great latitude and patience, and very few heads actually rolled.”

Again, why are we setting aside what you acknowledge as reality? Or what is reality?

So, onto your point …

The main point is this: It’s true, so far as it goes, that at this point most defenders of Pope Francis haven’t accused critics of being dissenters, nor have they suggested that people who uphold contrary positions on the substantive positions associated with the pontiff, such as opening Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, are thereby committing heresy.

Yeah, hardly anyone has done that. Just the guy at your publication, the dean of the Roman Rota, the head of the Greek bishops, Cardinal JOSEPH Tobin, etc.  I think you need to narrow it down just a bit.  People in high places are scourging them, or at least hoping it’ll happen and doing their best to make it so.  The average person in the pew, probably not so much.  The average person in the pew doesn’t know who these people even are, but we are told some very public people are making very public statements and it should be glossed over.

The implication seems to be that fans of the pope are more generous, less vicious, and less inclined to question people’s bona fides as Catholics. There is, in other words, often a presumption of moral superiority in the observation that “we don’t talk that way.”

Reality, John, it’s a beautiful thing.  Embrace it.  The truth will set you free.  And, more importantly, calling a spade a spade might actually keep people from doing it again.

Simply as a descriptive matter, that proposition seems a bit disingenuous. Many in the pro-Francis camp don’t invoke concepts such as “heresy” and “dissent,” because frankly, it’s not the worst insult they can think of with which to slur an opponent.”  Instead, they use terms that Francis himself also regards as abhorrent, such as “rigid,” “inflexible,” “legalistic,” “clerical,” and, of course, worst of all, “anti-Vatican II.”

Seriously?  You’re simply fanning the flames here, John.  In the Catholic world, what would be a stronger “slur?”  You can keep stating the “no big deal” fantasy or you can accept that it actually is a big deal.  How is it that you can say out of one side of your mouth that Francis supporters are much kinder, and then turn around and list the slurs they use?  It seems disingenuous because it is!  It’s a typical liberal tactic.  “Let’s throw every horrible label possible at the likes of the four Cardinals and maybe the laity will believe it!”

In effect, what’s on display here is one of the defining differences between the Catholic left and the Catholic right over the last fifty years.

On this sentence, I can agree.  The left will twist reality and try to get everyone on board, while the right will call a spade a spade and put it in writing to boot so there’s no possible wiggle room.

For the right, “heresy” and “dissent” are about the worst things imaginable, so when they want to say “x is terrible,” that’s the language that comes naturally.

Uh, who’s been using these terms???  It ain’t the right who’s been attacking the four cardinals.  That would be the left.  You seem quite confused.

For the left, the equivalent horror is “rolling back the clock” on the Second Vatican Council, so when they want to call something or someone awful, that tends to be the verbal packaging in which the complaint comes wrapped.

So you’re saying the guy who writes for you is “left” and that he’s using that to win an argument because he’s paranoid about the people who actually wanted Vatican II implemented properly?  I missed where these four cardinals said they wanted anything other than that.

Someone trying to remain objective about today’s debates would probably have a hard time concluding that either side has a claim on the moral high ground, since both are charging the other with virtually the vilest crime in their respective vocabularies.

Who are the objective ones in this little play you’ve got running in your head?  You? Objectivity is based in facts, John.  Not seeing a whole lot of correct ones listed thus far.

To be clear, this tit-for-tat isn’t especially widespread among the Catholic rank and file. Walk into most ordinary parishes and ask what people make of the debate over Amoris Laetitia, and probably, people would stare back with uncomprehending expressions.

I agree with you on this statement.  We can only address those participating in the debate.  That’s why have trouble with your use of “many”, “most”, etc.  They are inaccurate if you are simply looking at those involved in the debate.

That said, there is nevertheless an increasingly nasty cycle of finger-pointing in print, online, in social media, and sometimes even face-to-face, and if there’s to be an end to it, perhaps what we need is the equivalent of a verbal truce.

Great.  Call off Ivereigh.  Probably not going to happen, though, so then it’s a very one-sided truce, right?  John, you’re trying to play middle ground here.  You can’t be the “Can’t we all just get along?” guy and decide who is for or against Pope Francis, who is the left or the right, and who has been nice and who has been naughty.  That makes you a commentator, not objective.  Cardinal Burke, time and again, has said that those who label him as anti-Francis are incorrect.  That would be the same for those who support their quest to have the dubia answered.

If conservatives troubled by some aspects of Amoris Laetitia and other aspects of the present papacy could at least concede that, in the main, those on the other side are not enemies of the faith, and that their positions are not a blatant rupture with Catholic tradition, that might be a powerful confidence-building measure.

Likewise, if supporters of Amoris Laetitia could stop insisting that everyone who raises legitimate questions, either about its content or its binding force, are therefore obstructionists suffering from assorted forms of psychological dysfunction, that would help too – as would acknowledging that there are various readings of Vatican II, and that not everyone who doesn’t quite share theirs is necessarily “rejecting the council.”

Read what you wrote here, John.  Where have the “conservatives” said that those “in the main” are enemies of the Faith?  It seems like you understand that there is a small group doing this, and since the four cardinals have never opposed supporting Amoris Laetitia, you are arguing against the reality of the situation. They simply want clarity.

Now, as for the other side, it would seem that you think that only bizarre accusations are being made (and by your publication to boot).

It would also likely be a balm if both sides could abandon their pretense of not only being right on the issues, but having the more virtuous motives.

Wow!  So glad you are omniscient to know their motives!  We’re talking about two diametrically opposed versions of Truth.  Only one of them can be right, but you seem to want everyone just to give in a little.  You don’t give in on Truth.  You grab onto it as hard as you can.  So, when you have one group saying that the misinterpretations are a jeopardy to the faithful and another group saying “They’re just crazy!”, it should give you pause.

Granted, this cycle of charge and counter-charge has become so habitual over the last five decades that abandoning it now may be little more than a pipe dream. Granted, too, the fact that these terms are wildly over-used doesn’t mean there no longer really is such a thing as dissent, or openly rejecting the teaching of a council.

Really?  This is your take away?  Again, you have people who are totally and utterly willing to back up every charge they make with Church teaching and tradition, and another group that says “They’re just stuck in the past!  The Church is living and breathing and you just don’t like this Pope!”

To reverse Thomas Aquinas’s famous dictum, however, the fact that a thing may be legitimately used does not negate the very real possibility of abuse.

In the end, there are serious questions raised by Amoris Laetitia regarding the Church’s pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried persons, and just in terms of betting odds, it’s a long-shot that one camp possesses all the right answers and the other absolutely none.

I’ll take that bet!  That said, you’re acting as if people are saying the whole document should be ditched.  Is this the case with Archibishop Chaput, who has expressed support for the dubia?  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/11/18/chaput-says-issued-amoris-rules-pope-asked/  It’s all about the interpretation!

For the pro-Amoris Laetitia side, there are important values at stake, including the authority of the synodal process that led to the document as well as that of the pope who issued it. For the camp with doubts, it’s the broader tradition of the Church with regard to marriage and divorce.

I don’t know what common ground between the two might look like, but I suspect it begins by accepting all of the above as valid, as well as a “cease and desist” order on impugning people’s integrity.

Who’s questioning the authority of the pope????

Over time, the Church will almost certainly evolve towards one of its classic “both/and” solutions to what were initially seen as “either/or” problems. How long it takes to get there, however, may in part be determined by whether in the here-and-now, the rhetorical heat can at least be turned down.

Yes, the slowly boiled frog does die much easier.  Sigh.  What can a guy say who’s just published a scathing review of the four cardinals say?  “Let’s all turn it down while my publication just turned it up!”  Come on, John.  It would have been better just to say “Whoa!  I didn’t read before I published!”  Trying to play the middleman now is rather hypocritical.

I think what you might have meant to say, John, was “Mea culpa.”