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.”

 

 

The Wolves are Cozy on the Couch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cesspool of Hatred or Fount of Catholic Zeal?

I’d like to juxtapose some statements of Fr. Thomas Rosica to some from Pope Francis found in these two articles.

http://www.cruxnow.com/cns/2016/05/17/vatican-pr-aide-warns-catholic-blogs-create-cesspool-of-hatred/

and

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-if-we-annoy-people-blessed-be-the-lord/

It seems rather funny that these two articles hit the internet a day apart.  They could not be more different from each other.  Let’s imagine a conversation between Pope Francis and Fr. Rosica, using their own quotes and points directly from these two articles.  (Parenthetical interjections mine, mine, mine.)

Fr. Rosica: Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the Internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!”  (Note it is the non-believing non-Christian friends he’s citing.)

Pope Francis: It is better to be annoying and a nuisance than lukewarm in proclaiming Jesus Christ. If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord.  We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when things are too quiet in the Church.

Fr. Rosica: The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around.  Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners! In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people.   (Planks and splinters are coming to mind here.  Anyone else?  I just want to hold up a big mirror here.)

Pope Francis: There are those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and apostolic zeal. Apostolic zeal implies an element of madness, which is healthy and spiritual.  It can only be understood in an atmosphere of love and is not an enthusiasm for power and possession. (And that’s really, really the difference for those of us who “never found a platform or pulpit.”  We really didn’t want this job.  It found us when we looked at what our children had to face, what was happening to the faithful around us, those being offered on the altar of political correctness, etc.)

Paul, in preaching of the Lord, was a nuisance, but he had deep within him that most Christian of attitudes, apostolic zeal. He was not a man of compromise, no! The truth, forward! The proclamation of Jesus Christ, forward!  St. Paul’s fate was one with many crosses, but he keeps going, he looks to the Lord and keeps going.  He is a man who, with his preaching, his work, his attitude irritates others, because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable.  It threatens our comfort zones, even Christian comfort zones, right? It irritates us. The Lord always wants us to move forward, forward, forward, not to take refuge in a quiet life or in cozy structures. (Right, we could just duck and cover and hide in our little Catholic bunkers but we would be abandoning the cross.)

Fr. Rosica:  The Internet, can be an international weapon of mass destruction, crossing time zones, borders and space. It is an immense battleground that needs many field hospitals set up to bind wounds and reconcile warring parties.  Christians ought to be a constant encouragement to communion and, even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil, they should never try to rupture relationships and communication.  (Who says the goal is to try to rupture relationships?)

If we judged our identity based on certain ‘Catholic’ websites and blogs, we would be known as the people who are against everyone and everything! If anything, we should be known as the people who are for something, something positive that can transform lives and engage and impact the culture. (Now, see, that would be the problem we have with Fr. Rosica and friends’ tactics.  We don’t see them as transformative, engaging and impactful in a positive way.  We see them as permissive, enabling, and harmful.  We’re the ones out there trying to tell people they don’t have to embrace sin. We’re on the forefront trying to stop the destruction of youth, morally and physically, and we are using modern technology to do it.  This is what scares the old guard.  We are making progress!)

Pope Francis:  St. Paul was a fiery individual who was always in trouble, not in trouble for troubles’ sake, but for Jesus because proclaiming Jesus is the consequence.  The Church has so much need of this, not only in distant lands, in the young churches, among people who do not know Jesus Christ, but here in the cities, in our cities, they need this proclamation of Jesus Christ.

So let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace of apostolic zeal, let’s be Christians with apostolic zeal, onwards, as the Lord says to Paul, take courage! (Amen, Holy Father!  Amen!)

Imaginary conversation done. Isn’t it weird how those just fit together?

I think Fr. Rosica and friends had high hopes for the internet, but then realized that they were going to get some pushback when people didn’t like them twisting the Faith.  (FYI, Fr. Martin. SJ almost immediately posted this Fr. Rosica talk to his social media accounts to share with everyone what a “cesspool of hatred” the Catholic blogosphere is.  You to admit that Fr. Rosica is a little more lyrical than Fr. Martin when it comes to the ad hominems.  “Cesspool of hatred” is so much more poetic than the “haters” Fr. Martin used.) The internet is the one place where the faithful can call the liberals on their spin.   We can bypass and run around them.  In the history of the Church, the laity has never had so much input.   He’s quite right that it can cross time zones and borders (not sure about space – maybe a little too poetic).

Fr. Rosica does lob some pretty lofty grenades at Catholic bloggers, yet he never seems to stop and ask himself what his role in all of this might be.  Bloggers are the ones waging a war.  Bloggers are the ones against everyone and everything.   Bloggers have archaic notions. Bloggers are hateful, venomous and vitriolic, sad people, etc., etc., etc.   As usual, he does a bang up job of being rather contrary, does he not?  He’s really just saying, “I can fire off some artillery and be completely justified.  The laity that disagrees with me, they must just sit on their hands sporting duct tape over their lips, or else they are mean and pathetic!”  I don’t think the bloggers are the ones saying, “You can’t take people to task!” and then turning around to take people to task themselves.  I don’t think we mind or feel martyred when people tell us we’re great big meanies. Frankly, we couldn’t care less.  I think “Bring it!” would characterize us. What drives us nuts, however, is the lack of honest debate.  There is no debate unless you consider “You’re vitriolic!” as debate, in which case you probably flunked Debate 101.

I can’t speak for all Catholic bloggers, but I can safely assume most have the goal to support the faithful and the Faith under attack.  It is most definitely a war.  I have no problem with that depiction nor one of a field hospital.  The question is, who are the enemy combatants (aka – the ones fighting for their own agenda which is contrary to the Church)? Who are the doctors and nurses? Who are the ones fighting the unjust aggressor?  And just what is the best medicine?  Disinfecting wounds is rarely a pleasant thing.  Usually, a tremendous amount of pain comes before the healing.

So, the clergy really needs to ask themselves how to handle the laity challenging them?  Is it good to constantly whine about it, or should you jump into the conversation?  Is it good to say “Hey, I’m just going to sue you because what you said was wrong?” (ahem, Fr. Rosica!) or would it be a little more beneficial to rebut the accusations point by point? I thought dialogue was the word of the day?  I thought you were supposed to meet people where they were?  Well, here they are!   That is the problem with Fr. Rosica.  He’ll bend over backwards for one part of society, and then feels free to backhand another. It just so happens that the ones he backhands are the ones who advocate for following the Faith. He doesn’t want to have a discussion of the issues.  He simply tells everyone how full of venom they are and blocks them on social media.  They’re talking some serious issues, yet all he can do is peddle ad hominems.   He can continue to try and silence the portion of the Catholic blogosphere that disagrees with him, but I’m reasonably sure they aren’t going anywhere.  #meetthelaity

Sorry to Break it to You: Wishes Aren’t Ponies

Try not to cry on the keyboard when  you read this.  Some seemed very determined to inflict their sins on children.  It’s just really, really sad that the liberal agenda, all the way around and more often than not, directly targets children.  It really shouldn’t be surprising, though.  There is much historical basis for targeting children in the destruction of a country.  Why would anyone think this would change?  We haven’t learned from history but are repeating it.  When will we learn?

Emphasis from here on is mine.

http://www.parentherald.com/articles/37665/20160418/same-sex-parenting-pope-francis-rejects-gay-marriage.htm

Terry Weldon, who runs the blog Queering The Church, believes that Pope Francis’ “Amoris Laetitia” did not denounce gay parents in the 256-page document. While Weldon recognizes that the pope did reiterate his stand on gay marriage, it could be wrong to assume that this same stand also extends to same-sex parenting.

Amoris Laetitia, Gay Marriage and ‘Certain Stability’

Weldon boosted his argument by citing another passage from the pope’s message. “We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability,” wrote Pope Francis in the document. Weldon told Gay Star News that “certain stability” could also pertain to same-sex parenting and even gay adoption.

Hopes and wishes aren’t reality, Terry.  You might live in a world… Scrap that! You definitely live in a world where science and reality have been suspended.  The sad thing is that you can’t escape reality without injury.

I’m going to have to assume that Terry Weldon is hoping that people cannot Google.  Either that or he can’t handle such an easy task himself.  Regardless, he’s urging people to believe fantasy not backed by facts.

Let me help you, Terry.  (Google, Terry, it’s a beautiful thing.) http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/pope-francis-against-gay-adoption-every-person-needs-male-father-and

…the Pope has rejected the idea of same-sex marriage as an “anthropological regression” and stressed that when it comes to adoption, “every person needs a male father and a female mother.”

…and:

“If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party nor is society affected,” he writes. “Now, if the union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected.”

Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity,” says Pope Francis.

Explaining further, he says, “It is often argued that a child would be better cared for by a same-sex couple rather than in an orphanage or an institution. Those two situations are not optimal. The problem is that the State does not do what it has to do.”

 “They should streamline the procedure of adoption, which are never-ending, so that these children can have a home,” says the pontiff. “One failure of the State does not justify another failure of the State. The underlying issue must be addressed. More than a marriage law so that people of the same sex can adopt, we have to improve the adoption laws, which are excessively bureaucratic and, in their current implementation, encourage corruption.”

In short, the Holy Father says not to add insult to the injury which is the adoption bureaucracy.  Let’s not fail the children again by allowing same-sex couples to adopt.  Let’s fix the system so that children can get what they need: a male father and a female mother who can properly help them to shape their identity.

And, Terry, here’s more from Google to disprove your silly pondering:

Pope not happy about the same-sex adoption proposal in Malta: http://world.time.com/2013/12/30/report-pope-francis-shocked-by-same-sex-adoption-proposal/

Pope Francis gave his blessing to a referendum that would ban marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in Slovakia: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Pope-Francis-blesses-ban-same-sex-couples/2015/02/04/id/622803/#ixzz46DcEw2fc

Pope’s comments (as Cardinal Bergoglio) on same-sex adoption: http://www.businessinsider.com/pope-francis-comments-on-gay-marriage-and-gay-adoption-2013-3

And then there’s this from the then-cardinal: http://www.catholichawaii.org/media/224245/bergoglio_to_carmelite_sisters.pdf

I write these lines to each of you who are in the four monasteries of Buenos Aires.  The Argentine people will face, in the coming weeks, a situation whose outcome may gravely injure the family.  This refers to the project of the law regarding marriage of persons of the same sex.  What is at stake here is the identity and survival of the family:  father, mother and children.  At stake are the lives of so many children who will be discriminated against in advance, depriving them of the human maturation that God wanted to be given with a father and a mother.  At stake is the outright rejection of the law of God, engraved also in our hearts. 

I remember a quote from St. Therese when talking about her childhood illness.  She says that the envy of the Devil wanted deprive her family of the entrance to the Carmel of her older sister.  Here also is the envy of the Devil, by which sin entered into the world, which cunningly seeks to destroy the image of God: man and woman receive the mandate to grow, multiply and subdue the earth.  Do not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is the destructive attempt toward God’s plan.  It is not a mere legislative project (this is only the instrument) but a ”movement” of the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.  Jesus tells us that to defend ourselves against this lying accuser, he will send us the Spirit of Truth.

So, Terry, no, it would not be wrong to assume that the Church’s “gay marriage” ban also extends to “gay adoption.”  It would be wrong of you to assume that “certain stability” would ever include same-sex couples.  As the Holy Father stated, that is “a ‘movement’ of the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Top Things Wrong with America’s Top 5

America Magazine, that is. Fr. James Martin, SJ, (because what other order would put out this level of hooey?) has spoken.  Not surprisingly, he has produced an odd little video starring the editors of America.  I’m thinking they might not have actually read Amoris Laetitia, but regardless, this video has little to do with the actual document and it’s got this really annoying disco soundtrack, to boot.  Let go of the 70s, Fr. Martin!  You can do it!

Besides the editors of America, I’m guessing more than a few nominal Catholics haven’t actually read the document, nor will they.  They’ll just take the Fr. Martin and ilk paraphrasing of it as the fifth gospel.  Wonder why the editors of America actually don’t encourage you to read it???  Try “Let’s just keep the flock ignorant and tell them what we think it means.”

First, we all need to give a big thanks to One Mad Dad who, through his technical wizardry, captured the transcript so we don’t have to actually listen to the background music. If you want to watch it, just google the title and Fr. James Martin, SJ and it’ll pop right up.

Here we go! 

Top 5 – Amoris Laetitia

Fr. Martin kicks off this comedy of errors: Pope Francis’ groundbreaking new document, Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love,” asks the Church to meet people where they are, consider the complexities of people’s lives and respect people’s consciences when it comes to moral decisions. The apostolic exhortation is mainly a document that reflects on and encourages families, but it is also the Pope’s reminder that the Church should avoid simply judging people and imposing rules on them without considering their struggles. His goal is to help families, in fact, everyone, experience God’s love. All this may require what the Pope calls “new pastoral methods.” So, let’s look at the top five takeaways from Amoris Laetitia.

First thing, please don’t use these “5 takeaways” as the document.  That would be plain silly.  If you want to start by taking these sheeples’ comments and using “ctrl f” to search the document, you won’t find any of the “takeaways” accurately quoted in the document.  Can you say “spin,” Fr. Martin?  It should be relatively easy, since you are the master of it.  Let’s just go over some of the ridiculous.

Right off the bat, Fr. Martin uses that catchy phrase proponents of moral relativism love: “Meet people where they are.”  Quite frankly, this has always been just a fluffy way to state the obvious.  Where else do you meet people?  Of course, they’re not going for the “greet” version of meet.  They’re talking more about “coming down to their level.”  What Fr. Martin doesn’t say is that he pretty much wants the Church to stay down at that level.  This annoys me to the hilt, because I am a mother and a teacher and have been encouraging people to “grow up” instead of staying at some stunted plateau.  Does anyone really think the Holy Father wants us to remain spiritually stunted?  Well, I suppose those who think sin is determined merely by what we think it is are hoping that’s what he wants.  However, if you take the document in its entirety, how could anyone in good conscience say that?  Internal forum, maybe?

Really, the phrase “internal forum” needs to be discussed before moving on.  The dissenters from Church teaching would have you believe this means you can have a discussion with yourself and decide if you think your sin is really a sin.  “So what do you think, self?  Do you really think that God thinks sleeping with someone outside of marriage is a sin?  Nope?  OK, we’re good.  Bring on Communion!”  Seriously, people actually believe this, and the Fr. Martins of the world aren’t going to do a darn thing to dispel that error.  Let’s just look at what it really means, because that ain’t it.  

It’s all about marriage and the family in Amoris Laetitia, so let’s go with these explanations: http://itsjustdave1988.blogspot.com/2005/05/internal-forum-solution-instead-of.html

or

https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/toward-informed-discussion-of-the-internal-forum/

Thanks, gentlemen!  You notice that they actually back up their definitions with Canon Law and previous popes?  Fr. Martin can’t actually do that, because it would undermine his argument. 

Next, Fr. Martin says the Holy Father asks us to “respect peoples’ consciences when it comes to moral decisions.”  Not so much.  We should take them into consideration, and more often than not, there’s the directive for pastors to help rightly form consciences.  Fr. Martin consistently ignores the latter and distorts the former as “we must respect peoples’ actions based on their consciences.”  Would Fr. Martin say that about a murderer?!?!?  My guess is not so much.  He doesn’t want you to think about applying this theory across the board.  He only wants you to apply it to his pet sins.

Not to be outdone by Father Martin, Associate Editor Olga Segura continues:

The Church needs to understand families and individuals in all their complexity. The Church needs to meet people where they are, so pastors should avoid judgments that don’t take into account the complexity of various situations. In other words, one size does not fit all and black-and-white thinking is not helpful. People are encouraged to live by the Gospel, but they should also be welcomed into a Church that appreciates their struggles and treats them with mercy. Overall, Pope Francis calls for an approach of accompaniment.

Actions can be judged regardless of the situation, Olga.  What cannot be judged is the culpability of a person.  That’s what Amoris Laetitia says starting on paragraph 303.  It doesn’t say that “irregular situations” are good.  Irregular situations are never good, but the culpability in the situation may mitigate the person committing the act.  This is and has always been Church teaching.  So, when Olga says, “In other words [OMM: you know there’s going to be trouble with this] one size does not fit all and black and white thinking isn’t helpful,” she is flat out wrong.  The “rules” DO fit us all.  The only thing that isn’t a one size fits all is our culpability based on how one’s conscience is formed.  Is it formed well?  Is it poorly formed? And what’s the pastoral remedy put forth by the Pope for all of this?  HELPING PEOPLE TO RIGHTLY FORM THEIR CONSCIENCES! 

Olga goes onto say that people should live by the gospel, “but they should be welcomed into a church that appreciates their struggles and treats them with mercy.”  Wouldn’t we all say “Duh!” to that?  Sadly, that’s really not where the America crowd is headed.  Their idea of mercy is to rubberstamp all sorts of immoral behavior.  The Pope urges the Church to accompany sinners NOT THE SIN.

Executive Editor Tim Reidy adds:

The role of conscience is paramount in decision-making. Individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s practice. In other words, the traditional belief that conscience is the final arbiter of the moral life needs to be recovered. The Church is supposed to form consciences, not to replace them, says the Pope. And while it is true a person’s conscience needs to be formed by Church teaching, our conscience does much more than just follow rules. Conscience also recognizes with a certain moral security what God asks of us.

Um, hello? When did it get lost and who lost it? I’m reasonably sure that was Tim, not me.  The problem with his statement is that he doesn’t now nor did he ever understand this traditional belief.  I’m thinking he missed this:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/RATZCONS.HTM

Authority in this case, the Magisterium, may well speak of matters moral, but only in the sense of presenting conscience with material for its own deliberation. Conscience would retain, however, the final word. Some authors reduce conscience in this its aspect of final arbiter to the formula: conscience is infallible.

Nonetheless, at this point, a contradiction can arise. It is of course undisputed that one must follow a certain conscience or at least not act against it. But whether the judgment of conscience or what one takes to be such, is always right, indeed whether it is infallible, is another question. For if this were the case, it would mean that there is no truth—at least not in moral and religious matters, which is to say, in the areas which constitute the very pillars of our existence. For judgments of conscience can contradict each other. Thus there could be at best the subject’s own truth, which would be reduced to the subject’s sincerity. No door or window would lead from the subject into the broader world of being and human solidarity. Whoever thinks this through will come to the realization that no real freedom exists then and that the supposed pronouncements of conscience are but the reflection of social circumstances. This should necessarily lead to the conclusion that placing freedom in opposition to authority overlooks something. There must be something deeper, if freedom and, therefore, human existence are to have meaning.

 Managing Editor Kerry Weber:

Divorced and remarried Catholics should be more fully integrated into the Church. Divorced and remarried people are not excommunicated. Rather, they are members of our Church. We can help them feel more welcome in the Church in a few pastoral ways, says the Pope: by looking at the specifics of their situation, by having priests counsel them privately in what’s called an “internal forum,” and by respecting that the final decision about their level of participation in the Church is ultimately left to their conscience.

Oh, honey, does what you said sound like this? 

http://w2.vatican.va/content/dam/francesco/pdf/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia_en.pdf 299.

I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal.  The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral care, a care which would allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it.  They are baptized; they are brothers and sisters; the Holy Spirit pours into their hearts gifts and talents for the good of all.  Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practised in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted.  Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel.  This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbringing of their children, who ought to be considered most important”.

Again, “internal forum” doesn’t mean what you propose it means. 

Associate Editor Ashley McKinless:

We should no longer talk about people “living in sin.” In a sentence, [OMM: a drastically altered sentence with some fancy omissions] reflecting a new approach, the Pope says, “It can no longer simply be said that those living in ‘irregular situations’ are living in a state of mortal sin.” Other members of non-traditional families, like single mothers, need to be offered understanding, comfort, and acceptance. When it comes to these people, the Church needs to stop applying moral laws as if, in the Pope’s vivid words, “they were stones to throw at a person’s life.”

Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!   Young lady, by altering just a few words, you not only misquoted the pope, you completely changed the meaning of the statement the Pope made.  Let’s look at what he ACTUALLY said (emphasis will show what this babe did):

301. For an adequate understanding of the possibility and need of special discernment in certain “irregular” situations, one thing must always be taken into account, lest anyone think that the demands of the Gospel are in any way being compromised.  The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations.  Hence it is 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.

Or

305. For this reason, a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in “irregular” situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives.

Are America followers really that gullible? Nowhere did it say the Church cannot apply moral laws, yet that is what the America staff would like you to believe.  It says it’s not enough to simply apply the laws.  Again – DUH!  Honestly, I’m not sure what the Pope dealt with in his country, but I can’t remember the last time I heard of a priest saying, “You are sinning.  Go away!” 

And, really, single moms?!?! What the heck was that?  What Ashley and the other editors really wanted to say was homosexual couples, but they knew that analogy would never fly, so they threw out the most sympathetic red-herring they could find. 

Editor-in-Chief Matt Malone, SJ:

Traditional teachings on marriage are affirmed, but the Church should not burden people with unrealistic expectations.

Errrrrk!  Stop right there.  Can anyone show me where that is in Amoris Laetitia?  I didn’t remember reading it.  Went back and did a search and cannot find it anywhere.  Last time I checked, all things were possible with God, not unrealistic.  Does America really think the Church is asking us to do an impossible thing?

Father Malone continued:

As the Church has always taught, marriage is between one man and one woman, marriage is indissoluble, and same-sex marriage is not considered. At the same time, the Church has often put upon people what Francis calls an artificial theological ideal of marriage that is removed from people’s everyday lives. At times, these ideals have been a tremendous burden. And to that end, priests need to be better-trained to understand the complexities of people’s married lives.

And the actual statement?

36. We also need to be humble and realistic, acknowledging that at times the way we present our Christian beliefs and treat other people has helped contribute to today’s problematic situation.  We need a healthy dose of self-criticism.  Then too, we often present marriage in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation.  Nor have we always provided solid guidance to young married couples, understanding their timetables, their way of thinking and their concrete concerns.  At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families.  This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.

Again, ask yourselves why there are so reticent to accurately quote Amoris Laetitia. Also note that the Pope’s writing has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, and the attempt to tie it to that is nothing more than dishonest.  Nice try, America editors!  Nice try!

Want to see what it actually says about same-sex marriage and same-sex “union”?

  1. No one can think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole.  The contrary is true: it poses a threat to the mature growth of individuals, the cultivation of community values and the moral progress of cities and countries.  There is a failure to realize that only the exclusive and indissoluble union between a man and a woman has a plenary role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life.  We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage.  No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.  But nowadays who is making an effort to strengthen marriages, to help married couples overcome their problems, to assist them in the work of raising children and, in general, to encourage the stability of the marriage bond?

“…de facto or same-sex unions …may not simply be equated with marriage.”  Wait, didn’t you try to do exactly that, Fr. Malone? You just slid it right in there.  In fact, Father, same-sex unions are not only “not considered,” as you say, they are not considered marriage.  Period.  End of story.  The Holy Father does not equate it with marriage.

Aaaaand Fr. Martin brings it all home for those not likely to read the document:

Overall, Amoris Laetitia asks the Church to help families of every sort and people in every state of life. They need to know that, even in their imperfections, they can be homes for God’s love, as well as places where people will experience that love. The new apostolic exhortation offers a vision of a pastoral and merciful Church that welcomes and encourages families and all people to experience the joy of love.

You know what, Father Martin? You’re doing what you always do.  You make these statements, but you never suggest how.  We can only find joy of love in TRUTH.  Yes, there is reality in our imperfections, but there shouldn’t be satisfaction in them.  This doesn’t lead us to the truth.

Moms are always going to go back to the analogy of what happens when you touch a hot stove.  If you touch it, it’s going to burn you.  In your reality, editorial staff of America, it’s only going to burn you if you think it’s hot.  This isn’t the Truth.  It’s going to burn you no matter how you perceive it.  Now, do we need to teach our children this by letting them get burned? Do we tell them they should just never attempt cooking and to stay out of the kitchen? Not if we are a loving parent.  We explain it over and over again, if necessary.  That is the loving course of action.  Just letting our fellow Catholics “touch the hot stove” to form their conscience isn’t the loving way to go.  It could end up as a minor injury or it could end up as a permanent, painful scar. We must explain the reality of what will happen over and over again.  Is a parent judgmental to give that “homily” time and again?  Nope.  They are protective.  That’s how our pastors should be.  They should teach us over and over again until we understand, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.  They should help us rightly form our consciences so we can understand the truth that brings us true joy.