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.”

 

 

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.”