Out @ St. Paul is one of James Martin, SJ’s favorite clubs. He re-tweets his pride for them quite often. He portrays them as just a benign, loving support group for those who are so oppressed by the Church simply for trying to be faithful Catholics that She needs to change for them. The reality is they completely support engaging in sodomy, entering into “gay marriages,” and engaging in the slander and detraction of Bishop Morlino, all while continuing to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Let’s look at just two of their tweets from this last week and you can tell me how loving and moral they are.
First we have this…
Harvey Milk was NO saint and no martyr for the Faith. To portray him as such is such a dishonor to saints, especially saints like Charles Lwanga. Milk was a homosexual man who sexually preyed on teen runaways who were homeless and resorted to prostitution. He even encouraged boys to run away to join him in San Francisco. We’re not even talking about teens who were above the statutory age, which is really irrelevant but people are going to make the claim it is. He admits some of these relationships and/or parents intercepted his letters. Even his own biographer friend, Randy Shilts, wrote, “Harvey always had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems.” Sadly, at least one of his victims committed suicide years later. So, please, Fr. Martin and his buddies who talk about how we’re so mean or how horrible the abuse of minors is might want to zip it instead of trying to claim loving, moral superiority. Of course, there wasn’t a peep from Fr. Martin to build his bridge and point out the Church’s position on this.
And then there’s this…
Bishop Morlino was NOT an opponent of LGBT people. He was an opponent of the LGBT lifestyle. He LOVED people suffering from same-sex attraction so much that he spoke the hard truth to them. On the occasion of his death, to say that he was an enemy of anyone, that he hated anyone, that he committed calumny or persecution is disgusting. And still no peep from Fr. Martin on this one, either.
Out @ St. Paul is not some warm, cozy support group for those intent on living the chaste life. They’re not some group of persecuted who just want to be accepted so they can practice the Faith in peace. It is a militant group seeking to thwart as many of the Church’s teachings as they see fit.
I call on Fr. James Martin, SJ, to condemn these scurrilous posts and tweets. I know he won’t, but it just shows, once again, show how fake his bridge overtures are. The bridge only leads one way – away from the Church that wants the best for all of us.+
Out @ St. Paul is one of James Martin, SJ’s favorite clubs. He re-tweets his pride for them quite often. He portrays them as just a benign, loving support group for those who are so oppressed by the Church simply for trying to be faithful Catholics that She needs to change for them. The reality is they completely support engaging in sodomy, entering into “gay marriages,” and engaging in the slander and detraction of Bishop Morlino, all while continuing to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Let’s look at just two of their tweets from this last week and you can tell me how loving and moral they are.
Not to get all “mommy” on you but sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with the endless amount of dirty laundry and every time I feel like I might see the end of the pile, the washer or dryer breaks. Except it’s not really laundry right now. It’s the crud in the Church. It just never ends and we can’t seem to catch a break, right? This is where I was this weekend with the death of Bishop Morlino right on the heels of the disastrous USCCB meeting.
Thankfully, I got the one two punch I needed to keep my chin up and move on. First of all, I hit confession. I admitted feeling a weeeeeeeee bit of frustration after hearing about Bishop Morlino’s death. I mean, really??? We have how many bishops and God chose to take him. Of course, my priest told me what I really already knew. He’s an even greater advocate for us now. My priest also reminded me not to be part of the problem. I also get that. It’s not like the Holy Father doesn’t score a small point when he mentions gossip even though my guess is he says it because he’d just like a little silence. “My side” has a problem with that sometimes, too.
Then it seems I got right out of the confessional and got a homily on speaking the truth. Yep! There’s definitely a balance there that those in the blogosphere have to get right. I’m sure I fall short on some days, but I’m still trying. And there’s also a message about not giving up on the truth and St. Paul and all that good stuff. Around this time of year, it’s mighty tempting just to take a super long vacation. I mean, I’m not getting paid to do this so crawling back into my Catholic cave is appealing. That said, I have a sneaking suspicion this is the devil trying to sideline me. This is not the time for any of us to let up.
Now let’s go back to my warning from the confessional and things about which I think we all need to be careful. I’m sure this isn’t going to be popular to hear for many and this blog post might not even see the light of day, but here goes.
Let me contend with the whole theory that the Pope isn’t the pope. I’m not going to say the assumption is wrong, although I suspect it is. It’s like people don’t remember we’ve had less than stellar popes that were still actually popes, just bad ones. But let me tell you why I think questioning whether Pope Francis is really the pope or calling him “Bergoglio” is a colossal waste of time and damages “the cause.” IT’S NOT OUR CALL! Seriously, until Pope Benedict XVI rises up and says “Just kidding!” which is not going to happen, the only other person who can make that judgment is the next holy father. Now, he may in fact do so, but we’re wasting time on this one. So much more energy could go elsewhere. Please note, saying the Holy Father is ambiguous or has a poor management style, etc., etc., etc., is not something out of our scope. I’m not even close to saying we have to sit on our hands and shut up.
Now, is there some way through canon law he could cease to be pope or be declared as such? People have been mulling this over for centuries and, who knows, there might just be a loophole there somewhere, but good luck with that. And, really, can you imagine if someone tried to make this move? I can’t even imagine the split in the Church then. Canon Law even says that the Pope can be judged if he deviates from the Faith and he can retire, but it never mentions who would be the judge when it says no one can judge the pope. It’s all so easy to wish this away with the “He can’t possibly be the REAL pope!” wish. Get over it. All we have is this, which is why I’m sticking with my “We’re stuck waiting to see how that shakes out until the next pope comes along.”
And since, by the Divine right of Apostolic primacy, the Roman Pontiff is placed over the Universal Church, We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful,  and that in all causes, the decision of which belongs to the Church, recourse may be had to his tribunal,  and that none may re-open the judgment of the Apostolic See, for none has greater authority, nor can anyone lawfully review its judgment.  Therefore, they stray from the right course who assert that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an Ecumenical Council, as if to an authority higher than that of the Roman Pontiff.
If anyone, then, shall say that the Roman Pontiff has the office merely of inspection or direction, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the Universal Church, not only in things which belong to faith and morals, but also in those which relate to the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the world; or assert that he possesses merely the principal part, and not all the fullness of this supreme power; or that this power which he enjoys is not ordinary and immediate, both over each and all the Churches and over each and all the Pastors and the faithful; let him be anathema.”
So, again, why are we wasting time on this? We’ll know at some point in the nearish future. Just call him by his title and move on to more concrete and valid points. It’s a distraction from some really valuable points.
We also really need to stop throwing out accusations where we have no proof. For example, I completely think that Fr. Martin is probably suffering from same-sex attraction, but I really have zero proof. Same goes for a few other priests, bishops and cardinals. We do, however, have enough to be upset about with all the damaging FACTS of heresy, malfeasance, weird tweets. Now, if you’re an investigative reporter, follow the leads, but until you get to the proof, focus on where you have proof. I don’t have to sit around and wonder if Fr. Martin is SSA. I do have irrefutable proof, though, that he’s not discouraging people and is even encouraging people to live active homosexual lifestyles and sooooo many other things (go ahead and search my blog). I mean, he’s stated tangible heresy and immorality. I don’t need to know his attractions. I need to show that he runs counter to the Church and why. And, I can easily show that HIS way doesn’t work via his lifelong friend in a “gay marriage” who he’s never managed to get out of the active homosexual lifestyle. So much for the bridge. It’s ending exactly where we said it would.
There’s a few other areas where we need to reform and to focus like a laser on the truth that we can show with facts. We need to make sure we are acting in our purview and we need not usurp the authority we do not have. Even if we are right in our suspicions, we will hang ourselves. Investigate at will. I encourage it, because uncovering facts are never a bad thing, even if the facts may show evil. Just don’t get antsy to spill the goods.
I’ve seen many of you downtrodden over the state of the Church. Personally, I think I’m living in an awesome time because, as history shows us, the hard times are how saints are made! I think, for the first time in my life (I’m not that old so we’re not talking about the entire history of the Church by any means), people are paying attention. They aren’t asleep anymore. It’s total and complete proof that God can take a bad situation and still bring about good. I see it on the blogs, on Twitter, in the fasting and prayer, with statements some bishops and cardinals have made, etc. People are making a stand for the Faith and are doing SOMETHING! Seriously! When have you seen many bishops asking us to fast, abstain and make reparations (much to Fr. James Martin, SJ’s chagrin)??? (And, yes, he did express anger that people would be asked to make reparation. It’s not a hunch!) So, don’t be disheartened! Be thrilled to live in a time where the Church in our country has a pulse!
Let’s all follow Bishop Molino’s most excellent example and persevere to the end! I’m a mom. If I can stare laundry in the face day in and day out for decades, we can all do this together! With God all things are possible! Carry on!
If you’re not keeping up with the news, here it is in a nutshell. USCCB has their usual meeting and on the agenda is a code of conduct for bishops and a lay oversight committee. As weak as most of us were saying this would be, the Vatican called in the Nuncio to the U.S. and basically said, no votes on anything.
To say there’s a lot of ticked of Catholics today is an understatement. The good old Vatican blindsided the USCCB. It’s not like the Vatican didn’t know that we had our annual meeting starting when our bishops and cardinals were FINALLY given a meeting with Pope Francis. It’s also no surprise that the Holy Father didn’t want discussion on the topic. I believe he called everyone just to get together and pray. So why the eleventh hour intervention? More than that, why would he ever tell our bishops not to handle the crisis at hand and wait until February? This. Is. Insane.
I am so sick of hearing the word “synodality” because, as I’ve said before, it’s a complete and utter farce. I’m also sick of hearing how the laity needs to be more involved in, well, everything. The actions today contradict both of the buzz phrases and that’s all they are. They make for good PR but it should be clear to the stupidest person that this only applies to liberals, quite specifically, the Germans and their buddies. If it has to do with them and their wretched ideas, it’s all about “synodality” and the laity. If it comes to anyone trying to stem evil from overtaking the land, sorry, no sanity for you! Synodality and the laity can go to hell.
Ed Peters nailed it with this one little tweet.
I cannot help get conspiratorial today. What in the heck is going on? Are the liberals trying to put some grand plan together to gerrymander the February synod? What could the U.S. bishops come up with for THEIR territory that could possibly upset the Vatican apple cart? Clearly some big panic was going on in Rome.
Also, I’m SUPER suspect of Cardinal Cupich’s statement. Clearly this was not a shock to him. He was completely prepared. And, of course, whenever Cardinal Cupich sounds kind of sane, you know it ain’t off the cuff. He almost always spontaneously implodes off the cuff. So it certainly seems someone has a plan somewhere. Besides that, Cardinal DiNardo confirmed that it came from the Congregation for Bishops and guess who’s in that. Oh, yeah, Cardinal Cupich so please don’t tell me he or Cardinal O’Malley hadn’t a clue.
Let’s look at the lengthy talk by our Nuncio. It’s sad. It’s pathetic and it flies in the face of EVERYTHING the Vatican has said as of late in regards to “synodality” and the laity. That completely exposes all of the lip service we’ve been given the last 6 months AND forget collegiality. We’ve got a dang monarchy going on when something like this happens.
This is a long one. Get some coffee.
ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY ARCHBISHOP CHRISTOPHE PIERRE
APOSTOLIC NUNCIO TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
NOVEMBER 12, 2018
Dear Brothers in Christ,
I am happy to be with you once more here in Baltimore. I wish to thank Cardinal DiNardo, the President of the Episcopal Conference, as well as Monsignor Bransfield and the Staff of the USCCB, for the opportunity to address you. I assure you of the Holy Father’s closeness, prayers, and gratitude for your ministry. One year ago, we were celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of this Episcopal Conference. Despite some bright moments – the Fifth National Encuentro and the recent Synod on Youth – we must recognize that the year has been marked by challenges.
Nope. The Youth Synod was just another awful “challenge” that we’ll probably have to deal with for years to come just like this abuse scandal.
Actually, the events of this past year, which we have lived and continue to experience, have been both challenging and sobering. With humility and apostolic courage, we must accept our responsibility as spiritual fathers, facing reality with the grace that comes from the Lord. The Church is always in need of renewal for the sake of her saving mission of mediating the presence of Christ in the world and this is impossible unless we rebuild trust among the People of God, a task, which, looking to the future, demands time, effort, sacrifice and, most of all, true repentance and reform on our part.
They can’t accept their responsibility and deal with the “challenges” (If I was a victim, I’d be a little more than miffed that the destruction of their souls, purity and faith is being reduced to a “challenge.”) because the Vatican won’t let them. Hello?!?! The USCCB just got one big time-out. How is this supposed to help us regain the trust of our current Vatican regime. Quite frankly, I never thought I’d say this but I’m beginning to have far more confidence in the USCCB than the gang in Rome.
REFORM AND RESPONSIBILITY: BEGINNING AGAIN FROM JESUS CHRIST
There are many calls for reform in the Church, particularly amid the present crisis. You yourselves have expressed a greater desire for accountability and transparency. Still, I am struck by the words of the French author Georges Bemanos:
“Whoever pretends to reform the Church with … the same means used to reform temporal society- not only will he fail in his undertaking, but he will infallibly end by finding himself outside the Church. I say that he finds himself outside the Church before anyone has gone to the trouble of excluding him or her. I say that it is he himself who excludes himself from her by a tragic fatalism … The only way of reforming the Church is to suffer for her. The only way of reforming the visible Church is to suffer for the invisible Church. The only way of reforming the vices of the Church is to lavish on her the example of one’s own most heroic virtues.”
Well, it seems that everyone has read the October Magnificat. Seriously, even Cardinal Mahony was quoting it. I’m actually surprised the Nuncio didn’t quote the whole thing. The problem here is, where does that leave the St. Catherines of the world? It seems everyone want to pick the saint who makes it the most comfortable for them. Saying the desire for accountability and transparency is somehow how not be the tactic because St. Francis, is just another way to say “Shut up and sit in the corner and pray.” Oy. Cherry picking the saints is not going to help us in this day no more than cherry picking bible verses. Firm resolve to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin is what’s going to get the job done.
If the Church is to reform herself and her structures, then the reform must spring from her mission of making known Christ, the Son of the Living God. Pope Francis says that “What makes obsolete structures pass away, what leads to a change of heart in Christians, is precisely missionary spirit.” (POPE FRANCIS, APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUD/UM, 24 NOVEMBER 2013, 25)
Is this something new? Nope. So, apparently, maybe learning how to be chaste and moral priests and bishops has to come first before we can be missionaries??? I mean, it seems we’ve missed some basics long before we talk about the “missionary spirit.” Do you really want priests and bishops running around the world molesting people? Is morality an “obsolete structure?!”
There may be a temptation on the part of some to relinquish responsibility for reform to others than ourselves, as if we were no longer capable of reforming or trusting ourselves, as if the deposit of trust should be transferred to other institutions entirely. To regain trust it is not enough to simply preach words about responsibility, without living the difficulties of that responsibility, even in the face of criticism. When it comes to the responsibilities, with which we are charged – with children and the vulnerable at the forefront- we must show that we can solve problems rather than simply delegating them to others.
Holy Moses! Isn’t this what a good chunk of the faithful been saying whenever the liberals say “More women! More laity!” Why is this suddenly uncomfortable for you? Oh, I know. The laity has grown weary and are going to investigate the hell out of you all because we don’t want to see anymore victims of rape and molestation? That’s the sum total of it. We wanted you to do something. We asked you to do something. In fact, we BEGGED you to do something and you just passed the buck down the road and spewed out platitudes about women and the laity and now that the laity has said “OK, I guess we’ll have to do it!” It’s “Whoa! Hold up a minute! We don’t need “outside institutions!” What the what?!?!?! Make up your ridiculous minds.
At the same time, there can be no question that the insights of experts, the contributions of time and professional skill of all the faithful, laity together with the clergy and so many consecrated women and men, are critical to carrying out our mission as Shepherds. Assistance is both welcomed and necessary, and surely collaboration with the laity is essential. However, the responsibility, as bishops of this Catholic Church, is ours – to live with, to suffer with, and to exercise properly. The People of God have rightly challenged us to be trustworthy.
Translation? “We’ll let you be involved, laity, when it pleases us to do so.” You want to be seen as trustworthy? Stop the “we need the laity/we don’t need the laity” bipolar swings! Just deal with the fact that you’ve made your bed and now you have to lie in it. Start utilizing the good old transparency you’ve been flapping your gums about FOR DECADES now! We don’t want a witch hunt. Heck, I’ve seen priests put on “credibly accused” lists that are being released that were investigated by their order, the diocese they were in, the police and were totally and completely exonerated. In fact, even the supposed victim’s families completely and totally recanted the stories. So yeah, you releasing a bunch of lists doesn’t do a darn thing if you can’t even get them right.
Pope Francis never ceases to tell us that if we are to begin again, then we should begin again from Jesus Christ, who enlightens our lives and helps us to prove that we can be trustworthy! When Christ called Peter to be the Rock he told him that he would build his Church upon Peter’s confession of faith, promising that the gates of hell would not prevail! We are that Church, and in our own Profession of Faith we say that we believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – a Church undivided, holy because of its divine element, catholic as universal and apostolic because of its foundations in the teaching of the Apostles. As the successors of the Apostles, we cannot be other than with the successor of Peter. We, in communion with our Holy Father, are heirs to the promise of Christ. As heirs and successors, each of us, individually and collegially is called to a special responsibility to strengthen the faith of our sisters and brothers, especially in confronting the challenges before us.
And again, that’s what the proposition you guys shut down!
My brothers, in the past decades you have put in place structures for the protection of children and young people. But we all know that Ecclesia semper reformanda est! There is always more to do and we bishops must not be afraid to get our hands dirty in doing that work in the vineyard of the Lord. Moreover, allow me to remind you, in these challenging days, that the measures you have taken in the last years have been effective in training bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity to be vigilant in the protection of youth. Those measures have been important, have set an example, and have led to a steep decline in the incidence of reported abuse today. There are some dioceses here in the United States that have been so thorough in their work that their training programs have become models for civil institutions. Those of you who have done good work are to be congratulated for your commitment as leaders, and for setting a good example for us all. At the same time, we must reaffirm vigorously that one case of abuse is one too many. Therefore, it is necessary, for the entire People of God, to remain vigilant.
Just more lip service. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure if the incidences have gone down or some have just gotten better at covering it up. Remember, the latest flap is very much about how some managed to cover it up so well and how those guys are now in positions of power.
Despite the success of these efforts, there is not a corresponding increase in public approval of bishops, and given some recent revelations, perhaps none should be expected. Trust needs to be earned, not presumed. When protection of the young and vulnerable becomes not just a duty but a calling, when it is viewed as integral to the gospel not only to care for Catholics but for all in harm’s way, we bishops can rightly take our place as leaders looked up to rather than down upon with scorn. Of course, there is work to do, but do not be afraid to speak with pride of the work that has been done.
They were trying to earn it as best they can in this debacle but you told them to hold off. I cannot say that enough. We don’t care about the work already done when people like Cardinals McCarrick, Cupich, Tobin and Farrell all were promoted, not to mention the idiots at the Vatican. That wiped out our view of anything good and the fact that you won’t allow our territory’s bishops to vote on something as simple as a code of conduct further looks horrific.
Indeed, as painful and humiliating as it may be at times, we can thank the media for bringing attention to this issue. There have been times when the media drew attention to precisely what we did not attend to ourselves. As said from the time of diplomacy in the Greek City-States, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” (And, as a Nuncio, I can assure you it is a phrase very dear to me!) It is also the case that an impression is sometimes left in the media that the Church has done little. That is simply not true, and we should not be afraid to refute this. We cry for the injustices perpetrated upon victims of abuse. We vow to fight a clerical culture that tolerates the abuse of authority. When abuse occurs, it is our sin and we must take it as such. These are not the sins of the media or the products of vast conspiracies. These are things we must recognize and fix. Our Holy Father has said it must end, and it must – not simply because he has said it, but because each of us in our hearts know that this is the only right thing to do.
Oh my gosh. The Church has done a lot. They’ve done everything to covering up the abuse, promoting the perpetrators and, most recently, they most certainly shot the messenger. You might not really want to go there, Nuncio. The right thing to do is what the PAPAL COMMISSION for the Protection of Minors said to do and release everyone from Pontifical Secrets in regards to abuse but it’s way more convenient to keep shooting the messenger.
Thus, we must see our failures clearly and not be discouraged if we feel the Church is somehow treated unfairly, turning upon ourselves as though the world is against us. This would-be self-referential behavior paralyzes rather than energizes. Christ and his mission demand we go into the world, not withdraw from it. At this critical moment in the history of the Church in the United States, I am confident that each one of us will be able to respond by going to and being with the people, showing them that we can be trustworthy. The path is clear and begins with Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
For heaven’s sake. You might want to relay this message to the Holy Father because the “Great Accuser” schtick is getting really, really, really old.
From the Divine Master, we learn the proper use of authority through service. Seeing the imminence of the Passion and desiring to leave for the Apostles an example to imitate, He humbled Himself and washed their feet, commanding them to do the same: For I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you also should do. (JOHN 13:15).
So tiring. Look, I’m a Pastor Aeternus groupie. This has ZERO to do with it. This isn’t about proper use of authority. It’s about the improper use of authority. You guys are the one who’ve been screaming clericalism, remember?
Rebuilding trust requires using our authority to serve humbly and to lead by example. Saint Charles Borromeo, a model for bishops, reflecting on the washing of the disciples’ feet, writes that:
“If we desire to consider entirely the things that are mystically contained in Christ’s example, we find the whole duty of an apostle expressed by him. He rose up from the Jewish supper. In like manner his ministers too must leave behind the lifestyle of the old man … and put on the new, rising from just knowing to putting it into practice, from the meal to labor, from letter to the spirit. They must lay down their garments, that is cast away all impediments to the virtues, that they may be able to labor strenuously and gird themselves with white linen, that is, integrity of life. Then they draw the water of saving doctrine and wash the character and conduct of their subjects with doctrine, the Sacraments, and example. This, our leader and standard-bearer Christ did, so that we might do the same. The disciple is not above the Master (Mt 10:24), nor is it fitting for servants of the humble Lord to be proud.’ (CHARLES BORROMEO, HOMILIA II, IN VOL. 1, JOSEPH ANTHONY SAX, ED. SANCTI CAROLI BORROMEI HOM!l/AE, MLIAN: JOSEPH MARELLUM, 1747-1748)”
Um, I think you’ve described the big, gigantic thing we’ve all been saying. I agree this is very needed. That said, it’s the opposite of what is happening and now what is being ordered not to happen.
Pope Francis asks us to be a synodal and humble Church, a Church that listens. We need to listen once more to the voice of Christ: For I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you also should do. The exercise of authority is a real service and governance should not be a privilege or a position, but a responsibility to be neither ignored nor totally delegated.
I have never heard so many deaf people talk about listening. Nobody is listening to the view from the pew. If they were, Rome definitely would not have told our bishops to postpone doing something about the immorality in our country.
AUTHENTIC REFORM: LISTENING TO THE VICAR OF CHRIST
As the pilgrim Church journeys on in history, she recalls the words of the Savior: He who hears you, hears me. The Church listens to the voice of Christ. She also listens when the Vicar of Christ on earth, the successor of Saint Peter, speaks. Lumen Gentium’s third chapter takes up the role of bishops and collegiality, declaring “Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way, the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together.” (cf. LG 22) “The individual bishops represent each his own church, but all of them together with the Pope represent the entire Church in the bond of peace, unity’ and love.” (SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH LUMEN GENT/UM, 21 NOVEMBER 1964, 23)
And why is it that the Nuncio feels he needs to remind the USCCB of this? Does anyone at all find this kind of a threat? I know I do.
If we are together, in real hierarchical communion – hierarchical communion that permeates our hearts and are not merely words – we become the visible sign of peace, unity, and love, a sign of true synodality. In a recent audience, the Holy Father outlined three essential traits of bishops, which I believe can help us rediscover our own sense of identity and mission in the present situation: to be a man of prayer; a man of proclamation; and a man of communion.
Please, stop with the synodality. Thus far it’s been a lie. Honestly, it’s scary talk to be spending so much time on “real hierarchical communion” as if people who think that the Church is not handling the abuse crisis well are somehow not in “real hierarchical communion.” Like I’ve said before, I think we’re heading toward schism declarations. I’m sure talk like this doesn’t make most of us comfortable. For us, it’s like having to decide which parent to live with in a divorce. It’s a horrible place to put us and, surprisingly, it ain’t the USCCB who is trying to bring us to the brink.
THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF PRAYER
In that audience, the Holy Father noted that the bishop, like Saint Peter and the Apostles, is “called by Jesus to be with Him. (cf. Mk 3: 14) There he finds his strength and his confidence. Before the Tabernacle he learns to entrust himself and so trust in the Lord., (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018). It is important for us to regain our confidence that by the power of God and our cooperation with Him, we can face and meet any challenges.
“For the bishop,” the Holy Father continues, “prayer is not devotion but a necessity; it is not one task among many, but an indispensable ministry of intercession: each day he must lead people and lay their situations before God.” I am encouraged that you will have the opportunity to be together and to pray together on your retreat in early January, when you will have more time to contemplate the person of Jesus, to listen to His voice, to discern the path forward, and to intercede for your people.
Huh? These guys are bishops. Do they really not believe this? I don’t know about the Nuncio, but I watched a lot of good bishops call us all not only to prayer but to fasting and penance and it’s not like they just told us to do it. They were right there with us.
THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF PROCLAMATION
In addition to being a man of prayer, Pope Francis recalls that the bishop should be a man of proclamation. The Apostles were sent to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations. How often the Holy Father exhorts us to be a “Church that goes forth”! This applies to us too!
In spending himself tirelessly for his people and for the Gospel, not living exclusively in an office, but among the people, the bishop proclaims the Word with a specific style. Hopefully, he follows the humble example of Jesus. The Pope reminds us that we are called to be “living memories of the Lord’ and warns against “being more concerned with form than substance, of becoming more actors than witnesses” and “of watering down the Word of salvation by proposing a Gospel without Jesus Crucified and Risen.”
How about giving talks as lame as this to the congregation? Seriously. This is a check off the box talk. It’s not even remotely acknowledging the elephant in the room.
THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF COMMUNION
The Holy Father also reminds us that the bishop is to be a man of communion, marked with “the charism of togetherness” – maintaining unity and solidifying communion. All of you are certainly aware of the polarization of American society today; it is a polarization that has sometimes affected and infected the Church and our parishes. The Holy Father states, echoing Saint Augustine, that “The Church needs union, not soloists apart from the choir or exponents of personal battles. The Pastor gathers: a bishop for his faithful, he is a Christian with his faithful.”
Let’s just pause here to note one phrase. “The charism of togetherness.” Reallllyyyy??? When was this the pre-eminant charism of the Church? That is a HUGE misunderstanding of the “one” in one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Would we say the Church was suffering from a lack of the “charism of togetherness” when Paul withstood Peter or St. Catherine told Pope Gregory how it was? Complete and utter agreement on everything in the Church is not needed for “one” to exist.
There’s a reason we’ve come to such a polarized place in America. It happened because of weak, pandering leaders who chose platitudes over substance. I agree that the situation in our Church is similar in polarization and for the very same reason. While we’ve always had periods throughout Church history, I’ve never seen it like this in my lifetime. Our Church leaders have made the same, sad mistakes as, say, Barrack Obama. All style, no substance.
To accomplish this unity the bishop must love “weaving communion by being involved in the first person and by acting in a humble manner.” Part of being engaged and acting humbly involves listening. Last June, I said that spiritual fatherhood and effective evangelization require listening. The International’ Theological Commission recently noted the necessity of listening in discernment to build consensus among laity, consecrated men and women, clergy and bishops. And listening is curative; by listening, we begin the process of accompaniment. Spending time with the people and listening to their needs, we learn how to be better pastors. We are here to teach, but we can also be taught by our brothers and sisters.
Oh my gosh. I feel like banging my head on a wall. Honestly, how many times can we pitch “listening” as the answer to everything without actually listening to a darn thing.
The recent Synod on Youth is an example of listening and of taking young people and their concerns seriously. The Fifth National Encuentro was exemplary in the art of listening in parishes, dioceses, regionally and nationally. Those who often find themselves at the margins were afforded the opportunity to express themselves to their pastors. For those present, who could not be moved by the event when bishops were seated around the table, exchanging ideas with young people?
Yes, it was a really nice photo-op and then a document was written with two-thirds of it addressing nothing the youth cared about at all. You know? Synodality.
Offering an attentive ear to priests is critical as well. We must remember that truly our priests need support and understanding. They must be listened to. As the Holy Father says:
“[The bishop] does not tire of listening … He becomes wholly one with his people and above all with his presbyterate, always willing to receive and encourage his priests. By example, more than by words, he promotes a sincere priestly fraternity, showing priests that they are Shepherds for the flock … ” (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZA TION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018)’
Is this why it took so long for our bishops and cardinals to get a meeting with the Holy Father? Because he felt that they needed an attentive ear?
Priests today are hurting. Many, having lived through 2002, are experiencing a trauma for the second time in their priesthood over the abuse crisis. Some are demoralized, while others are feeling angry or betrayed. Many are simply worn down with the burdens of ministry, the clergy shortage, and the suspicion under which they live. They are looking to you to be a father and brother who will listen -to their sorrows and joys – and who will empathize and encourage them to persevere. Listening to them and sustaining them is essential to responding to their concerns, so that they may be your joyful co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord.
Again, our bishops were trying to throw out the idea that the whole issue of conduct starts with them and they were just squashed at the last-minute. They were at least trying to go for transparency with the lay review board. Again, no joy there either. I can’t imagine why anyone would be demoralized, angry or betrayed. (Sarcasm alert.) Our priests are the boots on the ground. They hear it from the laity when they are happy or mad. How do you think the thumping the Vatican gave the USCCB today makes them feel. So, please, stop.
The problems faced by the Church today are compounded by a clericalism, which can affect both clergy and laity, and which “corrodes communion.” In this regard, it is important to recall that it is the People of God for whom we (and our priests) have been ordained.
Well, on this one point we can agree. Again, I can’t imagine how today’s thumping is going to do anything to change the problems we face today. It’s only going to reinforce the laity’s growing reality that you are going to do whatever you choose and when you choose. Where’s the “listening” there???
Our Holy Father has spoken of the ills of clericalism from the first days of his pontificate. It is an illness, and it must be treated as such. An effective response to clericalism can emerge by offering special attention to clergy and to seminarians by “updating our processes of selection, accompaniment and evaluation” of candidates for the priesthood. (CF. POPE FRANCIS, “ADDRESS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE COURSE FOR NEW BISHOPS OFFERED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, 13 SEPTEMBER 2018). I am confident that the new Ratio Fundamentalis and your forthcoming Sixth Edition of the Program for Priestly Formation will confront the challenge, offering an integral formation for seminarians, helping them grow continually in discipleship and configuration to Christ.
With patience and concern, continue to spend time with your clergy and seminarians, listening, so that through prayer you may discern a truly effective pastoral response, conscious of the Holy Father’s reminder that you are “fathers, not masters, caring fathers … ” (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELlZATION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018)
I don’t really know what it’s like in other countries. In mine, we have a lot of newer bishops who have been left with quite a mess from leaders like Cardinal McCarrick, Cardinal Mahony, Cardinal Bernadin, etc., etc., etc. And now you’ve given us a few more who worshipped them like Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Farrell, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal Cupich. Maybe, if you want real change, don’t give us more of the same. Give us people who actually agree with what you stated above rather than cardinals like Cupich who demand that people apologize for him when he steps in it time and again. Don’t give us bishops and cardinals who bounce the faithful Catholic men as “too rigid.” And hey, maybe drop the whole use of “rigid” all together!
My brothers, we cannot run from the challenges that presently confront us. We must face them realistically and courageously, listening with open hearts to the voice of Christ and his Vicar on earth.
It would appear that the only ones running from the challenges are confronting us are people in the Vatican. Our guys were ready to at least make an attempt to confront the problems or at least try to appear like they were doing so. I know it was an honest effort on the behalf of some.
I want to assure you, not only of my prayers and solidarity at this difficult time, but also of those of the Holy Father. Just as the Lord gazed upon Peter, knowing his weaknesses but also seeing his potential, I remain confident that the Lord gazes upon us now and will offer us his strength to meet the challenges, which seem daunting.
We cannot be daunted or held back by the challenging task; rather, we must be concerned with the people and mission entrusted to our care along the path to holiness.
Then get out of the way!!!
The experience of the divine, even in small victories and experiences of grace and healing, gives us hope. Even if things seem dark, do not be discouraged but have hope. He is with us. He accompanies the Church. Dedicated to Christ and belonging to Him, as men of the Church, each one of us must be living witnesses to hope. I conclude with the words of Cardinal Henri De Lubac:
‘A man of the Church will always remain open to hope; for him the horizon is never closed. Like St. Paul, he will want to be full of rejoicing in his sufferings and will go so far as to believe himself called … to ‘fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ … for his body which is the Church.’, knowing that in Christ he has ‘the hope of glory’.” (HENRI DE LUBAC, THE SPLENDOR OF THE CHURCH, TRANSL. MICHAEL MASON, DEUS BOOKS: GLEN ROCK, 1956, 155.)
Thank you for your attention!
I’m going to leave my bishops with a quote that rings more necessary in these crucial times:
We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.
~St. Catherine of Siena
I want to make one thing clear. The Holy Father is totally within his rights to tell our bishops not to vote and to wait until February. This is my point. It appears very hypocritical in the light of the constant call for synodality and collegiality and it doesn’t make it right to do so.
This ought to be fun! Just can’t wait to see what the Soros lackey is going to tell us about the youth of today and same-sex attraction. Anyone know if he actually knows any youth? Just curious. BTW, he’s been a bit of a player for quite a while now. Here’s a little background.
A Failure to Communicate
The Synod’s Mistake on LGBT Catholics
By John Gehring
November 2, 2018
And this title might be the only place where any agreement between me and John Gehring might lie. Of course, his definition of “mistake” and mine would differ greatly.
The recently concluded Synod on Young People reflected Pope Francis’s call for a listening church that accompanies people and discerns together. Unlike synods in previous papacies, where a final script was essentially drafted in advance and most bishops dutifully signed off, a more authentic process unfolded during the month-long gathering that ended last Sunday.
Wait! What? Seems like that’s more or less exactly what happened, albeit minus the “LGBT” acronym, because they knew there was no way in hell they were going to get that in.
A mode of engagement that prioritizes a humble posture of encounter is essential if the Catholic Church hopes to stem the tide of young people leaving an institution they often view as irrelevant, hypocritical, and aloof. In fact, those who are raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people as the primary reason they leave, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.”
Huh??? The Public Religion Research Institute? Oh my. Hysterical. I mean, John, why didn’t you just put out your own poll asking people who agree with you what they think? People, do the research. https://catholicvote.org/public-religion-research-institute-misleads-on-catholic-attitudes/
Can I tell you why people leave the Church? It’s simple: It’s HARD to be Catholic!!! It’s hard to pick up a cross. Our catechesis has been largely abysmal for many years now, and we’re not getting the message across in most of our churches of the benefits of carrying that cross. Duh! Everlasting life, and the spiritual world in general, have been reduced to a fable. It’s no wonder people are being sucked into the secular world. They’re offering more. We’re just given homilies on how to be nice. Well, not at my parish, but that’s why I go there. They’re actually offering me something I need and want. Oh, and we do pretty well.
“We’ve gone from talking about young people and from talking to young people to talking with them,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
I am absolutely not against talking with young people. I do it as often as I possibly can. Whether or not they agree with me, they know that I have their best interest in mind AND I will tell them as much of the truth as I can.
A hopeful church that listens from below and engages in dialogue is better positioned than a fearful, fortress church to fulfill the Second Vatican Council’s proclamation to read the “signs of the times.” For young gay Catholics and their allies, the synod offered a space where bishops could learn from the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties, of the LGBT faithful. Signs pointed to a potentially important step forward. In a document prepared before the synod, the Vatican used the term “LGBT” for the first time. “Some LGBT youth,” it read, want to “benefit from greater closeness and experience greater care from the church.” Not exactly a revolutionary statement, and rather painfully obvious. But the use of “LGBT” was striking and significant. The church has a major language problem when it comes to respecting the dignity of gay, lesbian, and transgender people. Catholic teaching documents typically use “homosexual” or refer to “homosexual tendencies.” Using the LGBT descriptor—often preferred by many gay, lesbian, and transgender people—is a sign of respect.
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa, son! Heck of a parsing of Gaudium et Spes. Nice try, though.
4. To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. Some of the main features of the modern world can be sketched as follows.
Thanks for channeling Fr. Martin, but no thanks. We need to scrutinize the signs of the times, not just roll over for them. Gaudium et Spes shows us that these are all perennial questions. This isn’t some knew ideology. In fact, it’s all been repeated time and again, and as usual, Truth and her answers do not change.
Archbishop Chaput very eloquently pointed out:
What the Church “holds to be true about human sexuality is not a stumbling block.”
“It is the only real path to joy and wholeness,” he continued. “There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.”
This is Truth. This is dignity. This is respect. Describing people by their sexual appetite is lowering them to a creature who’s being is controlled by a sexual appetite. We are not. We have free will.
But the final report from the synod did not use the term “LGBT.” Several bishops, including Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, criticized its potential appearance. For the church, he said, “there is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are.”
Can I get an AMEN? Seriously. If our sexual appetites define us, we are in big trouble. In fact, this is kind of what’s been happening with this abuse scandal. People give in to the notion that that’s how they are made and there’s nothing we can do about it, so we should be free to act on it. It seems to be just peachy for those who want to act on their homosexual appetite, but should it be with children or someone who doesn’t desire it, it’s evil. Nope. Both evil.
Some bishops and other church leaders foster a toxic culture that scapegoats and demonizes LGBT laity and clergy
Head in the sand time again. How about we state this little fact: 80% of these abuse cases (and with the latest round, probably more) have been perpetrated by homosexual priests. So, I think it’s safe to say that they seem to be the ones who readily give into their weaknesses. Can we at least agree on that?
This observation reflects, perhaps unwittingly, a certain theological arrogance.
Or maybe your lack of acceptance of the facts reflects a bit of narcissism instead?
Saying there are “no LGBT Catholics,” when many Catholics who love and contribute to the church embrace that description, is disrespectful at best, and at worst denies a person dignity. Chaput warns of “sexual appetites” defining who we are—a reasonable caution—but it seems that the archbishop is the one who is reducing being gay, lesbian, or transgender to sexual mechanics, as if our friends, neighbors, and family members are little more than a bundle of physical urges rather than complex and multidimensional human beings. I understand the instinct not to balkanize the church into islands of identity. We are “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church,” in the words of the Nicene Creed. Our shared faith unifies.
Hey, man, the Church is made of sinners, but dignity isn’t brought about by what we want to be called. Dignity is given to us by God in our creation. Are you saying someone who proudly states “I am a porn star” is somehow brought dignity by that label? How about those who want to be labeled a satanic high priest? I mean, you can’t deny that there are plenty of people like that, yet somehow we’re just supposed to say, “Oh, that’s what you want to be classified as? Awesome!” Please. This is just your pet proclivity, so you are going to demand we all say, “Oh, OK, whatever you want,” as if that somehow imparts dignity to a person.
But the church does recognize and often names those who reflect our diversity. Some dioceses have offices, retreats, or specific events for Latino Catholics, African-American Catholics, young-adult Catholics, and senior Catholics. None of this is reductionist. There is a proud tradition of celebrating Irish-American and Italian-American Catholics’ contributions to the church, distinct cultures that are nonetheless part of the beautiful mosaic of Catholicism. In the same way a Latina Catholic doesn’t exclusively define herself by being a Latina, identifying as an LGBT Catholic doesn’t circumscribe one’s identity, but acknowledges its significance as part of the whole.
And as Archbishop Chaput points out, we’re don’t call ourselves heterosexual Catholics. For goodness sake. Get a wee bit of grasp on reality and stop comparing apples to Toyotas. This is a ridiculous comparison. If someone wants to say they are a cat, are you just fine with that? I mean, I’m sure they feel that this is their special diversity. You can’t have it both ways, John.
For Archbishop Chaput, the church should not use LGBT because it is wrong to, in his words, “categorize people.” This is a laudatory concept, until you reflect on the irony of that statement coming from a leader in a church that uses language often viewed as clinical and demeaning by the very people it seeks to describe. Homosexual “inclinations” and “intrinsically disordered,” words used in official church teaching, also categorize people, and in ways that exclude and wound.
Nice try again. He actually said:
“It follows that ‘LGBTQ’ and similar language should not be used in Church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way.”
Your beef seems to be with Archbishop Chaput, but he’s showing YOU what the Church has never done. Heaven forbid a member of the Church would reflect what the Church actually does and does not say. I mean, hello, “inclinations” and “intrinsically disordered” is found in Church teaching, so you getting mad at Archbishop Chaput is just targeting those who hold to those teachings, including many people suffering from same-sex attraction. Seriously, you act as if everyone with same-sex attraction has hurt feelings about this. Sorry. It ain’t so.
San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy has suggested the church needs to rethink such language. In an interview with America magazine, he said the description “intrinsically disordered” is “very destructive language that I think we should not use pastorally.” He added that “in Catholic moral theology, it is a philosophical term that is automatically misunderstood in our society as a psychological judgment.” The church can’t be a “field hospital” for the wounded, to use a central metaphor from Pope Francis, if its own language wounds.
And yet, many people suffering with same-sex attraction don’t feel the martyrdom you are trying to imply on their behalf. What about them? Oh, a wee bit of an inconvenient truth that more and more people who consider themselves same-sex attracted aren’t going to be riding in your parade? They, like the saints, embrace Church teaching and are willing to take up their crosses. And you know what? We’re going to be right there with them struggling with our own crosses.
The synod’s final report included some positive things: reiterating the church’s condemnation of any violence directed at sexual minorities; acknowledging that ministry to gay and lesbian people is already being done in the church; and emphasizing accompaniment. Perhaps presaging a future and much-needed discussion on the broader dimensions of how the church addresses human sexuality, the report noted that “there are questions related to the body, to affectivity and to sexuality that require a deeper anthropological, theological, and pastoral exploration.” This is significant, and it rattles conservative bishops. “The Catholic hierarchy is acknowledging that the church needs to update its understanding of the science of sex and gender, and that also means updating the church’s theology on sexuality and its ministry to gay people,” David Gibson wrote in an analysis for Religion News Service.
The fact that you think that the Church’s teaching on sexuality needs to be updated and is somehow outdated is rattling to any faithful Catholic. There’s so much beauty and richness that you cannot seem to grasp. Can you say “Theology of the Body?” I know it can’t be grasped in a day but give it just a little read before you bother to comment.
Archbishop Chaput characterized that line in the final report as “subtle and concerning.” The church “already has a clear, rich, and articulate Christian anthropology,” he told the National Catholic Register. “It’s unhelpful to create doubt or ambiguity around issues of human identity, purpose, and sexuality, unless one is setting the stage to change what the church believes and teaches about all three, starting with sexuality.”
BOOM! Just because John Gehring and buddies missed it doesn’t mean that it is there.
Whatever discussions may yet take place in the church, an editorial in The Tablet underscored a painful truth. “Few progressive Catholics would have dared to dream that Synod might open a conversation about ‘intrinsic disorder,’ or that it might acknowledge that even the acronym LGBT excludes queer, intersex, and asexual Catholics,” the editors wrote. “What is, perhaps, most heartbreaking is that LGBT Catholics pinned their hopes on so little: being discussed in a language that wasn’t overtly offensive, with words that will—for many gay people—trigger memories of bullying and harassment.”
Dear progressive Catholics, you want to have a conversation about “intrinsic disorder” or anything else, I’d be happy. Just drop me a line. I’m not being sarcastic here. For some reason John Gehring thinks we are unwilling to talk to you, or at least that’s what he’d like you to believe. I am totally willing to talk and to struggle with you as you carry your cross, and I hope you help me to carry mine. Our struggles are all different, but we all need the Body of Christ to make it through this life and gain everlasting life.
Several U.S. bishops, including Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, have articulated a strong message of solidarity with LGBT Catholics. Putting this accompaniment into practice will require calling out organizations such as Church Militant, a group that bullies, threatens, and demeans LGBT Catholics and their allies. A few weeks ago a pastoral associate at a San Diego parish submitted his resignation after he “endured physical and emotional violence from groups like Church Militant and LifeSiteNews for the past year and a half,” according to an email he sent to friends and associates obtained by the National Catholic Reporter. The harassment included slashed tires, death threats, attacks outside Mass, and “hundreds of letters, phone calls, and emails.”
I’ve already addressed Aaron Bianco here, so I’m not going to go there again, but if you missed it, here’s my response to this flap:
Of course the Catholic Church doesn’t condone this abuse; in fact, the Catechism explicitly denounces it. Nevertheless, some bishops and other church leaders foster a toxic culture that scapegoats and demonizes LGBT laity and clergy. Former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has called for Pope Francis’s resignation, warns of “homosexual networks” with the “power of octopus tentacles” that are “strangling” the church. “It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord,” Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, wrote in a letter to Catholics in his diocese. Such language only tills the soil for potentially violent acts.
Seriously, can’t we talk about sin without having it be a threat somehow? Sorry, again, my kids have to live in this world, John. You don’t get to play the martyr card.
As James Baldwin wrote: “It is a terrible, an inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one’s own.” When the church continues to deny LGBT people their full humanity, isn’t that the risk it takes?”
Oh, yes. James Baldwin who knows all the beauty and intricacies of the Catholic Church. Geez. You had the chance somewhere to quote St. John Paul II, but you went with James Baldwin as your “saint” of choice?!?
And, just for the record, the Church wants nothing less than dignity and salvation for all Her children. The Church NEVER discriminates amongst God’s children. The same rules apply to all of us. It ain’t easy. There’s a lot about the narrow gate but the Body of Christ is meant to struggle together.
Vatican Faces Modern-Day Suffragists, Demanding Right to Vote
By Elisabetta Povoledo
Oct. 26, 2018
VATICAN CITY — Two modern-day American suffragists had a plan.
I have to wonder if there’s any portion of the liberal Catholic (aka media on Catholic life support) or mainstream media who understand that a good portion of us do not want women to vote at a synod, be ordained anything, be in the Church hierarchy, etc. Consequently, the same women don’t feel marginalized by the Church or jealous of the all-male clergy. Do you think they’ll ever interview us for a different point of view?
During this month’s Synod of Bishops, an international gathering at the Vatican, Deborah Rose-Milavec and Kate McElwee, who lead groups dedicated to advancing women in leadership roles in the Roman Catholic Church, made sure that Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the synod’s general secretary, was presented with a hefty pink folder.
Pink? Like in the shade of the Women’s March pink? Were they wearing their little pink hats when they delivered it? Seriously nauseating to the rest of us strong, Catholic women.
Inside was a petition with more than 9,000 signatures and one specific request: Allow female religious superiors at the synod to “vote as equals alongside their Brothers in Christ.”
Wow! A whole 9,000? Staggering. Might they stopped to wonder why they couldn’t get a few more out of the millions of Catholic women around the world? Might be because more than a few of us would like to hit them upside the head and knock a little common sense into them.
The petition’s request, said Ms. Rose-Milavec, the executive director of Future Church and Ms. McElwee, who holds the same post at the Women’s Ordination Conference, was a minor volley in what has seemed to be an insurmountable battle to get the male-centric Catholic Church to pay serious attention to women, who represent about half the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics but count for little where it matters.
Here’s a little clue for you ladies. You do not represent me and representing half of the 1.3 billion Catholics is in your dreams, ladies. Time for you to understand that the gray-haired feminist movement is on life-support and those of use who love St. Catherine, St. Teresa, St. Hildegard and St. Therese have always had more influence on the Church than you and those numbers are on the rise today.
Vatican synods are held every few years. Women have emerged as a major concern of this one, which opened earlier this month and focuses on how the church can better minister to today’s youth in an era of emptying pews.
Interestingly enough, the numbers in the pews in a church seem to depend on the orthodoxy of the parish. Those with those who embrace Church teachings and doctrine are far fuller than, say, most of the churches in Germany.
“The presence of women in the church, the role of women in the church,” has been repeatedly raised, in the synod’s plenary meeting and within smaller working groups, said Sister Sally Marie Hodgdon, the superior general of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery, and a synod participant. “The youth bring it up, as have some of the bishops and cardinals.”
And those same bishops and cardinals drag youth of their bent to the synods. Sorry. Again, this isn’t the vast concern of the youth. They’re just trying their hardest to fight against the current of secularism and feminism isn’t helping. It’s just making harder.
“Clearly,” she added, the issue of women will be in the final document, which will be voted on Saturday.
And, clearly, letting you vote wasn’t in their periphery. It’s the one thing they got right.
But women, who make up about a tenth of the 340 or so synod participants, won’t be among the voters. Until this synod, only ordained men were allowed to vote on recommendations to the working document, whose final draft is given to the pope, who can include as much as he wants in his own post-synodal reflection.
As I’ve said before, synodality means different things to different people. Clearly the feminists in the house want their definition to be included. Why the heck not? Everyone elses’ seemed to be accommodated in the ridiculous final draft.
This year, though, two men who are not ordained but are the superiors general of their respective religious orders have been granted the right to vote. Sister Hodgdon, too, is a superior general, but she has no voting rights.
Awwww…Poor Sister Hodgdon.
Pope Francis with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, left, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, at the Vatican this month. Francis has spoken often of a more-incisive presence for women in the church, but critics say he needs to do more.
Who are these women? Are they the same women who need a title or their feelings will be hurt? Poor them. They were at the synod, they weren’t my woman picks for sure, but if they couldn’t influence the synod fathers, maybe the onus is on them, not their voting power.
For some Catholics, the difference clearly smacks of the sexism that “underlines the grave marginalization of women in the church,” said Lucetta Scaraffia, the editor of a monthly insert on women in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. “It’s a clamorous injustice. It demonstrates that the criteria they use is not between priest and lay people, but between women and men,” she said.
I assure you, the vast majority of us are not whining about our vocations like these babes. We don’t feel marginalized and we don’t feel helpless because we are not the correct matter for a certain sacrament or because we don’t have voting privileges in a synod. And we certainly don’t think it a “clamorous injustice.” I don’t think Sts. Catherine, Therese, Teresa or Hildegard had voting privileges or were the proper matter for the sacrament either and they all had invaluable influence on the Church during their time. I’m sorry you haven’t figured out a way to make your dreams come true but that’s really the sum total of it. They are your dreams and career goals, not our wish for the Church.
The cover of the October insert, “Women, Church, World,” depicted a woman shouting angrily. The intent of the issue, Ms. Scaraffia said, was to encourage debate and to get women “to protest every time there is a reason to protest.”
Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. I think you get the point.
“What are they afraid of? One woman voting, honestly!” said Ms. McElwee, of the Women’s Ordination Conference, who helped to draft the petition and was an organizer of a protest that coincided with the synod’s opening, on Oct. 3.
Frankly, a good many of us would just be afraid of the likes of YOU voting, Ms. McElwee. You’re, well, kind of a narcissistic man-hater.
Standing outside the gates that lead to the synod hall inside Vatican City that day, several dozen women and men chanted: “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “More than half the church.” The protest was peaceful — “a prayer groups is more disruptive,” Ms. McElwee said — but still drew the attention of the police, who brought the protest to a halt, identified all the protesters and forced some to delete footage of the demonstration from their mobile phones.
And you’re kind of demonstrating why I wouldn’t want you to even remotely represent me. Like I said, you sound like the foaming at the mouth chicks who attend the Women’s March. No, you don’t represent me, or my friends, or my daughters for that matter. You certainly don’t represent my sons because, well you’re kind of jealous of them. It’s an illness and it all leads to hate, hate and a little more hate.
The petition to allow female superiors general a synod vote was a “strategic” move toward their more equal participation in church matters, Ms. McElwee said, adding that she realized it confirmed the “ultimate fear” of some clerics who see it as a step down a “slippery slope that could eventually lead to women’s ordination” as priests.
Well, yeah. It would be a false promise that can’t ever happen but most of all, the fear comes from the fact I wouldn’t like you and your buds representing me, my daughters, nieces, sisters or friends. Blech. We’re just fine influencing the Church all on our own. We don’t need you.
Such ordination, Ms. McElwee said, was “the last door that’s closed to women,” though there are many doors in between. Church teaching says that women can’t be priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles.
Oh my gosh. So stupid. It goes a little deeper than that but you go ahead stomping your feet.
Various studies of religious affiliation in the United States show that young people are leaving the Catholic Church in greater numbers than before for many reasons. Women have traditionally been the bedrock of the faithful, but a study last year by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) of Catholic women showed that they are less engaged than in the past.
That has little to do with the babes for priests movement and everything to do with a lack of formation and explanation for our youth. Oh, and the endless scandal. How do I know, I asked youth who actually still practiced their faith but live in quite a secular world. Their answer was that they wanted the truth and they didn’t think we should assume they knew it. Now there’s some valuable insight!
Those numbers have not raised the loud warning bells in the Catholic Church that they should have, critics say.
Because the numbers of angry women in regards to their lack of entrance to the priesthood were small potatoes. A minority.
“For the first time in history women are leaving at greater rates than men,” said Ms. Rose-Milavec. “That is a deep dive.”
Geez. You don’t think the abuse by priests might have a little something to do with it? Hypocrisy is a killer. Or how about honest teaching of Catholic doctrine? Nah, that couldn’t be it.
Pope Francis has spoken often of a more-incisive presence for women in the church, and six women occupy senior roles in the five dozen departments that make up the Catholic Church’s governing body, the Holy See. Critics say he needs to do more.
Hey, Holy Father, how about I give you the names of a few dozen solidly faithful Catholic women who don’t want to be ordained to fill some spots? I’m sure it won’t appease the whiners but you can point to them anyway. Let’s be real. Short of women’s ordination, most of the whiners aren’t going to be happy.
In 2016, Francis appointed a commission to review the place that female deacons had in the early church, a move seen by some as possibly opening the way to female deacons in the modern era. But the commission has not made its finding public, and the cardinal who heads it made clear last June that advising the pope on modern-day female deacons had never been on its agenda.
??? Please. I’m quite familiar with the women on this commission. They are ALL about women deacons. Should they ever get some traction, I will relay some of my interactions with those members. It’s embarrassing.
“Through his positive statements, Pope Francis has really raised women’s expectations about the changes that he plans in order to bring more women into leadership roles,” Petra Dankova, the advocacy director of Voices of Faith, replied in a written response to questions. “But concrete actions have followed slowly and without an overarching plan.”
You can say that again. The Holy Father seems to throw these gals a bone when it suits him but when the women on the Papal Commission for the Protection of Youth advise him to release people from Pontifical Secrets it’s, how should we say, uncomfortable.
Voice of Faith, based in Liechtenstein, is pushing for women to gain full leadership roles in the Catholic Church. It has urged the close-knit group of cardinals who advise the pope on various issues that it should establish a special advisory board for women, Ms. Dankova said.
Wait. Lichtenstein? The country with roughly 30,300 Catholics and presumably “Voice of Faith” represents a small margin of those? Let’s go back to this. 1.3 BILLION Catholics but let’s just imply “Voice of Faith” represents a group that we should pay any attention to at all. Sigh. You’re stretching, Times.
The question of their involvement in the church, she added, “is too complex and it cannot be expected to be somehow solved on the side without a concentrated attention and without the collaboration with women themselves.”
How did the Church survive 2,000 years without the chicks in charge? Gag!
That suggestion has fallen on deaf ears, although some top prelates at the synod have been vocal in their support of women.
I would hope all priests, everywhere, are in support of women. That would kind of be the mission in the Church. You know, support the faithful.
On Wednesday, speaking to reporters at a daily Vatican briefing, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference, said that the issue of women’s roles in the church was “important for the entire church,” which must understand the evolution of women’s equality as a gift from God.
“Evolution of women’s equality???” Oh my gosh. Please, let us all listen to Cardinal Marx because the Mass attendance in Germany is a whopping 10% or so. He knows how to get people in the door. However, let’s not listen to those out of touch Africans whose attendance rate is 70% or more. Cardinal Marx is sooooo in touch. He’s so cool. Everyone is clamoring to attend Mass in Germany. Oh, wait…
“We would be foolish not to make use of the potential of women,” Cardinal Marx said. “Thank God we are not that stupid.”
MUST. NOT. COMMENT. Picking jaw up off keyboard and putting eyes back into head. Oh, I can’t resist. I think you might be the definition, dear Cardinal Marx.
Male religious superiors at the synod have also been supportive, and the umbrella groups of both male and female superiors general have drafted a concrete proposal to allow women superiors to participate as voting members in future synods. If ratified by their respective boards, the proposal would be presented to the pope, Sister Hodgdon said.
Let me guess. She’s pals with Cardinal Marx? Sigh.
After living in Rome for eight years, Sister Hodgdon, an American, said she has learned that the ways of the Church took time. Female superior generals were not likely to get the right to vote in this synod, she conceded. “But do I believe it will happen for the next one? Yes, I really do believe that.”
Prayer and fasting people. It can work miracles. Look! No “LGBT” in final document and we can stop the rabid feminists too.
The next synod is scheduled for October 2019, and will focus on issues related to the Amazon region.
Oh, goodie. Can’t wait. Oof.