32

On divorce, remarriage, and responding adequately to the people’s expectations: Sorry, folks, but this “experiment” has already been tried…

 

The sole item on the agenda for the upcoming Synod of Bishops–the family–has sparked heated debate concerning the Church’s teaching about marriage, especially among Germany’s episcopate. The agenda has also ginned up hope among divorced Catholics, especially in the United States.

Expect the latter to be ginned up even more as the liberal Catholic news media tout the recent comments of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. In an interview with the Christian weekly magazine Tertio, Baldisseri is quoted as stating that he wants a change in Church teaching on marriage:

The Church is not timeless, she lives amidst the vicissitudes of history and the Gospel must be known and experienced by people today. It is in the present that the message should be, with all respect for the integrity from whom the message has been received. We now have two synods to treat this complex theme of the family and I believe that these dynamics in two movements will allow a more adequate response to the expectations of the people.

Perhaps Cardinal Baldisseri’s comments represent the kind of “open” and “frank” dialogue that Pope Francis has encouraged. Perhaps, too, they are a “trial balloon” Baldisseri is floating for the Synod to gauge attitudes and responses. Those comments may also represent only one man’s opinion, in this case, a very important man–given his leadership role in the Synod. Let’s not forget that Cardinal Baldiserri will be intimately involved in selecting the “experts” who will be advising the Synod…the “periti.”

baldiserri

That’s all fine…the stuff of “inside ecclesiastical politics.” The simple fact is that the Church has constantly upheld what Jesus taught:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9; cf. Mark 10:2–9; Luke 16:18)

Jesus’ words “except for sexual immorality” would seem to allow for divorce. Okay. But, the Church teaches, they do not allow for remarriage. If spouses must divorce due to the existential realities associated with their marriage, divorce–though reprehensible–is tolerable. Again, the Church is upholding Scripture and, in this case, what St. Paul taught:

To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)—and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10–11).

Unfortunately, divorce sometimes happens. Yet, it does not extinguish a sacramental marriage and, thus, as the Church has consistently taught based upon Scripture and Tradition, remarriage is not permissible. It’s in this sense that Jesus was not making an exception in the case of valid, sacramental marriages, despite what many Catholics–including some in the German episcopate–and non-Catholics today hold. This is the “truth” the Church has constantly taught, most recently in Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio.”

But, Cardinal Baldisseri seems to think, what Tradition has consistently taught is not timeless. After all, the Cardinal does seem to have gone out of his way to note that the document is 33 years old. And, if that’s his attitude as it is the attitude of many of those who want this teaching changed, what about Scripture–which is much older, yes, ancient–“even with all respect for the integrity from whom the message has been received”?

Respect for the integrity ? What about respect for the truth ?

Those who want Church teaching as it concerns divorce and remarriage to change seem to be arguing that doing so will provide a wonderful tool for evangelization. At a minimum, at least consider all of those disaffected Catholics who would return to the faith if only the Church lowered the bar and became more inclusive.

With all respect for the integrity of those who are promoting this message, this experiment has already been tried…to the detriment of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. Look around: Are the divorced and remarried flocking to those Christian denominations that have allowed for divorce and remarriage for centuries? The demographics suggest not.

The Church doesn’t have to become more like those who would fashion the gospel to fit their attitudes to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. No, the Church’s mission is to promote the truth as it is conveyed in Scripture and Tradition. Yes, as Karl Rahner noted in his book The Shape of the Church to Come, this may very well mean a much smaller Church than many would hope. But, its witness would be more potent to the ends of the earth because its members would be more unified.

Unfortunately, this attitude isn’t very popular in this generation. Or, come to think of it, was it in any previous generation.

 

 

To read the article reporting Cardinal Baldisseri’s interview, click on the following link:
http://networkedblogs.com/WFXk6

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

20

Cardinal Müller, the LCWR, the Doctrinal Assessment: The other side of the story…

 

On April 30, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, made some opening remarks at the Meeting of the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The meeting focused upon the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, especially the revision of the LCWR’s Statutes and civil by-laws.

Remember that the Doctrinal Assessment was made necessary by the LCWR’s theological positions which indicated the organization was entertaining if not promoting theories beyond the boundaries of the Catholic faith. The goal was that the LCWR would reflect more explicitly the mission of a Conference of Major Superiors as something centered on Jesus Christ and grounded in the Church’s teaching about Consecrated Life and so that religious life might continue to flourish in the United States.

As Cardinal Müller noted in his opening statement:

We are aware that, from the beginning, LCWR Officers judged the Doctrinal Assessment to be “flawed and the findings based on unsubstantiated accusations” and that the so-called “sanctions” were “disproportionate to the concerns raised and compromised the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.”

The remainder of Cardinal Müller’s opening remarks address those two judgments made. In his own words:

It is my intention in discussing these things frankly and openly with you to offer an explanation of why it is that we believe the conclusions of the Doctrinal Assessment are accurate and the path of reform it lays before the LCWR remains necessary so that religious life might continue to flourish in the United States.

Anyone who reads Cardinal Müller’s remarks objectively and carefully will see that he is not “playing poker” with the LCWR. Although gracious and respectful, the Cardinal was not bluffing as he carefully details, point by point, how the LCWR has been less than fully responsive to the Doctrinal Assessment and what its leadership needs to do. Without drawing a line in the sand, Cardinal Müller intimates there is a line in the sand when he concluded:

The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration.

Read the entirety of Cardinal Müller’s remarks because they are very important. They represent “the other side of the story,” the one that the National Catholic Reporter isn’t telling except by negative example.  The simple fact is that the LCWR is in error theologically. Despite the image they may want to project, these are not the sisters whose heroic witness over the generations in U.S. Catholic schools, hospitals, and social service agencies is seared upon the memory of those many Catholics and non-Catholics alike their predecessors once selflessly served. These sisters are promoting an ideology that is beyond the boundaries of the Catholic faith.

 

 

 

To read the text of Cardinal Müller’s remarks, click on the following link:
http://www.doctrinafidei.va/muller/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20140430_muller-lcwr_en.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

4

The University of Scranton: Is the Catholic college tuition bubble showing signs of bursting?

 

It’s no secret that there’s a college tuition bubble and that it’s showing signs of potentially imploding across the United States. As fewer students enroll, administrators at public and private institutions of higher education are having to make sometimes Draconian budget cuts. Oftentimes, these cuts adversely impact support staff, programs, and faculty…in that order, as The Motley Monk reported about the University of Southern Maine here.

Well, the bubble may be demonstrating signs of imploding at Catholic institutions of higher education.

According to an article in the Times-Tribune, the President of the University of Scranton, the Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, SJ, outlined some of the “difficult, even painful, decisions” to be implemented—to the tune of $4M—to align the budget better with current realities. Fr. Quinn wrote:

As a result, we will see a decrease in net tuition and fee revenue per student for the class we recruit for this fall when compared to the class that preceded it.

This problem involving enrollments and finances has been brewing for a couple of years, but evidently came to a boil at Scranton with increased operational costs and a smaller than expected entering freshman class in 2013. Having already reached the “price point” that students and parents were willing to pay or indebt themselves for a Scranton degree, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Edward Steinmetz, knew a tuition increase was off the table. Hence, the cuts.

Why is Fr. Quinn’s announcement important? Considering the landscape of U.S. Catholic higher education:

  1. Scranton is a small, tuition dependent institution. Student enrollment—hence, tuition cash flow—is the “mother’s milk” for institutional survival. As the cost of attending Scranton, for example, passes the “price point”—and with a limited number of “discounts” (ahem, “scholarships”) available to award new students—enrollments will inevitably decline, exacerbating the institution’s already fragile financial problems.
  2. As cuts evidence themselves in fewer new “attractors”—those non-educational, Disneyworld-like experiences, programs, and buildings that universities and colleges have increasingly focused upon to improve on-campus student “life” and, hence, “attract” more new students to enroll—high school seniors may be less attracted to attend an institution like Scranton. The day of “keeping up with the Jones”—at first, those were the state university systems, but increasingly in recent decades, the larger Catholic institutions—may be over.
  3. The Motley Monk knows Scranton to be a pretty good Catholic college, meaning that students generally can experience a somewhat solid Catholic culture. The only drawback is its Jesuitical emphasis upon social justice and de-emphasis upon doctrine. If a Catholic institution isn’t offering a truly Catholic education—as that has been defined by Saint John Paul II and reiterated by Benedict XVI–why would students pay a higher price point—and indebt themselves more upon graduation–when cheaper alternatives are readily available?

It’s all about supply and demand because market forces are at work. Moreover, with many students and their families having to indebt themselves  increasingly if they are to graduate from a Catholic institution of higher education, “glitz” will necessarily factor less into a decision about enrollment than whether the institution delivers on its value proposition.

Unless administrators in Catholic higher education are willing to differentiate their institutions sufficiently by providing students and parents a sufficient return on investment, the tuition bubble has the potential to alter the landscape of U.S. Catholic higher education dramatically. Why ever would they pay a “premium” for a “product” that doesn’t deliver on what’s promised?

Then, too, don’t forget that tuition revenues also provide the necessary cash flow to pay off the debts many of those institutions have incurred over the past two decades in keeping up, all in a desperate effort to attract more students.

The challenge to those administrators?

To demonstrate in fact how their institutional cultures, from the curriculum, to the classrooms, to the dormitories, and to its extra-curricular offerings actually form students from a decidedly Catholic perspective (that is, the “value added” proposition).

 

 

To read the Times-Tribune article, click on the following link:
http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/university-of-scranton-cuts-positions-budgets-1.1678483

To read The Motley Monk’s blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

15

WomenPriests and their supporters: “Strike three and you’re out!”

 

It’s pretty easy to tell that the folks over at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) aren’t happy campers these days. Some of their heroes fighting on the front lines for women’s ordination are being “disciplined.”

According to a recent NCR article:

A longtime peace and human rights activist arrested countless times, Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada has been removed from public ministry for concelebrating Mass with a woman priest in 2011.

Poor Fr. Zawada! After all he’s done over the decades to promote the cause of social justice. He’s been jailed numerous times and now at the age of 76, one would think the Vatican would overlook Fr. Zawada’s minor infelicity for merely concelebrating “Mass” with the Roman Catholic “WomanPriest,” the Rev. Ms. Janice Sevre-Duszynska.

The enemy in the NCR’s narrative is the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which reviewed documentation related to the November 22, 2011 “Mass.” NCR obtained a copy of the CDF’s private letter which stated:

Having carefully examined the acts of the case, and the vota of the former Minister General and the Rev. Zawada’s Provincial Superior, this Dicastery has decided to impose on Rev. Jerome Zawada, OFM, a life of prayer and penance to be lived within the Queen of Peace Friary in Burlington, Wisconsin.

The letter also forbids Fr. Zawada from presenting himself in public as a priest or celebrating the sacraments publicly. However, Fr. Zawada is allowed to concelebrate Mass with other friars at the friary and in private.

Zawada isn’t too pleased. He told the NCR:

I don’t mind the prayer part, but when they called, when they say that I need to be spending time in penance, well, I’m not going to do penance for my convictions and the convictions of so many others, too.

Apparently, CDF isn’t going to wink and ignore any priest who concelebrates “Mass” with so-called “WomenPriests.”

And that’s only the cases that the priests involved have made public.

“You’re out!” the umpire yells after a batter takes three strikes.

And, by the way, the baseball season opens today.

Perhaps those priests who support the cause for the ordination of women should place their money on the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series this year. Both have about an equal chance of happening anytime soon.

 

 

To read the NCR article, click on the following link:
http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/longtime-peace-activist-removed-ministry-after-concelebrating-mass-woman-priest

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

24

Atlanta’s “Archbishop Bling”? The mainstream media and liberals in the Catholic press have been silent…

 

When it comes to clerical “careerism,” ostentatious “princely” lifestyles, or even the mode of transportation, Pope Francis has sent a new standard—one of humility and poverty—for clerics. It’s been called the “l’effet Francois” (“the Francis effect”).

Members of the mainstream media and liberals in the Catholic press love it and have been quick to jump on the bandwagon to criticize clerics who have crossed the line that Pope Francis has drawn in the sand. Arguably, the most roundly criticized cleric to have crossed that line is “Bishop Bling,” the Most Reverend Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany. He constructed a new residence and office complex costing nearly $43M.

According to the National Catholic Reporter:

Not only did Tebartz-van Elst spend a ton of money on all the wrong things, but he did so just after the cardinals elected a pope who is making austerity and humility the hallmarks of a bishop in today’s church. Francis wants prelates to “smell like the sheep,” not pricey cologne, and he doesn’t want them to act with the sort of authoritarian and dismissive manner that Tebartz-van Elst displayed.

In fact, as the resignation of Tebartz-van Elst was being announced Wednesday, Francis was telling thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square that “a bishop who is not in the service of the community does no good.”

In addition, Tebartz-van Elst in November paid a court-ordered fine of nearly $30,000 to avoid a perjury charge over his false claims that he did not fly first class to India on a charity trip. That’s three strikes.

Okay, Bishop Bling deserved to be “fired,” although technically that’s impossible. Removed, yes. Fired, no. His conduct was egregious, although similar conduct certainly was not in the early- to mid- 20th century.

But, will those media outlets and liberals in the Catholic press be as vociferous when it comes to the Archbishop of Atlanta, the Most Reverend Wilton Gregory?

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Archbishop Gregory recently moved into a new, 6,196-square-foot home built at the cost of $2.2M. His previous residence—adjacent to the Cathedral of Christ the King—is also slated to be renovated as a rectory for the priests assigned to the Cathedral residence. The price tag for those renovations, which includes the purchase of additional property, is another $2.2M.

That’s a total of $4.4M for two residences.  That’s not quite $43M. Plus the money comes from a $15M bequest. So, technically, all of this housing is “free.”

But, is it consistent with the “l’effet Francois” that the mainstream media and liberals in the Catholic press on this side of the pond have been propounding as the standard for criticizing clerics?

Some believe Archbishop Gregory should have used the money for schools and the poor. “This is an excessive lifestyle,” said one parishioner of Christ the King, Beth Maguire.

Both Archbishop Gregory and the Cathedral’s Rector, the Reverend Monsignor Frank McNamee, call the expenditures “necessary.” Gregory said the new residence will allow him to “smell like the flock,” providing him a residence where he can more easily mingle with his sheep.

Isn’t that what Pope Francis said bishops should do?

Once again, will the mainstream media as well as liberals in the Catholic press who have been so quick to denounce Bishop Bling be as quick in denouncing Archbishop Gregory?

Time will tell. So far, they’ve been silent.

Why?

The answer is unknown. But, there are at least three possible answers:

  1. The magnitude of his expenditures for suitable housing is only a little more than 10% that of Bishop Bling. If so, is this a new standard for judging the nation’s bishops and cathedral rectors that the mainstream media as well as liberals in the Catholic press have deemed acceptable?
  2. The mainstream media as well as liberals in the Catholic press perceive Archbishop Gregory to be a theological liberal and kindred spirit. It would be indecorous to take one of their own to task, would it not? But, if a conservative bishop were to do the same, then watch how quickly he will be denounced.
  3. They don’t want to attack one of the nation’s most respected Black Catholic leaders. But wouldn’t that be using a double standard?

Atlanta’s “Archbishop Bling”?

Pope Francis may not be as silent. He may speak by denying Archbishop Gregory a red hat because of that new residence.

But, all of that doesn’t really matter. What matters is the perception of duplicity on the part of the mainstream media and liberals in the Catholic press.

 

 

To read the National Catholic Reporter article, click on the following link:
http://ncronline.org//news/vatican/pope-francis-fired-bishop-bling-will-more-follow

To read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, click on the following link:
http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional/church-spending-ignites-debate/nfGBP/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

29

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby: The U.S. Solicitor General’s clever, but illogical deceit…

 

Today, the Solicitor General of the United States, Donald Verrilli, will tell the the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby that killing a human embryo by preventing the embryo from implanting in his or her mother’s uterus is not an “abortion” and, thus, the drugs approved by Obamacare that kill embryos in this way are not “abortion-inducing” drugs. Verrilli will also argue that every business that provides its employees’ healthcare insurance plans—even businesses owned and operated by Christians who are pro-life—must provide the drugs Obamacare mandates.

Yet, when Verrilli first petitioned the Supreme Court in September 2013 to take up Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, his petition conceded that among the drugs and devices Obamacare approved were some that prevented human “fertilized eggs”—conceived human embryos—from implanting in their mothers’ wombs. In his petition, Verrilli wrote:

The FDA has approved twenty such methods, ranging from oral contraceptives to surgical sterilization. Four of the twenty approved methods—two types of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the emergency contraceptives commonly known as Plan B and Ella—can function by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Then, in a footnote, Verrilli went stated:

Both the government and the medical amici supporting the government concede that at least some of the contraceptive methods to which the plaintiffs object have the potential to prevent uterine implantation.

So, Virrelli concedes that the drugs and devices the Obama administration mandates can terminate the life of a human embryo by preventing “implantation.” However, Virrelli also asserts that terminating the life of a conceived human embryo by preventing it from implanting in the womb is not an “abortion.”

Verrilli is weaving a clever, but illogical deceit. What the FDA and the Federal regulations call “contraceptives” include drugs and devices some of which work not by preventing conception but by terminating a human life after conception. In other words, these government-approved drugs and devices are not contraceptives but post-conception abortofacients.

The Motley Monk prays and is remains hopeful the more sober and honest members of the Supreme Court will see this charade for what it truly is and rule on behalf of innocent children.

 

 

To read the Solicitor General’s petition for a writ of certiorari, click on the following link:
http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2013-0354.pet_.aa_1.pdf

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

29

Some fallout after Cardinal Dolan steps into a snake pit…

 

It appears that the public relations officer for Cardinal Dolan, Joseph Zwilling, has been getting quite a workout this past week. The poor fellow has had to respond to the Cardinal’s botched pre-recorded appearance on Sunday, March 9th’s Meet the Press.

In that interview, David Gregory asked Cardinal Dolan:

Michael Sam, from your home state, the football player, revealed that he was gay, first in the NFL. And you saw the celebration from the president, the first lady, and they were saying what a courageous step that was. How did you view it?

The Cardinal responded:

Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us, well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, “Bravo.”

“Bravo”?

Not one who fails to express her opinions with trenchant clarity, Ann Barnhardt posted in her blog:

“Bravo” to sodomy….says Dolan, who couldn’t give any less of a [s***] about this Michael Sam kid, and is perfectly willing to not only watch this poor kid go to hell, but will even relish in Michael Sam’s sin in order to leverage his (Dolan’s) own personal worldly popularity. There simply aren’t words. The craven connivance is beyond description.

Is this yet another example of the Bergoglio—“Who am I to judge?”—phenomenon?

Barnhardt adds:

Does Dolan really believe that we are called by God to make absolutely NO moral judgements whatsoever about human behavior? Really? So we can’t judge murder? We can’t judge rape? We can’t judge theft? “Judge not lest ye be judged” is God Almighty abolishing the very notion of sin and demanding total anarchy? REALLY?

But beyond that obvious imbecility, Dolan has now taken it a step further—he HAS in fact JUDGED the sin of sodomy, and has JUDGED it positively.  ”Bravo” means “good”.  ”Good for him” means GOOD. FOR. HIM.  But Dolan isn’t smart enough to recognize the internal contradiction in saying “Bravo”—which is the Italian word for “good” in the sense of “well done”—and in literally the same breath saying “Who am I to judge?” You just DID judge, you jackass.

Like her assessment or not, Barnhardt does make a point.

Cardinal Dolan should have anticipated David Gregory’s question. He also should have answered in a way that promoted Church teaching and protected the Pope’s integrity. After all, the interview was pre-recorded.

But, some might opine, the Cardinal may have been caught off guard anyway. What can be said about this?

For one thing, whereas Cardinal Dolan is usually very adept at evading traps when interviewed, no one—even a cardinal—is so good as to be able to dodge every bullet, every time. Imagine what it must be like to be in the Cardinal’s position: In every interview, he knows there’s always the possibility that after each question is asked, it might be the next one that takes him down.

And, taken down to the mat and pinned as Cardinal Dolan was on Meet the Press, it wasn’t by David Gregory…but by the Cardinal himself and by his own words.

Barnhardt also makes the point that Pope Francis bears some responsibility for this phenomenon. His advice that priests and Religious should throw doctrinal caution to the wind and mix it up with the los pueblos goads not only priests and Religious but also high-ranking prelates—who sometimes think themselves more clever than most, even allegedly “friendly” folks in the press—into a snake pit from which it is impossible to escape unscathed.

That’s why Zwilling was in high gear last week, attempting to tamp down the maelstrom. Responding to questions from CNSNews.com, Zwilling’s email stated:

You can quote me about the Cardinal’s appearance on Meet the Press as follows:

“I believe that the Cardinal’s intention was clear, when he said that the same Bible that teaches us about chastity and fidelity also teaches us not to judge. We are called to love one another.

At the same time, the Cardinal is a very strong supporter of Courage, the Church’s ministry to those with same-sex attraction who are trying to follow the Church’s teaching. He understands, however, that the Church can only extend the invitation, and that, in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, the Church can only propose, it cannot impose.

It would therefore be wrong for anyone  to say, or even imply, that the Cardinal’s words on Meet the Press meant that he was unconcerned about Church teaching on homosexual activity (or any other immoral behavior), or that he was not fully supportive of that teaching, particularly as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Oh, come now! As the CNS News.com report observed, Zwilling sidestepped the question concerning whether the openly homosexual Michael Sam is a good role model for young males or whether his conduct is scandalous.

Cardinal Dolan has stepped right into a snake pit. Now, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men won’t be able to put New York’s Cardinal back together again. No doubt, he will survive, but not unscathed.

Likewise for Pope Francis. If the Pope is of the opinion that this kind of mixing it up with los pueblos will make the Church look more inviting to disaffected U.S. Catholics on the left or right, it’s quite likely he’s either misinformed or mistaken.

 

 

 

To read Ann Barnhardt’s blog, click on the following link:
http://www.barnhardt.biz/2014/03/09/as-i-have-been-screeching-for-years-timothy-dolan-is-a-complete-and-total-jackass/

To read the CNSNews report, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/cardinal-dolan-fully-supportive-teaching-homosexual-activity-immoral#sthash.UcLCPwjV.dpuf

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

15

“A Pope Conservatives Can Love?”

 

Last December, S. E. Cupp wrote an op-ed “A Pope Conservative Can Love”  in the New York Daily News in which she stated:

While liberals will revel in ideas that Pope Francis is reforming the church to their liking, and condemning conservative values in the process, it’s actually fairly easy to see his mission as the opposite. He’s arguing for a church with limited powers, reduced bureaucracy and lean, local governing.

 

Conservatives should say “Amen to that.”

Having mulled over that thought for a while, The Motley Monk decided he can’t say “Amen” to that.

Why?

Ms Cupp’s lens for “conservative” in social, political, and economic theory, doesn’t apply to ecclesiology. That fundamental misunderstanding causes many conservatives to fail to call out the liberals in the Church who continuously argue for “limited powers, reduced bureaucracy, and lean, local government.” Doing so enables them to manipulate local bishops and dioceses into doing whatever they, the liberals, want them to do.

This is what happened in the Church during the “liberal” pontificate of Paul VI. The “conservative” pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict reversed this trend, re-centralizing doctrinal authority in Rome, where it belongs. That was good for the Church, and it was also conservative.

Conservatives should say “Amen to that.”

 

 

To read S. E. Cupp’s op ed, click on the following link:
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/pope-francis-conservative-article-1.1544344

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

2

“Educational itineraries of encounter and of dialogue”: The new mission of Catholic higher education…

 

Many have said that Pope Francis would “shake things up.” They have pointed to his living quarters, cars, committee of cardinals to study reforming the Curia, founding the new dicastery for finance, and most famously, his “Who am I to judge?” statement. These provide all the testimony need to demonstrate that this Pope is indeed shaking things up.

There’s now more evidence.

At the recent Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Catholic Education, members discussed a series of issues:

  • the reform of the Apostolic Constitution, Sapientia Christiana, which governs the Pontifical university system (Catholic universities chartered by the Vatican, not Catholic universities and colleges chartered by other nations or states);
  • the recovery and strengthening of Catholic identity in all Catholic institutions of higher learning; and,
  • the preparation of two major anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the II Vatican Council’s declaration, Gravissimum educationis, which called for a renewal of Catholic instruction and formation at all levels and the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution, Ex corde Ecclesiae, which describes the nature and mission of Catholic universities.

Ho hum.  More pious platitudes about providing an “integral formation” and strengthening Catholic identity.

Who’s interested in that? Certainly not many of those who administer and teach in the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. They routinely interpret Vatican statements concerning Catholic education to fit their progressive secularist agenda or ignore those statements altogether.

However, those weren’t the topics on Pope Francis’ agenda when he addressed the Plenary Assembly. Of many things the Pope told participants, he expressed his desire that they

…be involved in educational itineraries of encounter and of dialogue, with a courageous and innovative faithfulness that is capable of bringing the different “souls” of a multicultural society together with Catholic identity.

What’s this? “Itineraries of encounter and dialogue”? A “courageous and innovative faithfulness”? “Bringing different ‘souls’ of a multicultural society together with a Catholic identity”?

It’s difficult to know what Pope Francis means, as the terms he used could mean many different things to many different people and be invoked to quite different ends.

Take the phrase “courageous and innovative faithfulness,” for example.

Liberal Catholics could interpret it to justify continuing their experiments in Catholic thought and practice that undermine Catholic doctrine. It takes courage and innovation to move beyond the confines and limitations of doctrine, they would argue. Consider, for example, their research and calls for change in Church teaching about so many moral issues–including divorce and remarriage, so-called “homosexual marriage,” and women’s ordination–and being rebuffed at the highest levels of the Vatican, especially the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Just ask Father Charles Curran.

Conservative Catholics could interpret that phrase to justify a greater emphasis upon doctrine in Theology courses as well as reining in many of the so-called “progressive” trends in U.S. Catholic higher education during the past five decades. It takes courage and innovation stem the tide of secular progressivism that has diminished Catholic identity in those institutions, they would argue. Consider, for example, the national culture of Catholic higher education as well as many of those institutions where conservatives are marginalized, if not mocked for their fidelity to Church teaching. Just ask the folks at Wyoming Catholic College or conservatives at institutions like the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown, DePaul, Gonzaga, and the University of San Francisco, among others.

Is it possible that the Holy Father thinks both are forms of courage and innovative faithfulness?

The Motley Monk thinks not.

In this instance, however, the Pope’s choice of terms has muddied the waters more than they have been for the past five decades. In doing so, the Holy Father may have unintentionally emboldened the secular progressivists in U.S. Catholic higher education. Now, their lemmings over at National Catholic Reporter will endeavor to convince more and more folks that they are the authentic interpreters of Pope Francis’ statements concerning Catholic higher education.

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

20

Catholic and Jesuit identity: The stormy petrils lose this round at Santa Clara University…

 

Despite the Siren song of the stormy petrils, a Bay Area News Group article reports that the Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University (SCU)—a Jesuit university—has upheld its decision last year to terminate elective abortion healthcare coverage for employees beginning January 1, 2015.

In a statement issued February 14, Board Chairman Robert Finocchio wrote:

In making the decision, the President carried out this duty. The decision was not a decision of condemnation or of exclusion, but rather one that flows from the University’s identity and mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university.

In his statement, Finocchio merely reiterated what the Board had  stated previously when Fr. Engh announced the Board’s decision last fall.

As was entirely predictable, Fr. Engh’s announcement didn’t set well with SCU’s Faculty Senate, which objected strenuously. Members claimed that the Board’s new policy sent several messages: the Board doesn’t value diversity (not all employees support Church teaching), the Board doesn’t value inclusivity (having excluded faculty leaders from the process), and the Board was imposing Catholic doctrine on employees (many are not Catholic).

Addressing the protests, Fr. Engh announced a delay in the benefits change until January 2015. The extra year, he said, would allow the Faculty Senate to review the new policy and study options beyond SCU’s healthcare plan.

That said, in this round, the decision has been made. The Board didn’t reverse it, despite the Siren song of the stormy petrils.

Isn’t it refreshing to read that members of the Board of Trustees of a Catholic university are upholding their sacred trust? Would that members of the boards of every institution of U.S. Catholic higher education had as much spine!

Come to think of it: Why do so many of Board members live in mortal fear of and cower before the stormy petrils who charge them with not being diverse and inclusive as well as with imposing Church doctrine on employees? Or, is the real truth that many Board members actually side with the stormy petrils?

 

 

To read the Bay Area News Group article, click on the following link:
http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_25219267/abortion-debate-santa-clara-university-upholds-decision-drop

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

16

The Newman Center at the University of New Mexico: The stormy petril’s angry narrative…

 

Given the outcry on the part of the stormy petrils and length of the article in the National Catholic Reporter Online (NCR), one would think the world had come to an end.

At least, according to the “narrative.” It seems as if everything today is about a “narrative.”

Consider the angry narrative providing the subtext of the NCR article.

On January 13, 2014, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Santa Fe Archdiocese told the pastor of Aquinas Newman Center that the Dominicans’ service would be terminated on June 30, 2014. Worse yet, the ham-handed, conservative Archbishop issued this edict allegedly without any prior consultation. And, rubbing some salt into the ecclesial wound he was unnecessarily inflicting upon all of the Center’s students and parishioners, the Archbishop stated in the press release he issued announcing the change that two “fine young priests” of his Archdiocese would be replacing the Dominicans. (The latter obviously aren’t “young” and perhaps will be touted as victims of age discrimination.) Those two priests include the Archdiocese’s vocation director and University of New Mexico (UNM) alumnus, Fr. Michael DePalma, who will serve as pastor. The parochial vicar will be Fr. Simon Carian, 26. Ordained last year, Carian is a University of Notre Dame alumnus currently studying medical ethics in Rome.

Why the change?

Consider Archbishop Sheehan’s pastoral narrative which added fuel to the angry narrative. In his press release, the Archbishop stated:

Having Archdiocesan priests at the Newman Center will enhance relations with the Archdiocese’s pastors and parishes of whose young adults attend [UNM], as well as promote diocesan vocations.

The angry narrative’s reaction?

To paraphrase: The nerve of His Excellency! This is the post-Vatican II Church, not the patriarchal and triumphal post-Tridentine Church! That man has no right to remove our beloved Dominicans. For gracious sakes, he even dumped the name “Aquinas” that has been in the Center’s title for as long as everyone can remember. Hrrumphhhh….

Some background information concerning the two narratives.

The Dominicans have served UNM’s Aquinas Newman Center in Albuquerque since 1950. The Center currently serves more than 500 UNM students and 750 families. One Mass is offered daily and five Masses are offered on Sundays. The Center also provides campus ministry, parish social groups, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and service opportunities.

Now, in light of these competing narratives, what may be the real narrative: Archbishop Sheehan is well aware of the success many Newman Centers across the nation are having in fostering vocations to the priesthood, especially those centers where “young” priests serve. The Dominicans never had much success in this regard during their 60+ years of service at the Center. So, the Archbishop decided to staff the Newman Center with his men and have them run it in the style that has demonstrated success at other universities and colleges.

That has the stormy petrils in an uproar. An allegedly “pre-Vatican II” bishop is seeking to destroy the “Pope Francis Church” the Dominicans have constructed and which parishioners seem to enjoy very much. After all, one subtext to the angry narrative is that parishioners must enjoy going to Mass (or “services” as the NCR article called them). As the Newman Center’s current pastor, Fr. Dan Davis, OP, opined:

The parishioners are very progressive, very intellectual, and they resonated with the way we preached. The Newman Center tends to be a conglomeration of disenfranchised Christians from around the city–which confirms the very things that the bishop is contesting.

In an email circulated to parishioners, a former UNM student and longtime Center parishioner, Chuck Wellborn, provided some additional details:

The Archbishop has made critical statements about our parish to others in the Archdiocese….These comments suggest that he believes our parish is insufficiently doctrinaire. It is certainly true that the Newman Center attracts parishioners with a wide variety of backgrounds and views, in particular university students and faculty. In that sense, our parish is quite dissimilar and perhaps more liberal in its thinking than at the Archdiocese’s non-university parishes.

Is that what has the stormy petrils in an uproar? A Newman Center that was intended primarily to serve students’ religious, spiritual, and moral needs has developed into a parish that operates as a “quasi-exempt” institution in the Archdiocese, meaning “operating parallel to but not necessarily in tandem with the Archbishop and his clergy.” And now, Archbishop Sheehan is quashing that long-term “arrangement.”

Despite the anger espoused by Fr. Davis and parishioner Wellborn, not all are happy with the current arrangement and support the Archbishop’s decision.

For example, on January 13, a UNM student, Colt Balok, posted a picture on his Facebook page of himself having dinner with Archbishop Sheehan. Balok captioned the picture, “I had a great dinner with Archbishop Sheehan tonight. UNM, he has some great news for us Catholics!” Then, in a Letter to the Editor printed on January 29 in the Daily Lobo, UNM’s student newspaper, Balok said:

…[the Newman Center] needs to be a place where the body and blood of Christ is adored and worshipped, not a place where the altar servers wear polo shirts and fail to honor and respect our Lord Jesus Christ….Thank you, Archbishop, for making the Newman Center Catholic again. My friends and I will no longer have to travel to other parishes to attend Mass.

Good for Archbishop Sheehan!

The Motley Monk would observe that His Excellency has every right to provide UNM students a religious, spiritual, and moral home in a way that fits his overall pastoral plan and its objectives. One objective is to increase the number of vocations to the diocesan priesthood so that UNM students will continue to be served by the Archdiocese. And, the Archbishop has every right to staff it with his men who will run it in the way the Archbishop desires.

Given the demographics, archbishops and bishops across the United States no longer can depend on the religious communities of men to provide manpower, especially manpower that is not self-sustaining. Now is the time to envision the future, not to look backwards in hope that the 1960s and 1970s will return.

 

 

To read the National Catholic Reporter Online article, click on the following link:
http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/albuquerque-newman-center-parishioners-decry-dominican-exit

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

29

“Planned Parenthood abortion clinic: We cannot cooperate with evil…”

 

Planned Parenthood is constructing a new $42.M, 8k-square foot building in New Orleans.The City of New Orleans has already approved the construction permit and the facility is scheduled to open later this year. It is estimated that 30 abortions will be able to be performed each day at the facility.

Archbishop Gregory M, Aymond  of the Archdiocese of New Orleans isn’t taking the news sitting down, taking direct aim at the facility in a letter published in the Archdiocesan newspaper, the Clarion Herald.

“We cannot be silent in view of the grave injustice presented by the abortions that will be performed at the Planned Parenthood facility,” Aymond wrote. “The Archdiocese is obliged to remind every person and organization involved in the acquisition, preparation, and construction of this or any abortion facility that they are cooperating with the evil that will take place there.”

Aymond

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond
Archdiocese of New Orleans

Not mincing his words, Archbishop Aymond fired off a unique first salvo:

For this reason, the Archdiocese, including the churches, schools, apartments for the elderly and nursing homes, will strive in its privately funded work not to enter into business relationships with any person or organization that participates in actions that are essential to making this abortion facility a reality.

This policy applies to all businesses, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation. Our fidelity to Church teaching and our conscience necessitates this stance. There is no justification, including economic hardship that will make a direct or indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood, or any abortion provider, acceptable. Additionally, affiliation or support of Planned Parenthood by Catholics is a matter of serious scandal. (emphasis added)

In his final salvo, Aymond noted:

There are many issues, from violence in the streets to poverty, which hurt this community. A regional abortion center will not solve our problems; it will only create more….We hope that the community invested in the City of New Orleans and in her future will join us in standing for life, not more abortion. All citizens of the New Orleans area must stand together for a peaceful community, not one with more abortion and more Planned Parenthood.

Kudos to Archbishop Aymond! His Excellency not only is attention to the facility, but also calling upon Catholics and non–Catholics alike to use their economic clout in the cause of life. Pressuring those who have or will be participating in this grave evil by entering into direct or indirect business relationships with the facility is a very clever way to challenge Catholics, in particular, to put their faith into economic practice.

How’s that for some authentic Catholic social justice?

 

 

To read Archbishop Aymond’s letter, click on the following link:
http://clarionherald.info/clarion/index.php/news/archbishop-aymond/2992-planned-parenthood-abortion-clinic-we-cannot-cooperate-with-evil

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

3

Pope “Wunnerful”: The great liberal American Catholic hope…

 

Liberal American Catholics are in for one, big surprise. The Pope who is expected to change everything–Pope “Wunnerful”–isn’t quite the liberal they hope he is.

The Rolling Stone magazine cover naming Pope Francis its “Person of the Year for 2013” along with its banner headline, “The Times They Are a-Changin,” is yet another instance of the mainstream media proclaiming the singular liberal American Catholic hope. Namely, that the Pope’s views concerning homosexuality, the ordination of women, and economics are more closely aligned with liberal American Catholics.

Unfortunately, mainstream media proclamations, like the Rolling Stone magazine cover, are based upon little substance.

What liberal American Catholics do “get” is that their views concerning most moral issues contradict Church teaching. Yet, they live in hope that Pope Francis will emerge one day on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica having withstood the power being wielded by all of those “curial careerists” and announce to the world that he’s returning the Church and its teaching to the people.  The “Pope of the People”…Pope Wunnerful.

On this score, liberal American Catholics couldn’t be more wrong, in The Motley Monk’s opinion. Hints in papal pronouncements already have and increasingly will clarify this is the case.

Of greater interest to The Motley Monk is what liberal American Catholics “don’t get.” Namely, that Church teaching about economic systems is as suspicious of socialism as it is of capitalism.

For example, liberal American Catholics jumped upon Pope Francis’ statement in Evangelium gaudiam–“trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market alone, will succeed by itself in bringing about greater justice” [the correct translation]–to be a denunciation of capitalism. Correctly translated and read carefully, there is no denunciation. Pope Francis–as did John Paul II and Benedict XVI before him–is correctly teaching that unfettered capitalism is as much of a corruption as is unfettered socialism. That represents very sound teaching.

This strand of Church teaching began with Pope Leo XIII who, in 1891 condemned socialism. He wrote:

And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. (#15)

One century later, Pope John Paul II viewed capitalism as a potential force for good. Yet, he wrote in 1991:

It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are ‘solvent’, insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are ‘marketable’, insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish….

If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative….

The Marxist solution has failed, but the realities of marginalization and exploitation remain in the world, especially the Third World, as does the reality of human alienation, especially in the more advanced countries. Against these phenomena the Church strongly raises her voice. Vast multitudes are still living in conditions of great material and moral poverty. The collapse of the Communist system in so many countries certainly removes an obstacle to facing these problems in an appropriate and realistic way, but it is not enough to bring about their solution. Indeed, there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces. (Centesimus Annus, 1991, #42)

Once again, what John Paul II described as a “radical capitalistic ideology”–one lacking an “ethical and religious” core–is a corruption.

At the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Carribean in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI stated:

Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures. And this ideological promise has proven false….Capitalism leaves a distance between rich and poor…giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity. (#4)

On this score, liberal American Catholics are simply wrong. Pope Francis hasn’t promoted their economic agenda. Instead, the Pope has reiterated consistent Church teaching.

Hope all they want, liberal American Catholics just “don’t get it” when it comes to Church teaching concerning economics because they have adopted the socialist critique of capitalism as a core dogma of their faith. As a result, liberal American Catholics cannot appreciate that Church teaching concerning economics hasn’t taken sides in debates about the superiority of one economic system over another. Instead, the Church has examined and critiqued two economic systems in particular, socialism and capitalism, to ensure that they serve people rather than at as their masters.

In the end, liberal American Catholic are desirous of a unilateral embrace of socialism and a unilateral condemnation of capitalism, which makes The Motley Monk wonder: Isn’t it strange how Rush Limbaugh is now their best pal for peddling their hope, as he falsely opines that Pope Francis is a Marxist and is undoing Church economic teaching? In this regard, Rush is mind-numbed because he hasn’t studied Church teaching carefully.

When it comes to Church teaching concerning economics, the times, they aren’t a-changin’, despite what the editors of Rolling Stone and other mainstream media outlets proclaim. Pope Francis isn’t going to emerge from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Wunnerful.

 

 

To read Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of socialism, click on the following link:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html 

To read Pope John Paul II’s critique of socialism and capitalism, click on the following link:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus_en.html

To read Pope Benedict XVI’s critique of socialism and capitalism, click on the following link:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2007/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20070513_conference-aparecida_en.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

18

Wooing the Catholic demographic: CNN’s Jake Tapper interviews President Obama about Pope Francis…

 

The folks over at CNN emailed The Motley Monk the transcript of Jake Tapper’s January 30th interview of President Obama. Among the topics covered was the President’s upcoming trip to Rome which includes a meeting with Pope Francis.

The transcript:

TAPPER: Are you bringing [your daughters] to the Vatican for when you meet the Pope?  Are they going to come?

[OBAMA]: You know they met, uh, the previous pope, the last one.  [Umm, who was that guy?] But I’m not sure they’re going to have a chance to go this time.  It was wonderful great story.  Sasha was still pretty young at the time, it was my  first year in office and they see the Sistene Chapel and they’re going through the various chambers, each time she’d she somebody dressed up in the cloth she’d say ‘Is that the pope?  Is that the pope?’  How bout that guy over there?’ No no you’ll know when it is finally the pope.

TAPPER: I was thinking about this pope and there’s so much excitement that he’s going to change everything.   [Dream on, Jake. “Everything?” Come now!] You want to talk to him about managing expectations at all is that something he needs to think about?

OBAMA: I have been really impressed so far with the way he has communicated what I think is the essence of the Christian faith and that is a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and a true sense of regard for those who are less fortunate.  My suspicion is based on what I’ve seen of him so far, he’s a pretty steady guy.  I don’t think he needs any advice from me on staying humble. [That’s for sure.]

TAPPER: He’s not worrying about his approval ratings? [Imagine that! Someone on the face of the globe who isn’t interested in approval ratings? BTW: If the Pope was worried about his approval ratings, he’d not have said some of the things he’s said.]

OBAMA: I don’t think he is.  I think he is someone who is very much focused on his faith and what he needs to do to make sure that folks not just in the Catholic faith, but people all over the world are living out the message that he thinks are consistent with the lessons of Jesus Christ so I’ve really been impressed with him so far. [There you have it. Pope Francis gets an endorsement from President Obama, even though Pope Francis has said “No” to abortion, women priests, so-called “homosexual marriage,” and the like.]

The Motley Monk isn’t quite sure how or why he was emailed the transcript with the portion of the interview concerning Pope Francis highlighted. Perhaps CNN is attempting to woo the “Catholic demographic,” the 75% of U.S. Catholics whose positions on moral issues align with those of President Obama.

 

 

To access Jake Tapper’s interview, click on the following link:
Jake Tapper's exclusive interview with President Obama airs only on CNN

To access The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

8

The federal judiciary and the battle to interpret the Constitution: “Some basic plumbing lessons”…

 

Q: How many federal judges does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: One. They hold it and the universe revolves around them.

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)—a former state district judge for the 7th Judicial District and Chief Justice the Texas 12th Court of Appeals—repeated that joke at a recent “Conversations with Conservatives” event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and reported by CNSNews.com. Gohmert was making the point about how liberal federal judges are ruling against state-made prohibitions banning so-called “homosexual marriage” In Gohmert’s view:

…it’s up to the states to define, according to the Supreme Court. So for one omnipotent, omnicious, ubiquitous federal judge, who is wise beyond his education, to say, to make such a declaration about the law, I think requires revisiting by each state and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court.

This cannot continue like one of the 9th Circuit judges reportedly said, that, “Well, we know we’re not doing in accordance with Supreme Court precedent, but they can’t reverse all of our [decisions] so we’ll keep cranking them out.”

We gotta’ get back to real law and order and that includes by judges not becoming God in their place….That stuff’s gotta’ stop. We’ve got to get the law back in the hands of the state where it was originally intended in a federalist republic.

What’s got Representative Gohmert irked is that liberal federal judges are ruling against state laws that ban “homosexual marriage,” based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman. These judges, Gohmert argues, “need some basic plumbing lessons.”

Liberals pillory conservatives like Gohmert for their commonsense assertions and portray conservatives as rubes or knuckle-dragging Neanderthals because they just aren’t “with it” and don’t possess any “withitness.” But, Gohmert’s commonsense observation is rooted in Natural Law theory which, it should not be overlooked, provides the philosophical foundation for much of what’s written in the Declaration of Independence and is enshrined in the Constitution.

What liberals have been attempting to do for decades by “packing the courts”—and is so patently obvious in everything that led up to the Roe v. Wade decision—is not to “rewrite” the nation’s founding documents, as some conservatives have argued. No, liberals have been attempting to substitute Utilitarianism for Natural Law theory. That is why they must direct their vitriol, in particular, at Justices Scalia and Thomas, both of whom understand what’s involved in this attempt to change the philosophical underpinning of the nation’s founding documents.

Unfortunately, many voters don’t “get it” or their eyes “glaze over” when it comes to appreciating the very important role the third branch of the federal government plays in protecting their natural rights.

And liberals are just as happy as a bed of clams that voters react in these ways.

 

 

To read the CNSNews article, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/gohmert-pro-gay-marriage-judges-need-some-basic-plumbing-lessons#sthash.UxCWkYmi.dpuf

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

25

How queer: What defines Catholic identity in 2014 at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges…

 

Thank goodness the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education have become so much more inclusive and diverse that those institutions now take pride in providing an intellectual climate where LGBT studies thrive. At least that’s the case at the nation’s largest Catholic university, Chicago’s DePaul University.

That’s not The Motley Monk’s opinion. No, it’s that of Elizabeth “Beth” A. Kelly, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. In a 2010 interview with The Windy CityTimes, Kelly said:

If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be a professor teaching the courses that I teach, developing the courses I develop as a publicly professed lesbian at the nation’s largest Catholic University I would have found that completely incomprehensible.

An Irish Catholic who lapsed from the Church prior to Vatican II, Kelly had misgivings about coming to teach at a Catholic university. That is, until she discovered DePaul’s academic administrators were serious about hiring for inclusion and diversity. So serious that since the early 1990s, the number of LGBT faculty has grown to the point where, Kelly observed, “today I know that I don’t know all of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faculty at DePaul.”

Since being hired in 1992, Kelly served as Director of the LGBT Studies Program from 1997-2003. Reflecting back on that role, Kelly noted, “What was interesting to me was the lack of opposition.” In that interview, DePaul’s President, the Rev. Dennis Holschneider, provided what Kelly called “amazing support” as did the Dean of School of Arts and Sciences. The one thing Fr. Holschneider did require was the inclusion of education concerning the Church’s position which Kelly said was “really not a problem.”

How possibly could including Church teaching present a problem, especially in courses like:

  • Feminist Theories;
  • Creating Change;
  • Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics;
  • Contemporary Knitting: Gender, Craft and Community Service;
  • Intro to LGBTQ Studies;
  • Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays, and the Law; and,
  • Queer Pioneers.

Each must surely be premised upon the inclusion of a full, robust, fair, and honest discussion of Church teaching as it relates to and critiques these topics, no?

What evidence is there to demonstrate that this is the case? Since secular progressives use academic freedom to protect the content of courses as well as classroom speech of professors, there is no solid evidence. Then, too, would a lapsed Catholic, lesbian feminist LGBT program director hire a heterosexual, conservative Roman Catholic priest to teach Feminist Theories? Of course not! How could he possibly be objective?

This outcome is not anything new and should not prove surprising. After all, Kelly’s hiring dates back more than two decades. Instead, it represents a long-term effort to redefine institutional Catholic identity in terms of a progressive, secularist agenda. To that end, academic administrators have required the “inclusion” of Church teaching–without specifying what that means so that it is “really not a problem”–and have built a critical mass of LGBT faculty who implement that agenda while peddling it as “Catholic.”

 

 

To read Professor Kelly’s interview/profile in the Windy City Times, click on the following link:
http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=26858

To read Professor Kelly’s curriculum vitae, click on the following link:
http://las.depaul.edu/wms/People/ProgramFaculty/BethKelly.asp

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

22

Mary McAleese and all of those former young adult U.S. Catholics…

 

Ireland’s former President, Mary McAleese, is no stranger to controversy. This time, however, it’s not of the political sort—which is to be expected—but of the ecclesial sort. Insofar as Mrs. McAleese is concerned, the Church is in denial concerning homosexuality which, she said, is “not so much the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants.”

As a “Visiting Scholar” at Boston College last fall, McAleese provided a hint of her mounting frustration with Church teaching concerning homosexuality and the contradiction that she sees evidencing itself in the clerical pedophilia scandal. In a November 2013 interview with the Boston College Chronicle, McAleese explained that she is pursuing a doctoral degree in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome to develop “some helpful insight into how this unhappy situation came about.”

…I decided to make it my business to study canon law, something very few laypeople have done. And what I’m most interested in is, how is it that we’ve arrived at a situation in the Church where the increasingly educated laity feels more and more excluded from the discourse that is necessary to run an organization this big and this advanced? And how can we now trust the judgment of the people we’ve learned, to our cost, cannot be trusted in matters of children and abusive priests? Why should they continue to make decisions for the 1.2 billion of us on the same terms as before?

I think that we are entitled to that critical faculty, which is given to us by the Holy Spirit, in the light of what we now know; the false deference, the unadulterated trust—these things were and still are phenomenally dangerous. We need accountability, we need openness, we need rigor, we need to address the people who have decision-making power over us, to show us those decisions are made in our best interests, and crucially, in the light of the best information available.

In an interview with Glasgow’s Herald newspaper published January 07, 2014, McAleese expounded upon those thoughts:

Things written by Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, and to the understanding of most Catholics nowadays in relation to homosexuality.

Nowadays, it is not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered. Homosexual conduct is not seen as evil….

I don’t like my Church’s attitude to gay people. I don’t like “love the sinner, hate the sin.” If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that? We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay.

McAleese also drew a ­comparison with the Church’s attitude to Jews: “It took almost two millennia formally to revise the ‘Christ-killer’ slander which had been repeated down the decades.”

McAleese is particularly chagrined by Cardinal Keith O’Brien who resigned after admitting to inappropriate sexual conduct during his ecclesial career. Of O’Brien, McAleese said:

I would have thought Cardinal Keith O’Brien, in telling the story of his life—if he was willing to do that—could have been of great assistance to gay people, not just in the Church but elsewhere, who felt over many, many years constrained to pretend to be heterosexual while at the same time acting a different life.

Instead, McAleese believes, O’Brien had hoped to divert attention from himself by raising his voice “in the most homophobic way.”

So, Mrs. McAleese has embarked on a personal mission to cleanse the Church of its attitude and conduct. She said:

I can’t walk away from the Church, my spiritual home, just like I couldn’t walk away from Northern Ireland, my birthplace. I had to hang in there and see if I could make some sort of contribution. I don’t flatter myself that I’ll be able to do anything in my lifetime, but I also believe that if I don’t help plant the seed, then nothing new will grow.

Mrs. McAleese’s opinions, while generating controversy, happen to be identical to those held by many U.S. Catholics, and especially young adult Catholics. Consider the 2011 Pew Center study’s findings:

  • 32% of U.S. Catholics have left the Church.
  • 48% who are now unaffiliated left Catholicism before reaching age 18. An additional 30% left the Catholic Church as young adults between ages 18 and 23. Only 21% who are now unaffiliated and 34% who are now Protestant departed after turning age 24. Among those who left the Catholic Church as minors, most say it was their own decision rather than their parents’ decision.
  • Among those who were raised Catholic, both former Catholics and those who have remained Catholic, report similar levels of childhood attendance at religious education classes and Catholic youth group participation. Additionally,16% of lifelong Catholics say they attended Catholic high school, somewhat higher than among former Catholics who have become Protestant (16%) but roughly similar to former Catholics who have become unaffiliated (20%).
  • At least 75% of those raised Catholic attended Mass at least once a week as children, including those who later left the Catholic Church. But those who have become unaffiliated exhibit a sharp decline in worship service attendance through their lifetime: 74% attended regularly as children, 44% did so as teens and only 2% do so as adults.
  • 71% of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated gradually drifted away from Catholicism, as did 54% of those who have left Catholicism for Protestantism.
  • 65% of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings overall, 56% are dissatisfied with Catholic teaching about abortion and homosexuality, and 48% cite dissatisfaction with church teaching about birth control. These reasons are cited less commonly by former Catholics who have become Protestant; 50% stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings, 23% say they differed with the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and 16% say they were unhappy with Catholic teachings on birth control.

In Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell reports:

  • 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics (p. 25).
  • 79% of those who have dropped the name “Catholic” and claim no religious affliation of any kind, have done so by age 23 (p. 33).
  • In the early 21st century, among Americans raised Catholic, becoming Protestant is the best guarantee of stable church attendance as an adult (p. 35).

Unlike Mrs. McAleese, young adult Catholics who are disaffected with Church teaching are leaving the Church.

Not that the loss of anyone to the Church is good, this discussion raises the question concerning who’s being more honest. Is it Mrs. McAleese or all of those young adult Catholics?

 

 

To read the Glasgow Herald interview, click on the following link:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/wider-political-news/shamed-cardinal-urged-to-tell-life-story-by-former-irish-leader.23100567

To read about disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, click on the following link:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2324933/Disgraced-Catholic-ex-cardinal-Keith-OBrien-leave-Scotland-spiritual-renewal-admitting-sexual-misconduct-male-priests.html

To read the Pew Center study, click on the following link:
http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/27/faith-in-flux3/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

51

Is this a “real” reform?

 

Vatican Insider reports that Pope Francis has abolished the conferral of the Pontifical Honor of “Monsignor” on secular priests under the age of 65. The only Pontifical Honor conferred will be that of “Chaplain to His Holiness,” namely, “worthy priests” who exceed 65 years of age. The Pope’s decision is not retroactive, however. Thus, Monsignors who have not yet reached the age of 65 will not lose their honor, title, and better yet, the red buttons, piping, and cuffs on their cassocks, and  fuchsia sash (that is, if they wear cassocks).

The Pope’s objective is to “reform the clergy” and “eliminate careerism” in the Catholic Church.

Many on the Catholic left will hail the move and acclaim it as a positive step in declericalizing the Church, building as it does on Pope Paul VI’s reform in the area of ecclesiastical titles following in the wake of Vatican II.

It took almost 1600 years for many of those honors and titles to creep into the Vatican bureaucracy. Today, they represent a style of Church and ministry that Pope Francis apparently disdains. It’s one many people across the globe also resent. Some say “It’s a Church that Jesus wouldn’t recognize as his own.”

The Motley Monk doesn’t view this “reform” in itself as a positive step. While reforming the clergy and eliminating careerism in the Catholic Church are important and worthy objectives, consider who now bears the brunt of the burden of reform for all of those careerists: the extraordinary, hardworking Father Joe Schlub.

This isn’t a “real” reform. It’s boasts a patina of reform, but doesn’t strike to the heart of the Pope’s real objective: clericalism and careerism in the Catholic Church.

Want real reform?

For a starter, as a bishop and cardinal, Pope Francis asked people to call him “Father,” convinced that this title best reflects the mission entrusted to priests, bishops, and cardinals. Indeed, the Pope is called “Holy Father.” Why not strip future bishops, archbishops, and cardinals of their formal titles (“Your Grace,” “Excellency,” and “Eminence”) and specialized clerical daily apparel that sets them apart from the others (meaning, ordinary Fr. Joe Schlubs). Why should they not also be called “Father” to reflect better their mission as bishops and cardinals? Why should they not also wear typical priestly garb?

Then, too, how about “term limits” for the Vaticanista careerists? Have “Father” work in the Vatican for a specified period of time that can be renewed if necessary and, then, return home to live with the sheep and start smelling like them again.

Now that’s real reform!

Pope Francis first set the personal standard for reform: He wears shoes that practically anyone can purchase at Walmart, has moved out of the Apostolic Palace into an apartment in a hotel, scuttled his Mercedes Benz limousine in favor of a Volkswagen limousine, and drives a 1984 Renault 4 to shuttle about town. Nine months later, the Pope is undertaking a reform of the clergy and the elimination of careerism in the Church.

However, it’s a reform that starts “from the bottom-up.” While Pope Francis himself “walks the talk,”  those working for the Pope also need to “walk the talk.”  Reforming the upper levels of Church management first would send a clear and unambiguous message to the world that the ordained priesthood in all of its dimensions is not a matter of titles, positions and roles, or apparel of honor but of service to the Church.

The ordinary Fr. Joe Schlubs who desire to become careerists will get the message real fast.

 

To read the article in Vatican Insider, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/31027/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

132

The Vatican Hires Pro-Homosexual Corporations to Make Its Operations More Transparent & Efficient

With the mainstream media proclaiming in bold and bright rainbows that the Church is “homophobic,” it becomes necessary at times to move to the vanguard to defend the Church against her most vociferous critics.

According to the highly-regarded investigative reporter, Randy Engle, Pope Francis’ efforts to bring greater “transparency,” “efficiency,” and “financial reform” to the Vatican City State’s government, have resulted in the hiring of the pro-lesbian, pro-homosexual, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) consulting firm of Ernst & Young (E&Y) to spearhead the efforts. On its corporate webpage, E&Y advertises itself as the world’s most “gay friendly” employer.

Imagine that! The allegedly “homophobic” Catholic Church has contracted with E&Y, even though E&Y is reportedly going to refuse to operate in countries with “homophobic laws.”

But, there’s even more!

Continue Reading

10

01/03/1962: Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro

 

On this day in 1962, Blessed John XXIII excommunicated Cuba’s “maximum leader,” supposedly on the basis of a 1949 decree by Pope Pius XII forbidding Catholics from supporting communist governments.

A couple of years back, Andrea Torinella of Vatican Insider wrote about the genesis of the excommunication, finding it to be somewhat of a “mystery” that may not be related to the 1949 decree.

Archbishop Dino Staffa, who at the time was a member of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and wrote the decree, alleged the reasons were not related to supporting Castro’s support of communism, but to having committed or collaborated in acts of violence against the Catholic hierarchy.

Indeed, months prior to the excommunication, Bishop Eduardo Roza Masvidal and 135 priests had been expelled from Cuba. In his declaration, Archbishop Staffa made reference to this and to various other problems existing at the time with regard to the Catholic Church in Cuba.

Torinella wonders whether the declaration, which coincided with a broader message John XXIII send to Castro, was an attempt to balance the effect of the Pope’s words could have–which some considered too expansive–while also reminding other Catholic political leaders what canon law had in store for those who would conspire against or bring harm to the Catholic hierarchy.

As a result, Castro never received an ad personam excommunication and neither did Blessed John XXIII make any decisions in this regard.

 

 

To read Andrea Torinelli’s article in Vatican Insider, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/cuba-fidel-castro-papa-el-papa-pope-vaticano-vatican-12303/

14

More on the Common Core: The nation’s Catholic bishops had better be very careful…

 

The Common Core?

“No problem!” many allegedly very savvy educators opine. “Only conservative, right-wing, nut jobs have problems with it.”

In this instance, it may very well be the case that the naysayers are absolutely correct in stating “Hold on before you enter into something you will end up regretting.”

The nation’s bishops ought to be extremely wary. Why? The Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII)—led by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) which has received more than $100k from the Gates Foundation to provide training for educators in the nation’s Catholic schools to implement the Common Core—is discovering that the Common Core’s curriculum is laden with problems…after the fact of promoting the Common Core for implementation in the nation’s Catholic schools. CCCII’s website states:

Catholic educators will never forget that our schools exist to bring our students to Christ. By adapting standards from the CCSS that are challenging, they are working to fulfill the promise of quality Catholic education that educates the whole child, mind and soul.

Really? That’s all well and good. But, let’s first consider some facts.

Over at Crisis magazine, Mary Jo Anderson has chronicled some problems, including ninth graders having to read Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye, which has been banned from several school districts for its explicit depiction of rape, incest, sexual violence and pedophilia.  The pedophile, named “Soaphead Church,” claims God as his inspiration, “I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people.”

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has gone one step further, taking a critical look at the Common Core curriculum and finding much that should cause the nation’s bishops to be wary.

According to CNS, its findings have forced the CCCII to remove three books from the first grade English Language Arts curriculum. The books celebrate family “diversity” which includes single parents, homosexual parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.

Forget whether first graders in the nation’s Catholic schools should be reading books which have no preconceptions about what makes a family, a family. Doesn’t the Catholic Church already have a preconception about family and family life that it should boldly proclaim? And shouldn’t educators in its schools do the same?

How was it possible for CCCII to publish the following instructions for teachers first grade teachers in the nation’s Catholic schools? (the * indicates a book CCCII eventually removed)

Family -The teacher can choose any of the books below that relate to the theme:
The books listed are First Grade level unless otherwise noted.
The suggested books for the teacher to read aloud are noted.
Horton Hatches a Who (Seuss) – Grade level 2
*Who’s In a Family (Skutch)
*All Kinds of Families (Simon)
Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey) – Read aloud
*The Family Book (Parr)
The Story about Ping (Flack)
The Kissing Hand (Penn)
PurpleUmpkin (McCann)
Sam and the Firefly (Eastman)
Grandfather’s Journey (Say) – Read aloud

Did CCCII’s people even read the books before approving them?

What are CCCII and the NCEA up to? Had the folks at CNS not pushed the issue, CCCII’s approved curriculum was ready to be implemented in the nation’s Catholic elementary schools. And what about all of those other books Mary Jo Anderson has challenged? Is it the same for the nation’s Catholic secondary schools?

Previously, The Motley Monk labeled the Common Core a “train wreck coming for Catholic schools…” and a “threat to the nation’s Catholic elementary and secondary schools.”

Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

 

 

To read about the efforts on the part of CNS to question the Common Core, click on the following link:
http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2793/Catholic-Common-Core-Removes-Books-Celebrating-Same-Sex-Parents-from-First-Grade-Unit-Plan.aspx

To read Mary Jo Anderson’s article in Crisis magazine, click on the following link:
http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/common-core-sexualizes-american-school-children

To view the CCCII’s original approved curriculum, click on the following link:
http://catholicschoolstandards.org/files/CCCII-Section3/CCCII-Unit-Grade1-World-Communities.pdf

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post about the Common Core at The American Catholic, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/12/14/the-common-core-a-train-wreck-coming-for-catholic-schools/

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post in Omnibus concerning the Common Core and the threat it presents to the nation’s Catholic schools, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/5/post/2013/12/the-common-core-a-threat-to-the-identity-of-us-catholic-elementary-and-secondary-education.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

18

So-called “homosexual marriage” and Catholic schools: Bigotry and homophobia?

 

So, the headmaster of a Catholic high school is a “bigot” and he’s also “homophobic” if a member of his faculty applies for a so-called “homosexual marriage” certificate and states that he will go through with the so-called “wedding ceremony”?

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the answer is “Yes” if you are State Senator Daylin Leach (D-PA).

The faculty member in question is Michael Griffin. The high school in question is Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, PA, sponsored by the Holy Ghost Fathers.

Griffin, an openly homosexual Holy Ghost alumnus and veteran foreign languages teacher of 12 years at the school, and his “partner” of 12 years, Vincent Gianetto, who reside in Mount Laurel, NJ, applied for a so-called “homosexual marriage” certificate in New Jersey. When Griffin sent an email informing the school’s principal that he might be a bit tardy to a teacher in-service because he was obtaining a “marriage license,” the principal evidently informed the school’s Headmaster, the Rev. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp., who met later with Griffin. After Griffin acknowledged his awareness of his contract’s provision that all faculty and staff follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of employment and, then, indicated he was going to proceed with the ceremony anyway, Fr. McCloskey terminated Griffin effective immediately.

Griffin is perplexed. He has brought his partner to school functions over the past 12 years with no problem. At last year’s annual charity auction, the duo was seated at the same table as the principal, Jeff Danilak, and his wife. Griffin asks: What about teachers who have been divorced and remarried? What about teachers who contracept?

In that restricted sense, Griffin is correct. There are many administrators, faculty, and staff serving in Catholic schools across the nation whose conduct is contrary to Church teaching. Moreover, no one at Holy Ghost Prep—not even Fr. McCloskey—evidently had any intention doing of anything about Griffin’s living arrangements. But Griffin made the fact of so-called “marriage” known in his email to the school’s principal.  At least that was one element of Fr. McCloskey’s rationale for terminating Griffin.

Administrators at Holy Ghost Prep have conducted themselves no differently than have administrators at many other Catholic schools across the United States. Call it the “Wink-and-Nod Policy.” That is, divorce and remarriage, practicing contraception, and openly homosexual faculty who live with their partners seem to be acceptable as long as those facts are kept private. However, should those facts be made public, the “contract clause” may be triggered. It’s one weapon in an administrator’s arsenal that can be implemented if and when moral issues involving administrators, faculty, and staff are believed to present a threat to a school’s Catholic identity and undermine it.

Griffin decided to publicize. He wanted his story to draw attention to the fact that while some municipalities within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have passed anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation, the Commonwealth has not.

Which brings this narrative back to State Senator Daylin Leach, who is now attempting to change the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Senator Leach’s proposed law would protect sexual orientation, removing any school’s right to hire/fire based upon mission. Leach told Philly.com:

Being homophobic is the last legally legitimate form of bigotry. The thing we hear is that we don’t need this because it never happens. This is a perfect example of how it happened.

While some might hail Fr. McCloskey for upholding the school’s Catholic identity and having taken a strong stand concerning Michael Griffin’s conduct that runs contrary to his contractual obligations, The Motley Monk doesn’t. Griffin’s firing was necessary, yes. But, it was the consequence of 12 years of benign neglect. It appears administrators and faculty (at a minimum) knew all along about the Griffin’s living arrangements and were quite accepting of those arrangements. This long-term “Wink-and-Nod Policy” at Holy Ghost Prep included allowing the duo to be seated together at the principal’s table for the school’s annual fund raiser.

Like many other administrators, faculty, and staff serving in Catholic schools whose conduct is contrary to Church teaching, Griffin said:

I feel like I do lead a moral life. I’m far from perfect but I feel like I do it to the best of my ability.

So, despite what the school policy or Church teaching might dictate, Griffin is proud of the way he lives his life. Later this December, Griffin hopes to call his longtime partner his “husband.”

That makes Fr. McCloskey a bigot and homophobe? Quite the opposite, that is, until Griffin violated the terms of his contract.

 

 

To read the Philadelphia Daily News article, click on the following link:
http://articles.philly.com/2013-12-10/news/44993556_1_marriage-license-michael-griffin-mccloskey

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

 

8

The stormy petrils sing their Siren song again at Santa Clara University…

 

The stormy petrils at Santa Clara University (SCU) once again are singing their Siren song, according to an article in Inside Higher Ed.

As The Motley Monk previously reported, SCU’s President, Rev. Michael Engh, SJ, informed SCU faculty and staff in October 2013 that SCU no longer would provide health insurance coverage for elective abortions. In the letter announcing his decision, Fr. Engh wrote:

Our commitments as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university’s health care plans.

As was predictable, the stormy petrils protested mightily. They believe Fr. Engh’s decision was inherently flawed, potentially setting an unethical precedent. How so? The expected refrain: Engh “did not consult the faculty first.”

Those protests evidently had a bit of an impact, as Fr. Engh decided to delay the policy from taking effect for one year. In a November letter to faculty and staff, Engh stated that while the decision remains “final,” delaying its implementation until January 2015 would allow the Faculty Benefits Committee time to explore third-party coverage options for abortions. But, Engh was steadfast: SCU would not pay for that coverage.

Predictably, that wasn’t good enough.

SCU’s Faculty Senate voted to call the health insurance policy change “invalid.” About this vote, the Faculty Senate’s President, Juliana Chang, wrote in an email:

The term “invalid” refers to the process by which [Fr. Engh] made the decision. Faculty believe that our shared governance structure means that the president should consult the faculty prior to implementing major policy decisions.

Due to the absence of meaningful faculty input, the Faculty Senate later drafted a three-part resolution condemning the decision submitting it to the 627 eligible faculty members for a vote.

Well, voting ended last week. The results were that the policy section of the resolution to invalidate the new policy passed 215 to 89. That is:

  • a total of 48.5% of eligible faculty voted;
  • 32.4% of the eligible voters voted for the resolution; and,
  • 14.2% voted against it.

Professor Chang called the vote and turnout “unprecedented.”

Indeed, it was! The silent majority didn’t participate, rendering any conclusion about the vote’s significance “invalid.”

A professor of law and former Faculty Senate President, Margaret Russell, disagrees. Professor Russell wrote in an email:

I have a deep respect and regard for Santa Clara as a collegial and diverse intellectual and social justice community–which is one of the reasons why I think the Faculty Senate vote is so significant. (italics added) The vote shows that there is enormous disagreement with both the insurance decision itself and the peremptory manner in which it was reached and announced.

32.4%. “Enormous disagreement”?

Not allowing the negative poll results to dampen the minority’s spirits, one of the stormiest of the petrils, Professor Nancy Unger, sang her Siren again song in a recent San Jose Mercury News op ed:

Santa Clara faculty and staff are not members of a Catholic parish. They are employees of a large corporation. Many fear that this denial of comprehensive abortion coverage is part of a wider effort to allow private employers to impose their religious beliefs on employees, denying a raft of health care services from abortion and contraception to vaccines.

“Father knows best” is not a compelling argument here, especially when one man denies hundreds of women access to a procedure that he could never need. It’s also no principle on which to run a university.

The Motley Monk has heard this refrain so many times, it has become an earworm! If a president of a Catholic university or college upholds Church teaching in institutional policy matters, it’s denying women working at the institution their inalienable “rights” and, in this case, to “a raft of [so-called] health care services….”

Yet, all of this folderol at SCU may be rendered meaningless by the State of California.

According to an associate professor of law, Stephen Diamond, the new policy will be impossible to enforce under state law. Professor Diamond noted in an email:

HMOs in California are regulated by a statute which includes a multi-factor test for whether abortion is legally necessary. That test has long been interpreted to include all pre-viability abortions and so it is not possible for the university to institute the change the president has proposed.

The issue is far from resolved, irrespective of what Fr. Engh might hope or what song the SCU stormy petrils might sing.

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/12/18/santa-clara-u-faculty-object-change-health-plans-deny-abortion-coverage#ixzz2nq6mZrzv

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/5/category/Santa%20Clara%20University/1.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

22

The Common Core: A train wreck coming for Catholic schools…

 

For quite a while, The Motley Monk has been on top of the Common Core, concerned about its implications for Catholic schools.

Last September, The Motley Monk discussed some reasons why parents should be wary. In November, he pointed out why a number of Catholic school principals fear its potential impacts for curriculum. Also in November, The Motley Monk questioned whether the NCEA had embraced the secularist educational agenda of the Common Core irrespective of what those principals fear. The Motley Monk then followed-up with a post asking whether the NCEA’s President had put the proverbial “cart before the horse” by accepting money for staff development programs to implement the Common Core in Catholic schools from the Gates Foundation which is promoting the Common Core.

The Motley Monk is gratified that others are beginning to get the message and promote it.

  • The Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation, Lindsey Burt, has written a commentary concerning the Common Core appearing in The Sunshine State News. Burke Believes Florida provides a perfect example of a state where national standards will hurt the educational system, not help it. So also with greater centralization. Burke would rather greater accountability to parents and taxpayers. More important insofar as Catholic schools are concerned, Burke believes that if the Common Core standards are fully implemented, school choice will end and the “public system will continue to receive a steady stream of dollars and students, no matter how poorly it performs.”

The problem is that if the Gates Foundation and its allies take Catholic schools along the same path where they have led public education…that will fundamentally change Catholic schools and their Catholic identity, no matter how many cues about church teachings are inserted into lesson plans. Catholic identity goes much deeper than having tidbits of the Faith inserted into lesson plans….

The great strength of Catholic schools is their faith-based belief in human dignity. Studies have quantified how this philosophy of Christian personalism leads to higher levels of faculty engagement and concern not only for what students learn, but the kind of people they become.The nature of Catholic schools is “special” and shouldn’t be something given up too easily says Moses. Instead of treating students as persons with dignity, the standards “treat students like widgets” in an assembly line.

  • Over at The Catholic Thing, David G. Bonagura, Jr.—a theology professor at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York, says that “Catholic education ceases to exist” if Catholic schools adopt the Common Core. Yes, they will continue to have uniforms, religion classes, and charge tuition, but they will have surrendered their Catholic identity. Bonagura writes:

Catholic education begins on the premise that a loving, rational God created an ordered and purposed universe that points human beings back to Him….

In studying creation and all its features, including human beings and their works, we discover truths that shed further light on the mystery of God, the ultimate Truth….

With a “pedagogical method” grounded in the liberal arts—in which there is progression of stages from grammar to logic to rhetoric—the Common Core will upend a curriculum that supports the school’s identity.

The good news is that a number of dioceses—hopefully, the beginning of a trend—are getting the message and saying “No” to the Common Core.

The bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay (WI) has proscribed the Common Core. Also in Wisconsin , Common Core will not be part of educating youth in the dioceses of LaCrosse and Madison. In Michigan, the Diocese of Gaylord will not implement the Common Core. The bishops and superintendents in these dioceses are aware of the threat to Catholic identify the Common Core presents. The Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Gaylord, Charles Taylor, put it best when he observed:

[O]ur Catholic identity and formation remains at the heart of who we are and what we do; in essence teaching our students to recognize and pursue that which is good, holy, true and beautiful.

What the Common Core would require is that the teaching of religion be just one element of the curriculum, resulting in what Taylor calls the “dilution of Catholic culture and loss of identity that has been so lamented for nearly half a century.”

Hopefully, many other bishops and superintendents will “get it” and stop the “Common Core” train dead in its tracks before it makes a train wreck of Catholic schools.

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s posts concerning the Common Core and Catholic schools, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/5/post/2013/11/a-follow-up-on-the-common-core-the-ncea-responds.html
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/5/post/2013/11/the-ncea-and-the-common-core-who-speaks-for-catholic-schools.html
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/5/post/2013/11/catholic-high-school-principals-are-wary-of-the-common-core.html
http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/09/05/sending-your-children-to-a-catholic-school-caveat-emptor/

To read Lindsey Burke’s op ed, click on the following link:
http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/empty-promise-common-core

To read Paul Moses’ article, click on the following link:
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/catholic-schools-and-common-core

To read David Bonagura’s commentary, click on the following link:
http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2013/common-core-is-not-catholic-education.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebookby

To read the Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay’s statement, click on the following link:
http://www.thecompassnews.org/2013/11/common-core-standards-reference-replacement-catholic-school-standards/

To read the Bishop of the Diocese of LaCrosse’s statement, click on the following link:
http://www.madisondiocese.org/Portals/0/Schools/Curriculum%20documents/Common%20Core%20Letter%20Nov2013.pdf

To read the Diocese of Madison’s statement, click on the following link:
http://host.madison.com/news/local/education/local_schools/diocese-of-madison-rejects-common-core/article_a49d7d15-0252-511d-806f-6274d6f70e0b.html

To read Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Gaylor’s letter, click on the following link:
http://www.dioceseofgaylord.org/inside/superintendent%27s-statement-on-the-common-core-769/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

21

Obamacare and the bishops: Sharing the blame…

 

Sometimes The Motley Monk finds himself feeling irked when good intentions get translated into social policy and those good intentions end up hurting the very people who were supposed to be helped.

Why don’t the people holding those good intentions first consult competent economists about the unintended negative consequences that may follow once their much-cherished policy is implemented?

Consider the short-term negative consequences due to the roll out of Obamacare. Not the website, but what it has meant for real people. Like The Motley Monk’s retired priest-friend with advanced diabetes. His plan no longer will allow him to see his current doctor. Or, his neighbor who has a chronic illness. Her “substandard” policy was dropped. Now, she can’t afford the increase in the cost of her premiums if she were to sign up for what Obamacare calls a “standard” policy. Will The Motley Monk’s employer’s plan be cancelled next year when the mandate is implemented?

The Motley Monk recalls the testimony of the Chairman of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Justice and Human Development, Bishop William F. Murphy, before the United States Senate on May 20, 2009. In that testimony, Bishop Murphy laid out four assumptions which, he asserted, the USCCB hoped would “bring true reform to the nation’s health care system.” Those assumptions included:

  1. a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
  2. access for all with a special concern for the poor;
  3. pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism, including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and,
  4. restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.

The Motley Monk shares those assumptions. But, had they been subjected to rigorous scrutiny by competent economists, the USCCB might not have been so quick to make the critical deal with then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that made it possible for Obamacare to pass the House of Representatives. According to an Accuracy in the Media report, all the USCCB wanted deleted from the bill was abortion and artificial contraception. And they got that…at least for a while.

Prior to the passage of Obamacare, eminent economists were sounding the alarm that the so-called “Affordable Care Act” would have deleterious consequences. It would end freedom of choice in healthcare. Large large numbers of doctors would have to leave the practice of medicine or form “concierge” practices catering solely to people of means. The health insurance market would be altered in such ways that carriers would have to drop individual policies in the short term and perhaps corporate policies in the long term. And, despite all of the promises, millions of Americans would be left without healthcare insurance. Some economists even warned that Obamacare had the potential to bankrupt the United States within a couple of decades.

Having fallen for a political promise that would translate their assumptions into law, the USCCB—similar to most Catholic members of Congress—either didn’t read the bill’s contents or allowed their experts to tell them that Obamacare presented no substantive problems. It’s also pretty clear the economists the USCCB may have consulted failed to warn that Obamacare would ultimately hurt the very people Bishop Murphy and the USCCB were lobbying so hard to protect.

The outcome of those efforts?

Currently, 4.8M+ Americans have lost or will lose their health insurance (with perhaps 100M+ more to come, if competent economists are to be believed). Thousands of doctors have been dropped by health insurance carriers, are leaving (or likely to leave) the practice of medicine, or forming concierge practices. The doctor shortage is expected to grow, perhaps creating long waiting lines for people who need immediate medical care. Untold numbers of Americans cannot keep their doctors or medical treatments, as the President himself promised on many occasions.

There’s certainly a lot of blame to pass around on this one. And the USCCB certainly deserves its share of the blame. Why? They didn’t heed the warnings of those economists who were predicting these deleterious consequences long before Obamacare was enacted. Worse yet, the bishops may end up having compromised their teaching authority in the process.

This issue is not one that’s going to disappear any time soon. The Motley Monk intends to follow up this discussion with an analysis of some European nationalized healthcare systems to provide factual information about what people should expect as Obamacare continues to be implemented. So far, everything that eminent economists have been predicting (and more) has already transpired across the pond, despite what those who want to “Europeanize” the American healthcare system are stating to the contrary.

 

 

To read Bishop Murphy’s testimony, click on the following link:
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/health-care-statement-2009-05.pdf

To read Accuracy in the Media’s report about the USCCB’s role in passing Obamacare:
http://www.aim.org/aim-column/catholic-bishops-help-pass-pelosicare/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, the Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

35

Did Cardinal Dolan step into the middle of a mess? Not really, despite his critics…

 

If four critics are correct, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan stepped into the middle of a mess when he said on last Sunday’s NBC’s “Meet the Press” that if not for the Obamacare’s treatment of undocumented immigrants, provisions that require Catholics to violate the dictates of their consciences, and abortion, Catholics would be among the loudest “cheerleaders” for Obamacare.

Concerning Obamacare, Cardinal Dolan said:

We bishops are really in kind of a tough place because we’re for universal, comprehensive. life-affirming healthcare. We, the bishops of the United States–can you believe it, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal health care. That’s how far back we go in this matter, okay. So we’re not Johnny-come-latelys.

We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this. Where we started bristling and saying, “Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,” so we began to bristle at that.

And then secondly we said, “And wait a minute, we who are pretty good Catholics who are kind of among the pros when it comes to providing healthcare, do it because of our religious conviction, and because of the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those.”

So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, “Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders.” And that, sadly, is what happened.

The Cardinal’s narrative didn’t set well with the President of the Media Research Center, L. Brent Bozell. In an interview with CNSNews.com, Bozell asked:

Who is the “we” in this conversation? Certainly not the Catholic Church.

It is simply untrue that the Catholic Church is one of Obamacare’s greatest supporters. It is simply untrue that the Catholic Church “wants to be” with Mr. Obama on this. It is simply untrue that the Catholic Church wants to be a cheerleader for a policy sold to the public through deceit, with projections that were false, and based on a formula that is guaranteed not to succeed.

I say this respectfully: Your Eminence, you speak for yourself here, not the Church.

Bozell is correct. Cardinal Dolan doesn’t speak for the Church, even when he was the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, Bozell went a bit far afield in his criticism because Cardinal Dolan specified three moral issues–lines in the sand, so to speak–that make it impossible for Catholics to support Obamacare.

The Cardinal’s narrative also didn’t sit well with the long-time Dolan critic, the President of the American Life League, Judie Brown. According to CNSNews.com, she said:

How dare he say that Catholics should be “cheerleaders” of Obamacare. He’s a pathetic example of a shepherd of the Catholic Church.

A bit strong, no?  “Pathetic”?

Brown didn’t back down. The hierarchy’s failure to stand against the total opposition to Catholic teaching by prominent Catholics in the Obama administration–Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, specifically–and to unite their flock against the passage of Obamacare, means they now have to deal with the contraceptive mandate. She added:

[Dolan] is a media darling. They promote him as the preeminent Catholic speaker in the U.S. because they know what he’s saying suits their agenda, not what the Church teaches.

I’ve known Dolan for over 20 years, since he was the archbishop of Milwaukee, and it has not been what you would call a friendly relationship. That’s because I was one of the original authors of the campaign to get the bishops in the United States to follow Canon Law 915 and deny Communion to people who were persisting in the public promotion of a grave evil, such as abortion. Cardinal Dolan has never agreed to enforce 915.

If the courts uphold the contraceptive mandate, Brown believes the hierarchy will back off. She predicts:

It’s so very sad. The Catholic Church has the ability to shut down the Obamacare mandate. It would go away if they shut the doors of every Catholic facility, but they won’t–and Obama knows they won’t.

Unfortunately, Ms. Brown misquoted Cardinal Dolan. He did not state that Catholics should be cheerleaders but that they would have been cheerleaders for Obamacare if not for those three moral issues. Who’s to know if Catholics would have been? Cardinal Dolan is entitled to his opinion.

Not one to shy away from voicing his opinion, the founder of Church Militant TV, Michael Voris–who believes Obamacare would not have passed if Cardinal Dolan and other members of the U.S. hierarchy had actively opposed it–had this to say:

I just continue to be deeply disappointed in [Dolan]. They don’t want to rock the boat. They run the Church like it’s a corporation. Less than five U.S. bishops said, “We will defy this.” The other 300 said nothing, and a good number of them quietly supported it. They won’t make the tough choices. They’re constantly siding with a pro-abortion, liberal, socialist-minded agenda.

The Faith has been watered down. It’s like the 11th Commandment is “Never give offense”–and the other 10 have been erased.

Voris is absolutely correct. When the hierarchy is divided and does not speak with a united and forceful voice, opponents of Church teaching are always more likely to prevail in the public square.

Then, there’s the professor of political science at Christendom College, Dr. Christopher Manion, who has been examining the relationship between the U.S. Catholic bishops and federal government. Ever since World War I, Manion believes, the Catholic Church and the federal government have been “joined at the hip.”

In the CNSNews.com interview, Manion cited a March 31, 2012 Wall Street Journal article in which Cardinal Dolan admitted that the Church’s sex abuse scandal “intensified our laryngitis over speaking about issues of chastity and sexual morality.” Manion said: “They lack fortitude. They haven’t taught morality in 50 years.”

Manion fears the hierarchy will back down concerning contraceptive mandate. He said:

I only pray they do the right thing under tremendous pressure. There is a powerful temptation not to, and reasons that can be easily rationalized.

If Manion’s observations about Cardinal Dolan and the U.S. hierarchy are correct, for the past five decades the nation’s bishops have not been obsessing over social issues. Many disagree with that opinion.

The banner headline resulting from the “Meet the Press” interview was Cardinal Dolan’s statement that Catholics had been “out-marketed” in the battle over so-called “homosexual marriage.”  But, the real headline is the opposition his statement that Catholics would have been “cheerleaders” for Obamacare–excepting three moral issues–has stirred. Unfortunately, much of that criticism is unwarranted.

 

 

To read the CNSNews.com article, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/catholics-criticize-cardinal-dolan-lamenting-catholics-couldve

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

9

“Liberalthink” and the ideology of public education…

 

If liberalism was a religion, it’s parishes would be the nation’s public schools and its catechism would be the curriculum. Any evidence of their failure would be systematically denied, if only because “What happens in church must stay in church!” or “Who are you to question what we teach?”

Sounds a little bit like the Catholic clergy abuse scandal, no?

Back to the point. A short while back, Allison Benedikt published an article in Slate entitled “If You Send Your Child To A Private School, You Are A Bad Person.” Ms. Benedikt basically argues that parental choice in terms of what school their children should attend is a very bad thing, evidencing not “murder bad” but “pretty bad” parents.  She writes:

If every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve…It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

What a gem of logic!

  • it could take generations“…(in English) parents should subject the children of this generation to a subpar education that results in high dropout rates and poor tests scores.
  • Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime“…(in English) education doesn’t really matter in the short run so providing a subpar education in this generation really won’t matter.
  • for the eventual common good“…(in English) we are all in this together, comrades, enduring a little short-term pain for some long-term hopium is a good thing.

Benedikt believes the body politic would do impoverished children a great favor by keeping them trapped in a failed educational system (especially in the nation’s urban areas) if only the body politic would pour all of its children into that system.

That’s nothing more than liberalthink! If the rich get all of the goods, the poor will suffer. So, let’s distribute the suffering equitably by tossing every child into the same failed system. Then, the long-term good will eventually be achieved.

What Ms. Benedikt’s ideology disallows is the fact that per-pupil spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools has increased 18% between 2000 and 2010. Today, there are more teachers, more reading specialists, more social workers, more assistant principals and principal, and yes, more computers.

But, guess what?

For that investment of an additional $1.9+B on the part of 48% of the body politic, standardized test scores have not improved. Except for many of those impoverished students whose parents have taken advantage of various voucher schemes.

When parents are allowed to choose where their children will get the best education–giving the “public” choice–marketplace competition produces better results than a government monopoly.

The Motley Monk wouldn’t ever call Ms. Benedikt “a very bad person” because she believes in the ideology of public education. That would be an illogical, ad hominem argument. Deluded, perhaps, Misguided, perhaps. But, not a “murder bad” or “pretty bad person.”

 

 

To read Allison Benedikt’s article in Slate, click on the following link:
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/private_school_vs_public_school_only_bad_people_send_their_kids_to_private.html

To read the NCES report on spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools, click on the following link:
http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

38

An object lesson in fearlessness when defending Church teaching…

 

When it comes to controversy, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield (Illinois) is no stranger. This prelate is fearless when defending Church teaching.

According to Breitbart.com, Bishop Paprocki will perform the Rite of Exorcism on Wednesday, November 20, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located in the state capital. The rite is officially being called “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage.” Bishop Paprocki believes that so-called “homosexual marriage” is the work of the devil and, in this instance, Satan not only can inhabit people but also can invade the Church and the government. He said:

We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our Church.

On the same day as the Rite of Exorcism, Illinois’ Governor–himself a Roman Catholic, Pat Quinn, is scheduled to sign Illinois’ homosexual marriage bill into law.

paprocki

Bishop Thomas Paprocki
Diocese of Springfield (Illinois)

Bishop Paprocki’s rationale for leading this particular Rite of Exorcism is to follow in the footsteps of Pope Francis who, as an archbishop in Argentina, called the country’s legalization of homosexual marriage “a move of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.” The Bishop said:

The Pope’s reference to “father of lies” comes from the Gospel of John, where Jesus refers to the devil as “a liar and father of lies,” so Pope Francis is saying that same-sex marriage comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.

As The Motley Monk reported in a previous post, it was Bishop Paprocki who used the “b” word to describe praying for so-called homosexual marriage (praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous“) .

The Motley Monk is now wondering how long it will take before  the Rainbow Sash Coalition denounces Bishop Paprocki for following in the Holy Father’s footsteps? 

 

 

To read the article in Breitbart.com, click on the following link:
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/16/Illinois-bishop-plans-same-sex-marriage-exorcism

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

29

Divorce and remarriage among Catholics: Theology, canon law, and Church teaching count…

 

During the past summer, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, wrote two articles concerning Church teaching as it relates to divorce and remarriage among Catholics in a German journal. A slightly reworked text was later published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Then, on his return flight to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis casually mentioned—in off-the-cuff remarks to reporters—that the Church might consider the Orthodox approach, looking toward divine economy (God’s mercy) to resolve the pastoral problem posed by divorce among Catholics. When that comment hit the press, it set off a flurry of speculation that the Church might admit divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments.

An office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg ran with the idea, formulating a 14-page pastoral policy and program that would pave the way for remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments.

That policy proposal earned a rebuke from Archbishop Müller. In a recent letter to the German bishops’ conference, Müller stated that if divorced and remarried Catholics are to receive the sacraments, they must conform to Catholic doctrine regarding the indissolubility of marriage. Müller specifically ruled out the Orthodox option implied in the Freiburg document, namely, a second marriage that is not “crowned,” because this option doesn’t conform to Catholic teaching.

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

While The Motley Monk would hope that a theological and canonical solution to the problem raised by divorce and remarriage among Catholics can be formulated—after all, it isn’t just liberal Catholics who have this hope—the recent pastoral solution proposed in Germany involves an important issue—call it a “head tax”—that liberal Catholics in the United States seem not to consider when advocating the adoption of a pastoral policy.

In Germany, the State collects a tax from every Catholic that is returned to the Church for the upkeep, maintenance, and running of its institutions. Many German Catholics who are in irregular marriages and can’t receive Holy Communion decide to stop participating in the life of the Church. As a result, the Church doesn’t receive the income it would otherwise receive from the State. If those marriages could just be regularized, the Church would reap the financial benefits.

This well-intentioned “pastoral” solution is, in part, a “financial” solution to the cost of maintaining the Church’s institutions in Germany. Archbishop Müller knows that and isn’t going to allow Church teaching to be compromised by financial gain.

Just to make sure everyone understands the Church’s position clearly, the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, had this to say about the Freiburg policy:

Nothing changes, there is no news for the divorced who remarry. The document comes in fact from a local pastoral office and does not touch the responsibility of the bishop. Therefore, it has jumped the gun, and is not the official expression of diocesan authorities.

There is no doubt that this pastoral problem is one Pope Benedict XVI wanted to resolve and Pope Francis seems bent on resolving. The problem with the many policies that have been floated for decades—each attempting to “thread the needle” by calling marriage “indissoluble” while allowing it to be “dissoluble”—don’t work theologically or canonically. Likewise, with the Orthodox solution proposed in off-the-cuff remarks by Pope Francis.

Marriage either is or is not dissoluble, with one exception, the Pauline privilege. And that fact presents problems for those who want it both ways.

That said, this story may have taken a wrong turn.

According to an article by Andrea Tornielli in La Stampa, the Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has criticized Archbishop Müller’s article, writing: “The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cannot stop the discussions.” Marx also described Archbishop Müller’s as putting a “fence” around Pope Francis’ “field hospital” of mercy.”

Why “a wrong turn?”

Cardinal Marx is a member of Pope Francis’ eight-member advisory Council of Cardinals whose task is to reform the Curia. It may be that the Holy Father has appointed a group of cardinals who may share his vision of the Church’s first duty towards those in society (and especially Catholics) who are wounded by evil. In the name of divine economy, this group may decide to treat and bind up old wounds irrespective of the problems that doing so presents.

At least, that’s what many liberal Catholics hope. Why should theology or canon law—or even, Church teaching—get in the way of how they feel?

 

 

To read the official Vatican transcript of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff comments, click on the following link:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/july/documents/papa-francesco_20130728_gmg-conferenza-stampa_en.html

To read Archbishop Müller’s letter to the German bishops’ conference, click on the following link:http://www.kath.net/news/43656

To read Andrea Torinelli’s article in La Stampa, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/muller-divorziati-divorciado-divorced-29616/

To learn about the Pauline privilege, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7272

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

9

When it comes to student athletes and sexual assault, the Hoyas “get it”…

 

According to an article in Inside Higher Education, what began as a response to incidents of sexual assault at Duke University and the University of Virginia has evolved into a proactive program, the Hoyas Lead program, which joins Georgetown University’s (GU) Athletics, Academics, and Student Services divisions to teach GU athletes to get more out of their sport than just wins. In 2012, GU’s President, John J. DeGioia, created and funded the program using his office’s budget.

About Hoyas Lead, GU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Leadership and Development, Mike Lorenzen, said:

How do we find that balance? Are we just entertainment, or are we really using athletics as a means to a developmental end?

There’s a lot of hoopla generated by schools that are paying lip service to it but not really investing in a day-to-day, rubber meets the road, look the kid in the eye in a variety of situations and help them deal with their lives and capture the essence of their athletic experience.

Lorenzen believes that Hoyas Lead is well-suited to GU’s Jesuit mission, “Utraque unum,” which speaks to unity and educating the whole person.

Hoyas Lead began by bringing in an outside consultant who spoke with students about leadership. Now in its second year, the program has evolved into a comprehensive approach to athlete development includes a curricular component. Although classes are “required,” they’re not technically mandatory with about 140 of 150 new athletes signed up for them. By junior and senior year, athletes aren’t obliged to participate in Hoyas Lead. But, for those who want to do so through a more experiential-based approach, lectures and seminars as well as practical work such as working with kids, mentoring, assistant teaching, etc., are available.

This academic and co-curricular work is complemented by Lorenzen’s consulting teams on their athletic responsibilities. According to Lorenzen:

We have young people who are forced to deal with suffering, discomfort, dealing with adversity, success. They have to learn to follow, they have to learn to lead, and they do all of this in an ongoing, iterative process every day. If you believe that [athletics] truly belongs in higher education, it is a unique lab within which we can practice human development.

Reflecting upon the Hoyas Lead program, Lorenzen said:

At an institution like Georgetown, there is an almost institutionalized sense of inadequacy on the part of student-athletes who know that they got in here because they’re an athlete, and sit in class next to really smart people who got in because of their SATs and their GPAs. A lot of what we’re doing now is helping them see the value that they get out of their sport and reframing their participation in athletics as a really critical life skill.

The Motley Monk offers kudos to the GU Hoyas who have done something proactive to address the potential problem of athletes who commit sexual assault.

 

To read the Inside Higher Education article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/12/georgetown-takes-comprehensive-approach-athlete-development#ixzz2kRPbsHVD

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

6

Omigosh! Public universities to require single-sex dorms and houses…

 

Take a deep breath and calm down!

It’s not going to happen in the United States where the dogma teaches that co-ed dormitories and homes are healthy and good for young adults, even if the practice correlates positively with a skyrocketing increase in more virulent, sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the Associated Press, Turkey’s prime minister is going to segregate male and female students in university dorms and student houses.

Secularists are aghast. How dare Recep Tayyip Erdogan interfere with their lifestyles by imposing his rigid and conservative religious ideology upon them?

The answer is simple: The Prime Minister is an Islamic-leaning conservative who sincerely believes his duty is to support parental wishes in the education of their children and doing so is in the best interests of young people and the state.

Stateside, no President or Governor–even if he or she wanted to–could get away with implementing a similar moral standard. So, the secularists at the nation’s institutions of higher education needn’t fret.

More importantly, however, imagine the outcry if Presidents of Catholic universities and colleges  in the United States–imitating John Garvey of The Catholic University of America–were to be so authoritarian as to impose their conservative religious ideology upon residence life?

 

 

To read the Associated Press report, click on the following link:
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/turkey-separate-males-and-females-dorms

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

14

Advocates for the Court of Liberal Catholic Public Opinion weigh in…

 

In an amicus curiae filing for the Court of Liberal Catholic Public Opinion in Motley Monk v. +McElroy published over at the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters (MSW) takes The Motley Monk to task for playing what MSW calls a “shell game.” In MSW’s opinion, The Motley Monk’s analysis published in The American Catholic doesn’t delve sufficiently into “the weeds of facticity.”  MSW then goes on to state:

The poverty of so many millions of fellow human beings is also a fact with which the moral law must reckon and +McElroy rightly diagnoses the cultural and political impediments to our recognizing that fact of widespread poverty, and urges us to engage policies that will alleviate it.

According to MSW, Bishop McElroy rightly calls increasing the amount of money that government spends on anti-poverty programs—whether domestic or international—and for the Church to oblige Catholics to make doing so the moral equivalent of the Church’s efforts to eliminate abortion.

Poverty is morally repugnant to any serious Catholic.  Yet, what MSW doesn’t seem to appreciate is that U.S. Catholics should take pride in the fact that for the past five decades the government has directed their hard-earned tax dollars toward eliminating poverty.  But, domestically, to what end?

In 1964, in the opening salvo of the “War on Poverty,” President Johnson declared:

I believe that thirty years from now Americans will look back upon these 1960s as the time of the great American Breakthrough…the victory of prosperity over poverty.

Well, it’s been almost 50 years and there are some facts that ought to be factored into MSW’s considerations.

FACT: Some economists argue that government—both federal and state—has spent $15T to eliminate poverty across the nation in the past 50 years.

Despite the inherent problems in calculating the total outlay, it is estimated (in inflation-adjusted terms) that this figure represents anywhere from 13.3%-15% of the government’s total budget over those years. That’s a lot of money.

FACT: Some economists argue that the poverty rate in 2013 is about 15%. The last time it was this high was in 1993. Perhaps this figure is skewed due to the nation’s recent economic problems, so others argue that the actual poverty rate is more likely 7.2%.

So, let’s split the difference and say the 2013 US rate of poverty is 10%.  That’s about 33M citizens.

To interpret these facts, imagine if President Johnson had declared in 1964:

We will spend $15T over the next 50 years. Our goal will be to get the nation’s poverty rate down to 10%.

The real “shell game” being played is by those whose moral policy platitudes are intended to make Catholics feel guilty, with the goal of inducing them to comply unthinkingly with those moral policy platitudes. In this case, Pecksniffians who would seek to have Catholic bishops obligate Catholics to comply with their policy solution for poverty are evading important facts which demonstrate that theirs is a failed policy solution.

But, that isn’t what really matters because MSW’s amicus curiae brief indicates that he either didn’t read or read carefully enough what The Motley Monk posted at The American Catholic. In that posting, The Motley Monk took Bishop McElroy to task because in his 2005 article in America, His Excellency argued:

The imposition of eucharistic sanctions solely on candidates who support abortion legislation will inevitably transform the church in the United States, in the minds of many, into a partisan, Republican-oriented institution and thus sacrifice the role that the church has played almost alone in American society in advocating a moral agenda that transcends the political divide.

Okay. If the goal is to keep the Court of Liberal Catholic Public Opinion satisfied, it would indeed be wise for the nation’s Catholic bishops not to contest the right of pro-abortion Catholic politicians to receive Holy Communion.

But, then, if this were a true principle used to inform consciences, why ever would Bishop McElroy write in 2013 that the nation’s Catholic bishops should oblige Catholics to support government programs aimed at eliminating poverty?

If this were true, would not the imposition of Eucharistic sanctions solely on candidates who support increasing governmental spending on anti-poverty legislation inevitably transform the Church in the United States, in the minds of many, into a partisan, Democrat-oriented institution and thus sacrifice the role that the Church has played almost alone in American society in advocating a moral agenda that transcends the political divide?

The human species uses the facticity of dollars and sense to determine whether and to ensure that policies aimed at alleviating evils—political, social, economic, and yes, moral—are cost effective.

As an astute commenter responded to The Motley Monk’s post, supporting illegal immigration floods the labor market at a time when the labor participation rate is at its lowest point in 34 years. To support flooding the labor market means driving more Americans into poverty.

Some policy. And the bishops should oblige Catholics to follow it?

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s post at The American Catholic, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/10/24/poverty-and-abortion-on-an-equal-footing/

To read Michael Sean Winter’s post at Nation Catholic Reporter Online, click on the following link:
http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/motley-monk-v-mcelroy

To read The Fact Checker’s evaluation of the facts concerning the nation’s “War on Poverty” at the Washington Post, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/paul-ryans-claim-that-15-trillion-has-been-spent-on-the-war-on-poverty/2013/08/01/b2599058-faf9-11e2-a369-d1954abcb7e3_blog.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

42

Poverty and abortion on an equal footing?

Way back in 2005, then-Msgr. Robert W. McElroy wrote an article published in America in which he argued that Catholic public officials who endorse the legalization of abortion should not be denied communion. The then-Monsignor’s fear? He wrote:

The imposition of eucharistic sanctions solely on candidates who support abortion legislation will inevitably transform the church in the United States, in the minds of many, into a partisan, Republican-oriented institution and thus sacrifice the role that the church has played almost alone in American society in advocating a moral agenda that transcends the political divide.

Msgr. McElroy must have had then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in mind when writing that gem.

McElroy

The Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy
Auxiliary Bishop
Archdiocese of San Francisco

Well, that was then and the-now Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, the Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, is once again writing in AmericaThis time, he’s arguing that the Church in the United States “must elevate the issue of poverty to the very top of its political agenda, establishing poverty alongside abortion as the pre-eminent moral issues the U.S. Catholic community pursues at this moment in the nation’s history.”

With Pope Francis serving as his inspiration, Bishop McElroy writes:

If the Catholic Church is truly to be a “church for the poor” in the United States, it must elevate the issue of poverty to the very top of its political agenda, establishing poverty alongside abortion as the pre-eminent moral issues the Catholic community pursues at this moment in our nation’s history. Both abortion and poverty countenance the deaths of millions of children in a world where government action could end the slaughter. Both abortion and poverty, each in its own way and to its own degree, constitute an assault on the very core of the dignity of the human person, instrumentalizing life as part of a throwaway culture. The cry of the unborn and the cry of the poor must be at the core of Catholic political conversation in the coming years because these realities dwarf other threats to human life and dignity that confront us today.

Arguing that “both abortion and poverty countenance the deaths of millions of children in a world where government action could end the slaughter,” Bishop McElroy asks his readers why, if the sanctity of the unborn human life is a doctrinal issue of the Church and, therefore, requires faithful Catholics to defend it in the public square, Catholics do not feel equally compelled to demand that their government fund social justice programs in the United States and abroad?

To answer that question, a brief review of the reasons McElroy provided in 2005 regarding why political leaders who support abortion legislation should not be denied Holy Communion is necessary:

  • it would be perceived as coercive;
  • it would identify abortion as a specifically Catholic issue and play into the hands of those who accuse the pro-life movement of imposing religious tenets upon Americans;
  • it would make it appear that abortion defines the church’s social agenda; and,
  • it would “cast the church as a partisan actor in the American political system.”

That was then, but now when the issue is “poverty,” McElroy writes in his current piece:

Choices by citizens or public officials that systematically, and therefore unjustly, decrease governmental financial support for the poor clearly reject core Catholic teachings on poverty and economic justice. Policy decisions that reduce development assistance to the poorest countries reject core Catholic teachings. Tax policies that increase rather than decrease inequalities reject core Catholic teachings.

Bishop McElroy’s conclusion? The “categorical nature of Catholic teaching on economic justice is clear and binding” (italics added).

Economic justice trumps justice for the unborn?

In The Motley Monk’s estimation, Bishop McElory is dead wrong for two reasons:

First: In the 2004 memorandum to the U.S. bishops titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote:

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia. (italics added)

Second: Catholic moral theology holds that moral principles expressed in the negative (“Thou shalt not…”) are generally more binding than moral principles stated in the affirmative (“Thou shalt…”). It’s easy to see why this is the case. A precept expressed in the negative tells me one thing that I may not do, but one expressed in the affirmative does not tell me exactly what I must do; it merely expresses an end goal. For example, the commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother” does not tell me how to do that.

As this principle is applied to abortion, the obligation not to commit abortion has greater moral clarity than, for example, the obligation to provide healthcare for the poor, to solve hunger, or to stop the melting of glaciers. These latter precepts do not imply a clear obligation. Men and women of good will can and will legitimately disagree about the best ways to address issues like healthcare, hunger, and the melting of glaciers.

Congressional as well as United Nations committees debate, and even legislate policies for dealing with issues like these. Individual bishops as well as national bishops’ conferences may very well agree with these policies and propose that Catholics support them. But, bishops cannot morally obligate anyone to do so.

Why not?

If Catholics believe there are better ways to address these issues than through the particular government programs that the bishops support (programs which, by the way, demonstrably involve enormous waste), Catholics are free—arguably, morally obliged—to opt for other ways to reach these laudable ethical goals than the means urged by the bishops.

In contrast, abortion is wrong in an absolute sense. Bishops and national bishops’ conferences can bind the faithful to oppose the legalization and government funding of abortion because the evil involved in the practice is absolutely clear and because defined Church teaching states so.

Examined from this perspective, when Bishop McElory writes that the “categorical nature of Catholic teaching on economic justice is clear and binding,” and deduces from this an obligation morally binding on Catholics to support specific government policies, he is not only wrong but also is making a mockery of Catholic moral theology as well as Catholic magisterial teaching.

The Motley Monk wonders whether Bishop McElroy wants it both ways, just like those Democrat pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

******

To read Bishop McElroy’s recent article in America, click on the following link:
http://www.americamagazine.org/church-poor

To read then-Msgr. McElroy’s article about not denying Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, click on the following link:
http://americamagazine.org/node/147154

To read then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 memorandum, click on the following link:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfworthycom.htm

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

5

A politically uncorrect Miss World 2013…

 

In an interview on the Filipino news show ANC Headstart, the recently crowned Miss World 2013, Megan Lynn Young, responded to questions about human sexuality.

PHILIPPINES-LIFESTYLE-MISSWORLD-YOUNG

Miss World 2013, Megan Lynn Young
(click on picture to watch the interview)

Concerning a controversial anti-life law making its way through the Philippine courts, Miss Young stated:

Well, I’m pro-life and if it means killing someone that’s already there, then I’m against that, of course. I’m against abortion.

Asked about contraception, she said:

I don’t engage in stuff like that as of now. I think that’s – uh, sex is for marriage. That’s my belief. So, when it comes to the RH bill, as long as my beliefs are no abortion; it should be with your partner for life. Then that’s my stand.

About divorce?

 Divorce. I’m actually against divorce, because I’ve seen, of course, that in my family. So I think that if you marry someone, that should be the person you should be with forever, through sickness and health, through good and bad, you should be with that person.

Then, get this question: “Now, a woman as gorgeous as yourself, how do you say no to sex? “

You just say no. If they try to push you, then you step away because you know that that person doesn’t value you, doesn’t value the relationship as much – and if the guy is willing, you know, to sacrifice that, then that means a lot.

Well, duh!

Espousing those politically uncorrect views, how did Miss Young—born to a Filipino mother and an American father and living in the Philippines—ever get crowned “Miss World 2013”?

More to the point, doesn’t this entire line of questioning say a whole lot more about the interviewer–as representative of the mainstream media–than it does the interviewee?

The Motley Monk “kudos” to Miss World 2013, Megan Lynn Young, for her staunch defense of life!  Hopefully during her year-long reign, this Miss World will be free to continue espousing her politically uncorrect views.

14

The Obama administration and the myth of “freedom of religion”…

 

Father Ray Leonard spent a decade serving the Tibetan population in China where the regime of the People’s Republic of China didn’t tolerate religious freedom. Of that decade, Fr. Leonard observed:

In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China.

Now serving in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, imagine Fr. Leonard’s surprise when, during the recent government shutdown, the Obama administration prohibited him and nearly 50 other Catholic priests from saying Mass and administering other sacraments at U.S. military facilities around the world. This prohibition was issued despite the fact that Congress had passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law instructing the Department of Defense (DOD) to keep paying contract employees who were supporting the troops on the job.

chaplain

The rationale for the DOD prohibition?

According to CNSNews.com, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel determined–after consulting with Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department–that civilian Catholic priests, working under contract as chaplains, did not, among other things, “contribute to the morale” and “well-being” of service personnel. In a memorandum dated October 5, Hagel wrote:

The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians. Under our current reading of the law, the standard of “support to members of the Armed Forces” requires a focus on those employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of covered military members during the lapse of appropriations.

The only civilian contractors who met this standard, Hagel stated, were those working in secular “Family Support Programs and Activities,” “Behavioral Health and Suicide Prevention Programs” and “Health Care Activities and Providers.”

Note how those categories could be construed to include abortionists, but not Catholic clergy.

hagel obama

After Hagel published his determination, DOD maintained that the Anti-Deficiency Act barred civilian priests from volunteering to administer the sacraments to Catholic military personnel at military facilities. Thus, in his role as the Catholic chaplain at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, Fr. Leonard was barred from visiting the chapel or his office on the Naval Base beginning October 7, 2013.

Leonard observed:

I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.

Fr. Leonard didn’t take Hagel’s prohibition sitting down and filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, the Defense Secretary, the Department of the Navy, and the Navy Secretary. Leonard’s suit alleges that the Obama administration is violating his and his congregation’s First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of assembly.

With the government shutdown over, Fr. Leonard’s lawsuit is moot.  But, the Obama administration’s secular, anti-freedom of religion ideology remains.

 

 

To read the CNSNews.com report, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terry-jeffrey/dod-bars-50-priests-administering-sacraments-locks-eucharist-priest-sues

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog “Omnibus,” click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

15

A difference in tone or volume, but not in substance…

 

There’s a Washington Post article that’s been circulating through cyberspace, quoting conservative Catholics who are expressing qualms about Pope Francis’ leadership style or have found themselves questioning whether they should stop proclaiming Church moral teaching.

For example, an Ohio marriage and family counselor in private practice and on the radio, Gregory Popcak, is featured. Popcak describes how he turned to prayer after several clients invoked the Pope’s public words to challenge Popcak after, to his credit, he explained Church teaching concerning human sexuality and love. One patient even quit, telling Popcak: “I’m much more of a Pope Francis-Nancy Pelosi Catholic, and you’re an old-school, Pope John Paul II Catholic.”

Several issues are entangled in what’s transpiring here, perhaps the most focal being how liberal Catholics have seized upon Pope Francis’ public statements and are challenging conservative Catholics to be less “obsessed” with Church teaching. In effect, they’re saying “Get over it! Pope John Paul II is dead and Pope Benedict XVI is retired. Our guy’s  in charge now. It’s our day. Your day has passed.”

Consider what Popcak reports feeling after his patient quit therapy. He first felt frustrated, then ashamed. Contemplating Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, Popcak saw himself acting like the good son. In that online essay, Popcak wrote:

The good kid who stayed behind, did everything his father told him to do. People who left the Church, who hated the Church…were suddenly realizing that God loved them, that the Church welcomed them, and all I could do was feel bitter about it.

Experiences like Popcak’s certainly put a face on the reality of the effect the Holy Father’s words are having on the ground. But, does that mean conservative Catholics should fall on their knees in frustration or perhaps even shame and repent of having evangelized others about Church teaching?

What’s important to note about the Washington Post article is that it reports nothing new, absolutely nothing.  Its contents could have been written last summer.

FrancisPlane

Yes, the momentous interview on the flight from Rio de Janiero did make people across the globe aware of Pope Francis’ views. And purposely so, because the Holy Father’s statements are being interpreted by the mainstream media in a way that favors their secularist ideology.

The Holy Father must surely know how his words are being twisted for ends other than which he may intend. But, so far, the Pope doesn’t seem much to care that he’s being misinterpreted. Perhaps that’s because Pope Francis believes the vast majority of people across the globe (including Catholics) have the wrong idea of the Catholic Church, believing Her teachers are cold, withdrawn, severe, and judgmental.

It appears the Pope isn’t going to allow that idea to persist, believing the idea will take care of itself over time. Right now, he’s going to use the mainstream media to get his point across. Perhaps the Holy Father even relishes the banner headlines he’s generating. Why? Pope Francis may see himself as the “the game changer” in the Church’s overall goal of evangelizing secular society.

Who’s to know?

If the experiences of the people reported in the Washington Post article accurately represent the reality on the ground, it appears Pope Francis may be correct. Driving people out of the Church won’t build the Church, so why alienate people if they can be opened to hearing the Good News?

Who’s to say that Pope Francis doesn’t agree 100% with pro-life, pro-family Catholics? Contrary to what the mainstream media is reporting and makes conservative Catholics feel frustrated or ashamed, his may be a difference in tone or volume, but not in substance.

 

Let the discussion begin…

 

 

To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/conservative-catholics-question-pope-franciss-approach/2013/10/12/21d7f484-2cf4-11e3-8ade-a1f23cda135e_story.html

To read The Motley Monk’s blog, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

5

Another post-Vatican “cutting-edge” institute closes its doors…

 

As with many of the structures erected in the wake of Vatican II and whose founders promised to open the windows of the Catholic Church in the United States to the fresh air of the modern world, the Woodstock Theological Center (WTC) at Georgetown University—an “ecumenically open” institute since 1973 which has “carried out theological and ethical reflection on the most pressing human issues of the day”—has shut its doors.

Last February, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) chronicled WTC’s closure. According to WTC’s Director, Fr. Gasper LoBiondo, SJ, WTC’s demise was a natural consequence of “ongoing strategic reflection” on the part of the Jesuits’ New England, New York, and Maryland provinces. Fr. LoBiondo noted, however, that the reflection itself was directly attributable to “the diminishing number of Jesuits.”

Writing at WTC’s website, Fr. LoBiondo was upbeat about the closure last June, writing:

All who have been associated with Woodstock Theological Center over its 40 years of service can be proud of what they have accomplished, and should be encouraged by the knowledge that the work they have done will not come to an end, because the value of such work will be embraced by other institutions in new forms.

Perhaps the work completed at WTC’s will be “embraced by other institutions” and continue “in new forms.” However, those who labored at WTC have now turned the page and moved on.

Come to think of it, WTC’s closure is similar to the late-1960s when liturgical liberals rejoiced that maniples were done away with. The “rest of the story,” as it is said with frequency, “is history,” meaning “get over it.”

maniple

So, let’s be pragmatic.

As the age of the post-Vatican II generation who founded institutes such as WTC increases and their numbers decline and, then, with fewer young men who are prepared theologically to shoulder the mantle of leading these institutes, the likelihood that these “cutting-edge institutes” will continue for another generation or two decreases dramatically.

What is ageless—the Church—will continue.

In the political world, it’s called “term limits.”  In the Church, it’s the simple reality of “sic transit gloria mundi.”  This is how God purifies the Church of that which is time bound so His creatures will focus upon the timeless.

 

 

To read about the closure of WTC, click on the following link:
http://ncronline.org/news/theology/woodstock-theological-center-close-june

To read The Motley Monk’s blog, click on the following link:
The Motley Monk’s Omnibus

23

No communion for Ms. Nancy?

 

There’s nothing newsworthy when it comes to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) advocating a woman’s right to abortion.  After all, she earned a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and last June, when asked by a reporter if there is a moral difference between aborting a baby at 26 weeks and what Dr. Kermit Gosnell did in Philadelphia in delivering babies alive at 23 weeks and then severing their spinal cords to kill them, she said:

As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics, and that’s where you’re taking it and I’m not going there.

pelosi

“practicing and respectful”

Ms. Pelosi’s statement didn’t escape the scrutiny of Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, apart from Pope Francis.

Cardinal Burke’s analysis of Ms. Pelosi’s public statements concerning abortion?

According to a July 2013 interview in The Wanderer, Ms. Pelosi has violated Canon 915 which applies to “a person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin–cooperating with the crime of procured abortion–and still professes to be a devout Catholic.”  In the Cardinal’s view, Ms. Pelosi has divorced her faith from her public life.  Therefore, she is not serving her brothers and sisters in the way that she must–in safeguarding and promoting the life of the innocent and defenseless unborn, in safeguarding and promoting the integrity of marriage and the family.

Speaking truth to power, Cardinal Burke minced no words:

What Congresswoman Pelosi is speaking of is not particular confessional beliefs or practices of the Catholic Church. It belongs to the natural moral law which is written on every human heart and which the Catholic Church obviously also teaches: that natural moral law which is so wonderfully illumined for us by Our Lord Jesus Christ by His saving teaching, but most of all by His Passion and death.

To say that these are simply questions of Catholic faith which have no part in politics is just false and wrong. I fear for Congresswoman Pelosi if she does not come to understand how gravely in error she is. I invite her to reflect upon the example of St. Thomas More who acted rightly in a similar situation even at the cost of his life.

For this violation of Canon 915, Cardinal Burke asserted that Ms. Pelosi must be denied Communion.

What makes the Cardinal’s judgment newsworthy are two, more recent events: 1) Pope Francis reappointed Cardinal Burke to his position last week and 2) Pope Francis said in an interview last week that the Church must be careful not to alienate sinners but, instead, become more welcoming and inclusive of them.

dead horses

Drawing a line in the sand by denying Ms. Pelosi communion seems to put Cardinal Burke’s jurisprudence at odds with Pope Francis’ call for greater pastoral sensitivity.

 

 

To read the Wanderer article, click on the following link:
http://www.thewandererpress.com/ee/wandererpress/index.php?pSetup=wandererpress&curDate=20130905

3

“Proud to be Catholic” scores again…

 

Over at “Proud to be Catholic” in a blog post entitled “Going to War?”, the normally provocative Father Brian Sistare (pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Woonsocket, RI) raises an interesting if not challenging juxtaposition of two images for Americans to contemplate.

The first image is that of President Barack Obama expressing his personal outrage that the chemical weapons used in Syria were killing many children.  Of this image Fr. Sistare writes:

What I would like to point out in the midst of this difficult moment is the sheer hypocrisy of our government “leaders.” The Secretary of State John Kerry said that what President Assad did was a “crime against conscience,” and a “crime against humanity.” Obama also spoke of the heinous crimes that were done to the Syrian people by their own president, mentioning that children were killed. He said that “we cannot accept a world in which people are gassed on a terrible scale,” and that we don’t want the world to be paralyzed.”

POTUSB

The second image is that of the 40-year history of chemically induced abortions being performed in the United States, which both the President and his Secretary of State, John F. Kerry, support.  Of this image, Fr. Sistare writes:

The little, innocent victims of abortion are even being killed “chemically” by such CONTRAceptives/abortificients, such as the morning after pill, the IUD, the NuvaRing, and even high dosages of the birth control pill.  “Chemical warfare” against our own people has been happening for over 40 years now, and the current “leader” of our country has no problem with it, even adding insult to injury by asking God to bless one of the major suppliers of these chemicals used in the warfare against the innocent, in the organization known as Planned Parenthood.

POTUS

While many of the nation’s citizens will surely be offended by this juxtaposition of images, Fr. Sistare correctly notes that both depict acts of “chemical warfare,” whether or not the United Nations certifies them as such.

In the political arena, it’s so very easy for the leader of a world superpower to point the finger of blame at a tin-horn dictator who inflicts genocide upon his citizens and to threaten war to end such horrific crimes against humanity.

But, it isn’t all that easy for that leader to recognize that his four other fingers are pointing right back at him.  To recognize that fact, that leader would have to admit that he is entirely supportive of genocidal acts being committed in his own nation.

Kudos to Father Sistare for expressing the matter so clearly.

16

Sending your children to a Catholic school? Caveat emptor…

 

With the new academic year having gotten underway, it’s always good for parents to assess what their children will be learning, especially with the curriculum being nationalized.

In 2009, the National Governors Association launched the Common Core State Standards Initiative (“Common Core”) which is an attempt to nationalize the curriculum so that high school students who graduate in every state that adopts the Common Core will “be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

Who possibly could be against that goal?

Hicks

In her book, Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left’s Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom, Marybeth Hicks tells parents who enroll their children in Catholic schools they should be very wary, if not opposed to the Common Core.

Why so?

Not for the usual reasons conservatives assert: who’s really behind the Common Core (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with David Coleman, President of the College Board and architect of the Common Core) as well as the content it requires students to learn (e.g., social justice mathematics, using class and race conflict to explain American history).

Hicks tells her readers how the Common Core now is infecting Catholic schools nationwide because, although dioceses are not required to adopt the Common Core, they must do so if students are to demonstrate mastery on the tests measuring what students have learned (as that is measured using the standard of the Common Core designed by Coleman whose company makes the tests).  Hicks quotes Sarah Dalske, a Catholic school parent living in Sacramento:

My children go to Catholic school, and over 100+ [d]ioceses have adopted the [Common Core] because it’s what “has to be done” if we want our kids to get into college and be prepared and also be prepared to enter the “workforce” and earn a “living wage.”

In a letter Dalske wrote to the Diocese of Sacramento, she argued:

[Are] you telling me in future grades my kids will be reading such books as “Freakonomics” and “The Tipping Point,” learning that abortion is one of the was to lower crime…?  How would Catholic school teachers reconcile this while simultaneously teaching that all life is sacred and every baby has the right to life, that every person is give a soul at the moment of conception by God and has the God-given right to be brought into this world?….After all the new and confusing math and reading lessons, and the “literacy” lessons through science, history and technology, after all the testing, where will the time be to teach our children their faith?

The lesson for parents who send their children to Catholic schools?

Lest they believe Catholic schools provide immunity from the infection of a curriculum that’s opposed to Catholic teaching, they had better—like Sarah Dalske—investigate precisely what their children are being taught and when they are being taught it.

In Catholic schools, the goal of training the nation’s youth for the workforce is not antithetical to the goal of educating their souls in the faith of the Catholic Church.  If Dalske’s statistic is correct, in many dioceses the former may become more prominent than the latter…if it hasn’t already.

 

11

The post-Copacabana Beach parish…

 

While many Catholics are regaling in the afterglow of the much-touted and “highly successful” World Youth Day (WYD) 2013 in Rio, there are signs that papal spectacles like these—“circuses” some might say—should be reassessed for their ultimate value in evangelizing Catholic youth.

One young Catholic—sincere and searching for the truth but not quite sure what truth is—recently told me that young people are leaving the Church in droves because they “don’t feel the Church loves us…present company excepted, of course.”

It was for this purpose—to reach out to evangelize youth, demonstrating Mother Church’s love for them and their salvation—that Blessed John Paul II established WYD.  Over the decades, the media’s images of all of those young people—millions in some instances—traveling to distant locales to unite in prayer, to be catechized, and to participate in the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist—has been edifying for many Catholics and especially members the Curia who are already preparing for the next WYD in Poland.

PF Rio

But, there’s another aspect of  WYD that isn’t being reported and discussed, one that casts a shadow over WYDs, in general, and raising the question “Should WYD be held?”, in particular.

In “The Downside of World Youth Day,” Connor Malloy describes some of what’s not being reported.  For example, large group sessions dedicated to catechesis—two featuring Cardinals O’Malley and Dolan—didn’t have their desired effect upon the audience.  The problem? Everything else competing for the audience’s attention.  At the opening Mass, Malloy notes:

…hordes of pilgrims were wandering around, popping in at food tents and taking pictures of Copacabana Palace during the Consecration. It was beyond easy to take one’s eyes off the ball, and this identity crisis—between being a pilgrim and being a tourist—presented a constant struggle.

This is nothing new.  Malloy tells of an author who related that, following WYD 2000 in Rome, “mounds of used condoms were reportedly found scattered on the grounds—a most eloquent monument to relativism.”

For Malloy, this detachment, those distractions, and the immoral behavior raise two questions: Are we serious about the faith? And, what faith are we spreading?  He answers:

When contemplating the emerging Catholic youth, the target audience of WYD 2013, one has to ask, with what they have already witnessed in their lives from cultural, domestic, economic, and social perspectives—from Hollywood, secularism, capitalism, and the iPhone—how much of a role does Catholicism really play in their everyday lives? And what kind of Catholicism is it, anyway? Because from what I saw in Rio, for many there is a wink-wink, “do as I say not as I do” mentality about the Catholic faith.

Looking with an unvarnished eye at these papal spectacles and what they have become in some ways,  have they outlived their purpose?  Arguably, there may be better ways to evangelize Catholic youth.

More substantively, are those outdoor liturgies a disservice to the Eucharist?  Is Mass to be a spectacle—pulsating with dyathrambic rhythms to which the congregants bump and grind while slurping down a latté—or is the Mass  a sacrament—an encounter with the Living God?

“Why can’t it be both?” some may ask.

Malloy observes:

That young pilgrims may have confused WYD with a rock concert is understandable. The question is, can we trust them to see the substance beyond the fluff, the Incarnation beyond the entertainment? Chances are these pilgrims love challenges; we must challenge them to swim against the tide of relativism that exists even within the Church itself, and to surrender themselves to Christ’s redeeming love.

Time will tell when many in that crowd—the “sheep” Pope Francis wants to bring “home” to the Church—return to their dioceses and parishes and  “shake things up,” as the Pope instructed them. What will happen when these young people discover that the Church’s teaching hasn’t changed?  Then, too, should they be allowed to turn liturgy in their parishes into mini-Copacabanas? Will they once again leave, and this time, for good?

If young people are leaving Church in droves because they don’t “feel the Church loves us,” one wonders what kind of mother they are looking for.

 

 

To read Connor Malloy’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/2500/The_Downside_of_Rio.aspx#.Ugy2wJKHuSq

16

A decades’ long administrative “wink and nod” in U.S. Catholic education?

 

When a local newspaper in suburban southern California—the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin—published photographs of a local Catholic high school teacher’s wedding, “Matrimonial bliss turned into an employment nightmare.”

The problem?

The teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glenora, CA, 45-year-old Ken Bencomo, is homosexual and attempted a so-called “homosexual marriage” with his “partner” of 10 years, 32-year-old Christopher Persky.  Bencomo and Persky were among the first homosexuals who got “married” at the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder’s Office following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that allowed homosexuals to simulate marriage, according to the Los Angeles Times.

After the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published the pictures, administrators at St. Lucy’s fired Bencomo, telling him on July 12 his contract would not be renewed, citing the “wedding, the photos, and the attendant publicity.”

The school’s administrators followed-up the firing with a statement, calling St. Lucy’s “a community of faith for those who wish to express, practice and adhere to values in education based on the Roman Catholic tradition.”  The statement adds that employees have a contractual obligation to abide by those values in public.  And:

While the school does not discriminate against teachers or other school employees based on their private lifestyle choices, public displays of behavior that are directly contrary to church teachings are inconsistent with these values.

Conservative Catholics might applaud the firing—Catholic moral teaching is supposed to be the keystone supporting the distinctive identity of a Catholic school—and liberal Catholics might deride it—using Catholic moral teaching as a judgmental cudgel is an affront to human rights.  Bencomo’s lawyer called the decision “crushing” and “draconian,” intimating that Bencomo may sue to get his job back.

None of that really matters.  What really matters is how this outcome is the result of a consistent failure of moral leadership on the part of St. Lucy’s administrators for at least 17 years which, according to the LA Times, is the period of time Bencomo has been teaching St. Lucy’s.  For at least the past 10 years, the school’s administrators have known about Bencomo’s sexual orientation and relationship with Persky. During that decade, Bencomo has brought Persky to school events, identifying Persky as his “partner,” according to Bencomo’s lawyer.

There was nothing “in the closet” about this homosexual relationship.

That is, until all of the “attendant publicity” resulting from the “photos” taken at the “wedding” were published in the newspaper.  Had Bencomo only kept the entire affair in the closet, administrators at St. Lucy’s must have reasoned, there would have been no attendant publicity and no firing because, at St. Lucy’s, immoral lifestyle choices kept private are “okay,” but public displays of immoral lifestyle choices are “not okay.”

It’s a Catholic school administrator’s policy equivalent of the military’s “Don’t Kiss, Don’t Tell” policy.  One doesn’t have to make a judgment or take a stand on a moral issue.  No, just ignore it…unless…

Quite likely, the administrators fired Bencomo because important constitutents and constitutent groups associated with the school or perhaps even the Archbishop of Los Angeles or his representative demanded that something be done…or else.

That’s the problem.  It’s an administrative “wink and nod,” even though the efficacy of Catholic moral teaching is being debased inside a community of faith—an “educational” one at that—whose administrators claim this community to be “for those who wish to express, practice and adhere to values in education based on the Roman Catholic tradition.”

So-called “homosexual marriage” is not part of that tradition.  Nor does presenting one’s “partner” to that educational community of faith express, practice, and adhere to the values of that tradition.

Why administrators at St. Lucy’s didn’t deal with the problem when it first emerged says a whole lot about their expression, practice, and adherence to the values of the Roman Catholic tradition…as well as all of those Catholic educational leaders who didn’t tell those administrators “or else” during those 17 years.

 

 

To read the LA Times article, click on the following link:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gay-teacher-catholic-school-20130801,0,4837008.story

 

16

National Public Radio’s “fair and balanced” coverage of the papal peregrinage…

 

It’s always fun to take a peek into how government funded radio (National Public Radio, or “NPR”) covers news concerning the Catholic Church.  With the papal peregrinage to Brazil underway, NPR doesn’t disappoint in it’s fair-and-balanced coverage of events…yet once again.

In its “Parallels…Many Stories, One World” blog for July 24, 2013, there’s not one story about the papal peregrinage.  But, there is a story about a radical Brazilian priest who was excommunicated.

Padre Beto

Padre Beto, aka Roberto Francisco Daniel

“Padre Beto”—aka Roberto Francisco Daniel—become a Catholic priest after going to college, working, and having sex.  Which, along with what he’s been told by penitents in the confessional, the Padre says, informs his “different way of looking at church doctrine.”

What’s that include?

Premarital sex, gay marriage, divorce, and open marriages where either party can have an extramarital affair as long as both spouses agree.

According to Padre Beto:

The Catholic Church has to change. We know now because of scientific discovery a great deal about human sexuality, for example.

After this, “Parallels” devotes one paragraph to the papal peregrinage and immediately returns to Padre Beto’s “surprise” excommunication after he was “repeatedly warned by the church to stop making his views public, to recant and repent.”  But, in April 2013, and without warning following an ecclesiastical hearing, Padre Beto was informed that he was excommunicated.

“It never even crossed my mind that they would excommunicate me,” Padre Beto says.

What’s next for Padre Beto?

He hopes soon to be able to preside over a so-called “homosexual marriage.”  He says:

I will do it with a great sense of peace because where there is love, God is present.

This is how government funded radio (National Public Radio, or “NPR”) covers news concerning the Catholic Church.  With all of the events surrounding the papal peregrinage, NPR first focuses upon the loss of the Catholics in Brazil to evangelical denominations and second excommunicated priests.

How’s that for “fair and balanced”?

 

 

To read the NPR “Parallel” blog, click on the following link:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/

To read about Padre Beto, click on the following link:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/07/24/205108378/the-radical-brazilian-priest-who-was-excommunicated

29

If you’re really interested in tax reform, the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA may not be…

 

A Wall Street Journal op-ed calling into question whether tax “reform” should disallow the deduction for charitable donations offers a nugget of data that Catholics interested in tax reform should carefully consider.

The “nugget” is the total amount of money the federal government is pouring into charitable programs sponsored by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Charities USA (CC-USA).  The op-ed notes:

Religious organizations also receive large infusions of federal funds. Catholic Charities USA receives more than half of its funding each year ($554 million in 2010) from federal grants. In 2012, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops received $63 million…in federal grants.

It’s difficult to unpack the exact numbers because the recipients oftentimes use multiple names.  That said, the USCCB directly received $34,767,249 in the form of three awards in 2012.  That’s 17.3% of its 2012 annual budget.  CC-USA directly received $5,546,607 in 2012 for 21 contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The President of the William Simon Foundation, James Piereson, who wrote the op-ed, stated:

These are reputable institutions, and many of the programs they sponsor are important. Nevertheless, in view of their dependence upon government funds, no one can seriously maintain that these groups are “independent.” Instead, they form one of the more powerful lobbying forces in Washington for increasing government spending, especially spending on tax-exempt groups.

Forget all of that “lobbying” to garner more federal largess which, in turn, only increases the federal tax burden on the less than 50% of U.S. citizens who pay income tax.

Bad as that is, all of that lobbying represents these organizations’ ever-increasing dependency upon the federal government to subsidize their “charitable” work.  And that’s the problem: The government knows just how to pull those strings when it’s to the government’s advantage to do so.

If the government threatens not to increase funding, leaders of charitable organizations cry “Wolf!”, insisting their organizations will no longer be able to provide the quality of goods and services all of those people who are dependent upon those organizations have come to expect. Why?  Those leaders define “no increase” in funding as a “cut” in funding.

Then, too, if the government was to cut funding to those organizations, those leaders will also cry “Wolf!”, insisting that the cuts will hurt those who are already dependent upon those organizations as well as all of those additional clients who also need the goods and services provided by those organizations.

In the end, the government uses the power of the purse to control those organizations, exerting appropriate pressure to get them to knuckle under to the government’s diktats. Never forget: The government wants those charitable organization to do its bidding and to promote its policies.  Look at what Obamacare has attempted to do to Catholic higher education and the nation’s Catholic hospitals.

So, where is the lion’s share of all that federal largess to the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA going?  “Immigration services.”  Hmm…why ever would the federal government so willingly fund Catholic organizations to provide those “services” and not “educational” services, like parochial schools?

Charity is an individual’s love of God and neighbor that is demonstrated in that individual’s freely-given acts of love. Churches—funded by their members—do that.  Government can never do that.

It might very well be time to eliminate the tax deduction for charitable donations as part of a much larger tax reform package.  This should include eliminating the IRS and introducing the flat tax (with appropriate thresholds for the poor, destitute, and those in need).  Then, let’s see if “charity” is really charity or if much of it is just a tax deduction.

 

 

To view the USCCB data, click on the following link:
http://www.usaspending.gov/search?form_fields=%7B%22search_term%22%3A%22united+states+catholic+conference+of+bishops%22%2C%22fyear%22%3A%5B%222012%22%5D%7D&sort_by=dollars&per_page=25

To view the Catholic Charities USA data, click on the following:
http://www.usaspending.gov/search?form_fields=%7B%22search_term%22%3A%22catholic+charities+usa%22%2C%22fyear%22%3A%5B%222012%22%5D%7D&sort_by=dollars&per_page=25

To view the USCCB 2012 budget news, click on the following link:
http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/2012-november-meeting/cns-stories.cfm#budget

11

“Uterus to the polls”…

 

“Pathetic, inducing sorrow” is about all The Motley Monk can say concerning University of Pennsylvania Professor Anthea Butler’s suggestion this past weekend that past abortions and single parenthood should be marketed as positive elements in women’s political campaigns.

In an MSNBC interview, CNSNews reports Butler—an associate professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania—saying:

You have to be able to push past this, because these stories are not liabilities, they are assets, to speak that other women, whatever your experience has been, whether you’ve had an abortion, you’re a single parent, however those things are, we have to make them pluses, and not minuses.

Insofar as Butler is concerned, the problem is a consequence of those male politicians who make it difficult for women to participate in the political process.  Professor Butler noted:

…I’m thinking about what happened with [Texas Gov.] Rick Perry making that snide comment about Wendy [Davis]…and I think that’s what keeps women away from doing this.  Just like we did “Souls to the Polls” in 2012, we need to do women to the polls, and women to run in 2014.

Imagine that!  To win office, women politicians should boast about abortions and divorces.

The culture of death is alive and well.  What used to be considered evil is touted as virtue.  What used to be considered virtuous is considered an embarrassment.

This, from a professor of religious studies at an Ivy League university.

“Uterus, to the polls!”, the show’s hostess Melissa Harris-Perry, enthusiastically interjected.

All The Motley Monk can say is “Pathetic. Inducing sorrow.”

 

 

To read the CNSNews article, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/u-penn-religious-studies-prof-having-abortion-plus-female-politicians#sthash.TrrbW3gv.dpuf

3

A possible explanation for the empty chair?

 

In the post, “What’s in an emptychair?“, The Motley Monk wondered what could have happened at the last minute that prevented Pope Francis from attending the Sunday, June 22 performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to celebrate the Year of Faith.  Announcing the last minute change in plans, a papal spokesman cited “other commitments,” specifically, “commitments that could not be postponed.”

empty-chair

 

In “Double Storm for the IOR” (Institute for Religious Works, or “Papal Bank”), Sandro Magister suggests that revelations about the new “prelate” Pope Francis had appointed to clean house at the IOR kept the Holy Father from attending the concert.

According to Magister’s report, the “new prelate” is Monsignor Battista Ricca who apparently won the Pope’s trust “above all through the familiar relations he established with him as director of the Domus Sanctae Marthae—where Francis chose to reside—and of two other residences for priests and bishops passing through Rome, including the one on Via della Scrofa at which Bergoglio used to stay as a cardinal.”

Appointing Ricca “prelate” of the IOR, Pope Francis thought he was placing a highly trustworthy person in a key IOR role, one giving Ricca statutory power to access the proceedings and documents as well as to participate in the meetings both of the cardinalate commission of oversight and of the supervisory board of the Vatican bank.

As the media reports described the appointment, Pope Francis personally appointed a man possessing an “incorruptible” reputation, well-suited to “clean house.”  This was to be a “signature” appointment, one demonstrating the Pope’s commitment to reform the Vatican bureaucracy, in general, and the IOR, in particular.

What Pope Francis did not know when he made the appointment, Ricca had previously served in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps and, after one year in Montevideo, Uruguay, Ricca was suddenly transferred.  Magister reports the transfer can be summarized in two phrases used by those who confidentially examined the case: “pink power” and “conducta escandalosa.”

With all the papal nuncios convened in Rome to meet with Pope Francis, it was at the time of the concert in his honor that the Pope became convinced, Magister reports, “thanks to not one but several incontrovertible sources, that he had put his trust in the wrong person.”  The Pope’s response?  According to Magister:

Sadness, gratitude to those who had opened his eyes, the desire to make remedy: these are the sentiments gathered from the sound of the pope’s voice during these conversations.

Informed about what was being discussed, Ricca asked for and obtained a meeting with Francis to defend himself and make his own accusations.

Who’d believe it?  The Pope may have been absent from the concert because the IOR scandal he was attempting to clean up was now blowing up right in front of him with his handpicked man as the potential source of a “Double Storm.”

Unfortunately, this story possesses the elements of a high-intrigue soap opera that will draw the media’s attention—like moths to a lightbulb—to it: power…sex…and money.

Hopefully, the Holy Father sent notes of apology to all of those who had spent hours preparing for the concert in his honor.  But, if what Sandro Magister is reporting is correct, the Holy Father needs the prayers of the faithful.  This “housecleaning” isn’t going to be easy.

 

 

To read the “What’s in an empty chair?” post, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/06/25/whats-in-an-empty-chair/

To read Sandro Magister’s post concerning the IOR’s double scandal, click on the following link:
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350551?eng=y

 

3

Scripture comments on the State of Washington’s recent legalization of gay marriage and marijuana…

 

An email sent by the secretary of the local branch of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham—established in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church while retaining much of their heritage and traditions—was forwarded to The Motley Monk.

It’s a great piece of exegesis that The Motley Monk will allow speak for itself without comment:

For those who haven’t heard, Washington State has passed both laws—gay marriage and legalized marijuana.  The fact that gay marriage and marijuana were legalized on the same day makes perfect biblical sense because Leviticus 20:13 says “If a man lies with another man they should be stoned.”  We just hadn’t interpreted it correctly before.

 

 

21

What’s in an empty chair?

 

There is quite a diversity of opinion being expressed about this photograph:

empty chair

Taken on Sunday, June 22 just prior to a concert—a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony—to celebrate the Year of Faith, the Pope’s chair is empty “due to other commitments,” specifically, “commitments that could not be postponed.”

According to the Associated Press, health wasn’t the cause, as Pope Francis appeared fit and relaxed earlier in the day.  That said, Associated Press also reported:

Unlike his predecessor Benedict, who was well-known as a music lover, Francis has shown scant interest in music, liturgical or otherwise.

Then, too, Sandro Magister has reported “papists” in the Curia attributing the following words to the Pope: “I am not a Renaissance prince who listens to music instead of working.”

That’s the stuff of papal palace intrigue that’s intended to communicate what Pope Francis really is thinking…or to impugn his character.

What if Pope Francis doesn’t want to live the lifestyle of a Renaissance prince?  What if he personally abhors concerts of classical music?  In the big scheme of things, none of that really matters, except perhaps for “Curiaistas” who have something to gain or lose if and when Pope Francis does reform the Curia.

Yet, let us not forget what the Pope’s absence communicated to the conductor as well as to all of those musicians and vocalists who practiced for hours precisely because he is the Pope and they admire him.  After all, this is the Successor of St. Peter and Bishop of Rome, not Bishop Joe Schlub of some diocese located somewhere in Lower Slobovia.  A lot of people watch and interpret a pope’s conduct for what it may signal about his and the Church’s intentions.

If there isn’t a better reason than the two already provided, The Motley Monk counts himself among those whom the Pope’s conduct “bewildered…even some of his most convinced admirers.”

The Pope has sent a message.  Whether it has the grandeur of “a solemn, severe peal,” as Sandro Magister quotes Church historian Alberto Melloni observing, it is clear this pope believes some things are more important—and very well may be more important—than a concert of classical music where he is scheduled to be the guest of honor.

“Mind your manners,” The Motley Monk’s Mom used to tell him, especially when he didn’t want to do something he was required to do and for reasons he didn’t very much appreciate.

Hopefully, Pope Francis has written personal notes expressing his regret to all of those who were to perform for him.  That’s what The Motley Monk’s Mom would make him do…“or else, Mister!”

 

 

To read the AP report, click on the following link:
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/06/22/pope-misses-vatican-concert-due-to-other-commitments/#ixzz2XEASs4aT

To read Sandro Magister’s report, click on the following link:
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350544?eng=y

6

Guess who’s back professing…

 

On February 25, 2013, Deandre Poole—an adjunct instructor of communications at Florida Atlantic University (FAU)—engaged his class in an exercise to teach them about the power of certain words and the way that power is based on cultural values. Following the textbook’s instructions, Poole had students write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, place the paper on the floor, and step on it.

The exercise offended one student, who exchanged words with Poole.  In turn, Poole reported the student to FAU academic administrators not for his reaction, but the way he treated Poole. When this student went public with his grievances, some media outlets sympathetically portrayed him as facing FAU charges for refusing to “stomp on Jesus.”

The protest sparked interest in the story.

Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, weighed in.  He wrote FAU’s President calling the lesson “offensive, even intolerant” and requested a report concerning policies “to ensure this type of ‘lesson’ will never occur again.”  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio also weighed in, asking why the student was suspended for “respectfully expressing his religious and conscientious objections” to the classroom exercise.  The Motley Monk posted about the matter here at “The American Catholic.”

Poole denied using the word “stomp” and FAU academic administrators denied punishing any student.  Yet, Poole was placed on leave and barred from campus, FAU citing threats against him, presumably from all of those right-wingnut, gun-toting Christian zealots.

As it’s said, “the rest is history.”

“Really, what does it matter now?” Hillary Clinton would ask.

According to Inside Higher Ed, FAU academic administrators have rehired Poole.  Furthermore, they stated that Poole had done nothing wrong and any decision about the future use of the exercise would be based upon a FAU Faculty Senate investigation.

What’s that mean?

Those administrators have reneged on their previous statement that the exercise would not be used again:

Based on the offensive nature of the exercise, we will not use it again and have issued an apology to the community.  It was insensitive and unacceptable.  We continue to apologize to all the people who were offended and deeply regret this situation has occurred.

Why did FAU’s academic administrators back down?

Perhaps it’s for the reason that the FAU Faculty Senate report finds Poole’s classroom exercise entirely appropriate.  The report then took aim at senior FAU administrators, writing how—by not defending Poole—they “dismally failed” to protect academic freedom.  What irked members of the Faculty Senate, in particular, is the extent to which external political pressure (read: Republican conservatives) influenced decisions that were based upon early media reports concerning what transpired but did not happen as reported.

Poole says “I’m ecstatic,” adding:

I regret the misinformation that was out there and the way the story was characterized.  I wish everyone had all the information to form a more reasonable conclusion…. Members of the public need to be reminded that a university is an institution of higher learning, and is supposed to be a safe place for engaging in controversial issues.  If we can’t have these conversations at the university, where else are we going to have them?

In the name of protecting academic freedom, then, “stomping” on Jesus’ name is absolutely “out” at FAU.  “Stepping” on Jesus’ name is definitely “in.”

Why?

For students to understand better the power of certain words and the way that power is based on cultural values.

Believe it or not, people are going to pay tuition for this communications lesson, one that can be learned for free.  Just state  in public something that’s not politically correct.

Today, this is what passes for “higher education.”

Others might call it a denying “freedom of speech.”  Or, better yet, a “racket.”

 

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post about the FAU incident, click on the following link:

http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/03/25/who-really-deserves-to-be-stomped-on/

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/24/florida-atlantic-rehires-adjunct-center-controversy-over-class-exercise#ixzz2X8aQkOOL

67

Has post-Vatican II catechesis of Catholic youth failed?

 

In Fall 2012, an unnamed parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (presumably its pastor) hired the Villanova University economist and Director of its Center for the Study of Church Management, Charles Zech, to survey lapsed Catholics (presumably the parish’s lapsed members).  The survey’s purpose was to discover their reasons for leaving the practice of the Catholic faith.

The study’s findings—methodological questions and generalizations aside—were (yawn) unsurprising:

  • the sexual abuse scandal;
  • dissatisfaction with the parish, Archdiocese, and Vatican; and,
  • most who leave join Protestant denominations.

Interviewed by NBC’s local television affiliate, Zech noted that parishes do have some power to keep disgruntled Catholics from leaving.  Most important is what Zech identified as the “quality” of the liturgy:

Liturgies are really important.  I’m not sure that parish staff and clergy understand how important liturgies are to people, that they have good music and the liturgy be meaningful.  People who feel they are not being fed by a meaningful liturgy—they’ll go where they are being fed.

That’s a very interesting observation.  “Good music” will keep potentially disgruntled congregants from leaving?  If so, then it would be interesting to learn exactly what kind of music is most likely to keep in the pews those apparently many congregants who disagree with Church teaching?  Might it be Gregorian chant?

The Motley Monk doubts that is what Professor Zech is suggesting.  But, for the 189 respondents who have left the Church, how the music makes them feel appears to be primary.

More important to The Motley Monk is another of Zech’s observations concerning the study’s secondary findings:

People who are going to leave the church over the scandal and the church’s handling of it have already left.  So people leaving the church today are leaving for other reasons.  A growing reason we found out was the church’s attitude toward homosexuals and gay marriage.  A lot of younger people object to the church’s teaching on that.

Although Zech’s survey is neither reliable nor valid—meaning its findings, though accurate, cannot be generalized to the larger population due to sampling methodology—this finding may lend support to what other, more reliable and valid studies—like the Pew Research studies of faith and religion—have been noting and may very well be a trend.  Namely, the nation’s young people don’t particularly care about the moral questions and answers to those questions concerning homosexuality and so-called “homosexual marriage.”

If this finding is accurate, this is not good news for Church officials.  The nation’s Catholic youth are no different in attitude toward homosexuality and so-called homosexual marriage than are the nation’s youth in general, despite the Church’s vigorous and very public opposition.   Are the nation’s bishops and pastors to believe that improving the quality of music will keep this generation’s young Catholics practicing their faith?

Again, if this finding is accurate, it suggests that post-Vatican II catechesis of the nation’s Catholic youth—whether in the Catholic high schools or parish-based CCD programs—has failed to form the consciences of Catholic youth to appreciate what Pope John Paul II called “The Splendor of Truth.”  Instead, the secular, materialist, and consumerist “Culture of Death” has achieved results that may be nothing short of spectacular.

Yes, the Sirens are singing anew.  And that’s apparently what lapsed Catholics want and, presumably, what parishes should provide them, according to Zech’s study, if they are going to keep disgruntled members from leaving.

Yet, The Motley Monk would note,  this is a noxious prescription.  As Walter Copland Perry has observed:

Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.

 

 

To read the NBC article, click on the following link:
http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Poll-Catholic-Church-View-on-Same-Sex-Marriage-Causing-Parishoners-to-Flee-211962881.html

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When speaking off the cuff: What does Pope Francis really mean?

 

Once again, there’s a media frenzy.  This time it’s been generated by Pope Francis who allegedly has spoken of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Curia.  Rumors had been circulating and, it was alledged, confirmed in a “secret” report Pope Benedict XVI prepared for his successor prior to the conclave.  Some in the media also believed the “Gang of Eight” cardinals selected by Pope Francis would address the issue.

The details of what Pope Francis said “off the cuff” to the Conference of Latin American Religious (CLAR) on June 6 are well documented elsewhere, the most oft-cited being “In the Curia…there are holy people….[but also] a current of corruption.”  According to notes taken at the meeting and released by some who were present concerning the secret report, the Pope said: “The ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there….We need to see what we can do….”

All of this has become even more complicated with the Catholic News Agency (CNS) reporting today that CLAR officially states that the Pope’s assertion “cannot be attributed with certainty to the Holy Father” (italics added).

Hmmm…

As important as those statements rightly or wrongly attributed to Pope Francis and disclosed to the media may be, other statements—some of potentially greater significance—have not been as widely reported.

For example, La Stampa states that Pope Francis also told CLAR’s leaders to “keep moving forward” and not be “afraid to take risks by approaching the poor and new emerging figures across the continent.”  That sounds fine.  But, place that statement in its larger context:

Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine (of the Faith) [CDF] will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing….But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward….Open the doors, do something there where life calls for it. I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up….

It takes time for the contours of a papacy to take shape.  Early into this papacy, much has been made about the Pope’s first appearance at St. Peter’s Basilica and his humility.  This “pastoral” Pope has washed feet, kissed babies, visited parishes, and heard confessions.  This “Pope of the People” has eschewed living in the Apostolic Palace and is now chauffeured not in a Mercedes Benz but a Volkswagen.

The media loves all of this…and hopes for more, interpreting this Pope’s actions as symbolic of what many in the media long for: A Roman Catholic Church that is more open to and accepting of the forces of what some in the media define as “progress.”

In an attempt to understand more clearly the overall direction the Holy Father intends to steer the ship of the Church in today’s murky waters, The Motley Monk reads the daily homilies Pope Francis has been delivering at St. Marta’s as these are reported by ZENIT.

Overall, the Pope preaches in a style reminiscent of the early Church Fathers, dotting his homilies with folksy applications of scripture to this generation’s moral challenges.  He invokes little, if any, “hierarchical” language. Instead, it’s much more “lateral.”  There’s no insensitive reiteration of Church teaching “from on high,” but a sensitive response on the part of a pastor who knows his people—having heard their confessions—and speaking candidly about what is afflicting them and keeping them from the Kingdom of God.

In sum: Anecdotes that make the daily Scriptures strike home.

The problem: Others can apply those anecdotes in ways the Holy Father may not have intended.

For example, take the Pope’s statement “do something where life calls for it.”  This statement has the potential to open the door to a host of unintended interpretations, especially when what has preceded it is “Explain [to CDF] whatever you have to explain, but move forward….”

Don’t overlook this particular statement because, The Motley Monk is sure, Pope Francis means it.

The question is: What precisely does the Pope mean?

In a homily to his congregation, a pastor can say “I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up….” The members of the congregation would understand exactly what is meant.  Plus, that seems to be sound pastoral teaching.

But, the papacy differs from the local pastorate.

Yes, the pope is the Universal Pastor.  Yet, he is also the “Rock,” charged personally by Christ with safeguarding Church teaching.  It’s one thing for a local pastor to translate the Beatitudes into acts of compassion for those who live on the margins and to challenge the members of one’s congregation to err in favor of compassion rather than to dictate moral positions.  It is an entirely different matter if a pope were to intimate—even in private—that bishops should err on the side of heresy and “Explain whatever you have to explain [to CDF], but move forward… (wink).”

Pope Francis certainly does not mean that.

But, some in the media would have him mean that, and are calling upon the Pope clarify precisely what he means.  It’s a “lose-lose” proposition, one that will center upon the legitimacy of and the Pope’s stance vis-a-vis Church teaching.

During the 20th century and early into the 21st, the Holy Spirit has blessed the Church with extraordinarily good, if not saintly popes.  The contours of this papacy have yet to be clearly defined.  As Pope Francis learns to navigate the Church  to confront directly this generation’s moral evils which the media may tout as “progress,” Catholics should pray that the Pope teach as Jesus did, “with authority” that stuns those today in his hearing who “are sick for being closed up” in their secular ideologies and unwilling to listen to the Truth, as the Church teaches it.

 

 

To read the article in LaStampa, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/gay-gay-gay-francesco-francis-francisco-25578/

To read the CNA account, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/latin-american-religious-backtrack-on-pope-and-gay-lobby/