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

Thursday, May 8, AD 2014


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.”


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.



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

  • Card. Baldisseri is a former protege of Cardinal Angelo Sodano and a long-time careerist with the Vatican diplomatic services. A Tuscan-born cleric (Campo, Braga, Italy) who studied at Pisa (ordained 1963) and later the Lateran and the Univ of Perugia (M.Lic. dogmatic theology; Ph.D, Canon Law), he appears to have crossed paths favorably with PF when still later on he (Baldisseri) was Apostolic Nuncio in S. America, first at Paraguay (1995-1999) and later with Brazil (2002-2012). After that Baldisseri was secretary to the Cong. Bishops (2012-2013) and then in the key position of secretary of the 2013 conclave that named PF; so usually that person ex-officio is named as cardinal at the end of the conclave by the new pontiff. Or his star, like PF’s, was inevitably ascendant.
    One could first have seen problems with this ” PF-pf” when he announced (as quoted by Andrea Tornielli in Vatican Insider in Nov. 2013, “A new approach needs to be taken with respect to the administration of the sacraments to remarried divorcees.” Another prelate who thinks Christ’s declaration on marriage can be set aside. Usquequo, Domine.

  • “… a more adequate response to the expectations of the people.” -Cardinal Baldisseri
    what a telling sentiment! not a response to Revealed Truth, but to the expectations of the people.

  • More fuel for the fire:

    Cardinal Kasper, in a lengthy interview that shows no let-up in his push to change Church discipline on marriage said, among other things, “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.”

    No word as to whether Pope Francis I shared his belief with Cardinal Kasper over the phone.
    (ht: Father Z)

  • Many Catholics left the Catholic church because they didn’t like the Church teachings set by God. and started their own religion. If woman want to get divorced and remarry and have children what does that do to the blood line in the future? People will not know their blood relatives?

  • I am now eighty yrs. of age and I really appreciate the values the Sisters taught me as a child. I am not confused as to who I am and my Catholic faith guided me through my life I always remember when people are confused or very unhappy THERE FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I . The Sacraments are a blessing especially in this secular world. The Roman Catholic church should not change any of their teachings to please the people.

  • I pray to our almighty Lord and Saviour that he guide the Church to stay true to the teachings of Christ. Pastoral care needs to be given to the divorced and separated but the foundation must remain strong. If the teaching changes then it mocks my 34 year marriage vow spoken before God, family, and community. As anyone knows sometimes those very words are what keep you going, that and God’s grace, mercy, and compassion.

  • Amen Mildreed!
    Changing the teaching would strike at the family.
    Stable marriage/ stable family helps an individual know who they are in relation to others and with God. If the platform on which we stand is moving up down and sideways, it makes it very hard for us individuals to keep our balance.

  • My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. 43 of those years have been in the USA, laboring to keep our family straight on matters Catholic. The efforts have paid off: our 5 children are bringing up our 15 grandchildren as genuine Catholics. It has been a tiring 50 years, but ah! what joy in never looking back from the day we said our vows the first time! Surely the Sacrament of Matrimony has seen us through; God grant the same for EVERY man and woman who take this step, the stunning step of commitment forever in this life, and God willing, all through eternity!

  • There are a great many things that need to be said concerning the upcoming (two) synods of the Church on The Family, and it is hard to know exactly on which note to start. But let me at least put out some key notes as I see them.

    The first is the nature of the double synods. This is highly significant, and I believe that the reason for this is the importance of the family, and the teaching of the Church on Marriage, family and sexuality which are all components of this. I don’t want to over-emphasize the reach of the two synods but I believe they will be at least on par with the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 which gave official reception to Vatican II, the 6 key points in interpreting VII, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Vatican II came ‘too early’ to be of any real effect to the vast sweeping forces of the sexual revolution. It did bring forth some fundamental teachings which pertain to marriage and the family-first in the emphasis on them vocation of the laity in general and with this its teaching on the universal call to holiness pertaining to all the baptized. In Gaudium et Spes it renewed Christian anthropology [view of man and woman] in which the person was seen as ‘the image of God’ and as embodied souls [both body and soul vs. overemphasis just on the soul]-this would bring new emphasis on the beauty of married life (and not just on the consecrated/celibate life). It would also lay the foundation for our crises today, for it raised ‘gender’ to a fundamental aspect of the whole person and not simply an accident of biology. We cannot forget the beautiful teaching on marriage itself as a ‘covenant’ [familial bond] rather than simply as a contract, as it frequently had been seen.

    However, underlying all this teaching in Vatican II lies a two profound and constant mysteries of faith: the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, [as St John Paul would late quip: God is family] and the union/communion of Christ the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride. It is this Mystery of Christ’s love and union with His Bride the Church that is so fundamental to what we are experiencing right now. Christ and His Bride the Church is the fundamental mystery-to which the union of the first couple, and every couple ever since are but a sign. It is not that the union of Christ and the Church remind us of the union of a husband and wife. It is the opposite! Every marriage between 1 man and 1 woman is a sign of the union of Christ and the Church-that’s what Jesus is revealing in Matthew 19 and Paul in Ephesians 5. Christ’s marriage with His Bride the Church is ‘the beginning’ [Matthew]; the Mystery [Paul]. The marriage between Christ and the Church is indissoluble-therefore the marriage between man and woman is indissoluble. Jesus is revealing an extremely profound mystery, not just giving us another rule to live by (such as no divorce/remarriage)

    Now to be honest, while all marriages between man and woman are indeed signs of the union of Christ and His Bride the Church, only those who participate in His new life of grace are given the ‘means’ of living this out in their lives. In other words, Marriage between the baptized, Marriage in the Lord, otherwise and commonly known as Holy Matrimony is actually a participation in the very life and love Christ gives to His Bride the Church. For Christians, at least, such a ‘high’ view of marriage is not an impossible ideal but one that can be lived, as with the rest of Christian life, by the grace of Christ (received in the sacraments) with the Cross a constant dimension-and the means of living what seems to be an impossible ideal. Further, not only as baptism renewed in the celebration of the Eucharist but so was the marriage between Christian husband and wife. Among the fundamental images of the Eucharist is that of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb [anticipation and participation in the Eschatalogical Feast. Christian marriage and the Eucharist are intimately entwined.

    Thus the marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament-not just a sign (as are all marriages) but also an instrument- a means of which the love between Christ and His Bride the Church become present in our midst. Paul and the early Church called it, ‘married in the Lord’; we call this: Holy Matrimony, St Paul was so convinced of this new life of grace that he believed that the baptized would nonetheless lift up their unbaptized husband or wife (he doesn’t exactly say they will be saved but certainly hints at it)-thus Christians can enter into valid although not sacramental marriages with their unbaptized partner.

    Sadly however, right from the beginning there were certain real life issues which caused crises in the lives of the Faithful and in the Church. The issue of porneia: the exception clause found in Matthew’s Gospel refers to the various illicit sexual unions listed in Leviticus 16 which prevented real marriage in the Lord. Among these are unions between members of the same gender. As the Church brought the Gospel to the nations, the present marital state or sexual mores of the Gentiles coming into the Church were not at all the calm and safe issues facing most Jewish Christians. Some of these unions were illicit [such as marrying closer than second cousin] right from the start and needed to be dealt with before they even became Christian. Another crisis, was the one Paul dealt with in 1 Corinthians: a couple married as pagans and then one becomes a Christian-what happens if the pagan starts raising a ruccus (especially if the pagan was ‘the man of the house’ etc) Paul then stated that for the sake of the faith of the baptized the two could be separated.

    The point is this. Right from the beginning of the Church, the Church had to be faithful to her faith in the union of Christ and His Bride the Church and in the indissolubility of Christian marriage-yet-at the very same time, deal with the human condition, the less ideal aspects of human life, marriage and community. We have the teaching of Christ and the Church and the real pastoral dealing with the real life struggles, failures and sins of Christians.

    How did the Church from the beginning deal with the real life struggles, failures and sins of Christians? Through the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation] and the canons of the Church. In the early Church the Sacrament of Penance was ‘celebrated’ really only on and for those who had been excluded from Communion-so the intimate connection between Penance/Reconciliation and the canons is very strong. [For some centuries we have been encouraging people to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance even if not in such an extreme condition etc-and rightly so! But it is important to know the origins of both the Sacrament and canons]

    The teaching of the Church cannot, does not and will not change. How can we say ‘divorce is ok etc’ and still believe that Christ is in the new and everlasting covenant with His Church and celebrate this in each Eucharist? How can we change the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage when we claim that the union of a baptized man and a baptized woman is not only a sign but makes present in our midst the union of Christ and His Bride the Church? Yet, as the Church from her very beginning had to deal with the less than perfect, human failure and sin, we too have to deal with those in our midst whose unions have ended [please note my wording]

    Among the many aspects of ‘family’ that the Church will deal with faithful to her Bridegroom while living in the twenty-first century is ‘divorce and remarried Catholics’. The teaching of the CHurch is not and cannot be up for grabs. How to apply the double medicine of the Sacrament of Penance and Canons will be up for review. Here is where any (if any) change will be seen.

    I really want to continue on other areas such as renewed teaching on sexuality vis a vis theology of the body that I believe will also be brought forth by these two synods-but this has already gone too long. Hope it helps our reflections, calms some fears and leads to deeper study of the Catechism and prayer for us all.

  • “God grant the same for EVERY man and woman who take this step, the stunning step of commitment forever in this life, and God willing, all through eternity!”

    32 years and counting for me and my bride Sydney. A happy marriage is a pearl beyond price.

  • In my post above-I was not clear concerning Gaudium et Spes concerning its raising of gender to a fundamental aspect of the human person and not just an accident of biology. In doing so Gaudium et Spes enables the Church to respond to the crisis (Gaudium et Spes did not cause the crisis) of the revolutionary movement of so called gay-marriage

    Sorry about any confusion I caused

  • Donald,

    A living witness of the loving union of Christ and His Bride the Church

  • Botolph writes, “In Gaudium et Spes it renewed Christian anthropology [view of man and woman] in which the person was seen as ‘the image of God’ and as embodied souls [both body and soul vs. overemphasis just on the soul]… for it raised ‘gender’ to a fundamental aspect of the whole person and not simply an accident of biology –
    Does “Guadiam et Spes” acknowledge a female soul and a male soul…different but complementary to each other?
    And thus the basis for 1 Corinthians 11:7…”For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man” ?

  • slainte: That is beautiful.

  • Slainté asked, “Does “Guadiam et Spes” acknowledge a female soul and a male soul…different but complementary to each other?”

    No. In Aristotelian terms, that would make men and women members of a different species, hence the common belief among the Schoolmen that each angel constitutes a species on its own.

    St Augustine is, as usual, very good on this and in his Literal Commentary on Genesis, he specifically addresses your quotation from St Paul, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind [interiorem] was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘He made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘He fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body. But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body. While indeed it may be acutely argued [as by himself, in On the Trinity, XII] that the human mind [mentem], in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7).

    He continues, “Thus while that which is to be observed in the one mind of the interior person is symbolized by two persons who are outwardly of different sex in the body; still the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of Him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28). Women, after all, are not excluded from this grace of renewal and the refashioning of God’s image, although their bodily sex symbolizes something else, which is why only the man is called the image and glory of God. In the same way, too, in the original creation of the human race, because the woman, too, was human, she obviously had a mind and a rational one at that, in respect of which she too was made to the image of God.” (22:34)

  • “God grant the same for EVERY man and woman who take this step, the stunning step of commitment forever in this life, and God willing, all through eternity!”
    32 years and counting for me and my bride Sydney. A happy marriage is a pearl beyond price.”
    Thank you Donald and Sydney. This is the first time I have heard that sentiment of “now and forever”. “all through eternity” til death do us part. There is no death in eternal life. Seeing God in the Beatific Vision and sharing with the loved one is a pearl beyond price.

  • Slainte,

    MPS answered your question to me. Can’t beat Saint Augustine. Yet, lest you think I avoided or ignored your question let me answer in this way. According to Aquinas, the ‘soul is the form of the body’. This completely revolutionizes most peoples’ idea about the soul. Most believe the soul lies somewhere in the body. Descartes portrayed the human soul which he identified with the mind (we would not reduce the soul merely to the mind or consciousness) as a ‘ghost in the machine’-sort of like the invisible driver in the driver’s seat.

    Yet the soul is in fact the form of the body-such as the mould is to a jello-mould. Take away the mould and eventually ‘the jello’ melts away. Of course that is precisely what happens at death and the eventual decomposition of the body. What is important however is that the human being is the embodied soul. We are not simply our ‘souls’. At death ‘we’ dissolve, although our soul, that spiritual aspect of ourselves lives on destined for judgment etc.. Full salvation comes with the resurrection of the dead and the Life of the world to come. Salvation does not come with the soul’s release from this body of ours [actually a completely ancient Greek Platonic idea] Thus salvation is not simply the forgiveness of sins but also the conquest of death by Christ in our resurrection from the dead.

    To the point of your question: woman does not have a completely unique feminine soul-that would mean that man and woman are two species. However, speaking analogously of the Person of Christ [One Person, two natures], we can say, we have one human nature (ensoulment) expressed in two distinct genders expressed in the male genius and female genius [see St John Paul’s Letter to Women concerning the appreciation of woman’s genius].

    With this Scriptural and more traditional Christian anthropology (vision of human nature) we see Christ’s mission in terms of the whole person, both genders and all classes etc of people. His healings then are not simply supernatural proofs of His Divinity [although they certainly are that] but also the revelation of the ultimate salvation He was/is bringing-healing to both soul and body-ultimately in the resurrection. On the Cross He revealed our redemption/salvation from sin, in His rising from the dead He revealed our redemption/salvation from death.

    We see in the Gospels, especially Luke’s, His esteem of the feminine genius: His own Mother, Martha and Mary [action and prayer], Mary Magdalen, the women who stood witness at the Cross and went to the tomb. In John’s Gospel, “the Woman’ His Bride, emerged at the Marriage Feast of Cana, was revealed coming from the pierced side of the New Adam at the Cross, and once again reunited in the Garden of the Resurrection. While several women imaged the Woman, there is no doubt about the deep love and union between Christ and the Woman, the Church-the heart and foundation of all our teaching on marriage and sexuality.

  • Botolph

    I agree. The Council of Vienne (the 15th ecumenical council held 1311-1312) defined as an article of faith that the rational soul is the form of the body, of itself and essentially.

    However, the Council was using the word soul or “anima” in the then-current Scholastic sense. St Augustine and other Latin Fathers and ecclesiastical writers use a different terminology, often that of Neo-Platonism. So, he often (not always) uses “mens” (mind) in the sense of νοῦς (nous) or νόος (noös, “mind”); so do St Ambrose and Tertullian. He also uses “interior” to mean the psyche in the modern (not the classical) sense.

    Another favourite term of his is “cor” (heart) in of “as the seat of wisdom, understanding, heart, mind, judgment, not just of the emotions; this is a meaning most commonly found in pre-classical poets ((cf. Cic. Tusc. 1, 9, 18) This by-the-by is often the meaning of « Le cœur » in 17th century French, notably Pascal.

    My point is that we must always look for the author’s meaning, rather than for the word’s meaning and this applies to modern writers quite as much as to ancient ones.

  • Thank you, Botolph and Michael Paterson-Seymour: Your exposition of the human soul is going a long way to the understanding and prevention of IVF, cloning and genetic engineering of human beings. It is a known fact that recipients of donated body parts have dreams of their donors, dead and alive.
    I often think of Jesus saying: “My kingdom is not of this world.” in regard to the human soul.

  • Mary DeVoe, thank you for your kind words; I hope that you enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day with your family.

  • Botolph and MPS, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. Thank you both for providing such clarity and enlightenment regarding the theological nature and form of the soul.
    Over at Crisis, MPS you wrote: “….In Germany, one had the inevitable reaction, with Hegel vigorously asserting the personality of the state: “Since the state is mind objectified, it is only as one of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine individuality, and an ethical life. Unification pure and simple is the true content and aim of the individual, and the individual’s destiny is the living of a universal life” and the Pandektists claiming that the state is “the corporation of corporations.”
    While I recognize that your discussion of Hegel is within the realm of Philosophy and not theology, how does one account theologically for the possibility of a “mind objectified”….what is Hegel’s view of the mind? …is it the same as Catholicism’s understanding of the soul and what does it mean to objectify the mind?
    Moreover, with what does the mind seek to unify itself? What is a “universal life”?
    Botolph please feel free to weigh in as well.

  • Slainté

    No, Hegel’s vocabulary is entirely his own.

    His expression, “mind objectified” was, perhaps, better expressed by the French Catholic philosopher, Yves Simon, when he said, “The highest activity/being in the natural order is free arrangement of men about what is good brought together in an actual polity where it is no longer a mere abstraction. This is, as it were, the inner-worldly purpose of our being on this earth.” He also says that ““Beyond the satisfaction of individual needs, the association of men serves a good unique in plenitude and duration, the common good of the human community.” Again, he insists that the individual, taken in isolation from the community is “no longer unequivocally real.”

    It was a fundamental principle of the Enlightenment that the nature of the human person can be adequately described without mention of social relationships. A person’s relations with others, even if important, are not essential and describe nothing that is, strictly speaking, necessary to one’s being what one is. This principle underlies all their talk about the “state of nature” and the “social contract,” and from it is derived the notion that the only obligations are those voluntarily assumed. It was this notion that was rejected, not only by Hegel, but by the Counter-Revolutionary Catholics, like Joseph de Maistre, Bonald, Chateaubriand and the Throne & Altar Conservatives.

  • Cutting through the mists and fogs of Modernism and post-Vatican II “Spiritism” is a letter from Fr. Carlo Buzzi (OK, Muppet Gallery: no relation to Ruth), a missionary in Bangladesh since 1975, with ‘street-cred’ on conversions to the Catholic Faith), quoted in Sandro Magister’s chiesa.com site May 12, 2014:

    “‘My Take’ on Communion for the Remarried” (excerpt), Fr. Carlo Buzzi

    “… In marriage the ministers are the spouses themselves, the matter is their bodies and souls, the formula is the promise and the miraculous event is that they become as one person. [Here in Bangladesh] We teach that the sacrament is called this because it produces a supernatural event that cannot be seen with our eyes but is grandiose and real in the eyes of God.

    With regard to marriage, we explain precisely that the miraculous thing is that after the promise before God the two spouses become united in one person as if they had been put together with superglue or fused at a thousand degrees.

    Now, if this miraculous reality is taken away from Catholic marriage, what should we put in its place?

    I have made a reflection of my own.

    We know very well that there exists the baptism “of blood” and also the baptism “of desire,” just as valid as that of water.

    Those who have remarried, if they are truly aware of their situation, can make the communion of desire.

    In the reception of the sacraments there is the objective part and the subjective part. It is known that the most important thing is the great grace connected to the sacrament. But I could ruin this grace and even commit sacrilege if I approach communion casually or unworthily.

    Now for these remarried, who all told have trampled a bit on the Christian meaning of suffering, of sacrifice, of forbearance, of penitence, and have forgotten that Jesus went up upon the cross and that the cross, when it comes, is the way for every Christian to drawn near to the Redeemer, it is a bit presumptuous to appeal to the mercy of God when before they have taken it so little into account.

    In the subjective sense, I think that for them it is much more essential that they limit themselves to the desire for communion, instead of receiving communion itself.

    The voluntary acceptance of this fasting will be very good for their souls and for the sanctity of that Christian community which is the Church.

    But taking the route traced by Cardinal Kasper would cause serious harm:

    1. It would make the Church superficial and accommodating;
    2. One would have to deny the infallibility of the chair of Peter, because it would be as if all the previous popes had erred;
    3. One would have to take as fools all those who gave their lives as martyrs to defend this sacrament.

    Perhaps I have made my contribution to this diatribe, which I hope will end soon.

    So long and many warm greetings from Bangladesh, which is emerging in so many things and is no longer a country to be shoved aside.”

    —Father Carlo Sirajganj, [Bangladesh]. May 5, 2014

    I think PF needs to spend some anonymous years in a mission apostolate and learn (dare I say it: I do) from Fr. Buzzi the true meaning of the word “pastoral care.”

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  • “Again, he insists that the individual, taken in isolation from the community is “no longer unequivocally real.”” Communism, atheism, and totalitarianism, worship of the state as God. Total
    rejection of God and embrace of the state as the only reality.
    “An individual substance of a rational nature” is Thomas Aquinas’ definition of the person. Man, with God in his heart and soul IS a community of Persons. “Where there are two or three in my Name, (prayer), there I am, in their midst”, the community in the soul of man. The Blessed Trinity is a community, a family of Persons Who love one another. Man is one species Homo-Sapiens. All men (and women) belong to the one species from conception to death and eternity, and belong to the community, visible and invisible.
    Man’s choice to reject God is called atheism. Devils are each and every one a different species and may be identified by their evil. Devils are the only persons who can be outside of community. Using the template of the devil, instead of God, to measure man is atheism.

  • This whole thing is of great concern for my faith. I returned two years ago after thirty years. I left because of the lack of solid teaching by the Church (at least her earthly representatives) on these exact issues back then. Now those questions are coming up again. We see the specific Cardinals that are our new Pope’s favorites and brought in to lead these synods, promoting teachings that are directly in opposition of Jesus Christ’s own teaching and the teaching of every Pope for two thousand years. We see how the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ has destroyed the Church and the faith of her people with its wishy washy lack of clarity and trying to conform to a immoral modern society. (It seems even worse than during the Arian heresy where the clergy turned away from truth but the laity stayed true to the faith).

    As Father Carlo Sirajganj was so well quoted above:
    But taking the route traced by Cardinal Kasper would cause serious harm:
    1. It would make the Church superficial and accommodating;
    2. One would have to deny the infallibility of the chair of Peter, because it would be as if all the previous popes had erred;
    3. One would have to take as fools all those who gave their lives as martyrs to defend this sacrament.

    What distinguishes the Roman Catholic Church from any other religion and denomination? The Truth. If we give that up, we have nothing.

  • St Donatus,

    I must say you have an interesting name, given the history of the Church, lol however that is another conversation.

    Let me say I am glad you have come back home to the Catholic Church. I am not sure what turned you away, but coming back to full communion is always a blessing.

    Having said that however, several of your points which may indeed be objective criticisms of some things going on in the Church these days, you have both universalized and catastrophized. Perhaps the most obvious one is ‘that the spirit of Vatican II” has destroyed the Church. That simply is not true. It may indeed be your perception but it is entirely inaccurate. “The spirit of Vatican II’ begins by seeing Vatican II as a complete break with the Church of two thousand years. We call this the hermeneutic of rupture. For this grouping within the Church, the Church was born again in 1965 (closing of Vatican II) and all we have to do is get with the program. The ‘spirit of Vatican II” is dead wrong and your perception that they have taken over and destroyed the Church is very inaccurate. Especially since 1985 with the Extraordinary Synod in that year, the so called ‘spirit of Vatican II’ has ‘lost the war’ and to be honest are getting so old they can hardly battle any more. While there is still an element of the ‘spirit of VII’ within the Church, which again is voicing itself as we approach another Extraordinary Synod-this time on Family-they are getting a great deal of press-but it is the Synod that counts, not the press.

    The Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. Those are in full communion with the Catholic Church hold to all its teachings, sacraments and communion with the bishops and Pope. No element of this will change in the next two years. Be not afraid. Welcome home!

  • As we a thinking about marriage, and about theology of the body, I want to interject this thought: use the word “sex’ instead of “gender”.
    Good communication just depends so heavily on mutually understanding terminology. Gaudium et Spes does not refer to “gender” but uses the more specific and time honored term “sex”. “Sex” refers to the biological/ physiological characteristics that define men and women. “Gender” refers to socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities etc that a particular society or group considers appropriate for men and women, and has come into relatively recent use.
    “Gender” allows a sliding scale, so to speak. More fluid. I think it is very rare for a Church official to use the term “gender” in important communication.
    GLAAD : . Sex is “the classification of people as male or female” at birth, based on bodily characteristics such as chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitalia. Gender identity is “one’s internal, personal sense of being a man or woman (or a boy or a girl)
    Supreme Court Justice Scalia recognizes the increasingly common use: “The word gender has acquired the new and useful connotation of cultural or attitudinal characteristics (as opposed to physical characteristics) distinctive to the sexes.
    Gender theory people say more or less that real identity lies in the mind or self-perception and not in biology.
    Might seem like a small point to some, but being concerned with so-called “gay” agenda, I have come to see “gender’ as speaking of an ideology that I don’t accept. Gender ideology is a tool for dismantling marriage, and that kind of terminology and meaning is already so inculcated and is in use even in the education of young children.

  • Here is a quote from B16:
    “The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient).
    These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality.
    According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.
    The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.
    According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God.
    This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist.
    Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will.
    The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed.
    But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.

    The rest to be found here

  • Analyze,

    I was using the term ‘gender’ in the sense is ‘sex’. Thank you for interjecting however. The issues at hand are indeed profound. They are ‘anthropological’-vision of ‘man’. Since we believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, we believe He reveals God fully to us; however, He also fully reveals to us what it means to be ‘man’. This profound ‘content’ to being human is precisely what. Is being rejected or rebelled against.

  • Thank you for your response Botolph. Theology of the Body should be on my reading list- sad to say I have never read the pope’s words, but only what other’s have said about what he said.

  • Others might be interested to know that to the right of this page is Biblia Clerus, first listed under Catholic Bible Links. It was there I found this:


    1 Wednesday 9 January 1980 – The Nuptial Meaning of the Body

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

Monday, May 5, AD 2014


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.




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

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  • The souls of our constitutional posterity are deathly afraid of the LCWR. Only God has the right to wield that much power.

  • I couldn’t get the Vatican site to load, but I found the text on a site called “A Priest’s Life”. Wow. Muller might as well have been beating them with a pool cue while he gave that address (and I mean that in a good way).

  • I hope the apostates and heretics repent, but I am doubtful. They would rather heroically support Democracy in the Church than to submit to a Patriarchal authority whom they despise.

  • It would have helped greatly if Cardinal Mueller had specifically mentioned that the teachings of Teilhard de Chardin have already been condemned by the Church on several occasions. The theme of Conscious Evolution that the Cardinal mentions finds its strongest support in Catholic circles from the errors of Teilhard. Many people are totally unaware of the Church’s past attempts at warning the faithful about him, and he is still being taught to seminarians (though the Church has explicitly forbidden this) as some sort of misunderstood prophet. I imagine the same thing then is also going on in convents.

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  • Teilhard de Chardin’s thinking -it should be known – was not his own origination, but that of a Russian philosopher.

  • As the old proverb goes-the ball is now in the LCWR’s court. They have been off the reservation for years. This is the last opportunity for them to get back into ‘the game’

  • One of the truly bizarre thinkers mentioned in the Doctrinal Assessment under whose sway the LWCR have fallen is the chillingly “visionary” futurist, Barbara Hubbard Marx, who calls herself a “Conscious Evolutionist”. In her own words, she says:

    “In traditional religious language, we were created in the image of God and are becoming ever more godlike. In evolutionary language, we were created by the process of evolution and are becoming coevolutionary with that process. In cocreation we bring forth two strands — our spiritual essence and our scientific and social capacities — to participate in the creation. When these strands blend, a new human is born: a universal human, a cocreator, a unique and personal expression of the divine.

    The most fundamental step on the path of the cocreator is a new spirituality in which we shift our relationship with the creative process from creature to cocreator — from unconscious to conscious evolution. Through resonance with the metapattern that connects us all, we learn to take responsibility for our part in the creation of our own evolution.” (www.barbarahubbardmarx.com)

    Once again, like Genesis 1-11: Man (or Womyn) seeks to become God.

  • The teaching of Barbara Hubbard Marx is Gnostic [in the full and real sense of the word]

  • Chillingly so, Botolph. With echoes of Thus Sprach Zarathustra/Nietsche.

  • I totally agree.

  • How much “cocreation” will be required for man to become infinite? No matter how much cocreation man can work, man’s destiny can never be infinite.
    I read Chardin fifty years ago, but did not understand him until now. Thank you, Danielle and Steve Phoenix.

  • I’m a fan of the political philosopher Eric Voegelin, whose whole academic career was seemingly spent in the sisyphean task of convincing the world that a resurgent gnosticism had, since the mid nineteenth century, come to pose the greatest threat to civilization since the Church beat it back in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

  • wow-
    “My concern is whether such an intense focus on new ideas such as Conscious Evolution has robbed religious of the ABILITY truly to SENTIRE CUM EKKLESIA. To phrase it as a question, do the many religious listening to addresses on this topic or reading expositions of it EVEN HEAR the DIVERGENCES from the Christian faith present?”

    wow- I appreciate his frustration here with this group. Trying to be as nice as he can, explaining patiently and thoroughly- but that quote says it! My emphasis added

  • I hadn’t heard of Eric Voegelin before Ernst, but the point you say he makes about the huge problem of gnosticism sounds right to me!

  • heyar, edumacate yurself

    he said faux-intellectually

  • For an able defence of Teilhard de Chardin’s orthodoxy, one should read Cardinal Henri de Lubac’s “The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin.” It should be read together with the review of it in Hans Urs von Balthasar’s “The Theology of Henri de Lubac.”

    For Balthasar, “God’s plan of creation completes the edifice that has been begun by Christ, who is the keystone and who integrates into his mystical or eucharistic body all persons (who let themselves be inserted into his universal person). The world is ‘thus held together ultimately only from above.’ Evolution, as coherent, only becomes possible through what comes last, the omega of evolution. It is the final synthesis that explains everything, and Teilhard attempts to build up his ‘proof of God’ by starting here . . . The entire universe attains its real, substantial footing ultimately only in the person of the God-man.”

    I am not concerned to defend Teilhard himself, as to point out that two of the greatest theologians of the last century were able to read him in an orthodox sense.

  • One of the great Catholic theologians of our day, Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote at some length, and favorably, of Chardin in his master work, Introduction to Christianity. Discussing the concept of the Body of Christ, the future Pope Benedict wrote “It must be regarded as an important service of Teilhard de Chardin’s that he rethought these ideas from the angle of the modern view of the world and, in spite of a not entirely unobjectionable tendency toward the biological approach, nevertheless on the whole grasped them correctly and in any case made them accessible once again.”

  • That endears B16 to me. Generous kind looking for the good eminently fair.

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

Friday, May 2, AD 2014


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).



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

  • It used to be a college degree meant a job related to your field. No more, so parent’s and their kids are rightfully asking why they are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars a year for a degree.

  • “with many students and their families having to indebt themselves increasingly if they are to graduate from a Catholic institution of higher education”

    I can think of two ways to get around this problem. One might be for the Church to sink its resources into better quality Newman Centers at secular colleges; the best secular university Newman centers, such as those at U of Illinois and Texas A & M, are more supportive of Catholic life and provide a better “Catholic” education than some officially “Catholic” institutions do.

    The other might be to learn from private and Evangelical colleges that have found creative ways to prevent or discourage students from going into debt for their education. Here’s a story about the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, which actually FORBIDS its students from taking out loans:


    Is there any reason why some of the small, orthodox/classically oriented Catholic schools couldn’t follow the example of “Hard Work U” or other small colleges that traditionally let students work their way through?

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  • 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.
    The Motley Monk

    College kids can play at “social doctrine” by hooking up with a College Democrats club at any secular college. And if all that’s Catholic about a college is “Catholic culture” then I say to hell with it. Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen long ago recognized that Catholic children often lose their faith at Catholic colleges.

    The essential feature of a Catholic high school or college is that it teaches a rich, adult understanding of the Catholic faith, teaching that rises far above mere courses in what could be dubbed Catholic Faith Appreciation. Just look around you, see if there are any high schools and colleges you know from your direct experience that offer more than “Catholic culture” alone, that do not have more Catholic students going in than faithful Catholic graduates coming out.

    Really, though, if Catholic parents were raising their children in the faith what would be the need for most colleges that call themselves Catholic today?

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

Monday, March 31, AD 2014


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.



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

  • I am embarrassed for the priest and the woman. For a woman to be ordained, she would have to have testicles. Consecration at the Mass would have to be “This is a symbol of my Body” As Flannery O’Connor said: “If the host is only a symbol, it can go to hell” The Real Presence of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is present on the altar in every Catholic Church. Without the Real Presence, there would be no Catholic Church. And the devil would dance at his wedding with this liar.

  • Inherit in the word priest is the fact that a woman cannot be a priest. Now she may be a priestess. But Christ never ordained priestesses. So being a priestess is non-Christian.

    A man on the other hand cannot be a priestess. He may however be a priest, and since Christ ordained only men, this is fitting.

    I see this same sort of thing happening elsewhere. For example, Allison MacFarlane is called Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But being a woman, she cannot be a Chairman – a man who sits in the Chair over the other four US NRC Commissioners. She can however be a Chairwoman – a woman who sits in the chair over the other four US NRC Commissioners. Likewise a man may be a chairman but never a chairwoman.

    In the same way a woman cannot be an actor or a hero. She may be an actress or a heroine. Likewise a man cannot be an actress or a heroine, but he may be an actor or hero.

    This mix up in gender terminology is a confusion done deliberately to perpetuate the mistaken notion that men and women are equal in function. They are not. However, all humans – men and women – are created equal in dignity. Nevertheless, Robert Heinlein in his Notebooks of Lazarus Long has a particularly interesting take on this:

    “Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up on the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, ‘equality’ is a disaster.”

    That a woman can be a mother, bringing new life into the world, lends a certain credence to what Heinlein wrote and is likely what he intended. Indeed, being a priest (or even priestess) will not make a woman equal to a man, and even if it did, as Heinlein indicated, women would ultimately end up with the short end of the stick. But such ideas are anathema to today’s contraceptive, abortive mentality held by most modern women and not a few modern men.

  • “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.”

    I disagree. The Cubs have a much better chance of winning the World Series this year. It may be about 10,000 to 1, but at least the Magisterium of the Church doesn’t forbid it (although long-suffering fans might sometimes wonder about that!).

  • The womanpriest cannot fulfill the desire of God to “give us this day our daily bread”, the petition of The Lord’s prayer taught to us by Jesus, and does not act “In persona Christi”, in the person of Christ. The womanpriest cannot act in the person of Christ or confect the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, to give us this day our daily bread, because she is a woman. Jesus Christ is a man, true man and true God.
    A woman who will not accept her sexuality is only half a person and unfit to serve in any office of the Catholic Church. And anyone who encourages her to reject her womanhood is evil.
    This is the will of God and of Jesus Christ, the God made man.
    Paul W. Primavera: “Inherent” is the word you are looking for because the truth inheres in what you say. The truth may also be “inherited” and the truth is our heritage. So, we are both correctedly.
    Baseball is good after Mass.

  • Paul W Primavera wrote, “Inherit in the word priest is the fact that a woman cannot be a priest. Now she may be a priestess. But Christ never ordained priestesses. So being a priestess is non-Christian….” Unfortunately, your point does not work in Latin, where “sacerdos” is common gender.

    That is why I have always found the claim that the early Church did not ordain women for cultural reasons.
    Priestesses were very common in the ancient world. The most revered sanctuary in Greece was the shrine of Phœbus Apollo at Delphi, where the oracle was uttered by the Pythian priestess. Readers of Plato will know that the temple of Zeus at Dordona was also served by priestesses. Both Apollo and Zeus, it should be noted, were male deities. The play “Iphigegnia in Taurus” contains no suggestion that there is anything unusual in a woman being a priestess.

    In Latin, as I said, the word “sacerdos” is common gender. The SC De Bacchanaliis of 184 BC, which is preserved in monumental inscriptions, as well as literary sources, forbids women to offer sacrifice by night, except when celebrating the rites of the Good Goddess. Why, if they were not permitted to offer sacrifice at all? That the Vestals were priestesses is affirmed by Gaius, a very careful jurist and the Sybil at Cumæ was a priestess, according to Vergil.

    It would be a cheap display of very trite learning to multiply examples, but the cultural argument really does not wash.

  • I meant to say, “That is why I have always found the claim that the early Church did not ordain women for cultural reasons implausible.”

  • MPS, your right. Sacerdos, anistes, antestes (a variant in spelling), consacerdos (concelbrant) include both genders. Antistita however is high priestess exclusively.

    Agricola – farmer – suffers from a similar problem. It is first declension which is usually feminine, but it can refer to a male farmer (as most were men).

    I wonder about Koine or New Testament Greek, however. The masculine word presbyteros was used to refer to priests or elders in the New Testament. Doesn’t iereia however mean priestess (unless I am mistaken)? Is there a presbytera variant that the ancient Greeks used?

  • Paul W Primavera

    English “priest” and Latin “presbyter” are the same word – in Old English it was “presbt” It is from Greek πρεσβύτερος or elder.

    Now, Latin Presbyter was used of priests in contradistinction to bishops, whereas sacerdos embraced both and is invariably used in liturgical texts. The root meaning of sacerdos (from sacer) is one who sets something apart for the gods, particularly offered in sacrifice. Sacer can mean hallowed or accursed, for, in either case, the notion is of something or someone given over to the unseen powers.

    You are right about ἱερὸς being masculine, but, in the NT, it is used exclusively of the Jewish priests, never of Christian ones. Some Protestants famously use this to dismiss the idea of a sacrificing priesthoos in Christianity at all.

    Antistes is Latin from anti-sto to stand before and means a leader or overseeer; it is a literal Latin rendering of ἐπίσκοπος. English bishop is simply the Anglicised form of the Greek – the shift from hard c or k to h also occurs in cornu-horn from the same Indo-European root and in centum-hundred.

  • “The longtime vegetarian and his girlfriend passed away in their Berlin bunker.”

    What does this guy’s record on peace have anything to do with the story? (I’d make the same comment about his human rights activism, but that’s where the problem lies: they see the priesthood as a human right.)

  • Thank you, MPS! I knew that the Greek epi-skopos meant literally “over” “seer” from “epi” and “skopos” respectively (skopos going into our English word scope as in telescope).

    I did NOT know however that the Latin antistes was a combination of the verb antire (to go before – anti being the imperative singular go before) and the verb stare (to stand – sto meaning I stand). I studied Latin and Greek, and obviously I still have a lot to learn. Thanks you! Fascinating!

    I still think however that the idea of a Christian priestess would have been anathema to the Apostles and early Church Fathers. And I simply cannot all these woman “priests” when they are not.

  • Strike three indeed. This is not an issue of human rights or equality of men and women. The Church has stated that She [notice the gender] has no ability to ordain women as priests and bishops. It is not that she refuses or won’t; she cannot. Therefore these women and their male supporters are talking about (and practicing) something that simply is not Catholic. Period.

    These women are not celebrating Mass, or consecrating hosts-they are doing nothing but baking cookies!

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  • Thank you Paul W. Primavera and Michael Paterson-Seymour. I have enjoyed your exchange immensely.
    “And I simply cannot call these woman “priests” when they are not.”
    It is not that the women are not priests, it is that they are blasphemers, telling God instead of following their vocation..

  • Pingback: WomenPriests and their supporters: Strike three and you’re out! | Catholic4Life

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

Sunday, March 30, AD 2014


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.


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:

To read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, click on the following link:

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


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

  • What matters is the perception reality of duplicity on the part of the mainstream media and liberals in the Catholic press.

  • Some local color: the Buckhead area of Atlanta is frightfully expensive, with small condos easily reaching into the $2mill plus range. Christ the King spending 2mill to renovate a full building in that area, which houses 10 priests I believe (certainly more than the number of priests simply assigned to the Parish) is well within reasonable bounds for the area.

    I can not speculate as to the archbishop’s new residence. I have no information about it. However, so long as His Emmenence is not intending to live there alone (ie house other priests there as well) then I have little to critique him on.

  • Archbishop Aguila in Denver is doing the same thing. Our Catholic Conference was canceled for lack of money, but he’s building a residence as a resource to entertain and raise more money. No one cares what Liberals do against the people because their words tickle the ears.

  • Wealth has more than once been the undoing of the institutional Church. During the Reformation, many rulers saw religious orders, decayed in zeal and numbers, but with great endowments, as a popular target for confiscation.
    Similarly, before the Revolution, the French bishops were unpopular, numerous and enormously rich. The States-General had been called to deal with the budget deficit – the government was bankrupt – and Jean de Dieu-Raymond de Cucé de Boisgelin (splendid name), Archbishop of Aix proposed to the Finance Minister and former banker, Jacques Necker that the bishops should buy up the deficit, to the tune of £16m (at least £4.8 bn in modern terms), for ready cash, so that they would become the government’s only creditor (at 4%).
    Originally, Necker was for accepting, but the Neckers were Swiss Protestants and his wife Suzanne, the daughter of the village pastor of Crassier in Vaud, told him that this compact would establish Catholicism for ever as the State Church in France, so Necker broke off negotiations.
    Boisgelin’s offer may well have suggested to the Assembly where ready funds were to be had. In the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, they confiscated the church lands and put the clergy on a salary, a system that continued until 1905 (and still does in Alsace-Moselle) Even then, the ecclesiastical budget amounted to to 42,324,933 francs or $8,464,986; current real value about $470,653,221 – still less than a twentieth of the rental value of the old church lands. The state also maintained the church buildings, bishop’s palaces, rectories &c and still does, for those built pre-1904.

  • If your mansion is here on earth, you won’t get one in Heaven.

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  • Here is Vatican II on Bishop’s homes as needing to be approachable by the poor:

    ON DECEMBER 7, 1965
    ” Led by the Spirit of the Lord, who anointed the Savior and sent him to evangelize the poor,(53) priests, therefore, and also bishops, should avoid everything which in any way could turn the poor away. Before the other followers of Christ, let priests set aside every appearance of vanity in their possessions. Let them arrange their homes so that they might not appear unapproachable to anyone, lest anyone, even the most humble, fear to visit them.”

    This is not being observed in Newark where the Archbishop’s “working” retirement home is halfway across the state and has 8 rural acres where he could have actual sheep and smell them if he so desired…along with an outdoor pool and the addition costing $500K which will have an indoor endless pool and whirlpool bath and three fireplaces for a post 72 year old man which means he’ll need a handyman on salary to cut that wood. Nothing preaches contraception inadvertently, more than a double mansion/ waterpark for one person because it says….we all need lots of space. So whether the Archbishop is on paper conservative or liberal, mansion space for one person sends a message to laity that we all need mucho space. In this area, Pope Francis is really preaching the opposite of the mansion inclined hierarchy.

  • I cannot believe the blindness of the bishop in Germany, or these two Archbishops in America. A bishop does not need a palace, His Master did not even have a roof over His Head. A bishop needs two rooms, a bedroom,and a study just like their priests have. He can have an office etc in some other location. As for rooms large enough for entertaining 300 [a statement of Archbishop Gregory] How often does that happen? Are the poor and homeless included in those 300? Or perhaps he is having the 300 Spartans over for a ‘last meal’ lol

  • You state: “Pope Francis may not be as silent. He may speak by denying Archbishop Gregory a red hat because of that new residence.” There is absolutely no reason to believe that Pope Francis could even be contemplating creating Archbishop Gregory a cardinal. So there is even less than absolutely no reason to believe that he may “speak by denying” him a red hat. I know that in Wikipedia it is written: “Before deciding to elevate Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Houston to the Sacred College of Cardinals in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI had reportedly considered Archbishop Gregory for that honor.” But reported by whom? Certainly not by anyone with any knowledge of what was actually going on in the apostolic palace. And by the by, I attended the consistory in 2007 and,as a Scotsman, was greatly impressed by the pilgrims accompanying Cardinal diNardo. They contributed mightily to a wonderful atmosphere..

  • Bill Bannon wrote, “the Archbishop’s “working” retirement home is halfway across the state and has 8 rural acres where he could have actual sheep and smell them if he so desired…”
    A Scottish Provincial Council, held at Perth 1249-1250 decreed that every parish priest should have assigned to him glebe land of four acres of arable land or sixteen acres of pasture for his support, so eight acres seems quite modest for an archbishop. As for the sheep, in my part of the country, we reckon five to the acre.
    A bishop’s residence, however humble, is a “palace.” The original “palace” was the hut of Romulus on the Palatine, which is why, in Europe, the local magistrates’ court is the “palace of justice.”

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  • Apparently Archbishop Gregory has apologized for building a $2.2 million mansion to use as his home, a move that made him the object of derision and complaint, and said he may sell it. The archdiocese would begin the process of selling the mansion “if it is the will” of Church and other advisers. See report here -http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/01/us-usa-georgia-archbishop-idUSBREA300GM20140401

  • Michael PS,
    The 8 acres are producing nothing in this case excepting an inflated ego but may well and should make New Jersey taxpayers take another look at what kinds of Church related lands are tax free.

  • Boltoph,
    I have attended functions at Archbishop’s Residence many many times. He hosts functions for all manner of Catholic organizations, such as the Serrans, the St. Thomas More Society, major parish or archdiocesan donors, Catholic Charities, etc.; and these functions can be quite large. Whether that renders the recent decisions optimal either in substance or optics are different questions, but yes indeed the Archbishop hosts many events that are appropriate and helpful to the Archdiocese. He has be told that he should hold more such events, such as for SVDP volunteers and the K of C, but his current space is quite inadequate. As for the poor I cannot say, but I’m not inclined to criticize too much until I start inviting homeless people into my home like you do.

  • Here’s a note that the Archbishop sent out to the Archdiocese this morning.

    What I Have Seen and Heard: The archbishop responds

    By Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

    “We are disturbed and disappointed to see our church leaders not setting the example of a simple life as Pope Francis calls for. How can we instill this in our children when they see their archdiocesan leadership living extravagantly? We ask you to rethink these decisions and understand the role model the clergy must serve so the youth of our society can answer Jesus’ call. Neither our 18- or 14-year-old sons understand the message you are portraying.”

    So went just one of many of the heartfelt, genuine and candidly rebuking letters, emails and telephone messages I have received in the past week from people of faith throughout our own Archdiocese and beyond. Their passionate indictments of me as a Bishop of the Catholic Church and as an example to them and their children are stinging and sincere. And I should have seen them coming.

    Please understand that I had no desire to move; however, the Cathedral Parish has a problem, albeit a happy one. The Cathedral of Christ the King is one of our largest, most vibrant and fastest growing parishes-but it is landlocked. The site of the current rectory could be used for expansion if the priests could be moved to a new rectory nearby. Because of the proximity of the Archbishop’s house to the Cathedral and the way it is configured with separate apartments and common space, the rector of Christ the King one day summoned the courage to ask me if I would give some thought to letting the parish purchase the residence from the Archdiocese to repurpose it for its rectory. It made more sense for them to be in walking distance to the Cathedral than I, so I said yes, knowing full well that literally left the Archbishop without a place to live.

    Soon thereafter, the Archdiocese and the Cathedral Parish received a generous bequest from Joseph Mitchell, including his home on Habersham Road, to benefit the whole archdiocese, but especially his beloved parish, the Cathedral of Christ the King. Through the extraordinary kindness of Joseph Mitchell, we had a perfect piece of property nearby on which to relocate the Archbishop’s residence.

    Some have suggested that it would have been appropriate for the Cathedral Parish to build a rectory on the Habersham property and have the priests each drive back and forth, and in retrospect that might be true. At the time, though, I thought that not giving up the Archbishop’s residence, which was so close to the Cathedral Parish, would have been perceived as selfish and arrogant by the people at the Cathedral Parish and might damage my relationship with them!

    So I agreed to sell the West Wesley residence to the Cathedral Parish and set about looking for a different place for me and my successors to live. That’s when, to say the least, I took my eye off the ball. The plan seemed very simple. We will build here what we had there-separate living quarters and common spaces, a large kitchen for catering, and lots of room for receptions and other gatherings.

    What we didn’t stop to consider, and that oversight rests with me and me alone, was that the world and the Church have changed.

    Even before the phenomenon we have come to know as Pope Francis was elected to the Chair of Peter, we Bishops of the Church were reminded by our own failings and frailty that we are called to live more simply, more humbly, and more like Jesus Christ who challenges us to be in the world and not of the world. The example of the Holy Father, and the way people of every sector of our society have responded to his message of gentle joy and compassion without pretense, has set the bar for every Catholic and even for many who don’t share our communion.

    As the Shepherd of this local Church, a responsibility I hold more dear than any other, certainly more than any configuration of brick and mortar, I am disappointed that, while my advisors and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia.

    I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the Archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services.

    I failed to consider the difficult position in which I placed my auxiliary bishops, priests, deacons and staff who have to try to respond to inquiries from the faithful about recent media reports when they might not be sure what to believe themselves.

    I failed to consider the example I was setting for the young sons of the mother who sent the email message with which I began this column.

    To all of you, I apologize sincerely and from my heart.

    We teach that stewardship is half about what you give away, and half about how you use what you choose to keep. I believe that to be true. Our intention was to recreate the residence I left behind, yet I know there are situations across the country where local Ordinaries have abandoned their large homes, some because of financial necessity and others by choice, and they continue to find ways to interact with thefamilies in their pastoral care without the perception, real or imagined, of lavish lifestyles.

    So where do we go from here?

    It is my intention to move deliberately forward and to do a better job of listening than I did before. When I thought this was simply a matter of picking up and moving from one house to a comparable one two miles away, we covered every angle from the fiscal and logistical perspectives, but I overlooked the pastoral implications. I fear that when I should have been consulting, I was really only reporting, and that is my failure. To those who may have hesitated to advise me against this direction perhaps out of deference or other concerns, I am profoundly sorry.

    There are structures already in place in the Archdiocese from which I am able to access the collective wisdom of our laity and our clergy. In April I will meet with the Archdiocesan Council of Priests, and in early May our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (a multi-cultural group of Catholics of all ages, representing parishes of all sizes, who serve as a consultative body to me) will convene. I will ask for the Finance Council of the Archdiocese to schedule an extraordinary meeting. At each of these meetings I will seek their candid guidance on how best to proceed.

    If it is the will of these trusted representative groups, the Archdiocese will begin the process of selling the Habersham residence. I would look to purchase or rent something appropriate elsewhere.

    It has been my great privilege and honor to be your Archbishop for the past nine years. I promise you that my service to you is the reason I get up each day-not the house in which I live or the zip code to which my mail is sent. I would never jeopardize the cherished and personal relationships I have built with so many of you over something that personally means so little after all.

    I humbly and contritely ask your prayers for me, and I assure you, as always, of mine for you.

  • This is a good statement. He recognizes the havoc and chaos he unintentionally released. He is “returning’ to his consultative bodies, which always is wise. This is the second ‘ bishop’s residence’ issue we have had recently in America, may it be the last.

    In the meantime we can move forward.

  • While Buckhead can be expensive the $2.2 million for one Bishop was egregious as it was hypocritical. Archbishop would not allow the two Auxillary Bishops to live at either Mansion. One lives in an inexpensive condo and one lives 15 miles away in a Parish rectory in the suburbs. It is a colossal waste of money. The only people invited to Archbisop Gregory’s parties are his cronies, flu kids and donors.

    A total of roughly $5,500,000 out of roughly $11,000,000 designated for Archdiocese of Atlanta and Christ the King Parish was allocated for two homes and at most 10 Priests. That is not being a good steward. That is abusing Christ’s Flock.

    And this is only tip of iceberg with Gregory.

  • Leaving aside the unseemly closing innuendo, I agree that the proposed use of the funds was sub-optimal, but (i) Buckhead is indeed expensive, (ii) CTK does need the rectory space for its programs, (iii) it is ridiculous to expect the AB not to invite donors and friends to his home, and (iv) I have been to the AB’s residence many times for functions honoring the work (not the donors) of various Catholic organizations. I am also a donor, I’m now proud to be a crony too.

  • The 8 acres are producing nothing in this case excepting an inflated ego but may well and should make New Jersey taxpayers take another look at what kinds of Church related lands are tax free. ”
    All church property is held in trust for all future generations. The parishioners have paid their fair share of taxes as citizens. Two taxes, one vote.Taxation without representation.
    How the land will be used by future generations is not known. Many good priests have foreseen the need for future generations and supplied them with the land to build their churches.

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “All church property is held in trust for all future generations”

    Indeed, and ecclesiastics are not always the most conscientious trustees. In the aftermath of Vatican II, many liturgical reformers in France were for removing the ancient rood-screens to give the congregation, or rather audience, an unobstructed view of the sanctuary. Fortunately, in France, the churches are public property and the government would not allow national treasures to be vandalised

    Here is the rood-screens at Albi Cathedral

    at Bourg-en-Bresse

    and at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Paris (where Pascal is buried)

    In Scotland, we have not been so fortunate

  • Yes, Michael Paterson-Seymour, these churches are national treasures, all built for the Real Presence of Jesus Christ by people who love God.

  • There is no need to seek guidance from the various council’s and have extraordinary meetings. The AB already knows what he must do. My fear is that he gathers a group of sycophant’s for advise in this matter when one phone call to the Pope will will clear everything up.

  • Leaving aside the fact that bishops do not have some mythical hotline to the Pope, it is probably true that the various lay advisors surrounding a bishop tend to be somewhat deferential in their behavior. That does not make then sycophants, however, and I know Archbishop Gregory well enough to be confident that he does and will genuinely want their candid counsel. I do not always agree with our Archbishop, but he is a good man who does love his flock. I tend to think he did make an error in judgment as to the use of the funds, but we all make such mistakes and there is no need for the uninformed one-sided vitriol. I was especially close to his predecessor and admired him greatly, yet I disagreed with some of his decisions regarding Catholic schools and told him so. Yet, I never challenged his good faith and intentions. Archbishop Gregory deserves the same fair treatment.

  • I have long been a severe critic of pusillanimous prelates in the Catholic Church, whom I hold responsible for much of the current chaos wreaking havoc in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, but I am obliged to admit that I have not read a communication on the lines of Archbishop Gregory before. We should have the Catholic courtesy to believe him and what he has written, it must have been an effort to summon up the courage to write like that.

    PLease people, hold your horses for a bit.

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

Tuesday, March 25, AD 2014


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:

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

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

  • This implantation nonsense is not new. Pro-abort forces have be fairly successful in convincing many medical organizations to consider human life as starting with implantation as opposed to conception. There is no logical reason whatsoever for this, but it suits their objectives. Of course, after implantation the human life that has been created is not a person and therefore irrelevant anyway. Sigh.

  • [“after implantation the human life that has been created is not a person and therefore irrelevant anyway.”
    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights precisely because the rational, immortal human soul created by “our Creator” for the newly fertilized human body is a sovereign person made in the image and likeness of God. There is no life without God willing and creating a sovereign soul with personhood and with unalienable human rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, that which is attaining his destiny. The soul is the form of the body. The body without life would not necessitate abortion to end his life. The human body, even if one cell, without a soul, the soul with his sovereign personhood, is dead.
    If this man has taken an oath to fulfill his office he is guilty of perjury. And prejudice in not fulfilling his representation of his entire constituency. Instead he has substituted his own opinion or politically correct opinions of others.
    As T. Shaw has said: “opinions are like anuses. Everybody’s got one.”

  • God, our Creator gives man a rational, immortal human soul, endowed with life, free will, sovereign personhood, intellect, intuition, talent, unalienable human rights and man’s one celled, newly fertilized human body’s response to life is to grow. Growth is a sign of life. Without life and growth there is only death.
    The state, our government, gives us citizenship and a tax bill.
    The Preamble to our Constitution spells out the state’s duty to citizens.
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    Our Constitution must deliver Justice and protect the innocent, the most morally and legally innocent are the newly conceived, to secure the Blessings of Liberty to our selves and our posterity. Our Constitutional posterity, George Washington’s constitutional posterity start as a single celled fertilized human egg endowed with an immortal human soul.
    “human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights” Subjective ordering of human rights are an opinion imposed on the sovereignty of the government citizens.
    Roe v. wade did not realize it but when they took on the abortion issue into court, they actually codified the sovereign personhood of the newly conceived.

  • Anyone as George Washington’s constitutional posterity who started his life as a single celled fertilized human egg endowed with an immortal human soul, ought to be emboldened to demand the truth, or he might then be liable to hell.

  • As for Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby: Intellectual property is what a corporation is to its founder. The corporation belongs to the founder and is founded on his beliefs and abilities and is continued in its existence on the founder’s beliefs as intellectual property. When the court changes or forcibly changes the rules according to the current political opinion depriving the free person his rights as a free citizen, the court than takes control of the corporation, does it not? The court cannot collectivize property in a free nation for that is communism.
    The government in and of itself cannot own anything. All public lands and entities belong in joint and common tenancy to each and every person. When Hobby Lobby becomes an entity of the U.S. Government everyone will own it in joint and common tenancy. But I will not receive stolen property.
    The HHS Mandate was added after the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, thereby denying informed consent of the governed, the will of the people. Congress is the voice of the people. The HHS Mandate was not voted on by Congress. The HHS Mandate is tyranny and Sebelius is the stooge of Obama, the Hitler.

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  • “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.”

    This lie is nothing new, ever since the pill has been marketed this lie has been told. The whole basis for ‘redefining when life began’ had to do with with the marketing of the pill; when first marketed – abortion was illegal. Hence the definition of the beginning of life had to be changed….

  • It was clear to me that Mike Petrik intended his reader to understand that it is not his opinion but the opinion of “pro-abort forces” that “after implantation the human life that has been created is not a person and therefore irrelevant anyway.”

  • Perhaps one of the trained legal minds that occasionally comment here can tell us if moving the goal posts as Donald Verrilli, Solicitor General of the United States, is attempting to do is an accepted method of legal argumentation.

  • Yes Micha, and thanks.

  • Edited to render comprehensible:
    I agree with Motley’s criticism of the cert petition’s footnote, but doubt that the matter will be raised as part of the oral argument. While I have not followed this case that carefully I think this slight of hand is simply playing to their fan base, but is not central to the case. Instead the question presented is whether a for-profit corporation can be required to offer a group health plan that covers certain contraceptives in violation of the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest. I don’t think the moving of the abortion definition goal posts, however cleverly deceitful, is likely to be that important to the case.

  • Sorry, Mike Petrik. Thank you Micha Elyi.

    “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”—-Thomas Jefferson.

    So far, I have been told that the Founding Fathers are dead and do not count anymore and that the Constitution is not the Law of the Land, that only Roe v. Wade is the Law of the Land. Catering to this mentality, Donald Virrilli will have his mob rule, in spite of birth control pills polluting the ground water, condoms that do not prevent HIV/aids or herpes, IUDs and chemicals that cause abortions.

  • Implantation? Heck, even the pro-aborts don’t believe that. They recognize tubal pregnancies as pregnancies worthy of sacrifice to Molech. Honesty? Integrity? Morality?

  • Micha, I was wrong. The definition of abortion did come up in oral argument, and Verrilli did indeed rely on his slight of hand definition in his response. I think Justice’s Kennedy and Roberts are troubled by the law requiring someone to pay for abortifacients. Justices Kagan and Sotomayer are implicitly acknowledging the same concern when they focus on employer options to avoid insurance altogether.

  • If the one celled newly fertilized egg is not a sacred human being endowed with an immortal soul, growth and life are proof, then all IVF, all egg cell manipulations, all sex selections are legal, moral and ethical, but if the one celled newly fertilized egg is a sacred human being endowed with an immortal soul, growth and life are proof, then all IVF, all egg cell manipulations, all sex selections are illegal, immoral, and unethical.
    A great red dragon appeared in the sky before the woman about to bring forth, that when she brought forth he might devour her son. Apocalypse 12: 1-10

  • It is a curious fact that gestational age is traditionally reckoned from the end of the preceding menstrual cycle, even though fertilisation (which is a process, rather than an event) typically occurs some fourteen days later.

    Some physiologists reckon pregnancy (not life) from implantation; an entirely different question.

  • both abortion and contraception have long been the objects of religious teaching.

    the obama administration is attempting to favor its own religious teachings about abortion and contraception over the religious teachings of other establishments.

    the ACA is simply the first installation of the federally designed religion trying to be forced on all americans.

    if the federal government gets to define which religious beliefs may be applied to one’s life, it is far along the path to establishing a government-sponsored/supported religion.

  • The Church has traditionally refrained from defining the moment of “ensoulment.”

    in its 1987 Instruction, Donum Vitae, the CDF says: “The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable”

    The hesitation may well have to do with the conundrum posed by monozygotic twinning.

    Tertullian (160-200) says, “With us, homicide being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even what is conceived in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood for its sustenance. To prevent a birth is to hasten homicide; nor does it matter whether you take away a life [animam] from one that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a human being which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed.” [My translation – I take “animam” to have its common Latin meaning of “life,” as the context makes clear]
    Tertullian’s reasoning would plainly hold, whether the zygote is gong to be one person or two (or more) and avoids any need to speculate about “ensoulment.”

  • I like Mary DeVoe’s quote from Revelation 12:4

    “A great red dragon appeared in the sky before the woman about to bring forth, that when she brought forth he might devour her son.”

    This quote describes well the present day and age of the dragon that is the Obamanation of Desolation. That said, we must remember the promise given in subsequent verses 5 and 6:

    “…she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”

    Michael the Archangel defeats the dragon. Obama and his demonic minions of darkness do NOT win. Except they repent, there is a place for them, and it is very hot.

  • Governor Sebelius did everything she could to destroy AG Phil Kline because he had the courage to follow the laws of Kansas with regard to Planned Parenthood, that corrupt organization that keeps her in office. Kathleen Sebelius is just her like her mentor, that wicked Queen Jezebel, whose lies and deceit finally caught up with her!

  • Will an unfertilized egg live and grow? NO.
    God designs creation of an individual substance of a rational nature, Thomas Aquinas’ definition of the “person”, contingent upon the act of procreation by the mother and by the father, the human egg fertilized by the human seed.
    Ensoulment occurs when our Creator creates an immortal soul for the newly fertilized human egg. The egg is no longer an egg. The seed is no longer a seed. The fertilized egg grows into a one celled human being complete with his own scientific DNA, ensouled with his own rational, immortal human soul, endowed with free will, intellect, every unalienable human right and belonging to the species: Homo Sapiens.
    God enters into human affairs, in time and space at the request of his people. A husband and a wife become a mother and a father as a consequence of the fertilization of the female egg by the male sperm. Ensoulment is simultaneous and contingent upon procreation.
    The newly begotten human being experiences his existence and identity as a child of God: “I AM” in innocence and virginity, morally and legally innocent in truth and Justice, the standard for Justice, the compelling interest of the state in the newly begotten human person. The Supreme Sovereign Being has deigned to create his people.
    The sovereign personhood of the newly conceived in free will, wills to live. The individual’s will to live is inscribed and endowed as the right to life. The person who does not will to live becomes a miscarriage, a spontaneous miscarriage.
    The scientific proof of the life of the one celled human being is carried out by IVF and somatic cell transfer or three parent manipulation.
    It cannot be both ways at the same time. The one celled human being exists and is alive. There is no life without the human soul. There is only death without the human soul.
    “The hesitation may well have to do with the conundrum posed by monozygotic twinning.”
    The human soul is the form of the body…Aquinas.
    In twinning, there are two souls, two individual substances of a rational nature present to whom the human body grows to become whoever the soul is. Man procreates the human body. God creates the human soul.

  • Paul W. Primavera: “…one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron,…”
    This is my favorite verse. “…One who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.

  • Mary de Voe writes, “In twinning, there are two souls, two individual substances of a rational nature present to whom the human body grows to become whoever the soul is”

    The Church has always objected to procuring abortion, but to this day has not adopted the doctrine of immediate animation. After all, in one place, St Thomas follows Aristotle in holding the rational soul is infused, when the matter is sufficiently formed to receive it [Commentary on the Sentences Bk. III, dist. 3, q. 5, a. 2, Responsio] They both thought the rational soul was infused at 40 days for males, and at 90 days for females. How they hit on this figure, I do not know, for Varro [116-27 BC] describes the early development of the fetus quite well: “”when the life-giving seed has been introduced into the female womb, in the first seven days it is compacted and coagulated and rendered fit to take shape [Could he be describing the morula?]. Then afterwards in the fourth hebdomad [week] the rudimentary male organ, the head, and the spine which is in the back, are formed. But in the seventh hebdomad, as a rule, that is, by the forty-ninth day,” says Varro, “the entire embryo is formed in the womb.” The figures of 40 and 90 days would appear to have no observational basis at all.

    We have a zygote A. A divides to form B and C. B and C cannot both be identical with A, for, were that the case, then, by transivity of identity, B and C would be identical with each other; which is absurd. B and C cannot both say, “I was once A.”

    Now A is a living individual whole, that is, an organism and to say that one organism can have two souls is very odd. If A has a (rational) soul, what becomes of it on division? Can we say that B is identical with (and has the same soul as) A and that C is not; that is that the same soul animates A and B and C’s soul is infused on division? This would amount to saying that C is produced from B.

    Do we have any grounds for thinking any of these speculations are true? I do not think so and, unless the Church pronounces on the matter – which she refused to do in Donum Vitae – we are free to confess our ignorance.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “St Thomas follows Aristotle in holding the rational soul is infused, when the matter is sufficiently formed to receive it”
    St.Thomas also held that the soul is the form of the body. Therefore, the soul forms the body sufficiently to receive said soul. There is no life without the soul, only death. No soul, no life, therefore, there must be a soul for the fertilized new person to grow and live. Growth, St. Aquinas said is a proof of life and the newly fertilized human being is alive and grows.
    There is no void in the human person from conception (of the human soul) through death, the soul’s departure from the human body.

  • An innocent life may not be put to death for the crimes of his parents. The one-celled sovereign person begotten at fertilization is endowed with a rational, immortal human soul. His soul has sovereign personhood, free will, a will to live, intellect, genius and grace. What science has quantified genius? Who has the authentic power to live another person’s life for them except for those persons who acknowledge the human person’s right to life. Who has taken hold of grace, or genius, or talent or any intangible right and forced grace and genius to live other than his pursuit of Happiness, the attainment of his destiny, the fulfillment of his grace and genius, the fulfillment of his life, of who he is? Who defines grace and genius? Who defines the human person other than our Creator?
    Father Paul Marx,OSB founder of Human Life International called the culture of Death, the Death Peddlers. God is the Supreme Sovereign Being over life and over death, not Obama, not Pelosi, not Harry Reid, and certainly not Planned Parenthood. The Death Peddlers in Washington, D. C. cannot objectify innocence and virginity or genius or the immortal human being, yet, they have destroyed the Constitutional posterity of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Now these Death Peddlers are salivating over our children.
    Our Population is overgrown with Death Peddlers. If death is the solution for every problem, in their opinion, then let them go to hell where death reigns supreme.

  • Oh, that’s right, Planned Parenthood does not call it DEATH

  • Michael,
    Speaking of speculation, could not one speculate that A comprised B and C and therefore two souls from conception?

  • A very good explanation of the legal issues in Hobby Lobby, which are often misunderstood or conflated with absract policy and philosophical issues:


  • Mike Petrik asks, “could not one speculate that A comprised B and C and therefore two souls from conception?”

    One could, which would mean that “A” is not really an organism at all, but two collocated organisms. A could say with the demoniac in the Gospel, “My name is legion, for we are many.”

    It might fit cases of natural twinning quite well, but raises problems, where the twinning is artificially induced. Again, until it produces eight of them by fission, the zygotes cells are totipotent and each can form a new embryo, so a lab technician could produce an indefinite number of them from a single zygote

    Then again, there are cases, not only of fission, but of fusion (chimeras) Do we conclude in that case that the two apparently discrete organisms were, in reality, only one, with only one soul between them?

    More to the point, why should we suppose any of these speculations are true, any more than we should think immediate ensoulment is true?

    Tertullian’s reasoning, “That is a human being which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed ” hold good on any theory about ensoulment. Tertullian, by the by, was a traductionist, so, for him, the question of ensoulment simply did not arise, but one does not have to be a traductionist to accept his reasoning.

    The CDF was wise not to commit itself to any theory.

Some fallout after Cardinal Dolan steps into a snake pit…

Monday, March 17, AD 2014


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.”


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:

To read the CNSNews report, click on the following link:

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

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29 Responses to Some fallout after Cardinal Dolan steps into a snake pit…

  • “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. ”

    It merely makes the Church look confused to her friends and weak to her enemies.

  • On a somewhat related point, I wonder if the Cardinal is going to comment on Guinness withdrawing its sponsorship of the parade in New York today because of the ongoing refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march under banners in the parade?

    By the way, I have already fired off an email to Guinness advising them that I will never buy another one of their products. It would be helpful if others did the same.

  • The Cardinal is a politician at heart and not a shepherd for a shepherd acts to bring back wayward sheep. He does not open the gate to let the wolf into the pen. Ezekiel 34:1-10 comes to mind.

  • “The Cardinal is a politician at heart and not a shepherd” “I am sorry to hear that” about Sam’s condition which is an act of God.
    However, it takes two witnesses to establish a judicial fact, a judgement fact. Sam’s testimony about himself is no testimony. Sam’s “coming out” without testimony of two witnesses is no testimony and a fact that his condition is an act of God, not an act of arrogance or pride against God and all that is holy, virtue, chastity, prudence, temperance and purity of heart and soul.
    Marriage itself is the testimony of two witnesses to the marital act. The child is evidence of the marital act. I bear witness to my mother and father, who assumed the vocation of husband and wife in accord with nature and God’s will.
    As Jesus said: “My works bear testimony to me and my Father in heaven testifies to me.” (loosely quoted) Jesus’ acts, raising the dead, curing the sick, the blind and the lame, but mostly teaching mankind how to offer sacrifice of praise and worship to God in emulating the Son of Man (Come follow me) may be judged for these are acts with witnesses.
    Sam’s testimony is no testimony. As Saint Thomas said: “I will not believe until I have put my hand into His wounds.”

    Cardinal Dolan is free to not believe. “Good, I am glad you are”

  • Being, and the free will act of accepting our being, the will to be, having been created by our Creator and accepting our existence as ” I AM” by each and every person is “Good”. “Very Good”

  • “I wonder if the Cardinal is going to comment on Guinness withdrawing its sponsorship of the parade in New York today because of the ongoing refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march under banners in the parade?”
    Freedom of peaceable assembly is at stake. Mob rule and bullying is not peaceable assembly or covered under the First Amendment. Samuel Adams beer and Guinness are both unconstitutional in forcing others to accept their version of tyranny, but both are free to support mob rule. I will send boycott and will support boycott.

  • I am amused: Veto is the space between one’s big toe (not Big Foot) but one’s big toe, and the rest of his foot. This is used by man to “push off” from every evil, to avoid the near occasion of sin.
    Bear with me. The brain finally kicked in. The synapses are again flowing with information.

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  • Michael Sam said he was gay. What is Cardinal Dolan supposed to say to the question? Being gay is not sinful. If Michael Sam came out saying he was having a sexual relationship with another male I am sure the cardinal would have had a different answer. You are the one judging Michael Sam’s behavior.
    Cardinal Dolan knows homosexuality is disordered and intrinsically evil. The first step in combatting the evil in our lives is admitting they are there so they can be addressed and corrected…so good for Michael Sam, I am sure he will have many more people praying for him to be chaste. Bravo!

  • It is embarrassing and scandalous to have such weak shepherds who do NOT stand up for the truths of the Catholic faith. Worse yet, they appear to condone it for specious reasons and thus confirm people in sinful life choices. WHO, I ask who, is caring for souls? WE are indeed called to judge behavior and actions. The weak shepherds are culpable. C. Dolan said in public that he has rarely (never?) preached on such topics as contraception or sodomy. That is to be proud of? He is a worldling and that does not make for sainthood.

  • Dolan DID judge, though; he judged and approved. If he had not judged, there would have been no controversy.

  •  Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    Romans 1:32

  • Cardinal Dolan dropped the ball on the 5 yard line. He had a beautiful teaching moment on National Television and chocked. Fumbles that Our Holy Catholic Church honestly can’t afford right now. God help him.

  • It was in fact courageous for the guy to admit he is a homo. He is going to be verbally and physically tormented. There are likely several NFL guys who are both able and aching to make a career-ending hit on Michael Sam, and they will take their shot. He will suffer for his God-given sexuality, and for the fact that he admitted to it.
    He admitted to it to show other homos how to suffer with dignity and to make the rest of us rethink our attitudes towards our fellow men as they lie writhing in pain, screaming in agony for being born a certain way and admitting to it.

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  • I can’t stop you from calling me an “isolationist”…

    You are, and you appear to be ignorant of the difference between isolationism and autarky.

  • the only thing to say is…God help us all!

  • For the last time, homosexual inclination is NOT a sin, only homosexual activity. Dolan’s statement is completely consistent with Catholic teaching in this area.

    Second, I read Dolan’s “Good for him” and “Bravo” seems more like a semi-sarcastic dismissal than an affirmation, but it’s impossible to tell without tone.

  • Maybe Michael Sam will be our first openly gay saint. Right up there with Maria Goretti. Teaching all of us how to “suffer” with dignity. I wonder what percentage of gay people are not “active”. Offering their “predestined” lot in life up for the poor souls. Is there a difference in adultery? In fornication? In sodomy? Could not any of these be called genetically predestined? No it’s called sinful. It’s called me, myself and I. It has all been around since the beginning of time, only now it’s “Bravo”! With a diabolical blessing from the “princess’s of the church.” Me thinks someone is “prowling about the earth, seeking the ruin of souls?”

  • “Cardinal Dolan knows homosexuality is disordered and intrinsically evil.”
    The practice of sodomy is disordered and intrinsically evil.
    “Bravo”, however, was mean, really mean and dismissive. Something a shepherd of souls ought to avoid.

  • “God-given sexuality”? First, God makes all life. In Old and New Testament He condemns sodomy. Then He creates people unable to obey his laws which condemn Sodomy. Poor Sodomites are stuck — what to are they to do if they believe in God (which every Catholic must believe). God said in Scriptures NO SODOMY, then the sick world tells them God created them sinful, they can’t NOT be a sodomite because He made them that way?

    Never made sense. If one believes in God as author of Scriptures and that He made anything that exists (as the Creed says He made “… all things visible and invisible…), and that sodomy is sinful in His eyes, but He slipped and made certain people unable to obey His laws?

    Contradictions, huh?

  • “Then He creates people unable to obey his laws which condemn Sodomy.”

    No such creature exists, unless one posits that humans have absolutely no control over their sexual impulses. As far as God creating people homosexual that is very much open to debate. When homosexual rights movements began to appear the term of art was “sexual preference” until the determination was made that arguing that homosexuals were such from birth made public acceptance of them more palatable. Of course many lesbians claim that they choose to be lesbians. Then we have the queer by choice movement: http://www.queerbychoice.com/ To overcome the inconvenient fact that some men and women have sexual relations with both sexes, the new category of bisexual was created. My own belief is that the sex drive in humans can be diverted down many different pathways and that none of them have anything to do with biology and everything to do with nurture and free will.

  • Don may be right about nurture and free will, but even if homsosexual appetites are 100% sourced to nature that does not prove that acting on them is morally benign or permissible. People have disordered appetites. All of us, even if different ones and in different measures. We are responsible for our actions nonetheless.

    The idea that Cardinal Dolan’s statement can be interpreted to be completely in accord with Catholic teaching is creative and interesting, but a stretch. One must take pretty imaginative inferential liberties to assert either that Cardinal Dolan was being snarky or that Michael Sam is preparing for sainthood. A person with homosexual appetites would normally not advertise those appetites if he did not think he was entitled to exercise them and expect to do so.

    Just to be clear, I have no quarrel with the Cardinal declining judgment. Judgment rests with God, no us. While sin can be analyzed objectively, culpability always requires a subjective assessment within the capacity of God alone. But “Good for him” and “Bravo” are imprudent and wrongheaded remarks.

  • God did NOT create a predisposition to homosexual behavior. This predisposition exists because of sin. Now being a person given to a homosexual predisposition is NOT in itself sinful for we all are afflicted by concupiscence; in my case it is of a heterosexual vice homosexual nature and I suspect that is true of a majority of readers here at TAC. What is sinful, however, is in surrendering to such concupiscence. Sadly, I have failed in this area (as well as in many other areas), and I would wager that no one here at TAC or elsewhere can claim pristine conduct. But just because you and I have failed does NOT mean that you or I either excuse the conduct of failure in ourselves (thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation) or confirm someone else in his or her failure, thereby greasing the skids to the fires of hell itself.

    Romans 5:12

    Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.

    James 1:13-14

    Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

  • We come into this world as human beings suffering the consequence of, or concupiscence, of sin. All of us have disordered appetites and desires. We have a body and will that requires work and training. Imagine saying, “I am coming out of the closet as a pedophile.” There certainly are people who have the obsession, or many others. Homosexuality is primarily and obsession with a body part, and objectifies the person. As does hedonistic heterosexual sex. The temptation is not condemned but we must train the will and our understanding. The struggle is not silly, but the attempts to rationalize it are. God bless anyone who fights their demons and hands themselves over to Christ. Still, it is not easy.

  • When are high profile clerics going to learn that the press is no friend of theirs nor that of the Church, in fact, the press is proactively the opposite? Cardinal Dolan was burned before; remember “the president lied to me”. The cardinal and his PAO should have been wary. And “poor Zwilling” not, should have reheared his boss with probable and possible questions and their well thought out answers. After all this was a pre-recorded interview. Not all questions asked have to be answered. Take a lesson from the pols on the talking heads shows who’ve been sidestepping and changing the subject for years.
    Zwilling’s after the fact press release on CNSNEWS didn’t have the same coverage as the cardinal’s gaffe on Meet The Press…..headlined erroneous story on page 1, retraction in small print on the back page.
    Yes, an appearance such as the cardinal’s does make the Church look weak to her enemies, and confused to the faithful. It also encourages cafeteria Catholicism.

  • “What is Cardinal Dolan supposed to say to the question?”

    How about “Michael Sam is not Catholic and hasn’t asked for my advice or pastoral counsel so I cannot comment on his personal situation. I can, however, comment upon what the Church in general teaches regarding homosexuality.”

    “If Michael Sam came out saying he was having a sexual relationship with another male I am sure the cardinal would have had a different answer.”

    That Sam was “having a sexual relationship with another man” and frequenting gay bars was common knowledge among the Mizzou football team long before Sam went public; his “coming out” was absolutely no surprise to them.

  • I can’t help but feel a strong smugness in relation to C Dolans comments. Who needs enemies when you have fellow Catholics waiting to push knives in the Cardinals back?! And you wander why Christianity has such disunity!

  • I can’t help but feel a strong smugness in relation to C Dolans comments. Who needs enemies when you have fellow Catholics waiting to push knives in the Cardinals back?! And you wander why Christianity has such disunity!

    Since when was Hollywood a teacher of Biblical stories? Who cares how Noah had been portrayed? Perhaps only in the US do people care about such things. The rest if the world doesn’t bat an eyelid. Get out of your self imposed shell.

    Mote. Beam. Eye.

“A Pope Conservatives Can Love?”

Sunday, March 9, AD 2014


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.


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.”



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15 Responses to “A Pope Conservatives Can Love?”

  • That idea of subsidiarity in the governance (application of moral judgment) of the Church would be great if all the shepherds were true shepherds following the One Holy Spirit – but many are following the Spirit of the Age.
    When God gave Peter the Keys, He did not authorize several different sets.

  • Atheists like Ms. Cupp really should stick to their own knitting.


  • Ms. Cupp knows not of what she writes. This is all too common in America today.

  • I’m not sure I’d go so far as Motley Monk to say that religious conservatism necessitates centralization, but I agree that Cupp’s attempt to apply political standards to ecclesiology is terribly misguided. First of all, it’s been like since 1989 since we’ve had an infallible President….Sorry, had to go for the easy joke. But it makes sense that an atheist doesn’t think in terms of supernatural grace and protection, and any church model without those things is going to miss the whole point.

  • The Catholic Church was established by God, not by
    Thomas Jefferson. Nor is the Church a democratic
    institution by the people, of the people and for
    the people. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body
    of Christ, not the People’s Temple.

    I’m very concerned about Pope Francis’ desire to decentralize
    the Church, which could split of the Church into many different
    parts, where the enemies of God and His moral teachings will
    assume control. This could be very dangerous.

  • Yes It seems the Church is in mortal danger from the inside and out.
    To the outside world ithe Church may be thought of as a cohesive group of individuals who accept same premises for life and faith. Given that view of the Church all the bishops would be equal in their faithfulness to the same Teaching… Ms Cupp’s misapprehension of us is understandable.
    Meanwhile we intermural players have loved the idea that “catholic means here comes everybody” – which is true – sinners of all persuasions- but it also means here come the repentant. We used to be known for our guilt for heaven’s sake, until we were persuaded that guilt itself was the bad thing, much badder than the sin which was only a peccadillo.
    Some think “here comes everybody” is somehow a statement of democracy.Today’s Church is not a band of pilgrims seeking the Truth together under Authority. . No .We are protestant. Every man has come to think for himself without depending on the Holy Spirit driven Wisdom of the Church.
    All the more need for our hierarchical system of order and authority. I wish every parish would start an in depth study of the Book of Moses. Who you will remember as the Lawgiver. Not as the Facilitator.

  • “he Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, not the People’s Temple.” Franco: The communion, the communio, the community is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, in community, in communion, in communio with His Father in heaven, on earth and under the earth.( “Under the earth” is the proof of purgatory in scripture.)
    This community, this communion, this communio is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
    The Blessed Trinity is the First Family, the One and only communion with God and with man for salvation.

  • I found this capital “T” floating around in the ethersphere so, here, to give it a place: Christ drove The Money Changers out of the Temple because They were Talking in Church.

  • This is a rewrite of the above comment:
    The communion, the communio, the community is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, in community, in communion, in communio with His Father in heaven, on earth and under the earth.( “Under the earth” is the proof of purgatory in scripture.)
    This community, this communion, this communio is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
    The Blessed Trinity is the First Family, the One and only communion with God and with man for salvation.
    Only in the Holy Spirit, the Love that proceeds from the Father and the Son is community for the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church realized. Jesus Christ, the perfect man Who is born of the Immaculate Conception, loves His Father in heaven perfectly. This perfect love of the Father for His Son, Jesus Christ is the Love WHO creates community in the communion of the Church.
    The perfect love WHO proceeds from the Father and the Son begets the Body of Christ, the Church, the Sacraments and is called the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
    Fallen man, broken, can do nothing but pray for the love and mercy of God to bring about his existence and salvation.
    If the gay agenda, the atheist, the pornographer, the child abuser, the murderer, will not apply for love from God, I am sorry to have to say this: He will have to go to hell.

  • Bl John Henry Newman makes an important point, “I say the Pope is the heir of the Ecumenical Hierarchy of the fourth century, as being, what I may call, heir by default. No one else claims or exercises its rights or its duties. Is it possible to consider the Patriarch of Moscow or of Constantinople, heir to the historical pretensions of St. Ambrose or St. Martin? Does any Anglican Bishop for the last 300 years recall to our minds the image of St. Basil? Well, then, has all that ecclesiastical power, which makes such a show in the Christian Empire, simply vanished, or, if not, where is it to be found?”

    He adds, by way of historical explanation, ” But, anyhow, the progress of concentration was not the work of the Pope; it was brought about by the changes of times and the vicissitudes of nations. It was not his fault that the Vandals swept away the African sees, and the Saracens those of Syria and Asia Minor, or that Constantinople and its dependencies became the creatures of Imperialism, or that France, England, and Germany would obey none but the author of their own Christianity, or that clergy and people at a distance were obstinate in sheltering themselves under the majesty of Rome against their own fierce kings and nobles or imperious bishops, even to the imposing forgeries on the world and on the Pope in justification of their proceedings. All this will be fact, whether the Popes were ambitious or not; and still it will be fact that the issue of that great change was a great benefit to the whole of Europe. No one but a Master, who was a thousand bishops in himself at once, could have tamed and controlled, as the Pope did, the great and little tyrants of the middle age.”

  • The Catholic Church is the Mystical
    Body of Christ
    Fr. William G. Most
    “Speaking of full membership in the Church, Pius XI
    in his Encyclical on the Mystical Body, said it is the
    society of those who have been baptized, and who profess
    he faith of Christ, and who are governed by their bishops
    under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.
    The Church came into being when Christ died on the Cross,
    but it was formally inaugurated on Pentecost, when He sent
    the Holy Spirit as He had promised. St. Paul speaks of all Christians
    as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one Mystical Body
    (Cf. 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:13).
    St. Paul did not use the word Mystical. It was developed more recently
    to bring out the fact that this union is unique, there is no parallel to it.
    It is not the same as the union of a physical body, nor that of a business
    The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the
    Church militant, because its members struggle against the world,
    the flesh and the devil.”

  • I have to admit, I have a soft spot for the Conciliar Movement.

    Just like I have a soft spot for the Dual Monarchy.

  • “The Church came into being when Christ died on the Cross, but it was formally inaugurated on Pentecost, when He sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised. St. Paul speaks of all Christians as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one Mystical Body”
    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proved that Jesus was a perfect human being, born of the Immaculate Conception, an innocent man. Death, being the wages of sin, had no hold on Christ, Hell refused Christ entrance. Salvation was accomplished on the cross. The Holy Spirit fuses mankind into the Body of Christ.
    “The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the
    Church militant, because its members struggle against the world,
    the flesh and the devil.”
    The Mystical Body of Christ is the Church triumphant, the Saints in heaven, the Church militant on earth and the Church suffering in purgatory. Souls who wish to belong to the Catholic Church on earth, as the Church militant is, must embrace the whole Catholic Church, in heaven, on earth and under the earth.

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  • If someone should ask, Bill, what kind of conservative are you?…………………..
    I might answer, Altar and Crown.

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

Wednesday, March 5, AD 2014


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.



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

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  • I must agree. This is why I left the Church 30 years ago. Of course I thought back then as a young man that what my priest, Bishop and Pope said was Gospel. I couldn’t differentiate between the Church and its current leaders. Just as with any country, you can get poor leader and great leaders. The faithful want a leader that will lead them with Spirit and TRUTH. If they can’t understand what TRUTH is because Bishops and Popes give them a mish mash of wet bread to eat, they leave for where the leaders lead with conviction and solid, easy to understand teaching. Sadly I left for this reason.

    I returned when I discovered from a great FSSP priest that the Church was Truth, no matter what a current imperfect human leader such as Bishop tells you. At one time when your priest or nun told you something about Church teaching, you knew it was the TRUTH, today you can’t be sure, many tell you their own feelings on the subject, not TRUTH. That is what I like about the FSSP priests I have met, they tell you the TRUTH, whether you want to hear it or not.

    As one FSSP priest told the congregation in his sermon, if you don’t like what I just told you from Church teaching, you know where the door is.

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

Wednesday, February 26, AD 2014


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?



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

  • This is not about contraceptives. This is about normalizing fornication. This is an assault and offense against God, in the same way that gay-rights and/or so called unnatural marriage is about normalizing sodomy.
    Persons who do not use contraception or practice sodomy are being dragged into the mele without their informed consent and/or knowledge and are being abused to make a case for the legal imposition of vice.
    The innocent opposition is being scraped from the womb. Justice is being twarted and the wrath of God is being scorned.

  • It is a Catholic University. By what logic did they expect it to be Catholic and something totally opposed to being Catholic at the same time. I worry about the quality of the intellects represented on the Faculty senate.

  • “By what logic did they expect it to be Catholic and something totally opposed to being Catholic at the same time.”

    Because they think Catholic means something different than you and I do. Dealing with the same thing now in a Catholic hospital in which I work. Had to push and cajole to get some Catholic teaching into a course on bioethics. The book they use teaches abortion as a licit approach to prenatal problems, etc. etc.

  • Philip,

    You should bring this to the bishop

  • In due course. At this point, given the bishop, I am not sure that he would intervene. As it stands now, I’ve already caused some consternation with my stands so far. So will take it step by step.

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  • We must ask how did the Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University (SCU)—a Jesuit university—ever come to offer elective abortion healthcare coverage for employees in the first place.

    And we must be pleased as angels in Heaven that the current Board has repented, then chose to go and sin no more (at least after 2015).

  • Exactly Micha – why dd they ever have such coverage in the first place? I suppose better late than never on getting rid of it.

  • Objective Truth/Church Teachings vs. Liberal ideology

    Faith and the power of prayer

  • “Objective Truth/Church Teachings vs. Liberal ideology Faith and the power of prayer ” and someone standing up and speaking the truth, so often obliterated, and speaking the truth and speaking the truth.

  • “Board doesn’t value diversity (not all employees support Church teaching)”

    But of course every one supports diversity over Church teaching! This reminded me of the cartoon of Moses, who, having received the 10 Commandments, is shown with his face lifted to heavens saying: “so I guess diversity is not a priority ?”

  • Philip, You get a decade today!

  • Kevin: “Philip, You get a decade today!” Read: “Phillip” TAC has Philip and Phillip. Both are wonderful. Say a decade for each as I will.

  • Kevin, Mary

    Yes I have two l’s in my name as oppose to Philip who has only one. I do appreciate the decade (especially as I will be on retreat this weekend in part to discern further what to do) and I suspect Philip also will.

    Thanks for your comments.

  • I’m very proud of my alma mater. Santa Clara has shown leadership to all Catholic colleges and universities.

  • When my brother attended medical school at a well known Catholic university in the mid-1970s, he was dismayed to find that medical ethics was offered as an elective and not as a required course. What was sown in the 60s and 70s at so-called “Catholic” colleges and universities has now come to fruition. Santa Clara’s example, I hope, will be emulated by other Catholic institutions.

  • L – That’s the one I owe you Phillip. Yesterday I was very busy and it was my promise to offer up a decade that brought me to the rosary. So your prayer became my blessing. Funny how those things work out.

  • The decision should take effect immediately. Let them have Obamacare.

  • I bet those same employees did not object to the lack of diversity within the Obamacare mandate.

  • Tell me please if I am missing something here! I have in front of me the January 16 issue of the National Catholic Register in which there is an article re: SCU/Fr. Engh “taking a stand.” Under the paragraph, “Reason for Change” it states: The SCU president explained that the university’s health-care representatives and insurance informed his administration that they are not required by California’s Dept. of Managed Care and Insurance to provide “elective abortion.” However, he noted, the university will ‘continue to cover therapeutic abortions, contraception and other forms of reproductive health care …”. Is there more than one SCU or Fr. Engh?! Help me understand why you are all celebrating their catholic identity?

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

Monday, February 17, AD 2014


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.



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

  • Good on ya Archbishop Sheehan.

    As for the angry narrative; “…And rubbing some salt into the ecclesial wound he was unnecessarily inflicting upon all of the Centers students and parishioners.”

    Well then. Seems there are two things that salt that has lost it’s flavor is good for.

  • I’m all for a bishop taking steps to ensure appropriate orthodoxy within his diocese, especially with regard to the catechesis of the youth. That said, it seems odd and discourteous to make and announce such a decision without first consulting with the Dominicans involved. The prudential obligation to hear all sides and the moral obligation to treat others with courtesy and respect does no in any way impair or encumber the right of the bishop to make decisions. I distrust the NCR’s depiction of events, and don’t have an opinion regarding whether or to what extent the referenced obligations were respected in this case, but I hope they were. I have personally seen bishops make a number of good decisions in the most unpastoral manner possible and hope the latter was not the case here.

  • The liberals need to conform to the commandments of Christ or leave and join the fruits and nuts in the Episcopal Church USA.

  • Well, I hope the Church’s view is not that we all need to conform to Christ’s commandments or leave. We are, after all, all sinners. The real key is not whether one keeps the commandments perfectly, but whether one is willing to conform his understanding of the commandments to that of the Church, at least as to matters on which the Church has spoken authoritatively.

  • I’ve done a bit of lurking on this blog but never found any real reason to post until I say this article which hit rather close to home.
    So, if I may defend the Archbishop in telling you that, he did indeed run this with the Dominicans (or so he told me) and this has been planned for months before he ever said anything (again to me, it wasn’t an official declaration or anything).
    The reasons he gave were reasonable and he mentioned that the only people who seemed to object were people a Newman Center aren’t even meant to serve (40+ years olds not attending the University) and I agree with him.
    I’ve also met with the new Pastor, who doesn’t really want to be moved from where he his, but he was good with us youths and I think he will do a good job.

  • Haha. “Say” this article. Very funny, fingers… There’s probably more I missed…

  • Elostirion.

    Appreciate the insiders confirmation on Archbishops approach. We are blessed with many great leaders in our Holy Church.

  • Archbishop Sheehan is doing this for good reasons. Religious order priests are not under the direct jurisdiction of the local ordinary, but the ordinary gives permission for the order to set up shop and operate in his diocese – as I understand it.

    I trust that Archbishop Sheehan is not pulling a Fr. Volpi and going after the Dominicans because of their affection for the Tridentine Mass.

  • Good for the archbishop. Quick and clean. You don’t have time to woo and nurse old liberals along when you have a target cohort population that will only be there 4 to 6 years during a really formative moment in their lives.

  • When Mgr Ronald Knox was appointed the Catholic chaplain to the University of Oxford (an appointment made by the bishop’s conference), he went through the list of his predecessors to see if he could discern the criterion for selection, for they seemed very different in background and experience, not to say personality. He eventually discovered it – they, like him, had all been ordained “ad titulum patrimonii sui,” that is, they were self-supporting and received no salary or expenses from the Church. The chaplain at Cambridge at the time was Mgr Gilby, the heir to the Gilby’s Gin fortune.

    The Oxford chaplaincy has no been transferred to the Jesuits.

  • Exactly what I was referring to in a recent post “Violence in the Name of God”. We are where we are because of a lack of “dying for the faith”. Whether it is a physical dying or taking a strong stand by the clergy that should have known better. Really, A “purple mafia” at the Vatican. Abortion on demand, rampant pornography. I was taught at a very early age, that some day I might be called to “die for my faith”. I never dreamed it would be almost killed off by it’s own internal weakness. Thank you Bishop, and again had we had this vigilance in our leadership as “Barney Fife” used to say, “nip it, nip it in the bud”, we may not be facing the “fires of hell” that surely has caused all the “violence in the name of God”.

  • The bishop has obviously done the right thing-especially given the added info that he did indeed communicate with the Dominicans.

    I am just more surprised hearing about the Dominicans-those in Washington DC and, for example at Providence College in Rhode Island would never be experiencing this necessary pastoral move of the bishop

  • I was reminded by this article how my daughter, while attending a Jesuit university, chose to attend Mass at the local parish church, rather than the university’s church and attendant liberalism.

    But, as others have commented, liberal Dominicans? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

  • no


    St. Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrah: A Moral Blueprint for Our Times – Part II

    scroll down to Homosexuality in Religious Life Today: The Dominican Model

  • Saint Peter Damian Pray for us!

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

Friday, February 14, AD 2014


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.”


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:

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

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

  • Good for him. I hope they take his advice.

  • If a few good people in a position to do so will stand with him others will follow

  • The new “Gregory the Great!”
    God bless his faith.

    For way too long have our Shepard’s have been silent. Silence is often taken as acceptance, and possibly the fallout has been forty one years of catholic voters supporting abortion..(?)

  • On the phone…one to many (have’s) excuse me please.

  • The blogger who shall not be named once said that we get the bishops we deserve. Parishoners of New Orleans need to rally around Archbishop Aymond on this vital issue in particular, but also the more routine requests for prayers and for funds and for support. They must let the media know that any attempt to drive a wedge between the faithful and their shepherd will fail.
    I think this is a winnable fight, and Aymond must be given the respect he deserves and the support he needs. And I recall the recent post here about pre-emptive surrender of the Vatican when they hired those accounting firms with strong ties to anti-life orgs. Maybe they can learn from Aymond.

  • Spambot3049: Thanks for remembering

  • Hat tip to the Motley Monk!

  • Praise God for this Archbishop’s public stand. Maybe it is too little too late, but at least he has spoken out and it is a beginning.

  • God bless Archbishop Aymond for defending his church and his people, for being a true leader and foremost, for being a man of integrity and courage. Maybe he has set an example for other church leaders who have a tendency to dance in the world of “political correctness”.

  • Archbishop Aymond has taken up the spiritual weapons that he can muster, the teaching of the Church on human life, reminding Catholics of the grave consequences of cooperating with evil, and the administrative-economic weapon of not doing business with any person or business/company that is in any way involved etc with Planned Parenthood. May the Archbishop and the Archdiocese of New Orleans be blessed

  • $42.0 million.
    Assuming the mill operates at maximum efficiency, 30 per day, and assuming there are 220 operating days per year, that is 660 babies murdered per year. Assuming the building lasts 30 years, that is 19,800 murders. That gives an up-front fixed cost of $2,121 per murder.
    I guess the murderers get to do their jobs in a pretty nice place, huh? Just saying, the next time some dope brings up the spectre of “back alley abortions”, you can tell him exactly how much we have progressed as a society, providing truly palatial top-shelf surroundings for people to snuff out life.

  • Bravo Archbishop Aymond!
    Black genocide – Planned Parenthood is following through on their “sainted” founder’s bigotry. I hope and pray that the good citizens of New Orleans and Louisiana, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, will head the archbishop’s call. The gauntlet has been dropped. I also hope that the Clarian Herald will print statistics of abortion including demographics of their city, state and country (Catholics Rock has provided a start) and then “out” the owners of the land who sold it to PP and anyone else who was and is associated in the government and commercial sector with the construction of this proposed abomination.

  • CatholicsRock!
    So much of it will be tax money.

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  • What a joy to read!
    My only request would be to change “perform” abortion to “commit” abortion.

  • Let’s all pray that the building collapses or God sends a tonado to take it down. PRAYER DOES WORK!!!
    Let’s all also be determined to change our vocabulary. Abortion is a medical term. Let’s call it what it is. Killing a human and there are lots of that going on in PP “clinics” all over the world. They are killing defenseless, innocent human beings.
    If PP people think the world is too over populated, let them be the first to give up their place in this world – for the good of the world!! If they think they are getting rid of the lowest form of humans, let them look in the mirror!

  • Re:CatholicsRock comment: Your math is off. At 220 days x30 is6600 and
    30 yrs x30 is 198000 deaths. God help us all who do nothing to prevent this.

  • Correction: 30 yrs x 6600 is 198000 deaths.

  • Praise God for Archbishop Aymond’s courageous stand for life.

  • You can count on my prayers, Archbishop Aymond. You will have a difficult time ahead, and it might have started already, but know that you are walking in the footsteps of CHRiST.

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 – but in that prayer to God there is God directed action to fight against this holocaust that is perpetrated by evil inspired men and woman. Those who run for office spouting euphemisms of reproductive rights, pro-choice, and planned parenthood need to be replaced. Take the time to investigate their platforms and if they mention a woman’s right to choose, vote against them. There are those who champion the ‘sustainable planet’ such as Soros, Gates, Sibelius and others…all seek to do this through murder of the most innocent. And as Margret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood espoused population control, remind those brothers and sisters of all races that these people target the most helpless among us.

    This evil will not stop without humility before God, prayer and fasting to our brother Jesus Christ, and God inspired action. Thank you Archbishop Aymond.

  • God bless Archbishop Aymond! He has taken the bull by the horns and is doing what we wish every Bishop and Archbishop would do! It takes someone who really lives his faith to do this. Where are the others?!?!

  • Amen, praised be Jesus & Mary, now and forever God save the babies!

  • Margaret Sanger who started planned parenthood and hoped for the day when all those undesirable non wasp babies could be greatly curtailed must be dancing for joy in the afterlife that her dream is being fulfilled by her wasp descendants in the city of New Orleans. More power to those ladies who agree with her goal for starting planned parenthood: quote from Margaret Sanger, “those black people, human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning human beings who never should have been born.” Yes all non wasp ladies you are liberated just like Margaret Sanger had hoped.

  • “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.”

    Your Excellency, that’s a good start, but how about those Catholics who endorse with their name and support the pro-abortion Democratic Party, giving it the ELECTORAL POWER to keep abortion legal? Catholics are the largest single group of people in the Democratic Party. That includes the clergy, as well; of those who are registered to vote, the majority identify with the pro-abortion, pro sodomite “marriage,’ anti-First Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion, anti-God Democratic Party. Catholics don’t have to register Republican, which is solidly pro-life, but just register out of the worldly organization that is diabolically opposed to what Catholics profess to believe and pray for.

  • The Holy Spirit has truly come down to inspire the Arch Bishop for his outstanding action. God Bless him and all that follow his actions.

  • Praise God for the Bishop to speak out against Planned Parenthood. in Ct. they will be voting on a bill legalizing Assisted physician suicide March 5 we hope and pray it is defeated. Our culture of death is growing more ominous each day, we pray that this Lent we can bring about some change for the sake of our children and grandchildren, through our prayers, sacrifices and fasting. This culture of death will bring about the destruction of our beloved country, and so many people take it for granted that things will be the same as we have always known it. May God give them eyes to see.

  • Helen Ryan,

    The culture of death is at this point in time a very old cancer within our Western but most especially American culture and society. Its tentacles are both deep and far ranging. May this initiative in Connecticut be defeated. However, as you know it is not enough simply to defeat the culture of death, we need to have a replacement, an ‘alternative’: the civilization of love which is empowered by the ‘values’ of the Kingdom of Christ: truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace’. May God bless the work of all in Connecticut who are rejecting the culture of death and are seeking this ‘civilization of love’

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

Monday, February 3, AD 2014


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:

To read Pope John Paul II’s critique of socialism and capitalism, click on the following link:

To read Pope Benedict XVI’s critique of socialism and capitalism, click on the following link:

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

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

  • In truth, just structures are a condition without which a just order in society is not possible. But how do they arise? How do they function? Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves; they declared that not only would they have no need of any prior individual morality, but that they would promote a communal morality.

    Seems like a false equivalence. He confounds money-capital with all forms of human-capital (e.g. intellectual property).
    I have never heard of a capital theorist who promised capitalism would create just structures. Who is this person? Who are these people? It is not Adam Smith. Whereas Marx explicitly promised that capitalism inevitably leads to socialism leads to communism, which creates THE just structure that would order everyone’s life down to the last detail. A society in which the government is “the only thing we all belong to”, so to speak.
    Replace “capitalism” with “respect for private property rights” and “Marxism” with “abolishing private property” in the quote, and Benedict is saying

    Both “respect for private property rights” and “abolishing private property” promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves; they declared that not only would they have no need of any prior individual morality, but that they would promote a communal morality.

    Then I would contend “respect for private property rights” within a Judeo-Christian understanding of the rule of law DOES need prior individual morality, AND it promotes a communal morality insofar as men are free to choose to do good with their material and intellectual property. As per Leo, “respect for private property rights” is necessary for the creation of just structures. Of course it is insufficient.
    Whereas “abolishing private property” needs no past, present, or future morality. A little bit of vanguarding by the vanguard of the proletariat, and you’ve arrived: outside of morality. Men no longer have to choose between good and evil.

  • “First Things” has just published a piece by Nebraska Bishop James Conley entitled “Our Pop Culture Moment” in response to Marc Binelli’s profile of Pope Francis in February’s “Rolling Stone” magazine.
    Bishop Conley writes,
    “….Binelli’s essay….was effective….The profile….re-crafted Francis’ public image in the annals of popular culture. He has become a rock star. But if we understand that…. we have a good chance of using the Church’s pop culture moment, instead of becoming its victim.”
    “…..Rolling Stone and its collaborators are working to hijack the papacy of a loyal, though often unconventional, son of the Church.”
    “The reason is simple. Sexual and social libertines have little interest in discrediting Christianity. They’re far more interested in refashioning it—in claiming Christ, and his vicar, as their supporters. The secularist social agenda is more palatable to impressionable young people if it complements, rather than competes with, the residual Christianity of their families. The enemy has no interest in eradicating Christianity if he can sublimate it to his own purposes.”
    “The greatest trick of the devil isn’t convincing the world he doesn’t exist—it’s convincing the world that Jesus Christ is the champion of his causes.”
    “Well-formed Catholics know that Pope Francis isn’t breaking new theological ground. His work on economics, for example, is in continuity with a point being made about justice since at least Leo XIII. His call for broader participation by laity, particularly women, was a point of great importance to Benedict XVI. And his expressions of charity and solidarity towards those afflicted with same-sex attraction is rooted in the Church’s best tradition. But the media has driven a wedge between Francis and his predecessors by focusing less on substance than method.”
    “…..That’s why last week on the Church’s World Day for Communications, Pope Francis remarked that “if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first. Those ‘streets’ are the world where people live and where they can be reached, both effectively and affectively.”
    “The preference of the Holy Father, like the preference of Jesus Christ himself, is to engage the world, to run the risk that journalists like Binelli will write unfounded, agenda-driven profiles.”
    “Because, as Pope Benedict XVI said in 2013, by “patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence,” we can introduce the world to Jesus Christ….”

    Source: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/02/our-pop-culture-moment
    Bishop James Conley is to be commended for his defense of Pope Francis. A certain late Archbishop of New York “Dagger John Hughes” would no doubt be proud of his brother Bishop from Nebraska.

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

Friday, January 31, AD 2014


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:

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


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

  • When President Obama uses Executive Orders to bypass the will of the people, Congress, no matter how nice he makes it sound, he effectively ceases to represent his constituents and therefore forfeits his presidential office. In a manner of speaking, Obama will successfully have self-excommunicated himself from the Presidency. Obama will become an ordinary citizen and lose the power of the Executive office and the Executive Order.
    The taxes Obama is planning to use are not his, but the taxes of his constituents. Therefore, Obama becomes a thief, a swindler, a liar.
    Every Executive order written by Obama , all 923 of them, see Vision to America News [email protected]
    are examples of his seizure of autocratic power.
    It is obvious, now that Obama’s daughters have reached the age of reason, and can think for themselves, he no longer wants his daughters to see the Pope Francis.
    The problem in the autocratic echelons is that in their plunge to get and hold power, they refuse to see that the world is spinning and constantly moving forward. Growth, a sign of life, is obliterated because the powers that be, need things to stay the same, stagnant, stale, and under their boot.

  • So the most incisive question Jake Tapper can think of to ask Obama about the Pope is You want to talk to him about managing expectations at all is that something he needs to think about?
    Basically, Tapper compares the Pope’s entry onto the world stage with Obama’s entry onto the world stage, and would Obama like to give the new guy any advice. ???

  • Everything that guy just said is a lie.

  • Two interesting takes May and Tamsin.
    I wonder if Bill O’Reilly will ask a Catholic question. Maybe about the Little Sisters of the Poor.

  • Why does it seem people aren’t really bothered by lies ?

  • Anzlyne, it really bothers me. The world is unwell.
    Why doesn’t it bother anyone (else)? He who tells the most lies, wins, if the media also want what he wants and they do. It is aspirational lying, supported for now by our relative affluence. ($17T debt? Unreal.) We don’t want the truth, we want stories. 🙂 Ben Rhodes, one of the highest National Security advisors to the president, has a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Yes, the guy who is helping “shape the narrative” of the foreign policy of the world’s Last Superpower is a creative writer.

  • There aren’t chambers in the Sistine Chapel.

  • wooot I never heard of “aspirational lying” before so I looked it up! Lying to make yourself look better, like you wish you were. Yes I can see that happening.!
    I also see just old fashioned lying to trick people into giving you your way.
    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that hurry to run to evil, ” a lying witness who testifies falsely,
    and one who sows discord in a family.

  • This article just sickens me…FIRSTLY, Our Pope is not ‘this guy’. WOW. Second, as a previous commentator said, there are NO CHAMBERS in the Sistine Chapel… I am so disgusted with the using of MY FAITH with lies to garner more favor among more of the weak and faithless in the Catholic Faith…But, dumb me, He did that already. I am praying really hard that Pope Francis is FIRM and mentions the Catholic Church’s stand on ABORTION and as to so called same sex marriage. I love the rewriting of MY FAITH by Jake and Barack… NO ONE EVER would think what those two babbled about who loves their Catholic Faith, and, as having any real sense of Christ’s Bride . The Catholic Church.

  • Obama is the greatest student of Alinsky.

    He equates his lies as a tool to get the advantage he desires.

    Tar and feathering this molester of free people is not enough.

    Rats. I just remembered.
    I’m to pray for him.

  • Must agree with all of your reflections so far! Anzlyne, That’s exactly how I feel about our homilies every Sunday. Beautiful stories, absolutely nothing on teachings and truths of the faith. When I am in my little Church in Southern Colorado, our Priest, Father Williams, who is from Nigeria, “teaches” through every homily connected with that days readings. I have been at Mass when there may be 8 of us and you would think he is preaching to a packed house, and by gosh, when you leave that Mass you “know” what the Church is teaching. No one can say, “no one ever told me that.” On Sunday’s when he does have a packed Church he is exactly the same with his homilies. It is so fantastic and I just wanted you to know that there are some Catholic Priests who actually know their faith, are not afraid of teaching the truths and so be it.

  • “Philip: “Rats. I just remembered. I’m to pray for him.”
    Barack Obama was created in innocence and virginity, bodily and spiritually at the first moment of his existence. Barack belongs to our God and is one person for whom Christ died so that Barack might return to our Father in heaven to WHOM he belongs. If one prays, there is no way one cannot pray for all in The Lord’s prayer, the OUR FATHER. Barack was an innocent babe in the arms of his mother after nine months in her womb.
    So it is with Andrew Cuomo.
    I must pray for them too.
    My prayer is : “God made them, God will take care of them. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.” If they reject the Divine Providence of The Declaration of Independence and our Blessings of Liberty, and refuse to honor our Constitution in the Fifth Amendment my prayer stays the same: “God made them, God will take care of them. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.” If anyone miss the boat, it is their choice. Glad you’re aboard.

  • I pray for Obama but it makes me sick to look at him. Obama is the epitome of disgusting.

  • Mary De Voe.

    My mother is the personification of peace. She is also Irish. When Obama makes his presence known via television, my mom raises her temper and cannot get to the remote fast enough to “turn him off.”

    Your correct in your attitude for prayer.
    Thank you for helping me along.
    Can’t wait until the ship arrives at the golden Eternal shoreline.

  • “Why does it seem people aren’t really bothered by lies ?”

    I think it came in three stages. Under Nixon, we didn’t expect to be lied to. We were genuinely surprised at the extent of it. Under Clinton, well, he was just so good at it! Now, we’ve reached the point where we just assume that everyone’s lying. I think Garrison Keiller once said that a politician telling the truth is like a blue 7. Sometimes when you see a 7, it’s blue, and sometimes when you see something blue, it’s a 7, but there’s no reason when you see one thing to immediately assume it’s the other. That’s what we accept now.

  • “he’s a pretty steady guy”, is he serious? Have some damn respect Obama.

    His choice of words are as thought-out as his stupid policies.

  • ”75% of U.S. Catholics whose positions on moral issues align with those of President Obama”- that’s a crying shame.

    I can tell you for a fact that the majority of practicing Catholics outside of the US, for example Australia where I live, do not like Obama- this opinion stems from his politics and from his record on protecting life, and support of the gay agenda. Catholics are not fooled just because he is your first “black” president.

    And I also know that the business world shakes it’s head at his management of the US Economy (or should I say, mis-management). He appears as though he has a poor understanding of numbers, and of the way an economy should be stimulated. A second term and he still is fluffing his way through it!

    So I guess from an outsider’s perspective, its difficult to sometimes see the truth from the lies when you are immersed in the situation, as the US population are.

    And that 75% Catholics who eat his lies, are really choosing to turn a blind eye because not doing so, is too difficult to bear- if you can admit that the leader of your country is taking you for a ride by his own agenda, you can’t help but feel despondent, frustrated and depressed. Trust me, we had your government for 5 years! It was a very uninspiring and depressing time in our nation- even though it was meant to be a wonderful time (Gillard was our first female PM), it was the exact opposite.

    I pray things turn around for your country. Soon.

  • The Pope is going to smoke Obama. Not sure how yet, but I can see it happening already.

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

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014


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:

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

Continue reading...

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

  • Happy as clams at high tide. 🙂
    But would you say the secular case against redefining marriage is based on utility, or natural law? Where does the Basic Plumbing argument fall?
    I continue to believe Cordileone was pitch perfect in his defense of continuing to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

  • “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” — Abraham Lincoln, R-Ill.

    ” . . . based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman.”

    Why do we live like this? The ignorance and the stupidity . . .

    For those not yet absorbed into the lie-borg: biological entities have imperatives such as: avoid being eaten, breathe, eat, drink, sleep, and procreate. If biological units don’t have the drive to procreate, the species self-extincts itself (I added that second “itself” for my lie-borg friends).

    As it is forbidden to quote Scripture or Church Teachings, I fall upon Aristotle and Plato for pagan advice.

    The gay gestapo requires that the state redefine marriage to include passive/sterile/unnatural buggery, which Plato (see Gorgias) termed “ridiculous, loathsome, disgraceful, shameful, and wretched.”

    Gassy gays want the state to force the rest of us to believe that such shameful perversion is equal to fecund, sacramental marriage, i.e., that which sodomy can never be: marriage’s moral and legal equivalent.

    Elsewhere, Plato provides additonal condemnations. (See Laws 636c) Plato, speaking through the character of the Athenian stranger, rejects homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (para physin), describes it as an “enormity” or “crime” (tolmema), and explains that it derives from being enslaved to pleasure.

    Here are comments from Aristotle. “Others arise as a result of disease [νόσους] (or, in some cases, of madness, as with the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or with the slave who ate the liver of his fellow), and others are morbid states resulting from custom, e.g. the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these sex with men [ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν]; for these arise in some by nature and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” [Nicomachean Ethics Book 7:5] [Arist Eth Nic 1148b 27-30]

    His equation of sodomy with nail-biting or eating coal was made to communicate that which they have in common: essential futility. Likely, Aristotle meant the weird comparisons to highlight his conclusion.

    There are no rationales for sin only causes.

  • I thought TACs readership might find of interest an article from 1998 by the late Fr. Francis Canavan, S.J., entitled “The Eminent Tribunal” which traces the U.S. Supreme Court’s discovery and development of “substantive due process” and the manner in which it caused an expansion and redefinition of the judiciary’s role.
    “The Eminent Tribunal” was originally published by “First Things” in 1998.

  • The judge takes an oath to deliver the Virtue of Justice, equal Justice for all persons. Equal Justice is not equality but Justice that must be the truth and nothing but the truth, or it is a miscarriage of Justice. The Virtue of Justice, Justice is a virtue, is giving to all persons what they truly deserve, not always what they want, but what they truly deserve. Equality leveled at all persons might be injustice for all or most. Only the Virtue of equal Justice can and maybe obtained in a court of law…because the Court is not our Creator, God is. NOR can the Court live our lives for us. Every person must live his own life and every person must strive to deliver equal Justice for himself and all other persons.

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  • T Shaw

    An excellent post.

    it is axiomatic that acts of the understanding are specified by their object and good and bad choices are no more equivalent than apprehension and misapprehension, truth and error are equivalent species of an identical genus; rather, bad choices are paralogisms (παραλογισμός = Unreasonable or fallacious).

    The good choice, “This – being such – is to be done,” is intelligible, because intelligent; the act of the bad will is a surd, ultimately unintelligible. True enough, we can often trace its causes to instinctive or dispositional factors, but it remains logically incoherent.

    That is why Aristotle says in the Third Book of EN, “All wicked men are ignorant of what they ought to do, and what they ought to avoid; and it is this very ignorance which makes them wicked and vicious. Accordingly, a man cannot be said to act involuntarily merely because he is ignorant of what it is proper for him to do in order to fulfil his duty. This ignorance in the choice of good and evil does not make the action involuntary; it only makes it vicious. The same thing may be affirmed of the man who is ignorant generally of the rules of his duty; such ignorance is worthy of blame, not of excuse.”

  • Mary De Voe

    Your definition of justice closely follows that given in the first sentence of Justinian’s Institutes, “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribunes” Inst Lib1.1 – Justice is a constant and perpetual intention to render to each his own.

    As to its “constant and perpetual” character, the SCOTUS has never distinguished itself by a scrupulous adherence to precedent. Indeed, in Jones v Opelika [319 US 584 (1942)] one finds Roberts J complaining that, in some six years, the court had fourteen times reversed one or more of its earlier decisions, many of them recent. He observed that such decisions tended “to bring adjudications of this tribunal into the same class as a restricted railroad ticket, good for this day and train only. I have no assurance, in view of current decisions, that the opinion announced today may not shortly be repudiated and overruled by justices who deem they have new light on the subject.”

    As one particularly egregious example, a constitutional case, Minersville School District v Gobitis [310 US 586 (1940)] that was decided by a majority of eight to one, was overruled three years later in West Virginia School Board of Education v Barnette [319 US 624 (1943)] by a majority of six to three. Of the six, three of the Justices (Black, Douglas & Murphy JJ) had changed their minds, two (Jackson & Ritledge JJ) were new appointments and one was the former lone dissident (Stone CJ, formerly Stone J)

    Surely, the highest court having once decided what the law is, it should be for the legislator to say what it ought to be.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Surely, the highest court having once decided what the law is, it should be for the legislator to say what it ought to be.”
    I am so happy that you, Michael, associate the law as coming down through the Court to the state’s sovereignty, then to each individual person’s sovereignty. The Virtue of Justice does not allow vice, nor the violation of natural law. The judges of the Court must acknowledge that they are the personification of God’s perfect Virtue of Justice.
    Interpret the Constitution? I would be happy if the Court read the Constitution.

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

Wednesday, January 15, AD 2014


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:

To read Professor Kelly’s curriculum vitae, click on the following link:

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

Continue reading...

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

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  • Imagine the difficulties in obtaining paid employment for a recent grad with a BA in Lesbian Poetry in Pre-Columbian Meso-America.

  • When I was in high school, one of the excellent teachers said, “The answers to every question/issue are ‘the Industrial Revolution’ and e = m c-squared.” It had some validity in 1964.

    Today, the post-modern, credentialed cretins would say, “Class, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation” tell it all.

  • This of course brings to mind the situation at the University of Illinois where an adjunct professor of religion was fired for presenting the Catholic teaching on homosexuality in a course on… Catholicism.

    Awhile back, a commenter here on TAC complained that Catholics were being too scrupulous in questioning the Vatican’s hiring of E & Y. I would suggest that the LGBT movement itself is nothing if not scrupulous in defending their teachings on the nature of sin, going so far as to chase down the wedding planners who dared to contract with wedding cake bakers and so forth. So I was pleasantly surprised that E & Y consented to be hired by the Vatican. Sitting down to eat with tax collectors and sinners and all. It signals a welcome shift in tone.

    But I doubt we can trust confessing LGBT professors to include relevant Catholic teaching in the course on Queer Pioneers at DePaul.

  • I’ve heard hell is paved with the bodies of bishops. Academic administrators as well.

  • St. John Chrysostom – “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
    Penguins Fan – “Catholic college administrators are the chip and seal on that road.”

    I knew something was wrong with Catholic education when I was a kid in the early 1970s. DePaul should be ashamed of itself.

  • Not sure what to mkae of this.

    Clearly, Catholics are more inclusive, tolerant, and open minded than the LGBT community. Catholics are making a good faith effort to understand these people and their particular set of woes, and by having them teach in our Universities, we demonstrate that we seek to understand, not judge. Clearly, Catholics do more to for true academic freedom than the secular dopes running the University of Illinois.

    This is a bad thing?

  • From the first link:

    But her new favorite class is Lesbian Lives, Politics, and Communities, which she developed based on Alison Bechdel’s comic strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For.”

    Doesn’t that make you want to hug a Physics textbook? A college course developed based on a comic strip. I’m sure the class not only covers a lot of important information, but it’s completely different from her ‘Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics’ class. Hyeesh.

  • Many American Catholics are lost souls. They have rejected the Magisterium
    for the progressive moral teachings of modern pagan loons, who will lead
    those poor souls to an unhappy end.

  • Franco.
    While I was seeking to understand….suddenly I Understood!

    Your absolutely correct!

    Four years from now will be a prof that is a “minor attracted” person, and they will be breaking the barrier down so we start to appreciate the positive attributes of pedophiles. Opps…. I mean “minor attracted people.”

    Let’s not stop there…..bestiality 101 @ a progressive catholic university near you!

    The possibilities are endless for this enlightened culture.

  • So this brings me to something that has bothered me for a long time. Who is paying for all this so called education? Sadly, it’s probably parents and grandparents who have no spiritual rigor. It’s no wonder they need to suck on their parents health insurance until they are 26. In my dreams I see a world in which students, and ONLY students are allowed to pay for their own education. That would cut this crap out real quick. Seriously…who would pay for this if it came out of their own pockets??? For one thing college would have to be delayed until one had saved up some money to pay for it by – I know…WORKING at some miserable job. These students would be more mature and would have a much better grasp on what they want to study and they would only be interested in paying for what is necessary to achieve their goal in the minimum amount of time. I don’t know any 30 year old going to college that is interested in any kind of naval gazing. It’s so easy to be a young, silly liberal if you don’t have to pay for it. In my dream world, those who want to wallow in liberal philosophy for 6 years to get a useless BA would be welcome to indulge whatever they can pay for. Praise God for the rise in on-line technical colleges!!

  • “LGBT Studies?” What’s to study? Please, somebody enlighten me as to what can possibly be learned by entering that “field of scholarship” that makes one more productive, more stable and of deeper character.

  • LGBT Studies?

    Well for one thing this course will help broaden the marketplace of those who feed upon the young, especially the kids that are unsure about there place in a world where “it’s all good if it feels good.”
    So by broadening the field of prey, due to complete acceptance brought about by thought police enforcing laws similar to the charge of ( homophobic language) and your top heavy Hollywood liberal mogul’s spewing this agenda like fertilizer to the weeds with there “craft” it’s enough to make run on sentences to say the least.
    Sodomites behold the power of a God that is Mercy…and of Justice!!!
    Justice is coming fools.

  • “Catholic” means all that the Catholic Church teaches. It is that Church that can easily be identified by those bishops in communion with each other and the successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome, whom we commonly refer to as “the pope”.

    Whatever ‘this’ is, it is not Catholic.

    We are slowly witnessing a pruning of some institutions with Catholic names from the Catholic Church, and interestingly enough the government is strangely helping this process (although unintended) in the HHS mandate. It is a sad moment yet apparently necessary. I believe it is the Lord Who is the One Who is actually pruning His Church

    Remember, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and many others were once Catholic universities. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church survives

  • Botolph: I have had the same thoughts concerning the Catholic Church. The devil is sifting Peter.

  • Mary,

    The Devil sifts Peter, each and everyone of them, the saints, the mediocre ones, and the bad ones. Yet Christ’s promise to Peter remains with him and the Church in union with him, thanks be to God.

  • Per suzn,
    by the time you are 30, you don’t want to waste time gazing at your own navel, let alone gazing at someone else gazing at her navel. Behold, the LGBTQ navel! Ever ancient, ever new!

  • Kids today know that a bachelor’s degree, in anything, will get you further than a high school diploma will. The problem is that not every kid has what it takes to earn good grades in a real curriculum. We inflate grades, build more community colleges, do everything we can think of to get these kids a devalued degree, but for some reason everyone isn’t above average. And average + 12 years of public school =/= future mathematician.

  • That’s true Pinky, not everyone can become a mathematical genius etc. However, one does not have to be a Thomas Aquinas to learn and grow in the Catholic Faith. At some point, Catholic universities, colleges and their faculties are going to have to come to grips with what the world calls “truth in advertising”. Are what they offering Catholic or not?

    In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Universities and their faculties used to be consulted all the time if and when theological questions arose. Even Henry VIII had a consultation of the Universities of the mainland (he was not pleased with the results). The Catholic universities (at least in America) for the most part cannot fill that role at this time. What a tragedy! What a travesty! In many cases we have neither academic excellence or Catholic faithfulness.

  • Agreed, Botolph. The lack of intellectual rigor in modern academia is inevitable, and something like this program could only develop in an intellectually lazy environment, but that doesn’t mean that programs like this are inevitable at a Catholic university.

  • I totally agree Pinky. It is a travesty

  • Penguin’s Fan: I don’t think the style is the question. Different styles exist. Some difference is legitamet within the broader catholic church. There remain a few things that separate communions or traditions, and one of these is justification.

  • • Feminist Errors
    • Creating Repentance;
    • Contemporary Christian Politics;
    • Contemporary Road Building: Gender, Craft and Community Service;
    • Intro to Christian Studies;
    • Sexual Justice: Men, Fathers, and the Law; and,
    • Christian Pioneers.

    “Courses not taught at DePaul University.”

  • The overeducated will clearly have a confused value system and this will ruin what
    religious integrity they may have once had. Love the sinner-Hate the SIN

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

Monday, January 13, AD 2014


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:

To read about disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, click on the following link:

To read the Pew Center study, click on the following link:

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

Continue reading...

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

  • The Church’s sorry behavior on these matters is still costing Her dearly, and understandably so. Yet, it is difficult to read Ms McAleese’s statements without smelling the stench of unbridled arrogance.

  • “Things written by Benedict . . . completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, . . . ”

    That’s because now we have behavioral academics/scholarship – credentialed cretins deriving conclusions based on ideology not logic. It relies on anecdotes and stereotypes incorporated with mental, emotional filters to misrepresent and misunderstand data, events, and facts. Now, the academy’s low purpose is to advance the nightmare narrative and provide continual propaganda for progressive prejudices and programs.

    Behavioral academics/scholarship seamlessly imbeds fabrications into facts. In it all reading is arbitrary and personal. A theory cannot be proved only disproven. Behavioral academics invent facts, deny/ignore errors, display arrogance and execrate anybody providing with opposing evidence. For those people truth, facts, realities, and history do not exist. They are clay in their hands. They use them to make a point, to do good as they see it. And whatever they need to twist or omit is justified by their purity of intentions – and they always have the purest of intentions – false but justified.

  • “Things written by Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding”


    What’s disconcerting is that Ireland got stuck with a President who is a professed Catholic and aspirant canon lawyer who does not realize this is a nonsense statement. And she was supposedly an improvement on the ghastly woman who preceded her.

  • Apparently, the voters of Ireland have returned to the paganism of their distant ancestors.

    Ms. McAleese has proven herself to be a fool on so many counts. Homosexuality, abortion and birth control are nothing new. I would suggest Ms. McAleese study why the Church opposes these things, but she is too full of herself.

  • Homosexuality was once defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “arrested development”, sexually, emotionally and mentally. The diagnosis was changed under pressure from the North American Man Boy Love Association. Immaturity, physical, spiritual, and emotional are very core reasons why the Catholic Church cannot marry homosexuals, that is to each other, not only that they cannot consummate the marital act, but they cannot function as normal adults, because of their affliction. Denying their affliction, as they are, does not make it go away.

  • Former President McAleese’s position on various moral issues is at odds with Catholic teachings. She confuses the Catholic Church with a secular democracy and wrongly concludes that majority opinion prevails; it doesn’t. For the foreseeable future she must work on substituting humility for hubris and respect for the Church in place of condescension.


    To her credit though, she gave an inspiring commencement address at Fordham in May 2010 which was well received. I admire her spirit and vitality as well as her humour….http://youtu.be/9xGQruGF12s.

  • Instead of her journey to Boston to tell her wrongheaded ideas to hundreds of young people I wish she could spend an afternoon in a round table discussion with the six TAC commenters she is not unintelligent: she needs to get the right input. I hope we can hope someone in her course of study on Rome will be an apolitical truth teller

  • BRAVO T. Shaw! You have beautifully defined & explained the results on innocent hearts & minds of what we refer to as “psychobabble” in these parts!! I will be reusing your description. 😀

  • Ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth.

    Good post. Good comments. Ignorant arrogant modernist leader of iniquity, idolatry and perversion.

  • I frequently find myself recalling Lord Macaulay’s words, “We know through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical.”

  • Yes amen to all these brilliant comments I wish she would hear them.

  • Ireland has pretty much joined post-Christian Europe in abandoning the faith. As in Europe there are still the remnant faithful, but I spent much time there back in the 80’s and it was well on its way imbibing all the liberal mush. But the real challenge is, what are we going to do about those stats that make clear what we already know? That is, we are losing our youth to the dominant secular culture.

  • She might look no further than the Episcopal Church USA to observe the fruit of the tree of the new seed she wishes to plant in the Catholic Church. That modern experiment has already been run, so to speak. It would be very scientific and rational to consider the results.

  • Science doesn’t actually say anything… science is the process to try to detect things, and the conclusions she’s drawing are not something science can actually weigh in on.

    Ugh. Sad.

  • Her comment about few laypeople studying canon law almost sounds conspiratorial, as if the Church hid away canon law and only let the initiated learn what’s in it. Weird. In reality, most people don’t study canon law because they don’t need it. There are lay experts, though.

  • Modern science? How about basic biology? One man one woman. Procreation. Tsk Tsk, I must get back to my “Dantes Inferno”. Actually I’ll do that AFTER I finish my brush up on “cannon law”.

  • I don’t know if she is less honest than those who abandon the Church. Maybe she is just less realistic about the chances of the Church changing her teachings. Which just goes to show she has a lesser understanding of the Church than many of those who leave it.

    What I don’t understand is how she decries the abuse crisis in the church, but then wants the Church to abandon the very teachings that, had they been followed, would have thwarted the abuse she decries. It’s like decrying all the killing going on, and proposing to abolish laws against murder as the solution.

  • Modern science? How about just basic engineering. A male electrical plug cannot be mated with another male electrical plug. A male swagelock pipe fitting cannot be mated with another male swagelock pipe fitting.

  • “The Church hid away Canon Law” – good sarcasm. Canon Law is available to everyone:


  • “It’s like decrying all the killing going on, and proposing to abolish laws against murder as the solution.”

  • Interestingly, this person is attending one Catholic University and teaching at another. The fact that this woman is a former President of Ireland gives her no special insight into Church teaching, merely notoriety. Our University Presidents and Bishops are wimps. For shame.

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