Is this a “real” reform?

Monday, January 6, AD 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

Want real reform?

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

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

Now that’s real reform!

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

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

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


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51 Responses to Is this a “real” reform?

  • Authentic Monsignors live the Person of Christ crucified more perfectly than some other priests and are recognized for their holiness in attaining “oneness with Jesus Christ”. Your Excellency, Your Grace, and Your Eminence acknowledge that the priest is the personification of these titles which are accomplished through totalitarian love for God. Of course whether or not a priest has acknowledgement is superfluous if the priest is holy, but it is nice for the laity to know and recognize to whom they might go to become holier. Distinctions are made and are necessary for those people who are searching for Christ in earnest, while those who could care less to find the path to holiness are dismantling the signs and monsignors of the church.

  • At the time of the Second Vatican Council, a similar proposal was made by the German bishops’ conference that “Your Grace” and “Your Excellency” should be discontinued. The Archbishop of Cologne was heard to remark, “I’m still trying to stop people calling me Herr Kurfürst” [Prince-Elector]

  • Why not strip future bishops, archbishops, and cardinals of their formal titles (“Your Grace,” “Excellency,” and “Eminence”) and specialized clerical daily apparel that sets them apart from the others (meaning, ordinary Fr. Joe Schlubs).

    Given what has happened in the Church in recent decades, in the English speaking world in the last dozen years, and in the last year, some of us might be tempted by a franchise to refer to ecclesiastical brass as “Your Douchiness”.

  • It is a curious reform, for the Pope to remove from his arsenal the means to
    reward and encourage priests who are examples for their fellows. Wouldn’t it
    make more sense for the Holy Father to reserve the honor for those priests
    who exemplify the sort of service he is looking for? Instead, he simply does away
    with the honor altogether.

    It’s as though the Boy Scouts, in order to underscore the need for a good scout
    to be humble, eliminated the rank of Eagle Scout. Would that really be a
    positive step?

  • The Pope seems to specialize too often in turning molehills into mountains and treating mountains as if they were molehills.

  • This reminded me of a particular Maronite Preist at the local Maronite Catholic Church who was elevated to Monsignor in his 40’s. He gave good sermons and seemed to have a real connection with the youth at Mass.

    After a few years away from this Parish, I attended Mass at another Church he was at.

    He would get quite cranky at the young people wearing singlets and shorts to Mass, and the girls wearing short skirts. Mass was abit of a fashion parade. And I was happy he spoke up about it.

    But he also used to tell young married couples that if they were using the contraceptive pill, it was ok. It was their choice within the marriage. Hmmmm.

    And I also know he liked to ring up the Catholic book store ahead of time, and ask to have it closed for his own personal shopping time. Hmmmm

    Maybe a Monsignor at too young an age? I don’t know.

  • The grand show of eating baloney sandwiches, wearing five dollar
    shoes, sleeping in a cramp hotel room, and riding in an old VW,
    does not impress me. Pope Francis’ radical egalitarianism is very
    alarming. And this is just the beginning.

    I miss Pope Benedict!

  • well said Clinton.

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  • Two points: first, I think making “monsignor” more sparing will make it more meaningful and beautiful for the church. In Latin America, where I grew up (and so did Pope Francis), monsignor is a big deal. You may have heard that there’s more cardinals in Italy, Europe and the United States than in places like Latin America, Africa and Asia. As a result, in those parts of the world “monsignor” is the honorific reserved for archbishops and very well respected clerics. I grew up in El Salvador where Monsignor Oscar Romero loomed large and seemed to have proprietary rights over the honorific–because it was so rare (Google “Monseñor” and half the results will be about Romero). When I came to the U.S., I was shocked that my “insignificant” parish priest was a monsignor, simply because he was a “First World” citizen. Second, to Franco’s point: I think you may be the only Catholic in the planet who doesn’t realize that Pope Benedict is totally in synch with what Francis is doing. In fact, Pope Benedict gave up the red shoes, the papal apartments, and the pope mobile even before Pope Francis, and set the stage for a papacy that does not relish power or prestige, and prefers modesty and simplicity over pomp and grandeur. In fact, Francis is doing only what naturally follows given the example of his last three predecessors, including Pope Benedict. Think about it, Paul VI gave up the tiara, John Paul I gave up the sedia gestatoria, John Paul II gave up the mozetta and other vestments, but Benedict gave up the papacy. In that sequence, the *ONLY* logical next step was Pope Francis.

  • Carlos X,
    I like Benedict ( excepting his pacifism on the death penalty, on herem, on the OT prophets…see sect.42 Verbum Domini and ccc 2267) especially after seeing a video of him with prison inmates in Italy which had some of them in tears and cheering him as he left in an expensive limousine. But he was not egalitarian in monetary matters. He probably still has his 28K book collection and grand piano and late in his papacy commissioned a personal fragrance. He gave up the papal apartment not as self abnegation but as a consequence of a decision entirely distinct from that giving up…ie he determined that he was too debilitated agewise to remain an active Pope who could prevent leaks and infighting around him while being Pope to everyone in the world.

  • Carlos X, “The only Pontifical Honor conferred will be that of “Chaplain to His Holiness,” namely, “worthy priests” who exceed 65 years of age.” I believe Pope Francis has removed the title of “Monsignor” from all priests, forever.
    bill bannon, “I like Benedict ( excepting his pacifism on the death penalty ” There is the matter of separation of church and state and Pope Benedict’s private and public life.“ From John Henry Cardinal Newman: “It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    Capital punishment belongs to the domain of civil society. (The human soul belongs in the domain of the priestly society. The criminal is to be subject to the law. The innocent is to be heir to all endowed freedom) Priests do not and cannot ban capital punishment.
    As a private person, the Pope may cherish those things that bring him happiness. In Deut. 14:26,27 we are told to make merry before the Lord. It may not be scandal for the Pope to not wear red shoes or tiaras no matter what they are intended to mean as long as the Pope remains faithful to Christ. And it is for the innocent soul, the pure of heart, to make merry before the Lord. When Pope Francis wears Wal-Mart shoes, he does not wear them as the Vicar of Christ, but as Bergoglio. All that the Pope and the Vatican is is held in trust for all future generations.
    (and this is why the Sodomites can never be gay, only pretenders in a court of law)

  • Mary De Voe,
    Popes can do damage at the non dogmatic yet definition level as in a catechism and Newman knew this in his “On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine”.
    Here are Pope Benedict’s words in section 42 of Verbum Domini: “In the Old Testament, the preaching of the prophets vigorously challenged every kind of injustice and violence, whether collective or individual, and thus became God’s way of training his people in preparation for the Gospel.”
    The statement simply is not true. There are prophetic verses against inter Jewish, often class violence (Jer.22:3, Eze.45:9, and Micah 6:12 “you rich men are full of violence”) but the prophets were not against all violence.
    Elijah killed 552 men minimum (I Kgs.18:40 e.g.); Eliseus was mandated by God to kill those who escaped the sword of Jehu ( I Kgs.19:17); the prophet Samuel killed Agag since Saul did not do so as ordered by God; and Jeremiah says to the Chaldeans (Jer.48:10) that they must kill the Moabites with precision: ” Cursed are they who do the LORD’s work carelessly,
    cursed those who keep their sword from shedding blood.”

    The above is the least of three of his pacifist rooted mistakes in the non infallible realm of the ordinary papal magisterium which can err even in morals if you read ” Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Ludwig Ott ( see Intro, par. prior to last section)…the go-to dogmatic treatise for priests in the mid twentieth century. Benedict in VD sect.42 also stated that the OT massacres were immoral and ergo not from God which is news to Joshua and Wisdom 12 and news to Christ who announced the worst one…70 AD…1 million perhaps killed.
    And news to Aquinas who wrote: ” But in the neighboring cities which had been promised to them, all were ordered to be slain, on account of their former crimes, to punish which God sent the Israelites as executor of Divine justice…” ST/ 1stPt.of the 2nd Pt. / quest.105/ art.3/ reply to obj.4.

  • bill bannon: Popes act in persona of their own persons as faithful. In a court of law one acts pro se: for oneself. I see your point.
    “In the Old Testament, the preaching of the prophets vigorously challenged every kind of injustice and violence, whether collective or individual, and thus became God’s way of training his people in preparation for the Gospel.” The statement simply is not true. The statement is true if read as God’s way of training his people…” It has long been obvious that the Israelites were the only nation who did not practice human sacrifice, devil worship by sacrificing their children to Moloch. Annihilating these nations and their wickedness is bearing witness to the True God. Samuel said to Agag: “As your sword has made women childless, so your mother shall be childless.” and he (Samuel) hacked him (Agag) into pieces.
    Guilt and bloodguilt. In the principle of separation of church and state, Pope John Paul II forgave his assassin. I cannot forgive Pope John Paul II’s assassin without becoming an accessory after the fact of the crime. I am the state and must prosecute the criminal. The Pope, the priest, the Levite may not execute capital punishment. They have taken a vow to pray always and they belong to God in a permanent way. We would have had no child abuse if priests had kept their vow to pray always.
    Pope Benedict was speaking for himself. “Benedict in VD sect.42 also stated that the OT massacres were immoral and ergo not from God which is news to Joshua and Wisdom 12 and news to Christ who announced the worst one…70 AD…1 million perhaps killed.” It would have been “immoral and not from God” for Benedict, as Pope, to partake in the massacres, even in wishful thinking. Isn’t this why Liberation Theology” is wrong, because the priest has promised to pray always, and chasing after bad guys is the sheriff’s job. Jesus was sacrificed to appease the Romans in Pax Romana, as well as the High Priests, who ought to have been praying always. Bloodguilt caused the massacre of 70 AD and Roman soldiers did it. I hope I have not confused you more.

  • Mary De Voe,
    Peace….we differ.

  • bill bannon: “Peace….we differ.” If you read my first comment you know I believe what Pope Francis did will not make the church better. In fact, I believe that it is in continuance of decimating the Friars of the Immaculate. Carlos says: “I was shocked that my “insignificant” parish priest was a monsignor, simply because he was a “First World” citizen.” This is probably what Pope Francis may believe. “…because he, the priest, was a “First World” citizen” is a bunch of hogwash. Holiness constitutes holiness. A holy priest is a Monsignor if he is holy, not if he fits another’s description of holy.
    Pope John Paul II can forgive my murderer, but only if my murderer wills to have contrition and repentance in the Sacrament of Penance, otherwise, Pope John Paul II is violating my free will and the virtue of Justice, unless Pope John Paul II was inviting my murderer into confession.
    People waited in line for two weeks to have Padre Pio hear their confession. Padre Pio did not make monsignor status, but he did make sainthood.

  • What an important reform Pope Francis has enacted! No more monsignors! We are all better off for it! Well, no, not really.

    What a waste of time this exercise is. The Lavender Mafia, the Vatican Bank, the encroachment of the Culture of Death, militant and radical Islam all are problems, and Pope Francis gets rid of an honorific.

    If he were to offer to resign and return to Buenos Aires, I think I would mortgage my house and empty my 401K to pay for his plane ticket back.

    As each week passes, the rest of the world’s Catholic faithful understands better why the Church in Latin America is in such a mess and so many Catholics leave to join Protestant churches.

  • Franco,

    Somehow I don’t think the “grand show” (its funny you call it that) of the Pope eating Baloney sandwiches and wearing “Walmart” shoes has anything to do with impressing Franco.

    Did you ever consider he does these things because he personally feels comfortable this way? Not because it riles up Franco and make him Pine for Pope Benedict (he is Emeritus by the way, if we’re in the business of accuracy).

    And since when was “expensive taste” an indicator of a good Holy Pope? I must have missed the memo on that one.

    I hope you don’t pinch your nose every time you pass a beggar in the street.

  • The “reform” of not naming monsignors is only window dressing of some kind. I don’t know why he did that, doesn’t make sense to me.

    I also want to respond to B Bannon. I certainly agree that “Popes can do damage at the non dogmatic yet definition level ..” but I don’t think Cardinal Ratizinger in Verbum Domini is an example of that. (that part of Verbum Domini that the “prophets challenged every type of injustice and violence…” )
    In my reading of that sentence, the word injustice is related to the word violence. I use the term violence to refer to something that is unjust… In our converstions violence that is seen as reasoned and protective, self defense etc is not generally referred to as violence, like in just war.

    Of course Benedict XVI knew about all those events of the OT that you mention. I think in Verbum Domini he was talking about the unjust violence, or violence not sanctioned by God. He is not calling out God. OT is clear about purging evil from our midst, even by violent means. Justifiable violence responds to something that is out of the God’s order of peace.

    Benedict XVI has demonstrated in his other writings that proportional just violence is sometimes necessary, as he has admitted to the need for protection from unjust aggression…see his interview with Vatican Radio after the 9/11 attacks. He came across to me as much more thoughtful and measured in his speech and writings than our current pope.

  • Anzlyne,
    Fr. Raymond Brown was on the Pontifical Biblical Commission under the John Paul II/ Ratzinger regime.
    Neither man found Brown dangerous. Read “Birth of the Messiah” by Raymond Brown. He says that Mary never said the magnificat but that Luke put it in her mouth to make the passage reminiscent of the OT. He says there was no slaughter of the innocents at Christ’s birth because Roman sources don’t mention it…I guess they trump the NT. Now read Verbum Domini slowly again. Benedict mentions no acceptable massacres at all which is needed in your version of what he means and Benedict wants Brown type authors to work their techniques on the massacres: ” we should be aware that the correct interpretation of these passages requires a degree of expertise, acquired through a training that interprets the texts in their historical-literary context.”. See that word “literary”. Benedict is hoping the invasion of Canaan is hyperbolic history….like Brown’s judgement on the slaughter of the innocent.
    Both John Paul and Benedict said sane things about just war when younger and perhaps later when pressed.
    But John Paul by advanced old age warned coalition forces against taking back invaded Kuwait from Hussein which was hardly the John Paul who worked with half Catholic Reagan who apprised John Paul on Russian troop movements near Poland. By 1999 John Paul was calling the death penalty ” cruel” despite God having given over 30 of them in the Scriptures personally…and Benedict thanked the president of the Phillipines for outlawing the death penalty there when she visited Benedict after he entered the papacy.
    Both Popes were conservative on morals …but not in later life on just violence ( both said war solves nothing then) nor were they conservative on biblical scholarship despite both men warning about excesses of modern biblical scholarship. Both men allowed Brown on the Pontifical Biblical Commission and Brown was the apex of what they warned about.
    Francis supports their de facto in reality anti death penalty position. I suspect not one of them knows that six of the worst murder rate countries on earth out of the first 22 or so…are Catholic dominated countries with no death penalty. Brazil and Mexico, our two largest population centers, are each 50 times more murderous than death penalty Japan and 25 times more dangerous than death penalty China who has many poor people as does the Catholic continent.

  • Ez

    How kind of you to respond to my post.

    My point is to contrast the pope’s condemnation of Catholics’, particularly
    traditional Catholics, unhealthy “obsession” with abortion, gay marriage
    contraception and the “disjointed multitude of doctrines”, which, in the
    opinion of the pope, threatens the Church’s existence, with his healthy
    obsession to identify with the poor. Perhaps, you agree with the pope
    that having a baloney sandwich with a poor person is a greater moral
    obligation than employing the Church’s moral authority to end the
    killing of the unborn and to defend the foundation of a normal, healthy
    civil society, Holy Matrimony, from the diabolical perversion of gay

    Maybe you believe that in solidarity with the poor, the pope should have
    traveled to Brazil by a canoe than by the comfort of a jumbo jet.

  • Now you’ve done it : ) You threw in the dreaded Raymond Brown… just the name opens so many worries in my heart. I can neither defend nor judge our popes, and I don’t understand why Brown has been given so much credit. I know someone who knew him and has told me how nice and charming and humble, but when I see his photo I get a chill.
    I have no idea why wonderful people like the two popes you mention seemed to accept him, or for that matter why they have accepted so much of the so called bible scholarship of the last 200 years. (the whole holey JEPD theory is a theory)
    So you think they just over intellectualized the miraculous? They may have just been such intellectuals and wanted not to stultify discussion of bible study, to remain open-minded. I certainly can’t judge those two popes— way over my head, but they were used to ivory tower talk and a strong self confident intellectual bible scholar like R. Brown gave them food for thought about the historicity of those events. They had been through the War and also through the seminaries and hierarchy and I am sure what they were in an honest search for the truth, and to look at it without blinking. The other part being both of their experiences with war making them so desire peace. Anyway I can’t put B16 scholarly forays in the same category somehow with some of the seemingly almost accidental comments we have discussed on Popewatch. His Erasmus lecture put the historical criticism in a better perspective.

  • Well, as long as he maintains the hermeneutic of continuity, and doesn’t mess with us deacons, I’m quite happy with him. 🙂

  • I fear that all he has done by this is change the nature of careerism in the Church. And not for the better.

  • No Franco, I am pro-life. I did pregnancy counselling for a Right to Life phone counselling service for over 7 years.

    Why does it have to be one or the other?

    What makes relating to the poor so immoral?

    It was the foundation of Christ Teachings. Read the Beatitudes.

    Don’t so called “traditional Catholicism” (whatever that means these days) prescribe to helping the poor?

    When did the Pope have a baloney sandwich with a poor person? I missed that one,

    When was he planning on travelling to Brazil in a canoe? I have a great mental image of that giving me a belly laugh right now. I can just imagine the Security Staff behind him.

    The Pope is Pro-life, anti-gay “marriage” and anti-contraception. Clearly stated. Numerous times.

    Why does a Catholic need to be reminded of that?

    What’s wrong if the Pope stops beating that very obvious drum and remind us to tend to those less fortunate?

    I commented in response to your statement :

    “The grand show of eating baloney sandwiches, wearing five dollar
    shoes, sleeping in a cramp hotel room, and riding in an old VW,
    does not impress me. Pope Francis’ radical egalitarianism is very
    alarming. And this is just the beginning.

    I miss Pope Benedict!”

    Your statement indicates to me an inaccurate and over-inflated attitude about the Pope. You don’t like him because his personal taste isn’t good enough for you- in your own words “doesn’t impress you”. Fair enough- that’s your opinion. I think you expressed it harshly.

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “Padre Pio did not make monsignor status…”

    The title is never conferred on religious priests

  • Anzlyne,
    The new exegetical schools have value in some areas but are easily misused in other areas. Why is all the bragging about John the beloved disciple only in John’s gospel and not in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Brown gives a great answer in a little book he wrote which I kept. But I threw his “Birth of the Messiah” in the garbage so that no one would ever read it in our family. When I found out that Benedict did not feel it necessary that God gave the stone tablets to Moses, I knew he and I were on a different page as to the hyperbole routine. I can go with a local flood in Genesis ( the dove after all returns with a dry twig after only 7 days flight wait…they reached the edge of the flood) …but don’t touch the stone tablets with demythologizing
    techniques. Image is weak with us laity but strong with the Vatican since the TV in the 50’s….hence Rome caved to the liberal world where she could…wifely obedience ( absent in the catechism) and the death penalty and letting Hussein have Kuwait according to the elder John Paul who warned of dire consequences if we opposed Iraq. Then we next watched serial surrendering of Iraqis on tv in the desert in the mother of all wars
    ( Hussein’s warning…similar to John Paul’s).

  • Thank you for this beautiful blog from Donald R. McClarey, to Anzlyne, to bill bannon, to Michael Paterson-Seymour, to Don the Kiwi, to Alphatron, to EZ, to Penguins Fan, to Art Deco and all the others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am and have learned so much.
    “Padre Pio did not make monsignor status…” The title is never conferred on religious priests.”
    Thank you for that, Michael Paterson-Seymour. The secular priest keeps his own name and therefore the title “Monsignor” designates his spiritual holiness, whereas the religious priest takes a religious name, a patron saint to designate his path to holiness.
    I am afraid that what AS says: “I fear that all he has done by this is change the nature of careerism in the Church. And not for the better.” is true as the title of this blog states: “real reform?” Anzlyne’s and bill bannon’s exchange is wonderful. I have found that the Holy Scripture is true on all levels. The damage is done by isolating one kind of interpretation as “nothing but the truth” leaving the literal, the poetic, the historical, and the rest, when all are necessary. It is that we have finite minds. Yes, and I have thought about the edge of the flood. Loch Ness is a flood. Mount Ararat, where the Ark is supposedly found is on a mountain, where the flood deposited it. There would be a flood in the valley below the mountain and with an edge.
    The death penalty is self-defense on a community and personal level. The victim must be vindicated or the state will have sanctioned her being murdered. Literally, the victim’s life must be taken back by the state for the victim to rest in peace and for the murderer to find his own soul and salvation. The murderer must expire with grief over the commission of homicide or his contrition is imperfect. Capital punishment must remedy the soul of the murderer. I was one of those persons who wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to have the Catechism of the Catholic Church revised after the death penalty was inscribed as “practically non-existent.” The executioner acts in persona of the murderer, the victim, the state, and of God’s Divine and Perfect Justice.

  • Mary,
    You are welcome. Here is a lady who researched capital punishment and deterrence and concluded ( like the US Supreme Court in 1976) that it saves the lives of 3 to 18 future potential victims if and only if it is done more than rarely in a given state. Enjoy…

  • Thank you Mary. I always enjoy your insights.

  • bill bannon: God bless and keep you. I will read every word from Shepherd. Now, about “wifely obedience”. St. Paul, so maligned said: “Husbands love your wives. Wives be submissive to your husbands” and the rest about the husband is the head of the wife etc. forgive me I do not have the correct piece, but what is most important is that husbands and wives are addressed as a family and not as men and women. Men and women are equal in sovereignty. Husbands and wives occupy a blessed union to which they have given informed consent (without which, they are not husbands and wives, without which they are not married at all) and free will to become and attain this office, for it is an office, a vocation from God. Husbands and wives serve God, as husbands and wives love and obey (their vows at the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony) each other. Yes, they are men and women to all people, but they are also a special vocation to each other as husband and wife, office and title, with special graces and duties, after love comes sacrifice called obedience or submissiveness, without which there can be no cohesive family in which to bring forth another sovereign being. Think about it. A woman cannot grow another arm or leg, yet she can grow another human being.
    In the same manner that a newly begotten human being, endowed with sovereign personhood from the very first moment of existence makes a mother of a woman and a father of a man and constitutes a sovereign nation of his country.
    Very much like Monsignor is a title to signify a vocation, a calling to holiness to one degree or another, not the same, but a vocation from God.
    God renews the face of the earth.

  • Ez: makes my heart glad, the joy of heaven early.

  • “( Hussein’s warning…similar to John Paul’s).” but for very different reasons, I suspect, since God has always used Assyria to punish Israel. Has one ever noticed that Israel’s flag has Blessed Mother’s blue and white colors with a Davidic star?

  • “He says there was no slaughter of the innocents at Christ’s birth because Roman sources don’t mention it…”
    Then why would an angel tell St. Joseph to take Mary and the Child and flee into Egypt? and why would Rachel be wailing for her children, because they are no more? and why would the Three Kings depart by a different way if King Herod was not about killing all children about the age of two years? King Herod was not Roman, why should there be notes in the Roman history of the Holy Innocents? This Raymond Brown has tunnel vision.

  • Raymond Brown sounds like the Jesus Seminar. Can’t prove WHERE Jesus said the Lord’s prayer means that Jesus did not say the Lord’s prayer. Discarding the four Evangelists and their Gospels, the true witnesses to Christ, leaves us at the mercy of this kind of isogesis. In this day and age for such a charlatan to emerge as a scholar is dumbfounding…and then there is Carl Rogers and the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Ez

    You presented me with a number of silly questions. Nevertheless, I’ll
    respond to some of them.

    “Why does it have to be one or the other?” Ask the pope, not me. I didn’t
    condemn Catholics for their obsession with abortion, gay marriage,
    contraception, etc.

    “What makes relating to the poor so immoral?” That’s your opinion. I never
    said relating to the poor is immoral However, the Left often uses the poor as
    a weapon to portray their opponents as immoral and mean.

    “Why does a Catholic need to be reminded of that (abortion, gay marriage,
    contraception, etc)?” That question says a lot about your understanding
    of the day’s great moral issues. We live in a very immoral and anti-
    Christian society.

    “What’s wrong if the pope stops beating that very obvious drum and reminds
    us to tend to the less fortunate?” There is nothing wrong with the pope reminding
    us to help the unfortunate. But the pope has condemned that “very obvious drum”,
    and will not tolerate the discussion of any other social issue, particularly if it
    suggests a traditional point of view.

    Further, I do not dislike the pope, nor do I dislike his tastes in shoes, food, room
    accommodation, and cars. I just disagree with conspicuous humility.

    Also, my remarks are as harsh as the language used by the pope to
    condemn traditional Catholics. However, if my remarks were found
    to be offensive, I apologize.

    Perhaps, your dream of a modern, progressive and inclusive church where
    gays can marry, where sin is ignored and mocked, where the outdated
    sacraments of confession and holy matrimony are discarded and where
    morality is condemned as a myth of a forgotten time in history will come true.

  • My silly questions were in response to your ridiculous assumptions.

    You make claims you choose not to backup with facts. Canoes and Baloney sandwiches…? You’re a good story-teller.

    A “progressive” Church….what on earth is that? The Church is the community of the Body of Christ on Earth. ALL are invited. Her Teachings are unshakable. Don’t play politics.

    Conspicuous humility is called setting an example. I do it everyday to my young children. It seems to me you present a streak of Envy towards the Pope on this matter.

    People struggling with same-sex attraction should be included in the Church. People struggling with the sin of a past abortion should be included. People who do not yet fully understand the Church teaching on Contraception, but trying, are part of the Body of Christ.

    I’m not an idiot Franco, as you imply. I am very aware of the great moral issues of our time.

    The only way to combat abortion is to help on the front-line- counsel women who are facing a “crisis” pregnancy.

    The only way to combat the rampant use of Contraception is to practice NFP and help others gain knowledge of its practise. And to welcome children.

    The only way to fight same-sex marriage is through your vote and prayer.

    The Pope banging the drum on these will not stop these sins. The Pope did not listen to the past two Pontiffs either.

    So Franco, perhaps your assumptions of “people like me” need to be reassessed. Perhaps a jump off the morale high-horse once in a while. And get into the trenches.

    I’m glad the Pope is shaking your comfortable cage. But spiteful comments against his style don’t help.

  • Apologies- the “world” did not listen to the past two Pontiffs. (Not a Freudian slip) 😉

  • “Discarding the four Evangelists and their Gospels”

    As Mgr Ronald Knox wrote

    “Yet, left some envious Critick might complain
    The BIBLE had been jettisoned as vain,
    Pellucid JABBOK
    Show’d us, how much more
    The Bible meant to us than e’er before.
    Twelve Prophets our unlearn’d forefathers knew,
    We are scarce satisfy’d with twenty-two :
    A single Psalmist was enough for them,
    Our Lift of Authors rivals A. & M.
    They were content MARK, MATTHEW, LUKE & JOHN
    Should bless th’old-fashion’d Beds they lay upon :
    But we, for ev’ry one of theirs, have two,
    And trust the Watchfulness of blessed Q.”

  • yes! wonderful- thank you Michael P-S. That brought me a smile. We are so blessed by Msgr Knox and so many others who like him who saw straight and were able to still have a sense of humor to lighten the weight.
    Wish I had known of him that day I first learned about Q and felt all alone in my classroom.

  • I agree with Pope Francis’ action regarding monsignors, but I would go further. I would drop the title, “monsignor” completely. It is a mere honorific, and it does not denote a specific Order within Holy Orders. Although I would not necessarily drop respectful ways of addressing a Bishop, Archbishop or Cardinal, I would definitely drop the princely cassocks, including the red piping, the red cinctures for their black cassocks, and especially the watered-silk scarlet capes that Cardinals wear. I was once sitting in an Orthodox Church, and a couple of seats down was an Orthodox clergyman. I thought he was a Priest. It turned out he was a Bishop, and the only difference in how he was dressed vis-à-vis a Priest was his engkolpion (icon of the Theotokos hung on a chain around his neck). If Pope Francis wishes simplicity in the Catholic Church, he could well decree simpler dress for Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals in imitation of the Orthodox.

  • Vatican II gave nuns and sisters to dress as laity and it got us nowhere.

  • I question his motives, honestly questioning them. The red shoes represented him walking the foot steps of martyrs and not in the footsteps of the world. He could have had red shoes made by his cobbler that he used for years to make the shoes he wears now, but he didn’t. A lack of understanding of the significance of the shoes that’s why. Just like Paul VI gave away the papal tiara, it wasn’t a symbol of his kingdom, but of Christ’s Kingship. He was only the steward giving away his Master’s property. Living in an apartment in a hotel? How is that modest living? Wouldn’t a man, who is the vicar of Christ and His servant, want to be near his Master? Now he is taking away a title of honor away from men who work tirelessly for the Church. It would be like a king taking away the title of knight from his soldiers who fight ferociously in battle to defend the kingdom, or at least until you are old enough. What happens to the soldier who starts off young but fights more courageously than all the other soldiers in the kings army, and continues to do so? Should he not get rewarded with the title of knight? Well that’s what the title of monsignor is to the Church. It is knighthood for those brave soldiers, priests, and it is an acknowledgment from the King’s steward of this soldier. Just like lords and dukes are our bishops and cardinals. That soldier can never be made a lord or duke without first receiving the knighthood of Christ. Ever heard of a priest being raised to the office of bishop?, no but I bet you hear all the time of monsignors being raised to that office all the time. What I think, now this is my own opinion so be patient with me on it now, is that the pope is saying that it is impossible for someone to posses the qualities to be named a bishop unless he is old, forget about the Holy Ghost guiding this man, or soldier of Christ, during the battles of this world. You can not posses wisdom unless you are old, I find that to be insulting.

  • Excellent comment David Wood.

  • Fair point David. This action has obviously come across to many in the manner you describe.

    But do you really think these were the Popes intentions when he made this decision?

    How many “young” Bishops do you know anyway. Not many. It’s been like that for a long time.

    I believe the Church is as much about structure and Management as it is about appointing titles to those deemed good servants of the Church. I don’t believe, personally, that its a measure of holiness just because you posess the title of Monsignor, Bishop, Cardinal. Many great saints were “just” Preists.

    I actually think the insight the Pope has, from his own seat, informs his decisions. From our point of view, it could come across as stifling the good. But I really believe, this is not his intention. What would he gain from “holding back” a good Preist?

    Again, its all about appointing good stewards, managers and leaders. And if it sends a message that the title has to be earned, and earned with great effort and sacrifice, then I don’t see anything wrong with the Popes decision. Just my two cents.

  • Ez

    At one time, quite young men were appointed as bishops. Cardinal Richelieu became bishop of Luçon at 23 and it was his energy and efficiency in managing his see that brought him to the King’s notice.

    The Cardinal Duke of York received the red hat at the same age. He was a Cardinal for 59 years.

  • How many young bishops have been appointed since PJPII? I assume not many?…

  • I do agree with the point that maybe there should be a change in the hierarchy more than at the ground level. Those are the ones who effect the people and the faith the most. But so far he is all about giving up tradition and that is not something I want to see go. Oh sure it looks like he is being humble in the things he is doing, but look at the big picture as a whole. Washing the feet of women and most importantly a Muslim woman, someone who doesn’t even share our faith and has no idea what the purpose of the feet washing was; he did all that instead of the traditional washing the feet of the clergy, just as Christ did at the last supper. I’m sorry if people see it as a good thing but I wonder in what direction he is leading the Church with all the doing away with tradition that he is doing. Will we recognize the Her in the next 10 years or will it be even more drastic of a change like Vatican II was that She won’t even be the same for people to know She is Christ’s Bride or if She is even beautiful because we stripped Her of Her beauty?

  • Actually there have been many. Some have been really great bishops, while others seem to be really fat and lazy and are doing nothing to promote the faith in their dioceses. I mean nothing!

  • Clericalism is not just about clerics looking for recognition and advancement, but as I recall, also about clerics (and lay people) seeing themselves elevated above the laity.
    There’s just inherent risks in communication, We have to be careful to understand meaning of words and labels on deeper levels than what first might strike the ear. Look at the title Curé,as people affectionately remember Father Vianney. The generation after the Reign of Terror. Was that title given him by his bishop? I don’t think so. I think it was a recognition, given by clerics and lairty both– because of his recognizable holiness. I think that is how the term monsignor developed before it became just a recognition of the diocesan hierarchy.
    Jesus didn’t claim titles like messiah or christ. remember the gospel of Mark 10 where Jesus asks “why do you call me good, no one is good by God”. We have to think he did not mean that we shouldn’t call anyone good, but he was wanting his listener to dig deeper. What did the questioner mean by “Good rabbi” The intent of the speaker was what Jesus was looking at I think.
    When the leper prostrated himself before Jesus, Jesus accepted the humble obeisance and sent the man away healed without questioning why do you fall down before me?
    I think the pope is just trying to make us all think more deeply about many things.

  • Anzlyne

    M. le Curé is the ordinary French term for the pastor of a parish.

    M. l’abbé is the title of a diocesan priest (from the Hebrew, Abba = father) Père is used of religious priests and Dom (from Latin Dominus = Lord) for monastic priests (like Dom Perignon, prominent in the development of champagne). In Italy, a similar distinction is made, with Don being the title of diocesan priests and Padre of religious ones. Don is really the equivalent of English ‘squire and, in the Southern Italy, it is still used, as a mark of respect, of other prominent people, besides priests.

    There used to be a similar practice in England. Bl John Henry Newman once corrected a Birmingham journalist, who addressed him as “Father Newman,” “Dr Newman, if you please, I’m not a regular.”

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

Saturday, January 4, AD 2014

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

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

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

But, there’s even more!

Continue reading...

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

  • “When in Rome…” tisk tisk.
    …..can’t resist this one….”if ya can’t beat ’em join ’em.

    Is this one of those moments when you say Dear God I Do Trust in YOU?
    Stay close to God and keep praying knowing that He is in control.
    Who knows…maybe the final curtain call on humanity is just heartbeats away.
    Jesus I Trust in You!

  • So ecumenical that our doctrines fall out. Give the money to the poor in your neighborhood.

  • The Lavender Mafia seems to be alive and well in the Vatican in spite of the fact that Pope Francis is clearly aware of its existence:

    Whatever gifts Pope Francis may have, I think it is becoming increasingly clear that he is a disaster in the day to day management of the Church.

  • “The Lavender Mafia seems to be alive and well in the Vatican in spite of the fact that Pope Francis is clearly aware of its existence:”
    Some people and priests do not consider homosexual behavior as sinful, not adultery, not fornication. Some people and priests practice homosexual behavior to avoid fornication and adultery. The truth of homosexual behavior is that it is self-abuse and assault and battery of the partner. In matters of the rational, immortal human soul, refusal to grant that sodomy is gravely sinful and the road to hell, the practice of sodomy is mortal sin. If Pope Francis allows harlots to run his road show, fear of the Lord will be brought to bear.

  • “, fear of the Lord will be brought to bear.”

    Am I wrong to suggest that the use of the “rainbow” in the homosexuals banner is a direct slap in Gods face.
    He won’t wash out the filth next time, however He might burn it out.
    Pray for conversions!

  • Pingback: The Vatican hires pro-homosexual corporations to make its | Vatican Report
  • Francis, a faithful son of the Catholic Church.

  • To deliver a message of repentance and conversion, Jesus ate and drank amongst sinners. He also picked up the tab.

  • Actually I think Christ was always a guest, except for the fish and loaves feast. I would certainly have no objection to Pope Francis sharing bread with sinners to bring them to repentance. Giving millions of Church “bread” to public relation firms who are in opposition to the teachings of the Church is quite a different matter.

  • “….picked up the tab.”

    Excuse me sir. The “tab” is running as long as men have free will.
    Our obedience or disobedience is at question in relationship to pitching in and helping our neighbor.
    One popular version; too many unwanted pregnancies…freedom to kill is good.
    Another one for today; God made me this way..homosexual, so He would want me to express myself as I am.

    The above examples are what I hear when in listening mode to understand.
    Is a moral compass important?
    Maybe a broken compass is best, then you can smile as you travel the “wide” road.

  • MCM.

    Not you personally. The wide road is easy and I’m not suggesting you travel on it. The importance of a spiritual leader is to guide the flock to safty…not lead them to wolves.

  • I wonder how much the fees are going to cost the Vatican, and whether the engagement contracts contain any clauses to reduce the “inequality” of pay between the executives of the contractors and the employees who do the clerical/menial jobs in the executives’ offices?

  • Many thanks for the replies.

    By “picking up the tab” I was referring, too esoterically to be sure, to Christ’s paying of the ultimate price. So yes, though “[t]he “tab” is running as long as men have free will,” the employees of KMPG, E&Y, and M&Co are also “in listening mode.”

    The Holy Spirit has given the Church a papacy for the times that we’re in (cf. Matthew 10:16), and the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

  • Being somewhat familiar with two of the three firms mentioned, I would say the Vatican is selecting large, old and professionally reputable firms to deal with. I think that in some instances (Catholic Relief Services comes to mind.) that we apply a “purity test” of sorts to those outside the Church that we do business with that can be taken to extremes. The US Postal Service, last time I checked, delivers Planed Parenthood propaganda, birth control prescriptions and other objectionable materials yet the Church continues to patronize them (I even understand that they are closely affiliated with the US Government, currently being run by the infamously and scandalously renown Obama Administration!). Being “Gay Friendly” in one’s hiring practices does not necessarily make them promoters of evil and enemies of the Church (If they were that militant, they would have refused to do business with the Church because of its “homophobic policies” or some such excuse.).

  • “The US Postal Service, last time I checked, delivers Planed Parenthood propaganda, birth control prescriptions and other objectionable materials”

    Red Herring alert! Red Herring alert! The US Snail is a government monopoly. One has no choice but to deal with them. Comparing that with hired PR “gay friendly” firms is rubbish. The Vatican either didn’t do their homework, they don’t care or a member of the Lavender Mafia in the Vatican got a chuckle out of donations by faithful Catholics going to firms that despise the teachings of the Church. All the lipstick in the world won’t make this pig of a decision look any prettier.

  • I am all for using the best professional help available. But isn’t this inviting the fox into the hen house?

  • At every moment we are teacher and student. The question I have is: what is the Vatican teaching? In this decision I feel they are endorsing the behavior of companies that support Grave Sin.
    Why should our Holy Church teach ideas contrary to our beliefs?
    Just a question from a poor student.

  • I’m with Joseph Mulvihill on this one. If each of us listed every company we personally use, every brand we buy, every service we patronize and engage with, I guarantee you there is either a pro-gay, pro-abortion policy behind most of them. Don’t tell me you don’t use google, buy Microsoft, eat nestle, watch Disney? All are pro-gay.

    Firstly, There was a crook running the Vatican bank. A catholic crook. Allegeded Mafia money-laundering by people, who I would guess are vastly Catholic. No red herring- it’s a valid point.

    Secondly, all companies should be equal opportunity, regardless. So as long employees do their work ethically, efficiently and well to a professional standard. And keep their personal beliefs personal.

    For example hiring a gay teacher at a Carholic school is not right, in my opinion. But not hiring a gay lawyer at a firm run by a devout Catholic is absurd. To me. What if he has the skill to be an asset to your company, and respected the type of work the company policy obliged him to take? What’s so wrong with that?

    You’re not talking about E &Y influencing or pressuring the Vatican to do anything immoral. They’re auditors. So what if the gay E&Y employee worked on the bank books?!

    Who are we to judge. Amen.

  • “Who are we to judge.”

    We are faithful Catholics who have a duty, not a right, but a duty, to point out when men in positions of power within our Church make decisions that make a mockery of the teachings of our Faith they are paid to uphold.

  • Ez.

    I disagree.
    We are to judge! Not condemn however judge most definitely.
    Our remaining silent IS Consent!
    Thats allowing Bad behavior to go without any admonishing the sinner so that they have a chance at “freedom.”
    Yes we all have had beams in our eyes, but once pulled out its social justice to mention the spec in our neighbors eyes.

  • What hits you is the inanity of the hiring practices of all three firms. I would wager that sort of thing is a confluence of two factors: the presence of a homosexual cabal in certain gatekeeper positions and the degree to which attitudes toward sodomy are now a marker among the professional-managerial bourgeoisie of in-group status.

  • Art.
    What hits me is the teaching moment lost, worse than lost, it’s sacrilegious.
    The very top has made an error in judgment. If we all said; “Who cares” as former Sect. of State did in response to Benghazi, then what next?
    Who cares that the Vatican has selected three firms that support homosexuals in the workplace? I do.
    The Gennie is out of the bottle and God forbid our Holy Father to stand up and teach here.

  • What hits me is the teaching moment lost, worse than lost, it’s sacrilegious.

    You recall Wm. F. Buckley’s reaction in 2002 to what a great many dioceses (e.g. Boston’s) were doing during the period running from 1982 to about 1993: “It would appear what the Church believes in is…psychiatry”. And the beat goes on.

    You get the impression that we are living in an era like the 10th century and that it will be a while before the crud on the floor and the walls is powerwashed away. And by ‘a while’, I mean when you and I are safely and cozily dead.

  • Art.
    While I’m still breathing I will not cease to try to help just one soul to the truth.
    If one soul finds truth on my behalf before I get cozy then this is worth it.
    God bless you Art.

  • It is my belief that electing Ernst & Young’s CEO and taking millions in corporation donations from the company were primary moving factors in the change in the Boy Scouts of America’s policy on homosexual membership. Ernst & Young didn’t act as a neutral broker in that situation. So to, KPMG advises a large number of US government agencies on personnel policies, compensation, and evaluations. I assure you that that advice is not neutral on questions involving LGBT issues.

    One cannot expect that those whose stated interests are opposed to your own will actively work against their perceived interests. Hiring firms that promote themselves as “progressive” invites their manipulation of all they have contact with. Auditing necessarily means advising, for example, and, we should assume that advising the vatican will temper policies which adversely effect LGBT interests.

    This is a mess… No more a mess than many US dioceses have done on their own of course (witness New York’s paying for contraceptives or San Fancisco’s blind eye to priests “blessing” gay unions) but a mess nonetheless.

  • “Who are we to judge?

    St. Paul gives the answer in 1st Corinthians 6:2-3

    2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!

    And right before that in chapter 5 of 1st Corinthians St. Paul wrote:

    3 For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing [slept with his father’s wife]. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    Next non-Biblical comment, please.

  • This is very disheartening news. We are certainly called to engage the sinner, as well as our own sinfulness. We are called the Church Militant because we are supposed to be fighting, in word and action, evil in this world. We are supposed to be rescuing Satan’s prisoners and leading them to freedom. Enriching our enemies coffers with our monies -even if they are providing a service – helps them to expand their armies and arsenals arrayed against us. It seems to me that we are inviting in the Trojan Horse knowing our enemy awaits inside, armed and ready.
    And yes, as they publicly and as policy support false and destructive positions, it seems scandalous to me to hire them.

  • Isn’t it far better and much more effective to engage the sinner at a personal level. For example, Jesus dined with sinners- He entered their homes and engaged them. How are you meant to engage a sinner when you hold him-her at arms length? Refuse to do business, refuse to work with him etc…

    Secondly, I don’t see a gay conspiracy behind the hiring of E&Y- unless I see proof of one- paranoid speculation does not pass as proof, that the Vstican is secretly trying to go pro-gay. E&Y’s “equal opportunity” company policy is not a big deal.

    Yes we all have a duty to point out the shortcomings of the Church heirarchy. But, I don’t see how Church leaders are making a mockery of the teachings of the Church. I don’t see an agenda here at all.

    Again, I think the Vatican hired them because they are good at the task they were hired for. And as I stated, I don’t see any difference between the Vatican hiring a pro-gay company to undergo a financial service, and one of us individuals patronising say an insurance company that donates to PP. Try and find a “clean” company- I challenge you!

  • EZ is right. Sadly, we are on the minority side of the culture wars, and most secular institutions are lined up with the opposition, either because of sincere beliefs or because of perceived self-interest. I don’t think Church teaching requires either it or us to have business or social intercourse with our opponents in these wars. Catholics need not refrain from hiring E&Y or working for E&Y. My law firm has taken positions that I disagree with. My partners are aware of my disagreement and we respect each other. Insulating ourselves into antiseptic silos is neither practical nor effective.

  • Have should have been “avoid.” Too bad we don’t have an edit feature. I live to edit. 🙂

  • “Isn’t it far better and much more effective to engage the sinner at a personal level.”

    False choice. Engaging sinners does not equate with the Vatican taking donations earned by the sweat of faithful Catholics and giving contracts to firms that brag about how gay friendly they are.

    “Secondly, I don’t see a gay conspiracy behind the hiring of E&Y-”

    Yeah, it is probably just a big coincidence. Sure.

    “But, I don’t see how Church leaders are making a mockery of the teachings of the Church.”

    Hiring firms that promote the gay agenda is not merely a mockery of Church teaching, but such action is actively working against Church teaching.

    “Again, I think the Vatican hired them because they are good at the task they were hired for.”

    How in the world can you make that conclusion? Normally when any big outfit gives a contract competency is not the only factor that goes into the mix. Could the Vatican have found firms, just as competent, that do not promote the gay lifestyle? Did the Vatican try to do so?

    “Again, I think the Vatican hired them because they are good at the task they were hired for. And as I stated, I don’t see any difference between the Vatican hiring a pro-gay company to undergo a financial service, and one of us individuals patronising say an insurance company that donates to PP.”

    Rubbish on stilts. Not holding the Vatican to a higher standard than the average Catholic is a sure fire way to reduce the conduct of Church officials to a very low standard indeed. Additionally these firms are going to help shape Church policies and that goes well beyond a Catholic unknowingly buying an insurance policy from a company that has donated in the past to Planned Parenthood.

  • Philip: Make sure you “get cozy” with the Holy Rosary. Its the only way to go.

  • “But not hiring a gay lawyer at a firm run by a devout Catholic is absurd.” Not true. Depending on how steeped in gay ideology the lawyers is, all perspective will be colored by the gay agenda. If one is talking about a homo-sexually orientated person who is a practicing Catholic;
    these persons are the finest of people around, for they see all sides. However, in general, the gay agenda does not hire straights, discriminates in reverse and blames God and their neighbor for their sins, not a very good foundation for business.

  • Philip. I, too have been offended by the gay militants co-opting the rainbow, and more, as though God approves of the vile things they do. One cannot see or say “rainbow” without the connotation of homo-sexual behavior. One cannot walk down the street with a same sex friend without people wondering “IF”. My two daughters were once asked if they were incestuous lesbians. Enough already. They laughed it off but enough already.

  • Mary De Voe.

    Daily for 14 years..I know that places me as beginner compared to many of you, however Our Immaculata has been with me each and every step of the way.
    Even when I stumble and fall…especially when I stumble and fall.
    God willing I will have my scapula on and Holy Rosary in hand on my death bed.

  • We’ve strayed into a very timely and broader subject: what right does an employer or a merchant have to refuse to hire or do business with someone whose conduct is in conflict with their beliefs? Collterally, what right does a candidate or a consumer have to force someone to hire them or do business with them when their conduct directly conflicts with their beliefs?

  • As I implied above, when people are involuntarily/accidently brought closer to the Faith (e.g. the lackadaisical-Catholic employees at these firms), my experience has witnessed personal beliefs move toward the Church, not the disintegration of Magisterial teaching.

  • “Insulating ourselves into antiseptic silos is neither practical nor effective.”
    The Old Testament is replete with Moses instructing the Israelites to “drive evil from their midst.” God said:”for you are men sacred to me.”

  • That can be true Mr. Masotti. Even the faith of non-Christians can inspire Catholics.

    It is not a given though. Using the Boy Scouts of America as my first example, do we think Ernst & Young has changed or its senior executives altered their positions due to the BSA experience? Nothing I’ve seen suggests that nearly 50% of BSA rejection of that progressive position made the company or its executives more sensitive to Christian teaching.

    Second example, have the law suits against photographers, caterers, and lodging made LGBT advocates more accepting of Christian teaching? Suing them for their refusal to extend their services to same sex couples doesn’t seem to have made the LGBT community or its supporters more open to the teachings of Christ. If anything, they seem to have emboldened them to oppose God more aggressively than ever.

    So, does the Church giving tens of millions to Ernst & Young – a company with a firm, public, and aggressive commitment to a radical LGBT agenda – represent a problem? I tend to think that it does, in the same way as offering one’s business to a confirmed neo-nazi gives such a one greater resources with which to act on their warped beliefs.

  • Donald,

    Ok then, who should the Vatican have hired? Name an organisation that you would have been happy with?!

    Your taxes, your hard earned dollar is going to things that actively promote the gay lifestyle, on a daily basis. As is the companies you CHOOSE, FREELY to patronize. You as a well-read, well-informed Catholic should know better!

    And wrong Donald- it’s not insurance companies that once donated to PP. they give to PP ONGOING. Your insurance policy funds that giving- unless of course your insurance policy is with Knights of Colombus.

    I’m holding my breath in great anticipation of the company you so wisely think the Vatican should have hired….

  • “Name an organisation that you would have been happy with?!”

    Any firm that does not announce that it is a proponent of the gay agenda would be a good start. Do not be deliberately obtuse. It is a scandal that the firms announced were chosen. My guess is that the Knights of Columbus could nominate firms that would be quite acceptable if requested to do so by the Vatican.

    “FFG: How do you invest according to Catholic principles?

    Minopoli: One of the things that our membership should realize, and that they should be proud of, is that we run an ethically screened portfolio. Our portfolio is in compliance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. We basically screen companies for abortion, contraception, human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, for-profit health care that pays for any of the aforementioned, and pornography. Yet still our equity results have been competitive with the market as a whole, and that is something also our members can be very proud about. Our equities have outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500, which is the big equity index, over the past five years and over past 10 years. We’re a shade behind over three years, but over five and 10 years we’re well ahead. It may be that companies which operate in a moral manner perform better in aggregate, but the fact is that you don’t have to engage in unethical practices to make money. In fact, I can tell you that running our portfolio ethically has not forced us to offer less compelling results. We can feel good about that.

    FFG: These ethical concerns must be unusual for the investment chief.

    Minopoli: Yes, but they make our investments more meaningful.”

    “Your taxes, your hard earned dollar is going to things that actively promote the gay lifestyle, on a daily basis.”

    Yep, and I cast my votes against the politicians who support such misuse of my tax dollars every chance I get. I expect more from the Vatican than I do from politicians. Perhaps my expectation is misplaced?

    “You as a well-read, well-informed Catholic should know better!”

    I try to keep informed and I do not patronize firms that publicly embrace causes I find repugnant. It isn’t that tough to do. I expect the Vatican to do likewise.

  • May I suggest something I do not believe has been raised yet? In the “Vatican” hiring these two companies with obvious LGBT ideological agendas, (and I base this on ‘history’): somebody did not do their necessary homework, again!!!!

    To be honest, I am not trying to minimize the issue, I actually am getting tired of the ‘incompetency’ shown by elements of “the Curia”, Next month, a lot of ‘pink slips’ need to be given out.

  • Boltoph, this is a serious question: aren’t there a lot of lay people in decision-making positions at the Vatican? (That they are lay people doesn’t mean they are the best people for the job. I imagine there is a lot of favoritism in the hiring there.) Can’t the Vatican command sufficiently robust compensation to attract talented managers? I think there is goodly evidence that they haven’t though. We see similar things at the diocesan level. Does anyone know why Church administration seems to be so bad?

  • Agreed Botolph! When Pope John XXIII was asked how many people worked at the Vatican he replied “About half.”

  • Donald, I love that one liner from Blessed, soon to be Saint Pope John XXIII

  • “…to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity,…” Government of the people is constituted to secure the Blessings created and endowed by our Creator and God. Without the Blessings of God there is only the wrath of God. Does Pope Francis really believe that gay friendly corporations can, are able to and will fulfill their contract with the Catholic Church while they are dead set against the truth of the Catholic Church, the truth of the Constitution and the truth of God in the creation of the human soul?

  • David Spaulding,

    There is some movement, in both the Vatican and more in local dioceses in America to have competent lay people in key roles within the institution. Let me say that first.

    Having said that, however, there is a centuries old ‘system’ that built up in the Curia [the Curia is older than “the Vatican” actually; remember, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome is Saint John Lateran, not Saint Peter’s. Originally, St John Lateran was the hub, the buzword etc of the Church. The “Vatican” is a relatively recent institution, but I digress.

    Let me say this. The Council of Trent had as one of its tasks, the overhaul/reform of the Roman Curia. The problem is obviously very old. Until recently, since Rome after all is the capital of Italy etc. the Curia has been made up almost completely of Italian priests [monsignori], bishops and Cardinals. The internationalization began with Pope Paul VI, 1963-1978. That has met with some passive resistance within the Curia. I don’t claim to be an expert on the Curia, but I can say that they have an ‘old world’, ‘old ways’, “we have always done it this way’ atmosphere. For example, leading up to, during and after Vatican II what took place has often been described as “conservatives versus the liberals”. That would work if describing some of the theologian periti (experts) at the Council, but not of the basic guts of the Council itself. It was the entrenched Roman Curia vs the world-wide bishops.

    You most likely would not find the same positions taken now as one would see during the Council, but the atmosphere is still the same, from all reports. The clericalism [entrenched almost cult-like ‘good old boys network’] that protected their own-and actually suffocated the life out of the priests and bishops involved. The Italian Cardinals of the Curia (not so much the cities) are a case in point. A Cardinal from, say, Florence,[I am only using the name of the city-I am not speaking of an actual ecclesiast here] knows certain priests from Florence etc and bring them on board to his secretariat etc. Needless to say this patronage excludes the possibility of lay people, male or female, or consecrated religious who are competent etc. The priests show their loyalty to the Cardinal, who watches out for his ‘boys’. He becomes their guardian angel and they advance ecclesiastically up through the various ranks. He guides them, tells them to watch so and so, fights their battles sometimes. He is their Patrone. Advancement, not mission-power, not service feeds this ‘monster’. They take on the atmosphere-which we can see in some dioceses and even parishes-of the ‘entitled’, the ‘one’s in the know’ who know the ones really in the know-and it becomes self perpetuating, generation after generation after generation. The Curia is still ‘living’ in the past era of the times of the Papal States, and not in our complicated post-modern world.

    The bishops and Cardinals ‘in the world’-back in the dioceses are closer to what is really going on [now of course there are exceptions and some might dispute this, but they are much closer to the reality of the real Church than the Curia is]. To be honest, I thought things were actually changing slowly but steadily, until everything blew up during the ministry of Pope Benedict. Many here would say Pope Benedict was mistreated by the progressives in the Church, and they would not be wrong. But the progressives would be his’allies’ in comparison to what segments of the Curia put him through! I actually was scandalized (and I don’t use that term lightly). Much, not all, of the criticisms of Pope Francis that we hear from people really is the result of the Curia’s lack of competency, laxity and yes, intentional manipulation!

    I believe things will really begin to change next month, but of course, the way the Church rightly works, it will be done mostly through attrition-on the upper levels. The change will be ‘organic’.

  • Mary De Voe,
    Your heart is absolutely in the right place. I would nuance your statement in two areas.
    1)I highly doubt the Pope was involved with hiring these two firms. That came at a ‘lower level’ of management. Now of course, the buck stops with him so to speak, as it does with anyone who is in any form of leadership/management, but I actually hope for his own good and the good of the Church that he is not involved with such ‘mundane’ decisions

    2) Pope Francis does not have the Constitution of the United States in mind, in any way shape or form-nor should he.

    HOwever, I love your posts. Your heart is always in the right place!

  • Well, there is much here that I have resisted commenting on because I don’t want to start an unnecessary brouhaha. However, caution to the wind. We need to wake up to the reality that we are always under attack under different manifestations, all of which include “I will not serve” and “I am my own god.” Currently the homosexual assault is full force and our Church has been in retreat for some time. Or worse, seduced by many intellectually dishonest arguments and ignoring the heartfelt, God-given conscious that knows what is truly wrong.
    We must engage and defeat the pernicious sexual revolution. This is an unfinished thread as my wife is demanding my presence.

  • Philip: “God willing I will have my scapula on and Holy Rosary in hand on my death bed.”

  • Thank you Botolph for a cogent explanation. I’m not shocked for my view of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia runs along the same lines. It saddens me though.

    Would it be trying your patience to ask what event next month you expect? I should also like to know whether the rumors of Pope Francis’ placing limitations on the granting of monsignor to priests are, to your mind, true and focused towards affecting precisely this situation.

  • Boltoph: “HOwever, I love your posts. Your heart is always in the right place!”
    and yours Boltoph.
    The Constitution is read in Isaiah, in Jeremiah, the protection of and principles of every individual human being is a secular gospel within the Holy Gospel. I will cite chapter and verse later.
    Kevin: “We must engage and defeat the pernicious sexual revolution.”
    Growing up I was allowed to say “God” everywhere, but I was not allowed to say “sex.” Almost grown up, I am prohibited from saying “God” anywhere and I am forced to utter “sex” and pornography everywhere. We, the people must protect and provide for our innocent posterity. This is the purpose and duty of government. The virtue of Justice must not be obliterated. Virtuous people are now the underground resistance, a virtual catacomb.

  • Botolph: I will remember the spelling of your name if you give me something with which to associate Botolph. I originally associated Botolph with my maternal grandfather Adolph, but as you can see, it did not work. Keep to the truth and forgive my spelling.

  • To your point Mary De Voe: I watched the Eagles game with my kids last night and was sufficiently embarrassed by the Erectile Dysfunction commercials that I didn’t turn on today’s games.

  • Philip: “God willing I will have my scapula on and Holy Rosary in hand on my death bed.”

    I hope to have my Rosary and my Bible on my death bed. Same principle

  • David Spaulding: I, too, am embarrassed by those ads which are an invasion of indecency into the innocence and virginity of our children who are legal minors and are un-emancipated and have no informed consent to give to be visually and verbally assaulted by an occasion of death as a side effect. It is very short-sighted of the promoters to destroy their future audiences. So be it.

  • It is a horrible thing when a religious institution becomes influenced by something like a lavender mafia. Does anyone knwo if Benedict stepped down do to pressure from this mafia? Did his retirement have anything to do with a homosexual group?

  • The Church is not a business, government or scouting organization.

    Any serpent close to Mary’s foot will be trampled.

  • I’ve been told at Mass today by our pastor that the position or title
    monsignor has been eliminated by Pope Francis. All monsignori
    under the age of 65 will be addressed as father. Perhaps this is
    the reform of the Church’s traditional structures that he promised.

    What other titles or positions will our pope discard: cardinal and

    Why not appoint female or homosexual deacons. After all the reformed
    modern Catholic Church must be inclusive. Tolerance and inclusiveness
    are far more important that the Magisterium and Church traditions.

    It seems that our pope is an enthusiastic egalitarian.

  • “Any firm that does not announce that it is a proponent of the gay agenda would be a good start. ”

    Name names. Name an equivalent of E&Y they could have used.

  • Don’t ask me Ez, ask the Knights of Columbus, as I indicated in my prior response. They apparently have no difficulty finding firms that do not violate Church teachings. Ernst and Young is well known for pushing the gay agenda. The Vatican could not have made a worse choice than by hiring that firm.

  • I suppose its much more practical to offer solutions than criticise choices.

    It is unclear exactly what services E & Y were hired for, and why they were chosen. I do know they are excellent auditors.

  • “I suppose its much more practical to offer solutions”

    Which I just did by recommending that the Vatican have an organization like the Knights of Columbus recommend a firm. Really, this is not rocket science. This is a completely unnecessary foul up by whoever made this decision at the Vatican.

  • Paul W P.

    On Dec. 4th at 4:05am my dad’s soul was released from his earthly chamber.
    His love for Holy Church Mother Mary and devotion to The Infant Jesus of Prague was authentic.
    Happy Death! His eyebrows we’re tilted upward as if he had just received the Greatest Gift imaginable. The mouth was slightly smiling. This departure was beautiful and these tangible signs helped our family know that Pa was in Gods good graces when he went home.
    Thanks be to God.

    We must not cease to stand up and speak “truth” in this ungodly era of “my life…my decision…my truth.”
    They don’t know truth because they don’t know Him…the author of truth.
    We pray for All so that All can be found in him and in His Father. Father had given us to His son, and His Son wants us all together.
    Bible in hand indeed.

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  • Donald,
    I very much doubt that you’ll find a world class audit firm whose credentials with respect to this issue differs significantly from E&Y’s. The best option might be a competent small firm or a mid-sized regional firm based in a less “western” part of the world. Sadly, there is nothing especially unique about E&Y’s policies among the Big 4 or other multinational professional services firms. EZ is correct that it is an excellent audit firm.

  • Mr. Mulvihill. I see your point. But these are consulting firms. The Church is free to choose firms that are at least not anti-Catholic. And the whole idea of paying huge sums of money to such sick businesses to do a service for “the Church of Jesus Christ,” His Mystical Body in its organizational mode, is more than problematic. It is disgraceful and hypocritical.

  • I very much doubt that you’ll find a world class audit firm whose credentials with respect to this issue differs significantly from E&Y’s.

    All the accounting firms in the world fancy they must go the extra mile to recruit people who make a public point of their sexual perversions?

  • OY! Every EU and US large corporation has that garbage in their recruiting materials, or else the powers that be go after them.

    I don’t defend audit firms. You know what CPA signifies? “Country-wide Prostitution Assoc.”

    For example, what are American generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are? Whatever the clients want.

    The only way they’ll straighten out this mess is to have the SEC assign (draw lots) audits of large corporations. And, enforce Sarbanes-Oxley wherein a firm that advises/consults for a client cannot audit it.

  • Mike Petrik is right.

    Look at the websites of any major firm of accountants or solicitors and they all have a lengthy screed, listing their credentials as “equal opportunity employers.”

    Indeed, failure to do so might well attract unwelcome attention from their professional bodies or the Equal Opportunities Commission.

  • Ernst and Young is in a class by themselves when it comes to pandering to the gay rights activists:—Ernst-and-Young-named-top-gay-friendly-employer-in-the-country

    As I said, the Vatican could not have made a worse choice, assuming that living Church teaching is something the powers that be at the Vatican still care a fig about.

  • “…Vatican still care a fig about.”

    Funny if it wasn’t so true Donald.
    (the use of the fig)

    In scripture Jesus curses the fig tree for it didn’t bear any fruit. To date the pontificate of JPII is still bearing fruit.
    Who would of guessed that this Pole could topple the Communist block?

    The pontificate of Francis is still very young and if the tree is producing rotten fruit or no fruit the master of the tree will notice. He will.

    No coincidence that Blessed JPII died on Divine Mercy Sunday…a fruit that he helped cultivate with St. Faustina & Jesus.
    Let’s Trust in Jesus and pray the Francis tree bears good figs.

  • Look at the websites of any major firm of accountants or solicitors and they all have a lengthy screed, listing their credentials as “equal opportunity employers

    The term as originally used in this country (ca. 1966) meant the employer’s hiring practices were blind to certain protected categories incorporated into federal legislation enacted in 1964 (“race” and “national origin” and “sex”). It did not mean that ‘we make it a point to have more fellators on our staff’.

  • Art Deco

    The current list in the EU includes a good deal more: “Discrimination comprises any distinction applied between natural persons by reason of their origin, sex, family situation, physical appearance or patronymic, state of health, handicap, genetic characteristics, sexual morals or orientation, age, political opinions, union activities, or their membership or non-membership, true or supposed, of a given ethnic group, nation, race or religion.”
    That is before we come onto discrimination against “moral persons” (corporations)

  • Does the EU, like the USA, prove “discrimination” by observed “disparate outcomes”, what once was termed the “effects test”? As in: if said defined protected interest group is “under-reperesented” in a CPA firm or, say, the 2014 freshman class at Princeton: it is proven discrimination.

    That’s a far cry from the equal opportunity progtram we operated under in the early 1970’s: treat all fairly and equally.

  • he current list in the EU includes a good deal more: “Discrimination comprises any distinction applied between natural persons by reason of their origin, sex, family situation, physical appearance or patronymic, state of health, handicap, genetic characteristics, sexual morals or orientation, age, political opinions, union activities, or their membership or non-membership, true or supposed, of a given ethnic group, nation, race or religion.”

    That’s nice, Michael. Now, from that exhaustive list, how do I select a client group for which I will make special recruitment efforts? (Recall, sir, that if you’ve underlined everything, you’ve underlined nothing).

  • I strongly disagree with this post.

    Ernst & Young is one of a very small group of very large and very credible global audit firms. It’s actually a good sign that the Vatican is using them to clean up their finances. Yes, the fact that E&Y is one of the elite institutions in the global economy means that it professes some of the values generally held by the global elites in their hiring practices, but that really has nothing to do with their ability as an audit firm.

    Don suggests that the Knights of Columbus could suggest a better firm to work with, but it appears that the CFO of the Knights of Columbus was himself a E&Y partner for 12 years.

    Similarly, McKinsey and KPMG are some of the largest and most reputable companies in their fields. It’s arguably a good sign that the Vatican is making use of their services in technical fields.

    This, I would argue, is very different from when groups like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development provide funds to organizations which are not Catholic and do not have Catholic principles to do charitable work for them. That is a case of asking people who do not share the Church’s beliefs to do the Church’s missionary work for her is a massive mistake. Hiring professional service firms to audit the books, advice on PR, etc., however, is not a case of deputizing a non-Catholic firm to do the Church’s work for it, it’s just a matter of getting the best advisers for strictly administrative work.

  • From the charming CEO, up through last year, of Ernst & Young:

    “Last summer, Ernst & Young CEO James Turley became one of the first members of the Boy Scouts of America national board to speak out against the organization’s policy banning gay Scouts. Now that the Scouts are preparing to consider allowing gay Scouts (but not leaders), Turley has doubled down on his position, adding that he’s disappointed the Scouts will continue to discriminate:

    TURLEY: The Boy Scouts is a member- and volunteer-driven organization. That’s part of our strength, but it’s also a challenge when it comes to making change. This was an issue in the corporate world a dozen years ago. The difference is that, as a leader, you can say who we are, this is who we’re going to be, and let’s move forward. When we decided to offer domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees, I didn’t have to ask for a vote. The reality is that most of our partners were middle-aged white guys, and it probably wouldn’t have passed.

    I wish we’d gone further this time. I hoped it would have been more. But this is a substantial and significant change. There will be another vote in late May, and I’m hopeful and optimistic that some change will take place. I do not think that this should or will be the end of the debate.

    Turley’s clear implication is that continuing to discriminate against Scout leaders is the wrong thing to do, and it’s only because of the insistence of other members of the national board that the proposed change is limited. Scouts across the country are speaking out against it for the arbitrary way it removes gay Scouts after they reach the age of 18. Regardless of how the vote turns out this month, the fight for full inclusion in an otherwise worthwhile organization for young people will continue.”

  • Yes, the fact that E&Y is one of the elite institutions in the global economy means that it professes some of the values generally held by the global elites in their hiring practices, but that really has nothing to do with their ability as an audit firm.


    If they are making a point of recruiting sexual deviants, their personnel office has lost focus.

  • None of which has anything to do with their ability to do good financial auditing. The Vatican is wise to turn to one of the major audit firms, which means that they’re going to end up with E&Y, Deloitte, Price Waterhouse Coopers or KPMG. That they’re currently working with two out of the four is arguably a good sign.

  • “None of which has anything to do with their ability to do good financial auditing.”

    You actually think Darwin that turning over highly confidential financial information of the Vatican to a company obviously on a gay rights jihad is a good idea? If I were representing the Vatican in my legal capacity I would question the sanity of whoever came up with this idea. That of course leaves aside the question of whether the Vatican should hand out lucrative contracts to companies opposed to the teachings of the Church. Doing so strikes me as short sighted and completely wrong-headed.

  • I think that the Vatican’s highly confidential information is probably much safer with E&Y or KPMG than it is with some Italian cardinal’s nephew’s fly-by-night accounting firm — which too often has been the way things have been done in the past.

    These companies live by their reputation for doing their job cleanly and professionally (which is why Arthur Anderson isn’t in business anymore) and I think the Vatican can be pretty sure of not getting leaks and mismanagement from them. Yes, E&Y has some highly placed people who care a lot about gay rights. Big whoop. They’re not in the gay rights jihad business, they’re in the audit business.

    I suppose, all other things being equal, if there were equally reputable and skilled firms that were known to be run by people who were more informed by Christian beliefs, yeah I’d support hiring them instead. But none of the big audit or consulting firms come remotely close to fitting that bill and for this particular kind of work I think the Church is far wiser to hire a quality firm than to go with some small place on the theory they’re “good people”.

  • None of which has anything to do with their ability to do good financial auditing.

    The financial auditing is not done by rabbits, but by people. What other inanities have crept into their recruiting process? (I would remind you that Arthur Anderson had the largest income statement of any accounting firm in the country – until they didn’t).

    Italian cardinal’s nephew’s fly-by-night accounting firm — which too often has been the way things have been done in the past.

    What gave you that idea? (And while we are at it, why are you in the business of setting up false dichotomies)?

  • You actually think Darwin that turning over highly confidential financial information of the Vatican to a company obviously on a gay rights jihad is a good idea?

    Search for “Leona Helmsley”

  • You might ask why it was that confidential information supplied to the IRS by the National Organization for Marriage ended up in their enemies’ hands. You get a critical mass of dubious characters in a gatekeeper position and disagreeable things happen.

  • and let’s not forget the vast number of gay cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns and popes!

  • T Shaw asks, “Does the EU, like the USA, prove “discrimination” by observed “disparate outcomes”, what once was termed the “effects test”?”

    No. Given the range of protection against discrimination, that would be impossible. It could, at best, be used to corroborate an individual claim of discrimination.

    Art Deco asks, “Now, from that exhaustive list, how do I select a client group for which I will make special recruitment efforts?” But the law does not require “special recruitment efforts”; it prohibits discrimination on any of the specified grounds. It requires equal treatment, nothing more.

  • But the law does not require “special recruitment efforts”; it prohibits discrimination on any of the specified grounds. It requires equal treatment, nothing more.

    MPS, please focus. These lousy accounting firms are not presenting themselves as companies which do not ask certain questions. They are presenting themselves as companies which make it a point to recruit and cosset sexual deviants.

  • So if Mao, Stalin and Hitler got together and formed by far the most efficient auditing firm, the Vatican would be wise to use their services? Nonsense! My son is a boy scout and I do think it is a “big whoop” that an activist in a powerful private firm can essentially bully the organization to abide by his lack of moral integrity. And please, these highly reputable firms may do good work but they don’t do magic. Yes, there are alternatives with companies who aren’t willing to sell their souls to gain the world. We are called to love the sinner, not to pay him or her to continue promoting sin. And that, DC, is what the Vatican is now doing by using E&Y,

  • Art Deco

    A failure to make clear in recruitment that members of all the protected groups are invited to apply would be a breach of the Directive.

    Similarly, tendering documents must make it clear that businesses are invited to tender, if their policies or composition falls within the protected classes.

  • Kevin

    Any firm large enough to undertake the contract will be doing business in one or more member states of the EU and will have to comply with the Discrimination Directive.

    That means they must make clear in their recruitment that they do not discriminate (inter alia) on grounds of “sexual morals or orientation.” this means, of course, that they must offer the same benefits to same-sex and opposite-sex spouses and civil partners.

  • Good selection of evidence Donald.
    ( James Turley’s words regarding the Boy Scouts and “change.”)

    Can we agree that God doesn’t change?
    What is unknown is the future leverage of these firms to sway Holy Church Teachings. Sounds preposterous…? Maybe, however allowing the influences of the likes of Mr. T. into sacred ground doesn’t sound prudent to this low educated Catholic.

  • MPS, I am sure that you are correct, but there is a difference with a company that complies and a company that promotes. Further, even if we only counted faithful Catholics, we are a big enough organization to afford and prosper by keeping much of our business within ourselves and like minded entities. We are big enough to encourage developing the kind of businesses we need. Look how the Jews and Mormons have built small financial empires by keeping the business within their families. I will admit the analogy is imperfect, but it does make a point.
    It seems to me we are past time in standing up for the Truth – publicly and confidently. We are talking about eternal destinies, not simply neutral lifestyle choices. The more we give in……the more we give in. The world needs to us to witness that we may be sinners, but we do not give up to sin. We will always have dealings with sinners, and we are called to as sinners ourselves, but on our terms. That is, we will not participate in your sinning and do our best to avoid and repent of our sins.
    So I have no qualms in going to the gay man who cuts my hair. We both know where the other stands and despite our discussion, remain friends. However, were he a proud supporter of NAMBLA or another militant homosexual group, I would go elsewhere.

  • Philip,

    God does not change, or to keep it within biblical terms, God is ’emeth’, ever faithful and true. It is because He is faithful and true-Who can neither deceive nor be deceived-that we can believe Him and all that He reveals fully in Jesus Christ and the doctrines/dogmas of the Catholic Church.

    Philip, the head of this accounting firm will not have any influence on the teachings of the Catholic Church. Don’t be afraid.

  • Botolph, I agree it will have no influence on the Teachings/Doctrines of the Church. Truth in immutable. Nonetheless, they may have some influence on humans whose behavior and decisions mute or avoid “uncomfortable” dogma. Sadly we see this too often.

  • Kevin.

    Please allow me to enter in.
    The statement; “We are talking about eternal destinies, not simply neutral lifestyle choices.”

    You couldn’t be more spot on. It’s unfortunately not the paradigm many in the homosexual community wish to adhere to. None the less we will stand in the face of false mercy and aim higher. We must for that is why we exist. When we ponder on 2014 three hundred years from today we will say we didn’t do enough to defend the faith and help neighbor distinguish between real mercy and faux mercy.
    I have enjoyed your posts.

  • Kevin.

    That’s the whole point of the impending clean up and reform for the Curia. Elements within the Curia have held sway far too long. While those elements in the Curia-who have been at this a very long time-might be ‘influenced’, the Church is much bigger than the Curia. That is about to become very clear.

  • Botolph.

    Fear of souls falling into hell like snowflakes falling from the sky is my fear. St. Maximilian Kolbe preached that sanctification for yourself first, then for your community.
    In these fourteen years of practice prayer and penances I realize that true friendship with adversaries is vital. The two homosexual co-workers know my position but they see my honest attempts to befriend them, with the hope that they will seek God with chaste hearts. Just as God wishes from all of us. If and when the door opens my hope is that I’m a ambassador for true freedom for these men.

  • Philip,

    What you are giving is wonderful Catholic Christian witness. Truth with charity is our mainstay.

  • Practicing Catholic with emphasis on practicing. 🙂

  • As it is considered good practice to change auditors on a regular basis, to prevent the development of a cosy relationship between auditors and senior management, I expect that we shall see the Vatican employing all of the Big Four on a rotating basis, changing auditors, say, every three years.

  • Just catching up on a few items:

    – As an Eagle Scout who’d hoped this sons would one day be in the Boy Scouts, I’m not pleased with Turley’s advocacy of changing Scout policies in regards to gay scouts either. However, he’s not simply some outside force who bullied the scouts into making the change. The scouts had invited him to become a member of their board, thus giving him considerable decision making power, and he then used the power to push for change in the direction which he through was desirable. Needless to say, E&Y being contracted to help audit the Vatican books does not give E&Y similar decision-making power or ability to speak for the Church.

    – I think it’s work questioning to what extent one should see E&Y as being peculiarly on a pro-gay jihad. It doesn’t appear to me that they are noteably more “pro-gay” than other major companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. Even companies the left loves to have, like Walmart, make a point of claiming that they are a good workplace for gay employees. Having worked at companies that make a big point of being workplaces that are welcoming to gays, you can work there and never hear or see anything about it except in the occasional HR memo. It’s not necessarily a company focus that impacts your daily activities, nor does it mean that you won’t find faithful Christians working there who don’t agree with the corporate policy.

    – I find the suggestion “what if Mao, Stalin and Hitler got together and formed by far the most efficient auditing firm” rather silly. Among other things, if those three men had restricted their professional lives to doing nothing but accounting, the world would unquestionably be a better place. I mean, seriously people. We’re talking about auditing firms. Have you ever dealt with a corporate financial audit? Working with these firms will not pollute Catholic doctrine or practice. All it will do is help keep track of money better in the Vatican and develop better administrative structures dealing strictly with money decisions. These kind of audits have nothing to do with what your mission is and everything to do with keeping track of money and documenting who makes decisions that have a financial impact.

  • MPS, Yes, exactly.

  • Agree with MPS and Darwin.

  • Philip and Boltolph, agreed that much penance, prayer and work are needed. Christ talked of fasting for driving out what the prayer fails to do and it is something I am taking under consideration. Ora et Labora. With charity, patience and humility. And let’s hope it will change the Curia soon.

    Mike and Darwin: The exaggerated example of a H,S and Mao firm is not silly if the point is that we hire competency regardless of the moral outlook of the company. It is the principle you were suggesting. If auditing firms only did auditing, and I have been through audits, then you might have a point. But that is not true. Some companies do things with the money they earn as with the boy scouts. You can say it was just an individual, but that is not accurate. He was invited on the board for the company MONEY, not because they thought he was a great guy (and he did bully them with $.) That is, in my experience, how most boards are formed.
    Also, how is it that we allow companies to say to us, “unless you accept the following we will not do business with you” or “we will withhold any financial participation” and we are not supposed to have the right to express the same? Or at least to negotiate something mutually acceptable? At what point are we supposed to boycott company behaviors we find morally repugnant? Is there a line we don’t cross? They are proud of standing up for what they believe, and yet, assured of the Truth we can’t be as devoted at standing up ourselves?
    OK, I am not suggesting that E&Y or similar promoters are evil incarnate, but were Jesus invited to speak at their shareholder’s meeting would he remain politely silent on their advocacy? Are we supposed to simply hold our noses, pay and thank them for a job well done while they are out their exerting their concept of morality on the world? Pope Frances expressed his concern about the kind of capitalism that runs the world…can’t we? Again, you fall back on that they are an accounting firm that is practicing excellent accounting, but it is not their accounting I have a problem with. Nor do I care for “everybody does it” argument my mother never let me use.

  • Well, there seems to be a bit of irony attached to the idea of consulting a group that stands for something you positively oppose. I do not consider this was done intentionally, but it strikes one as surely odd.

  • MPS and Darwin I agree.

    It’s accounting! What are E & Y going to do – recommend the Vatican put aside funds for Gay causes? Or buy less Baloney and cheap shoes 😉 If the Vatican is transparent and Pope Francis is real about cleaning up alot of the admin, then there really is no problem handing information over to a highly professional firm like E &Y. It’s the best decision IMHO.

  • OK EZ. Again we are not talking about the accounting aspect. You are correct, accounting is accounting. We are talking about whether we (CC) should enrich a company that is publicly and actively pursuing morality that is antithetical to the Truth. And by this association helping to fund these activities. In this instance, one side believes that E&Y fits the above description and the other side seems we should turn a blind eye to their activities since it is not happening in our home and they do good work.
    Now if the claim is E&Y is not engaging in promoting any immorality (e.g. to the boy scouts) that is a different argument. Otherwise they may not promote less baloney for the Vatican, but perhaps they will restrict their funds, some which they get from the Vatican, from another organization and influence them like they did the boy scouts. (Oh, and there are certainly groups suing and trying to make the CC cave in on a number of issues.)
    So you see, it is not just accounting.

  • Kevin.
    Easy on Ez.
    It’s a New Year!
    Peace to All,
    born and unborn.

  • Forgive me if I sounded curt. Did not intend to. Mea culpa.

  • “The US Snail is a government monopoly.” – Please inform FedEx, UPS, DHL et al of that… they apparently didn’t get the memo…. (:>)

  • I am confident those organizations are quite aware of the Private Express Statutes which would land them in jail if they attempted to take away that monopoly:

  • It’s accounting! What are E & Y going to do – recommend the Vatican put aside funds for Gay causes?

    These complaints are addressed above.

  • Who does Barilla Pasta contract with for accounting services? Or are they being boycotted? 😉

  • Tamsin writes…”Who does Barilla Pasta contract with for accounting services? Or are they being boycotted?”

    Dewey Cheatham & Howe, of course. : )

  • MMM . . . pasta . . .

    No, wait!

    In a rabidly anti-Catholic US News op-ed, a certain Jamie Stiehm cites the issuance of a temporary stay by Justice Sotomayor (case of the Little Sisters of the Poor) to charge that Catholics have seized control of the Supreme Court — and goes on to say that Catholics generally should be banned from pisitions of power.

  • “…and goes on to say that Catholics generally should be banned from positions of power.” Catholics have lost the power over their own souls, consciences, freedom to truth and Justice and their tax dollars. Now, I am going to have some Barilla pasta.

  • Using a “Remote/Material Cooperation with Evil” analysis may be helpful to justify the Vatican’s hiring an accounting firm primarily for its audit services which “remotely” (but actively) promotes and supports alternative lifestyles in conflict with the Church’s teachings. While remote cooperation with evil may once have been applicable to individuals, extending its principles to the Church and its affiliates may be necessary to address changing cultural mores in the modern world.

    Recall that the federal government’s HHS “accomodation” permitted Church affiliated companies to distance themselves from the direct provision to employees of contraceptives/abortifacients by using “remote” insurance companies to provide funding for verboten products.

    The slippery slope that Catholic theologians stepped onto when it justified cooperating with evil in degrees, remotely or materially, may have just gotten a lot more slippery.

  • here’s a thought:

    2 Corinthians 6:14-17
    Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you,

  • Anzlyne.

    Magnificent and appropriate. Well done…now pass the pasta.

  • Slainté

    Ah, yes! Remote material co-operation! But where today will we find theologians of the calibre of Antonio Escobar y Mendoza, Vincenzo Filliucci or Étienne Bauny to bring reassurance to troubled consciences?

    It was Bauny who cautioned, “Let confessors observe that they cannot absolve valets who perform base errands, if they consent to the sins of their masters; but the reverse holds true, if they have done the thing merely from a regard to their temporal emolument.”

  • MPS writes: “…..It was Bauny who cautioned, “Let confessors observe that they cannot absolve valets who perform base errands, if they consent to the sins of their masters; but the reverse holds true, if they have done the thing merely from a regard to their temporal emolument.”

    I think if that venerable, crusty, straight laced, very old fashioned Irishman from County Tyrone…Archbishop John Hughes…. met up with Monsieur Bauny, he would apply a well placed boot to Monsieur Bauny’s rear and summarily inform him that the purported valet was guilty as charged on all accounts in both scenarios and no forgiveness would be forthcoming barring a substantial and unremitting penance…this would especially be true when the good Archbishop learned that there was a ladder involved and someone was up it. : )

  • From another point of view, E & Y is cooperating remotely but materially in the evil they say we do.

    I gather that E&Y do not expect to be subject to boycotts, to lose other clients, because they provide services to the Vatican. Interesting.

    Perhaps an accommodation will be reached in America where Catholics can display a small emblem in the window of their stores in order to continue doing business?

  • Some of this scrupulocity is getting kind of ridiculous. We are not of the world, but are in it, and that world is fallen and imperfect. To suggest that a Catholic must investigate the various behaviors and beliefs of all parties with which we have social or commercial intercourse is really nuts. There is nothing remotely sinful about hiring E&Y, though I suppose it could fairly be regarded as imprudent given the risk of scandal or confusion.

  • Interesting point Tamsin Maybe they don’t want their liberal correct reputation be tarnished by association with us.

  • Mike Petrick writes: “…Some of this scrupulocity is getting kind of ridiculous….”

    Our Catholic tradition is rooted in both faith and reason and asserts that all things are purpose driven.

    Catholics must be able to explain to non-Catholics why our Church functions as it does in a clear and logical way; this is especially important as we encounter stepped up anti-Catholicism.

    I don’t know whether the “Remote/Material Co-operation with Evil” argument explains the Church ‘s election to hire firms whose principles are at odds with the tenets of our faith, but it would be helpful if the Vatican explained.

    The same standard applies to any Catholic agency that supports, directly or indirectly Planned Parenthood, ACORN or any other group whose tenets are at odds with Catholic principles.

  • Mike, I decided to pretty much drop from the discussion for now, but your comment has moved me to respond. Frist, I don’t think anyone pronounced the sinfulness of hiring E&Y other than it might be scandalous, imprudent or confusing – just as you ended your comment. Secondly, how is it over scrupulous to respond what is public record? Nobody suggested sneaking into and investigating the records of companies to find out if they might be unsuitable. Agreed, we should not be unreasonable in expecting perfection. However, if we are to spend considerable money should we not be comfortable that the company we use is both moral and ethical? If Planned Parenthood offered to provide legitimate healthcare like screenings or childcare, not contraceptives or abortions, to a Catholic agency would that be OK? Yes, exaggerative but only to underline the point. We have a moral obligation to see that our monies do not fund immoral ends and the Vatican should be especially careful to do so in their example. (I am saying this in general, not specifically about E&Y), I think this used to be called “prudential judgment.”

  • M- My last post is not meant as a comment on the worthiness of E&Y, only the principle involved.

  • I think if we use the cooperation model, there should be no problem. There is formal and material cooperation. Formal consists of approval of the evil action. Material is where there is no agreement with the evil but one’s cooperation may materially enable the evil action to take place. Then we distinguish proximate and remote material cooperation. The former is where the action could not take place without the cooperation. The later where there is little impact on the action of the cooperation. Formal cooperation and proximate material cooperation are always evil and not to be done. Remote cooperation is okay if the good that results may justify it and there is not accompanying scandal that may lead others to sin.

    Formal cooperation does not seem to be present. That is, the Vatican is not in approval of the accounting firm’s support of homosexuality. Is there material cooperation. At least not proximate as it seems the hiring of the firms does not actually enable the evil to occur. The providing of payments unlikely also enables the actions.

    The last question is is there scandal that results.

  • Good analysis, Phillip. Personally, I don’t see a scandal in hiring a Big 4 audit/consulting firm to perform a sophisticated audit/consulting task. It is regrettable that E&Y appears to be supportive of the normalization of homosexual behavior, but sadly their policies are in keeping with the zeitgeist. If they differ from similar firms, which is doubtful, it is in degree only. There is a culture war in the west, and at the moment we are losing that war. Consorting only with those who agree with us is neither practical nor really desireable. The question presented is whether the Vatican’s selection signals either indifference or a change in position on homosexual behavior (thereby confusing the faithful), and I don’t think a reasonable person could say yes. Without that, I think any “scandal” is simply manufactured. Plenty of good Catholics actually work for E&Y (and by no means are sinning in doing so), and some of them no doubt do their practical best to fight the good fight in a general cultural environment that does not allow for much success. Absent proximate material cooperation, we should be cautious about assuming that prudence requires that Catholics refrain from social or commercial intercourse with people or institutions with which we disagree.

  • Kevin, sorry its taken a while to respond…but if the argument is that the Vatican should not help fund companies that support deviant lifestyles and causes, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find an audit company as skilled as E&Y, that doesn’t. And if you do, then Ill eat my words! Gladly and humbly!

    If you refer to my previous comments, I challenge Donald, or anyone, for that matter, rather than criticising the Vatican’s decision to hire E&Y, to actually suggest an equivalent that is more aligned with the Church’s teachings. All Donald could suggest, is asking the Knights of Columbus…which to me suggests, you’ll be hard-pressed finding a world class E&Y equivalent. In other words, there isn’t one.

    If the Vatican has hired them for accounting and only accounting, then yes, it is about accounting at the end of the day. Many commenters suggested they will influence the Vatican or infiltrate the Vatican’s privacy. Rubbish! It is about accounting. That was The Vatican’s intentions.

    Nobody commenting on this blog, or on this earth, for that matter, is “an island unto themselves”- we all assist, directly sometimes, but indirectly most times, organisations that support or promote deviant lifestyles or causes. It’s out of our hands, because as many have wisely observed on this blog, we aren’t exactly winning the so- called “Culture Wars”.

    Just a query: Didn’t Prada used to make some of the previous Popes attire? Or is that a myth? If they did, then “hello”!! Prada=Fashion Industry=Gay Lifestyle!

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

Friday, January 3, AD 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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



To read Andrea Torinelli’s article in Vatican Insider, click on the following link:

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10 Responses to 01/03/1962: Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro

  • As clear as mud.

  • just read insider article. why do people say things like “Pope Roncalli”? What their point exactly?

  • The Canon Law governing excommunication is intricate and there is disagreement amongst the Canonists themselves on some of the finer points.

    Thus, in certain cases, one may incur automatic excommunication, “latae sententiae” as they say, but the Constitution of Martin V, “Ad evitanda scandala,” provides that “To avoid scandal and numerous dangers and to relieve timorous consciences, we hereby mercifully grant to all the faithful that henceforth no one need refrain from communicating with another in the reception or administration of the sacraments, or in other matters Divine or profane, under pretext of sentence or censure, whether promulgated in general form by law or by a judge, nor avoid anyone whomsoever, nor observe an ecclesiastical interdict, except when this sentence or censure shall have been published or made known by the judge in special and express form, against some certain specified person, college, university, church, community, or place.”

    Most canonists hold that a sentence declaring “the government of Nusquamia” has incurred excommunication does not bring its individual members within “Ad evitanda scandala,” unless they are named in the sentence, for the faithful cannot be expected to judge of this question of fact; otherwise it is considered a mere monition or warning.

    In the past, excommunication was very frequently used. In Scotland, before the Reformation, one often finds in bonds and other deeds a provision that the parties consent to its registration in the Bishop’s books, “for preservation and execution and that if needful, Letters of Cursing on six days charge and all other legal executions necessary may pass herein in common form.” “Letters of Cursing” were an order to his parish priest to declare the defaulter excommunicated, using a rather lurid formula. People obviously found it an effective remedy, for the fees involved were rather steep.

  • Anzlyne,

    When I first came in contact with the practice of naming the pope with his last name,, for example, Pope Wojtyla, or Pope Ratzinger, I found it off putting and even offensive. However, I found that it is a cultural phenomenon, something practiced in Italy, that is not intended or considered to be offensive.

    BTW. I still don’ t like it lol

  • Thank you Botolph. So it is a cultural thing from a pretty highly secularised culture

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  • Its a long standing cultural practice in most of continental Europe. Its really nothing new.

  • The Church is bigger than the US suburbs. In Europe they say Pope Roncalli or Pope Wojtyla. We are too quick to take offense.

  • what do they say in the US suburbs?

  • In the burbs we say whatever George Weigel tells us is cool. : )

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

Thursday, December 26, AD 2013


The Common Core?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.



To read about the efforts on the part of CNS to question the Common Core, click on the following link:

To read Mary Jo Anderson’s article in Crisis magazine, click on the following link:

To view the CCCII’s original approved curriculum, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post about the Common Core at The American Catholic, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post in Omnibus concerning the Common Core and the threat it presents to the nation’s Catholic schools, click on the following link:

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

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

  • I certainly hope that family diversity in the form of mixed-race couples and grandparents is still considered okay.

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  • It’s not about education. It’s about indoctrination. The state, not parents or the Church, will mold children . . . into dutiful drones and serfs.

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  • I have to say that only a deluded leftist would put Bluest Eyes on a list of “exemplar texts”.

    But this leads back again to the point I have been making over and over. Common Core has no mandated list of “exemplar texts”. Catholic educators are free to tell the Toni Morrison admirers to take a hike and to make up their own lists, provided that the texts conform to the Common Core standards. Please see the article and links at for these standards. Reading this is a slog, but I fail to see how any of it prohibits the use of orthodox Christian writings.

    The focus on these Common Core standards is complexity, and Catholic writing is beautifully complex. Why not make them work together? Is the problem just that it is “work”?

  • Hey Tom D.,
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Common Core Standards reading material have to be informational and factual texts. Something I have come to understand in research I have done, it appears these standards treat Catholic books as being based on fiction and there is no truth behind the Bible or other religious text. That being said our books are not regognized by any means. If I locate the articles I’ve read regarding this issue ill post it. I have 4 children in Catholic school and I’m beginning to wonder why ……… Unfortunately lately I feel my only belief is in Jesus Christ and his return to rid the world of this evil that is taking over on so many plains. I want my classic Catholic Education back. Please if you have anything positive to share I would love to read it. This world causes me to fear for my children and the future of humanity I can’t pray enough!!!!

    Be well and God Bless

    Concerned Mom

  • Hi Tom
    This is one artical I’ve found please let me know your thoughts on it.

    Thank you.

    Concerned Mom

  • Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the link to Catholic Exchange. I think it is an accurate assessment of Common Core, as far as it goes. If any educators takes a Common Core text and apply it without additional exemplary materials, then they are doing a disservice to their students. Common Core requires exemplary texts to go beyond the core needed for the workforce, and those exemplary texts are not mandated. Yes, the Catholic Exchange article cites some of these example texts, but remember that they are only one educator’s (or educrat’s) opinion. You and I could come up with a list of others.

    BTW, I don’t see that Common Core can regulate Catholic texts, assuming that we are talking about religious studies texts. That would be a First Amendment violation. Now math, literature, and science texts are a different story. I myself am a proud product of Catholic schools, and I can recall that in my time these texts were virtually the same as those used in the public schools. And remember, with Common Core being widely adopted it will be harder to find non-Common Core texts for Catholic schools. So, it is probably inevitable that Common Core texts will be adopted by Catholic schools; the alternative will be to have Catholic schools develop their own texts, which will raise the costs of Catholic education even further.

    Now for the “factual” criteria. That cannot be applied to literature classes, or else all novels and other works of fiction would be disallowed from schools. I have to conclude that is not the objective. Rather, I take it to mean that in, say sociology, a text that uses statistics would be favored over one that was mainly philosophical opinions. This is good and bad. Karl Marx would not make the grade, but I could see where papal encyclicals would not either. Besides, we all know that statistics are manipulated by “progressives” to get what they want from us. My thought is that a Catholic high school should be teaching its students how to deal with progressive B.S., and so the encyclicals in a religion class could very well be used to counter any crap that might be slipped into a text in a sociology class. My great concern with Catholic education today is that we are not equipping our young adults to resist the culture of death, and they will not be able to resist it’s arguments if it appears nowhere in their education. They will graduate as innocent as lambs, but not as wise as serpents.

    Personally, I would love to develop an exemplary literary text list for a Catholic high school. I’d love to put Fr. Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World and Michael O’Brien’s Fr. Elijah on the list.

  • Anything from Bill Gates – EVERYTHING from Bill Gates – should be viewed as suspect. Bill Gates’ company sells Microsoft Word to the world. Word functions as if it were designed by Satan. Bill Gates can take his common core and his Planned Parenthood funding and take a hike.

    The History Channel did a series this past year, The Men Who Built America. I hold Vanderbilt, Carnegie (pronounced car-NAY-gie – I’m from Pittsburgh), Rockefeller, Morgan and Ford, as well as Tesla and Westinghouse, in much higher regard than Gates. Those men did build America’s economy. Microsoft has produced substandard software and it has made Gates a billionaire.

  • The $100k is not the only Gates’ money to find its way into Catholic education. A quick search of the Gates’ Foundation site for “Cristo Rey” and you’ll find millions of dollars have been given over a decade or so.

  • Agenda, agenda, agenda …. sound familiar? Parishes, dioceses and towns and states are all affected by the same similar “reminder” realtors will use, “location, location, location.” to justify why some people get shafted more than others. Also, if you get the chance, go to your nearest college or university’s education library and poke through the periodical lit, especially the stuff pertaining to “social justice.”

    Alas, you may also need a lot of Gates’ money to have your eyes reshaped back to where they were before you pored through the racks.

    Do I remember well my days spent stocking the shelves of a college library (whose name I will NOT reveal out of respect to my former employer… it’s only fair since it wasn’t the only library stocking some of the books, etc. listed above.) Wow, I never would’ve guessed that the old blueberry pickers’ book would’ve lasted this long. LOL. I’m betraying my own “age-ist” or geezer’d ideas when the idea of a “core education” would mean the mandatory inclusion of so many books mandating all sorts of inclusions. In the meantime, I’ll bet, it’s like, y’know, the good ol’ reliable “Dick and Jane” books must’ve been placed on the mandatory non-inclusive lists eons ago. It sure shows, y’know.

  • The books celebrate family “diversity” which includes single parents, homosexual parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents. – Does Catholicism object to mixed-race couples or grandparents raising kids?

  • Got any more red herrings you wish to attempt to drag into the discussion Gary?

  • It wasn’t the Cardinal Newman Society that pushed and got them to remove those books (and there are still others on it – see last link here). It was a small group of Catholic moms – who spoke up. It is a testament to what our voices can do. And it took a very long time to get the Catholic media to notice. And thankfully they are stepping up and covering it and putting even more pressure on and taking up this cause.

    See each of these links for some background.

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

Saturday, December 21, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

  • On more than one occasion, I’ve thought to myself that were I a judge (a non-Catholic one) and some lawsuit regarding contraception or homosexual marriage came before me, and some Catholic organization were the part of the trial and claimed “But its against our religious beliefs to use contraception or pay for it” or “Homosexuality is against our beliefs…” I honestly think I’d laugh and point out all of the Catholics I know who are open about their contraceptive use, the contraceptive prescriptions they write/fill, their divorces, cohabitations, gay lifestyle, etc. To me, it seems the Church really doesn’t care about these particular teachings.
    Benign neglect is not at all benign. It is very damaging.
    There is nothing wrong with hiring and employing a homosexual or lesbian teacher in the school or at the Diocese. There is something wrong with not saying something about him (her) engaging in the gay lifestyle (even if “marriage” or “civil unions” are not part of that). Perhaps adherence to all of the Church’s teachings on sex/marriage/family should be included in everyone’s contract.

  • I think Fr. McCloskey did the right thing. Even if it should have been done earlier, that is no reason not to do it now.
    I also hope the good Father will reach out the teacher, to make sure that as much as possible Christian love is expressed.
    Pope Francis seems to suggest this- that even though the lifestyle is condemned, the person knows that he is loved. (But we just can’t have you teaching our kids)

    All of us are caught in a real snare of knotted threads. Very hard to unravel.
    We know we should speak the Truth and act directly and in a timely way, and not just ignore or be silent while the sin and lifestyle choices are ongoing. We have to keep trying to reach out to those we love.
    It would be simple if we could just draw dividing lines and cleanly say that we will not tolerate the evil in our midst. Many families have close and loving relationships with their active homosexual and are unwilling/unable to fight it everyday.
    I hear people talking about Phil R. and I wonder what he would do if it was his own beloved son who actually identifies himself, his deepest self-identity, as his SSA. Our son thinks you can’t love the sinner and hate the sin because he identifies himself (the sinner) as the sin– no distinction.
    Now that they are married, share property etc it would not be just our son unraveling his own personal knots that would be needed. But also the knots of engagement with his partner. It would be difficult to just back away from someone you love and who shares your same distresses.
    They say to fight the good fight, to keep trying, but it is hard. Fr. McCloskey’s action is necessary not just for that situation in that school, but also for the culture, for society. That people can take courage from knowing we are not alone in this society… and we just don’t roll over and give up.
    My friend posted a support for Phil R on fb. Usually lots of people we know click “like”. Hardly anyone did though: they are afraid to be publicly identified with that sentiment and be thought a bigot by the numbers of people who would see that “like”.

  • Do we know that the school officialdom actually knew what this fellow insists they knew?

  • The answer to this situation is to enforce church teaching, not to throw away church teaching because it was not enforced. The Catechism is not a relativist document. Catholics may stray from its teachings but its teachings remain as the teachings of the Catholic faith.

  • Given the situation of the Church in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (no, they aren’t the Holy Ghost Fathers, I know) I am not surprised.

    We have in our priesthood – diocesan and in the orders – a general unwillingness to stand up and speak out against sin. Then we end up with nonsense like this.

    Fortunately, in Pittsburgh, we are near Ohio and West Virginia. There won’t be any Catholic faculty crossing state lines here to marry a same sex partner.

    Come to think of it, I am going to say an extra prayer of thanks that I am in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania at Mass tomorrow.

  • I forgot to add that State Senator Daylin Lynch is in the minority party in the Pennsylvania Assembly. I want to see Senator Lynch make his case in the part of Pennsylvania that James Carville called Alabama. Someone might duct tape antlers to his head and remind him that it is deer season.

  • Same sex attraction is an act of God. Sodomy is the practice of lust. Sodomy is not same sex attraction. Writing laws that protect the practice of lust under the guise of protecting human beings is a falsehood, a lie and perjury in a court of law. Griffin ought to be terminated for living a lie. Daylin Lynch needs to be removed as representing real people.

  • “Griffin decided to publicize. He wanted his story to draw attention to the fact that while some municipalities within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have passed anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation, the Commonwealth has not.”
    Again: Sexual orientation and the practice of Sodomy are not the same thing.

  • Look, just when will people stop misusing the word “homophobia” ? A phobia is a fear, period. I am not frightened of homosexuals who practise their sin and even flaunt it, but I am frightened for the future of their everlasting souls, as well as the effect of their behaviour on others, especially the impressionable young. Remember we are fighting a war of words as well as morals.

    While Mr Griffin has a point about so many opposing the teachings of Jesus Christ (not the Catholic Church, BTW) and getting away with it, 100 000 wrongs do not make a right, he knows this and his actions seem to be pushing his luck with the school.

    The above does not absolve the huge number of priests who tolerate public sin, such as divorce, when it is their bounden duty to preach against it. The Great Silence is almost in the way of a silent conspiracy, aided and abetted by the bishops. I’ll stop there as the Christmas season is upon us.

  • Redefining man is not within the purview of the courts. Sodomy denies the human beings’ immortal soul. Marriage takes place in the human soul. The soul gives the body in the Sacrament of Matrimony in informed consent, a free will act of a soul. Free will is that image of God in man abused and denied by homosexual behavior.
    Same Sex Attraction is an accident of birth. Sodomy is a free will choice by sufferers of same-sex attraction. Conflating SSA and so-called same sex marriage can be compared to a person dissatisfied with his looks throwing himself under a train or into hell to revenge himself on God.
    Denying the human soul is not within the purview of the courts. Denying the human being as composed of body and rational, immortal soul is irrational and establishes atheism. Atheism, imposed by the courts is unconstitutional as stated in the First Amendment. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” redefining man as having no rational, immortal soul is not within the purview of the court.

  • Confronted with scandal, Father McCloskey had no alternative. Homosexuality is not a sin, sodomy is. As to Griffin being perplexed considering that he has brought his partner to school functions over the past 12 years with no problem, we have a ready response. It is just to assign kind interpretations towards others. It may even be a rash judgment to assume that a friendship between such persons is unchaste. An assertion that many others do not follow various other moral teachings of the Church is no excuse. Certainly if being sinless were a condition of employment, no one would have a job. The just man sins seven times a day. Scandal is another matter. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Setting this lugubrious topic aside, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a far better New Year than we have enjoyed in many years.

  • Father McCloskey handled this correctly. When Mr. Griffin signed his contract and agreed to live in compliance with Church teaching, McCloskey had to take him at his word. That was respectful and broad-minded, even though there was plenty of circumstantial evidence that Griffin was violating his promise. (What kind of person would deliberately enter into an agreement and then behave contrary to it? Oh: a hypocrite.) When Griffin threw down the gauntlet by announcing his intended marriage, he put McCloskey in the position of either having to violate his own terms of employing Griffin, or calling Griffin’s bluff. McCloskey did the right thing, and now it’s up to Griffin to accept the consequences of his actions, like a mature adult.

  • If McCloskey can violate Leviticus by shaving, why can’t Griffin violate it by being gay?

  • 🙂 as they say on tv Family Feud, Donald McClarey- “good answer”

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  • To say that the homosexual desire ia an “act of God” is a very bold, & unsubstantiated statement-mere opinion. Mary, do u view othe sinful sexual desires s.a. the desire to commit adultery or incest as an “act of God?”. If the answer to that question is “yes,” then what desire to act contrary to God’s holy standard is NOT an “act of God?” Sinful desires/thoughts that are not acted upon may not be sin–but they originate from the fallen will of man–the desire to sin in the human soul is NOT God’s act.

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

Thursday, December 19, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

Predictably, that wasn’t good enough.

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Chang called the vote and turnout “unprecedented.”

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

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

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

32.4%. “Enormous disagreement”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:

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

  • Professors at a purportedly Catholic university upset because their sacred rite to slay their offspring might not be covered by insurance. After the Vatican gets done mawling the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, perhaps they could turn their attention to this type of malignant scandal that is as commonplace as mortal sin.

  • Maybe someone can help me but wasn’t there a movement to have Catholic professors and teachers sign an agreement to uphold Catholic values and teachings as part of their employment? Wasn’t this done at the behest of the Holy See? I thought it happened in the early 1990s. When I went to Silver Lake College, I thought the Nuns showed me the agreement . . . maybe I am mistaken.

  • I won’t hold my breath waiting for that. We know what the Holy Father has said.

    What has become of our Catholic colleges and universities is a sad thing indeed. The smoke of Satan did not just enter through the windows. Somebody ripped out the doors and used a leaf blower to blow it in.

  • Ex Corde Ecclisiae (I may have spelled it wrong) was promulgated in 1990. The purpose of it was to give the Catholic bishops the authority and responsibility to ensure that authentic Catholic theology was being taught in Catholic higher education in their dioceses.

    It is a dead letter.

  • Thank you PF . . . what the bishops do with the power they are given, I do not control, but it is there for them to use if they so wish.

  • Remind the faculty of their academic freedom: if they do not like the boundaries of their insurance coverage, they are free to leave.

  • “After the Vatican gets done mawling the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, perhaps they could turn their attention to this type of malignant scandal that is as commonplace as mortal sin.”

    But wouldn’t that be Self-Absorbed Neopelagianism(TM)? Or perhaps an over emphasis of the Church on doctrinal matters?

    Really. Get with the 70’s.

  • A word of clarification: Ex Corde Ecclesiae ( From the Heart of the Church) was an authoritative document promulgated by Blessed Pope John Paul II to give mandates for teaching Catholic Theology to present and potential teachers of theology at Catholic colleges and universities. It does not effect any other professors or for tthat matter any other employee of those colleges or universities.

    Given the present ” atmosphere” in which we live, these faculty members yelling and screaming about their rights to abortion being threatened do not have abortion as their real target but the Catholic identity of Santa Clara. They knew when they sought to teach there that Santa Clara was a Catholic college, so why the sudden shock? They know exactly what they want, and it is not just insurance coverage for abortion.

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

Saturday, December 14, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



To read The Motley Monk’s posts concerning the Common Core and Catholic schools, click on the following link:

To read Lindsey Burke’s op ed, click on the following link:

To read Paul Moses’ article, click on the following link:

To read David Bonagura’s commentary, click on the following link:

To read the Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay’s statement, click on the following link:

To read the Bishop of the Diocese of LaCrosse’s statement, click on the following link:

To read the Diocese of Madison’s statement, click on the following link:

To read Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Gaylor’s letter, click on the following link:

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

  • My son attends a diocesan high school. Several of the texts state “Common Core” on their covers. I have looked them over and have seen nothing objectionable.

    I have read and heard enough about Common Core to understand that its attention is to the core of the curriculum. Each district, school, and individual teacher is free to add other materials. Also, it also focuses on interdisciplinary approaches, so for example statistics can be added to a sociology class.

    Many people fear Common Core because like many past educational “reforms” certain people pushing it are anti-Christian. Well, so what? Even if they were to sneak an anti-Christian point now and then into a text, a Catholic teacher can certainly criticize it in a Catholic school classroom. I actually remember a couple of such episodes in my high school days. Is it not better to teach our young people to identify and be critical of conflicts with the Faith than to hide such conflicts and insulate them from such influences?

    No, Common Core will not dilute Catholic education. Here is what will dilute it: stop praying at the beginning of the school day, stop praying at the beginning of each class, stop talking about God and Jesus and the Church at the times it is appropriate, stop having Exposition, stop having Mass, and stop the reception of the Sacraments at school. Do all that and you will dilute Catholic education.

  • “No, Common Core will not dilute Catholic education. Here is what will dilute it: stop praying at the beginning of the school day, stop praying at the beginning of each class, stop talking about God and Jesus and the Church at the times it is appropriate, stop having Exposition, stop having Mass, and stop the reception of the Sacraments at school. Do all that and you will dilute Catholic education. ”
    Tom D.,The public school system obliterates the dignity of their students and the students’ parents. The Ninth Circuit Court in California told the parents who objected to public school indoctrination that once the student crosses the threshold of the school, parents have nothing to say about what their children are taught. “In loco parentis” says that the teachers may only teach what the parents want their children to learn. The child’s civil rights are held in trust for him by God, his parents and finally the state, in this order. The state does not own the child, nor the parents, nor the school. “We. the people” do.
    God and prayer are no longer allowed in school. Mass and Nativity scenes are prohibited on military bases. Christmas is not allowed in schools, and crosses are being removed from cemeteries across the nation. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof” , the First Amendment is ignored, trampled upon, as well as ridiculed. This is nothing more than subjugation of a people through their children, long a communist stratagem.
    Once Common Core is given access to Catholic Schools, a government steeped in abortion, contraception and pornography, a government that prohibits Mass and Nativity scenes for the military, that government will find an excuse to overthrow the Catholic school system.
    Common Core is a well groomed Trojan Horse. See Obamacare if you want to know what our government is capable of. Obamacare says that the government can change anything, anytime it wants to. The HHS Mandate was added AFTER Obamacare was passed by Congress, meaning that Congress passed Obamacare without informed consent, the act of free will of free men. Welcome to the Concentration Camp of Common Core.

  • Mary, I well know the difference between public and Catholic schools. I begged my parents to move me out of the public and into the Catholic school system for the very reasons you mention. It was one of the best choices I even made.

    Having pointed that out, I also need to point out that most texts and other materials used in non-religious classes in my time were secular books. I was there and so I know this to be true. This is true today with Common Core. I fail to see how this is any different. Again, I’ve seen the Common Core text that are currently in use in my son’s biology class. It says “Common Core” on the cover. I have seen nothing really objectionable in this text, at least nothing different than what was in the texts of my day.

    I’m sorry, but the critics of Common Core constantly speak and write in generalities. I have never seen anything critical that specifically states anything that is a threat to the Faith. All I see are things that could be a threat. Well, I look around, and the number of things in this world that could be a threat to the Faith are legion. We need to be practical and pick our fights.

    As I wrote, Common Core does not dictate an entire curriculum. It dictates only the Core. I’ve seen the documents and this is true (the critics are also correct in writing that those documents are poorly written and use poor examples for supplementary materials, but that’s another story) . A Catholic school district is entirely free to add their own supplementary materials that will blunt and negate any anti-Christian material that might appear in the core.

    I fail to see why this is a problem.

  • Mary, here is a half-valid criticism of Common Core:

    A group of 132 Catholic scholars, led by Gerard Bradley of the University of Notre Dame, has written to the U.S. bishops, protesting against the Common Core on the grounds that it aims too low. Read more:

    They are right, Common Core does aim low. It does so because it is concerned with the Core. Excellence comes from the supplementary materials the district, school, and teacher introduce. Excellence in education comes from expanding the education beyond the core.

    I find this criticism of Common Core to be like criticizing Winston Churchill’s support of Basic English. In both cases we would be criticizing the beginning of an education for failing to be the completion of one.

  • I went to the September posting from The Motley Monk cited at the beginning of this posting, and found this line: “Hicks tells her readers how the Common Core now is infecting Catholic schools nationwide because, although dioceses are not required to adopt the Common Core, they must do so if students are to demonstrate mastery on the tests measuring what students have learned”

    This is largely untrue. I know for a fact that the mastery tests mandated by the Now Child Left Behind law are mandated only for public schools. Catholic and other religious schools are exempt. I would imagine this is probably true of any state mandated mastery testing.

    The reason why Common Core is entering Catholic schools is because is will become increasingly difficult to find textbooks that do not use Common Core.

  • I then went to the Motley Monk’s first November posting and found this:

    “The survey’s results [from the Catholic school principals] indicate:

    •8% are comfortable with Catholic schools accepting the Common Core as it is currently formulated.

    •32% prefer that dioceses and Catholic schools decline to participate in the Common Core project.

    •40% want the Church to take more time to study the standards more closely.

    •20% prefer that Catholic schools adopt the standards, but only with significant changes to protect Catholic identity.

    If I were a principal I would be in that last 20%, not just because of the need to protect Catholic identity, but because I understand that such changes (expansions, really) are necessary for Common Core to work.

  • “It dictates only the Core.” Having the state “dictate”, your word, to the church violates the separation of church and state. Books may be bought without admitting the state to run our Catholic schools. Should the state decide to deregister, their word, Catholic schools and teachers, what is you plan of action, Tom D?
    “although dioceses are not required to adopt the Common Core, they must do so if students are to demonstrate mastery on the tests measuring what students have learned” Common Core ought to have a common aim, and that is, to educate students. Setting up tests is indoctrination by the very results the tests demand. Putting the students at the mercy of a state who has no mercy is not Catholic. The state has an agenda and that state’s agenda is not Catholic nor religious nor freedom. If the state really cared about the students, it would legalize vouchers.
    Thank you Tom D. for all your research and for the chance to reply.

  • Tom D,
    I think you have hit upon the key, which is the changes you would propose would indeed be expansions, meaning that they would not present anything incompatible with CC as it exists, and that is because there is nothing remotely pernicious about CC.

  • Mike Petrik: What if CC will not allow any expansions? remotely or not remotely pernicious? What if the state sends an armed guard into the Catholic school classroom to monitor the use of CC and CC’s presentation. Parents cannot be forbidden from the classroom. Concealing a child from his parents is kidnapping. Concealing a child from tyranny by the state may become necessary.

  • Mary, if you were to read Common Core documents (sadly, I have), you would know that Common Core almost requires expansion of the curriculum, and it does not dictate what that expansion is. It gives examples for expansion. Some of the suggested expansions are really good, such as Euclid’s Elements. Some of the suggestions are really bad, such as dense policy statements written by Obama administration hacks. My point is that Common Core is meant to be a springboard that everyone can agree meets a standard for springboards. It is nothing more.

    One problem is that many people read the suggested expansions as part of the dictated core. They are not. To highlight this, a Catholic (or any Christian) school could use this American Catholic blog site as one of the expansions to the Common Core. Nothing in the Common Core literature would prevent this.

    Personally, I think that much of the problem with Common Core is the foundational documentation. It is obviously written by committees, and it was written in a deliberately vague manner in an apparent attempt to reduce political sniping. The authors didn’t realize that vagueness itself invites political sniping.

    I think the best course of action is to read Common Core the way we want to read it, and implement it our way.

  • Mary, I think the word “dictate” is the correct one. If a school were to claim it is using Common Core, and it were not, then it would be committing fraud. There should be some legal mechanism by which the organization that controls the definition of Common Core can ensure that its standards are followed.

    On the other hand states should be free to opt out of Common Core. I believe that the law does allow this.

    The big issue is, should the Federal government be involved in education. I personally think there is a place, and the assistance of the Federal government in the development of standards such as Common Core is one. Having opined that, let me state that I do believe that the Department of Education does too much and assumes too much power from the states. If I had my druthers I’d cut back the current education funding and roll the Department of Education into a Department of Education, Science, and Technology with the tech components of the Departments of Commerce and Energy, and throw in NASA for good measure.

  • Of course states are free to opt out of Common Core. After all the initiative is the product of the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, not the federal government. Yes, the Obama Administration is enthusiastic about the initiative, and as a consequence it is well-understood that state adoption will influence federal funding. Of course, many folks who oppose Common Core oppose federal funding anyway. The bottom line is that adoption of Common Core is completely a state level decision. The initiative is not and never has been a child of federal bureaucrats. Yet, DC educrats certainly like it and they will dole out federal funding accordingly. Opposition from the left is grounded in too much emphasis on testing and opposition from the right is pretty much just a knee jerk negative reaction to anything the Obama Administration thinks is a good idea.

  • [I usually only post on one topic, but this is an important one as well]

    I am not a big believer in ‘conspiracy theories’ nor am I subject to any bouts of paranoia, but i have to say that “Common Core” fits into a more general pattern of both dividing the Catholic community [attempting to drive a wedge between ‘progressive’ and more ‘conservative’ Catholics or their other ploy drive a wedge between Catholics and the bishops]. There has not only been a steady drumbeat of completely secularizing all law in this country-separating law from its ‘natural law’ foundation and away from the Judaeo-Christian culture which was at least until recently the primary culture of America, but now we are witnessing through various angles, attacks on our Catholic adoption agencies, all Catholic institutions other than our actual churches, including and most especially our Catholic Healthcare and Catholic Univiersities, and now, through this “trojan horse” our Catholic primary and secondary education systems. Next thing will be “homeschooling”.

    This is “statism” folks, pure and simple. It might look and feel nicer than its meaner brothers of facism, naziism and marxism, but do not think it is any less intent on whittling down the Catholic Church-seen to be its biggest obstacle and threat to its growing hegemony. I swear they took all their cues from Henry VIII and just changed the ‘sound’ of the rules, regulations and policies. They will not succeed in separating the American Bishops from Rome-so the Beast will howl, trust me.

    I am not an alarmist-at least usually. But this is a trojan horse-you wait and see.

  • Botolph: I have no doubt that some people, such as Bill Ayers, would love to use Common Core as a Trojan horse. I have no doubt that there are some liberal school districts that would allow people like Bill Ayers to get away with bringing in a Trojan horse. These truths do not mean that Common Core cannot be used by Catholic schools for ends that are faithful to the Church. The outcome depends on vigilance and discernment – which in this day and age we should be doing anyway.

    You raise another point: any improvement to school curricula is of course an opening which today’s neo-barbarians may try to exploit. No doubt. There is no way education can be improved without opening us up to such an attack. So, do we refuse to improve education? Of course not. We simply cannot allow Catholic education to fall behind.

    I agree with your comment on homeschooling. That must remain legal in all 50 states. I also agree with the bulk of your non-education comments. I must confess that I also am not into conspiracy theories. I think that most people who are against us do not conspire, they just follow the prevailing winds. In another sense, the only real conspiracy is the one described in The Screwtape Letters.

  • Tom D,

    I respect your opinion, the way you have expressed yourself, etc. It is always good to get feedback, even if one disagrees with you, as long as it is done in a respectful and constructive manner-something I certainly aspire to but do not always practice-mea culpa.

    Catholic education in the last forty years or so has already undergone a great deal of change and not for the better. Now I know that we no longer have vast numbers of (mostly) women religious who have consecrated their lives to Christ and the commitment of the Catholic Church to a) evangelize and catechize our young people and 2) to educate them completely-even with such subjects as music and art. I believe these too are essential marks of a solid education.

    I went to a Catholic grammar school and a public high school. In my day I believe I saw the best of both worlds, worlds that no longer exist, I am sad to say. The teaching order of sisters who taught me, were themselves under ‘superiors’ (not just the principle or the head of the convent) who were at the “Mother House”. These ‘superiors’ were highly trained in the subjects that they came out to test us and the particular nun who was our teacher. We didn’t have nor need the state to test us. The main subjects were down pat. we learned through the various ways of learning: memorization, reading, listening etc-in other words, not just one way. In English, we had grammar down pat, diagramming sentences etc [if I fail now it is age and carelessness on my part, not my education] I have to confess I was never good at ‘art’ but we also had music-they trained us to ‘read’ and ‘write’ music-both ‘ordinary music and (pre-Vatican II, Gregorian chant). I was taught, at a grammar school level, the history of music-both classical [I had a good sense of the major symphonies by sixth gradeand American (Stephen Foster etc) I began French in the fourth grade-now I wish they also had taught Latin [and FYI I participate in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite-so I am not being ‘nostalgic or ‘knocking the Ordinary Form’ etc’ etc] Latin is extremely important. I know that Catholic homes schoolers can begin it as early as the third grade-bravo!!! I’ll stop—-can you see now why I see red with this new fangled program—-just more dumbing down, no matter how you cut it.

    We do not have the set up my nuns have, but why can’t our diocesan offices do something similar? We don’t need the secular crap we need good solid Catholic education in ‘grammar’ [which really means getting the foundation for the liberal arts] and secondary schools [that can and should be on par with the ‘private schools’ that prepare young people for the Ivy League] I also would call for at least one secondary school in each diocese that would give a solid academic foundation but would be oriented toward ‘the vocations’. One of my biggest complaints of the post Vatican Church (and I do have some) is that we have ended up all but forgetting and abandoning ‘the working class’ in America. Not everyone even should have to go to ‘college’ but everyone needs more than a HS education. These young people also need to be evangelized and catechized as well as giving them a great preparations for their own vocations.

    Sorry, lol I could go on and on. Bottom line I am with Dr Anthony Esolen from Providence College on this subject.

  • Thank you, Botolph, for a very fine exposition of our situation. I pray for priests and nuns. I too was educated by the good sisters who worked for God, not the state. I was taught Thomas Aquinas through grammar school. This business of the Catholic school under the boot of the state is not good. Then, if the state is so concerned about the welfare of its students, why hasn’t the state (read government) given us vouchers? After all it, is out tax money.

  • Tom D. Can the state (government) add “expansions”? If Catholic schools may add expansions, can the state add expansions that cannot be removed by the Catholic school?

  • Mary, I would say yes, the state governments could dictate “expansions” to Common Core to private or religious schools, but they would have to pass the existing constitutional legal limitations. Catholic schools are still free to tell the state to take a hike if they need to.

  • BTW, Mary, the states can make such limited dictations now under current law and curricula. I don’t think Common Core changes anything in this regard.

  • The state’s power to control what is taught in schools really stems from its control of accreditation and, hence, of admission to a rage of careers.

    It says to private schools, “teach what you like, but if your students have not learned what we deem necessary, they will never become physicians or advocates or magistrates or consuls or diplomats or functionaries or teachers.”

    They will be confined to those callings that were open to Catholics under the Test Acts.

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Obamacare and the bishops: Sharing the blame…

Sunday, December 8, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The outcome of those efforts?

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

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

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



To read Bishop Murphy’s testimony, click on the following link:

To read Accuracy in the Media’s report about the USCCB’s role in passing Obamacare:

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

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21 Responses to Obamacare and the bishops: Sharing the blame…

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

    Words to live by MM! Then we wouldn’t have so many instances of: “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

  • *applause*

    I’d also like to quote from this Australian immigrant.

    This attitude is remarkably common among Anglophones, especially Americans, probably because they haven’t been exposed to much else. My tentative theory is that it’s because of Americans’ almost total lack of exposure to public hospitals. Once you’ve seen doctors and nurses actively ignoring people screaming in pain, for hours, while they sit around having tea breaks and chatting, it changes your perspective on how people act when there’s nothing in it for them.

    But being so good-natured and trusting is part of what I like about Americans. Britain is full of public hospitals and everyone who lives there is a doom-cloud of suspicion, mistrust and LACK OF FUN. I don’t want Americans to be like that.

    I’m starting to get this theory that when one tries to make a system caring (or you know, more human) all you end up doing is making people more like the system (cold, uncaring). In trying to save society’s soul, we burn it out of the individuals. …Not sure how thrilled God is with that.

  • the bishops like congressional liberals live and die by good intentions. the ideas expressed in a 2700 page bill called affordable healthcare would be like cheese to an angry rat. the bishops should have responsible staff to look at feel good legislation and ferret out impractical and immoral details. it would also help if their bent for those receiving public benefits are truly served along with the taxpayers getting the best bang for their buck.
    and next is the illegal immigrant solution.

  • “Worse yet, the bishops may end up having compromised their teaching authority in the process.”

    In part because, in their headlong effort to get universal healthcare, they went beyond their teaching role and endorsed a specific political plan – something that is properly the role of the laity.

    The bishops sold their birthright for a mess of pottage.

  • Though some bishops are beginning to realize their hubris. From several years ago:

    “But during the bishops’ semi-annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this year, a number of bishops expressed concern that such statements had been hijacked by partisan forces. They questioned whether the endorsement of specific policies went beyond their competence as teachers of faith and morals and whether the conference’s tendency to embrace government programs ignored a new reality of budget-busting debt.”

  • Could it be that this is simply not a matter of good intentions gone awry? Could it be that they knew beforehand what the consequences of this would be? The bishops would have to be stupid to not know, or at the very, very, very, very least suspect that a government takeover of health care of the magnitude of Obamacare would result in things abortion coverage, the HHS mandate etc.

    Now, I have accused the bishops of many things (and will continue to do so), but I do not believe they are stupid. I believe that they view matters of this kind through an ideological, not a pastoral lens, despite their claims to the contrary . Or. as I put in motto form: Ideology Runneth Over Theology

    I too, was dismayed by what Pope Francis said regarding economics. But they are a regurgitation of the leftist claptrap put out the bishops of not only the U.S., but the West in general and beyond.

  • There are two issues Catholic bishops should be restrained from speaking on, by force if necessary: economic issues and military issues. Having confused “social justice” with “socialism,” the Bishops are incompetent to address economic issues. Having abandoned the Just War Doctrine (see their War and Peace Pastoral of the 1990s), the Bishops have adopted a squishy pacificism. They are not to be trusted on either issue.

  • Motley, I look forward to your analysis.
    The bishops got in bed with government, and Timothy Dolan woke up next to Kathleen Sebelius smoking a cigarette.
    Kathleen is smoking the cigarette.
    Just so there’s no misunderstanding. I’m not saying Timothy Dolan would smoke a cigarette. That would be an unhealthy choice, and I would never sink so low as to accuse a bishop of making an unhealthy choice.

  • Has any bishop publicly gone on record to ask forgiveness of his flock for leading them to these wolves?

  • I think you are correct Greg.
    And Joseph touches on it as well. The Church has always spoken out – from Rerum Novarum and before – about the Preferential Option for the Poor. That there are dangers in unfettered capitalism – but as the last 8 popes have pointed out, Socialism is much worse, and antithetical to Catholicism.
    So with the Church calling for lifting the poor out of poverty, and calling on society to uphold and practice the virtue of Charity through Subsidiarity, the bishops and many in the Church of a left leaning and liberal bent have mistakenly conflated Catholicism – what has been briefly described previously – with Socialism, because a few of the aims of Socialism are the same as the social aims of the Church.
    But as the Popes have said, even a mild form of Socialism is unacaeptable and totaly contrary to Catholicism, and the popes have condemned socialism in the strongest terms.
    And bye the bye, Greg mentioned his, and others, dismay at what Pope Francis said about economics. This interpretation is incorrect. Go read it again, in the light of Rerum Novarum and the other social encyclicals. The world at large has, as the pope says, made wealth a God; that is his point.

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  • Having not learned from the 2000+ page Unaffordable Care Act fiasco, Cardinal Dolan is pushing Paul Ryan and other Catholics to back another monstrosity the Senate’s illegal immigrant or so-called comprehensive immigration act. Even Marco Rubio is opposing it. One wonders when the Bishops are going to turn to issues like falling Mass and Confession attendance, closing rather than re-invigorating Catholic elementary and high schools, loss of Catholic identity in many Catholic universities in chasing government money and what Hendershott calls “status envy”, and flouting of the Church by so-called Catholic politicians who back abortion, almost all Democrats, whose agenda they espouse. Enough with the pronouncements on global warming, immigration, health care, economics and “socialismJustice”.

  • Remnant Church being formed as the “leaders blindly follow.”

    ArchBishop Fulton Sheen used this; “tin gods,” as they didn’t know the God they we’re supposed to be serving.
    Sadly seems to fit.

  • There are two issues Catholic bishops should be restrained from speaking on, by force if necessary: economic issues and military issues.
    You are out of luck.
    “3. Military chaplains, inspired by Christ’s love, are called by their special vocation to witness that even in the midst of the harshest combats, it is always possible, and only right, to respect the dignity of the military adversary, the dignity of civilian victims, the indelible dignity of every human being involved in armed conflict. In this way, moreover, the reconciliation is fostered that will be necessary for re-establishing peace when the war is over. ”
    Read (and praise) the whole thing:
    I think we would be at great loss if our bishops refrained from speaking out against war.
    Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

  • Great discussion! Many of my exact thoughts. Last night I caught the rerun of World Over with a Bishop from Wi I think. Anyway I started yelling at the tv because “I might be able to faintly understand what the !!!###*** he was trying to say”, but in such a gobbledegook way that honest to God very few Catholics in the pew would even be able to follow along. I think this is done on purpose! You will never convince me that these “princes and shepherds” are so ignorant that they did not have the brains to know exactly what has been going on. They have fed into it, they have turned away from taking the hard stands that needed to be taken. Ha ha ha ho ho ho, Cardinal Dolan, jokes on us.

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  • However the Vatican diplomat’s interviewed did a bully job!(on EWTN)

  • The Bishops should not be endorsing specific pieces of legislation. Rather, they should stick to articulating general principles to follow, without getting into specifics.

  • Well, Kiwi, I will begin with something EG says in #56:

    “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”

    Where are those who “reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control” and how has this had the effect the pope decries? Other than in people’s imaginations, nowhere. In fact, overregulation by the state has done far more to create such economic chaos.

    It is true that he acknowledges that the welfare solution is no real solution, at least long term. And I know of none of his conservative critics who acknowledge that.

    Unfortunately, he is not the first pontiff to create economic bogeymen of this sort. His immediate predecessor Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate #49 said the following with regard to the use of natural resources:

    “The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens.”

    Again, where does such need exist other than in the mind of Al Gore and others who like he does?

    So, yes I am dismayed when the Church hierarchy, especially the pope, uses official documents to expound on matters outside their competence, especially when they do so in such an ill-informed manner.

    It would be much better if they stuck with expounding moral principles that must govern the formation of our ideas and actions in the economic sphere. It would also be good if they exhorted the faithful to educate themselves on these matters in light of such principles. And in earnest seek out resources that can aid such effort. Toward that end, I would highly recommend the excellent online course Economics 101 put out by Hillsdale College. It is completely affordable. It’s free and you don’t get more affordable than that:

  • There were no “good intentions” in any of this legislation from the Git-go. Their goal is complete and total Socialist existence!

  • “There’s certainly a lot of blame to pass around on this one. And the USCCB certainly deserves its share of the blame. Why? They didn’t heed the warnings of those economists who were predicting these deleterious consequences long before Obamacare was enacted. ”
    You know, it goes even further than that. I was reading on line that–get this!–under the ACA, volunteer firefighters must be covered by the employer mandate. This could result in many departments being closed.
    So, as someone pointed out, why stop at volunteer firefighters? A lot of non-profits rely on volunteers; a lot of teens, unable to find employment, look to volunteer opportunities to help pad out that college resume/application.
    If my children are unable to find gainful employment in the not so distant future, quite honestly, I will blame the Bishops first.

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

Friday, December 6, AD 2013


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

Concerning Obamacare, Cardinal Dolan said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A bit strong, no?  “Pathetic”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

  • Apathy.
    The chance of a counter-attack to the HHS mandate was, in my opinion, weak.
    The response letters from our Bishops and subsequent law suits by Catholic Organizations and business was immediate, however the laity at large was never fully energized.
    Dolan plays nice…too nice with the political powers that be.
    By speaking the truth of our Catholic Teachings and holding to accountability for (c)atholic politicians that disagree w/said teachings, much of the efforts are weakened. Will the fallout of enforcing “no-communion” to (c)atholic politicians that are supporting anti-teaching legislation be catastrophic to the Holy Church? A larger split of what it means to be Catholic.
    Would these measures strengthen the Catholic Church in America?
    Weak leadership is a safe harbor for souls infected with apathy.
    Something must be done.
    What is the correct course of action?
    Playing politics with the serpent isn’t the correct course.

  • What impresses you about our bishops and the apparat underneath them is that collectively they are terribly garrulous but seem to say little that is not either blancmange or silliness on the order of the Cardinal’s remarks. Spare remarks, please. Concise remarks, please. Priorities, please (morals, exhortations to prayer, doctrinal instruction, disciplinary explanation, and fund-raising).

  • “…..and not holding to accountability..”

    Apologize for one of many grammatical errors.

  • So the big three moral issues are: paying for abortions, not paying for care for undocumented immigrants, and making Catholics pay for treatments that violate their consciences.

    I think there are other moral issues with respect to how we are going to pay for Obamacare that are worthy of consideration by the Church.

    We will print money to pay for it, we will conscript doctors, and we will ration care and institute death panels.

  • I was complaining about Kung and his hobby horse recently. Voris is just as bad. If someone gives him New England clam chowder instead of Manhattan, he’ll frame it in terms of the failure of the Church heirarchy to promote the faith. Brown pretty much admits that she’s driven by long-held grudges. I’m not familiar with Manion. As for Bozell, frankly I’ve been so disappointed by the decline in quality of the Media Research Center that I’m probably not the best one to judge his statement. It does seem like he’s the only one who addressed the issue that Cardinal Dolan raised, namely whether the health care bill should have been supported if it had been “baptized”.

  • Bottom line: I oppose universal health care that requires wealth redistribution from those who work to those who refuse to work. Why? Because I oppose theft. The entire edifice of what passes for social justice nowadays is based on the idea that it is moral to steal from someone who works and give to someone who doesn’t. And until this godless heresy of the false gospel of social justice is jettisoned into the refuse can of putrid rot where it belongs, we will continue to have weak-kneed, yellow-bellied, cowardly shepherds whose first thought and action is how to be nice. Critics of certain shepherds may hold grudges, and may be nasty little creatures – I don’t know – but such critics (regardless of their defects of character) are correct. The shepherds are not above scrutiny.

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  • Why, in light of the world’s experience in the last century, would the bishops ever think that it would be a good idea to have a centralized state controlling healthcare?

  • In his excellent analysis of the Church on the eve of the French Revolution, Hilaire Belloc says, “The very fact that the Church had thus become in France an unshakable national institution chilled the vital source of Catholicism. Not only did the hierarchy stand in a perpetual suspicion of the Roman See, and toy with the conception of national independence, but they, and all the official organisation of French Catholicism, put the security of the national establishment and its intimate attachment to the general political structure of the State, far beyond the sanctity of Catholic dogma or the practice of Catholic morals…. The Church was, so to speak, not concerned to defend itself but only its method of existence. It was as though a garrison, forgetting the main defences of a place, had concentrated all its efforts upon the security of one work which contained its supplies of food.”
    Such attitudes are not confined to 18th century France.

  • M P-S – Isn’t that overstating it? The US hierarchy has recovered from its waywardness in the last 20 years or so. I would like to see more formal excommunications in cases of defiant error, but the hierarchy has had a voice, especially in the past few years. 99% of the Catholic vote is parishioners, and we’re the ones who have failed.

  • When was the last time Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan mentioned God’s prohibition against coveting thy neighbor’s goods? Stealing from our neighbors in order to hand out Medicaid cards like candy seems contrary to the morals the Archbishop is supposed to be teaching.

    We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this.
    –Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan

    I’ve long wondered if the Church’s bishops understand what they themselves mean by “reform in healthcare” and “this”. Word-fog cannot form coherent, rational thoughts but the mental fog can sure seem pretty!

    Here’s a few questions that may illustrate the near meaninglessness of the Archbishop’s pretty words. Can anyone explain why there is not one Catholic medical school anywhere in Archbishop Dolan’s archdiocese or in any of its suffragan dioceses? Can anyone tell me why, if health care is an issue so important to the bishops, Catholic schools graduate far more lawyers than physicians? Can anyone explain why the most prominent Catholic university in the US, Notre Dame, trains no physicians?

    And, for my own bishop, can he name one medical school that trains physicians at any of the many Catholic* universities and colleges in California? (That was a trick question. There are none. Bishop Blaire of Stockton, California I’m looking at you too!)

    One last thing. Archbishop Dolan at least put a date on the beginning of the US bishops’ fascination with dabbling in politics and neglect of their pastoral duties, 1919.

  • Some have defined slavery as a system where one is forced to work so that other’s may enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. It seems, at times, that but for “force” that in modern America, the working citizens is a slave to the state as it doles out goodies to the non-workers. It is an overstatement but many people seem have this sentiment.

  • When was the last time Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan mentioned God’s prohibition against coveting thy neighbor’s goods? Stealing from our neighbors in order to hand out Medicaid cards like candy seems contrary to the morals the Archbishop is supposed to be teaching.

    You’ve gone off the rails. Catholics are not compelled to look at the world through the prism of Ayn Rand.

  • It seems, at times, that but for “force” that in modern America, the working citizens is a slave to the state as it doles out goodies to the non-workers. It is an overstatement but many people seem have this sentiment.

    The social encyclicals are difficult to operationalize, but one thing that can be said is that a social order organized to please Ayn Rand or Herbert Spencer is most certainly not one ordered to Catholic principles.

  • have the american bishops publicly addressed the morality of burdening future generations with a financial debt that will be near devastating to pay off?

    surely, people who are currently reaping the economic benefits they received as preferential partners of the federal government while simultaneously placing an enormous financial burden on defenseless others should be prime targets for the teaching of RCC morality.

  • Art Deco, besides not being brave enough to sign your name to comments in which you demonize others by name, you also wrongfully attribute their policy views to folks who don’t cite or imply them.

    Bishops have been seduced by staffers and the culture which infects them into believing that forcing people to support specific solutions to social problems is Catholic and Scripturally-based. However, conscripting people’s monetary support for political solutions they find repugnant because of their socialist elements is NOT scriptural or soncistent with authentic teaching.

    These are prudential matters left to individual consciences, for now, or at least until Obama emerges as the dictator his heart yearns to be and deprives us of those “last rights.” I do not recognize the authority of any bishop to require our support for bad ideas and certainly not wealth redistribution, which should at least be understood as immoral by the bishops, since the Church once saw it as illegal.

    Citing Ayn Rand and Spencer rescues you from having to actually contribute something from your own mind, but instead you just come off as intellectually weak and sneaky.

  • Cardinal Dolan speaks as a modernist, secularist and humanist, and as a democrat— but not in the tradition of great Catholic moralist and shepherds. The USCCB continues to advance a left wing political agenda from our collection plates. There has been little actual reform of the inhabitants within the domestic policy group at the USCCB. The Al Smith dinner was repulsive. And, without a doubt, and as now admitted, certain shepherds, Cardinal Dolan among them, betrayed authentic Catholic teaching by tacitly supporting the AFA.

    Cardinal Dolan in the practice of the new politics and the urgency of everything “comprehensive”, probably never read the the AFA for if he had, all that we see now was there to be seen then. Recall that the propaganda for the AFA was that it would make healthcare affordable, portable and accessible. Cardinal Dolan did not support those principles but rather the specific act….much like he has supported the corrupt Immigration Reform bill.

    This nonsense corrupts the pastoral in favor of the political, and diminishes the works of salvific charity replacing those works with statist control of economic behavior. We are in deep trouble as a Church and as a country with this type of leadership. Have the Shepherds prepared us for resistance, for the coming soft martyrdom, for the cause of evangelization… or have they prepared us to be sheep of the democratic flock subjugated to the Progressive Hegelian state.

  • Phil Whatsyourname,

    I’ve used the same handle for eight years, and no other handle. I participate in these fora to discuss issues. I do not participate to discuss me. Other people blog about their domestic life, and some about their work life, but that is not my deal. If that means I’m not ‘brave’, so be it.

    Several questions were at hand in the posts in question: whether taxation is theft, whether the bishops are derelict in not teaching that taxation is theft, whether those taxed are ‘slaves to the state’, and whether it is proper to frame the question of common provision of medical services as one of doling out ‘goodies to non-workers’. These questions are nearly irrelevant to your four paragraph rant.

    As for the rest, you need to look up the word ‘demonize’ in the dictionary.

  • Art Deco is very well known throughout Saint Blogs for his insightful comments over many years. Let us have no more attacks on commenters in this thread. Focus on the issues raised by Motley Monk please.

  • Cardinal Dolen is speaking for himself here, inserting his foot into his mouth, which seems to be a common occurrence nowadays among Church leaders. He’s more politician, than a spiritual leader. He’s the political Catholic media darling. I’m Catholic and I completely disagree with him. Obamacare stinks, period, and for him to drag the rest of the flock into saying we’d support it, if we could just change a couple of things, is totally off base. I wouldn’t support it if they changed the whole law. I wouldn’t be happy until it was completely repealed and disappeared into thin air…….and that is the way most people (let alone Catholics) with a level head, who aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid, feel. And good for Michael Voris. Church leaders should take a cue from him…”not be one’s to shy away from voicing their opinions”, as that is the real root of the problem here. Too many clergy are afraid of being vocal and adamant of the true laws and morality of church teaching….afraid of offending. It’s called tough love and it was what Jesus was all about. I truly believe if Jesus were around today, he’d be “housecleaning” His church.

  • I happen to agree with Cardinal Dolan, with the caveat that I think such matters should go to the states. My wife and I took advantage of the Oregon Health Plan for the birth of our first son (of eight children) by utilizing their benefits for the least expensive option of a nurse midwife. That son has grown to a beautiful man who will be deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. A minimal benefit provided for a substantial contribution to our society. We ditched public insurance benefits after his birth. I have a niece who lives in Tennessee who is pregnant with her second child. She has no health insurance, and I kind of wish she lived in my state. I support state (not federal) run health benefits for the poor. I used to be one of those poor. That said, there are people who do take undue advantage of public benefits, and they should be shut down.

    I think that if we are pro-life, we should support a safety net for the poor. But not socialized medicine. There is a difference. The first is based on ensuring a minimum of health care if you can’t afford it consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. The latter is based on Satanic support for the destruction of life and the economy that supports life. Basic economic principles should be respected and taken into account. But so should principles of Christian charity.

  • I am forced to wonder why the State (really the tax payers) should be the ones to run health care benefits (they do, actually, through Medicaid) and not the Church Herself.

  • Alphatron Shinyskullus

    Politicians would do well to remember the words of Pope Pius XI in Casti Conubii, “Wherefore, those who have the care of the State and of the public good cannot neglect the needs of married people and their families, without bringing great harm upon the State and on the common welfare. Hence, in making the laws and in disposing of public funds they must do their utmost to relieve the needs of the poor, considering such a task as one of the most important of their administrative duties. (121)

    He warns them that “it is obvious how great a peril can arise to the public security and to the welfare and very life of civil society itself when such men are reduced to that condition of desperation that, having nothing which they fear to lose, they are emboldened to hope for chance advantage from the upheaval of the state and of established order.” (120)

  • The embrace of the homosexual/pedophilia culture over the past decades by some Bishops/Clergy and the silence of other Bishops/Clergy was the genesis for the “de-marketing” of “chastity & sexual morality” not “laryngitis” (Card. Dolan’s word). My diagnosis would be the lack of doctrinal backbone.
    Political parties over the life of our nation have held differing and evolving agendas. Now the Democrat party under the leadership of Obama and his team stands for and is committed to a secular, socialist form of big government with rights and values determined by, and flowing to the people from, a centralized power. Its collectivist ideology is the antithesis of the principle of subsidiarity (supported strongly by Pope John Paul II and others). Prime example is the Obamanation Obamacare, otherwise known as the Unaffordable Care-less Act (UCA).
    Simply put it is too big to succeed. Obama and the Democrat party’s unrelenting attacks against the unborn, traditional marriage and religious liberty among other issues confirm its secular agenda.
    Speaking as a Catholic/Christian, former Democrat and a firm believer in our Constitutional principles, no Catholic, no Christian should belong to today’s Democrat party. For example, Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI has resigned from the Democrat party. Catholics, who are registered as Democrats, Bishops, clergy, laity should follow Bishop Tobin’s example and immediately opt out of the Democrat party.

  • God bless you Joe Fitzgerald.
    Great analysis.

  • Thank you MPS for your last post on Casti Conubii. As I read through this discussion I felt many – and I am often tempted to it myself – too easily dismiss the motivations of our bishops, and then label them this or that. To say that Cardinal Dolan is more of a politician than a spiritual leader, or that he is a modernist, humanist, secularist is over the top. Regardless of what one may think of their opinions, let’s not forget that these men kneel down every day, examine their consciences and sincerely pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. That is no guarantee that they always get things right and are not subject to pride, muddled thinking and so forth, but for the most part they are in this for the Kingdom of God. You correctly point out that Catholics are beholden to promote the public good and that is what the bishops are trying to do. I say that believing that Belloc was right on target in what he observed about the Church’s complicity with the French government. I think much of the same has happened here and that support for Obamacare was greatly misguided. (And I won’t digress but the neglect of the family within our Church and its current assault by Satan is a matter of extreme importance.) But as has been mentioned somewhere here, the American Church’s longstanding support of big government solutions, the great society, the war on poverty and democrats in general is simply the wrongheaded approach in trying to do the right thing. (OK, I know this is a simplification. Sure, power, politics, hubris… always play a part in our human condition.) My point is, we should focus on criticizing their solutions and not the objectives or the person . Whilst I believe we have a power hungry and extremely deceitful leftist movement driving most of this, they do so by pointing out some real issues that Catholics more than anyone should be concerned with and it draws us in – then they offer perverse solutions spiced with some good suggestions. “Helping the poor, providing human conditions, assisting aliens, healthcare for all…. these are our bishops motivations perhaps mixed in with “survival” of the Church as they see it. And much like the softening of our politicians as they move up, it is disappointing that it happens in the Church too. We can do a good job of criticizing the wrong solutions, but name calling and losing focus on the goal is counterproductive.

  • Figuring out “The one who is unwiilling to work shall not eat” with those who do not have the opportunity to sustain themselves is not always so easy.

  • The publicily expressed criticisms of the hierarchy are part of freedom of expression and may even become intemperate at times. The problem with the cardinal’s comments is that the anti-Christian cabal and media thrive on this and present a ‘house-divided’ narrative. This often means that no ‘pros’ or ‘cons’ need to be raised since the impression left is that “Catholic opinion is divided’ and thus ‘We can support any position or trendy morality as we see fit’. Those in opposition are not so vague; their unambiguous point of view and orthodoxy is such that any pope would be envious and even weep for joy if the same existed among those he shepherds

  • I certainly have no problem criticizing the hierarchy’s actions, statements and did so when in their employ. However, the conversation (and the chance to win over) usually ends abruptly with name calling. I actually agree with most of the criticism cited in this conversation. We have been infiltrated with much evil and weeding it out, as even mentioned in scripture, is not easy without doing harm. But yes, it must be done. What Joe said about the homosexual/pedophilia culture was made possible and a natural progression from the contraceptive culture. And thanks to the silence in our pulpits and episcopates, we’ve lost most Catholics on both issues.

  • I disagree with Dolan’s comments that Catholic’s would have been cheerleaders for the [un]Afforable Health Care Act. It attempts to force individuals to purchase insurance whether they want to or not. It does not provide for greater availability of genuine health care. I believe it violates the principle of subsidiary. Healthcare should be addressed at a more local level rather than a national healthcare law. Healthcare should be addressed with charity rather than insurance. If someone cannot afford necessary medical treatments, then the local community needs to say we’ll pay a portion or the entire cost. If the community cannot afford to assist all the members of the local community that need such assistance, then the community asks for assistance from its superior body. Healthcare needs to be addressed first by the family, then the parish, then the dioceses, then regional groups, then national groups, and then international Church. When it comes to healthcare, I believe certain individuals or businesses are reaping unjust profit by providing services, medicines, and medical equipment for healthcare treatments and diagnosis.

  • Dr. Christopher Manion’s belief that since World War I the Catholic Church and the federal government have been “joined at the hip” is accurate. The Church will do what is fiscally advantageous. A recent example is the Catholic Schools in my adopting the Common Core Curriculum. Why? Because there is government funding to be had with that adoption. The concerns of the parents of students have been summarily dismissed by my parish’s leaders. Money talks, especially in the Catholic Church!

  • mdgrad.

    If you and Dr. Manion are correct it could explain the salt that has lost its flavor….I do not condone attacking priests…prayers are being said that is all it seems we can do.

  • Dolan has been a big disappointment. He strives to be a “hail fellow well met” who is always ready with a quip and a hearty laugh. The best thing about the “affordable care act” is the misleading title. After that, it’s downhill all the way for this gargantuan bill which, in the words ot that eminent Catholic moralist Nancy Pelosi, had to be passed to learn what was in it. That Dolan does not see this is difficult to comprehend. I began to sour on him when he invited Obama, who has been rightly called in this blog the “most anti-Catholic president,” to the Al Smith dinner which featured nice “optics” for the president standing with a smiling Dolan.. He and the Bishops could have stopped the act’s passage but got gulled by the last minute deal on the contraception/ abortifacient mandate by the assurance that an executive order would override it, giving Catholic Democrats cover to vote for it despite the many problems with the bill as noted by a previous commenter. He was weak in opposing Cuomo on the same-sex marriage not “out-marketed.” He has never taken a stand on Communion for Cuomo and other “Catholic” politicians who openly flout Church doctrine. His stance on illegal immigration is opposed by many devout Catholics who rightly consider it a prudential issue not the province of the Bishops and their former Democratic staffers (who actually are the ones who prepare the documents). The Bishops too often weigh in on issues like global warming for which they lack expertise rather than issues over which they have purview and fail to tackle e.g. the drop in Catholics attending Mass, the fall in vocations,the loss of Catholic identity at “Catholic” universities and high schools etc. Like the proverbial shoemaker, they should stick to their last.

  • I have been a defender of Dolan in the past Pete, but I think your critique is dead on accurate. I was in hopes that there was strategy behind some of his actions, but I have come to the conclusion that there is not and he is a very weak man for the important office he holds in the Church in this country. Your last two sentences are a great summary of what is wrong with most of the Bishops in this country.

  • “Bottom line: I oppose universal health care that requires wealth redistribution from those who work to those who refuse to work. Why? Because I oppose theft”

    putting aside that during certain economic times it’s difficult to find work even for some qualified people, there’s also people in jobs who don’t receive coverage and can’t purchase it because of conditions they have. So yeah…just a little reductive there

“Liberalthink” and the ideology of public education…

Sunday, December 1, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

What a gem of logic!

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

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

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

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

But, guess what?

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

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

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



To read Allison Benedikt’s article in Slate, click on the following link:

To read the NCES report on spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools, click on the following link:

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9 Responses to “Liberalthink” and the ideology of public education…

  • The woman who wrote this is an idiot. I can’t be more charitable than that. idiots like her want to get their hands on my kids. From my cold dead hands they will.

  • If people would like to know the real underlying reasons for the horrible shape of our educational system and it’s root causes, please read Ralph D’ Toledanos’ “Cry Havoc”. This book has been supressed since it’s publication in 2006 but it is available again in limited quantities from the publisher through Amazon. Get a copy read it make notes and then pass it on to a friend.

  • A minor un-emancipated person’s civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and finally by the state. “In loco parentis” is a Latin term that means that teachers teach in the place of parents and must teach only what the parents choose to be taught. If this situation cannot be accomplished in the town meeting or in Parent -Teacher Organizations to the satisfacton of parents, then it must be put on the ballot, for the people and parents who pay taxes. The state cannot dictate or as the Ninth Circut Court in California decided that once a child crosses the threshhold of the school, parents no longer have anything to say about what the child is taught. The personification of God’s perfect Justice, all judges, receive compensation for their work which is not taxable and therefore, some judges believe that they are above the law of man and God, that they and the state are supreme and that their decisions are infallible. The state, the public school, cannot own another person. If the student graduates from high school and cannot read and write or do math it is time to sue the Board of Education.

  • The other strategy is to make our Catholic schools almost indistinguishable from their public counterparts.

  • Public school teachers are, first and foremost, unionized government bureaucrats.

    As such, they are entitled to their paychecks and fringe benefits regardless of performance.

    As a matter of fact, poor performance is just evidence that we aren’t forking enough taxpayer dollars over to them.

  • Jules Ferry, the founder of the modern French education system, imitated all over Europe, was only being more candid than most, when he said that the purpose of public education was “to sat the country’s youth into the same mould and to stamp them, like the coinage, with the image of the republic.”

    Nor is this confined to one political party. Ferry was a man of the Far Right; the minister of Thiers during the suppression of the Paris Commune, the architect of French colonialism in Algeria and an implacable foe of trades unions. He was also a fanatical bouffeur de curé [Anti-clerical]

  • I should have written, “cast the country’s youth…” « jeter la jeunesse dans le même moule, la frapper, comme une monnaie, à l’effigie de la republique »

  • Indeed, the public schools are the national church of the United States. And the prophet of that Church was John Dewey. Few teachers, administrators or even school trainers seems to read his books, but his ideas came to dominate American education, even affecting private education, to a remarkable extent.

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An object lesson in fearlessness when defending Church teaching…

Sunday, November 17, AD 2013


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

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

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

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


Bishop Thomas Paprocki
Diocese of Springfield (Illinois)

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

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

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

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



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38 Responses to An object lesson in fearlessness when defending Church teaching…

  • Bravo! I am proud that he is in Illinois!

  • I will be praying with him at that time.

  • This Catholic bishop is a REAL bishop of the Catholic Church, one not seen since Bishop Sheen.

  • Agree with what’s been said here, with one caveat. A short prayer service that contains “prayers of supplication and exorcism” is NOT necessarily the same as the Rite of Exorcism.

    When lay people and non-Catholics hear the word “exorcism” they immediately think of the individual rite featured in movies like “The Exorcist,” complete with spinning heads, shouted commands for the demon to leave, etc. However, not all prayers of exorcism are like this. The pre-Vatican II Rite of Baptism, for instance, contained an “exorcism” that was simply a brief prayer asking God to drive away any evil or evil prescence from the person being baptized. For that matter, the phrase “deliver us from evil” in the Our Father is an “exorcism” in this sense.

    I’m guessing the prayer service is more along these lines; I don’t know that it’s even possible to perform a formal exorcism on anything other than an individual possessed by a demon or perhaps on a specific location like a house that is haunted or possessed. Performing a bona fide exorcism on an entire STATE seems like a bit of a stretch… though given the history of Illinois politics, maybe not much of a stretch 🙂

    The prayer service has been timed to directly coincide with the 4 p.m. Tuesday signing ceremony being held in Chicago for the legislation allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples. This ceremony is expected to draw about 2,000 people and has been widely publicized, and of course, was scheduled with maximum evening news coverage in mind (IIRC at least one Chicago TV station starts its evening newscast at 4 p.m.) The prayer service also dovetails nicely with the Cathedral’s regularly scheduled 5:15 p.m. daily Mass.

  • Also, given the events of yesterday (a violent tornado outbreak causing at least 6 fatalities statewide and major destruction in Washington IL, a suburb of Peoria) I would hope that the prayer service would also include some appeal for assistance to the storm victims and maybe even a prayer to avert such storms in the future.

  • May God bless and protect Bishop Paprocki!

  • Elaine Krewer: The city of Red Bank, New Jersey, having fallen on hard times, then decided that prayer was not working, hired and paid $5,000.00 to a witch to cast charms and good spells from one end of the city to another. But that was a long time ago.
    Bishop Thomas Paprocki might inspire all bishops to the rite of exorcism in their diocese to drive the devil and his works: murder, lies and vice from our midst while restoring to us: life and virtue, Truth and Justice, protecting our innocents and virgins and clearing the path for the state to do its duty in protecting and securing “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” from the Preamble to our constitution.

    Prayer and fasting for Bishop Thomas Paprocki to be delivered from evil.

  • I agree with the article, the comments, but especially the two comments of Elaine. To be honest all our bishops are united on this fundamental issue concerning the true nature and dignity of marriage: be.tween one man and one woman for life. They have issued teaching documents, issued joint and individual statements, attempted at least to work through state legislatures and frequnently been lied to in those legislatures frequently by those who would make a claim such as I myself actually heard with my own ears, ” I was born a (here fill in the name of a political party) I was only baptized a Catholics when I was two weeks old”

    I believe that the bishops ultimately are looking for something very similar to what has happened on the life issues, a broad ecumenical/interfaith response now on marriage issues. While not yet defeated, see how the Pro-life movement has turned America’s head around. The same needs to happen with a new cultural movement protecting and promoting marriage between one man and one woman for life.

    Neither Gay marriage nor abortion are not particularly Catholic “issues”, such as the Petrine ministry of the pope or Transubstantiation of the Eucharist are. They are profound anthropological issues effecting every man, woman and child, and must be seen in this light. Being such deep anthropological issues, Catholics cannot back away from them, or water their teaching on such issues as life and marriage down to make them more palatable to society. However our stance can never be “merely” anti-abortion or anti-gay marriage. We proclaim Christ, the New Adam, in Whom all the mysteries and questions concerning “the Humanum” find their answers and fulfillment. We are not anti but for: for life,before marriage and family.

    In the meantime I am both intrigued and encouraged by this ” service of exorcism”. Liturgy, even if not a full Eucharist, is the heart of our Catholic Church and culture. This is a deep, spiritual, “sacramental” response to the zeitgeist: the “spirit of this age”.

  • Oops. The first sentence in my third paragraph should read: Neither gay marriage or abortion are particularly Catholic issues….. Sorry for the confusion in that sentence

  • “Performing a bona fide exorcism on an entire STATE seems like a bit of a stretch… though given the history of Illinois politics, maybe not much of a stretch :-)”

    Too true, Elaine!

  • The exorcism should include Andy / Mario Cuomo’s NY State and Jerry Brown’s / Diane Feinstein’s / Barbara Boxer’s / Nancy Pelosi’s Californication.

  • Botolph, you raise a couple of interesting points. Human structures can be demonically inspired. And then there is the ‘spirit of the age’ or zeitgeist as you said, a governing outlook. Christ, the new Adam, is the answer to all that’s wrong with the human condition and our times, in particular, and Roman Catholic thought is often quite articulate in its response to society. I agree that Christian liturgy answers the self-worship we find around us and to which we can succumb at times. On a different note, a point of disagreement exists between the evangelical and sacramental views, which I began to think about from an earlier post. The evangelical approach, anxious to safeguard a view of the Spirit’s operation, seeks to rescue soteriology and worship from clericalism and sacramental rite. The sacramental view, on the other hand, sees soteriology and worship as embedded in this ecclesiology. The irony of augustinianism is that it is a hybrid of these two views.

  • Jon,

    You are apparently an Evangelical Christian. Since you have begun posting you have revealed a Christian and reasonable approach in your posts, although you obviously differ on many levels from Catholics posting on this site. That you differ is not surprising, at least not to me. I also want to say that on those points in which Catholics and Evangelicals differ you speak of them calmly and not with diatribes proof texting and attempting to prove where you see Catholics as wrong. That is refreshing and appreciated

    However I would like to raise this question to you: what are you really seeking here, what is it that you want?

  • Thank you, Botolph. In answer to your question, I seek open and honest dialogue. Why? Because something arises out of that. We each learn more about hte other’s side, receive corrective — and I don’t think anyone has everything right (I know I don’t) — and we reach a broader understanding. While I am evangelical, it is int he tradition of Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I’ve learned some things from Catholics. I learn more about my own views and sometimes acquire a corrective to them through this dialogue. So my hope is that I might share my thoughts too, and I hope that makes no one uneasy. Dialogue with other chruches has been promoted by Rome for some time now, and its stance toward Protestants has been rather conciliatory. John Milton, in Areopagiticus, suggested Christian differnces should be available in the marketplace. I do not think any one denomination ahs it all or can have it all. My thesis is that the Spirit demonstrates itself — its diversity — throughout what I consider the church (the defintion of which is somewhat different from official Roman Catholic theology). I think that in Roman Catholic theology it is viewed more interms of visible structure nad continuity. I think that that means something. We can’t entirely write that off. But as I think about how St. paul spoke concerning the body of Christ or the church, I try to imagine what he meant. That takes me in a little bit of a different direction. It’s more complexc and nuanced for me.

  • Jon,

    Ok, you gave a good answer. You note C.S.Lewis as the form of evangelical Christianity to which you belong. While not an expert on Lewis in any stretch of the imagination, I have read many of his works, especially Mere Christianity. I also woul like to note that we are approaching the fiftieth anniv of his death on November 22. His death and it’s anniv have been eclipsed by Pres Kennedy’s assassination on the very same day that Lewis died.

    Although there are many avenues we could go down, a continued difference which you point out, is the difference of the Catholic fundamental sacramental perspective from the Evangelical freedom of the Spirit. You speak of Paul’s theology of the Church as the Body of Christ. Before getting specifically into that perhaps a brief and thus necessarily cursory overview of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

    Paul has evangelized in Corinth after his relatively speaking failure in Athens. In Athens he had attempted to connect with the intelligentsia by speaking of their own religious search for the Unknown God, even quoting one of their poets. In Corinth, sort of the Las Vegas-Hollywood of Roman Greece, as he writes, he came proclaiming nothing but Christ crucified, the wisdom of the Cross which overthrows the wisdom of the world. To get to the point, while the Corinthians were not the elite of Athens, they shared the same view of the humanum which separated soul and body, spirit and material, that was so counter to the Hebrew Old Testament anthropology and now the Gospel message of the Incarnate Son of God.

    Paul was responding to both questions and also pastoral issues sent to him by Chloe. Paul reiterated his teachings on Christ, on the truth and meaning of His resurrection ( and the resurrection of the dead- something Greeks found almost impossible to grasp) He reiterated his teaching on the truth and meaning of the Eucharist and on the truth and meaning of the Church as the Body of Christ, in connection with the charisms of the Holy Spirit. In proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, Paul maintained the significance of the revelation he had on the road to Damascus: The God of Israel has now revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ ( the Mystery of Christ’s identity:the Incarnation). In turn, as we see in chapter 15, the Jesus of history is now the Risen Lord, the Christ of faith. Just as there is continuity between God and the man Jesus in the Incarnation, so there is a continuity between Jesus and the Risen Christ. He is truly Risen. His Body has been raised from the dead and totally transformed-but it is the same Body of Christ. That gives the foundation on his teaching on the Church: the Church really and truly is the Body of Christ, an extension of the Incarnation in time and space- the world today. It also gives him the foundation of the truth and meaning of the Eucharist which really and truly is the Bodyband Blood of Christ in sacramental form

    Hopefully you can see from this where and how we Catholics envision Church, sacraments etc. we envision the cosmos through the Incarnational-Sacramental Gospel received from and continued even to this moment through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  • Yes, it is true his death was eclipsed by the Kennedy assassination. He was so original and profound a Christian thinker that he is more read and better liked years after his death. I’ve read mnay contemporary Christian authors, but I know of no others that possess his depth and breadth. He’s uniquely fresh yet orthodox. He was a genius with a grasp of the classic traditions of thought. He also learned from some more immediate predecessors like Chesterton, Chrsals Williams, Tolkien, etc. Even Lewis’ literary ideas are still respected by secualr acedemia. And I find him balanced in a way that is often lacking among intellectuals and writers, especially when they are confined to theology or some othe particular field. I think I see the Catholic sense of the church, though I’m not suere I grasp the relationship you cite: you seem to say Catholic ecclesiolosy emerges out of their broader sense of the world. Perhaps you can clarify that. When I think of the Pauline worldview — and that means the Jewish and Greco-Roman outlook in light of his revelation– he held to a cosmic understanding, of course, where Christ was supreme — and the church as the body of Christ was the manifestation of this, which Ephesians highlights. The Roman wing developed traditions with time, but we don’t see the full sacramental worldview until Medieval times. It was a long development as far as that goes. Earlier on, parousia-delay led to a more institutionalized understanding, also. I don’t see the Roman Catholic version of the Eucharist and the sacramentalism as being the concrete expression of all this. I think it is a development, and one that other Christian traditions have not always arrived at.

  • Jon,

    I was a bit surprised that in your response you actually did not respond ( at least in any substantial way) to my overview of precisely the Incarnational-sacramental principle as enunciated in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. Instead you repeated your now familiar comments concerning what you ( or more likely your source) claim is the relatively late development of both the hierarchy and sacramental order. I reject this claim, not surprisingly, but so does anyone reading the primary sources such as the Church Fathers.

    Just as an example, Saint Ignatius of Antioch writing seven letters to seven churches and their bishops, gave us the witness in 107 AD, of a Catholic Church that exists where the full Gospel is proclaimed, the Eucharist is celebrated with his presbyters and deacons. In the letters we see a substantial understanding of the Eucharist as truly the Body and Blood of Christ ( by no means merely a symbol) and where the Church in Rome presides in charity.

    I have attempted to really respond to your overall comments since you began joining us, Jon, however I do not see this aspect of conversation with you-attempting to ” give reason for my hope” ( 1 Peter 3), really helping If I might I would suggest you begin delving into the Church Fathers and really allow them to speak ( not what you want them to say). I will turn you over to them as your teachers

  • Botolph,

    Indeed they do speak like that early on. Perhaps it was to battle gnosticism and other strange ideas, and if that was the intent, one would expect them to stress apostolic succession, visible unity, and a headquarters. Christianity has a subjective and an objective side. To speak honestly, I know the core of modern Catholilc thought existed in patristic writing, though I don’t think all of the fathers were unanimous on the topics of which we speka. As far as the more sacramental view of baptism and the Eucharist go, I really don’t know. I must confess a measure of humility regarding the Lord’s Supper: I think it is a spiritual phenomenon. The SPirit is present in teh Body and that is key for me. This is the evangelical idea. He is never confined. I think it was with this understanding in mind that Paul could say popel grew sick when they wrongly approached it.

    I know that varoius and conflicting teachings circulated even in the time of St. Paul. Some of these ideas were more correct than others and some were heterodox as he explains in his letters. So I would say the Patristics are helpful but I do not consider them binding.

    It is the realization of nuance and complexity that led to my quest for truth — truth is not confined to one location or structure. For me, it is a matter of degree with these matters. There are things Catholics believe that I sense are true to a point. I guess that pertains to some of these issues. I would not want to assume a dogmatic stance about certain otherwise legitamite points.

    Your thoughts?

  • I see, Botolph, that you cite an incarnational-sacramental theology based on Paul’s understanding of Christ and the churhc. I did not mean to fail in addressing that. I just don’t understand it. I don’t see the sacramental connection you seem to make. Can you explain that further?


  • The Catholic Church is not a denomination among denominations. It is the Church from which denominations descend. The Catholic Church is not comparable to denominations. The Catholic Church is evangelical.

    Sacramentality is obvious to us in the OT. The development of doctrine is ongoing, the understanding of sacramentality continues apace.

  • Jon,

    Well this most recent response is a big leap forward. I am sure it was not easy for you to come to realize that ” the Core of modern Catholic thought existed in Patristics writing”. That is an important truth which you ultimately never be able to forget or throw away. Catholics and Evangelicals agree that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God. We also agree that they thus are authoritative for us ( true.Catholics do not hold in the Reformation principle Scripture alone). We both hold them authoritative, nonetheless. Now I would ask you this: doesn’t it make sense to take extremely seriously the interpretation of Scriptures found in and taught by those who, in some early cases, actually knew the Apostles, and as a whole are much closer to the source of our Christian faith than we are today?

    You mention, rightly, that many of the earlier Fathers were fighting Gnosticism. While certainly that is a context, I believe it would false to presume that such teachings as apostolic succession, visible unity, and as you put it, ” headquarters”. In reading the ( First) Letter of Clement you will find the third successor of Peter speaking of apostolic succession, while writing to those troublesome Corinthians ( as Paul had) in the year 97 AD, telling the free wheeling Corinthians of the order Christ Himself gave to the Church in commanding His apostles to choose solid men from their first converts to succeed theme when they moved in, we’re martyred or died naturally. Do we trust his testimony or keep him under suspicion because it doesn’t match my ideas or opinions. If true, where do you find this apostolic succession of the Twelve with Peter as their head?

    As for the questin of viable unity, I will again refer t o Saint Ignatius of Antioch who wroteh this in 107 AD: “Where the bishop is, let the people gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”. You mention ” headquarters”. Of all the churches Ignatius writes to and speaks of, it is the Church in Rome which he described as ” Presiding in charity”. In other words the Church in Rome had a unique mission, distinct from all others: to preside in charity. But why Rome? Was it because it was the capital city of the Roman Empire? No. From the very beginning it was understood to be the Church where both Peter and Paul ministerd, preached, taught and died. Their words still live in The Church in Rome (1 and 2 Peter, Gospel of Mark-Peter’s disciple- Paul’ Letter to the Romans),, their blood became the seed of future generations of the Church in Rome, and their bones, sacred relics, still lie there ( in fact this Sunday, at the closing Mass of the Year of faith the relics of Saint Peter’s bones will be in view, brought out from their resting place in the catacombs roughly forty feet under the main altar of Saint Peter’s

  • Well, to address Sola Scriptura, as I said earlier it is, for me, teh belief that Scirptuer is our final authority. We are subject to its ultimatte authority. Theologians have recognized over the centuries that we draw on other things. I’m reminded of Richard Hooker’s ‘three-legged stool’ of Scripture, reason and tradition. John Wesley included experience and people later spoke of the Wesleyen quadrilateral. (Wesley did not mean for experience to get the upper hand as has happened int he case of liberal Protestantism and some varieties of Pentecostalism). Regardless of what we draw on, Scripture is the final authority and all else must be viewed in light of it. That’s vital. I think for Roman Catholicism, Scripture and Tradition are on an equal footing. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that. From the Evangelical Protestant perspective, the early church passed along certain traditions orally and in writing, and some people in the next generation took them further and built on them so that some new ideas began to become establihsed. Eventually we have an organic sense of tradition with a capital T, and I beleive it would be anachronistic to assume it was supposed to work out that way. In retrospect it would seem that traces of those things existed early on and that poeple hinted at it when it wasn’t qite the same thing. It’s sort of like when Calvinists say Augustine taught their ideas. Well no, he really didn’t, but we might say Augustine hinted at it–even then he didn’t mean to, though, as he had no idea he would become part of a Christian historiography by Calvinists. So I think it’s the same dynamic with the early church and the patristics. I am aware as I openly admitted, that Roman Catholic theology is already to some degree present in patristic thought. But I would not maintain the patristics were in perfect accord with the first generation of apostles. I think some change occurred very early on. To say the ancient chruch was static into the second century or so would be mistaken.

  • Anzlyne,

    I have to accept the fact that many Christian traditions exist. I cannot ignore that. Roman Catholicism probably sees them all as renegades, but Eastern Orthodoxy and the Oriental chruches have their own narratives — and I would imagine they are pretty deep. Early on, traditions differed due to political and geographic reasons and reasons of identity. Since 1500 AD, European differences arose out of a quest for reform. More recently, groups emerge in an effort to meet contemporary situations and respond flexibly. One way or another, the church grows and accomplishes its mission.

  • Various churches may “have their own narratives.” This once was a free country.

    There is one Gospel. There is one Cross. There is one Resurrection. There is objective, immutable truth, which does not evolve based on people’s inconstant mores, or lack thereof.

    Ergo, (see Plato on opinion) narrative is not truth.

  • Jon,

    In this post I am responding to your request for further explanation on the Incarnational-Sacramental principle as found in 1 Corinthians

    We cannot understand Saint Paul without really understanding his conversion on the road to Damascus. We tend to think this experience changed Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle. While this did occur, this event means much much more.

    As Saul was journeying to Damascus to extirpate all cells of the new movement holding to the memory of the rejected, condemned and crucified false messiah, a brilliant light shone around Saul and he fell to the ground in fear and awe. Saul, the rabbinical student, knew that he was somehow encountering the Living God of Israel. It was then that he heard the Voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul responded, “Who are You, Lord?” (some translations use ‘sir’ however this belies the fact that Saul certainly believed he was in the presence of the guy down the street) It was at this point that the Voice identified Himself, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting”

    At one and the same moment, in this one event, several things were revealed. It takes a moment to unpack them. First and foremost, Saul whom I will now refer to as Paul, Paul recognized that the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was revealing Himself in Jesus. God revealed Himself through the prophets, but Paul realized He was in the Presence of Jesus (obviously not dead). Paul instantly was given the gift of faith which enabled Him to ‘see’ that God was in Jesus: the Mystery of the Incarnation.

    The second thing revealed, which I already hinted at, was that Jesus was not dead. However He had been rejected and condemned as a false prophet/messiah. The Temple leadership had sought not simply to get the death penalty for Jesus, but death by crucifixion. Why? Because according to the Law, cursed is the man hung upon a tree; likewise, when the messiah would come, he would be acclaimed by Jerusalem, proclaimed king, conquer Israel’s enemies, especially Rome, but certainly not die such an ignominious death. What Paul “saw” was that all of this was overturned by God Himself. God raised Jesus from the dead, revealing Jesus to be Lord, Who now has been ” seated at the right Hand, receiving the Kingdom ( see Daniel 7 and Psalm 2) Paul realized that what most Jews expected on the Day of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead, had taken place in and through Jesus. He is the First Fruits. The Eschaton, salvation has arrived in and through Jesus Christ crucified and Risen. Paul explained this further in 1Corinthians 15. The Resurrecttion continues and eternalizes ( to use a phrase) the Incarnation.

    The second fundamental reality revealed on the road to Damascus is the identification of Jesus with the Church. “I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting” there is no mincing of words here. The Risen Lord doesn’t simply say, stop persecuting my people, or when you persecute my people it is like you are persecuting me. No, The Risen Lord revealed that He is identified ( no question mysteriously) with the Church. Paul spells this revelation in several of his Letters, however he really spells it out in 1 Corinthians 12, that the Church is the Body of Christ. Again Paul does not say the Church is like Christ’s Body, or that the Church can be likened to a body. Paul states categorically that the Church IS the Body of Christ, His ongoing presence in the world even to today. The Church continues the mystery of the Incarnatnoion
    Finally, Jon, in chapter 11 (and a bit of chapter 10) of Corinthiansna

  • (my iPad started acting up- this is a continuation of the above)

    Finally, Jon, in 1Cor 11 and part of 10, Paul reminds the Corinthians what he had passed on to them when among them. He repeats Christ’s words of Institution. Again, as Paul identifies God in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ with His Body the Church, now Paul identifies the Eucharist with and as, the Body (and Blood) of Christ (see chapter 10 for further explanation: communion in the Body and Blood of Christ. For Paul, the Eucharist is not merely a symbol, nor simply a spiritual reality. For Paul, the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ.

    I need to stop here and get on with my day, however, John, if you give this some time and reflection, you will begin to see how the Resurrection, the Church and the Eucharist are all intricately connected, even identified with the Incarnation, giving Catholics the Incarnational-Sacramental principle

  • concerning the Catholic sacramental and evangelical action taken by the fearless bishop Paprocki— A good pastor and priest I would say. engaging us in the spiritual ongoing warfare, at the same time reaching out with the Gospel through the actual news media of the world.
    I will pray for him and with him at the appointed time tomorrow afternoon and I encourage all who read this to do the same.

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  • Botolph,

    Your first post explains that very well. Christ and his church are inseparable and Paul is told he was persecuting Him. In chapter 10 we find that it is the communion of the body and blood of Christ. I think communion is a key word here. We share in Christ, or we participate in Him. I don’t think that’s the same as saying the bread and wine are literally his flesh and blood then and there. Your thoughts?

  • “We share in Christ, or we participate in Him. I don’t think that’s the same as saying the bread and wine are literally his flesh and blood then and there.”

    John 6:52-59 – 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper′na-um.

  • Paul,
    Jesus certainly couldn’t have meant it literally at the time since he hadn’t yet gone to the cross. The same holds true concerning the Passover. There, he used similar language, but once again it was intended to communicate all that we come to understand about ourselves as a result of our relationship to him. It would not make sense to say they were eating the actual flesh and blood of Jesus, since he hadn’t yet been crucified.
    Luther got hung up on the words and could not divorce his understanding from a literal sense. He usually approached the BIble in that way, and his sacramentalism is still found in Lutheran churches today. Certain segmants of the church took the sacramental road. I think that’s a mistake.

  • It’s a miracle! Jesus pronounced those words and meant them as He said them, causing a miracle to happen, just as the Mass is a miracle/mystery. The preparation for Jesus’ very conception in the immaculate womb of his mother was a prevenient miracle/mystery
    We admit we can’t understand, and be wary of scientism regarding the mystery/ sacrament.

    We love the image of the dove rising to the Heavens on the two wings of Faith and Reason. It makes the kids in class smile and “get it” to think of the dove trying to wing his way up with only only wing.
    Jon here is something worth reading:

  • “Jesus certainly couldn’t have meant it literally at the time…”

    John 6:66 – “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”

    Like many of these disciples, Protestants simply cannot and will not accept the plain language that Jesus used. They pick and chose what they wish to believe and interpret away outside the authority of the Church what does not agree with their man-made traditions and theology. They interpret Scripture in the privacy of their own preconceptions contrary to 2nd Peter 1:20-21:

    “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

    To use a Protestant phrase, Jesus said it, I believe it and it is so.

  • Anzlyne,
    I agree science cannot explain much that matters. Enlightenment thought often stripped Christianity of the supernatural. Deism, we know, left the world disenchanted, and Kant left us with a dichotomy that divorced spirituality from the factual world. We are still feeling the results of that.

    It is not that spirituality is divorced from other aspects of our existence. As Christians we know God created all that is seen and unseen. His creation is valid through and through, and the Incarnation is God’s affirmation of his world. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead because of the resurrection of Christ.

    I believe in two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the O. T. many rites existed. In these times the church practices two ordinances or what some traditions term sacraments. Baptism is our entry into the church, signifying our rebirth. As we are buried in Christ’s death, we rise again to new life through his resurrection. We become a part of his body, the church. At the Lord’s Supper we commemorate his death and resurrection and anticipate his return.

    I see no warrant for belief in Christ’s literal, bodily presence in the Eucharist, though I don’t doubt people have often believed this throughout church history. The church is Christ’s body and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is a crucial realization that centers attention upon the people who gather together in His name.

  • Paul,
    Many turned away because they stumbled upon the stone that makes men fall. They could not accept what Jesus had to say about his role and their predicament. In their pride, they left him.
    I do not think I am interpreting anything privately in the sense that was condemned in that passage, which communicates that Scripture is God-breathed. The Bereans in Acts were commended for their private study and critique.

  • “In the O. T. many rites existed. In these times the church practices two ordinances or what some traditions term sacraments. ”

    As I understand it, sacraments are not rites; rites are not sacraments. Sacraments originate in God. God enlivens the rites with Himself, the rites are a container or a vehicle of cooperation with His action. The rites bring about the mystery they signify by the grace of God.
    The pillar of cloud was sacramental, a physical manifestation of the mystery of God and His actions in HIs creation, within the framework of time and place/ Manna. Burning bush. God entered the ritual with Abraham, the ritual did not bring about God’s presence.

    Sacraments effect what they signify by the grace of God. Sometimes we don’t discern the grace filled sacramentality of our lives and our worship, the Real Presence, unlike the oxen and asses Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger talked about in the link I sent you.

    I wholeheartedly accept corrective input. Thank you

  • Thanks, Anzlyne. I feel life and the world is sacramental. How can we separate the visible and invisible? As I said, the Incarnation is the ultimate expression of God’s love, devotion, and commitment to his creation. But I do not think this is the same thing as assuming Christ is literally and bodily present in the Eucharist.

    Sacramentality is a given for me. However, sacramentalism, or the sacramental approach to baptism and the Lord’s Supper strikes me as incorrect. I think it represents over-emphasis. I suspect the church gradually came to over-emphasize many things as it grew and further defined its beliefs against many foreign ideas.

  • Returning to our original topic…. looks like the Bishop did perform the actual Rite of Exorcism, and in Latin to boot:

    “I wish to preface my reflections by saying that I am conducting this prayer service and am speaking to you now with great reluctance,” he told the gathering. “I did not seek to enter any controversy, and I don’t relish being part of one. But I have given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer, which has led me to the conviction that God is calling me to speak out and conduct these prayers.”

    Paprocki was also quick to condemn champions of same-sex marriage, including lawmakers and gay and lesbian couples.

    “Since the legal redefinition of marriage is contrary to God’s plan, those who contract civil same-sex marriage are culpable of serious sin,” he said. “Politicians responsible for enacting civil same-sex marriage legislation are morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.”

    After his homily, Paprocki read the rite of exorcism in Latin.

    “I exorcize you, every unclean spirit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy,” he began. “Every diabolical legion, cohort and faction, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Now if only some bishop or even the Pope himself would launch this kind of weapon against the forces promoting abortion….

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

Thursday, November 14, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why “a wrong turn?”

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

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



To read the official Vatican transcript of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff comments, click on the following link:

To read Archbishop Müller’s letter to the German bishops’ conference, click on the following link:

To read Andrea Torinelli’s article in La Stampa, click on the following link:

To learn about the Pauline privilege, click on the following link:

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

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

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  • I must admit I am disturbed by this. Particularly that Cardinal Ratzinger supports this. I get that there are people in difficult situations, but marriage is for life. If the marriage is not valid, there is a process to address that. But marriage is for life. If you make bad choices, you have to live with them. It’s that way in the secular world. To do otherwise will encourage people to make bad choices and find themselves in situations where they don’t wish to be married anymore. Then they take the easy way out, and the Church lets them. It really boils down to whether the Church will give people “permission” to sin. They shouldn’t do that under any circumstances. I say this as a man whose wife spent his college tuition money twice, stayed out all night drinking and smoking pot after having three children, and ultimately got her act together and converted to Catholicism. Had I taken the easy road and divorced her, the last part would have never happened. Only the first part would have occurred. She cost me my shot at medical school, which I was a shoo-in to get accepted and finish. I chose to love her above all else. I’m glad for that choice. She makes me happy. If we allow divorce and remarriage, then that sort of story will become exceedingly rare. We will choose pride and self-love over humility and love of neighbor. A spouse is certainly one’s closest neighbor. If we don’t love our closest neighbor, what neighbor will we love? The whole “pastoral solution” thing is a red herring. There is a mechanism to be forgiven for sin. That’s repentance and the confessional. We shouldn’t accept cheap substitutes. They won’t work.

  • i am fed up with people telling me that i am condemned to hell just because i divorced and remarried…excuse me but who are people to judge me???…that is up to God to judge….what about people like Nancy Pelosi and others who claim to be Catholic yet support abortion and all sort of evil and yet still are allowed to receive communion???….does it not say in the bible that those who condemn are themselves condemned???….God is my judge and if i have done wrong in Gods eyes then let God condemn me…i believe my sin is a lesser sin as at least i do not support abortion or so called “same sex marriage” or other evils…but again i say…LET GOD JUDGE ME!!!

  • another thing i would like to point out is the fact that i have a child out of wedlock due to a date rape….so again….is it up to the people to condemn me because of this????…also….the first marriage i had was a joke….i didn’t even understand the concept of marriage as i was married young…my husband at the time spent more time with his friends than with me….we were only married for 8 months…so i believe this divorce was valid and i don’t see any reason for people to condemn me or anybody else…i guess it all depends on the circumstances…but i would NEVER tell somebody that they are condemned because they have remarried…that is just EVIL…look yourself in the mirror and count all your sins before you go and judge somebody else on theirs….”he who is without sin let him cast the first stone”…

  • In the two responses posted above by Alphatron and J.A.C we have two real examples why the Church really needs to promote marriage (between one man and one woman for life) and really support and care for couples preparing for, living the mystery of marriage (see Ephesians 5), and for those who have gone through divorce and in some cases remarriage.

    Alphatron your story is nothing less than heroic ( there is no critical innuendo here). What struck me even beyond your actual story is your comment ” if we don’t love our closest neighbor, what neighbor will we love?” That is a very powerful statement, very powerful. In your story, we see why the Church must continue and increase defense of and promoting the full meaning of the unitive dimension of marriage along with its life-giving dimension.

    J.A.C., as you are aware, while your story is deeply personal it is sadly not unique. In the midst of your story I hear some real good and substantial choices on your part; choosing life for your child despite circumstances which would drive many to choose abortion; believing in marriage even now, although it has been, to say the least a tough road to really get to that point. Last but not least, still hanging in there with the Church, even while interpreting the Church as condemning you – after all, you are very aware of the Church’s teaching on abortion ( mention of Nancy Pelosi) and on marriage only for man and woman, and you are here at a Catholic blog. All that says a lot- to your credit. To be brief, while the Church attempts to be faithful to Christ’s own prohibition of divorce and remarriage, your story reveals the real profound need to expand and deepen the Church’s pastoral response for Catholics in situations like yours. Jesus, while upholding the teaching on marriage did not condemn the Samaritan woman at the well who had several husbands. Jesus while upholding the teaching on marriage did not condemn the woman “caught in adultery”. In His mercy-ing He drew them to Himself and through Him to the truth of their situation

    While the Law is good it can only condemn those who fail to keep it. Jesus has come fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, upholding the truth of the Law concerning marriage, but giving His grace to those who live marriage and His forgiving grace to those whose marriages have failed

  • JAC, I feel for you. Have you tried to get an annulment? With your story, I am sure that it wouldn’t be difficult to get one. I’m sorry that you feel condemned, but if it is a burden for you, then I’d recommend annulment. It will heal you. Suffering here on earth is better than suffering in Purgatory. Ask for God’s mercy, rather than His condemnation. It might do you well to read stories of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
    When I was young, I was married to a guy that I had dated for 4 years & was engaged to for 2 (yes, 6 years we were together). I thought he was “the one.” He came from a big family, and my dream was to have a big family. He said & did all the right things while we were dating. After we were married (big Catholic wedding), everything about our dating life turned out to be a sham. We never went out like we used to. He didn’t want kids. I stayed in that marriage for less than 2 years, all the while trying to make it work & praying for help. The annulment took 2 years to get, but I was able to get one. He didn’t want one… he was a “suffer the consequences” type person. After that marriage was over, I didn’t make all the right choices, but God still blessed me with a wonderful (new) husband, and we have 3 kids.
    I’m sharing this with you because somehow you feel judged, but you might actually be the only one doing the judging (you sound angry in your post), but you do have a remedy. And I apologize for my forwardness, especially if you did try to get an annulment & it wasn’t accepted. I know people who’ve tried 3-4 times before the tribunal would say yes. And I know someone else who’s tried 5 times, and they keep saying no.
    God bless you.

  • Why should a divorced-remarried person engaging in adultery get the privilege of receiving the Eucharist and not the single person engaging in fornication? Seriously, I should just go out and have sex and continue to receive Communion at Mass.

  • KED,

    Jesus’ teaching on marriage between man and woman without divorce and remarriage (see Matthew 5 and Matthew 19) is very clear just as His commandment not to judge ( read: condemn) others ( Matthew 6). Saint Paul’s exhortation/warning not to receive the Eucharist is equally clear. To answer what I believe is your rhetorical question, a single person engaging in fornication should not receive thevEucharist (without renal repentance and the sacrament of penance) any more than a divorced and remarried person who de facto are indeed committing adultery (Jesus’ words: Matthew 5)

    Yet the question remains, what does the Church need to do further, for those Catholics caught, entangled in these real situations? How can the Church be faithful to the Lord’s very clear and high teaching on marriage and be faithful to the same Lord Who calls sinners to Himself, refused to condemn and met each sinner coming to Him with mercy?

    If we are honest with ourselves, we all tend to divide these two aspects of Christ’s teaching on many subjects. We tend to divide the clear teaching.( truth) from His mercy-love He shows to sinners. Having divided the two we then tend to choose and emphasize one over the other: emphasizing the truth over mercy or emphasizing the mercy over the truth.

    The Catholic response (Catholic means ‘whole’ as well as ‘universal’) is first not to divide truth and love ( it is not ” either/ or” but ” both/and”). Then the Church moves forward keeping both truth and love in Her pastoral response

  • An excellent comment, Botolph. This is precisely the issue that has to be dealt with. A “pastoral” solution cannot trump theology or canon law but must respond in truth and love to sin. The Anglican communion provides an object lesson about how “pastoral” solutions which trump theology and canon law lead to the dissolution of the faith.


  • The problem is that people cannot stay the course, they cannot be committed to the higher calling. Being a cradle Catholic that was a Christmas/Easter Catholic I believed what most liberal Catholics believe on this subject that marriage is not a heavenly bond of a man and woman but seeing my parents and grandparents endure many years of marriage through thick and thin I was committed to my marriage. My wife however was not and allowed herself to be lured away. When I found of course I was devastated but I believe God opened my eyes that day, because instead of focusing on my pain I saw her pain, I saw the pain that our divorce would cause in our children and our families. So I forgave her, it was not easy but as I prayed to God for the first time in my life He gave me peace to understand that I need to carry this burden but with His help. I guess what I am trying to say is that God has always kept His promise to us even though we all stray from the light and no matter how much damage we do He forgives. We need to forgive and move on and understand that our lives are not about ourselves but where we fit in the plan. We need to be strong in our commitment to God’s plan. Too many marriages fail because people cannot get past the little things or they don’t think they love their spouse any more. Well then they were never in love in the first place.

    As for my wife and I we have never been happier, she knew she was wrong and she has to pick up her cross and carry it also and hers is way heavier then mine so I help her to carry her cross as God helps us both. We are more in love now then we ever were. Her sins are hers and mine are mine we all stray from the light but He will always shine His grace upon us and all we have to do is ask.

  • J.A.C:

    I would advise you to speak to a priest about your situation. It sounds to me like you could certainly get an annulment and have your marriage blessed by the Church. I don’t think anyone condemns you. We are all sinners. But the Church should stand for the truth that it teaches. Don’t be angry at the Church. It’s nobody’s fault what happened with your first attempt at marriage. It sounds to me like you made a mistake out of innocence, and it can be made right again. And kudos to you for bringing your child into the world. You are a hero for taking care of a child forced on you by a rapist. You’re not to be condemned for that. You have shown incredible love. The Church is about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not gloss over truth. It confronts the truth, and proposes a solution. Not everyone is in the same situation as you. Had I divorced my wife and remarried, I would be an adulterer because both of us went into the marriage with full knowledge and consent. Your situation is different. Out of a lack of knowledge and faulty consent, you found yourself in a difficult situation and you made the best of it. The Church can recognize a valid marriage in this case if presented with the facts and allowed to engage in its processes. But if we don’t look at the facts and go through the process, then people like my younger self would be encouraged to do the wrong thing.

  • Honestly, I would to see some of the very real and personal stories that are being shared on this particular post to somehow find their way into the packet of documents that the bishops meeting at the Extraordinary Synod in 2014 on marriage and the family. In case anybody is worrying about this, I certainly have no ability to see that this happens. Nevertheless, I would love to see it. I believe that this precisely what Pope Francis meant when he said, we need to listen to the whole Churc.

    WEB, your journey from being a Christmas/Easter Catholic (identify.oneself as a Catholic, but little or no real encounter with Christ and His Bride, the Church) , being given the real witness of your grandparents and parents living marriage in love and fidelity through thick and thin and experiencing the great wound, pain of the infidelity of your own spouse brought you to a clear existential moment in your life. As you state it, God opened your eyes that day ( the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: ” and their eyes were opened”); instead of focusing on your own pain, He enabled you to see her pain ( what a grace!); you became able to see the pain a divorce would cause your children and families (more grace!). Even more, you forgave her! ( This is heroic grace!) none of this was easy, but, as you share your story, the best is yet to come: you (really) prayed to God for the first time in your life. You Opened yourself to an encounter with the Living God Who hears the cries of His beloved sons and daughters and draws infinitely close to them in Christ, to be with them and to save them/us in our deepest existential need-with the grace of His Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit you experienced is the inner peace and understanding that you needed to carry this particular and personal cross-with His help!

    As you came to realize, God is faithful, even when we are unfaithful (Paul to Timothy). God is faithful, merciful, constantly seeking us out and calling, “Where are you?” as The Lord God did in the Garden seeking the first couple hiding in their nakedness an sin (Genesis3), and as the Prodigal Father did going out and seeking his two wayward and very confused sons ( Luke 15)

    What a grace you have received precisely in receiving and accepting this cross and being faithful and merciful yourself. You now have discovered that God is indeed love.

  • “Yet the question remains, what does the Church need to do further, for those Catholics caught, entangled in these real situations? How can the Church be faithful to the Lord’s very clear and high teaching on marriage and be faithful to the same Lord Who calls sinners to Himself, refused to condemn and met each sinner coming to Him with mercy?”

    The Church definitely needs to tightened the ship on catechism (in the younger years), marriage prep, NFP promotion, making the annulment process clear and efficient, etc. But…at the end of the day, people need to stop sinning. It can’t be just all up to the Church to “be merciful,” but the people in question are okay to go along, doing as they want or what is of immediate convenience to them. People can’t simply get divorced, “remarried”, and expect to be admitted the Communion as if things are just fine. Things aren’t fine. The couple is living in adultery (if one accepts what Christ said). Adultery is a mortal sin (just like fornication.) That isn’t me that is saying that. That is the Church, who is passing on Christ’s very clear teaching on it. It isn’t up to us, no matter how much we would like it otherwise (most of us, including me, would like to sweep this issue under the rug I am sure). I don’t even think the Disciples much liked this teaching.

    I imagine (and this is me) the couple, at minimum, would have to live “as brother and sister” (no marital embrace) and go to Confession before going to Communion. There is also the “annulment process.” People should be encouraged to go, but they also need to be prepared to accept the results if it doesn’t turn out the way they wish. (They may have to remain as “brother and sister” for a very long time.)

    Yes, Christ was merciful (and still is!), but he admonished people to “go and sin no more.” Christ told people the truth–which, while often harsh, is probably the most merciful thing to do.

  • Yes, D.J. Hesselius, I agree of course with what you are saying. I believe we need to start with the very beginning of the Gospel as witnessed in Mark 1. 15-16. After Jesus had conquered the forces of Satan in the wilderness, He went into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel ( Evangelion) of God: this the time of fulfillment, the Reign/kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel”

    Notice D.J. That His Gospel was distinct from John the Baptist’s. John preached repentance of sin to prepare for the coming of the Lord, to repent in order to enter His Kingdom. John’s message was the ultimate expression of the prophetic tradition- until Jesus came! Jesus’ proclamation was the coming and presence of the Reign/Rule/Kingdom of God in Himself. In other words, the whole thrust of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets which ultimately was the revelation of God’s mercy and salvation, is now being fulfilled, made present in Jesus Christ Himself. He is fundamentally God’s faithful and merciful love in the flesh, Who loves with an everlasting and merciful love. It iss only in light of this astounding saving truth Who is Jesus Christ Himself, that one then ” repents and believes”. These are fundamental and necessary, but only as our response to Jesus Christ

    What you have said is indeed true of someone who has really encountered Jesus Christ in the Church. If someone in this existential state sins, they do indeed need to repent, sin no more and return to Christ and His Church. However, now look at the vast numbers of humanity who have never really heard of never mind know Christ- what is their greatest need? Look at the vast numbers of Christians, one billion of them, who have heard of Christ, perhaps even encountering Him ( they might speak of this as being ‘ born again ‘) but have not yet come to recognize Him united with His Bride the Church. Now thin of the over 1 billion Catholics, who belong to the Church, have received the sacraments but have not yet really been evangelized or fully catechized- have not encountered Christ in His Church at a deep, existential level. The first message all of these need to hear is this profound Gospel of God, Jesus Christ, Himself, Who draws close to every person in their deepest need of salvation, Who died for them and rose to bring them new life in the Spirit within the Church-. Encountering Christ at this deep level they actually will have an existential inability to do otherwise than ” repent, believe the Gospel,” and to follow Christ.

  • Botolph, thank you. My comment is to say: we all struggle with chastity in life. Why are divorced-remarried people so special? Why should they be allowed to continue in their sexual sin yet receive the Eucharist? Truly, if this is the case, then there is no reason why a single person, or homosexual person, or cohabitating persons need to be faithful to Church teaching. If there is a “pastoral solution” for divorced-remarried, then there is an incentive for the rest of us to indulge in sexual sin and expect a ” pastoral solution” for ourselves, if not now, then maybe at the pearly gates. Perhaps the Church can promote true friendship. Love and intimacy are possible without marriage. Love and intimacy do not have to be sexualized. Let us honor and include those relationships and maybe the unmarried will experience, truly, a place in the Church.

  • Botolph: you are bringing up some significant issues, but not really the one being discussed: Should divorced/remarried Catholics (who haven’t received a Declaration of Nullity) be admitted to Holy Eucharist or not?

  • KED,

    Thanks for responding. I realize even more now, that your response was really a “cry” of singles to the Church for singles for assistance in the chaste life-which each baptized person is called and to which each baptized person commits themselves.

    My first comment is that, as Paul teaches us, the Holy Spirit Who is poured out into our hearts “produces” fruit in our lives ( see Galatians 5.22). The last of the fruits Paul mentions is “chastity”. Some translations use the term “self-control” which of course “chastity” is, however I prefer “chastity” given the sexual revolution our Western culture has undergone.

    You might also take a look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to teach about the Ninth Commandment. It really is Illuminating speaking of a whole formation, growth in chastity with the goal being “pure of heart”. In other words the Catechism recognizes and teaches that our lives are sexual or if we prefer affective. It shows that simply keeping the commandment “DON’T” is very important, not to be broken, but in of itself not enough to help human beings whose most fundamental need is to be loved and to love. We need formation in chastity, growth in chastity, or to put it another way, on going conversion affective conversion.

    As you note, ” maybe the Church can promote true friendship”. We have in our Tradition the witness of real Christian friendship, between men, between women, and between men and women. In our hyper sexualized atmosphere many jump to the conclusion that these were more than friendships. The worst of these interpretations concern Our Lord Himself with His close friends, Mary Magdalen and Saint John. However let not the terrible misinterpretations eclipse exactly what they are: examples of truly graced, affectively mature, chaste friendships. The numbers of saints also reveal close, mature chaste friendships- far more than one might think. Sometimes these friendships were not only between men and women but also different generations, such as Francis and Claire or Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross. Others were between saints of t,he same gender: David and Jonathan, Perpetua and Felicity, Basil and Gregory of Nazianzen. The friendship that opened my eyes to this reality was between a Catholic bishop and a widowed mother. Can you just imagine what some people would make of that? Yet Saint Francis. DeSales and Saint Jane De Chantal reveal in their personal correspondence the depths, and beauty of true chaste friendship.

    If you want further reading, take up Saint Aelred of Riveaulx’s treatise on ” Spiritual Friendship ” which he wrote for his own monks to assist them in growth and perseverance in chastity. His monastery was not a den of sin. It was however filled with men who needed to continue to grow in chastity and achieve affective maturity. He knew that the Ninth and Sixth Commandments were necessary foundations, but only the foundation. He knew that the vow of celibacy was very much like marriage itself and that while remaining faithful to their vow, the vowed person needs to grow throughout their lives with the joy and suffering, high points and low points of life.

    Finally if you are a bit more theological, Pope Benedict’s first encyclical Deus Caritas Est treats the Catholic understanding of Eros, love seeking fulfillment.

  • D.J.,

    Actually I was responding to the trajectory of your own post. The Church has traditionally maintained, and recently reaffirmed its ” position” that divorced and remarrieds ( without annulment) are not to be admitted to the Eucharist. In several of my previous responses in this list, I have myself reiterated this, especially in emphasizing the need to maintain the unity of truth ( teaching) and mercy ( pastoral response). Perhaps you didn’t read through all the responses. It sometimes happens. However I was keeping to what was being discussed

  • How about the Kennedy Clan? They can all buy their annulments. I like Pope Francis when he says not to judge. Who knows why a person got married in the first place and why they got divorced. Only the person and God knows the truth and we
    don’t need humans (men) judging them. I was married for 46 years and wish I hadn’t been. But I was a “good” Catholic. There are so many judgments put out by men who never had an idea of what it’s like to live in a marriage gone ill.

  • “I like Pope Francis when he says not to judge.”

    The phrase judge not lest ye be judged has never been a license to sin. Bad marriages are terrible, but they get no better by people hoping that the Church will ignore the plain teaching of Christ. Since His apostles reacted with horror to His teaching about marriage, Christ’s statement about the indissolubility of marriage has been a tough one for people to accept. That is why the Church looks to see whether a marriage never took place and an annulment should be granted. This is an area loaded with moral land mines and human misery, but for the Church to simply say that people in second marriages may receive communion after the briefest contrition is to turn Christ’s teaching on its head. I do not think this is where the Pope is going, but it would be an unmitigated disaster for the Church if he did.

  • Botolph: Admittedly, I do have trouble reading longer comments. I haven’t figured out how to put in paragraph breaks in the comboxes (is that the correct term?) I appear to be in good company though. When paragraphs are lacking, comments become difficult to read and interpret–hence my last comment/question: Should divorced/remarried Catholics (who haven’t received a Declaration of Nullity, or agree to be “brother/sister”) be admitted to Holy Eucharist or not? It is a simple Yes or No question.

  • BOTOLPH’s comment on 11/15 at 7 AM makes the most sense of any comment on here. I am instinctively a very conservative Christian but we have to make room for Love and Forgiveness. WE ALL make mistakes and sin, even those of us who are busy condemning others for theirs. WE ALL need forgiveness. And I love how we have our favorite sins (that we don’t do, of course) that we can use to condemn others while being completely blind to the sins we do commit because they aren’t the fashionable ones like adultery that makes it so easy to point fingers. Christ forgave- he admonished not to do it again-but He FORGAVE. How many of us lust in our hearts ever so slightly yet nobody knows? That is ADULTRY folks. How many of us have heard, or better yet read, that we are to love on another. You know that that means? It means loving EVERYBODY as Christ loves all of us…no matter the sin, no matter how horrible, mean, nasty, evil somebody appears to be, we are to love them unconditionally. HOW MANY OF US LIVE UP TO THAT ONE? Yet not following that is a sin!!!!! But we can rationalize that away, can’t we, that that is a sin we can do without any consequences, not like those adultery/ divorce sins. Yet sin is sin, and whomever does the least is guilty of them all! So why don’t we all put the rocks down against the divorced Catholics and show a little more mercy, love, and forgiveness. No, Jesus does not want us to divorce, but we are all human, we ALL sin and make mistakes which is why Christ came in the first place, to save us from OURSELVES. The Church should not be viewed as the reward of entitlement for the “perfect” few, but the source of healing for the imperfect majority who seek God’s Grace for forgiveness, repentence, healing, and LOVE.

  • “Christ forgave- he admonished not to do it again-but He FORGAVE.”

    Actually it was a command: Go and sin no more. That is precisely the problem in this area. A second marriage without an annulment is continual adultery unless the parties agree to live as brother and sister.

  • Keep truth ( in this case on marriage) and mercy-love (forgiveness) together: what God has joined together let no man put asunder 🙂

  • John, no matter how many words you capitalize, you’re only telling half of the story. Of course we all sin, and we are constantly in need of God’s grace and mercy. No one would dispute that, and few of us would have the temerity to pronounce judgment on the state of another person’s soul. We do not have licence, however, to engage obstinately and openly in sin with no sign of being remotely penitential.

    No, we cannot shun the remarried Catholic. We don’t need to plaster a scarlet D or A or RM on their chest. But we also need to get over our Oprah-ized ideal of what it means to love. Pretending that the behavior is okay isn’t love. Offering them the sacraments isn’t love. We need to make room for the remarried Catholic in our hearts and do all that we can to be signs of God’s love to them, but we can’t make excuses for their behavior nor can we alter the teachings of our Church.

  • Paul Zummo, I hear what your saying but I don’t think I’m telling half the story. We Catholics are OBSESSED (yes, I capitalized) with divorce and adultery…oh, and murder. I, nor do I believe most divorced Catholics, believe that sexual promiscuity and divorce is OK. In a perfect world where there was no need for Christ, there would be none. But we don’t live in a perfect world and it is full of imperfect humans who make mistakes. If nobody made wrong judgements then there would have been no need for Christ. Christ came, not to have us dwell in the dark cloud of our sins forever, but to have that cloud lifted away so we can go forward with a new spirit and the burden lifted and the sin… erased.

    Everybody sins, and it isn’t just adultery. Nobody is condoning it, but we do need to forgive, heal, and move on. I’m not saying that sin is OK, but it is OK to forgive and that is what seems to be so lacking- and forgiveness and acceptance of the sinner is not the same thing as condoning the sin and justifying the behavior. But, trust me, none of us can walk out the door without committing one sin or another in God’s eyes, yet we can sanctimoniously point out someone elses sins and how THEY (sorry, couldn’t help myself 🙂 ) should get in line with Church teachings while completely ignoring our own failings in not coming close to living up to Church teachings, which is a fault among all of us. Too easliy though, our own failings are often hidden, maybe not really emphasized by Priesthood, easily rationalized and maybe even condoned, yet we are just as guilty as the adulterer that we are so obsessed with making sure tows the Church line. How convenient that nobody calls us out and tells us to get in line with the Church under threat of not receiving Sacraments for our hidden sins, yet we are out of line, just the same. I guess that’s my point.

    Christ’s teachings are an ideal that none can ever hope to come close to achieving, no matter how much some of us might think we have. When Christ spoke about pointing out the speck in someone’s eye while ignoring the log in our own, heck, I know I’m carrying around the whole dog gone tree!! And I have a hunch I’m not the only one. Sometimes, I just wish I read more about forgiveness and healing than about how certain people broke a certain rule and must be kicked out (while keeping them in our prayers, of course) because they aren’t perfect, like us (the Church says so). It is so easy to point out an “adulterer” who shouldn’t receive sacraments, yet look at all of the people in line for communion carrying around their own logs of unforgiven sins (which is also against Church teachings) and, amaizingly, one never hears condemnation about that. And yet, isn’t that just as bad?

  • I would like to know why we don’t have any priests who perform Exorcism. I think in todays would where so much evil and cultist activities are going on. I once tried to
    find an exorcist for someone and it could not be done. If a person is possessed and under the influence of the devil or demons they need one and WHERE CAN YOU FIND AN EXORCIST. Noone seems to know or care. Did you know that the satonic headquarters is in Newtown, CT?

  • Rita,

    Each diocese has at least one priest delegated to investigate and perform the full rite of exorcism. Any case brought to the attention of the Church concerning the need for an exorcism first needs to be investigated. Many physical, psychological and mental maladies could lead someone to think someone needs an exorcism, but the person really needs professional medical, or psychiatric care. It would be a tremendous injustice not to give that person the care they need.

    At the same time, there really is an increase in the spread of evil ( which cannot be explained away as mental or emotional problems) people, even Christians are dabbling with seances, fortune tellers, astrology, ouija boards etc. These are not harmless games or past times. Further, involvement with cults, the occult is.more not less common. The biggest lie is that Satan and his minions do not exist

    Saint Peter tells us, ” Be sober, be watchful, your adversary the Devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” ( 1 Peter). He is telling us to do two things. First, be sober: don’ t go around half crazed thinking Satan is under every rock or behind every tree. He also tells us to be watchful: the Devil is real and is very active in the world-but realize the battle between Good and evil is not an even match. God is God. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Devil is a creature, an angel- no matter how twisted or bad.

    What can the average Catholic do? Pray the Saint Michael prayer, have holy water in our homes, along with blessed salt and blessed beeswax candles.. Remain in full communion with the Church, in the state of grace with the sacrament of confession and Mass and Holy Communion. Further, read and pray over the spiritual weapons Saint Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6. Finally, do not be afraid, the Spirit of the One within us is greater than the spirit of the one in the world

  • John:

    No one here has condemned the divorced and remarried, as you claim. Rather, they have simply reiterated the teaching of the Church. Pointing that out Church teaching is not condemnation. From the tone of your posts, I think if you’re feeling condemned it’s not by us. It’s by yourself, although you remain conflicted about it. On the one hand you know the teaching is true. On the other hand, you find it difficult to live with (as did the apostles). And so you cast blame elsewhere by claiming a lack of forgiveness, and that others sin too. In doing so, you are engaging in the same condemnation that you accuse others of. Yes, we all sin. The fact that others sin is no reason for me to excuse my own sin. Nor is it reason for you to excuse your own sin. I don’t think you’re going to find peace by pointing out the perceived reactions of others. I think you’re going to find peace by addressing your own reaction, and determining why it is you feel conflicted, and what you need to do about it.

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

Tuesday, November 12, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reflecting upon the Hoyas Lead program, Lorenzen said:

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

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


To read the Inside Higher Education article, click on the following link:

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

  • Interesting.

    There was a series of articles recently in Sports Illustrated about the Oklahoma State University football team, which documented scandals as bad as anything you were afraid of in college sports. One of its claims was that the special treatment dries up quickly if a player gets injured or fails to play at the skill level the coaches were hoping for. I’d always thought that the players come out ahead in these big programs, but that was short-sighted of me.

  • “… as a response to incidents of sexual assault at Duke University and the University of Virginia …”

    That is not an accurate assessment of the incidents linked in the piece.

    At my alma mater, the University of Virginia, a lacrosse athlete killed his ex-girlfriend, also a lacrosse athlete, in a domestic violence incident (he was convicted of 2nd-degree murder). It was not an incident of sexual assault, at least not as how that term is legally defined. It’s actually worse than sexual assault, but I point it out for the sake of accuracy.

    At Duke (and I can’t believe I’m actually defending the only college I’ve forbidden my children from attending), we all know the story of the stripper performing at the lacrosse party and making up the story of being sexually assaulted. The prosecutor who brought the case, Michael Nifong, was even disbarred, and the State Bar enacted “Nifong Rules” to try to head off future instances of prosecutor misconduct. And that is the LAST time I will EVER say anything in defense of Douche … err … Duke University again.

  • Not that the Duke lacrosse team should be defended for having a stripper at their party. For that, they should be roundly criticized. And Georgetown should be commended for its efforts to avoid these sorts of incidents.

  • Never having been bit by the college sports bug, I cannot figure why massive entertainment complexes (staffed with shamateur performers) are appended to state universities.

  • Still smarting from the 35-22 loss last month, Jay?
    Go Devils!

  • Never having been bit by the college sports bug, I cannot figure why massive entertainment complexes (staffed with shamateur performers) are appended to state universities.

    It’s one of those things where every decision along the way made sense, but the outcome is absurd.

  • Yeah, Mike, I’m still smarting a little since my family traveled back to CVille so that I could take my sons to that game.

    But the REAL question is whether Duke Law School is still smarting from dropping out of the Top 10.


  • Jay, it’s well-established that when it comes to the top 10, law schools count like the Big Ten. 😉

    To be honest, I’ve served on the board at Duke Law, and there are a number of things we can do (and others are doing) to rather easily climb in the rankings. Because those things are really animcial to legal education Dean Levi won’t abide them. Just to be clear I am not remotely suggesting that UVA does any of those things — I vaguely recall some schools in particular, but not UVA.

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

Wednesday, November 6, AD 2013


Take a deep breath and calm down!

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

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

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

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

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

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



To read the Associated Press report, click on the following link:

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

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

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

Friday, November 1, AD 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



To read The Motley Monk’s post at The American Catholic, click on the following link:

To read Michael Sean Winter’s post at Nation Catholic Reporter Online, click on the following link:

To read The Fact Checker’s evaluation of the facts concerning the nation’s “War on Poverty” at the Washington Post, click on the following link:

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


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

  • Kathy Saile, speaking for the USCCB, has a letter to the editor in the WSJ today,

    Pope Francis has spent the first months of his papacy calling for a “church that is poor and for the poor.” He has been a constant and forceful advocate for those left behind by a “culture of indifference.”

    But Nicholas G. Hahn argues that the U.S. Catholic bishops should not try to apply this central Christian insight to American political questions (“Tax Policy Isn’t the Purview of Preachers,” Houses of Worship, Oct. 25). In fact, they have a responsibility to do so. While Catholics can legitimately disagree over particular policies, we’re called to root those policy judgments in Catholic teachings, among them our shared obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us and see that their basic needs are met. Church teaching explicitly recognizes that the government has an essential role to play in promoting this aspect of the common good.

    Along with our rich body of teachings on such questions, Catholics have extensive on-the-ground experience helping the poor. At a time of growing inequality, with some 46 million Americans living in poverty, a robust Catholic voice is essential to the American political conversation.

  • Food clothing and shelter for the most vulnerable are not among the things that government is good at promoting.

    “Bad luck” is.

  • tamsin,

    As Catholics we all have the responsibility to promote public policies, including tax policies, that are consistent with Church teaching. But aside from avoiding intrinsically evil policies (e.g., taxing someone in a way that deprives them of material necessities), determining which policies are optimal in this respect is mostly an exercise in discerning outcomes via the application of practical prudence. As a tax lawyer and scholar for over 30 years, I can say with absolute confidence that our priests and bishops have no special charism for tax policy discernment, and are no more likely to be correct or incorrrect in their assessments than other faithful Catholics, which is why it would be very imprudent (and arrogant) for such clergy to speak on such policies unless they carefully disassociate such expressed views from the teaching charism of their office. In other words Wilton Gregory is entitled to his opinion and entitled to express it, but only as Wilton Gregory, not Archbishop Wilton Gregory.

    Very few of the 46 million Americans designated as living in poverty can fairly be described as impoverished by historical or worldwide standards, and even fewer can fairly assert that their status was caused by someone else’s riches. Instead, economic hardship in the United States is mostly associated with a 43% out of wedlock birth rate and a comparable divorce rate, both of which have been in part caused by welfare policies that some of our bishops have sadly, and foolishly, publically and enthusiastically supported.

  • Why am I not surprised.

  • personnel is policy i’nit?

  • Let’s go to the record.

    The US has been throwing, er, redistributing huge amounts of taxpayer income/money at least since 1933.

    In addition to increasing their numbers, what have the poor person benefited for all those trillions?

    If those people cared about the poor, they’d try something (Eintsein’s definition of insanity) else something that may help them . . .

    Here’s what Jesus is going to say at the Final Judgment (Matt. 25). “I told YOU to feed the least of my brothers . . . not steal money from someone else to do it while aided and abeted universal, unhindered abortion.”

  • I should clarify that I recently opted out of the USCCB “action alert” mailing list, giving as my reason, “bigger government is not the answer”.

  • Riches, then, which benefit also our neighbours, are not to be thrown away. For they are possessions, inasmuch as they are possessed, and goods, inasmuch as they are useful and provided by God for the use of men; and they lie to our hand, and are put under our power, as material and instruments which are for good use to those who know the instrument. If you use it skilfully, it is skilful; if you are deficient in skill, it is affected by your want of skill, being itself destitute of blame. Such an instrument is wealth. Are you able to make a right use of it? It is subservient to righteousness. Does one make a wrong use of it? It is, on the other hand, a minister of wrong. For its nature is to be subservient, not to rule. That then which of itself has neither good nor evil, being blameless, ought not to be blamed; but that which has the power of using it well and ill, by reason of its possessing voluntary choice. And this is the mind and judgment of man, which has freedom in itself and self-determination in the treatment of what is assigned to it. So let no man destroy wealth, rather than the passions of the soul, which are incompatible with the better use of wealth. So that, becoming virtuous and good, he may be able to make a good use of these riches. The renunciation, then, and selling of all possessions, is to be understood as spoken of the passions of the soul.(Clement of Alexandria, Who is the Rich Man that Shall Be Saved?, XIV.

    Took me a while to find that, but it seems appropriate.

  • Michael Sean Winters (MSW) might be convincing if only he could find that Gospel passage in which Jesus teaches, “Render the poor unto Caesar.” But not even the Bible exegetes who write for America magazine can find it. Maybe, just maybe Jesus never taught that.

    Or maybe MSW and his think-alike allies could tell us the Gospel chapter and verse in which Jesus tells the rich young man, “Go, sell all your neighbor has and give it to Caesar. Then lobby Caesar for another bread and circuses program for the poor.” But maybe, just maybe that’s not what Jesus taught either.

    Or maybe MSW and his minions could show us the passage where Jesus tells his disciples, “Use thy neighbor as thy piggy bank.”

    Such passages aren’t in Catholic Bibles. The Church does not teach that Jesus was created in MSW’s own image.

  • ‘Poverty’ is not some sort of endemic disease which can be eliminated by programs analogous to public health measures. The term describes four phenomena:

    1. Lack derived from low levels of productivity in a society generally. This is medieval poverty or Central American poverty and it is inconsequential in this country. The address to this is the process and experience of economic development. The most consequential form of collective action here is the development of a reliable and efficient property registry, police force, and court system. Trailing that is the development of public works which can be maintained with local labor – farm to market roads, wells, and latrines. Also of importance would be basic schooling, agricultural extension (not best practices, but implementable ones), and public sanitation and occasional quarantines.

    2. Absolute or relative deprivation derived from abiding idiosyncratic behaviors. These require persuading people to live better lives. Public bureaucracies can assemble physical capital and manpower and act according to systematic norms. Addressing these people is a ministry and public bureaucracies are ill equipped to do that for practical reasons and reasons of social ethics. What public agency can do here is maintain public order and a set of consequences which form the context in which dysfunctional people make their decisions.

    3. Absolute or relative deprivation derived from the vicissitudes of life. Certain coarse and common problems can be addressed through public action, but you are also going to have administrative sorting and adjudication problems and people who fall through the slats. Mo’ money does not address the problems you have here, because the problem you have here is that public agencies are ill-equipped to make valid and reliable decisions on the basis of granular details.

    4. Absolute and relative deprivation derived from business cycles. Here you need optimal fiscal policy, monetary policy, and labor market regulation. (Memo to Michael Sean Winters: I would wager you would have a hard time finding a social democratic / syndicalist party in the occidental world whose program does not aggravate these problems. Look at France and Spain and see the results).

    5. Relative deprivation (and, occasionally, absolute deprivation) derived from the results of free trade in labor. Human capital differs from person to person, and people have abiding deficits of it. Addressing that does require public action.

    Tallying up ‘how much we’ve spent’ since 1964 is an idle exercise even if you’re using a proper accounting method because so much social trouble is abiding or continually replenished.

  • Also re Michael Sean Winters: there are three large sources of injury to the quality of life in urban slums in American today (and yesterday, today, and tomorrow):

    1. Crime and insecurity generally
    2. Rotten schools
    3. Deteriorating physical capital.

    Addressing problems one and two requires vigorous sanctions on bad behavior and sequestering malefactors. Advocates for the social work industry tend to have a visceral hostility toward that (tho’ who knows, MSW may be an exception). Addressing the third requires suspending the collection of property taxes in slum neighborhoods and optimizing with regard to fire and building codes applicable therein and in the realms of planning and zoning and permissible housing types. Do you think you could find someone in the bowels of the USCCB who has ever given a thought to that?

  • Also, re schooling, you need standardized regents’ examinations to estimate students’ actual accomplishments in the academic realm. The educrat lobby despises standardized tests and is obsessed with ‘the gap’ between various racial categories, which is a matter of no importance.

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Poverty and abortion on an equal footing?

Thursday, October 24, AD 2013

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic justice trumps justice for the unborn?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why not?

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

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

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

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


To read Bishop McElroy’s recent article in America, click on the following link:

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

To read then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 memorandum, click on the following link:

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

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42 Responses to Poverty and abortion on an equal footing?

  • Perhaps the good Monseigneur forgets that there is a difference between extreme poverty and poverty. I assume he is referring to extreme poverty. Usually thats tied up with political issues in 3rd world contries. Often tyrants steal aid food. So is he advocating alignments with tyrants? How exactly does he hope to accomplish eradicating extreme poverty? War? Not sure he’s thought that through especially since he thinks the US should just share.

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  • John 12:1-8

    1* Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4* But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii * and given to the poor?” 6* This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7* Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

  • Even if you were to argue that poverty and abortion are on an equal footing (I say “if” but I don’t think you can), it can’t be denied that the US has done more to alleviate poverty than any nation in history, or that the US has at least since 1973 promoted abortion inside and outside its borders. And this is a question about US politics, right? Let’s have a few years where we spend a trillion dollars per year on anti-abortion programs, then renegotiate the footing of abortion versus poverty.

    Maybe that should be our deal. Put them both on equal footing. Have the UN have anti-abortion conferences, create a Peace Corps for the purpose of eliminating abortion worldwide, and build our tax code around support for those who might otherwise have abortions. Mandate that states match federal spending in anti-abortion programs. Set up a Department of Health and Human Life, and a Bureau of Indian Anti-Abortion Affairs commissioned to eradicate abortion on Indian reservations. Make it a deal-breaker in national politics: if you’re not anti-abortion, you’re not a legitimate candidate. That’d be an equal footing.

  • The bishop may have gotten something right, without even knowing it. Since most poverty in this country is caused by government programs and waste, then to deny Communion to those responsible for poverty should be on par with denying Communion for those in favor of abortion.

    They’re the same people.

  • Comments like this bring so much scandal to the Church…. Its not even funny. I cant tell you the number of people that come up to me thinking that “The Church is okay with Abortion now” – When the biggest abortion cheerleaders are catholic (Biden/Pelosi/Cuomo/Kennedy’s, etc) it just makes it so much worse when an auxiliary Bishop confirms and validates the aforementioned.

  • And this guy is a bishop? God help us.
    Michael Voris will be onto him – if he’s not already.

  • I too think that poverty is a serious issue which deserves a great deal more attention than it gets. Many of my friends are not doing so well for a variety of reasons. TO A PERSON, all of them would be doing better under a less regulated, lowered taxed economy–precisely what the bishops seem not to want.

    I fear for one of my children who is seriously LD. Will there be any jobs he can do when he gets to that point? It is only 8 years away, maybe less. It is nearly impossible to belong to a Church whose leadership is helping to rob your children of their future.

  • Along with everything else, he’s simply got his facts wrong when he says “both abortion and poverty countenance the deaths of millions of children in a world where government action could end the slaughter”. The only thing that kills “millions” or even “hundreds of thousands” of children in this country is abortion. One of the wonderful things about our modern age is that so few people die of want anymore. I’m not sure that you could argue that even “thousands” of children die in our country due to poverty anymore.

  • Whenever I hear “poverty causes abortions; end poverty and you will end abortion”, I wonder: okay, how much do we have to pay? Name the price, for a baby delivered to term, at which point we can all agree the mother is not in poverty so she doesn’t have to have to kill the baby. Since the people who push poverty-causes-abortion must believe money-stops-abortions. So let’s put a price tag on it all. Skip all the spiritual wrangling, since it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person anyway. This is a pocketbook issue.

    Just thinking out loud.

  • Darwin

    According to the World Food Programme, “Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.”

    Although estimates vary, no one seriously challenges that the figure is in the millions.

  • As I “argued” on this subject at this site the other day, I don’t think there has to be an “either/or” when speaking of abortion and poverty. However, there can be no doubt or equivocation that abortion or any other form of direct taking of innocent human life is a far greater evil.

    The bishop’s statement concerning poverty reveals a certain reading of “poverty” which sees the subject in a socio-economic category. Certainly thee Gospel tradition would not exclude this socio-economic understanding when it speaks of “the poor” but by no means can be limited by it. For example, “Blessed are you poor” of Luke’s Gospel, and “Blessed are the poor in spirit” found in Matthew’s (see Luke 6 and Matthew 5). There can be no doubt that there is bountiful evidence in the Gospels of the need to respond to the suffering and needs of others. Even simply failing to respond is said to lead to the eternal loss of the Kingdom (the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 17).

    I do have serious concerns however when a bishop or group of bishops make the jump between a moral principle and a particular piece of legislation. For. Example we believe that people have the right to health care. However it is a jump of unbelievable proportions to equate this moral principle with Obamacare, especially when we witness the secularist State’s aggressive stand against the Catholic Health Care System..

    The bishop’s (bishops) role is to teach the moral principle involved on a particular issue. While it is important to move beyond principle to reality, I do not believe an understanding of the bishop’s (bishops) charisma and mission as found in Vatican II, supports a reading enabling the bishop(s) to equate certain pieces of legislation with those principles. For example the bishops need to keep the needs of the poor before legislators when issues of spending cuts is on the table. However, who can rightly argue that any cut back in governmental spending is automatically an attack on the poor. The Gospel mandate does for the establishment of the democratic socialist state.

  • Do people really have a “right to health care” though? If they do, doesn’t that mean that someone is required to be a doctor, nurse, dentist, or other health care practitioner? In many areas, there are ob/gyn shortages, although there may not be shortages in other specialties. Are we going to require the urologists living in areas with ob/gyn shortages to learn how to deliver a baby? (I suspect they have a good idea of how to do so, and may in fact do so in the ER on occasion.) Or do a complicated C-section?

  • Property and its distribution has been the issue since the day Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden.

    It is all about economics (study the distribution of limited assets/resources/supplies among relatively unlimited wants/demands) and politics, which essentially is coercion and fraud/venality.

    Nowhere in the Bible or the Apostolic Teachings of Church Fathers does it say you may delegate to Caesar those good works which you must perform for your brothers.

    Here is one view of how it has worked since, say, fourth century before Christ Athens.

    There evolve three main groupings.

    The rich strive to preserve their wealth and try to exploit both the regime and the masses for their profit (think too big to fail, Buffett, Gates, Soros). Would we call them the oligarchic extreme?

    The poor strive (through politicians/demagogues) to convert property to the regime and then to themselves (think Obama, Acorn, Democrat party). Would we call this the democratic/populist extreme?

    The middle class: farmers, artisans, productive people are (not for long then or now) comfortabe and satisfied with their work and lives. They, when motivated/organized, generally oppose the democrat and oligarchic extremes. Would that be the reason both the democrat/populist and oligarchic extremes call tea party patriots, “teabaggers”?

  • I really hate to be such a simpleton and I hate to admit this, but in my own teeny, tiny world, when my taxes & health insurance costs go up, along with all my other bills, my donations go down. To me, it seems very easy to figure out a way to “help the poor” by getting the government out of it. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when people have less disposable income, they can’t help as much as they’d like. And when the government takes in more money than ever, and poor people are getting poorer, something is wrong.
    Last Sunday at our parish, a man, who is the head of our Homeless Outreach, said that there are more homeless than ever in Baltimore. The first thing that popped into my mind was, “Thanks, Obama.” Unfortunately, no one else really (in real life, at least) seems to see the correlation. I read more than enough liberal comments about how they