Oh good! Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has posted a blog article for me to
One of the staples of Catholic apologetics is that the Catholic magisterium safeguards the truth and ensures a unity and clarity that Protestantism lacks.
I would not be so sure of that. In fact, I would say (and have said before) that the current pontiff is demonstrating that the magisterium is little more than the mouthpiece of the reigning pope and only safeguards whatever iteration of whichever truth he wishes to utter. In short, the magisterium is sola papam currentis.
Why no, I am not a Latinist? How could you tell?
This thought was driven home by a recent piece at the estimable One Peter Five: Amoris Laetitia and John Paul II by Josh Kusch.
In short, Kusch spells out with undeniable clarity that Amoris Laetitia expressly contradicts the magisterial statements of Francis’ predecessor, and does so in a particularly unsavory fashion–by either partial quoting or choosing to ignore prior statements altogether. For the latter, Kusch points out how the encyclical Veritatis Splendor flatly contradicts what Francis wants to say–so Francis ignored it. To wit:
The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid. They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception. (VS 52)
The negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. (VS 67)
When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth. (VS 96)
It would be a very serious error … to conclude that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man. (VS 103)
It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer, that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships. (VS 103)
As Kusch ably demonstrates, each contradicts certain central assumptions in the later text.
And yet, the Vatican’s official newspaper is at pains to assert that the later text is, in fact, authoritative.
So Veritatis Splendor–with its forceful restatement of Catholic moral teaching–has been round-filed after less than a quarter of a century?
Anyone else see the problem here?
What I have not been able to suss out is precisely why I should salute Francis’ newest flag when he burnt John Paul II’s. His actions completely undercut his claimed “authority.”
Rather than call Amoris Laetitia “authoritative,” isn’t the honest answer “wait at least a couple of popes and then see?”
Of course, progs are brandishing it like new holy writ. To be expected, yes, but wholly dishonest if one is following McCormick’s contemptuous course. But I don’t see any honest reason why I should regard it similarly.
If this is Catholicism, then I never really understood it. And if the magisterium is just the press office of the current officeholder, then cue Flannery O’Connor. Continue reading
Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings gives a classic response to a critic of his article, go here to read it, at One Peter Five on the Pope who didn’t like Catholicism:
There’s something purported to be a rebuttal of the 1P5 piece out there.
Here’s the summary of the…effort:
LEAVE FRANCIS ALONE, HATERZ!
No, really–that’s the intellectual integrity of it in a nutshell. Unable to rebut facts, he tries to punch up. For me, the only part that merits a response is where the fraud in question accuses me of suggesting that the pope should be subjected to violence.
My response? I’ll let Tommy Lee Jones answer for me.
I am so glad that Dale Price is once again regularly blogging at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings, since my motto has always been to
steal borrow from the best!
A useful short history of the king’s water can be found here.
Since 1965, Catholicism has had its own version of aqua regia, and the Church has been guzzling it. It’s called ecumenism, but it has gone well beyond rational discussion to a positive hysteria–ecumania, if you will. And it appears to have made ecumaniacs of the USCCB, what with their recommendation for expanded intercommunion.
Sounds positively ecumaniacal, in fact. A better dissolver of Catholic teaching you will not find.
Look, those close to me and my handful of devoted readers know I’m a convert from mainline Protestantism. I wasn’t practicing much before I converted. Honestly, if a Religion Detector Monitor had existed and I’d been hooked up to it, it probably would have read “Deist with a healthy measure of appreciation for Christendom and the Bible.”
I like to think that I’ve spent the last sixteen years becoming a somewhat useful disciple of Christ in His Catholic Church. Lord knows, I‘ve had my spiritual bumps on the way, and my worldview has shifted from 1999–in some ways, radically.
And my beloved wife and I have had some less than smooth sailing. We dropped her income when we had our second. And then our third came along–three kids in three calendar years plus 10 days. We’ve been crammed seven of us into 880 square feet with no basement or garage–that back in 2010. My car is older than all our kids. We’ve had other financial turbulence I’d rather not discuss.
Still, discipleship costs. I can accept that.
And then I read that we really need to share the Eucharist with the titular Evangelical Lutherans (as opposed to, say, the evangelical Lutherans in the Missouri Synod–from whom the late Fr. Neuhaus sprang). Despite the fact that, you know, they don’t believe in all that Catholic crap.
Huh. But, apparently, that’s not enough to deny the source and summit of the Christian life, the sacrament of Catholic unity, to members of an ecclesial community which is drifting further away from us in oh-so-many-ways.
The ELCA says that abortion is often a “morally responsible choice.” And while it claims to frown on abortions after “fetal viability,” baby-killing Doctor George Tiller was a member in good standing of the ELCA, as the church website solemnly notes. [And don’t even try to jump into my face suggesting I‘m happy with Tiller’s murder. WRONG.] Yeah–can’t wait to gather around the alt–er, table and sing Kumbaya.
But, we must march ahead. Forward, forward–-always forward, eh, yes? No.
I mean, really–communion with the ELCA immerses Catholic witness in a vat of aqua regia, turning her gold into powder. On what basis do we require anyone to hold to the Catholic faith–much less to be properly disposed–before approaching the altar?
If you have a daughter undergoing first communion prep, why does she have to go to confession before receiving when the Lutherans do not?
Or, more topically: Lutherans remarried after divorce: come on down for this moving ecumenical moment!
Catholics–not so fast! Continue reading
One hundred years since a hurricane struck the Great Lakes in November 1913. Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings gives us the details:
Dale Price at Dyspeptic mutterings has an interesting series in which he discusses the problems he has with Pope Francis. The problems PopeWatch believes boil down to a concern that Pope Francis may turn out to be an advocate of Liberal Christianity, that place where Christianity goes to die:
He was a beloved itinerant shepherd who lived simply, residing in a single spartan room when he wasn’t visiting the flock. Known for his humility and down-to-earth speaking style, he was deeply beloved by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He emphasized ecumenism to an unprecedented degree, and believed that the Second Vatican Council was the watershed event in Catholic history. He encouraged modern biblical study, presenting historical-critical hypotheses from the pulpit, chided Catholics who “looked backward” to older ways, and urged the embrace of dynamic change.
His name was Kenneth Untener, and he was the bishop of Saginaw from 1980 until his death in 2004. The parishes in his domain were my first experience with progressive Catholicism, and they stirred and shaped my–there is no other word for it–hostility to the entire progressive religious project. Now, let me clarify one thing here: there is a distinction between religious progressivism and the political version. For my part, I think one can be a devout Catholic and support what are generally regarded as progressive political policies. The late, great Robert Casey, Sr. of Pennsylvania (but not his wayward, sail-trimming fraud of a son) embodied this possibility–and did so well. But, as with Catholics who align toward the right side of the spectrum, if you’re doing your faith right, you will inevitably conflict with certain political shibboleths of your non-Catholic brothers in arms. Or at least you’d better. And it is clear that getting your hands dirty living and working with the poor, a la Catholic Worker, is wholly, utterly and unimpeachably Catholic.
These are to be distinguished from religious progressivism, which is diagnosed comprehensively here. It is always and everywhere bad news. Which is not to say that people who hold modernist views are to be treated like bad news–they shouldn’t. But you have your work cut out, no question. The contemporary flavor of modernism is fond of emotivism and is less susceptible to, or even interested in, logical argument. And if they’re in power, buckle up and heads to the storm. Continue reading
Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings, continues on with his observations regarding the reactions to Pope Francis. I was struck by this section of his latest post:
I’ve come to the conclusion that, regardless of the actual temporal length (and may God grant Pope Francis many healthy years), this is going to be a loooooong papacy.
1. The first problem is what my crisis buddy Elliot colorfully describes as “soft ultramontanism.” To which I will add “by reflex.”
This manifests itself in instant circle-the-wagons mentality against any criticism. Sorry, Mark, but this is emblematic. The fact that Scalfari didn’t take notes is majoring in minors. No less an authority than the Vatican itself offers the interview for perusal on the official website.
That strikes me as a sotto voce endorsement of its accuracy. Not very sotto, in fact. More like a megaphone admission.
Also, it seems to me that criticism from such respectable non-fringe figures as Fr. Germain Grisez, fellow Jesuit James Schall and the very level-headed Carl Olson deserve a hearing. Ditto Robert Royal, who was clearly thrown by the first interview.
In other words, those who “get Francis” need to try to understand those of us who don’t. And, yeah, I don’t.
Frankly, the most evident fruit of the papacy thus far seems to be the willingness of orthodox Catholics to break out the cutlery and start stabbing whenever someone expresses unease over the Pope’s actions and words.
2. The substantive criticisms are worthy of consideration.
Arguments like “the Pope is acting just like Jesus” or “you’re just like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son!” aren’t really arguments: they’re declarations of the speaker’s moral superiority, QEDs that are supposed to batter the benighted sinner on the other side into repentance. Quite simply, they won’t do. Continue reading
My friend Dale Price at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings has often supplied me with blogging ideas that I have
stolen borrowed. Unfortunately he hasn’t been blogging much lately. That was broken with a post on Pope Francis which sums up many of the reactions I have been having:
In which I exile myself from polite company and retreat to the margins of Catholic society.
This is basically how I feel. Like the person Sutherland is pointing at the end of Invasion. Essentially, the Catholic world I know has been seized by body snatchers and is about to notice that I am not lining up to board the F1 to the Promised Land.
Yes, this is about the interview. Quick summary of my reaction: some very good parts, some easily-soundbitten ammo I can expect to see all over the place, but is still explicable in terms of preaching the Gospel, and a disastrous, giant ticking nuke about to blow us back to the Church of the 1970s.
The Interview Was Candy Mountain Awesome, Charlie! Everyone agrees–it was full of candy, and joy, and joyness! You don’t believe that?
Yeah, well, I can live with that. Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders.
[Just to make the inevitable scream of “That’s unclean Protestant talk!” a little easier.]
As I see it, there are three serious problems, two of which are related to how it’s being received and processed, and the third is the nuke.
Problem 1: We Are All Ultramontaines Now.
Including–nay, especially!–people who have spent a generation ignoring, deriding or spinning away every encyclical, apostolic letter and motu proprio that flowed forth from the pens of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
As an aside, it’s good to see the Jesuits at America released from the dungeons after the long night of Benedict the Destroyer. The shackle chafe marks being no doubt hidden under the long sleeves. Some advice: sunlight and a vitamin regimen will banish the sallow complexions.
What the right’s deal is, I don’t know. The Pope Says We Must Re-Balance, So We Must Re-Balance. It smacks too much of a new CEO coming in, and everyone having to get with the program. At a minimum, it’s a feverish celebration that has no parallels with how it received Benedict, which was more defensive and apologetic, and less effusive in its praise.
The fact both are united in swoonery suggests that one or the other is missing something. And someone is, as we shall see in Problem 3. Continue reading
My friend Dale Price writes insightful posts at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings. I stop by there regularly to
steal borrow blog ideas. Dale is always very good, but when he lets himself go he is magnificent. Herewith is his post on the scape goating anti-NRA hysteria that some on Saint Blogs have been participating in:
Being marginalized in the culture war.
You see, I’m an NRA member. I do not own a Bushmaster, or any other semi-automatic weapon. As is my wife. I–and Heather–collectively own several firearms. Including–as will be set forth below–a completely-legal, bona-fide military weapon currently used by our military right now. Unlike what [damnatio memoriae] used at Newtown.
I am happy to see that Dale Price has resumed blogging regularly at his Dyspeptic Mutterings. I stop by every day to read some of the wittiest blog writing on the internet. Here is a recent sample:
I am building a giant cybernetic war badger in my basement.
I love the music of Marty Haugen.
I am receiving locutions from Krishna.
I think Obama is the only permissible electoral choice for Catholics in 2012.
I don’t think women should ever wear pants or breastfeed in public.
OK–they can do the latter if they’re wearing only pants.
Janeway is way better than Kirk and Picard combined.
The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the next three Super Bowls.
Or the Washington Redskins–whichever you hate more.
Yes, that outfit makes your ass look fat.
The best Stooge was Shemp.
Only Anglican orders are valid.
–I mean, seriously–is this thing on? Traffic is allegedly going up, but I’m feeling like a performance artist here. Continue reading
Dale Price over at Dyspeptic Mutterings is being brilliant again:
Fr. Thomas Massaro would like you all to calm down.
I’m not going to fisk this, because it’s an admirable sentiment, as far as it goes. Which means it stagged a step or two before dropping in a messy heap.
Yes, it would be nice if things in the world were more civil and respectful. That’s fine.
But the problem with his call for civility is that he sees the white-hot anger as the problem rather than the symptom. It’s not–the real problem goes far, far deeper than that, and has been savaging the Body of Christ for decades now.
The HHS mandate is just the catalyst causing it to explode to the surface.
The real problem is that the Church in America has fractured into at least two churches. If it hadn’t been this issue, it would have been a dispute over the language of the liturgy, or the latest pronouncement from the Vatican, some university conferring honors on someone who is an open enemy of Catholic teaching or even the renovation of the local cathedral church. The struggle–more bluntly, low-grade civil war–between the churches has been going on since the last bit of incense dispersed at Vatican II. We don’t agree on how to worship, what our schools should teach, what laws should be enacted/opposed, what canons apply and when or even what our parish church should look like. In fact, we can’t even agree on whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead.
And for forty five years, our shepherds have been trying to keep it together by careful tacking, including soothing rhetoric, trying to give everyone half a loaf or so (depending on the year, bishop and constituency) and generally trying not to see the coal pile in the ballroom. Continue reading
My friend Dale Price is posting again regularly at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings after something of a hiatus. Go here to have a gander at his blog. Dale has long written some of the sharpest commentary on Saint Blog’s. I stop in every day looking for blogging topics to
steal borrow, and I rejoice that he is writing frequently again.
For years I have read daily Ten Reasons, a blog run by Rich Leonardi. Orthodox and well written, Ten Reasons was always illuminating and well worth reading. Now Rich has shut down his blog. The reason why he did so has me so angry that I am afraid that I cannot do a post on the subject using only language fit for a family blog. Instead, here is what the ever eloquent Dale Price had to say about this at Dyspeptic Mutterings:
Gutless wonders, petty tyrants and chancery dwellers.
But I repeat myself. Yes, I know there are good folks laboring in the bureaucratic halls of the Church–this isn’t directed at you. As for the rest of you…
The rector of the Cincinnati seminary managed to successfully retaliate against Rich Leonardi, long-time Catholic blogger extraordinaire and pointed, but usually civil, critic of the manifold problems of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Rich was booted off the Son Rise Morning Show in retaliation for his criticism.
Here’s the message he sent me in response to a query on Facebook:
To net it out, the seminary rector reached out to the head of the Son Rise Morning Show to have me thrown off the program. I called him out on it, and a pissing contest ensued. I shut down my site and intend to withdraw from public Catholic life.
In the meantime, Ken Overberg will continue to deny the Atonement from the pulpit, and Paul Knitter will air his doubts about the salvific significance of Christ and the historicity of the Resurrection, both undisturbed in the sanctuary of Xavier University. Because doing something about *them* would take a set of clockweights, the willingness to endure media hostility and the turning of a deaf ear to the squalling of local progressives.
Squashing a layman who criticizes the local leadership? You can do that in a snap and still have plenty of time to enjoy a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with lunch. To applause from “the right people,” to boot.