14

“Conservative” Opposition to Pope

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The Washington Post, that resolutely views the world through American political battles, gloms on to the fact that not everyone in the Vatican is a fan of Pope Francis:

This month, Francis makes his first trip to the United States at a time when his progressive allies are heralding him as a revolutionary, a man who only last week broadened the power of priests to forgive women who commit what Catholic teachings call the “mortal sin” of abortion during his newly declared “year of mercy” starting in December. On Sunday, he called for “every” Catholic parish in Europe to offer shelter to one refugee family from the thousands of asylum-seekers risking all to escape war-torn Syria and other pockets of conflict and poverty.

Yet as he upends church convention, Francis also is grappling with a conservative backlash to the liberal momentum building inside the church. In more than a dozen interviews, including with seven senior church officials, insiders say the change has left the hierarchy more polarized over the direction of the church than at any point since the great papal reformers of the 1960s. Continue Reading

14

Time to Stand

Clown Mass at Salzburg Cathedral

 

There is an ongoing attempt around Saint Blogs to get critics of Pope Francis to shut up.  Frank Walker  of Pewsitter will have none of it:

Catholic World Report has an unfortunate piece which tries to make Faithful sensible Catholics feel guilty for honest direct criticism of bishops. Right out of the box we’re all disgruntled, full of pride and ‘cheap chatter.’ Oh, and if we knew anything of Church teaching, we’d be very careful with our ‘murmuring.’

While disgruntled criticisms of Catholic bishops are nothing new, there seems to be an increase of late, especially since the start of Pope Francis’s pontificate. There is clearly no denying that there are problems within the Church, but Catholic moral teaching makes it clear that murmuring against our bishops shouldn’t be taken lightly. Cheap chatter, intellectual pride, and unchecked emotions can often make it difficult to discern who is in the right and make such murmurs justifiable.

Don’t be sold. If you love your Church, you put the blame where it belongs. Try running a destructive problem in your parish upstairs and see how far you get. There’s no democracy in the Church, and to the Pope’s delight, no free market.

Next CWR’s Carrie Gress tells us how we’re putting cracks in the windshield of the bishops’ authority, how we’re just like Protestants, and how we need to be charitable, merciful, not gossip or vent – in short, sheepish before our shepherds.  She aims for her conservative targets with an appeal to ‘subsidiarity’ meaning, “Don’t get over your head.”

Subsidiarity is the Church’s fundamental tenet that assigns responsibility for an issue or problem to the lowest appropriate authority; likewise, it restrains higher authorities from usurping the tasks of the lower. Embracing such decentralization liberates all of us back-seat drivers to let go and let the driver do his job. So too with our faith. If it is your job to voice criticisms of a bishop because you are in close proximity to him as an employee or trusted friend, then yes, using fraternal correction, you may have an obligation to do so. But for the rest of us, not so much, unless you are like St. Catherine of Siena, tasked with the project because of your personal sanctity (and not just in your own mind).

That one about – when you’re a great saint you’ll have to right to open your mouth – is tired. What should we do, all assume we’re not saints and sit down? Can’t we at least aspire a bit?

If in fact our bishops weren’t actively working against the Church and for its enemies, if most of them showed any substantial evidence of being Catholic, or if they didn’t generally have long records of collapse in their dioceses, then possibly this quietism might be in order.

The Catholic model works because it’s a living thing. It just needs to be permitted by those in charge. Inasmuch as it’s blocked by the hierarchy, then we must do our parts.

Our bishops are not politicians. They have been ordained to shepherd us. Are some corrupt? Yes. Are there some who are weak? Yes. Are there some who are sinners? Yes (we all are). But perhaps if we offered them more space to do their job and increased prayer to support them, they might do the right thing. And even if they don’t, at least we know we have.

“More space to do their job.” Which one did she interview for that line? Continue Reading

10

No, This is Not An Eye of the Tiber Spoof

 

 

Hilarious!  Spirit of Vatican II types outraged that a Newman Chapel becomes Catholic again:

Parishioners at Aquinas Newman Center said they were stunned Sunday when they arrived for Mass and found the altar relocated, their artwork removed, and books culled from the library.

At least for now, lay members who had served as ministers of Holy Communion and other roles during Mass are not permitted to serve, several parishioners said this week.

Newman Center’s new pastor said the changes were intended to make the church more appealing to a broad spectrum of Catholics, including students, by making the church “more familiar or traditional,” both in its design and in the style of Mass.

The Rev. Michael DePalma, who started this month as pastor at Newman Center, acknowledged that many longtime parishioners have found the changes wrenching.

“Everybody that came on Sunday was kind of in shock,” said Gale Flack, 60, a longtime Newman Center parishioner. The altar, which for years had been located in the middle of the church with pews arranged in a U-shape around it, had been relocated to the east end of the church, she said.

“If you are in the middle or the back, you really can’t see up front,” she said. “The feeling of community was totally removed.”

The altar, chalices, hand-sewn altar linens and artwork were among items removed or replaced, she and others said. Continue Reading

19

If Only the Church Were More Episcopalian!

 

Annie Selak, Jesuit trained lay ministress, wishes that the Church were more like that La Brea Tar Pits of a church, the Episcopalian Church.  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Faith that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, gives her a fisking to remember:

Any period between popes is always an exciting one for liberals, particularly liberal Catholics.  Leftist manifestoes concerning what the new pope and the Church MUST DO NOW are more numerous than snowflakes in a thundersnow, all of which, as David Fischler correctly points out, can be summed up as advancing the project to turn the Roman Catholic Church into the Episcopal Organization.  Annie Selak weighs in on behalf of Young Catholics.  What kind of Roman Catholic Church do Catholic kids want anyway?

A church that takes our experience seriously: If you dig through church teaching, you can see that experience is a valid and necessary aspect of forming conscience. However, it does not feel like that is the case. Whether it is the sexual abuse crisis or new translation of the Roman Missal, the church seems distant from what is actually going on in the world. We want the church to ask the questions we are asking, rather than ones that seem trivial at best and irrelevant at worst. Catholicism can recover from mistakes, but one thing the church cannot recover from is being irrelevant.

Three things, Annie.  Why should the Church ask the questions Young Catholics are asking?  Seems kind of redundant.  What makes the “experience” of Young Catholics so vital anyway insofar as Young Catholics haven’t had all that much of it?

What kinds of questions is the church asking that you believe are “trivial at best and irrelevant at worst?”  That stuff about sin and redemption?  And in case you think that whole “turning the Catholic Church Episcopalian” idea is hyperbole, Annie’s very next paragraph could have been written by Katharine Jefferts Schori.

A church that emphasizes the inclusive ministry of Jesus: Jesus was incredible, right? Why is it that we so rarely hear about that? Jesus consistently reached out to those marginalized from the community, yet the church does not follow suit. Who are the marginalized today? Most young Catholics are quick to point to two groups: women and people who do not identify as heterosexual. Regardless of political leanings, there is an overwhelming consensus that the church needs to do better in these areas. The Vatican has repeatedly shut down any dialogue surrounding the ordination of women and church teaching on homosexuality. At the very least, these issues need to be opened up to a thoughtful, informed dialogue that includes historical analysis, social sciences, tradition and Scripture (notably, all areas the church affirms in the formation of conscience). There is an urgency to these issues, as these are not nameless people on the margins, these are our friends, family members, mentors,and leaders. One of the things that draws young people to the Gospel is the inclusivity of Jesus; how is it that the exclusivity of the church turns people away?

Yes, by all means, the Roman Catholic Church should have a “thoughtful, informed dialogue” about these matters since it has never, ever considered these issues before.  What Annie means, of course, is that the Church came to the wrong conclusions and needs to come to different ones.  Therefore we need continuing, relentless, brain-dead “thoughtful, informed dialogue” until the Church gets its head out of its narthex.

A church that embraces that God is everywhere: The younger generation of the church resonates with the universal notion of Catholicism. We see diversity and unity as two concepts that go together, rather than being opposites. Moreover, we recognize the importance of other religions. Some of Pope Benedict XVI’s biggest missteps related to his interactions with other religions. But young Catholics have grown up alongside people from different religions who are some of the holiest people we know. Nostra Aetate , Vatican II’s “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” affirms that God is present in other religions, yet you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the pews on a Sunday morning who knows this. We need to affirm and emphasize that God is present in other religions and sincerely work on improving our relationships with them.

Face?  Keyboard?  You know the drill.  Mrs. Schori’s “small box” line?  Front and center.  I’ll let the Catholic readership determine exactly how badly Annie mangled Nostra Aetate.  I’ll just say once again that given the choice between performing meaningless rituals in Annie’s ideal, high-church universalist Catholic Church and sleeping late on Sunday mornings, I expect to hit the snooze button a lot. Continue Reading