Company Way or Timeless Magisterium?

Friday, August 26, AD 2016

 

 

Oh good!  Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has posted a blog article for me to steal borrow:

 

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.

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10 Responses to Company Way or Timeless Magisterium?

  • Laudato Si showed the same mendacity in its workmanship. And we’ve seen the handiwork of duplicity in the machinations of the synod and post synod. This article points out the real damage to Catholic evangelization. I read a while back an interesting article that the Pope actually promotes, gives fodder to, a brand of anti-Catholicism with his straw man accusations against fundamentalists, et al, and he legitimizes the soft persecution we now ascendant. This fig tree of the progressive ideological church is not producing the fruit of faith.

  • Notice how no one speaks of the Francis effect anymore as far as it being a positive for the Church. I guess we all knew there would be no stampede into the Church to find relativism. Folks who seek that don’t need the burden of entering the Catholic Church to find it.

  • “Notice how no one speaks of the Francis effect anymore as far as it being a positive for the Church.”

    I never saw the Francis effect to be a positive. From the very beginning I saw people straying from truth due to it.

  • Two wonderful nuns were stabbed to death in their home in Mississippi yesterday…nurse practitioners working with the poor….both 68 years old. Pope Francis would want their killers to not get death nor a life sentence because deep down he thinks Romans 13:4 is from Paul not from God yet Vatican II says in Dei Verbum…” both testaments in all their parts have God as their author”. Francis was not alone in this noxious trend…his two predecessors said similar things but not directly to the world press. ( cf Verbum Domini 42/ Evangelium Vitae 40).
    Pray for the nuns but I think now a plenary indulgence is automatic for any Catholics at point of death who are in sanctifying grace and having had a habit of prayer throughout life.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nuns-found-slain-mississippi-home-motive-unclear-41654197

  • Very good stuff for sure. Given the basic theological level of most pew sitting Catholic it is doubtful that the errors of Amoris Laetitia will be noticed. The errors will just add to the miasma of Protestant ambiguity (now re-baptized as Mercy) that surrounds Catholic theology since Vatican II. As for Pope Francis himself? He is the hero of the protestantized Catholic majority and considered a breakthrough guy just like Luther.

    We are approaching a reckoning.

  • The Rorate Caeli combox went apoplectic at the election of Jorge Maria Bergoglio, and rightfully so. I need not repeat the various comments, deeds, appointments and demotions this Pontiff has made that have led us to this point.

    This Pontiff, and the sorry bunch who put him into the office of the See of Peter, will one day pass from the scene. They will again prove that the greatest enemy the Church has is itself.

    There has not been a Pontiff that is truly this bad for some time, and this will no doubt give pause to a certain number of converts wondering just what the hell is this man thinking. Catholics outside of Western Europe and South America really don’t know just what a mess the Church is in inside South America…..and most of the clergy there is clueless about it.

  • @Donald R. McClarey Yours and @Dyspeptic Mutterings posts, brilliantly brief and clear. Thank you!
    *
    And when such clarity and truth is lacking, one ought not to be surprised by the long and meandering Amoris Laetitia.

  • Excellent post

  • Pingback: WORKPAGE 1 | Stephen Golay Art: The Backpages

Magisterium Creep

Monday, December 21, AD 2015

Rex

“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”

Rex Mottram on Papal Infallibilty

 

Blessed John Cardinal Newman worried at the time of Vatican I that infallibility maximalists would seek to make infallible every jot and tittle said or written by a Pope.  Cardinal Newman meet Bishop Sorondo:

 

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the founder of Ignatius Press who obtained his doctorate in theology under Joseph Ratzinger prior to his elevation to the pontificate, told LifeSiteNews, “Neither the pope nor Bishop Sorondo can speak on a matter of science with any binding authority, so to use the word ‘magisterium’ in both cases is equivocal at best, and ignorant in any case.” Fr. Fessio added, “To equate a papal position on abortion with a position on global warming is worse than wrong; it is an embarrassment for the Church.”

The conference, “In Dialogue with Laudato Si’: Can Free Markets Help Us Care for Our Common Home?” was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross with over 200 attendees including members of the media, professors, and students of the Pontifical Universities.

The controversy was sparked when in his address Bishop Sorondo spoke of “global warming” saying that in Laudato Si “for the first time in the Magisterium” Pope Francis “denounces the scientifically identifiable causes of this evil, declaring that: ‘a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity.’” He repeated the point later, saying, “faith and reason, philosophical knowledge and scientific knowledge, are brought together for the first time in the pontifical Magisterium in Laudato Si’.”

These points were contradicted in the presentation by Acton Institute founder and President Father Robert Sirico who said it is “important to underscore the distinction between the theological dimension of Laudato si’ and its empirical, scientific, and economic claims.” He explained, “The Church does not claim to speak with the same authority on matters of economics and science… as it does when pronouncing on matters of faith and morals.”

Quoting the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine to support his point, Fr. Sirico said: “Christ did not bequeath to the Church a mission in the political, economic or social order; the purpose he assigned to her was a religious one.  . . . This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization. This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ” (CCSD 68).

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11 Responses to Magisterium Creep

  • Steve Skojec offered a while back that Francis behaves like a kamikaze, using the tools of the papacy to destroy the institution.

  • It’s my fault that I honestly want, or wish that in some way, obscure though it might be, all of these actions of our pontiff would draw the middle of the road to the Church. Conversion might happen. Call it naive I suppose. I guess it’s just that I want to believe that something very good will come about from his pontificate.

    Wishful thinking. (?)

  • I am glad you said that Philip- we have to hang on. Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:28 – “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

  • That’s two good Jesuits I can think of.

    So, does that mean the order is worth saving?

  • Anzlyne.

    Thanks.
    I was being honest.
    I think it’s a bit of denial on my part.
    I’m sure of it.
    Praying for him is all I can do.

  • Why is it liberal progressives think that THIS Pope is infallible, but his two predecessors were NOT?
    .
    Lord Jesus, please send this man back to Argentina!

  • 🙂 Philip I do try to trust and lean on God –and trust that all will work according to His Will— but as I have said elsewhere: makes you think about being a pepper
    The combination of president and pope seem to add electricity to the apocalyptic prophecies.

  • This is a week of awaiting JOY.
    It is JOY that fuels the heart to move forward even in the face of hurricane winds.
    As many have said earlier, I hope this storm passes soon.
    Peace.

  • Below is a quote by Edward Norman from a recent article by Maureen Mullarkey which is most apropos. http://studiomatters.com/circling-the-void

    “A religion . . . which becomes preoccupied with the material fate of mankind and neglects it unique understanding of human transcendence, and which regards itself as most cogently expressed in movements for social advance, will cease to relate to the spiritual needs of humanity. The interior life of man is not social. Wisdom recognizes the loneliness of the creature in the cold realities of the creation, and it sees that what most afflicts the human soul is not susceptible to merely human consolation.”

  • This is the end result of decades of the Church hierarchy taking sides on matters that allow divergent views amongst Catholics. St. JPII’s imprudent, even irresponsible, anti-death penalty positions and Benedict XVI taking sides on the global warming issue helped set the table for this to a significant extent. Now Pope Francis is taking this to an extreme his predecessors would never dream of. But we acknowledge, if we are honest with ourselves, the table had been set. And I believe Pope Francis is very aware of that.

  • “The interior life of man is not social.”

    The development of the interior life does lead to social involvement, inasmuch as love wishes to serve. It’s a response that has created numerous Saints.

    I agree that souls are the highest concern.
    God the Father has given His Son you and me.
    We are God’s gifts. He wishes not to loose any of what the Father has given Jesus.
    The Pope’s concern, priority, is souls.
    It seems that soul’s are coming in second to the “saving the planet,” mantra. Unfortunate.

Pope Francis, Marriage, and the “End” of Infallibility

Thursday, May 22, AD 2014

Angel

What will it mean if Pope Francis follows the counsel offered by some of his closest advisors, including Cardinal Walter Kasper, and permits divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion?  This prospect has only come to seem more likely given the Holy Father’s much discussed phone call to the Argentine divorcee.  This subject has been much on my mind for the past few months, and now that the worthy Ross Douthat has raised its implications in a highly public forum—and a number of important  Catholic  commentators are writing about it in depth—I think it is time to lay out a few of the scenarios that come to mind. 

Because the options are all rather unsettling, and opinions are deeply divided, it seems most useful to me to present the argument in the form of a three person dialogue, with each character representing a different perspective within the Church.  In the past, some readers have objected to this genre, making assertions such as “fictional dialogues belong in fiction.”  Tell that to Plato, St. Anselm, St. Thomas More, Erasmus, and Peter Kreeft.

To make things a little easier, I will label the characters’ viewpoints right up front:

John Paul: A faithful, orthodox Catholic who attends the most reverent Mass offered at his geographical parish. 

Marcel: A self-identified “traditional Catholic” who attends the Latin Mass exclusively. 

Josip: Raised a Byzantine Catholic, he attends that liturgy. He is politically and doctrinally conservative, but somewhat skeptical of Western conceptions of the papal Magisterium.

 

Marcel:  Hey John Paul! If Pope Francis blows up the sacrament of marriage, will you still insist that Vatican II was a “renewal” of the Church sent by the Holy Spirit?  Or will you finally start giving some thought to the alternative?

John Paul:  This issue is completely separate from the texts of the Second Vatican Council. They are the only aspect of the Council that binds us—and none of them says anything implying that divorced, remarried Catholics are eligible for Communion.  So your question is kind of incoherent.  But go on—what’s the alternative?

Marcel: That we have been witnessing since 1960 the Great Apostasy predicted by a number of apparitions of Our Lady.  That the orthodoxy, and hence the authority, of the popes who supported Vatican II is pretty dubious.

John Paul:  You know what’s dubious?  Private revelations.  You know what’s binding?  General councils of the Church and official statements of validly elected popes.

Josip: What happens if the official statement of a validly elected pope contradicts a fundamental Church teaching?  Such as the indissolubility of marriage, based on the clear words of Our Lord, and infallibly taught by the Council of Trent.

John Paul: That could never happen.

Josip: Yeah, but what if it does?

John Paul: It’s sacrilegious even to play with such hypotheticals. It shows your lack of faith in the Church.

Josip: St. Paul was willing to consider what it would mean if Christ hadn’t risen from the dead.  Divorce seems considerably less earth-shattering than that. What will it mean if Pope Francis does what he seems to hint he will do, which his closest advisors are saying in public he should do?  According to Cardinal Kasper, the Church should give divorced Catholics a “pass” on the Ten Commandments and the words of Christ, and treat their sexual relationships with their new “spouses” as something other than adultery. That’s the only possible implication of allowing them to receive Holy Communion without vowing to refrain from sex.

Marcel:  Which is exactly what the schismatics in the East have been doing for centuries. I’ll tell you what it would mean if “Pope Francis” does this: It will mean that he has lost the Catholic faith—and therefore the office of pope.  The throne will be empty, as some say it was when Paul VI endorsed the heresy of religious liberty, and when John Paul II and Benedict went on to teach it as well.

John Paul: At Vatican I, the Council closed off the idea that a pope could lose the throne through personal “heresy.” Saint Robert Bellarmine had made that argument, but Vatican I rebuked it.

Marcel: What use is infallibility if it doesn’t prevent a pope from endorsing a Council that teaches heresy, then reiterating it in countless public statements and in a Catechism?

John Paul: What use is papal infallibility if a pope can go ahead and teach heresy—God won’t stop him—but then we get to say that he’s no longer pope?  That makes infallibility an empty tautology: The pope is infallible, until he isn’t—at which point he isn’t pope anymore.  The Pharisees would have winced at that kind of legalism.  I certainly can’t imagine Christ winking at it.

Josip: If a pope ever taught heresy ex cathedra—which of course, I don’t expect will happen—it would prove something all right—that the Eastern Orthodox have been right all along. That Vatican I was not an infallible council, and neither were any of the other councils we have held without the Orthodox since 1054.

Marcel: Do you think Our Lord will be winking if the pope contradicts His plain words about divorce and remarriage?

Josip: No, I don’t.  We’ll get back to the implications of that in a minute.  First, I want to deny that religious liberty is a heresy.  Yes, there are many, many papal statements endorsing the persecution of “heretics.” Obviously, the Council Fathers and the pope knew about those statements, which their opponents such as Abp. Lefebvre were constantly quoting in the debates.  Clearly, the Magisterium concluded that those previous statements were not infallible—that in fact, they were wrong, because they endorsed violations of natural law and divine revelation, according to Dignitatis Humanae.  Papal assertions that it is right to imprison Protestants would have been false—like papal statements condemning all lending at interest as sinful “usury,” and statements permitting the enslavement of Muslims defeated in “just wars.” Of course, admitting all this should make us a lot more careful about how much weight we attach to papal statements.  Even when they reiterate “venerable” teachings like the condemnation of all lending at interest, and the embrace of religious persecution, most such statements are not infallible—and quite a number of them, in retrospect, were wrong.

John Paul: It’s unhealthy and impious for faithful Catholics to be sifting papal statements and determining which ones are “wrong.” If the Church decides, at a later date, to override what a previous pope has said, then and only then may we draw such a conclusion.

Marcel: Like good little Communists, we should wait to hear what Moscow decides is the new “party line,” then pretend that we have believed it all along?  I don’t buy it.

Josip: So John Courtney Murray should not have written in defense of religious liberty, since it wasn’t yet Church teaching?  And Catholic bankers shouldn’t have loaned money at reasonable rates of interest, but waited for the centuries to pass until the Church realized that the previous teaching hadn’t been infallible—and in fact, was wrong?

John Paul: That would seem like the safe, obedient course of action.

Josip: And if Pope Francis approves Holy Communion for sexually active divorced Catholics, will it be safe and obedient to accept that as well?

Marcel: It will be proof that he has lost the Catholic faith, and the right to call himself pope.  I bet that the bishops of the SSPX hold an election to find a real pope.

John Paul: I renew my objection to talking about such a development as if it were really possible. But for the sake of argument: If Pope Francis permits this kind of pastoral policy, it will be gravely mistaken—on the order of popes in past centuries allowing choir boys to be castrated to sing in the Vatican.

Josip: Surely this issue has greater implications than that.  How will we explain to homosexuals that they cannot be sexually active outside of marriage, and still receive Communion—when we permit that to heterosexuals?  Even I’m kind of offended by that.  Will anyone, anyone at all, still take the Church’s ban on birth control seriously, when it’s giving people a pass for adultery?  Which one is a more obvious violation of natural law?

John Paul: The pope would not be teaching error, but merely tolerating it.  As in previous centuries, when popes were lax about enforcing clerical celibacy, or allowed the sale of indulgences.

Marcel: No, you’re wrong.  If the German bishops started allowing this evil practice—which they probably already are, because they don’t want people to stop checking the “Catholic” box on their tax forms, and depriving the Church of money—that would be one thing.  But if the pope permits it for the universal Church, that’s something else entirely.  It’s right up there with him personally ordaining a woman as a priest, or adding an eighth sacrament.  It would be heresy, plain and simple.

John Paul: But he wouldn’t be teaching ex cathedra….

Josip: So if this happens, it won’t necessarily prove that Vatican I was wrong and the Eastern Orthodox are right about the structure of the Church. (Though of course, they will still be wrong about marriage—but then they don’t claim to be infallible.)

John Paul: No.

Josip: Or that Marcel is right and that the pope will have lost the throne?

John Paul: Absolutely not.

Josip: But it will prove that papal authority, and the divine protections we attribute to it, are a heck of a lot narrower than we used to think.  It will completely demoralize faithful Catholics who have been relying on papal statements to decide what they believe about critical issues—from war and peace to economics, from birth control to gay “marriage.” In effect, it will say that every papal statement in history is subject to future revision—except for the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.  Those, at least, will be set in stone.  Apart from that, everyone will be reduced to a kind of cafeteria Catholicism—unless, as Marcel said, they decide to stuff previous Church teachings into the Memory Hole and simply follow the Party Line.  That would make things simpler.  Oceania has ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia.

John Paul: I miss Pope Benedict XVI.

Marcel: I miss Pope Pius XII.

Josip: What do you think really motivates Pope Francis? I don’t think he’s just another post-Conciliar progressive.

Marcel: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Josip: It might in fact be a decoy.

John Paul: It seems to me that the pope is reaching out to the kind of people with whom John Paul II and Benedict XVI somehow couldn’t connect.

Marcel: People who want to claim that they’re “Catholic,” in the same sense that they’re “Irish” or “Italian”?

John Paul: No! I think he’s trying to convert the liberal’s false compassion for the “marginalized” into a genuine Christian concern for the needy.

Marcel: The “needy,” in this case, being prosperous divorced couples in Germany and the U.S.? Weakening marriage, in any way, really hurts the poor.

John Paul:  But I wish that Pope Francis would keep his outreach within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy.

Marcel: Yeah, that would be nice.  It seems like the least we can ask… of a POPE.

Josip: What if there’s something else going on?  What if Pope Francis thinks that papal claims have been exaggerated, to the point where they needlessly block ecumenism—especially with the Eastern Orthodox?

Marcel: For all his talk of collegiality, he seems to have no problem using his power—against us Traditionalists.

Josip: But if he uses his power this time, to dismantle the traditional teaching on marriage, what would that mean for the authority of the papacy?

John Paul: Assuming the Holy Spirit allows it to happen…

Marcel: …And we don’t see a sudden resignation, “health crisis,” or falling meteorite…

Josip: The doctrinal contradiction would dismantle the papacy too—at least as we have known the papacy since… 1054. Which would remove the main barrier to unity with the East.

Marcel: So you think Pope Francis is practicing ecumenism by “auto-destruction”?

Josip: I don’t know.  Maybe he thinks of it as Perestroika.

John Paul: That’s impossible.  It’s apostasy.  God will never permit it.

Josip: Unless He does. In which case… well then, we’ll know who was right all along, won’t we?

 

John Zmirak is author, most recently, of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism. His columns are archived here.

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39 Responses to Pope Francis, Marriage, and the “End” of Infallibility

  • We should be in a pretty pickle if we treated the logical implications of past papal laws, judgments, policies and so on as infallible teachings.
    As Bl John Henry Newman asks, “Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him? was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic Churches? or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius? And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII., when he had a medal struck in honour of the Bartholomew massacre? or Paul IV. in his conduct towards Elizabeth? or Sextus V. when he blessed the Armada? or Urban VIII. when he persecuted Galileo? No Catholic ever pretends that these Popes were infallible in these acts.”

  • http://marymagdalen.blogspot.ca/2014/05/i-am-risking-becoming-bishop-schneider.html

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider answers to Catholics of the above blog.

  • Whatever the pope decides it is adultery: a mortal sin.
    My conscience will rule me.
    I would not do it. But, If I were to leave the warden to live (in sin) with, or to marry, a rich, nymphomaniac that owns a liquor store (or a bass boat and knows how to cut bait), I would have self-eliminated from receiving Holy Communion and likely go to Hell.
    You never can tell. You may go to Heaven or you may go to . . .
    If your value system places the here-and-now ahead of the hereafter you may go to Hell.

    The historical effects of Paul IV’s and Sixtus V’s bulls were to make much harsher English Catholics’ lives and deaths.

  • Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven!

  • PP: Is that something akin to “General Absolution”? Or, amnesty for illegal aliens?

    Hocus Pocus! Poof! All is right with God and man.

  • Perhaps this is shaping up like Humanae Vitae: everyone THINKS he will allow Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, but then he comes out with a beautiful but short encyclical on marriage that talks about how society’s acceptance of contraception (and denial of the truth of HV) is what got us into this mess of divorce and other messy marriage issues.

    He will affirm marriage. He will affirm the True Presence. He will affirm Catholic teaching on faith and morals, much to the chagrin of his advisors.

    Then we will have 40 years of “Well, that was not infallible.”

    All his advisors will be so upset that he didn’t listen to their magisterial fidelity to the god of Modernity.

  • Oneros
    1 wk, 6 days ago
    I would agree, first of all, that any reform will not touch the three principles: 1) that those who are conscious of mortal sin should not approach communion without confession, 2) that adultery is objectively a mortal sin/grave matter, 3) that sex with a new partner when your spouse from a validly ratified and consummated sacramental marriage is still living…is adultery by definition with no way out of it.

    However, I think that the reform might come more in the area of “pastoral approach.” And yet “pastoral approach” can also mean a development of doctrine (albeit not a reversal of dogmas, such as the above) inasmuch as pastoral approach always “teaches” or has some theoretical foundation.

    I think specifically a few “double standards” need to be addressed:

    First, the distinction between “public” or manifest sinners, and private sinners. This idea causes no end of Phariseeism and hypocrisy in the Church and needs to be phased out of Catholic thought. Unless someone is a vocal heretic or is explicitly publicly excommunicated (no more automatic excommunications either; even Ed Peters supports getting rid of THAT vague and slippery category)…we shouldn’t be presuming anything about their soul.

    Yes marriage is a public act. But that’s not exactly a dogmatic reality: Trent put a stop to clandestine marriages, but it didn’t say that previous clandestine marriages were invalid. So there IS room in theology for “broomstick marriages” because ultimately it is the consent of the man and woman that make a natural marriage. How much we want sacramental marriage/canon law to require beyond that is another question. But ultimately the bare minimum theologically (changeable canon law aside) is the consent of a man and a woman, even in private.

    But either way, remarried couples aren’t having sex in public! Therefore, they should get the benefit of the doubt that they are, in fact, living “as brother and sister” and should not be actively denied communion (refraining oneself, and active denial or withholding by the priest, being of course two different things in the Church’s pastoral policies). “Scandal” is an odd thing to claim: I’ve never known how someone else’s sin is scandalizing me, given that scandal means “to cause someone else to sin.” Mere knowledge of someone else’s sin doesn’t cause me to sin, and it is especially true if I am merely presuming they are sinning. Further, the theology of scandal puts the blame on the original scandalous ACT, not on the knowledge of it. Emphasis on the latter (such as asking couples to receive in another parish where they are unknown)…well, that’s what led to priest abuse cover-ups and such: thinking that even though the scandal had already taken place (the act of molestation itself), that things were somehow made “less scandalous” by containing the spread of the knowledge OF it. That’s just bad moral theology, that’s not how scandal works (see Catholic Encyclopedia), it’s never about “keeping up appearances” (though that’s an unfortunate recent misconception).

    Lots of Catholic couples contracept, etc…the idea that a civilly remarried couple is somehow “manifesting” private acts isn’t applied equally across the board either, as “boyfriends and girlfriends” (though often probably having premarital sex) are given the benefit of the doubt even though their premarital couplehood is manifest (that is, unless, oddly, they move in together/”cohabitate”; another odd distinction from a previous age: I know plenty of couples who live together/share a domicile for economic reasons but are waiting until marriage for sex, and certainly plenty who fornicate who don’t live together! Sharing an apartment isn’t a declaration of sexual activity or even “aping marriage.” Some people are just room-mates, some are room-mates who happen to be “dating.” Modern life is not made up of easy clear-cut social scripts.)

    This leads into the second double standard which I think is the real “meat” of the current problem and the contradictions many people perceive: the distinction between “living in sin” and plain old sinning (which is certainly no dogma!) Many people have noticed the spiritual/moral contradiction that a man who cheats on his wife, repents, confesses and receives communion time after time is just “struggling” and “a sinner like all of us”…but that if people actually have the realism and maturity to formally separate from the relationship that isn’t working, and institutionalize the new one as something stable and responsible…then they’re “living in sin” and unable not just to receive communion, but even unable to be absolved!

    This is one area where I think there is room in Church teaching for some “development of doctrine” with pastoral effects: in the question of what exactly the “resolve to amend” necessary for a valid confession is. What practically does that have to look like, how must it be formulated? The Eastern Christian view sees sanctification as an ongoing “medicinal” process, not a toggle-switch of sanctifying grace; there is a gradualism to it. At the same time, they see confession as very much a prerequisite for communion in general, so there is no sense of letting people receive in a state of sin.

    Most people with any spiritual sense would say that, for example, a loving cohabiting couple are in a better place spiritually than the guy who goes out and hires prostitutes each weekend, feels guilty, swears it off, tries to abstain, only to “slip up” again and again in the guilt-repentance cycle that simply compartmentalizes rather than trying to move towards integration. And yet under current widespread thought in the Church, he can receive communion each week after he confesses, whereas the loving couple is “living in sin” and don’t even have valid intention to be absolved unless they totally rearrange their life and make firm positive acts of “resolve” to do things different with lasting consequences (whereas the habitual sinner’s “resolve” on the other hand, can be merely theoretical and disappear days or even hours later as long as it was “sincere” AT the moment of confession).

    And yet the Apostolic Penitentiary released a vademecum saying, “Sacramental absolution is not to be denied to those who, repentant after having gravely sinned against conjugal chastity, demonstrate the desire to strive to abstain from sinning again, notwithstanding relapses. In accordance with the approved doctrine and practice followed by the holy Doctors and confessors with regard to habitual penitents, the confessor is to avoid demonstrating lack of trust either in the grace of God or in the dispositions of the penitent by exacting humanly impossible absolute guarantees of an irreproachable future conduct.”

    Perhaps, then, remarried couples need merely to uphold the idea that abstinence and living as brother and sister is the ideal, but then as often as they “slip up” just come to confession and mention it like every other sinner, without needing to provide “humanly impossible absolute guarantees.” I’ve seen too many people in a delusional cycle of “this is the last time!” (confess, commune, sin-again, repeat). Maybe the standard for intent to amend in confession need not be so strict or based on unrealistic (and often bad faith) expectations on the part of habitual sinners. A couple who has sex after remarriage can’t be absolved time after time unless they separate or rearrange their whole lives, but no such burdens are really put on the habitual porn user. This double standard needs to be addressed.

    And there could perhaps also be a greater emphasis on the spiritual life as, often, a series of “lesser of two evil” negotiations (also a very Eastern Christian view).

    Finally, there is also the question of internal versus external forum. The interesting thing about the Church’s teaching on annulments is…they are supposed to merely determine, in the external forum, that a marriage was ALREADY invalid. Which means that when a couple remarries and then seeks an annulment…in hindsight, they weren’t actually committing objective adultery ALL ALONG. So there are very real questions as to why a couple who, in conscience, believes they have personal moral certitude (in the internal forum) that their first marriage was invalid…should have to “wait” for the annulment in the external forum. It takes three years only to declare “Oh, well, you weren’t married all along, so you really WERE free to remarry this whole time!” Perhaps the Church could pastorally tolerate couples “anticipating” annulments like this. And even if the annulment comes back negative, annulments are not infallible. There is a tension between internal and external forum here, but one that gives individual souls and pastors room to negotiate, though there would be no public recognition (internal has to remain internal).

    Perhaps the Church could even enshrine in canon law a sort of “automatic conditional radical sanation” of remarriages after an invalid first marriage (even if annulment has not yet been determined in the external forum). In other words, declare that IF a first marriage was in fact invalid in the eyes of God (whether annulled or not), then a second marriage is automatically sanated even if it lacks canonical form (though this would not be established as a public fact unless a public determination was made). That way a couple anticipating annulment won’t be fornicating in the meantime (only to find out, “Oh, guess what, you really were free to marry all along. Sorry for making you wait”) and won’t have to time the sacramental status of their marriage from a later convalidation.

    As a final point, I think the Church could also restore something like “fraternatio” or “adelphepoeisis” to recognizes partnerships that are not marriage. This would apply to remarried couples after divorce, but the logic would seemingly extend seamlessly to same-sex pairs. The idea would be that even if the Church can’t recognize a relationship AS marriage, ie even if it can’t sanction it as sexually active, it nevertheless can recognize and celebrate the relationship/partnership/friendship itself (apart from the sex question) and therefore not leave these people feeling like they are second-class citizens or “merely tolerated.” The official teaching would be that such relationships are supposed to be celibate “like siblings,” but then there is always confession if people “slip up,” and in the case of remarriages, always the possibility (discussed above) that the first marriage really was invalid and so (if the conditional automatic sanation is in place) is a sacramental marriage even if not recognized as such in the external forum, even if in the external forum it is only recognized as this brother/sister non-marital partnership.

    I’ve spoken with Orthodox folk, and it turns out that their biggest guff over us re: marriage isn’t solvable merely some idea that their divorces could be interpreted as annulments. They actually are most concerned over the idea that we think the first marriage simply didn’t exist. I would therefore also add the following as an ecumenical gesture to the Orthodox: the current Catholic thought is that a marriage between two Christians is always the Sacrament, or else “nothing at all” (except a “putative” marriage). The Orthodox, on the other hand, have a view that seems more holistic which says that sacramental marriage starts as a natural marriage (such as exists between two pagans, etc) in the porch of the church, and then is “sacramentalized” by being brought into the Church.

    Perhaps then there is some room here to investigate the possibility (for the sake of reaching out to the East) that even if a marriage is found to not reach the level of an indissoluble sacrament (ie, an annulment), it might still have been a natural marriage (if there was no natural impediment) rather than “nothing at all” and so a subsequent remarriage would be under the Petrine privilege and have a “penitential” tone, recognizing the first relationship that tragically failed as something more than a mere non-entity. It would have to be explored how changeable the “either a sacrament or nothing at all” principle is; Eastern theology certainly doesn’t seem to see it that way, it sees natural marriage as the “matter” of the sacramental version.

    Perhaps the system would look like this: actual annulments in the external forum allowing for a second full-on wedding would be rare (for very basic reasons like first spouse still alive, consanguinity/incest, etc). The existence of invalidity on account of more nebulous psychological reasons wouldn’t be denied, but in such possible cases, it would be more of a private negotiation: remarried couples would only celebrate a “fraternatio” penitential in tone with a caveat something like “IF your first marriage was valid, you’re supposed to live as brother and sister…but of course confession is available. On the other hand, if it was invalid, sacramentally at least if not naturally, then the new marriage is automatically radically sanated, but unless there were an external-forum annulment that determination has to remain a private matter of conscience for you and you can’t act as if the Church is publicly sanctioning your sex life.”

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

  • Perhaps this is shaping up like Humanae Vitae: everyone THINKS he will allow Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, but then he comes out with a beautiful but short encyclical on marriage that talks about how society’s acceptance of contraception (and denial of the truth of HV) is what got us into this mess of divorce and other messy marriage issues.

    He will affirm marriage. He will affirm the True Presence. He will affirm Catholic teaching on faith and morals, much to the chagrin of his advisors.

    Then we will have 40 years of “Well, that was not infallible.”

    All his advisors will be so upset that he didn’t listen to their magisterial fidelity to the god of Modernity.

    [br]

    Wow. You make the comparison to HV like it was a *good* thing. It was a complete, unutterable disaster. Yes, it preserved the Church’s teaching on paper–and that was it. The reality was that it was only paper. Pope Paul then proceeded to allow a culture of open dissent and the flouting of Church teaching on a level that swallowed the Catholic university system and entire national episcopal conferences (see, e.g., the Winnipeg Statement). The bottom line? Maybe–maybe–10 percent of Catholics observe the teaching. You want to know why Catholics–even mass attending ones–favor gay marriage and abortion? Because with HV they saw there was no cost to shelving Church teaching. NONE. The culture of dissent is so ingrained it can’t be eradicated at this point.

    [br]

    And, frankly, your vision is the very best case scenario–Church teaching is defended on paper, but raised expectations cause a HV-style blowback in the Church which lead to it being cast aside. Hurray?

    [br] But the best case scenario is not going to happen–you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the Pope’s statements and actions.

  • I don’t think Jesus would approve of all this legalistic foolishness. This conversation also reminds me of the Little Flower, who had headaches reading anything other than the Gospels.

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  • In response to “P. Plante on Thursday, May 22, A.D. 2014 at 10:39am: Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven!”
    cf. Jn 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.”

  • What on earth is going on? This is madness. I was brought up in what appears today be a very “traditional Roman Catholic family”. The parish grammar school. The local Augustinian High School, and a a few years at a Jesuit University.

    From my understanding of the Deposit of Faith (de fide definta/ infallibly defined) which I am to believe is the fullness of revelation found in the Scripture, the Church Fathers teachings, doctrinal counsels, Synods of Bishops called by the Holy Father and “statements” made by the Holy Father Ex cathedra (Papal Bulls), not general statements or personal opinions made in conversation with others. That being said, one would assume that the Holy Father’s “statements” would be much more carefully stated. Dare I say “guarded”? To do so otherwise would be an invitation for scandal, would it not?

    If the “Popes, any Pope” were to teach or promulagate that which is contrary to the Faith He would ipso facto ex communicate Himself from the One, Holy, Apostolic, Roman and Catholic Church founded by our Lord Himself. There have been Anti-Popes in the past why not in the present or the future?
    In light of the Feast of Ascension andthe Feast of Pentecost upcoming, all our Lord promised His little flock was: “…fear not and, know that I am with you until the consumation of the world”. and “…for I must leave you for a short while and return to the Father to prepare a place for you for, if I do not the Paraclete will not come…”. and in His prayer for unity “..that all may be one as the Father and I are one”. And, His instructions to Peter and the Apostles, Peter being first in primacy, “…if you hold bound upon the earth it shall be bound in Heaven and, that which you loose upon the earth shall be loosed in Heaven..” All in compliance with the Divine law. I believe when and if Sacramental Matrimony is conferred our Lord’s teaching on the indisollubility of Marriage/Sacrament of Matrimony would thusly apply. Atleast, that’s who I’m go’in with. There does not appear to be much “wiggle room” for those who like to “dance”. Pope or otherwise.
    No statute can make any unlawful act lawful, it only confers license for a FICTION to comit an act that remains UNLAWFUL. (see legal abortion)

    enjoy

  • The two upcoming Synods are on “the Family”, not “divorce and remarriage”. The Christian Family founded on the marriage between one man and woman for life, on the conjugal charity of that couple in human, total, exclusive, love which is open to new life. Divorce and remarriage is only one ‘shadow’ that partially prevents the Good News of Marriage and the Family to shine in the splendor of truth. Other ‘shadows’ are cohabitation, polygamy [in Africa] and so called ‘gay marriage’. The Synods, I believe, will tackle the anthropological [vision of the human] issues underlying marriage and the family and I would bet, actually ‘receive’ Saint John Paul’s teaching on sexuality.

    WHat I am about to say concerns elements within the Church, not the wider society or the media. There are those who do not really believe we have received any revelation (read: Gospel) concerning sexuality, marriage and the family. They do not see why the Church doesn’t get with the program and accept what the wider society has come to accept in the midst of this vast cultural revolution which we are immersed in. Many of these members of the Church believe that the culture sets the agenda for the Church. They will be deeply distressed that the Church will be upholding her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the nature and elements of conjugal charity [Humanae Vitae]. Within the Second Vatican Council the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation [Dei Verbum] is the fundamental document and ultimate interpretative key among the four fundamental documents [On Liturgy, Church and Church in the Modern World]

    On the other hand there are those members of the Church who frankly seem to fail to recognize that the Church has been dealing with the pastoral issues of marriage and family from the very beginning of the Church. It is the Sacrament of Reconciliation and with the canons that the Church has addressed this fundamental aspect of her ministry and life. Whatever sins she looses, they are loosed in heaven; whatever sins are held bound, they are held bound. Here is where the so called ‘changes’ MAY occur. However these are not doctrines but disciplines within the Church [of course the Sacrament of Reconciliation-Penance itself is an actual sacrament/doctrine etc]

    As the Church moves forward, there are two things to keep in mind. First, the two synods are expressions of the ‘synodality’ of the Church. At Synods as at Councils of the Church, all sorts of things are stated, positions and even sides taken. However, it is the ‘consensus’ coming out of the Synod which will be the key-the content and direction it takes. Just because some bishop from some place says ‘something’ in terms of the approaching synod, (especially with twenty-first communications) just take it in and don’t get into a panic etc

    The other real issue which the Church needs to address in some manner-better sooner than later-is what the Church and world witnessed back in the 60’s during the Ecumenical Council. The media feeding popular opinion and being fed by media smart but rather shadowy (and sometimes sinister) personages in the Church (i.e some theologians) were already forming their own ‘Council of media-popular opinion’. No one can deny this existed and you can see the handwriting on the wall already on this. The Church in some way will have to address this distinct but related issue before the “synod of the media’ overwhelms the actual ‘Synod of Bishops’

  • You have shown the difficulty of writing this fictional dialogue! It is hard not to put your own interp into the mouths of the characters, or at least color the characters according to you own understanding of them.
    I wouldn’t think John Paul would have said: “the texts of the Second Vatican Council. They are the only aspect of the Council that binds us”.
    I hadn’t read very much further when I came to this speed bump:
    John Paul: You know what’s dubious? Private revelations. You know what’s binding? General councils of the Church and official statements of validly elected popes.”
    That just sounded out of character to me if the argument is to show JPII’s “side” of the story.
    Anyway, my thought is that John Paul would not have responded in that way… so then the dialogue takes a certain fork in the road after that… and that road as you have laid it out, leads to the broken authority, disappearing Church scenario that is part of understanding Vat 2 as a rupture.
    It seems that the teaching Authority of the Church has already disappeared – the foundation, the rock, the authority of Peter – is cracked and crumbling and Vatican II is implicit as the crack in the rock, by your story line, because of J.C. Murray and Dignitatus Humanae?

  • A very good article. I don’t think I could contribute an analysis any better than the many that have already been written.
    So I will do what I do best, focus on the trivial and inconsequential.
    So here goes….
    Isn’t that picture a weeping angel from Doctor Who? 🙂

  • As an abandoned husband and father, I have seen, starkly, where Francis is heading. Marriage already means nothing. His “pastoral”
    approach has long been mainstream.

    The Catholic Church is imploding and deserves it. His methods have simply hastened what it already a “messy divorce”.

    If Francis had any good will, he would jettison his plan for a synod of bishops unless they were only the audience, in a gathering of contentious annulment respondents, especially those with some children, so these men could actually hear some truth and some harsh realities. He should also have our adult children speak as well.

    But I do not believe the horrors they would hear would move them to
    actually begin to defend marriages.

    I cannot imagine any course of action that will “save” the Catholic Church. Not really.

  • But the best case scenario is not going to happen–you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the Pope’s statements and actions.

    Dunno. The man is erratic. The conclave made a wretched error, ’tis true.

  • John Paul is right it won’t be ex cathedra. That means infallibilty is intact no matter what he says.
    I’ve heard that in the hierarchy of truths ecumenical councils are on the top, then papal encyclicals, then everything else. This isn’t the end of the world either way.

  • That’s a low quality dialogue. I look forward to the days when no one in charge has a personal investment and attachment to Vatican II. Then we can cut it up and move on with actual tradition instead of the manufactured ones from recent decades.

  • Naughty! you have Marcel referring to “Pope Francis” i.e. in quotes. The SSPX are not sedevacantist.

  • Perhaps, we should take comfort in the words of Cardinal Manning: “The enunciation of the faith by the living Church of this hour, is the maximum of evidence, both natural and supernatural, as to the fact and the contents of the original revelation. I know what are revealed there not by retrospect, but by listening” “Do you or do you not believe,” he asks, “that there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice ; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world ? If so, the history, and antiquity, and facts, as they are called, of the past vanish before the presence of an order of facts which are divine namely, the unity, perpetuity, infallibility of the Church of God: the body and visible witness of the Incarnate Word, the dwelling and organ of the Holy Ghost now as in the beginning.”
    Bl John Henry Newman was of the same mind, “There is, I repeat, an essential difference between the act of submitting to a living oracle, and to his written words; in the former case there is no appeal from the speaker, in the latter the final decision remains with the reader… I can fancy a man magisterially expounding St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians or to the Ephesians, who would be better content with the writer’s absence than his sudden reappearance among us; lest the Apostle should take his own meaning out of his commentator’s hands and explain it for himself.”

  • I think there is a distinction to be made. It is possible for the Pope to decide that in our current society most marriages are entered into with a presumption that divorce is an option and if the couples “fall out of love” the appropriate course is to divorce. Obviously if either person enters into a marriage with this belief they lack the intent to a lifelong commitment and were never married. ( Their marriage is invalid) , for this reason a prenuptial agreement is almost prima faciae evidence for an annulment. and thus many Catholics might be able to get an annulment via an internal forum. Now I am not asserting I agree with this line of reasoning entirely, as it leaves itself open to great abuse and may effectively undermine marriage ( which in many ways is on life support already), but the Pope could reason this way and not contradict any doctrine or teaching of the Church. I think if we go down the divorce and remarriage route this is what we will see. The practical consequences of this however will likely play themselves out as a further Protestantization of the Catholic Church. It is a lot easier to believe that God would expect marriage to be permanent, then that he becomes substantially present in the Eucharist. We should all be saying the Rosary for the Church, since we are headed for a cliff at present.

  • I, and I’m sure at least a few others, who would dearly love to see the “extraordinary rite” become more accessible and available, find the characterization of “Marcel” a painful stereotype that somehow tars us by implication.

  • Dan Allman,

    I appreciate your statement. The problem of characterization by stereotype may be a useful rhetorical flourish but it actually creates more ‘smoke’ than ‘heat’ or ‘light’. Many on this list would characterize me as the John Paul character-but that is not me either.

    The Extraordinary Rite is a beautiful form of the much larger Latin Rite [there are several forms of it]. There is a problem however when people in any ‘rite’ [and here I speak of my own “Ordinary Form” as well as any others] either want to make ‘our’ rite ‘the only rite’ or even worse, into an ideological camp which in fact impairs and often harms the catholicity and unity of the Church.

  • All of the doctrines and statements re marriage are based on interpretation of what Jesus said via the lens of western cultural thought. Divorce was allowed by God in the Old Testament and the process was prescribed in detail in the law. God in his grace and mercy allowed divorce and remarriage. Jesus was talking to the Jewish religious leaders and the upholders of Jewish religious law. He was saying that they weren’t following the law and men separating from their wives weren’t following the proper procedures and granting them bills of divorcement – thereby causing them to commit adultery in their new relationships. Putting away or separating was not the same as divorcement and a certificate of divorce is required by God to properly end a marriage otherwise people who remarry are in a state of adultery.
    The teachings of the churches both Catholic and Protestant have created a mess regarding divorce and remarriage and bound people in ways that God in his grace and mercy never ordained.

  • That sounds plausible Jane, if I hadn’t read the text for myself.
    Just so we are talking about the same thing:
    Matthew 19.1-15

    19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

    3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked,
    ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’
    4 He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”,
    5 and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?
    6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’
    .
    7 They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?’
    8 He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so.
    9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’*

    10 His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’
    11 But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given.
    12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

    not based on western interpretation, look at the Church Fathers.
    sample: Athenagoras (about 177 AD) “Plea for the Christian”

    A person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only a specious adultery. “For whosoever puts away his wife,” says He, “and marries another, commits adultery”; not permitting a man to send her away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to many again. For he who deprives himself of his first wife, even though she be dead, is a cloaked adulterer, resisting the hand of God, because in the beginning God made one man and one woman, and dissolving the strictest union of flesh with flesh, formed for the intercourse of the race.598

    http://theology1.tripod.com/readings/fathersofthechurch.htm

  • What is infuriating about this piece is not that the argument it fictionalizes is implausible, but that it it does nothing to resolve them. I agree with Ross Douthat—we need to take seriously the possibility that the Synod will do something earth-shatteringly stupid and start thinking through the implications. Not just satirizing (albeit well) the ensuing conversation. As others have said before, the best-case scenario is “Humanæ vitæ II,” which is catastrophe. And it’s all downhill from there. Unless Francis resigns or is recalled to the head office before the Synod, and his replacement stops it, we are in for the roughest ride in generations.

  • Anzlyne

    The issue of second marriages, even after the death of a spouse was a vexed one in the early Church and Anthenagoras’s remark that “he who deprives himself of his first wife, even though she be dead, is a cloaked adulterer” had many supporters.

    St Jerome famously took a middle path, saying that, whilst he did not commend second marriages, he did not condemn them.
    In the East, the rite for second marriages has a penitential character and is seen as a concession (economia) to human frailty and, in the West, the rule that a woman might receive the Nuptial Benediction (the blessing at the end of the Pater Noster in the Nuptial Mass) is a relic of the severer view.
    Again the rule that men who had married twice (or who had married a widow) are irregular and cannot receive Holy Orders is universal in the East and applied in the West too, but subject to the dispensing power, until the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

  • “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” I am not speaking of marriage between a man and a woman, I am speaking of the Sacrament of Matrimony instituted by Jesus Christ. If Divine Wisdom chooses that Matrimony is to be between a man and a woman exclusively, leaving out the Creator, procreation cannot happen. The begetting of children cannot happen without the Creator.
    .
    Since Adam and Eve, in the garden, when God brought Eve to Adam, the first marriage, God created marriage as surely as God created Adam and Eve. God is a part of every marriage. Jesus raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament.

  • Mr.Price is right about H.V. The Pope drew an authoritative line in the sand and then watched passively as Priests created a storm that obliterated it.

    And now he too will be canonised

  • The Pope drew an authoritative line in the sand and then watched passively as Priests created a storm that obliterated it.

    The Pope is not in a position to discipline priest bar in spot circumstances. Bishops have to do that. The trouble with Paul VI is that the Holy See interfered with Cdl. O’Boyle’s attempt to do that and this set a bad example.

    That having been said, the disciplinary breakdown in the Church was pretty comprehensive at the time and it’s doubtful other bishops were inclined to do much (and were preoccupied with other disasters as well). Some years ago, Louis Tarsitano and Patrick Henry Reardon offered some reminiscences about life in minor and major seminaries prior to 1970 and in the period succeeding. Leon Podles has also offered his memory of seminary life ca. 1966. Recall the Rudy Kos case? The salient decision on his admission to seminary was made in 1974. Here, there, and the next place there was a mad insistence on keeping the sacramental assembly line rolling. That had to have severely vitiated the inclination of bishops to discipline errant clergy (over and above losses from departures from the priesthood).

  • Pope Paul VI had Universal Jurisdiction and he should have dropped the excommunication bomb on the Curran 600 the day they went public confessing their heresy

  • The dissent from within, from the clergy down, is what will destroy the Church – but not completely…. there will be a remnant.

  • Amateur Brain Surgeon wrote, “Pope Paul VI had Universal Jurisdiction and he should have dropped the excommunication bomb on the Curran 600 the day they went public confessing their heresy.”

    As Art Deco points out, we know that Rome pursued exactly the opposite course. The Congregation for the Clergy decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington should lift canonical penalties against those priests whom he had disciplined for their public dissent from Humanae Vitæ. George Weigal has called this the “Truce of 1968.”

    We had been here before. I have always seen a quite remarkable similarity between the “Truce of 1968” and the “Peace of Clement IX” during the Jansenist controversy.

    In both cases, after the Church had been riven by a decade-long dispute, a papal document had been issued that was intended to be definitive and in both cases, the original quarrel was immediately forgotten, whilst argument raged over the scope of papal authority to decide the question at all.

    In the Jansenist case, in 1664, Alexander VII decided to require the subscription of the clergy to Innocent X’s bull of 1653, condemning the Five Propositions. There was enormous resistance, particularly in France and the Low Countries, with widespread and vocal opposition from bishops, theologians and the lower clergy.

    Peace, of a sort, was achieved, when Pope Clement IX brokered an agreement that neither side would argue the question, at least, from the pulpit. The “Peace of Clement IX” lasted for about 35 years and ended in 1705 when Clement XI, in Vineam Domini Sabaoth declared the clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence.” Eventually, in 1713, he issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was even more resistance, with a cardinal, 18 bishops and 3,000 priests appealing to a future Council (and being excommunicated for their pains, in 1718). As late as 1756, dissenters were still being denied the Last Rites.

    Will the “Truce of 1968” end in a similar fashion?

  • Francis is not a seething modernist. He is not some wily really smart politician trying to reach out to more people while retaining crypto-orthodoxy. He is not trying to connect with the East. All three interlocutors are wrong. He is just not the most dazzling PR guy, savvy politician, or theologically minded person to sit on the throne for the past century or two. A vague set of opinions, rather than a clear ideology or theology; friendly chatting and speculation, espousing a lack of clear presentation; and a belief that to be taken seriously he has to impress the cool liberal kids, characterize the learn-as-you-go papacy. He just says stuff. He just does stuff. He was raised Catholic, gets asked questions about religion, rather like your friend down the street. Except he can quote more authors – I mean, he could if he wanted to, but he probably thinks that would bore people more than analogies about Martians and stories about how he rode the bus to work; so, he doesn’t.

  • George Weigel opined:
    .
    “the Truce of 1968 “decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle should lift canonical penalties against those priests who informed the cardinal privately that they agreed that the Church’s teaching (in Humanae Vitae) on “the objective evil of contraception” was “an authentic expression of [the] magisterium.” The Congregation explicitly avoided requiring that the priests, who had dissented publicly, retract their dissent publicly”.
    .
    Some 46 years later:
    .
    “…The Truce of 1968 taught theologians, priests, and other Church professionals that dissent from authoritative teaching was, essentially, cost-free…(ii) taught bishops inclined to defend authoritative Catholic teaching vigorously that they should think twice about doing so, if controversy were likely to follow; Rome, fearing schism, was nervous about public action against dissent…and (iii) Catholic lay people learned…“that virtually everything in the Church was questionable: doctrine, morals, the priesthood, the episcopate, the lot.” Thus the impulse toward Cafeteria Catholicism got a decisive boost from the Truce of 1968…” http://eppc.org/publications/the-truce-of-1968-once-again/
    .
    Should any Catholic really be concerned about the fate of nineteen rebel priests whose public dissent from Pope Paul VI’s teaching yielded so much tainted fruit.
    .
    It is written that “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16.

  • Slainté asks, “Should any Catholic really be concerned about the fate of nineteen rebel priests whose public dissent from Pope Paul VI’s teaching yielded so much tainted fruit?”
    Insofar as that fate was the result of the decision of a Roman dicastery (probably with Papal approval), yes. Like Clement IX’s failure to discipline the four French bishops that dissented from Regiminis Apostolici, it produced precisely the results that George Weigal describes; it weakened the supporters of papal authority and strengthened its opponents.
    The “Peace of Clement IX” produced a whole generation of the “duped Jansenists” and the “Truce of 1968” has produced a similar effect.
    Suppose the subscription of the clergy had been required to the central dogmatic teaching of Humanae Vitae, namely, “No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men’s eternal salvation,” I believe the overwhelming majority would have subscribed.
    It would not, of itself, have resolved the question of pastoral prudence in its teaching and application: “we know,” says Lord Macaulay, “through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical,” but the principle of the authority of the Magisterium would have been put beyond question.

  • MPS, if the rebellious 19’s dissent was limited solely to the teachings contained in Humanae Vitae, might they not have just claimed “conscience” as a basis for their dissent?
    .
    Instead, they attacked magisterial infallibility. In effect, they sought to cast doubt on the entirety of infallible teachings held by the Church…possibly a way to renegotiate dogma in line with a “living and evolving faith”?
    .
    How then does the Church discipline would be reformers without turning them into martyrs (especially in the chaotic 1960s)?

Why Do Popes Bother?

Wednesday, March 2, AD 2011

Last fall, Pope Benedict issued the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini, On the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. With a handful of exceptions, the response of the American Catholic blogosphere (and the Catholic commentariat in general) was crickets.

It seems that unless a papal document somehow touches on an issue of the culture wars, near-silence is the response.

So, why do popes bother?

The question is rhetorical, of course. The fact of the matter is, Catholics ought to be reading these documents, and not just “professional Catholics” or clerics, but all of us. Look at whom Verbum Domini is addressed to, for example: bishops, clergy, the consecrated, and the lay faithful. Virtually every other major magisterial text is similarly addressed (curiously, one of the more technical ones which does get greater attention — JPII’s Veritatis Splendor — is addressed only to bishops), yet all too often, even informed, orthodox Catholics seem to fail to read them.

Why is that?

Look at the documents of Vatican II… both before and after they were elected to the See of Peter, Popes John Paul II and Benedict were emphatic that the renewal of the Church which the Council hoped for would not happen unless the members of the Church actually read the documents and internalized them. Even in his apostolic letter closing the Great Jubilee (Novo Millenio Ineunte), John Paul called for the further implementation of the Council, again, with the actual reading of the texts. Have these calls been heeded?

With Lent nearly upon us, now seems an appropriate time to prayerfully discern which one of these gifts of the Magisterium we might take up and read.

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5 Responses to Why Do Popes Bother?

  • Why do Popes bother?

    Well, because eventually all of their writings will be posted on TAC! 🙂
    With the advent of the internet and Catholic blogs, my guess is that Papal writings are probably reaching more readers than any other time in the history of the Church. This is a very new development and it will take time to see what the impact of this will be.

  • Actually have been reading Verbum Domini for about six weeks now as spiritual reading. Taking so long as might only read a paragraph need to stop and think/meditate. Also like to look up the biblical references. Suspect I might take most of this year to finish it.

  • Phillip – Cardinal Arinze recommends doing exactly that with the CCC.

    Chris – Thank you for reminding us on what is really important. That’s a great idea about implementing some type of Lectio Divina during Lent. Too often I find myself distracted by secular topics, i.e. politics. God help me during the upcoming election cycle.

  • I actually read through the whole CCC. Wasn’t given it as spiritual reading by my spiritual director. Read alot of the footnotes but to my shame didn’t look up many of the biblical references. What can I say, I was young.

  • That should read “Was given it as spiritual reading…”

7 Responses to Stealing From The Poor

  • Poverty comes in many forms. Some of us are in dire “poverty” yet are given even less by many who should know better, thus causing immense suffering.

    There is not sufficient reflection on this reality. As such, it is an occasion of grace for those afflicted………but a yolk upon those who chose to ignore how their actions, in word and deed, injure another, already almost unable to bear their cross.

    Nice post. Thanks.

  • Does the Church teach that you will be judged by your personal charitable/corporal works; that is what YOU DO with YOUR money and your time/talents?

  • Really good article.

  • “However, the investment of superfluous income in secureing favorable opportunities for employment […] is to be considered […] an act of real liberality, particularly appropriate to the needs of our time.”

    In other words, one way (though certainly not the only way) that rich people can help the poor is by starting up businesses that provide jobs for them! Score at least one for the economic conservatives 🙂

    “It will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor – as individuals and as people – are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

    Very true; however, that raises the question of whether the growth of high-tax nanny-state liberalism hasn’t done a lot to contribute to the perception of the poor as “irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

  • Elaine, I agree about the rich starting up a business, but we have to admit that there are many other rich who start up business ventures with not a care for those being employed thereby. I am thinking, especially, of all the CEOs and vice presidents of corporations who think nothing of taking a 1Million or 3M salary, while at the same time causing the company to need to downsize to maximize profits. Truly, a real board of directors should say to such money-grubbing CEO wannabes: “You say that your requested 3M salary is the ‘going rate’ for truly qualified executives. We say that no executive who would ask for such a salary could possibly be morally qualified for the job. We’ll look elsewhere.”

  • Pingback: The $1 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding « The American Catholic
  • The mega corporations and the excessively compensated executives cannot exist without the incestuous relationship of Big Government and Big Business. Mutual funds are a trick to get people to fund corporations without having any voting rights. The wealth of all is controlled by a very few. This is a problem that must be dealt with or everyone will become a slave, begging the government/corporations for a handout and charity (caritas, love) is not something that corporations or governments can engage in.

    As for our excess wealth, this is a relative area for us to discern. What may constitute excessive wealth in sub-Saharan Africa is not the case in the USA. We have tax obligations that they do not, we have transportation costs that they do not, we have many costs that they do not have and what we have in excess has to be looked at from that perspective. Additionally, money is not wealth. Having a few dollars in money market, CD, etc. is not wealth, it is merely a temporary store of currency that is losing value faster than it can be earned or profited from. a 10,000 sq. ft. home with only two children, that could be excessive – but, a 10,000 sq.ft. home with a dozen children, maybe not.

    This article is excellent because it summarizes Church teaching and, at least to me, it seems to stress the necessity of a free market, restrained government, strong Church and men who desire to lead a life of virtue. Sadly, our culture of duo-opolies intentionally clouds our thinking about such matters. Big Government vs. Big Business, Democrats vs. Republicans, Capitalism vs. Socialism, Thesis vs. Antithesis – all are two paths to the same perdition. We need to break free of this dualistic thinking, making us think we have choices. There is really only one choice: God or man. Hard as it is sometimes, especially with vestiges of ideology trapping my thinking, your’s too I suspect, we need to be more Catholic – we are so far short of the mark following years and years of minimalism.

    It is time for Maximum Catholicity and this article appears to summarize exactly that sentiment. Thanks for the reminder. Can you do it again tomorrow? 🙂

Last Weeks Top-Ten Catholic Posts

Sunday, June 27, AD 2010

Here are this past weeks Top-10 most visited Catholic posts from The American Catholic for June 20-26:

1. Parish Shopping by Michael Denton

2. McChrystal Should Be Fired by Donald R. McClarey

3. Sharia in Dearborn? by Donald R. McClarey

4. G.K. Chesterton on Lincoln by Donald R. McClarey

5. Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium by Chris Burgwald

6. Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2) by Darwin

7. Toy Story 3 by Michael Denton

8. Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money? by D.R.M.

9. Under the Roman Sky by Donald R. McClarey

10. I Am Shocked, Shocked! by D.R. McClarey

Honorable Mentioned

Top 25 Catholic Blogs by Technorati Authority by John Henry

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4 Responses to Last Weeks Top-Ten Catholic Posts

Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

In this spring’s debate over the healthcare bill, one of the disagreements that raised eyebrows most in Catholic circles was that between the US bishops conference and the Catholic Healthcare Association and other similar groups. The bishops claimed that the healthcare bill would lead to federal funding of abortions, while CHA et al. concluded that it would not.

In my opinion and that of numerous observers (including most of my fellow contributors here at TAC), the bishops were correct and CHA was horribly, terribly wrong.

There is another question, though… was CHA disobedient? That is, were they obliged as Catholics to accept the conclusions of the bishops conference? Was the activity of the bishops conference an act of their teaching charism which American Catholics were obliged to give their assent to?

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34 Responses to Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

  • Thank you for raising this important question, Chris.

    I do not think the Catholic Health Association was “disobedient” for not taking the same position as the Bishops. I do think it was a bad political decision and I am not sure if the official stance reflected the views of every member of the CHA. The responses in the media and the internal “church war” did little to serve the visible unity of the Church. I think it could have been a more tactful disagreement — a suggestion, perhaps, that the Bishops’ reading of the legislation might need a second analysis. But it was a very pronounced disagreement that was unfortunately hijacked by the political operatives and partisan Catholics more than ready to paint the USCCB in bed with the Republicans — and we’ve surely gotten portraits of the opposite, that is, of the USCCB having succumbed to liberal politics. I’d like to think that both sides seriously needs to rethink their Catholicism before trying to translate their faith into contrived, acceptable political platforms rooted in secular schools of thought.

    I do thinks the Bishops were right in their basic analysis, but I do think some of the criticisms of their conclusions were actually very legitimate. I think there more at stake in the health care debate — something deeper than — than health care policy, or even the right-to-life issues.

    There was a lot of misinformation, single-word slogans, and rhetoric and willful partisan fighting to simply win. This was most unfortunate.

    I do not think the Senate compromise on the abortion language was necessarily immoral. Politically, it was not what we would desire first, but I don’t think it was a riot. It surely wasn’t the Capps’ language that required in explicit terms abortion funding. I thought that claims that the language was absolutely unacceptable were terribly exaggerated. I believe the scare over CHC’s were a bit naive.

    The serious overriding issue was that the legislation did not say explicitly, leaving room for no ambiguity that no provision in the Act would allow funds to be used to subsidize abortion. The Act did not say that abortion could be funded rather it remained silent. The problem is — to my understanding — is that abortion jurisprudence in the last few decades has a clear tradition of allowing abortion funding when Congress does not explicitly exclude it when it calls for, say, “comprehensive services.” The logic obviously being that abortion is a legal medical procedure and if it is not singled out, then it should be included amongst “comprehensive” and/or “preventative” services.

    There was a Colloquy (a pre-scripted dialogue that goes on the record to clarify and illuminate Congressional intent on certain provisions of a bill) before the House vote on the health care bill that clearly stated that the legislation would be subject to the spirit of Hyde as is all other federal programs.

    Such a colloquy could be cited in Court as evidence to clarify the intention of Congress (when debating whether Congress intended to allow abortion to be funded). An Executive Order obviously would be overturned if it contradicted an explicit statutory law. The problem is that President Obama’s EO does not contradict statutory law and therefore is not absolutely guaranteed to be overturned by a court. But that doesn’t mean that it would hold up in Court either. It could, but then again, it could not.

    Therefore the security of the pro-life provisions are undesirably weak. I think this would be reason enough — even though there were plenty of other reasons — to hold out for amendments to statutory law to ensure that there would no insecurity and no ambiguity over the fate of the pro-life provisions of the bill.

    This is obviously a prudential assessment of the situation and it is clear that I, with a few disagreements, came to agree with the Bishops.

    However, anyone who sincerely and honestly disagreed may not be “disobedient” or a dissident Catholic. Obviously they could be. But I’m not really talking about party operatives or Catholics who are pro-choice or for whom abortion was never really an issue.

    Someone may come to a different conclusion and I’m sure they would present the case for the EO and the final abortion language quite differently. I don’t think they would be correct but I’m not ready to claim that they are a “disobedient” Catholic.

    This brings us back to your fundamental question: was the Bishops’ position on health care an act of the Magisterium? No. I think the approach was very political and pragmatic. The Bishops mostly focused on abortion, conscience clauses for health care professionals, and access for legal immigrants. But there was so many other concerns — voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, government and private-sector rationing of medical care, abuses regarding organ donation (particularly those resulting in euthanasia) mostly because of the dubious concept of “brain death,” not to mention, financial sustainability and the overall structure of the health care system itself. The moral principles are all there but there be an array of policy perspectives from those who fundamentally agree. So I’m not sure sharing the conclusion of the Bishops (as long as one was agreeing morally) was necessary to remain a Catholic in good standing. I’d say it is probably wise not to tread too far from the Shepherds for they have a vast resource pool from which to draw to form very informed and moral conclusions.

    But if the Bishops’ analysis of legislation is an act of the Magisterium then their endorsement or opposition to any legislation whether it’s health care, immigration, or any such thing, no Catholic could disagree. And I’m pretty sure a number of Catholics, particularly in conservative circles, don’t share the USCCB’s position on immigration and therefore I’d suspect that wouldn’t go so far as to say we must always agree with the Bishops’ prudential policy judgments.

  • Can one be disobedient and not violate the Magisterium? If so, I think that happened here.

    I don’t think there was anything close to dogmatic in the bishops’ evaluation of the bill (other than abortion funding is wrong). That said, even in non-dogmatic matters deference is owed to the bishops. If one disagrees with them, one must do so after prudential consideration. Furthermore, I think one ought not to be actively campaigning against them.

    So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.

    Nothing the left did shows any support or obedience to the bishops, even if dogma did not require them to agree with them.

  • “So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.”

    Bingo! The magisterium that they are loyal to has little to do with the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  • The misnamed Catholic Health Association was in bed with the Obama administration from the beginning on ObamaCare:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121805.html

    Abortion simply was not a priority for them in comparison to passing ObamaCare.

  • It seems to me that Sr. Keehan, the CHA et al. went out of their way to snub the Bishops, ignored the Bishops prudential judgment, and were indebted to helping the liberal establishment in passing any type of socialist or national health care regardless of what the consequences are going to be for unborn babies, elderly, and the rest of the most vulnerable human beings. They did not feel any obligation to follow the Magisterium and avoid scandal or a scandalous perception.

  • Obviously the bishop’s position on the health care bill was not a magisterial teaching. Lay Catholics take no vow of obedience to their bishops.

    I am one who thought Capps-Stupak would’ve been great but not absolutely necessary for me to support the bill. I ultimately opposed the bill on the grounds that the bishops told me to and, considering the politics, there was more to be lost in opposing the voice of the Church in America than opposing the bill.

  • Every time I see “the bishops” presented as some kind of Magisterial body I nearly want to go postal. The USCCB and “the bishops” in NO WAY have any teaching authority.

    Cardinal Ratzinger addressed this in “The Ratzinger Report” where on page 60 it says;

    “No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.”

    http://www.ignatius.com/Products/RR-P/the-ratzinger-report.aspx

    In other words the USCCB is not an “American Magesterium” – despite the efforts of the bureaucrats who manipulate “the bishops” efforts to pose as such.

    There is an old saying that there are two things you never want to see being made – sausage and the law. I would add a third, a document from the USCCB.

    Their watered down “documents” more often than not muddy crystal clear church teaching after laborious twisting and contorting aimed at preventing anyone form being “offended”. If you don’t believe me – watch the TV coverage of the next USCCB Conference where endless debates over every punctuation mark will bring you to tears. Our “Shepherds” have become congressmen.

    Call the USCCB what it is – an administrative body stuffed with career bureaucrats that speaks out on politics – mostly with liberal positions. The entire mess should be shut down.

  • It could be their hospitals’ solvency was the main motive. Yet that is not supportable, unless . . .

    Else, the “nuns-in-pants-suits'” prudential judgement is that “free lunch/something for nothing” always overshadows liberalisms’ insidious aspects – exterminating 47,000,000 more unborn persons, class envy/hatred, ESCR, gay privileges, immoral public school brainwashing of youth, etc.

    Their priorities seem to lie with secular, humanist progressives. For the secularist, man is the end all and be all and the greatest good is not saving souls but making life better for the convict, drug addict, drunk, felon, fornicator, illegal invader, murderer, rapist, thief, et al: all at the expense of the evil, racist, rich unjust American taxpayer.

    The COMMON GOOD???? Likely (my opinion), every (except the rulers in DC) American will be reduced to an equal level of health care misery and desperation.

  • It is a moral teaching and directive – not to support a law that promotes or supports abortion.

    It has Magisterial binding power coming from each individual bishop who concurred with that. And the pols under the bishop’s authority is obliged to obey as the Lord is to be obeyed. “He who listens to you, listens to me.”

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the Bishops per se…it is a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Lawyers studied the bill and I have read part of it where the bill gives Kathleen Sebelius major authority down the line to distribute federal funds as she sees fit and we know that ‘Catholic’ Kathleen Sebelius is rabidly proabortion, was a friend and colleague of George Tiller who terminated viable babies in the womb…abortion is a grave evil and anyone participating in any way is cooperating with this evil…Sr. Keehan and her group can disagree or not with the Bishops but – they have defied the teachings of the Church which teaches that abortion is the killing of a human in the womb…Canon Law states clearly that anyone publicly promoting such evil cannot receive the Eucharist…our Bishops do not enforce this which is, I believe, why these ‘Catholics’ are becoming more and more defiant and arrogant in their advocacy for abortion. I was told that Joe Biden went to Africa to convince them to legalize abortion in order to receive aid…the Africans don’t want to kill their babies!!! Pelosi preaches about how ‘the Word’ is so important to her…the word was made flesh…where does she think the word became flesh???? In the womb of Mary the mother…would Pelosi have fought so ferociously to exterminate the baby in the womb of Mary? I don’t think we are obliged to follow the advice of Bishops but we surely are not meant to publicly defy them…I think it’s time for the Vatican, for Pope Benedict,to speak into this issue just as he did in his letter to the Irish Bishops – he spoke strongly and forcefully against the abuse of children in Ireland…well, we are talking here about the extermination of human babies in the wombs of their mothers…millions and millions of them!!!!! It must be stopped…please God the Bishops will have the courage to tell Pelosi and Biden and others who advocate for abortion that they are not Catholics in good standing and that until and unless the publicly reject their pro abortion stand they cannot receive the Eucharist…until they do, the slaughter will go on…and on and on…

  • Samwise,

    I completely agree!

    But, I would like to point out that the Pope just recently talked to the priests about using the “rod” against heresy.

    “The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod,” he said, “the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray.”

    “Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.”

    This is a step in the right direction.

  • The Health Care Bill put together with the USCCB and CHA equals a headache. But I’m glad that you’ve narrowed down the discussion with your last paragraph: “Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    As previous commentators have said already very thoroughly, the USCCB has no teaching authority. They do serve as a guide for how to apply real Church teachings to real life for Catholics but this does not mean everything they say or suggest is infallible and in fact is sometimes quite the contrary.
    Faithful Catholics ought to listen respectfully and try and understand what the USCCB stands for and may be trying to teach us. I think though, that if one does disagree with some or all of a statement or a posistion of the USSCB they do have a duty to disagree tastefully and respectfully. If love is not part of the motivator behind the disagreement then there’s a problem.

  • Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    It does not. The bishops do not, as bishops, have the authority to interpret the meaning and consequences of civil legislation. If the bishops had this authority and competency, they would be able to provide an official Catholic interpretation of other documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. But, of course, we don’t look to the bishops for whether we ought to interpret the Constitution as a “living document” or as its writers intended. Such questions reside outside their domain.

    On the other hand, I understand the frustration the bishops feel at the very public disagreement with them made by the CHA and others. They have sought to understand the legislation as best they can, have judged it to be morally problematic, and have, because of their concerns about the potential immoral consequences of the legislation, spoken out against it. Then they see other public Catholics disagree with their conclusions about it. A messy situation, to say the least, but then, the moral life is messy.

    In the case of “Obamacare,” at least, we will soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.

  • Kyle,
    I agree that the Bishops don’t have the authority to make it obligatory for Catholics to either support or oppose specific pieces of legislation when it comes to the Bishops’ prudential judgments. But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    I would rather be safe than sorry, and be absolutely sure that this piece of legislation does not have federal funding for abortions on demand or taxpayer funded abortions then find out later that Obamacare does fund abortions.

  • But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    Nope. The question here isn’t whether or not abortion is evil or whether or not funding abortion is evil – questions Catholics believe the bishops have authority to speak on. The question here is whether or not this legislation will fund abortion, which isn’t a question of faith and morals, but of legal meaning and consequence.

  • Kyle,
    Then one could draw a similar consclusion when referring to legislation related to border security or immigration, and matters of national security.

  • If the question is “Will immigration legislation do X?” or “Will national security legislation do Y?”, then sure.

  • “…we will know soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.”

    Though on the question of conscience I think it may take longer.

    Are there any protections for health care workers or hospitals that are Hyde Ammendment-like. That is, will Catholic health care workers and hospitals be able to refuse medical treatments that violate medical ethics? Can the state say to them that if contraception or abortion, etc. is not provided, then they can be denied health care dollars?

  • I would also say that Bishop conferences can teach with magisterial authority but that this is limited to a doctrinal matter and seems to require a unanimous vote (see Apostolos Suos). When it comes to prudential application of doctrinal principles, a Catholic may licitly disagree.

    Thus the arguments that some (not all) in CHA and others offer are licit though I think wrong especially beyond questions regarding abortion. When others disagree with immigration policies or even the general thrust of a document such as Faithful Citizenship, they are also free to do so.

  • Here is an example of why we need to heed our Bishops words, and why our perceptions as to what constitutes “prudential” judgement may not merely fall under the umbrella of prudential judgment in the case of health care reform.

    “Federal funds in the Act can be used for elective abortions. For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers. These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment (as they are not appropriated through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill governed by that amendment), or by the Act’s own abortion limitation in Sec. 1303 (as that provision relates only to tax credits or cost-sharing reductions for qualified health plans, and does not govern all funds in the bill). So the funds can be used directly for elective abortions.
    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions. Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions. This violates the policy of current federal laws on abortion funding, including the Hyde amendment, which forbid use of federal funds for any part of a health benefits package that covers elective abortions. By
    subsidizing plans that cover abortion, the federal government will expand abortion coverage and make abortions more accessible.
    The Act uses federal power to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions even if they are morally opposed.
    The Act mandates that insurance companies deciding to cover elective abortions in a health plan “shall… collect from each enrollee in the plan (without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex, or family status) a separate payment” for such abortions. While the Act says that one plan in each exchange will not cover elective abortions, every other plan may cover them — and everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions. No accommodation is permitted for people morally opposed to abortion. This creates a more overt threat to
    conscience than insurers engage in now, because in many plans receiving federal subsidies everyone will have to make separate payments solely and specifically for other people’s abortions. Saying that this payment is not a “tax dollar” is no help if it is required by government.”

    I found this here: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/Abortion-Funding-in-Health-Care-Law-4-12-10.pdf

  • Teresa,
    First, I agree that disagreement with the USCCB is not in and of itself disobedience in any proper sense. So I have no quarrel with the CHS if its interpretation of the law differs.
    That said, the explanation you quote is pretty compelling. Has the CHA ever responded with similar clarity? As an attorney, I am well aware that reasonable people can in good faith interpret a law differently. I am prepared to believe that is what is happening here, but given the USCCB’s general affection for liberal causes its opposition to the health care legislation does seem credible.

  • For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers.

    CHAs haven’t performed abortions. Many if not all of them would have to change charters in order to do so.

    These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment
    This is a point of dispute.

    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions.
    It is presently legal for health plans to offer an abortion benefit. Federal highway dollars cover roads driven on by drunk drivers too. More anon.

    Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions.

    There is no moral requirement to limit indirect funding. Federal housing dollars do not discriminate between women that have and have not had abortions. The tax code does not distinguish deductibility of premiums between plans that offer abortion and those that don’t. Further, there is no substantive difference between this and the USCCB’s endorsed Stupak compromise of requiring a rider be offered to the policies. With an executed abortion rider, a subsidy would still be offered to plans that “cover abortion.”

    everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions.

    And this is really no different than today. As a consequence of where one works, one may be forced to subscribe to a plan that covers abortion. However, the idea that the plan that will “best meet his of her family’s needs” will be the one that covers abortion is malarkey and product of closing one’s ears to what insurance company’s have been saying. Insurance professionals have been claiming that they hard pressed to offer a plan with abortion due to the additional costs involved. Due to the additional costs, insurers believe they will have difficulty capturing subscribers on plans that offer abortion benefits.

  • Any thoughts on conscience protections?

  • I’m not sure Phillip. Do you (or anyone) happen to know what is current law regarding conscience protections?

    What are the laws on the books and are they being properly enforced? I think this question is getting regularly overlooked and new laws are being crafted unnecessarily when we could simply enforce or clarify existing law.

    But that is all contingent on whether existing law is sufficiently pro-life.

  • A primer:

    http://usccb.org/conscienceprotection/q_and_a.shtml

    Don’t know what it will all mean with the new Health Care legislation.

  • Finally, how something like this might play in to the discussion:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/aug/09081005.html

  • Thank you Phillip for doing a bit of research.

    The next time there is a Republican Congress, the Hyde amendment needs to cease being an budgetary amendment attached to appropriation bills and voted on year-after-year and rather introduced as federal-wide legislation governing any and all monies. This could in effect end domestic subsidizing abortion and act as a permanent “Mexico City Policy” that prohibits funding of abortion on the international stage.

    The other thing is with such widespread abuse on conscience rights as the Bishops note (which I’m assuming didn’t just start happening post-November 2008), current conscience laws should be updated and clarified.

    I’m not sure how this has just now become an issue. We most certainly have dropped the ball on the first item.

    I think the latter story involving the Catholic college could be solved with contracts and this is a solution from a perspective of subsidiarity. But all employers of Catholic institutions should sign a contract stating in clear terms that all medical care and benefits offered to employers, spouses, children, etc will be in line with the clear and consistent teachings of the Catholic Church and no comprehensive plans or benefits will include abortion or birth control.

    The obvious point is that such things if people were to choose those things — unfortunate as it is — they would have to use their own funds.

    There really shouldn’t have to be a need to resort to such protective measures, but it has become increasingly necessary.

  • I think the conscience clause became an issue in Jan/Feb 2009 when the Obama administration stated it was rescinding Bush era protections. Before this it was undoubtedly a problem at local levels which prompted Bush era efforts. Prior to Bush I think most organizations/states accepted that health care professionals could refuse certain procedures that violated their conscience. I know as a medical student and resident I refused to take part in abortions, sterilizations and prescribing birth control. No one gave me grief over this (this was in the 80’s after all.)

    In the new millenium this started to change when organizations such as the American College of OB/GYN insisted that residents be trained in abortion procedures and some states supported this. See here:
    http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/ethics/co385.pdf

    This may have been further made urgent by the Benitez case:

    http://www.cmda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Right_of_Conscience&CONTENTID=17179&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    Thus the prompting of the Bush efforts. It seems to have taken on import with the USCCB with the Obama administration efforts noted above.

    A brief history that may require more unearthing and likely has more parts.

  • The position from the USCCB that points out the need to conscience protections. The threats seem to originate as I noted in the new millenium. Thus the Bush protections and the threat to such protections from Obama administration efforts:

    http://www.usccb.org/ogc/pl-hhs-conscience2.pdf

  • “…because the issue here is the competence of the Magisterium to determine the consequences of a particular legislative bill.”

    I suspect that the National Bishop’s council is a different entity than the “magesterium” and as such has “no hierarchal authority.”

    I still await their justification of failing to engage the Catholic issue of solidarity and their earlier approval of “the Welfare state”(Obamacare without abortion) so excoriated by JPII – not to mention their silence on the “death panels” government intrusion into end of life moral decisions by free citizens.

    I wonder why the eccleasial construction of the three bishops who wrote the final turnaround letter after the Stupak fiasco blew up in their faces was labeled the “migrant” bishop? Could that be that socialized Obamacare was really about immigration which the Catechism says is the business of the laity?

    Do they yet have any outside objective investigation ongoing or in the pipeline to find out how they jeopardized charity for the poor itself, by funneling all those millions to ACORN (long known to be of questionable character) to help elect the most pro- abortion pro-infanticide president in history. (thy still haven’t written a pastoral letter of protested about Obama”s installation of the principle of intent allowing the slaughter of a baby outside the womb because the mother intend to abort or simply asked -how long Obama, does such intent last?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the national bishop’s council to blindly follow what appears to be their politics, as opposed to their obligation to lead souls to salvation.

    I also think the question of the “smoke of Satan in the tabernacle” finally raised by the late Pope Paul continues to require some housecleaning and serious redirection of the American Chiurch at its highest levels. Notre Dame honoring Obama (the first openly infanticide president in history)and the public silence of more than two thirds of our shepherds in the face of that scandal ought to have been the clue that more than healthcare needs to be reformed.

  • These nuns think they can speak for the Church. So, they offer an alternate teaching. And the media whores quickly pick up on the scandal that they’re causing. They’re applying American principles of independence and feminism in places where those do not apply. The community of faith is not a democracy even if they want to make it such and have themselves voted into power. The community of believers are not independent from their traditional and historical origins and an American revolution will not change that nature. But deluded with their degrees and having too much time in their hands plus the limelight of a secular press, these women forge on and wound the very people that they pretend to serve.

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SCOTUS: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews, Law, Scholasticism and Tradition

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

I read a comment[1] a few weeks ago on GetReligion.org attempting to explain why John Paul Stevens was the last Protestant in the U.S. Supreme Court which simply said that Catholics and Jews have a tradition of being immersed in law (Canon Law and Halakha respectively for Catholics and Jews as an example).

This struck me as interesting because at first glance it kind of makes sense.

Of course there is much more to why the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, 6 Catholics, 2 Jews, and an Episcopalian, is as it is.[2]

But I thought it was an interesting enough topic to dive into.

Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe chimes in with her two cents worth [emphases mine]:

Evangelical Protestants have been slow to embrace, or to feel welcomed by, the elite law schools like Harvard and Yale that have become a veritable requirement for Supreme Court nominees. One reason for this, some scholars say, is because of an anti-intellectual strain within evangelicalism.

As Ronald Reagan would say, there you go again, pushing the liberal theory that Christians are stupid (at least Evangelical Protestants).

Lets get beyond these stereotypes done by liberals to Christians.

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47 Responses to SCOTUS: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews, Law, Scholasticism and Tradition

  • The legalistic traditions would be the most obvious theory but I suspect that it’s too abstract to have this disparate an impact. Besides, sola scriptura is much closer to the originalism of the four conservative Catholic justices. The living Magisterium is more analogous to the living constitution that they reject.

    The anti-intellectual strain within evangelicalism makes sense. Part of it may also be that Catholics make more reliable conservative judges and are therefore more appealing Republican appointees but I bet Catholics are overrepresented in the general lawyer population as well.

    Maybe religion is actually hiding an ethnic cultural difference. The legal field was one of the few fields that was relatively tolerant of Jews which is at least partially why they are overrepresented. Maybe anti-Catholic or anti-immigrant sentiment drove the Irish, Italians, and now the Hispanics into law.

    Maybe religion is hiding a regional difference. Five of the justices are from New York, two from California, and one from New Jersey. New York and California are the two biggest lawyer markets. They also happen to have the largest Catholic and Jewish populations. I can’t speak for California, but every ambitious New Yorker wants to be either a lawyer or a banker (another field where Jews, and maybe Catholics, dominate).

    Maybe Catholics and Jews can’t be lumped together. Maybe Jews are overrepresented for historic reasons and Catholics for religious reasons.

    Protestants do have their colleges, seminaries, and Bible study groups, similar to those of Catholics.

    But their emphasis is very different. I’ve heard one Protestant accuse Catholics of being too mechanical in their religious studies.

    Ironic that people got all hot and bothered when the fourth and fifth nominees for the SCOTUS were Catholic’s thus over-representing Catholics in the Judicial branch. But somehow the secularists are excited that the current nominee, Elena Kagan, a Jew, would make SCOTUS 1/3 Jewish.

    They were hot and bothered because Roberts and Alito were conservative Catholics. They had no problem with Sotomayor.

  • Let’s get beyond liberals. Liberals only have insults and lies; and fabricated/imagined crises meant to “grease the skids” for their destructive policy “solutions.”

    If we don’t stop Obama and his horde of liberal idiots (I repeat myself) in congress, and soon the Judiciary, they will cause a degree of economic devastation from which the private sector may never recover.

    Then, they will have succeeeded in making us all serfs, which was their (the two or three that aren’t gays/lesbians/puppy-lovers/morons) plan all along.

  • I take issue with the notion that the conservative justices’ approach is similar to “sola scriptura” and that the “living Constitution” approach is analogous to the living Magisterium.

    Instead, I would say the two approaches to the Constitution are rather more like the difference between how a traditionalist Catholic and a Voice-of-the-Faithful Catholic view the Magisterium.

    Conservative jurisprudence does not reject development in the law; conservative jurisprudence recognizes that the world today is different from the world 200 years ago and that matters will arise that were completely outside the imagination of the Framers. However, conservative jurisprudence also recognizes that developments in the law (1) are better suited to be addressed by legislative bodies rather than courts, and (2) to the extent the courts must develop constitutional doctrine to meet modern challenges, the development must be (a) an organic extension of the rights and values traditionally held by society and (b) be bound to the text of the Constitution as originally enacted and intended by the Framers.

    Justice Scalia famously discussed this view in the Michael H. case, in which a putative father (from an extra-marital affair) sought to use the Court’s “substantive due process” jurisprudence (see, e.g., Griswold and Roe) to overturn a state’s codification of Mansfield’s Rule, which protects the children of a marriage from outside claims of paternity. Scalia, in his majority opinion, attempted to limit the extension of “substantive due process” to those instances where society had traditionally protected such rights:

    1. The § 621 presumption does not infringe upon the due process rights of a man wishing to establish his paternity of a child born to the wife of another man.

    […]

    (b) There is no merit to Michael’s substantive due process claim that he has a constitutionally protected “liberty” interest in the parental relationship he has established with Victoria, and that protection of Gerald’s and Carole’s marital union is an insufficient state interest to support termination of that relationship. Michael has failed to meet his burden of proving that his claimed “liberty” interest is one so deeply imbedded within society’s traditions as to be a fundamental right. Not only has he failed to demonstrate that the interest he seeks to vindicate has traditionally been accorded protection by society, but the common law presumption of legitimacy, and even modern statutory and decisional law, demonstrate that society has historically protected, and continues to protect, the marital family against the sort of claim Michael asserts.

    Scalia explains further:

    In an attempt to limit and guide interpretation of the Clause, we have insisted not merely that the interest denominated as a “liberty” be “fundamental” (a concept that, in isolation, is hard to objectify), but also that it be an interest traditionally protected by our society. [Footnote 2] As we have put it, the Due Process Clause affords only those protections “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.” Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U. S. 97, 291 U. S. 105 (1934) (Cardozo, J.). Our cases reflect “continual insistence upon respect for the teachings of history [and] solid recognition of the basic values that underlie our society. . . .” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 381 U. S. 501 (1965) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgment).

    This insistence that the asserted liberty interest be rooted in history and tradition is evident, as elsewhere, in our cases according constitutional protection to certain parental rights. Michael reads the landmark case of Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U. S. 645 (1972), and the subsequent cases of Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U. S. 246 (1978), Caban v. Mohammed, 441 U. S. 380 (1979), and Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U. S. 248 (1983), as establishing that a liberty interest is created by biological fatherhood plus an established parental relationship — factors that exist in the present case as well. We think that distorts the rationale of those cases. As we view them, they rest not upon such isolated factors but upon the historic respect — indeed, sanctity would not be too strong a term — traditionally accorded to the relationships that develop within the unitary family. [Footnote 3] See Stanley, supra, at 405 U. S. 651; Quilloin, supra, at 434 U. S. 254-255; Caban, supra, at 441 U. S. 389; Lehr, supra, at 463 U. S. 261. In Stanley, for example, we forbade the destruction of such a family when, upon the death of the mother, the State had sought to remove children from the custody of a father who had lived with and supported them and their mother for 18 years. As Justice Powell stated for the plurality in Moore v. East Cleveland, supra, at 431 U. S. 503:

    “Our decisions establish that the Constitution protects the sanctity of the family precisely because the institution of the family is deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”

    Thus, the legal issue in the present case reduces to whether the relationship between persons in the situation of Michael and Victoria has been treated as a protected family unit under the historic practices of our society, or whether, on any other basis, it has been accorded special protection. We think it impossible to find that it has. In fact, quite to the contrary, our traditions have protected the marital family (Gerald, Carole, and the child they acknowledge to be theirs) against the sort of claim Michael asserts. [Footnote 4]…

    That’s hardly a “sola scriptura” approach to jurisprudence and, in fact, I would argue that Scalia was relying upon his own Catholic understanding of the Magisterium in formulating that approach.

  • Thanks, Jay, for beating me to it. I owe you.

  • Ditto what Mike said. I’ve written that comment before (although probably not as well).

  • Three comments:

    First, I would not dismiss the existence of an anti-intellectual strain within evangelical Protestantism as mere liberal rhetoric. Certainly there is some of that, but the anti-intellectualism in evangelical Protestantism is well documented, especially by scholars such as Mark Noll, who is himself an evangelical Protestant. It is a part of evangelical Protestantism that many adherents are putting aside, but its historical existence could be a factor.

    Second, we can’t ignore social trends. Mainline Protestantism has been declining in numbers and influence for some time. The lack of mainline Protestants that “percolate up” to the upper echelons of the law is a consequence of that. At the same time, Catholic numbers and influence increased during the same decades. Also, Catholics and Jews during the last century emphasized education, assimilation, and becoming part of the “establishment.” That too, had implications. I would expect the same to happen with evangelical Protestants in the decades to come.

    Third, both Jewish and Catholic teaching has not emphasized, as much as mainline Protestants, a radical separation of church/state and politics/religion. Mainline Protestants, some have argued, emphasized it so much that they made religion irrelevant in the public square.

  • It’s not a perfect fit but there are elements of originalism that more closely resemble sola scriptura. Sola scripturists would also agree that the world is different today. Jay, I don’t think anything you said is inconsistent with sola scriptura.

    It’s funny you mention Michael H. I was just rereading my notes on the case a few days ago. None of the justices objected to Scalia’s view to traditional rights. Brennan’s dissent also looks to traditional rights. But a majority didn’t join Scalia’s footnote 6 for a very different reason. I, along with most the justices, think he’s wrong in his application, if not his approach. Contrary to his assertion that broader classes are more susceptible to conflicting interpretations, Scalia’s approach allows judges to pick conflicting specific classes. Scalia puts Michael H. in the class of “cheating fathers.” One can also place him in the class of “biological fathers.”

  • No, Scalia does not place Michael H. in the class of “cheating fathers”; he places him in the class of those who society and the law don’t want breaking up intact families by challenging the paternity of the children within those families. He’s unwilling to create out of whole cloth a “fundamental right” to do something that society has not traditionally seen fit to give sanction.

    And while one may also place Michael H. in the class of “biological fathers”, that says absolutely nothing regarding the “fundamentalness” of his “right” to have Mansfield’s Rule struck down as unconstitutional. And that’s what’s at stake. The liberal would throw out a centuries old common law rule over some imagined “fundamental right” to claim the child of an intact marriage as one’s own. That’s not akin to a “development of doctrine” – that’s changing the rules to suit one’s own personal view of how the law SHOULD be and fits more in line with how the VOTF crowd view the Magisterium.

  • Furthermore, the reason the “sola scriptura” analogy is inapt is because it an ahistorical reading of how originalists have actually behaved on the Court.

    Protestants whose approach to religion is based on “sola scriptura” reject authority and tradition as having any sway over how they apply their Faith to their lives. They reject developments in doctrine (even while unconsciously accepting such developments as the Trinity and the compilation of the Bible itself). The “sola scriptura” mindset – especially when it is of the fundamentalist variety – is a back-to-the-basics approach with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as a guide.

    The originalist, in contrast, doesn’t reject authority or tradition or developments in the law that have occurred in the intervening years since the founding. The originalist doesn’t seek to “refound” the American republic as it existed in 1787. In fact, the originalist approach to jurisprudence is actually quite limited in scope by comparison to the Protestant Reformation and the approach of the “sola scriptura” practitioner.

  • Jay,

    Protestants whose approach to religion is based on “sola scriptura” reject authority and tradition as having any sway over how they apply their Faith to their lives. They reject developments in doctrine (even while unconsciously accepting such developments as the Trinity and the compilation of the Bible itself). The “sola scriptura” mindset – especially when it is of the fundamentalist variety – is a back-to-the-basics approach with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as a guide.

    Thanks for fleshing out what I said in one sentence.

    I’m no law expert nor a lawyer, but I too could see that sola scriptura was an impediment towards doctrinal development for Protestants.

    And with that, originalsim and sola scriptura have no similarities with the respect to doctrinal development.

    Also appreciated your first comment as well…

  • Finally, let’s be honest about why those Catholics opposed to Constitutional originalism try to stigmatize it with the taint of “sola scriptura”: they know that most Catholics, especially conservative ones, take a dim view of “sola scriptura” in the context of theology, so they use the analogy to paint Catholic constitutional originalists as unthinking (in relying on the same intellectually inferior practice as protestant fundamentalists) and/or hypocritical (in doing to the Constitution what they criticize the protestants for doing to Christianity).

    The problem, as I’ve noted above, is that the analogy is inapt. But it is inapt not only because it fails to describe what originalists actually believe and how they actually behave, but because it is a comparison of two completely different institutions established for two completely different reasons and under two completely different sets of circumstances.

  • Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

  • Jay, I see that you are anticipating in advance the charge of being trapped in a Calvinist (and very Protestant) dualism by virtue of defending originalism. But you cannot escape; in order for the intellectually cramped Calvinist-Catholic dualistic system to work, any disagreement must be described as an outgrowth of individualism/Calvinism/liberalism.

  • Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

    I am not sure how true that is. I have friends and co-workers who are evangelicals that went to Harvard Law, and the Christian (not Catholic) law student group at my school (t-10 or so) was fairly sizable and active. But, of course, these anecdotes don’t really add up to data. You could be right about the general trend.

  • I’d consider myself a Catholic originalist. Sola scriptura (or some weak version of it) can be an perfectly defensible way to interpret the Constitution but not Scripture.

    Originalists reject any develop of new doctrines not grounded in the law as understood at the time of its enactment. They accept tradition only up to the point of enactment. They do not accept the idea that later traditions that could not reasonably be anticipated, can add to the law. On the other hand, Catholics accept that later traditions can add to existing “law” in ways that could not reasonably have been anticipated.

    Even the process of development differs. Originalists reject abstract unifying doctrines and prefer to judge new situations as fitting or not fitting into specific laws or enumerated rights. Catholics, I would argue, work in the opposite direction. Starting with abstract unifying doctrines (e.g., dignity of man), then judging whether the situation falls within an exception (e.g., double effect).

    As for the Michael H. sidetrack, Jay, you demonstrate exactly why Scalia’s methodology is wanting (I’d like to note that this is a different argument than the one over originalism). I described Scalia’s classification of Michael H. as a “cheating father.” You described it as “someone trying to break up a stable family.” Which one are we supposed to use? You also dismissed the implications of classifying Michael H. as simply a “biological father.” Traditionally, biological fathers have rights over their biological children. An appeal to tradition doesn’t work here because both sides can, and did, argue it. If Scalia’s methodology is correct, it’s incomplete, at the very least.

  • Centinel, you wrote:

    Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

    That goes beyond generalization, friend. Generalization, philosophically, means abstracting a feature true of each instance of a class, e.g., “Houses have roofs.” Generalization, popularly speaking, means abstracting a feature true of most or even many instances of a class, e.g., “The students at Catholic University are Catholics.”

    What you’ve managed to do is pluck out of a bag of prejudices and biases a dazzling example of complete ignorance EXCEPT of perhaps one or two cases that you know, and a few more that you know of.

    I am close friends with a woman who, as an Evangelical, went to Yale Law School because it was “the highest-ranking school that would take” her, to use your words. Not too shabby. Granted, it’s not the University of Barbados, but I suppose Yale Law will do for her sort. She’s a Catholic now, though. Did you know that there are numerous law schools at Catholic universities bursting at the seams with… all sorts of people?

    Do you think it possible that Catholics might be serious about their faith and go to a law school conducive to it?

    Do you think it possible that an Evangelical might be serious about his faith and yet go to an ungodly school bearing in mind that it is not the law school’s job to nurture his faith, and that he will continue to seek spiritual nourishment through the means he always has – prayer, reading the scriptures, attending a good church?

    C’mon. Your “observation” was entire facile.

  • “Traditionally, biological fathers have rights over their biological children.”

    Not biological fathers who aren’t married to the child’s mother. That’s a very recent development.

  • And I’m sure you’ll say that my last comment illustrates your point about classifications.

    But there will always be classifications when talking about defining rights under the Consitition. The key is to find the classification that does the least amount of damage to the constitutional order, and this is done by limiting the interference of the judiciary into the democratic process by defining the “fundamental right” narrowly enough as not to remove a broad category of activities from democratic oversight (not to mention creating out of whole cloth “rights” that have no basis in the text of the Constitution).

    Scalia’s appeal to tradition is to look at the behavior that society has traditionally valued and protected and determine whether the particular case before the Court meets – with specificity – the activity society has sought to protect.

    The liberal will look at “tradition” and try to broadly define the activity that is “fundamental” to ordered liberty so as to include as much activity as possible and remove it from the democratic process. Thus, Brennan et al looked at Michael H. as a “biological father”, and relying on some very recent precedent (and ignoring other recent precedent – i.e. that “biological fathers” have very few if any rights when abortion and birth control are at issue), tried to make the argument that he had a “fundamental right” to interfere in the inner workings and relationships of an intact family unit.

    What’s “traditional” about that? Nothing. Maintaining Mansfield’s Rule was based on tradition – the tradition of protecting the family, as society has sought to do for generations. The Court’s “fundamental rights” jurisprudence – of very recent vintage – regarding a biological father’s “reproductive rights”, not so much.

  • While not remotely an expert on law, the sociological/historical aspect interests me in regards to biological fathers’ right. It seems to me that the accurate characterization would be that in Western Culture, a biological father can assert paternity rights over illegitimate offspring by effectively “legitimizing” or recognizing them. This, however, assumes that the illegitimate offspring are otherwise simply “fatherless” and unacknowledged.

    The rights of the pater familias as a husband typically include having paternal rights over all children he chooses to acknowledge. So if his wife bears a child which is not, in fact, his, he can effectively make the child his by acknowledging the child as his regardless of actual paternity.

    The idea that a biological father could assert paternity rights over a child he fathered on a married women over the objections of her husband (who is willing to raise the child as his own) would be distinctly un-traditional.

  • Darwin,

    You’re right. It IS distinctly un-traditional. And for over 200 years, under Lord Mansfield’s Rule, such claims cannot be heard.

    Okay, I realize I’ve dominated this thread, so just one last thing on the classifications in Michael H. and how they relate to “tradition”:

    As Restrained Radical notes, both Scalia and Brennan appealed to “tradition” in reaching opposite conclusions in the case. However, a closer examination of the arguments and what respective “tradition” was being sought to be preserved by the opposing Justices, will reveal that one of the Justices was ACTUALLY concerned with remaining faithful to and preserving an established tradition, while the other Justice’s feigned appeal to “tradition” was a complete load of BS from one of the most successful bu11$h**tters who ever sat on the Supreme Court.

    Let’s start off with the fact that the rights of “biological fathers” – the “tradition” to which Justice Brennan appealed – are, as I noted above, a recent development in the law, and there is no long-standing “tradition” of “biological fathers” having legal rights over their offspring outside the context of the marital relationship. Even the parental rights of divorcing parents have always been based on the fact that the parents were married in the first place.

    So, let’s dispense with Brennan’s nonsensical claim that he was appealing to “tradition” and cut right to the chase. Were one to follow his constitutional jurisprudence to its logical conclusion, here’s Bill Brennan’s take on the “rights” of biological fathers:

    * A “biological father” has absolutely NO LEGAL RIGHTS to protect the life of his child should the mother choose to abort the child; HOWEVER …

    * A “biological father” has a “fundamental constitutional right” to interfere in an intact marital family relationship by asserting paternity over a child born inside that marriage should the mother choose to raise the child with her husband.

    * A “biological father” has a “fundamental constitutional right” that overrides an over-200-year-old common law rule – a common law rule known to and explicitly accepted by the drafters of the Constitution – meant to protect marriages from outside attack and children from bastardization.

    That’s Bill Brennan’s definition of “tradition”.

    On the other hand, under Justice Scalia’s approach, here is the state of the law:

    * an over-200-year-old common law rule that was on the books at the time of this Nation’s founding is preserved;

    * the sanctity of the marital family unit is preserved from outside interference by claims from a stanger to that marriage that he is, in fact, the father of a child born to that marriage;

    * the original intent and meaning of the text of the Constitution is preserved from the violence done to the constitutional order whenever a newly created “fundamental right” is used to strike down as “unconstitutional” a law that was fully known to and explicitly acctepted by those who drafted the Constitution.

    Now, which one of those approaches is TRULY concerned with tradition?

  • Personally, I always thought the tradition of offering sympathy to orphans should have helped the Menendez brothers

    😉

  • Jay, your putative domination of this thread has enriched it, and is greatly appreciated at least by me.

  • Agreed, I’ve enjoyed your explanation on this stuff, Jay.

  • I spend the day in Bankruptcy Court and Jay leaves me nothing to say in regard to Constitutional interpretation. Rats! Ah well, I will merely say ditto to what Jay wrote and what Scalia says below:

  • Donald,

    I liked his Chestertonian quote:

    “Some worth doing, is worth doing terribly.”

    Or something to that effect.

  • I should’ve stated this early but I don’t necessarily disagree with the outcome of Michael H. And I do think originalism is the proper method of analysis (while I still maintain this is closer to sola scriptura). I only take issue with Scalia’s method of abstraction outlined in footnote 6. He defines classes that need not be defined in that way.

    Jay & Darwin, it all depends on how you’re defining the tradition and the specific case. The children of a married woman have traditionally been presumed to be the biological children of the husband. Is Lord Mansfield’s Rule designed to protect the husband or the biological father? In the absence of DNA testing, it would seem that it protects the biological father (usually the husband) from spurious paternity claims. Therefore, it appears tradition protects the rights of the biological father. Modern technology has eliminated the need for blunt evidentiary rules.

    Again, I’m not saying that’s right. Only that the very existence of what I think is an alternative reasonable interpretation, undercuts Scalia’s approach.

  • Don, that was a great vid. It would be interesting to see a liberal originalist on the court. Lawrence Lessig, a liberal and a broad originalist, says Kagan thinks as he does. I doubt it but if true, not only would Kagan be the most influential justice, it would also alter the course of American jurisprudence. I’ve believed that the best kind of judicial nominee would be a liberal pro-lifer. Perhaps even more important than overturning Roe is changing the way liberals view abortion.

  • “Is Lord Mansfield’s Rule designed to protect the husband or the biological father? In the absence of DNA testing, it would seem that it protects the biological father (usually the husband) from spurious paternity claims. Therefore, it appears tradition protects the rights of the biological father. Modern technology has eliminated the need for blunt evidentiary rules.”

    I suppose it provides an alternative interpretation to Scalia’s, but it is one that I believe to be ahistorical.

    The historical record will bear out that Lord Mansfield was primarily concerned with the children of marriages not being made bastards, which is a matter wholly unconcerned with determining actual biological paternity. In fact, it was an objective that was often in direct conflict with determining such.

    Preserving intact marital family units from such challenges was not for the purpose of ensuring that the husband’s factual biological paternity was protected from spurious outside claims, but rather to ensure that children were not delegitimized. For that reason, the law created an irrebuttable presumption that the children of a married woman were the legitimate children of her husband.

  • I suppose, from a sociological point of view, a lot has to do with how you interpret the purpose of established cultural norms. It seems to me that the purpose would clearly be that a pater familias be able to determine who he wants to call his children. If he want to acknowledge children he had by a woman other than his wife, he can. If he want to refuse to acknowledge those children, he can. And when his wife bears children he can either acknowledge them, or repudiate his wife and deny them.

    All this sounds rather negative and “patriarchal”, but it also has the effect of making the direct and extended family strong against outside assaults. Good or bad, though, I think it’s hard to deny that it’s “traditional”.

  • “I doubt it but if true, not only would Kagan be the most influential justice, it would also alter the course of American jurisprudence. I’ve believed that the best kind of judicial nominee would be a liberal pro-lifer.”

    I doubt restrainedradical that Kagan will be anything but an orthodox political liberal on the bench. However, the fact that she has no judicial experience on the bench should give her backers pause. Felix Frankfurter, the great advocate of judicial restraint, was a fairly conventional political liberal before he was appointed to the Supreme Court by FDR without judicial experience. Things can look quite differently after one dons the black robe, especially with a life time appointment, and Kagan, perhaps, could end up surprising everyone.

  • I would be astonished if Kagan does not prove to be “anything but an orthodox political liberal” cleverly legislating from the bench whey “necessary.” But I’m prepared to be astonished, and certainly hope that I am.

    In any event. I hope the confirmation process is a smooth one. I’m all for hardball politics, but Kagan is qualified and that should be the end of it. The Dems viciously changed the rules with Bork, and I believe that the temperament within the Senate has never been the same. I’d like to see the Republicans avoid scoring political and polemical points and just plain do the right thing.

  • I agree Mike that the Kagan nomination is not the one for the Republicans to put up a fight on, but one of the main reasons why the Democrats routinely engage in scorched earth tactics in regard to Republican judicial nominees is because the Republicans routinely fail to do the same to Democrat nominees.

  • Fair enough, Don, but it is worth remembering that both Roberts and Alito got through without the Dems resorting to scorched earth practices, which is not to say that they behaved perfectly. I’d rather try to ratchet the practices back to how they are supposed to work. I acknowledge that it is a judgment call as to whether exhibiting good behavior or returning bad behavior is the most effective way to do that.

  • In regard to Alito Mike the Democrats tried but failed to filibuster his nomination. The final vote for his confirmation was 58-42 which is astounding if one of the chief criteria is supposed to be judicial comptence.

    Obama of course voted against confirmation for both Roberts and Alito, two of the best qualified jurists ever nominated to the Supreme Court.

  • Forgot that, Don, thanks. I’d still support Kagan’s nomination, but would also score points by emphasizing the contrast between her treatment and that of Alito, and get lots of digs against Obama for voting against Alito and Roberts.

  • Roberts was confirmed 78–22. He got far more Democratic votes than Sotomayor got Republican votes. Alito had the misfortune of being second. Kagan has the same problem.

  • Wow. Such deep arguments!

    Still, I think a lot of folks are overthinking this situation. A president seeking a pro-life perspective on the high court appoints a Catholic. Another president seeking some pro-life cover also appoints a Catholic. Presidents who seek a reliably pro-abortion leftist or wish to appease leftist elements of their party often appoint a Jew.

  • Restrained Radical,

    There’s no comparison, democrats are far more emotional and vindictive when it comes to voting against well-qualified judges that happen to seem conservative.

    Case in point, Robert Bork who lost the nomination 42-58.

  • The Bork confirmation process was unprecedented. It broke with longstanding Senate tradition, and frankly the Senate has not been the same since. The Dems broke the rules and lied shamelesslessly while doing it. Mutual rancor, payback, and distrust have been the order of the day since.

    While not unopinionated, I am not given to immoderate commentary. In fact I sign my real name as a matter of self-discipline. But let there be no misunderstanding or doubt: Joe Biden made his bones in the Bork hearings and behaved like a consummate dirtbag. I expected such dishonest behavior from the cowardly Senator from Massachusetts, but this was when Biden showed his true character colors.

    Finally, let’s be clear. When the Left decides to play hard ball, you can ususally count on the subtext being their sacrament of abortion. It started with Bork and Palin has been the most recent manifestation.

  • Bork and Thomas are outliners. People like Bork with long controversial paper trails don’t get nominated anymore. And Thomas had to deal with Anita Hill. I don’t think either party has a monopoly on outrage. As I noted before, Roberts had an easier confirmation than Sotomayor who in turn will have had an easier confirmation than Kagan. I predict Kagan’s confirmation to be similar to Alito’s. Four Democrats voted for Alito. I predict 2 or 3 Republicans will vote for Kagan (Snowe, Collins, and maybe Brown).

  • It’s a straw man.

    Bork had the most difficult.

    You can continue to apologize for your democratic party, but facts are facts.

  • While, I do not disagree with the overall thesis expressed herein. I find the characterization of Reform and Hasidic Judaism to be off the mark. I contend that the divisions within Judaism that they represent a division with Judaism but that these division were the result not of dogmatic differences.

    Rather I view the divisions within Judaism as being similar to the differences that exist between religious orders with Catholicism.

    In the sense that each religious order agrees on the truth of the dogma espoused by universal church, their missions differ,and as a result there may exist minor differences within their devotions and practice.

  • Nathan Zimmermann,

    I would like to default to your position because I know very little about Judaism.

    But when I see “conservative” and “reform” Jews advocate for the death of the unborn in absolute violation of the Ten Commandments and then I see “orthodox” Jews express identical views with Catholics and stand up for the unborn, then your analogy does not seem to fit that of Catholic religious orders.

    Catholic religious orders differ in mission, but adhere completely to the teachings of the Church.

    I don’t believe your analogy falls into that category with all due respect.

  • Mr. Edwards,

    I based my analogy upon my experiences and interactions with the aforementioned communities within my native city where even the conservative and reform Jews tend to be more conservative and pro-life.

  • If the Republicans wish to Bork a nominee Solicitor General Kagan’s nomination may be the best opportunity. If President Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland, the ability of the Republicans to Bork the nominee would have proved less tenable because, Judge Garland’ nomination was openly advocated by Senator Hatch.

    As addendum to my two previous posts, and to throw a fox into a hen-house. While there is no doubt of the universal church on the subject of abortion and euthanasia, eugenics and Darwinism.

    It should be noted that there existed a split with the church on the subject of eugenics and Darwinism during the 1920s and 1930’s as is evident in the writings of Rev. Hermann Muckermann, the elder brother of Rev. Friederich Muckermann SJ.

  • Nathan:
    There has never been a split regarding either Darwinism or eugenics in Church teaching properly understood The fact that some Catholic priests and theologians have favored abortion rights, for instance (which of course is still the case) does not in any way impair the fact that the Magisterium has remained consistent, even as it develops.
    I have countless Jewish friends. Sadly I know none who consider themselves of the Reform stripe who favor laws forbidding abortions, even though I know many who claim they themselves would not abort a child.

The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2010

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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12 Responses to The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

  • Since when is pro-abortion Brown “the truth”?

  • Who said he was? I never mentioned his name in the article. However, when the people of Massachusetts (the only state who voted for George McGovern) can see the craziness of the left, you can rest assured that they are not alone.

  • “As evidenced by the stunning results in the Massachusetts special election seat vacated following the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, even in the most liberal of locales the public will eventually clamor for the truth.”

    You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.

  • “You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.”

    Hmm, I didn’t get that from this statement. In any case, one doesn’t have to be impeccable to demonstrate the principle that the mind of the people is changing. Brown is obviously not perfect, but I don’t think Dave is talking about his politics or theology so much as the change that his election represents.

  • The change the election represents I don’t think is exactly as Republicans are making it out to be; while some of it might be on Obama, and other aspects of it might be on health care, another aspect people have to remember is Coakley assumed the seat was hers and didn’t campaign properly. That, I think, is the lesson all sides might want to remember: don’t assume you are a sure-win and do nothing because of it. Nothing, however, to do with “truth.” Nothing in the results shows truth wins — since abortion does.

  • I agree with Henry.

    Brown did make the centerpiece of his campaign as a referendum on ObamaCare, though other factors such as Coakley’s poor campaigning certainly played a factor into it.

  • “I agree with Henry.”

    Tito, that’s the first sign of the apocalypse!

  • The truth that believing Catholics shouldn’t be barred from working in emergency rooms certainly won.

    Brown is quite problematic (and it’s not like I sent him money), but at least we are spared the spectacle of another Massachusetts Catholic baying for abortion in DC.

    I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them.

  • Dale

    So, what silver linings do you find for Obama? Can you find some?

  • I questioned authority relentlessly. Holy Mother Church had all the answers.
    Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.
    Inquisitive mind + Road To Damascus (TM) moment = conversion/re-conversion. Sweet.

  • Despite the badly-concealed sneer with which you pose your question, Henry, sure. Haitian relief, support for a limited range of renewable energy sources, uniting (briefly) the country after the Fort Hood terrorist massacre, helping a limited range of distressed homeowners and credit card and equal pay protection come quickly to mind.

    But, as you know, he’s been a pro-abortion stalwart–deceptively so–when it comes to the protection of human life and issues of conscience.

    Thus, my great relief that a putative sister in the Church–one who expressly finds the Catholic faith disqualifying from life-saving work–will not be able to work on a national stage to implement her bigotry, nor be able to lend her support to the most problematic parts of the President’s agenda.

    Your mileage evidently varies.

Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

Friday, January 15, AD 2010

Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco addressed on January 13, 2010 a free will defense of abortion by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:

In a recent interview with Eleanor Clift in Newsweek magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Speaker Pelosi replied, in part: “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have the opportunity to exercise their free will.”

Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond. For this reason I believe it is important for me as Archbishop of San Francisco to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches about free will, conscience, and moral choice.

Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that the human person, endowed with freedom, is “an outstanding manifestation of the divine image.” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 17) As the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, makes so beautifully clear, God did not want humanity to be mere automatons, but to have the dignity of freedom, even recognizing that with that freedom comes the cost of many evil choices.

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5 Responses to Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

  • So what next? Nice statement and all, but what hapens, in the highly probable event that this goes in one Pelosi’s ear and out the other (there being nothing in between to catch it)? What will he do when she comes back with some form of I politely disagree but must follow my own reason and conscience which tells me campaign fund– I mean, a women’s right to choose, is an inviolable right necessary for her dignity?

  • To answer the question posed by the title of this post: No.

  • What a great statement by the bishop! And thanks for posting it in its entirety, Donald.

  • Thank you Pinky!

  • Even though Speaker Pelosi may not take the archbishops instruction, this is a positive sign that many bishops in America are finally defending life in a public manner in the correct circumstances.

    Especially from this archbishop who is breaking the stereotype of a “personally orthodox” but “episcopally lax” mold a la Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

"I agree with the Church in principle, but …"

Friday, January 8, AD 2010

Last week I posted a reaction to House Speaker Pelosi’s interview in Newsweek (cross-posted to First Things‘ “First Thoughts”). Perusing the comments, I discovered that the author of No Hidden Magenta — a blog with the daunting task of “bridging the gap between ‘Red and Blue State’ groupthink” — has responded with fury and dismay:

At least one reason why neither the Pope nor the Archbishop have denied Pelosi Holy Communion–despite having ample opportunity to do so–is because prudential judgments about how best to reflect a moral principle in public policy involved technical considerations of practical reason that do not go to the heart of what it means to be a Roman Catholic; in other words, they are not about the central value at stake. If Speaker Pelosi believes that abortion is a positive good that should be promoted by the state (rather than as a privacy right for all women) that is one thing (and her recent actions with regard to Stupak suggest that she doesn’t think this), but there are any number of good reasons for supporting less-than-perfect public policy as she claims to be doing in trying to reduce the number of abortions while not supporting an abortion ban. …

Now, we can and should have debate about this question–and I think Pelosi is profoundly mistaken in her position on public policy–but let’s be clear: both the Pope and her Archbishop do not think such a position puts her status as a Roman Catholic or as a communicant in jeopardy. And those who think it does would do well to follow their example in distinguishing between ‘moral principle’ and ‘public policy.’

I’m relieved that the author believes Pelosi is “profoundly mistaken” in her position on public policy. I’m less convinced, however, that “the Pope and her Archbishop do not think such a position puts her status as a Roman Catholic or as a communicant in jeopardy”, and the author’s explanation for why they allegedly do not think so.

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6 Responses to "I agree with the Church in principle, but …"

  • How could anyone say she accepts Church teaching on the matter?

    Pelosi: “I would say that as an ardent practicing Catholic this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is over the centuries the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said three months. We don’t know. The point is it that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to chose.”

    Aside from her deficient understanding of Augustine and the Church(speaking as charitably as possible), she still negates her argument by the last line. “A women’s right to choose [killing her unborn child]” is not a Catholic concept and is clearly at odds with the Church (including Augustine and the other Doctors – not to mention that the Doctors aren’t the Magesterium either).

    Many bishops published corrections of Pelosi’s transparent theological hack job and there is nothing to indicate she was persuaded.

  • There may be several ways to exercise prudential judgment on how best to reflect the principle that abortion is evil in a specific public policy. But proposing and voting for legislation to keep it legal at all stages for any reason, refusing others to exercise their own conscience in opposing it, and getting it publicly funded ain’t one of them.

  • Public policy is crouched in the public good and unity. The good for the public could mean a need for euthanasia. We see these ideas put forth in the heathcare debate. Some illness are way too expensive at the end of life. So Ms Pelosi is saying she can separate ethical and moral discernment when it envolves public policy. What upsets me is that her ideas confuse her own beliefs in principle and she tell us we should follow her way.

  • W Posh,

    The public (common) good does not call for a moral evil. Euthanasia is such and is not consistent with the common good.

    Now it will in fact be that there will need to be limits on health care. Individuals will disagree with what should be covered for all and what some may pay for out of their own resources. These distinctions can be in concordance with the common good. But setting those limits is different that actively seeking to kill a person.

  • Pelosi, and others seem to be trying to justify themselves into Heaven. Isn’t this whole piece about relativism? 2 + 2 = 4, for ever and always – that’s a truth. God issued a COMMANDMENT, not a suggestion, which states (as near as we can tell) “thou shalt not murder” – that’s also a truth. No matter when you think life begins, if you plan and act to cause that life to cease, then you have committed a grave ( we used to use the more descriptive term “MORTAL”) sin. It doesn’t matter what your religion, it is STILL a Mortal Sin.

    Remember, God created us with free will. In the Garden, we exercised that free will, and turned our backs on God, chosing to follow the creator of lies. Why do we STILL follow those who justify their lies to us? At the end of our lives, and for all time, we will be in Heaven or Hell, Forever.

  • I agree with you marvin the only reason they changed the name to grave is people thought that mortal was to harsh… why is that so hard? dont like it? then don’t sin..

On the troubles within the ELCA

Monday, September 7, AD 2009

I attended a Lutheran (ELCA) college, where I majored in theology and philosophy. Much of my junior and senior year, however, were spent engaged in study of Catholic teaching (thanks to the fortunate discovery of Dorothy Day and Cardinal Ratzinger), culminating in my conversion.

In much the same manner as my familial background leads me, even as a convert, to take an interest in Mennonite affairs, I try to stay abreast of Lutheran matters and Lutheran-Catholic relations.

News of late has made for rather grim reading.

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12 Responses to On the troubles within the ELCA

  • Wonderfully put, Chris. Thank you for this.

  • I really feel for many Lutherans of the ELCA. I’ve met and known a few that would almost be indistinguishable from Catholics, yet seem embedded with their respective churches within the ELCA.

    It will be interesting to see the fall-out of this.

    You may be able to answer this for me, but isn’t the Missouri Synod the more orthodox of all the branches of Lutheranism in the United States?

  • I guess that would depend on who you asked! I’d give the distinction of being the most ‘orthodox’ Lutheran denomination to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church (WELS). I’m sure someone from the LCMS would have a different opinion.

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  • I was born and raised in the LCMS, and converted to the Catholic Church 6 yrs ago for all the reasons you talk about in your post. The LCMS has no more intrinsic resources to resist these issues than any other branch of Lutheranism, and will eventually succumb. As you point out, all this is a result of the very nature of protestantism.
    “The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age”–G. K. Chesterton

  • Speaking of Lutherans, as someone posted on Free Republic:

    The formation of the ELCA is what nudged Fr. Richard John Neuhaus into the Catholic Church. At the time, he said that the merger was not based on theological principle or belief, but was merely a material merger for material reasons—like a merger of Wal-Mart and K-Mart.

    Neuhaus said he had always viewed the Lutheran “Church” as the Lutheran “Movement” within the universal Church. After the formation of the ELCA, he could not maintain that view—of Lutheranism as a principle-based movement within the Church.

    While the characterization of “communion” or, better, “movement” can be useful, I find it more productive to use the phrase “separated religious order” for such ecclesial structures.

  • Sad. I hope Lutherans come to peace and prayerfully consider full communion.

  • Daniel – I see we share a similar concern. Welcome, and thank you for commenting. (Thank you everybody else as well).

    Carl Braaten is among those who emphasize the ‘catholicity’ of the Reformation (see The Catholicity of the Reformation) and what we have in common. My former teachers were of the same mind; one of them, Bishop Michael McDaniel (RIP) founded the ongoing Aquinas-Luther conference. He was also a good friend of Fr. Neuhaus. His memoirs — “ELCA Journeys: Personal Reflections on the Last Forty Years” — is a chronicle of the organization’s decline. I expect if McDaniel were alive today he’d have a few choice words for what was happening. 😉

    As Carl Braaten also observed in 2005, the ELCA has experienced something of a ‘brain drain’ with the sheer number of distinguished Lutheran scholars moving either to Eastern Orthodoxy or the Catholic Church. His anguished ‘open letter’ to Bishop Mark Hanson on the current state of the ELCA in 2005 is heart-breaking:

    … All of these colleagues have given candid explanations of their decisions to their families, colleagues, and friends. While the individuals involved have provided a variety of reasons, there is one thread that runs throughout the stories they tell. It is not merely the pull of Orthodoxy or Catholicism that enchants them, but also the push from the ELCA, as they witness with alarm the drift of their church into the morass of what some have called Liberal Protestantism. They are convinced that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has become just another liberal protestant denomination. Hence, they have decided that they can no longer be a part of that. Especially, they say, they are not willing to raise their children in a church that they believe has lost its moorings in the great tradition of evangelical (small e) and catholic (small c) orthodoxy (small o), which was at the heart of Luther’s reformatory teaching and the Lutheran Confessional Writings. They are saying that the Roman Catholic Church is now more hospitable to confessional Lutheran teaching than the church in which they were baptized and confirmed. Can this possibly be true?

    As Bratten acknowledges, a number of theologians have answered that question in the affirmative.

  • This is truly one of those issues of where the theological and institutional rubber meets the road. As a lifelong Catholic, I have always seen the wisdom of not merely relying on one’s own interpretation of the Bible as the sole compass for moral decisions. As the author says, “it finally comes down to who who has the authority to interpret and apply them in changing times.”

    However there is also the other side of the coin. The opposite of relativism is absolutism. Truth is not always best served by only one end of the spectrum. The opposite of libertarianism is authoritarianism. Authority is not always best served if it is concentrated at either extreme. We may revel in the elegance found in the authority of the Magisterium, but that authority, I believe, has been corrupted at times in history. Lutherans lost the good, but they also lost some of the bad (paying indulgences) and I don’t think the Magisterium was very helpful to Galileo or moral when killing heretics, so we need to be honest. As much as it pains me to say this, I think our constitution might not have been nearly as revolutionary or democratic if it had been more influenced by the Magisterium of the day.

    I may be wrong about this, but modern capitalism and limited government comes more from Protestant than Catholic traditions.

    That said I see the limitations of the solas, moral relativism and I look forward to learning more from the links that Christopher supplied, thank you!

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16 Responses to Importance of Natural Law

  • Tim

    I am not sure drawing some fire is accurate. I think the prior threads were dealing with must there be a Natural Law interpretation of the Const via a Catholic Judge.

    As I stated before I would like to see a robust Natural Law Jurisprudence. However I think you are putting too much on the Judical branch. What about the legislative branch where laws are made. No doubt there were anti slavery Judges. But they did not think they could outlaw slavery by Judicial fiat because their power and authority came by this compromise.

    The Supreme Court is the weakest branch. They have no power to tax and no armies to enforce their rulings. They must have the integrity of their work to make their rulings have a binding force.

    I read Rice’s book soon after I converted and it was great. It should be noted that the main guy that was attacking Thomas on this at the time is now our current Catholic Vice President. It should also be noted that on the “right” that the little toad Damon Linker that got a job at First Things has declared over and over in his book and in his forum at New Republic that Nehaus and others were trying to do a Catholic Theocracy through the back door through “natural law”.

    It has been on the most part Evangelicals I hate to say that have been saying that was silliness. Many Catholics because Neuhaus had the sin of liking Republicans have been silent and just yell chareges of NEO CON.

    I am all for Natural Law jurisprudence and I think it is happening. But there must be a very much big defense of it. That is not happening. The Thomas heraing were a great example of it. I watched that non stop. THe Catholic Church was largely AWOL. Maybe because he was a Bush Choice.

    THe point is if you want a Natural Law viewpoint then go to the legislature. If we know anything about this court whether conservative or liberal they give the legislative branch the benefit of the doubt 9 times out of ten. And that goes for the most conservative of Justices

  • Last summer I heard a talk by one of America’s most noted writers on Catholic social teachings in which he claimed that these teachings have never been codified in a systematic way. When I asked him about the Compendium, he brushed off the question with “Well, I suppose.” But in fact, his work never cites the Compendium.

    I suspect the problem is the organizational pattern of the Compendium which, following Gaudium et spes, puts family life before political and economic issues and argues that the natural family, founded on marriage, is the essential basis for a just social order. Too many Catholics who claim to favor social justice seem to reject that principle as out of keeping with modern life.

  • While natural law is true and is written on the hearts of me, the hearts of men are imperfect even assuming only the noblest of intentions. Thus, the discernment of natural law must be subject to a process with assigned responisbilities, lest it be determined simply by the strongest. In a constitutional federal republic that task is assigned to legislators, not judges. Judges who make decisions based on their understanding of natural law at the expense of the positive laws made by legislators are acting themselves as lawmakers and thereby usurping that function. Under the US system of governance and justice, it is the role of voting citizens to elect representatives who they believe are skilled at discerning natural law such that positive law can reflect natural law as much as humanly possible. Empowering judges to act as lawmakers is not only inimical to our system of government, it greatly limits the power of a citizen to work to ensure that natural law prevails through the legislative process. Roe v. Wade is a vital example. Judges, by ignoring positive law (the plain text of our Constitution), made horribly bad law and thereby removed from the people and their elected representatives the practical power to correct it. Natural law is a vital part of Catholic teaching, but the discernment process largely rests with voters and their elected representatives, not judges.

  • As usual, I will merely say put me down for what Mike Petrik said!

  • ron,

    I think many of our fellow Catholics don’t hold much for viewing the family as the foundational unit of society. Chalk that up to divorce and contraception.

    I think the central “problem” of CST is that much of it is influenced by current economic and sociological thinking. John Paul notes this in I believe Solicitudo Rei Socialis. Thus there are the limits on infallibility that the Compendium itself notes in its preface. However some take the Compendium as an infallible program for all of society.

  • Well- I don’t think you can sidestep the moral responsibility of Judges with the dodge that American law is set up for legislative action, not judicial. The Magisterium speaks over and over for a just juridical framework to guarantee as best we can the common good- to include even the global economy. The Church is far more in favor of international law for example than most of those I hear who are self-described “conservatives”. I really believe that those who ignore such things as the Compendium are really just the flip side of the liberal dissidents who ignore the Hierarchy and the social doctrine when it becomes inconvenient. The Left will trot out the popes when the subject is war, but then ignore or belittle the significanse of the popes when the subject turns to sexuality, for example. The Right likes to try to collapse the terms “conservative” and “orthodox”, but it seems that many such Catholics usually resort to the prudential judgment line, or they belittle the importance of such things as the Compendium because I believe any serious reading of the entire social doctrine will not make “conservatives” sleep easy at night if they are indeed going around claiming orthodoxy and conservatism simultaneously.

    I don’t think you can read what the Compendium says about the essential need to base our communities and legal systems on natural law reasoning- and then go ahead and claim that well yes, but this isn’t necessary to include our Judges or Supreme Court in all of this. You must be saying that the Catholic social doctrine is wrong because I don’t find that kind of wiggle room in the official documents. The Judges have always been on the hook since Old Testament days- basic justice gentlemen- don’t hide behind American Federalism- that is a Pontius Pilate strategy. I point to the Compendium as an orthodox Catholic, not as a liberal or conservative, how can any orthodox Catholic ignore something that is authoritative and not so vague as many would like to claim? It reminds me of a question I often ask of my students- which label is more important to you- American or Catholic? I know a lot of Catholics want to be successful in this world, they want to find a way to have it both ways- even in politics and law. Scalia, Thomas, Bork et al feel confident they have found a way to be good Catholics, but leave that Catholicity at home when they go to work as Supreme Court Justices- I wouldn’t take that bet, not with my eternal soul. Catholic justices should not recuse themselves on important issues, but they shouldn’t deny the political implications of being Catholic, anymore than Catholic politicians of the Left or Right should. This is the central problem as to why our American Church is in such disarray, with two petty warring liberal and conservative little camps grabbing for power and attention in the mass media and big time politics. I think it is time to be truly faithful to the Magisterium and the official teachings, and let the chips fall, let the persecutions happen, and just find a way to support our large families, and keep growing our numbers and influence.

    If something is taught by the ordinary Magisterium then there is an obligation of religious assent, one should never openly disregard or publicly negate that teaching.

  • Tim, you really haven’t offered a concrete way for Catholic Judges to approach the issues and apply the natural law. You dodged my questions about homosexual actions and contraceptive use. Is a judge simply to disregard the Constitution and apply simply his or her own conception of the natural law, even if said conception may in fact be out of whack with the natural law? Non-Catholic Justices may believe that the 9th Amendment is a grant of natural law, and as such may feel inclined to uphold abortion rights as being a part of the natural law.

    As Mike alluded to above, our conceptions of the natural law are hardly uniform, even amongst Catholics. The Constitution, while admitting of various interpretations itself, is still a concrete written law visible to all. Where is the justice in submitting our Constitutional rights to the hands of nine Judges, whose conception of the natural law may differ mightily from mine? My legal recourse is much more limited when I’m basically trusting that the Justice is well-trained philosophically and theologically.

    Now, again, it’s true that we can have differing interpretations of the constitutional text, but that is a clearly written text that admits of less ambiguity (unless your William O. Douglas, and the thing means whatever you think it means).

    Your rhetoric is also fairly insulting in its implication that anyone who doesn’t exactly see the issue exactly as you do is, in a sense, heretical and opposed to the Magisterium. No, we just don’t see the Compendium as an affirmative grant that judicial bodies should ignore the written text of the law. Furthermore, it’s not a dodge to say that the focus of our attention should be on the legislative branch. I think our focus on the Courts is rather unfortunate. We should not constantly seek the Court as a last refuge against an out-of-control legislative branch.

  • Tim,
    You are simply ignoring the importance of process. It is true that CST requires that societies adopt legal frameworks that are in accord with natural law, but in the end we still need to determine who gets to decide. Under our system that responsibility rests with the legislatures representing the citizenry, not judges. One might create a system under which judges made laws in accordance with their natural law discernments, but that is not our system. For example, judges could just consider their understanding of natural law as a kind of super-constitution under which all other laws must yield. While certainly not the system envisioned by our nation’s founders, including the constitution’s framers, it could be done. I think, however, you would be appalled at the result. Think Roe.
    In any event, the decision as to where lawmaking responsibility (and the corresponding responsiblity to ensure that such laws are in keeping with natural law) is a prudential matter, with the most important prudential question being which system is most likely to yield good and just laws in the long run. You may disagree with my prudential application (and also the view of most principled legal scholars), and that is your right. But it is not a dodge, and I resent the accusation.

  • I meant to type “… the decision as to where lawmaking responsiblity (and the corresponding responsiblity to ensure that such laws are in keeping with natural law) *should best rest* is a prudential matter, ….”

  • Originalism *has* to include Natural Law, since Natural Law is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and in the Bill of Rights.

    The question is whether the Natural Law is enforced at the state or federal level. For example, the 14th Amendment guarantees that the right to life cannot be taken away without due process.

    However, murder is not a federal offense. The federal government’s job is to make sure the states are following Natural Law.

  • I think the thing to keep in mind here, Tim, is the difficulties of application in a real-world mass society with a diverse citizenry.

    In our modern world, with only 20% of US citizens even claiming to be Catholic (and fewer still thinking with the Church in any meaningful sense), clearly a lot of people would be making flawed assessments of what natural law is. The concept of positive law and it’s place in liberal democracy is based on acknowledging this doubt and attempting to work around it in such a way as to injure or outrage the fewest people possible. Rather than having every judgement be the result solely of the presiding judge’s personal understanding of what natural law demands, our system of government requires that citizens and the legislators they elect hash out what they believe to be justice, and then pass positive laws reflecting whatever compromise they reach. Judges are then required to apply those laws to individual circumstances — but not to ignore the laws, even if those laws violate their own ideas of justice.

    On the one hand, it’s very tempting to say, “If a judge has the power to right an injustice, why should he let the law stop him?” On the other, if we dispense with law entirely and simply rely upon judges to make the most just ruling in each circumstance (in effect, reverting to a village-wise-man order of society) we can still be sure that justice will not be done most of the time (because judges will frequently err in discerning the moral law) but not it will err in an unpredictable fashion that we have no ability to change.

    Essentially, the positive law compromise is one of admitting that not every judgement will be just, but giving the citizenry a means for bringing the positive law closer in tune with the natural law if only they can agree to do so. The other approach gives no means to the citizenry for bringing judgements more in tune with the natural law, but puts all reliance on the personal discernment of the judges.

  • Tim,

    First, while the Church teaches that men through the natural law can know right, there is no official Church teaching on exactly how natural law works in a speculative or practical way (see Rice 50 Questions on Natural Law #35)

    Second, not all teachings in the Compendium take part in the ordinary Magisterium. The quote from the introduction to the Compendium is:

    “In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority. Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved.”

    As there are differing levels of teaching authority (not all of the ordinary Magisterium) there will certainly be some where there can be legitimate questions by faithful Catholics.

  • Gentlemen- my goal is to get everyone reading from the same page so to speak- I understand that natural law interpretations can get a bit messy- in private life as well as public- but we must acknowledge natural law reality and the duty we have to attempt to discern the basic justice in every situation. If something gets to the Supreme Court then I expect the Justices to deal with it if there is a basic injustice exposed- recall how the Supreme Court “ocnservatives” established that the Gore/Bush election was a one time deal, not something to set a new “doctrine”- they took all the information into account I assume and rendered a decision based on a common sense of justice and what was for the common good.

    I don’t mean to insult anyone here- but I do think that all outspoken political Catholics should be “in love” with the Compendium of the Social Doctrine- I can’t relate to those who aren’t to be honest. My conversion came about in large measure due to my honest reading of the social encyclicals- I found the same Spirit that animates Scripture, continuing that work to help us navigate through the necessary social-political waters- where modern society has become so interconnected, it was reasonable that Christ’s Church would develop a strong social teaching doctrinal base. As long as all orthodox CAtholics are struggling with the actual teachings on the books then I am content- for my own vision is not perfect. I do think that even though the Compendium contains original teachings from various sources within the Magisterium, the fact that the particular teaching or advice has been chosen to be included in the official Compendium adds weight to that idea. I apologize for any insulting tone I may have taken earlier- my primary point of passion is the fact that our conservative Supreme Court members are dodging abortion as though their hands were tied- and I understand their logic, but reject it because I believe natural law in this case trumps the positive law of the moment.

  • Where in the NT is natural alluded to? It’s a passage something like: you knew right from wrong before I told you….etc.

    Anybody know?

  • I meant ‘natural law’ alluded to….