Which of the "liturgies" below are closest to the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church and her pontiff, the WomynPriest's "mass" or the Episcopalian Liturgy or the SSPX Mass and which group do Catholics in union with Rome have the closest ties when it comes to the actual dogmas, doctrines and morals of the Catholic Church???????????? Just wondering!
MY COMMENTS FIRST: Prostitution makes strange bed fellows. In the longer article, which you can read HERE, Indie Theology, Essays on Religion, Faith and Spirituality by Michele Madigan Somerville, she tries to justify President Obama's foray into destroying the religious liberty of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution, precisely because it is an institutional Church, by saying that because so many Catholics in good conscience dissent from Church doctrine and the Obama Administration has given more money to Catholic institutions that serve the poor than even President Bush, we shouldn't be too hard on him by calling him anti-religious. This is really about selling one's soul to government and specifically to the Democrat Party like the prostitute sells her body (or his) to the John. Is this what it has come to? Progressive Catholics who have a heart for the poor support a president because he gives money to the poor all the while trampling on religious freedom, doing his best to undermine the actual unique truths of the Church regardless of whether these truths are believed by actual Catholics? This longer article is simply a political ploy to further divide and conquer the Catholic Church, which the Obama administration and his Johns are very good at doing and beginning at Notre Dame, infecting not only the clergy but many women's religious orders.
LET ME MAKE THIS CRYSTAL CLEAR, THERE IS NOTHING UNIQUELY CATHOLIC OR CHRISTIAN ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE OR HELPING THE POOR. ACTS OF CHARITY AND CONCERN FOR THE POOR ARE IMPRINTED IN THE SOUL OF EVERYONE MADE IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD, SO MUCH SO THAT AN ATHEIST WOULD FEEL RIGHT AT HOME WORKING FOR CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES OR A CATHOLIC SOUP KITCHEN OR A CATHOLIC HOSPITAL. AND NON CHRISTIANS SOMETIMES HAVE BETTER ORGANIZATIONS TO HELP THE POOR THAN CATHOLICS. BUT WHAT IS UNIQUE TO CATHOLICISM ARE THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH AND THE UNDERPINNINGS OF OUR MORAL TEACHINGS AND OUTREACH WHICH INCLUDES RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE FROM CONCEPTION UNTIL NATURAL DEATH AND RESPECT FOR NATURAL LAW. AND WE ALL KNOW THAT NATURAL LAW (WHICH UNDER GIRDS HUMANAE VITAE) IS ACCESSIBLE TO ALL PEOPLE, NOT JUST CATHOLICS!)
Ms. Sommerville seems to think too, that if a Catholic with a flawed conscience believes immoral behavior to be good based on situational ethics of the '60's, that then it must be good. It's almost like calling God evil and comes terribly close to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit because isn't that like calling Good, the Ultimate Good, evil when we declare our personal conscience which has judged evil to be good trumps objective Good and Truth? But even that will not be the point of my comments below--read on!
But I want to focus on Ms. Somerville's religious nonsense not her political partisanship. Ms. Somerville describes in the quotes I have posted below that there are two "cult-like" extremes in the Church today (I might ask if religious orders in general are cult-like to a certain extent, but I better not go there). For example SSPX is compared to WomynPriests as two polar extremes. But are they really? Shouldn't WomymPriests be compared to the Unitarian Church when it comes to the truths of the Catholic Church and SSPX be compared to the Eastern Orthodox Churches? WomynPriests as all far left organizations that claim some Catholic "roots" has left classical Christianity in all its forms since the Great Schism. Whereas SSPX has simply done what the Eastern Church did, break with Rome and the papacy over jurisdiction and finer points of theology concerning ecclesiology, ecumenism, interfaith relationships and liturgical form, none of which are foundational to Catholicism I might add. The Orthodox are Catholic in almost every way that Catholics are Catholics except they do not accept the Pope has having jurisdiction over them. And unlike the SSPX, the Orthodox accept no ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church that occurred after the Great Schism nor any papal pronouncements after that time. That is not the case with SSPX who simply questions some aspects of Vatican II which the Church herself as described as a "pastoral Council" not a dogmatic Council! While that is serious for the full communion of the Church, it is not as serious as Catholics becoming like radical liberal Protestants or Episcopalians who have moved toward Unitarianism or Catholics who have actually become post-Christian as Unitarians are and would describe themselves as such. THAT IS A HUMONGOUS BIG DIFFERENCE.
Whether or not SSPX is brought back into the full communion of the Church remains to be seen. Opus Dei is in Full Communion as are the Legionaries of Christ with all their problems (and I might add the Jesuits probably have bigger and more serious problems than the Legionaries do, but as progressives the Jesuits get away with it. Isn't there always a double standard when it comes to judging traditionalists and progressives, politically and religiously)?
When it comes to ecumenism, I'd much prefer to have it with the SSPX than I would with the Unitarians and Episcopalians. At least with the SSPX at a joint ecumenical prayer service at any time of the year, permission could easily be had for us to celebrate the Eucharist jointly and receive Holy Communion with each other although I recognize that it would have to be in the context of an EF Mass in their parish, but I suspect if the SSPX reciprocated ecumenically with us, that many of them would come to our churches to a more classically celebrated OF Mass and gladly receive Holy Communion. Can we do that with any Protestant denomination? And technically if the Orthodox would agree to it and they don't now, we could do the same with the Orthodox in terms of the Eucharist. But enough of my rant, read the silly quotations below from Ms. Sommerville:
...In the thirty years that have elapsed, I've observed over and over again how such departures from Roman Catholic doctrine (It is not just nuns either. I more often observe it in priests.) are not unusual. It comes as no surprise to me that our Vice President should be in favor of same-sex marriage, that Georgetown would contract Kathleen Sebelius to address its community, that Andrew Cuomo should sign off on same-sex marriage. So rogue are most Roman Catholics when it comes to papal teaching, that Catholic dissidence often seems the norm. When a discerning Catholic breaks with doctrine, it is generally seeking acting accordance with his or her conscience, which, according to Ratzinger's own words, "has to be obeyed first of all, if need be against the demands of church authority." ( "Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II", ed. Vorgrimler, 1968, on Gaudium et spes, Part 1, Chapter 1.)
...Ultra-traditional Catholicism is flourishing somewhat in the United States. Some of these groups don't even recognize the pontiff and have been choking on what they call the Novus Ordo (new, Vactican II mass) for fifty years. For many of these "orthodox" Catholics, the abortion issue as the single most urgent political aspect of the presidential race. They see themselves as crusaders in a holy war to arrest the genocide of "preborn" children. If any Catholics can be trusted with fighting to bring secular law in line with Roman Catholic doctrine it is Catholics who belong to groups like Opus Dei, Legionaries of Christ, the Traditionalists (Mel Gibson's group!) and SPPX (Society of Pope Pius X).
New Yorkers are often surprised to hear that Opus Dei has a thriving presence on college campuses in New York City, but they shouldn't be. It's how cults operate. I'm old enough to remember the Hare Krishnas in New York City; I knew people who joined the Unification Church (Sun Myung Moon) in the 1970's. What better place to find naïve, open-hearted soul-searchers than on a college campus? Although they like to think of themselves as the true Roman Catholics, Opus Dei, Legionaries of Christ and the Society of Pope Pius X are marginal, not mainstream. Their counterparts, on the opposite end of the Roman Catholic spectrum are groups like (LGBT Dignity) Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and New Ways Ministry (LGBT). They too are marginal.
SPPX was founded by Marcel Lefebvre whom Pope John Paul II excommunicated in 1988. (Joseph Ratzinger ex-excommunicated Lefebvre's followers,"Lefebvrists" in 2009, but ex-excommunicated them in 2009.) SPPX Catholics believe that Roman Catholic Womenpriests are not real Catholics and the feeling is mutual. (Indeed SPPX questions whether any outside of their group are authentic Roman Catholics.) Ironically, SSPX Catholics and New Ways Ministry LGBT Catholics have in common a lack allegiance to the current pope. Sacramentally speaking, all the fringe groups are Catholic because they've all been baptized. They've been excommunicated, too, but excommunication doesn't retain much sting once the excommunicated vastly outnumber the non-excommunicated Catholics.
John Paul II erected a prelature for Opus Dei shortly after becoming pope in 1982. For some of the same reasons, perhaps, Ratzinger welcomed the officially "schismatic," excommunicated Lefebvrists back into the fold in 2009. Joseph Ratzinger knows that the ultra "orthodox" Catholic groups are very useful when it comes to holding liturgical and doctrinal ground. Many Vatican experts believe the recent changes in the mass were a kind of Valentine to these true Catholic believers.