Tuesday, January 7, 2014


 Posted by me at 1:15 PM EST, Tuesday, Jan. 7

[This is sure to send chills down the spine of the National Chismatic Reporter, for this Jesuit priest is one of their columnists also!]

Father John Dear, SJ(not the tractor) Jesuit known for peace witness, dismissed from order [with direct, let me say that again, direct approval of Pope Francis I]

Joshua J. McElwee | Jan. 7, 2014


(MY COMMENTS FIRST! If you think Pope Francis is a liberal wuss, think again! Haven't I been saying Pope Francis is the most populist but orthodox pope and quite willing to back up his authority with action? Also, below this story is another from John Allen at the same NCR, about another Jesuit clarifying what the pope says and that the traditionalists and heterodox progressives are both using him to divide the Church! Do you think Pope Francis asked for the clarification from this Jesuit? And finally, NCR has finally turned off their comment box that has had some of the most vile, heterodox comments of any Catholic publication on the internet. I can feel their pain, although my commenters aren't quite as vile, but some get close!)

A popular U.S. Catholic priest and author known for his peace writings and some 75 arrests for civil disobedience actions across the country has been dismissed from the international Jesuit religious order, which says he was "obstinately disobedient" to its directives.

Removal of Fr. John Dear caps 32 years in the order for the priest, who has been known for protesting a wide range of issues, including U.S. policies on Latin America, nuclear weapons development, and the cooperation of Jesuit educational institutions with American military recruiting programs such as the ROTC.

The dismissal also raises the specter of Pope Francis, the first head of the Catholic church to belong to the Jesuit order, having to confirm the dismissal of one of the order's members.

Dear, a longtime NCR columnist, writes about the dismissal in his weekly column, posted Tuesday. He writes that he is leaving "with a heavy heart ... because the Society of Jesus in the U.S. has changed so much since I entered in 1982 and because my Jesuit superiors have tried so hard over the decades to stop my work for peace."

Dear also made available to NCR copies of letters from both the Jesuit headquarters in Rome and the Vatican congregation responsible for matters concerning religious life, notifying him of his dismissal. The specific charge against Dear listed in the documents is his refusal to live in a Jesuit community in Baltimore.

The decree from the Jesuits, signed by the order's international superior general, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, and dated June 19, says Dear has been "obstinately disobedient to the lawful order of Superiors in a grave matter."

Dear, Nicolás states, "was duly informed ... that his failure to obey the command that he return to the specified house of the Order by a specified date would be cause for his dismissal from the Society of Jesus."

Nicolás says the matter came to the attention of the Jesuit officials in Rome following a request for action from the Maryland province of the order, one of seven provinces the order maintains in the U.S. and the one in which Dear became a Jesuit.

Nicolás says he and five other members of the Jesuits' international council then held a vote on whether to dismiss Dear, which resulted in a unanimous vote for dismissal.

[MY COMMENT, THE REAL BOMBSHELL, THIS IS FROM POPE FRANCIS!!!!!!]:  A separate letter from the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, dated Oct. 14, confirms the Jesuits' decree of dismissal but also asks for confirmation of the decree from Francis.

While canon law does not specify that a pope must confirm a priest's dismissal from a religious order, one canon lawyer contacted for background speculated that Francis' approval might be required in the matter because of a special vow of obedience some Jesuits can choose to make to the pope.

In his column Tuesday, Dear says he decided to stop living at the Jesuits' community in Baltimore, choosing to return to living at a previous assignment in New Mexico because the provincial of the Maryland province, Jesuit Fr. James Shea, did not arrange an appropriate assignment for him in the Baltimore area.

In an emailed statement to NCR Monday, Shea said Dear was dismissed from the order as of Dec. 20 "following an extended period of dialogue between the leadership of the Maryland Province and John regarding his ministerial assignment and time he requested to discern his vocation."

"The process was initiated in the fall of 2012 after John declined to return to his Province to live in a Jesuit community while continuing his ministry of peace and social justice, including lecturing and writing," Shea wrote.

Dear lived in New Mexico, where he previously served as pastor of five parishes in the archdiocese of Santa Fe, until 2011, when Shea ordered him to return to Baltimore, the headquarters of the Maryland province.

Dear joined the Jesuits in 1982 and was ordained a priest in 1993, celebrating his first Mass at Washington's now-closed St. Aloysius Jesuit church, which sits just a few blocks north of the U.S. Capitol.

His 2008 autobiography, A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World, described a frequently tense relationship between him and his superiors in different postings.

Early in his time in the order, he garnered critique for his protest of the presence of a military recruiter at a Jesuit high school in Scranton, Pa., where he was serving as a teacher in the mid-'80s. More recently, he says he received incensed letters from parishioners in New Mexico over homilies he directed at employees of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a facility in the nation's nuclear weapons complex.

Other Jesuits who have served as Dear's superiors in the past said the priest was a good member of the order, if a bit headstrong at times.

Jesuit Fr. George Murphy, who as the rector of the order's community in Berkeley, Calif., from 1985 to 1991 oversaw Dear while he attended the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, said he thought Dear was "a fine man."

"I think he was a little impulsive and I suspect he's still got a bit of that of him -- but he's just got a keen sense of justice and a desire for peace in the world," said Murphy, who recalled attending a protest with Dear in San Francisco in 1989 following the killing of several Jesuits by U.S.-trained soldiers at the order's Central American University in El Salvador.

"I know he's had trouble with superiors at different points in his life," said Murphy, the director of spiritual formation at Jesuit-run Santa Clara University. "And I suspect he always will. He's the kind of guy that I would like to give leeway to."

Jesuit Fr. Edward Glynn, who oversaw Dear as provincial of the Maryland province from 1990 to 1996, said while he was not privy to the conversations leading to the priest's dismissal by his successor as provincial, he had the "highest respect" for Dear.

Glynn recalled a visit from Dear when Dear was considering joining a protest at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C., in 1993.

Called a Plowshares action, one of a series against nuclear weapons taken by Catholic activists in the last three decades in reference to the biblical exhortation found to turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, the action saw Dear and three others symbolically hammer on a U.S. fighter jet before being arrested.

"He came to see me, and I went through the whole thing with him -- he has to live with the consequences, is he willing to spend time in jail, and what could happen to you in jail -- and he was willing, so I gave him permission to do it," Glynn said.

"Of course, I was thinking in the back of my head that after we have our first nuclear war, we're going to say, 'Where were we when John Dear and all these people were objecting to nuclear weapons?' " he said. "But John did what Jesuits should do -- he got permission, approval from me -- and then I visited him in jail."

Both Nicolás' decree and the confirmation from the Vatican congregation specify that while Dear has been dismissed from the Jesuits, he remains a priest. According to canon law, however, he cannot officially act in a priestly role unless he finds a bishop willing to receive Dear into the bishop's diocese.

Dear says in his column Tuesday he does not know if any U.S. bishops will welcome him into their diocese and he is unsure if he will remain a priest.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR national correspondent.

Francis 'manipulated' both by left and right, confidant says

 |  NCR Today

A recent comment by Pope Francis about educating the children of homosexual couples is being twisted both by the political right and left to suggest that the pontiff has waded into a debate over same-sex unions, according to a key papal confidant.

Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the influential journal Civiltà Cattolica, published a front-page essay in Tuesday's Corriere della Sera, Italy's paper of record, responding to widespread claims in the Italian media of an "opening" by Francis to legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

In fact, Spadaro wrote, Francis has no intention of "legitimizing any behavior that's inconsistent with the doctrine of the church."

The effort to twist the pope's words, Spadaro wrote, comes both "from his 'detractors' on the right, as well as those who exalt him in order to take advantage of him on the left." He called those efforts "misleading" and a form of "manipulation."

Spadaro insisted that comments by Francis to the effect that the children of gay couples shouldn't receive a "vaccine against the faith" do not imply any revision to church teaching on marriage.

"Mercy doesn't mean justifying sin, but tenderly reaching out to the humanity for which Christ went to the Cross," Spadaro wrote.

Spadaro was the architect of the blockbuster interview with Francis in September carried by Jesuit publications around the world, and it was also Spadaro who recently released extensive notes from the pope's Nov. 29 meeting with the superiors of men's religious orders.

The 47-year-old Spadaro, who's led Civiltà Cattolica since 2011, has been widely mentioned as a possible successor to Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi as the pope's top spokesman.

The current controversy began Saturday, when Spadaro released his notes from the pope's meeting with superiors. Among other highlights, Francis identified several challenges to education arising from changing family situations.

According to Spadaro's write-up, the pope described a situation that he faced as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina: "I remember the case of a sad little girl," Spadaro quoted Francis as saying, "who finally confided to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: 'My mother's fiancée doesn't like me.' "
In Italian, Francis used the feminine ending for "fiancée," making clear the reference was to a lesbian couple.

Reflecting on how to reach out to children living in such situations, Francis said, "We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against the faith to them."

Coincidentally, Italy is gearing up for a national debate over same-sex unions after the new leader of the center-left Democratic Party announced that support for legal recognition of those unions would be a component of the party's electoral platform.

In that context, several media outlets suggested Francis' comments amounted to an indirect "opening" to the idea.

In his essay, Spadaro referred to those claims as "misleading in understanding of what the pope actually said, and the great challenge that he laid out."

The real point Francis wanted to make, Spadaro wrote, is that "the church is called to respond to an enormous anthropological challenge" created by changing social situations and norms.

"The Christian educational challenge," Spadaro wrote, "consists in avoiding that the light of Christ remains only a distant memory for many, or, worse yet, that it stays in the hands of a small and elect crowd of the 'pure,' which would transform the church into a sect."

Spadaro's suggestion appeared to be that the pope does not intend to change doctrine, but rather to find new language to express that doctrine to people who no longer respond to traditional formulae.
This is not the first time Spadaro has tried to clarify a papal remark that originated in something he himself published.

When the Civiltà Cattolica interview appeared in September, one widely quoted line was Francis' insistence that "I have never been a right-winger."

Spadaro was later compelled to explain that what Francis meant was that he had never been a supporter of Argentina's military regime in the 1970s and '80s. The pope did not mean to locate himself, Spadaro said at the time, on the contemporary ideological spectrum.


zeke said...

From Antonio Scotti:
"Does the Pope know what they are doing (in his name) to the “Franciscans of the Immaculate”? Just two days ago Francis rightly stated that “ the Gospel is not proclaimed with beatings, but with love and kindness.”

Yet, without reason or wrongdoing on their part, the Franciscans of the Immaculate have been stormed, thrashed and trashed. They are razing to the ground one of the few religious orders which is orthodox and full of vocations (and which was esteemed and supported by Benedict XVI).

The worst thing is that the destruction is being perpetrated in the name of Francis. But is it possible that the Pope of kindness approves of these methods and persecution?"

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Zeke, I have no inside knowledge of the leadership of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, but I suspect the problem is in leadership style and financial irregularities and please God, nothing of the nature of Maciel of the Legionaries of Christ (not only in terms of his perverted proclivities, but also his cult-like status as a founder of a religious community). For the Vatican to carefully scrutinize orders, be they traditionalists like the Legionaries (at least very conservative) or the Franciscan, not to mention the LCWR is very important and no one should be alarmed.

qwikness said...

It's hard to find a picture of that guy wearing a Roman collar.

FrJBS said...

"This week, with a heavy heart, I am officially leaving the Jesuits after 32 years. After three years of discernment, I’m leaving because..."

Sounds like he thinks it was all his decision.

Pater Ignotus said...

Our Dear Fr JBS: It WAS his decision. He had to decide to do as his superior required or not to do as his superior required.

He made the decision to leave the Jesuits by not doing as his superior directed.

Relatedly: Is it God who decides to SEND a person to hell, or the person who, by his/her actions, separates him/herself from God, who makes the decision?

ytc/Cameron said...

Pater Ignotus, I think his comment was intended more along the lines that Fr. Dear was trying to make himself look like he was morally superior/saving face in the situation. In fact, if you read his article, the whole thing is riddled with an air of moral superiority.

This is a very unfortunate situation, but meh.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

NCR which consistently has had vile, anti-Catholic, vitriolic comments on all of its posts with comments, says it changed its policy to no comments after reporting on the funeral of a priest who had heterodox ministries to those with same sex attractions. The comments evidently were vile as it concerns this category of men and women.
However, I can't help but wonder if it also has to do with what has happened to one of their own columnists and what the comments would have been on that article and all negative toward their so-called hero Pope Francis that they have so manipulated into their corner.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Well, PI, God would confirm your decision to go to hell and would know if this decision is correct. Sometimes we make flawed decisions. So if anyone is in hell (meaning human person, not a demon) that person is there not by mistake but truly deserves it and we know that because God allowed it.

Henry said...

Fr. McDonald, I likewise have no inside knowledge of the leadership of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, but what I know of the order itself and of its work, raises a question whether there is indeed a problem within the order, or whether the problem lies outside the order.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - If a person is in hell it is 100% the person's decision, not God's.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - No decision to go to hell is a correct decision. A decision to separate oneself from all that is good for eternity cannot, in any way, shape, or form, be termed a "correct decision."

Yes, the person in hell deserves to be there, but the choice to act in a damning way was not, and could not be, a "correct" decision.

Gene said...

So, Ignotus, let me get this straight, if someone is in Hell it is 100% their decision. So, my will can supersede God's will? I have the power to thwart Grace, negate election, and overthrow God's will…hmmm, that sounds about right for you, Ignotus. However, it is pretty pitiful theology. LOL!

George said...


It is not the correct decision as far as where a person ought to be after this life.
All of us ought to be saved and in eternal bliss. It is however the correct decision of where
the person must be according to their spiritual disposition and the state of their soul. In this life and even at the point of death it can happen that a person in serious sin becomes contrite and repents and so is saved. The Divine Mercy of God according to St Faustina can still intervene through the intercessory prayers of others.
After death however there can be no change in one's eternal destiny. The die has been cast. The person at that point can make no other decision than the one that is made by the person according to the Judgement of God on how the person lived their life. Before the justice of God there can be no excuse so the person pronounces the sentence on them self. For some it will be purgatory, for others eternal perdition. For those who are in that state of sinless purity it will be entrance into the Beatific vision.

George said...

I would say that it is better not to use the word decision as it is normally use and applied.

A person gains Heaven because their will is in conformance God's will and their spiritual disposition conforms to the Divine love.
The person who ends up in Hell does so because their will after death becomes conformed to God's just judgement on the sinful state of their soul.
As Catherine of Siena wrote: "In hate they grasp at hell in the moment of their death."

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald said: “NCR which consistently has had vile, anti-Catholic, vitriolic comments on all of its posts with comments.”

The Catholic Church is no exception in this respect. It is a national disease and likely a global one too. Social media seem to give to many a license they would never dare exercise in a face-to-face encounter. Why is that? And is there a link with modern technological warfare, which nowadays often seems reminiscent of a video game, and our associated attitudes towards it?

Anonymous said...

Is it me or does that former Jesuit look like Tuker Carlson? He'll probably get a job on MSNBC. He should join that "Fr. Oprah" and put together an act. They could be headliners at The Palace. Who said vaudeville is dead.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes! That's who he reminds me of, he's just a bit fuller in the face, and what really, really, really sets me off and makes me jealous is that he has a fuller head of hair, the fullest! Of course, to off set this, he's full of, well, I won't go there.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Actually, the position I present is Catholic, not pitiful, theology. If you don't understand that, or if you reject that, you need to reconsider.

It is God's will that all be saved - the "universal salvific will" of God.

CCC 851: "It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on." Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"; that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation."

It is God's desire - God's will - that all be saved. There are those who, through sin, reject the offer of salvation.

St. John Chrysostom expresses it thusly: "God never compels anyone by necessity and force, but He wills that all be saved, yet does not force anyone. . . . How then are not all saved if He wills all to be saved? Because not everyone's will follows His will. He compels no one. But even to Jerusalem He says: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered your children together, but you were unwilling.'" And again in his homilies on the Epistle to the Ephesians: ". . . he greatly longs after, greatly desires our salvation." (St John Chrysostom, In Ephesios, cap. 1. Hom. 1, n. 2. PG 62.13.)

And St. Jerome: "He wills all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.' But, because no one is saved without his own will (for we have free will), He wants us to will good, so that when we do, He may will to fulfill in us His plan." (St. Jerome, In Ephes. 1.1.11. PL 26.485. )

And St. Prosper: "Likewise, he who says that God does not will all men to be saved, but [only] a certain number who are predestined, speaks more harshly than one should speak about the loftiness of the inscrutable grace of God, 'who wills all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth' and [who] fulfills the design of His will in those whom He predestined after foreknowing, called after predestining, justified after calling, glorified after justifying . . . so that those who are saved are saved for the reason that God wanted them to be saved, and those who perish, perish for the reason that they merited to perish." (St. Propser, Resp. ad capit. Galiorzum 8. PL 51.172. )

Yes, it is God will that all be saved; yes, there are those who thwart God's will by sinning mortally, thus rejecting the grace of salvation. By the choice to sin these individuals determine that they will spend eternity in hell.

That is what the Catholic Church teaches - that is what, I as always, I teach with the Church.

Gene said...

Ignotus, we are talking about the perfect and permissive will of God. We are all conformed to it, one way or another. We do not determine God's will by the choices we make. We are conformed to it by them. That is Augustine. Your language is careless and irresponsible…sort of like the Pope's.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - No, we do not determine God's will. I never said or suggested that we did.

You were wrong when you stated that we cannot "thwart" God's will. We thwart his will that all be saved when, by our own choices, we sin against His love and goodness.

You are wrong when, with dangerous imprecision, you say that we are conformed to God's will by the choices we make. When those choices are contrary to God's will we are most certainly NOT conformed to God's will, but to our own selfish, sinful inclinations.

Don't take my word for it - read what the Church teaches.

Carol H. said...


21 "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'"

The Gospel According to Matthew (Ignatius Bible)

This is a clear warning that not everyone who thinks they're on their way to heaven are actually going to get there.

Gene said...

Ignotus, everything is conformed to God's perfect and permissive will. Let me put it a different way…the choices we make conform us to God's perfect and permissive and omnipotent will. Even if our choice is counter to His incarnational will for us to be saved, it still conforms to His will for all eternity. We, our will…our choices..are not more powerful or determinative than God's will. This is called theology, Ignotus. Look under Doctrine of God.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - You stated that we do not have the power to thwart God's grace. You stated that we do not have the power to overturn our "election." You stated that our will cannot "supersede" God's will.

These assertions are not correct. They sound to me like holdovers of Calvinistic thinking that is not part of Catholic theology.

It is God's will that ALL people, not some group of "elect," be saved. This is God's "universal salvific will"

There is not some number, few or many, who are predestined to spend eternity in heaven. No one can claim to be among the "elect" and go on to claim that, because they are among the "elect," that their choices cannot thwart God's decision that they and the "elect" will go to heaven.

Every sin we commit thwarts God's will for us to know, love, and serve him in this world. Every sin is contrary to God's will and a negation of God's grace. Sin of a mortal nature separates us from God and others and determines, contrary to God's universal salvific will - that we will be happy with Him forever in heave - where we will spend eternity.

Gene said...

Ignotus, Every bit of this is in Augustine. That is where Calvin got it. Calvin was raised Catholic.

Pater Ignotus said...

“Calvinists claim God predestines people by choosing which individuals will accept his offer of salvation. These people are known as "the elect.” They are not saved against their will. It is because God has chosen them that they will desire to come to him in the first place. Those who are not among the elect, "the reprobate," will not desire to come to God, will not do so, and thus will not be saved.”

“Calvinists believe the atonement is limited, that Christ offered it for some men but not for all. They claim Christ died only for the elect. To prove this they cite verses which say Christ died for his sheep (John 10:11), for his friends (John 15:13-14a), and for the Church (Acts 20:28, Eph. 5:25)”

The Council of Trent says: “If anyone shall say that the grace of justification is attained by those only who are predestined unto life, but that all others, who are called, are called indeed, but do not receive grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, canons 6 and 17. The same points were taught by the second Council of Orange (531), the Council of Quiersy (853), and the third Council of Valencia (855), although none of these were ecumenical councils.)

Gene said...

Ignotus, what is your point? You think I don't know all that? I left Calvinism after struggling with those issues for a long time. The business about God's perfect and permissive will and about us being conformed to it can be found in The Confessions, The City of God, and De Trinitate. I wrote several papers on it. Get your head out of your apse.

Gene said...

PS Your account of Calvinism is not a very god one. See, "The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination," by Boettner, or "Church Dogmatics,Volume IV," by Karl Barth.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/gene - You are grasping at straws.

The two explanations of Calvinistic theology are accurate. If you think they are not, say why.

You claim to have left Calvinism behind, yet continue to espouse what is clearly Calvinistic theology, not Catholic doctrine, regarding the "elect," regarding predestination, and regarding the action of free will in the rejection of God's salvific grace.

You are a "Convenient Catholic." When the pope and the bishops teach something that doesn't suit your fancy, you denounce them.

Very convenient.