Sunday, July 6, 2014

QUESTIONING DOCTOR BILL CUMMINGS

I was  this close as I took this photo! That must make me pope!


Dr. Bill strikes again with his questioning faith. But wouldn't it be better for him to question his theology and agenda? Of course his pride doesn't allow him to do that, so I'll do it for him. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. 

Here is Dr. Bill's latest editorial in  the Macon Telegraph.  As though Holy Mother Church is like a political entity like the government, he questions not only that which can be questioned and should be, to grow in one's faith and understanding, but he questions also defined teachings that won't change. The following is the Macon Telegraph's Dr. Bill Cummings editorial in Sunday, July 6th newspaper. My comments are in RED:

Why is it so difficult to question Faith? We question everything else. Is it because faith is so personal and private and particular to our own very deep convictions? (No Dr. Bill, that's your own fierce American individualism which you should really question. Faith is first and foremost a gift given to us by God and is communal such as the gift of faith given to God's chosen people. It has private and personal aspects, but the Faith, well it is a given; it is communal!)We all think that our faith is right, don’t we? At least it’s right for us, otherwise we’d change it. (Catholic Faith isn't like Protestantism where we change it at will and if it is changed it has to be on the sensum fidelium, not the unfaithful desires of the flesh.) But many people also think that everybody who belongs to “their faith” must think exactly like they do, and they bristle when they read or hear a “believer” with an opposing view. Are you like this? (Again, Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the body and together we comprise the Church and the Lord is our source of unity, but now in a visible way through the Bishop of Rome and other bishops in union with him. Maybe Dr. Bill missed this in the Second Vatican II documents? I really question is learning in this regard!)
I’m sure you remember when the president of our Southern Baptist University (Mercer) wrote a book about “his faith” that seemed to be at odds with “their faith.” Instead of entering into an exciting dialogue with a man far more theologically brilliant than any of them, they chose to exclude Dr. Kirby Godsey from their communion. (Southern Baptists have a neo-gnosticism streak in them and all of them claim personal infallibility as it regards their own gnosticism. Dr. Bill must have contracted that from our Baptist culture.  I really question Dr. Bill's personal faith that is at odds with defined teaching. This is a good thing to question and question hard!)
Many American Catholics are tip-toeing around the reports coming out of Rome. As you’ve noticed, Pope Francis doesn’t always conduct himself “correctly.” For example, his off-the-cuff remarks about gays get explained over and over again by traditional American Catholics -- to make sure the pope is still “Catholic.” The idea that we might explore the concept of homosexuality once again is unthinkable. (It is here that Dr. Bill is duplicitous. Can we not question imprudent remarks by a pope, especially those that are not infallibly defined? Or should we only question infallibility of the papacy, but not of Protestants and Dr. Bill? Interesting  no?)
Last month, I wrote an opinion piece about “The Catholic Church.” A critic commented that I should have entitled it: “The Catholic Church in my own image.” He was right. It is my image of what I want my church to be. (Yes, thanks for the honesty here, Dr. Bill. I am glad your readers are questioning you and your image of what you want your church to be. Will your church be called the Church of Cummings? Frankly, I hope too many aren't going!)
I want the church to welcome people who are divorced and remarried (50 percent of Americans), and couples who live in gay marriages (in opposition to Erick Erickson’s opinion), and couples who practice birth control (98 percent of Catholics). I want it to allow priests to marry and women to be priests. That’s just my opinion. (Dr. Bill, Dr. Bill, we have sinners of all kinds many of whom go to Confession regularly. No one is barred from attending Mass and the only ones refused Holy Communion are those whom the minister of Holy Communion know reject outright and in a public way the teachings of the Church, but these are very few and far in between. When someone goes to Holy Communion in a state of objective mortal sin, that person commits another mortal sin, but that is usually only known to the sinner and not the congregation. Dr. Bill, Dr. Bill, we already have married Catholic priests in the east and west and I had one as my parochial vicar for 14 years in Augusta! Married priests aren't the same as women priests which would be a perversion of the Church's sacramental system, the femininity of the Church as the bride of Christ and Holy Mother and the masculinity of Christ as Bridegroom and High Priest who begets spiritual children with His bride. The Catholic priest at Mass in particular is an image of the masculine Risen and Glorified Lord. How could a women be a sacramental sign of Jesus the Bridegroom? Would it not be a perversion of our sacramental system? Next Dr. Bill will want to use pizza and coke for Holy Communion and milk for Baptism! Silly and embarrassing  especially coming from someone who studied theology in Rome in 1960! with Pope St. John XXIII!)
But all these things are currently against the “law of the church,” and many people feel I’m not “Catholic” if I challenge these laws. A local priest wrote in his blog that I’m either “Pelagian, Gnostic, or Post-Christian” but certainly not Catholic. Another critic wrote that I was “afflicted with a sort of spasmodic, anti-Catholic Tourette’s Syndrome.” Wow.  (I question who the local priest is. But whoever he was, he was wrong in one way, he should have classified Dr. Bill as neo-gnostic and a want-a-be bishop, or pope or one-man magisterium.)
But how about the “law of the land?” Nobody says I’m “un-American” if I want to change our laws on immigration and taxation and even seat belts. I can have all sorts of different opinions about the size and power of our government agencies and I’m not asked to leave my country. If I think the tea party should go back to Boston, I’m not accused of treason. If I think the IRS should be abolished or that every congressman should be voted out of office, I’m still an American. If I think our president is a weak puppy and his policies are hurting our international reputation, I’m not told to move to Canada. Even our wrangling congressmen and women who claim that “the other side of the aisle” is the cause of all our economic problems, and hurtle all sorts of vicious and hurtful word-bombs at each other, never call the other party “traitors.” (But Dr. Bill, the Church is both a divine and human institution, of course this takes faith to believe, but there isn't anything divine about being American unless one is  ultra-ethnocentristic.  And the last time I checked the Catholic Church, unlike many Protestant denominations, isn't run as a democracy open to vote,and unlike governments, such as ours. Aren't we mixing apples and oranges and deliberating setting up a straw man to confuse Protestants in Macon and those who read you are mostly Protestant, maybe agnostic, surely some atheistic and possibly post-Christian and yes neo-gnostic!)
However, whenever I question church laws, I feel like Paul opposing the church law of circumcision (Gal. 2:4). Peter and James, the brother of Jesus, fought him on it. Why is that? What is there about faith that makes some people become religious isolationists? Why don’t different “faith-views” encourage honest and open debate, albeit wild and raucous, but without exclusion and excommunication? Why do I have to leave my centuries-old Irish Catholic heritage just because I have different theological interpretations? Aren’t the days of Joan of Arc over? (Dr. Bill, Dr. Bill have you been excluded by me or others and have you been excommunicated? Me thinks you are playing the manipulation card and the sympathy card but your exile is self-imposed isn't it? What Church do you attend every Sunday for Mass? Who is your pastor?  And have you tried to change the culture of the Telegraph in the same way you want to change the Catholic Church. I'm sure you must take issue with policies and laws at the Telegraph and maybe some of your bosses. I think you should change them first, or would they make you leave, i.e fire you? But certainly your opinion is as good as your bosses isn't it so why not push the envelope?)
I lived in Rome for two years with Pope John XXIII during the preparation of a worldwide meeting to change the Catholic Church. We called it Vatican II. The pope’s constant theme was: Aggiornamento (Upgrade the church). How do you “upgrade” an institution that is already perfect and unchangeable? (Let me see, over 50 years ago the Second Vatican Council was called and since Pope St. John XXIII we've had five popes and each of them seem to have an agenda for change in the Church to "upgrade" it as Dr. Bill likes to say. I lived in Italy for almost three years under Pope Pius XII and three months under Pope Francis as I was his next door neighbor at a sabbatical program at the North American College on the Geniculum Hill.  Certainly that makes me an expert on current Catholicism as Dr. Bill is on 1960's Catholicism. Maybe Dr. Bill forgot that the Church has changed and is still changing, sometimes for the better but also at times not for the better. Change is not always for the better. We can question some of the changes after Vatican II as Popes John Paul II and Benedict have done and others still do. We can say, no we are not perfect and our 50 years out of whack "spirit" of Vatican II interpretation of the authentic documents of Vatican II can be questioned. Question away! But especially question Dr. Bill! I question Dr. Bill's expertise in Catholicism given what he writes so I think he should stick to his area of expertise in the Cummings Consolidated Corporation and Cummings Management Consultants. Let those there question him though.)
Dr. Bill Cummings is the CEO of Cummings Consolidated Corporation and Cummings Management Consultants. His website is digitallydrc.com.




Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2014/07/06/3183843/dr-cummings-questioning-faith.html?sp=/99/203/#storylink=cpy

47 comments:

Gene said...

Referring to Godsey as "theologically brilliant" says about all I need to know about Cummings. LOL!

rcg said...

I think this guy is a fake.

qwikness said...

That guy can't write an article without mentioning being in Rome with Pope John during Vatican 2. I hope the Telegraph isn't paying him. He needs to be put out to pasture.

George said...

Of course D. Bill brings this up:

"and couples who practice birth control (98 percent of Catholics)"

One should take with a grain of salt (or better yet just ignore) stats such as this since 75-80% of those who identify as Catholics don't even attend Sunday Mass.
More importantly,it does not say how many are using Church-approved contraceptive methods such as NFP.

Gene said...

Then, there is the most effective birth control prescription: Noacitol.

rcg said...

Gene, my wife uses NFW and it is 100% effective.

Gene said...

RCG, an aspirin works well, too, if your wife holds it firmly between her knees.

Richard M. Sawicki said...

I loved all the comments in red.

Is there any chance the good doctor will actually see them or read them? Not unless he is invited to do so publicly.

This is my constant complaint: That those of us who know better tell each other why these folks are wrong and specifically where they err (in blogs, etc.) but the folks themselves just keep using their newspaper columns or websites to spew out this stuff without any public fraternal correction.

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

Cameron said...

Gene please calm down.

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus recently posted a comment here referring to the work of Jonathan Haidt, PhD. In his research, Dr. Haidt discovered that conservatives are typically able to describe liberal viewpoints from a liberal perspective, while liberals are typically unable to describe conservative viewpoints from a conservative perspective.

I suspect that this is the reason gentlemen like this Cummings fellow write the way they do. Their sincere intention is to engage in dialogue, but their inability to comprehend the opposing side prevents the dialogue from bearing fruit.

Henry said...

It's embarrassing when people try to work out their personal problems on the pages of a public newspaper (not to mention places like Facebook where, I understand, this is common in this neurotic era).

rcg said...

JBS, Cummings does not even represent his own historical position accurately, nor those parts of the Church he wants to change. We can't even disagree with his proposal because it has no basis.

John Nolan said...

I have decided that I shall no longer comment on Catholic blogs. I think we all know where we stand, and quite honestly I have better things to do than to engage with those with whom I agree (who don't need my support) or those with whom I disagree (who will not listen to me anyway). If Paul VI is indeed beatified this year I will take it as read that the Johannine-Pauline and Benedictine restoration since 1978 matters little. In 1978 I was a mere 27, but the rupture in my Catholic worship life happened when I was 14. It will not be put right in my lifetime.

I shall continue to attend Mass (in both forms, when decently done) and sing the chant when called upon to do so - I did so on Sunday and shall do so later this month at Uxbridge on the GK Chesterton pilgrimage. I have made arrangements for Extreme Unction when necessary and for my obsequies to be carried out according to the Rites of Holy Church as they obtained at my Baptism in 1951.

I am not a good Catholic. I am not a good person, either, although I think I have my good points (in all modesty). I have enjoyed engaging with people on this blog (even PI) but I think it's time to call it a day. Good Night and God Bless.



JBS said...

Setting aside for a moment the sentiments generated by John Nolan's decision, I do think his situation raises an important question: does dialogical commenting upon blog posts produce fruits? Has, for example, Pater Ignotus persuaded anyone over to his way of seeing things, or has John Nolan persuaded opponents over to his? Have we arrived at any compromises in our discussions here? Are we even trying to do so, or just posturing?

In his foundational encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, Pope Paul VI said "updating" must mark the internal life of the Church in the modern world, and "dialogue" must be our primary disposition in relations with the outside world. We discuss the effects of liturgical and catechetical updating here at length, but with what results? We discuss the dialogue between the Church and the world, but to what noticeable end?

That said, I for one will miss John Nolan's informative comments. While I occasionally think of paying Fr. McDonald a visit someday, I doubt I'll ever make it to Kensington. But at any rate, I wish him well, and thank him for his virtual presence here.

Gene said...

John Nolan, Well, I have considered the same thing.
This blog began as a very informative and educational blog, with Fr. posting many articles about Liturgy, theology, and Catholic history. Ignotus was the first troll to come along and start with his dissenting, thinly veiled unbelief. Others followed and many of us felt a need to respond to their false teachings and contempt for traditional Catholic identity, the TLM, etc. Now, it has become like any other forum…contentious, captious, and a magnet for rectums from the progressivist cabal. Fr. could stop it by banning these slugs and returning the blog top its original focus, but instead he threatens to ban or censor those of us who are his strongest supporters, even if we do not always agree with him. Yeah, I may follow in Nolan's footsteps. There are plenty on here who defend the Faith very well.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I will miss JN too and hope he reconsiders. I average about 3000 hits a day, although it spiked last week to 6000 and has gone to 10,000 . This tells me that many, many more visit the blog but don 't comment but I suspect they like the comment section. Who knows who is being persuaded by whom.

Anon friend said...

God bless, John and thanks for all your thoughts and words. I often feel the same pull to stop this blog quarreling/craziness. At times it is inane, and the rest of the time, quite a waste of time, especially given what God desires for us.

Gene said...

JBS, Come on! Paul VI's "Updating" is exactly why we are in the mess we are in.

JBS said...

I think the papacy of Pope Emeritus Benedict gave us all hope that God would finally close the chasm between the pre- and post-VCII eras. He gave us a vision of continuity in reform. His papacy was an exciting time because we believed our dreams were coming true before our eyes, and that we could each play a part in this dramatic reconciliation. Southern Orders and WDTPRS both came to prominence during this time.

But now, even without being critical, I think many of us are left confused. Consequently, WDTPRS has lost its relevance over the past year, although I would argue Southern Orders has ably and rightly moved from stimulation to consolation, and so retains its relevance.

More importantly, the clergy and laity alike are simply unsure how to proceed in applying the principals of VCII to our lives. The sheep need a shepherd, not a social worker or a social reformer.

rcg said...

OK everybody, sit a little while and clear your heads. I am not sure what brought this specific crisis on, but we move forward by sticking together and encouraging each other. John Nolan is not often wrong but he was wrong when he said that people who agree with him don't need him. We are near a real crisis, to quite there yet, and will need all the smarts we can collect to get through it. Academically, even the odd little irritants from some bloggers play to our needs by testing our assumptions and preparing us for the argument in a more critical venue.

Gene said...

Jbs, You are correct.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
We will miss you (I know I will). Please consider coming back sometime after a "blog sabbatical."

If nothing else, if you ever come to Georgia (specifically, southeast Georgia) please look me up. I would love to have the privilege of meeting you in person and enjoying a meal together.

Consider me a friend,

Joseph Johnson

George said...

John Nolan:
Maybe instead of a making a complete break, a complete separation, you could check in on the blog on a less frequent basis and chime in when you feel it appropriate. You've added a great deal with your comments. If your decision is a final one then so be it. God be with you in whatever else you do.

Gene said...

Well, I am certainly going to miss John Nolan. He was one of the main reasons I read the blog.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan:

I too hope that you will reconsider. If you do depart the Blog, we will miss your erudition and your wisdom. And I will miss you for the additional reason that there will be no other regular commenter, to my knowledge, who can help “carry the flag.” =)

As for not being a good Catholic or a good person, well, as the saying goes, “Who am I to judge?” =) But I wouldn’t mind betting, if I were a betting man (which I am decidedly not), that you are no worse a Catholic or person than the rest of us and likely much better than many of us.

In any event, God bless you too!

JBS said...

rcg,

All is well. It's good to survey a situation from a wider perspective now and then. The clearer we see a situation, the more specific our prayers can be. If you know the problem, then you know the prayer. And God answers prayers, especially persistent ones.

Gene said...

JBS, RCG has to wrap himself in barbed wire over a hair shirt and kneel on ground glass for even the lowest angel to hear his prayer! LOL!

Carol H. said...

John Nolan

I will miss your comments on this blog. I hope you decide to chime in on occasion so we all know that you are doing okay. Your knowledge of history, liturgy, and music will be sorely missed. Please know that you are in my prayers.

rcg said...

I just leap naked into briars. The screams drown out everything for miles.

JBS, it seems that my most earnest prayers do not bring answers as much as they change me into one.

Cameron said...

Well, who's going to be our rezident innerleckshul now?

JBS said...

I've just reviewed several of Fr. McDonald's earliest post titles, and noted the commentators: Pater Ignotus, Pinanv525, Templar, -Brian, Robert Kumpel and Henry, who were here from the earliest months. I began vising here during Southern Order's first year, upon the recommendation of Henry. My daily routine is usually: rise, Divine Office, Holy Mass, cup of tea w/ blog reading for 15 minutes, then get on with the day. Initially, I followed several blogs during those 15 minutes, but I'm now down to just this one, with weekly visits to WDTPRS (which now features some kind of pop-up advertising w/ music), and less frequent visits elsewhere.

I'll keep coming here, if for no other reason than to discover the latest "bombshell", and to see what's lately "freaking out" the generous author of this web log!

Anonymous said...

I predict: John Nolan will be back...sooner rather than later. I don't think he'll make it very long. He may come back with a new identity (even though he would be recognized unless he changed his pontifical style)

Peace be with you John Boy.

Marc said...

Like many others, I've been here since the beginning. I took an extended break recently from both reading and commenting. I definitely understand Mr. Nolan's position. I will miss his knowledge and fraternal correction. Even his parting post contains much wisdom.

For the most part, we have a very good group of regular commenters here even if there are some trolls and troublemakers. I'm glad to have been able to meet quite a few fellow commenters in person both locally and while traveling. I think it's a nice network of people who fall on many different areas of the Church "spectrum."

Anonymous said...

Too bad that anyone who doesn't march in lock-step with the insider group here is called names....troll, troublemaker, slug...(just a few from today's action...)

Fr. McD, would you really prefer for
us to just go away, leaving behind a smaller but purer blog?

Gene said...

Anonymous (whiney one), Not once on this blog have you contributed anything of substance. All you have done is whine about 'farce" and go nananana-boo-boo to other posters. That tells me you have nothing of substance to contribute and will simply continue to act like a ninth grade punk. You are an excellent argument for a smaller, purer blog.

JBS said...

Anonymous,

Whoever or whatever hurt you and turned your heart so bitter need not define your life. You can become a grateful, graceful person, seeing the good in others, even when you disagree with them.

Wipo of Mainz said...

Make no mistake, I shall be monitoring this blog from my scriptorium in medieval Germany. I might even be prepared to put a gloss on the margin where I deem it necessary.

Anonymous said...

Neither Gene nor Anonymous knows who I am. You both have me confused with somebody else.

BTW, my question was really addressed to Fr. McD. I don't care what you two think about it.

Anonymous said...

Well, Gene, if I weren't so stupid I might be able to contribute something of value; but it's too fun to catch Fr. McDonald with his pants down.

As I indicated at 2:27 the 8 July, I don't really care about anything said here. I more worried about being juvenile and trying to "insult" (pronounced annoy) everyone here.

It'd be better to find a hobby instead of coming here to do nothing but talk about "The FARCE continues" and all that, but, like I said, I'm far too stupid.

Gene said...

Fr, this last post by Anonymous is exactly why you should ban this DB.

Anonymous said...

Gene, you're still confused about who is whom. And you still have it wrong.

Flavius Hesychius said...

To Gene (et omnibus):

I'm afraid I just "punked" Gene by posting as an anonymous user. The last anon post (my screen says 4:57 PM, 8 July) was written by me, not Anonymous.

I shouldn't have done it, but temptation got the better of me. Really, it did. I thought I'd given up such behavior when I was 14... but I guess not. In fact, I felt guilty the moment I posted it.

So, yeah, sorry Fr McDonald, Gene, and Anonymous (whoever you are, especially since it's probable I "could" have caused "harm" by posing as said person).

Gene said...

It is pretty difficult to take Anonymous posters seriously, anyway, because they hide behind the anonymity. They could at least have the courtesy to designate themselves differently as the various anonymi…like "Punk Anonymous," "Dipsh*t Anonymous," "Cowering Anonymous," "Skulking Anonymous," etc.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Or the classic "chip on the shoulder anon" lol...

Anonymous said...

OK...from now on I'll be "Brilliant Anonymous Who Regularly Kicks Preacher Gene's Pompous B*tt".

Anonymous said...

I can remember a discussion, some time ago, when somebody, perhaps a known Lib, suggested that everybody on the blog be required to furnish his or her complete name , mailing address and email address.

The person was told quickly and in no uncertain terms that the conversation and discussion here stood on its own and that the personal information of the participants was of no consequence.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I hope you really don't think you have kicked anybody's butt on this blog. Son, if you can't bite, don't growl.