Sunday, September 6, 2015

QUESTIONING DR. BILL, QUESTIONING DR. BILL, IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? DR. CUMMINGS, PLEASE DON'T READ THIS (BUT I SUSPECT HE WILL!)


Dr. Bill Cummings is at it again. He has yet another column in the Macon Telegraph with his worn out rhetoric or writings. I print them below my comments here.

He wants Catholics who practice their faith as well as other Christians to ask questions. I have to ask him, does he really believe that we practicing Christians don't do that or don't allow for that. Has he ever been to a single Bible class, RCIA class, or any other catechetical class at St. Joseph Church? Ask him that. But of course he doesn't like being challenged as one can tell by reading his stuff, which he asks us not to read, but I question that too.  However, I can answer for him, no he hasn't been to a single thing here at St. Joseph Church. In fact I don't think I can say I've ever seen him at a single Mass here, but I might be wrong if someone asks of me probing and difficult questions on that. But if he had been here and if he knew me, which he doesn't, except for my alter-ego on this blog, he would know better, but he doesn't know better because he has not been here and that's the kicker, the true test of the integrity of his blathering ways.

In his Sunday column today, which I print below, he makes some interesting snarky remarks.  He tells us his critics call him an bitter ex-priest. I'm glad to learn that. I am glad he knows he has critics who question him. I've called him an ex-priest but never a bitter one. I am glad he is happily married with children and grandchildren. This is a blessing.

However, he is right to say there are no ex-priests. Even pedophiles who are laicized (defrocked is the Protestant term for it) are still priests. Once a priest always a priest. And the same is true of being a Catholic, once a Catholic always a Catholic even if one disavows their Catholicism. I'd like to ask Dr. Cummings if he was ever properly laicized and properly married in the Catholic Church?  I suspect the Pope would have been very kind to him to extend that privilege to him.

And yes, in an emergency where I might be dying and no licit priest was available, whether Dr. Cummings is properly laicized or not, or simply excommunicated, I would to go him for confession and the anointing of the sick! So stick around, Dr. Cummings, there are at least two sacraments I might need you to minister. And keep in mind all the priests of the diocese are away on retreat in Florida this week, so Dr. Cummings could legitimately exercise is forsaken priesthood for a poor Catholic soul on his death bed, especially those like him, who haven't set foot in a Catholic Church on a regular basis for some time.

As I read his column, it is great fun to do so, I also can see that I hit a nerve in calling him the truth, he's an octogenarian. I'll be there in about 18 years, not to far off, except my father only made it to 77 as he died with prostate cancer which I suspect I'll get too. My mother, though lived to be 93 and was quite lucid till the end. I hope I have her genes and not my fathers, but she didn't have a prostate and I do. I respect my elders but they can be as silly as anyone else.

What else hit a nerve? Let me see where the sparks are coming from. Oh yes, I did say he arrogantly pontificates and I was right about that and right also to say he's no pontiff. But who doesn't and who is save the popes themselves. And I did say he's dead wrong with his reform in rupture approach to Vatican II, a pastoral council, not a dogmatic council. And yes, I stick by that and would grill Dr. Cummings with questions galore on it if only he would be able to do so and answer cogently, which I think he could do the latter but not the former.

Finally we get to Dr. Cummings questions. And each one of them in my liberal seminary that I attended between 1976 to 80 were explored. And like Dr. Cummings, I was indoctrinated into the answers the faculty wanted us to endorse or we'd be given a hard time and maybe even asked to leave that seminary if we weren't on board. In fact to question them in the 1970's would have been a disaster and you can tell it by how vociferously Dr. Cummings wants to not only impose questions on us but to make sure we answer in the only correct way possible, to have answers that would make us post-Catholic  or "nones", because the Church's correct answers are not the truth. To Dr. Cummings and most "nones" out there, they left because of disillusionment that the Church doesn't and never will answer the questions as they dogmatically desire, answers that make for Catholic nones! Read his stuff this morning, always read his stuff and question the hell out of him!

In the body of his editorial, where he asks his questions, which you know what his answers are and of course his answer are the truth but he doesn't want you to question him on that, I will answer with my answers, which of course are the Magisterium's answers and therefore the truth, but he questions that as he has a right to do so which has led him to become a "none" although once a Catholic and once a priest, always those two things, and don't question that because he doesn't like that kind of question. 

DR. CUMMINGS: Please don’t read this


Read more here: http://www.macon.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article34212525.html#storylink=cpy


26 comments:

Anonymous said...

All of Cummings questions were dealt with in most college sophomore religion classes. He does not seem to have moved very far.
No,all Baptists do not go to Hell. They are sent to Cummings house to read his old editorials and listen to him talk....WAIT!...that is Hell.

Anonymous said...

You write, "But if he had been here and if he knew me, which he doesn't, except for my alter-ego on this blog, he would know better, but he doesn't know better because he has not been here and that's the kicker, the true test of the integrity of his blathering ways." and you say someone ELSE is "blathering"?

Look in the mirror....

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My alter ego has no problems in admitting that he blathers and therefore I post your comment. And as a half Italian I have no problem looking in their toe..,nuff said! πŸ˜…

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Damn auto correct! Should be "looking in the mirror " how that came out looking in their toe I don't, ask Dr. Bill!

Anonymous said...

That you have "no problem looking in the toe/mirror" is, itself, a problem.

Dr. Pavlov Cummings rang the bell and your salivary glands went into overdrive - again.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Absolutely true and evidently for you too, we're kindred spirits!πŸ˜‡

Anonymous said...

No, you neuroses and feelings of inferiority are your own. While it may give you comfort to drag others into your silliness - misery loves company, after all - you're own your own in your Quixotic tilting with Cummings.

George said...

Bill Cummings:
"If you believe that religions are man-made and not God-made -- like I do -- then you know they’re all prone to errors and contradictions which need to be purged from time to time."

How could man know God at all if he did not reveal Himself to us through His Holy laws and teachings? God, who is God because He is above all things, and above whom no other could exist or be the equal of, otherwise He would then not be God? This God that I as a Catholic believe in, is the Source of all that exists, and being God, he is without error since in His Divine attributes He embodies absolute Truth, and so no falsehood can exist in Him. There cannot be any contradiction in
a being Who is perfect by nature. Man, being an imperfect creature, on his own cannot know God. God, desiring that His creature should know, love, and properly respond to Him, has revealed Himself to us, and continues to do so. Yes, we can
use our man-made instruments and our rational mind to discover truth about ourselves and the natural world and universe around us, and to come to the conclusion that a Supreme Being created all that exists. We cannot, however,in this way discover that Truth which emanates from God, and which is in His Essence and Divine nature. Yes, Dr Cummings, you are right; man made religions being authored by imperfect creatures are "prone to errors and contradictions". I have a question
for you. Is God someone who would let us spiritually stumble about like a blind squirrel, who occasionally by chance finds an acorn of His transcendent truth, as if this were even possible without His grace? Why would He, Who is Love, Mercy and
Generosity itself, treat us this way?
God is Love and loves each one of us and like anyone who loves another, He will do anything necessary to bring us to Himself. We must have trust and faith in His words in Holy scripture.

Their can only exist one Truth, and therefore one Faith, and one Church.

The Catholic Church is what it professes to be and it therefore contains the Fullness of the Truth. It is the God ordained and Divine gift, the Instrument of Salvation established and instituted by Christ (and not man) as the means for our Eternal salvation. Indeed anyone who is saved comes to salvation in some way or another from the graces which flow from all the salvific means the Church possesses.

I and others must pray for you and for those others who also lack a belief and faith
in the one, holy Truth.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Are you a psychologist or psychiatrist and if so how much do I owe you and if not are you practicing without a license and I wonder how much you should be fined? 😩

gob said...

If this were a "snarky" contest, you'd win hands down.

Anonymous said...

Ya don't have to be an electrician to know the bulb's burned out or a volcanologist to know that lava can be dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald and Dr. C need to do lunch. He can bring Mr. Cullinan and Father can name a second, to make it equal.
I've known BC for some years through a business connection and found him to be an affable, level-headed fellow. My guess is that he's a staunch Republican, although I've never asked.
Many businesses and organizations in Heorgia bring him in to improve their management and talk through communication breakdowns. In that capacity, I've found him to be a great listener who gets right to the heart of the matter and asks good questions.
He is, as you said, a proud father and grandfather.
He's also a former hospital executive.
In those roles, you develop the skills of discussion and compromise, unlike the "My way or the highway" rhetoric that a pastor can throw out. Father McDonald can write that people who've got the wrong attitudes and outlooks can up and leave, but that doesn't work in most real-life conflicts.
His faith, I'll agree, is very much formed by the spirit of St. John XXIII rather than Benedict. I'll repeat that for emphasis -- "St. John XXIII."
Anyway, I believe that would be fascinating lunch discussion. You could sell tickets to benefit FAM. :)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

So he is practicing without a license!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

St. Pope John XXIII never would abandon the priesthood or the Church and he would be aghast by the nones who praise him!

rcg said...

Fr. McD, Grrrr! Stop arguing with idiots! Respectfully, rcg.

Robert Kumpel said...

I respectfully submit that I think Dr. Cummings is mistaken about a number of things, not the least of which is his assumption that Catholics are not asking questions about their faith.

When I was 15 years old, I had LOTS of questions. In fact, it was worse than that. I didn't really know what I believed in. I vaguely had a sense of being Catholic and forced myself to attend weekly Mass, but I was going through the motions. Why? I attended the Catholic schools. My crisis reached its fever pitch by my 9th grade year at an all-boys' Catholic high school.

I can tell you why I nearly lost my faith. I had questions and nobody was there to answer them. The postconciliar abuse that was inflicted upon my parish and the school I attended left me confused. Why was a reverent Mass suddenly bad? Where were our catechisms? Why did they give us these new religion books with butterflies on the cover and stories about Ghandi? Why did the sisters abandon their habits and suddenly start speaking the language of social workers? Why were the priests that I knew telling dirty jokes and trying to impress upon us how relaxed they were and how we could all just relax too since they were "one of the guys"? Why were all the Catholic people I knew not living a Catholic life?

I was very fortunate. Someone came along and answered my questions. I was assigned a Sophomore religion class at my high school with a priest who was loathed by most students. I was in the only section that had this particular priest. I did everything I could to transfer out of his class, but I could not. I was convinced he was nuts. After three months, I began to realize he was the only priest who made any sense. He EXPLAINED the practices of the Church. He explained Church history in a way that clearly demonstrated the deficiencies of protestantism. And, most importantly, he LIVED as an example. He walked the walk that he talked. He was ridiculed even by some of his brother priests, but his witness proved that something was more important to him than personal popularity.

Most Catholics today don't have anyone to answer their questions. Most Catholics don't have anyone walking the walk as a witness. Most Catholics seem indifferent.

Today the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story that demonstrates how even though the U.S. has a record number of Catholics, most of them aren't really living as Catholics. Infant baptisms, First Holy Communions, Church Marriages and Catholic Elementary School enrollment are all down double-digits nationally and Confirmations are down 8 percent. I think it's a safe bet that the Catholics who have dropped out of Church life have questions that have not been satisfactorily answered.

If we want our Church to be a real witness, WE have to be real witnesses ourselves. Thanks be to God one was there for me when I needed it.

gob said...

Fr. McD.....No offense, but, in my opinion, many of your comments and those of others who posted here...to and about Dr. Cummings, are flippant, supercilious and disrespectful. He is an educated, mature, experienced, respected gentleman, who happens to disagree with you and others here. The debate needs to be done at a more respectful, mature level.

Jdj said...

rcg,
I keep hoping Fr. will listen to you and several other commenters whose opinions I know he respects. Alas, he seems to be obsessed with this agenda. I keep wanting to assume that he will begin to see this for what it is (as you and others have pointedly advised) and desist. In his defense, he has a history of being respected and leaned upon for his religious takes on news by the local newspaper in Augusta when he served there. His opinions were always valued. But that was 15 years ago with a far superior local newspaper to Macon's.
I'm guessing he is hoping, with a fair amount of personal emotional investment, for a turnaround with the Macon news rag. And now this quixotic quest is being further driven by he/she who-shall-remain-nameless. I'm guessing we can name that source, but that is not important.
What is important, at least to us, is that Father remain above this fray that really is beneath him, stop feeding the bottomless pit, and focus on those issues wherein his strength lies. Just my take...
We may need to sponsor an intervention with him, what do you think?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Actually I had hoped to have lunch with Dr. Cummings some months back, but it never happened. And someone in my neighborhood, a medical doctor responding to Dr. Cullinan's op ed suggested he would have the three of us over for some whiskey at his house. I suggested my favorite, gin and tonic.

One needs to keep in mind that Dr. Cummings has been writing editorials that always seem to bring in the Catholic Church and the need to question her for some time. This isn't a new development, but his awareness of my blog is and that is what has led him to write about me in some of his editorials. I finally took him to task with a letter I wrote to the editor last week I think and the most recent escalation of things.

I remain puzzled that the Telegraph allows him to write about the Catholic Church regularly and now for years, as we Catholics are about 1% of the population of Macon and for the most part we have very good ecumenical and interfaith relationships with non Catholics through our schools, our outreach to the poor and other venues.

While not all my parishioners would encourage me in the route I have taken very recently in challenging Dr.Cummings, many would who are fed up with his digs at the Church and his dated theology.

I think Dr. Cummings, though, is quite capable of handling criticism himself and the snarks coming his way. I can't imagine he would be in a corner somewhere sulking.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald, I worked with Charles Richardson, with the Telegraph, for just shy of two years, about two years before I returned to the Church, in 2012. Charles is a nice guy, but is delusional, in my opinion, regarding religious issues. Last I knew, Charles attended a protestant community in Warner Robins and was "pro-Obama" everything. I imagine that Charles 1) allows Cummings to editorialize because Richardson knows how anti-Catholic Cummings is. I am guessing that Charles will do anything to embarrass or hurt any organization that he feels as though stands in the way of his president's agenda of killing the unborn, homosexuals perverting the Church's teaching of Marriage and "health cΓ re" that allows a woman to fornicate, for recreation, and then "get rid" of the "consequence" of her action. Richardson's president's biggest "threat" here, of course, is Jesus Christ's Most Holy Catholic Church!! 2) Cummings is a societal "big-wig" in Macon and Charles wants to "rub shoulders" with someone whose friendship could, potentially, offer personal or professional advantages. Now, I do not know Charles' real reasoning for giving Cummings such a platform, but this smells of the Kirby Godsey circle, which is full of Catholic heresy and ignorance. Remember, the Telegraph moved to the Mercer campus a few years ago.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous at 8:54 p.m.:

I don’t know if the Macon Telegraph has changed its policies and attitudes towards coverage of religious matters in recent years (I no longer read it regularly). I do know that for many years Father (now Monsignor) Cuddy had a regular column in the paper that made the Catholic Church attractive to many people in Middle Georgia and served as a wonderful vehicle of evangelization. I also know that many people were in fact attracted to the Church and then became Catholic after taking Father Cuddy’s twice yearly Catholic Information course (on average at least about 50-60 joined each year if I recall correctly; I expect Father McDonald has the exact figures in the St. Joseph’s records).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2 makes a good point about the Telegraph and newspapers in particular. Readership is down and thus revenues from subscriptions and ads. Like many papers, the Telegraph is a mere shadow of its former self, even compared to 12 years ago when I arrived.

It has an interesting editorial policy but certainly is more in line with what academia here in Macon would support in terms of the hot button social issues (Mercer like many academic institutions is to the left of most people in communities and to the far left of its point of origin (to which it is no longer affiliated, the Southern Baptists).

It is clear to me that Dr.Cummings knows that it is Catholics, either practicing or disaffected or bordering on becoming "nones" who read columns and perhaps those in the community who know him and have some kind of antipathy towards Catholicism born of the no-nothings of a previous era, but somewhat cleansed.

I don't know how often Msgr. Cuddy's column was printed or if he was simply in a cycle of pastors who write for Saturday's religion section as Msgr. Fred Nijem now does. But it is safe to assume that the readership of the Telegraph was much greater at that time than it is now.

Msgr. Cuddy's convert class was of the pre-Vatican II style that hinged completely on two six week sessions during the fall and Spring. He brought in a huge number of non-Catholics but for the vast majority the Catholicism was too much connected to Msgr. Cuddy and his pleasing pastoral personality. There are a huge number and I mean huge number of these converts who have either gone back to their Protestant affiliation or are nones again.

RCIA classes depend less on the personality of the priest although the loss of converts is still high and across the board today in our country. But the process today is more ecclesial than under Msgr. Cuddy, involves more laity and we make sure that those coming into the Church know that they aren't joining a the congregation of St. Jospeh or its pastor, but rather the Catholic Church--that they aren't shifting denominations as Protestants often do without much thought, but coming into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

But with that said, Msgr. Cuddy's greatest gift was his ability to spend hours and I mean hours in either Krogers or Publics speaking to people. And Krogers and Publics allowed it and never questioned him doing that. Few ministers today could get away with that, but this one-on-one relationship he created with shoppers is legendary and a fascinating study on evangelization. I couldn't do it given my introverted personalty with one-on-one situations apart from a church setting and today I think there would be a great deal of suspicion with a priest staying for hours visiting people and young people in general in a place of business!

George said...

It seems to me that at one time, the Telegraphs coverage of the Church was more positive than has been the case in recent years. It seems like it tends to publish more articles on those who dissent from Church teaching or on those who are more "progressive" in their liturgical worship and belief.
I remember for example(it was along time ago but it sticks in my memory),a large article in the paper on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Church to my mind also benefited greatly from the papacy of Pope St. John Paul II.

Anonymous said...

The telegraph has been a liberal rag for a long time.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment.

I do not recall how often Father (now Msgr.)Cuddy’s column appeared in the paper. It was at least once a month—and perhaps even more frequently. I am glad to know that Father Nijem has a regular column now. I was going to suggest that one of the Catholic priests in the area might want to resume the practice. I must make a point of reading Father Nijem’s column (I expect I can do that online). For many years we had a regular subscription to the paper. But I found that with everything else I have to read each day in order to keep up with work-related events in our information saturated world, I was just not getting time to read the local paper as well. That is sad, isn’t it?

I took Father Cuddy’s Catholic information class at least twice and also attended particular sessions in other years in my role as sponsor of several people (at least four) who joined the Church (a role I was honored to be asked to perform). I believe that all of them are still members of the Church, although I do not know for sure about two who have moved away to other parts of the country. I suspect you are correct when you say that Father Cuddy’s course consisted of six weekly sessions during the very last years after you arrived as pastor of St. Josephs and Father Cuddy was offering the course at St. Peter Claver Church. But in its heyday, as I recall, the course lasted 13 or 14 weeks.

Was there a risk that some people were “Father Cuddy Catholics”? Undoubtedly so. However, I wonder how different this is from the attitudes of some today, including many who comment on this Blog, who hold their spiritual nose when attending a Mass of which they “disapprove” or encountering a priest whose demeanor and personality they find objectionable. Aren’t they just as influenced by the specifics of the liturgy and personality, only in a negative way, and is this any more legitimate than being influenced in a positive way as several people perhaps were by Father Cuddy? Moreover, doesn’t the priest witnesses to the Faith at Mass as well as elsewhere and as long as he does this in an appropriate way (as I believe Father Cuddy always did), then isn’t his persona one of the gifts that God may use to attract others to Him?

Your comment about Kroger and Publix brought a smile to my face. I well remember several long conversations of my own that I had with Father Cuddy either in the store or in the parking lot. Each one was educational and inspirational. How sad if such activity would be viewed with suspicion today! So, this sort of “street evangelization” is yet another victim of the clergy abuse scandal? I wonder what Jesus and His disciples would say about this.


Jusadbellum said...

Merely being in Rome at the same time as Pope John XXIII or the Council means nothing unless he personally studied with the Pope as tutor or attended the Council as a player.

So I'd be more impressed if he argued that his degree comes from the Gregorian or Angelicum than what happened to be happening while he was there.

Because we can all play the "I'm great by association" game. It proves nothing.

As for asking questions - we all ask questions. His rhetorical device also proves nothing. Asking questions about one's doctrine does not necessarily come from doubts as much as from wonder and desire to understand more fully. The modern conceit that questions must only and exclusively come from doubt is silly. It's absurd. Everyone who learns any complex subject asks questions without radically doubting the entire field's validity!

Finally, our approach: certainly on blogs we can - and I do often - fall into the trap of approaching conflict from an impatient/snide trajectory. I understand that one of the positive things about Fr. Cuddy was his soft/gentle approach which many people appreciated insofar as it allowed them a sense of security to approach. But as nice as that can be, it's not the only way to evangelize. Other people need the sterner football coach type approach.

Ideally, we'd adjust our attitude based on the individual circumstances of the people we interact with. Jesus wasn't always shouting down Pharisees - sometimes he had dinner with them! He wasn't always kind with pagans either. It seems in each case, the way he approached people was according to what they needed at the time or for the sake of a larger good (such as when he refused to say a word to Herod).

Unfortunately on blogs we don't see the peanut gallery and so can't know with whom we are communicating and that makes on-line argumentation a much less than ideal form of evangelization.

It's hard to give a smile and healing touch that colors our more curt argumentation. If we had emoticons it would perhaps be a much more humane experience here.