Saturday, November 21, 2015


One of the things that the papacy of Pope Francis has brought out into the light are the "crazies" in the Church as Bill Donahue calls them. In the article he writes about the right wing loons in the Church who are going after Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Donohue makes many great points. You can read Donohue's legitimate tirade HERE.

He could have just as well written an article about the left wing loons in the Church too. Read the National Chismatic Reporter and some of the posts at Praytell with its comments. Or read some of the comments I post on this blog. You should see the ones I don't post!

Somewhere in the middle is sanity and a Catholicism built upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ and the gifts of sanctifying and actual graces He gives us so that we can have faith, hope and charity (love) with charity (love) being the greatest gift God gives to us. But of course, we have to receive these gifts.

I have always considered myself a middle of the road leaning left and at the same time right leaning sort of Catholic priest. I am liberal liturgically. I love all the liturgies of the Church when celebrated by the book with quality chant and participants who care about the liturgy to include the laity. Thus I promote both forms of the Mass and sacraments as Pope Benedict graciously allowed and which Pope Francis has not condemned.

My pastoral theology is more in line with Pope Francis but in continuity with Pope Benedict. I have been saddened by the damage the right wing loons are doing to the very legitimate cause of "reform in continuity" after Vatican II, what is often called "the hermetic of continuity." It will take decades to return to the sound approach of Pope Benedict in this regard, who was no right wing loon.

I think Cardinal Donald Wuerl is one of the lights of the Catholic hierarchy and has been since being appointed a coadjutor bishop in Washington State by Pope Saint John Paul II. He was the coadjutor to Archbishop Hunthausen perhaps one of the most progressive left wing loon types in the Church at the time. The Archbishop, his priests and many laity all but chewed up Bishop Wuerl at the time and spit him out of their mouth.  So Cardinal Wuerl has the left wing loon scars on him.

Tell me if this sounds left-wing to you. It is from Cardinal Wuerl's excellent Pastoral Letter published this year. You can read  Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge HERE. It is well worth reading. In fact I have used this pastoral letter each Sunday since September for our parish's Coffee and Conversation on Sunday mornings.

Here's a marvelous excerpt:

Sadly, it is not unusual to
encounter Catholics who were
raised in Catholic families,
educated at institutions that identify
themselves as “Catholic,” and who
may attend Mass regularly, yet do not
necessarily know or understand their
faith or believe it.
Consequently, in
the last decades some have chosen to
leave their Catholic home; others have
just sort of drifted away. Some may say
they are “spiritual,” but not “religious,”
and therefore not affiliated with the
When I was a
young priest
in the 1960s
and 1970s,
there was much
and confusion
in the Church.
Teachers and
clergy were
by some to
an experience of
God’s love, but
to do it without
reference to
the Creed, the
or Church
tradition. It did not work very well.
Catholics grew up with the impression
that their heritage was little more than
warm, vaguely positive feelings about
Those years of experimentation left
many Catholics weak, spiritually and
intellectually, and unable to withstand
the tsunami of secularism that came in
recent decades. We lost many people
because we failed to teach them about
right and wrong, about the common
good, about the nature of the human
person. This left many no longer able
to admit that we are sinners who need
Jesus because many no longer know
what sin is.


Anonymous said...

"Cardinal Wuerl is a light....." Father perhaps you didn't have your coffee before writing this post.

Cardinal Wuerl is trying to rationalize giving Holy Communion to public figures in the Catholic Church who are a source of scandal due to their promotion of sinful behaviors such as abortion or acceptance of sodomy. Cardinal Wuerl has stated that allowing Holy Communion to unrepentant Catholics who have embraced their sin of adultery is not in anyway an attempt to change the doctrine of the Church. Of course this is in complete disobedience to the de fide decrees of the Council of Trent. Cardinal Wuerl is the bishop who removed a priest and appoligized for him bcause the priest denied Holy Communion to a woman who came to him and revealed herself to be a practicing pagan. A Buddist who was also a publicly practicing lesbian. And the list goes on regarding the Cardinal. How in any way is this bishop a light?

Unlike men like Cardinal Burke who lovingly calls people to repent of their sins and change their lives, pick up their cross and follow Christ, Cardinal Wuerl doesn't call anyone to conversion. Speaking in a soft Marilyn Monroe like voice, accepting sinful behavior doesn't mean he is kind or merciful. It means he has problems. We have had enough of priests and bishops with "problems". The Church is not a field hospital of bruised, bloody, dirty people. Nowhere in the gospels is the Church depicted in such a way. The gospels teach us that the Church is the spotless bride of Christ. She was established by Jesus Himself while He walked this earth. The Church does indeed posess all the Truth necessary for salvation. The sooner bishops actually believe in the Catholic Faith and teach it and call sinners to repentance the sooner this darkness that has descended on the entire world will lift.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Douay-Rheims Bible
Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners

You must not have read Bill Donohue's last part:

"These crazies are mad at Wuerl because he doesn’t believe in using the Eucharist as a weapon to smack liberal Catholic politicians. Wuerl has said that the refusal of Holy Communion “should be made only after clear efforts to persuade and convince the person that their actions are wrong and bear moral consequences.” Exactly. Wuerl is a great gift to the Catholic Church. These critics are as ignorant as they are malicious."

Anonymous said...

So faithful Catholics who disagree with Cardinal Wuerl are "crazies". Is St. Paul a crazie when he warned about people who dare to receive Holy Communion in an unworthy manner. And before you do the bit about Holy Communion isn't for the perfect. Holy Communion is for those who have repented of their sins in confession and received absolution. Holy Communion is a source of grace and strenghth to continue leading a life of virtue. Oh therea a word we don't hear from the cardinal or the pope, virtue. But I digress. Holy Communion is for those who are sinners, know it, repent of it and try to live a good Catholic life. It's not for people who beieve it is a right to sin. Holy Communion is not for a mother who believes it is moral to murder and dismember her children. Holy Communion is not for people who have rationalized objectively immoral behaviour. Christ said " a man who divorces his wife commits adultery..." Period end of story. God said "Thou SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTREY". Period end of story. No one who attempts to rationalize immoral or evil acts is a light. God is the creator and He and He alone has the right to determine what is right and what is wrong.

One thing that so many priests and bishops and lay people forget is that something isn't sinful because the Church says it's sinful. The Church says something is sinful because it IS sinful.

A mother doesn't say to her alcholic drug addicted son, "that's ok, just keep taking those drugs. I love you anyway". A good mother loves her child enough to say that what you are doing is going to hurt you. I love you but stop this behaviour. I will help you to stop, but you need to stop.

Gene said...

FR, those "sick" Jesus is talking about are sinners. Are you really trying to use this quote from Jesus to justify the things going on in there Church? Oh, and the Eucharist is a limit, not a weapon. It is the wall of the fortress Church...a solace and refuge for the faithful and a battlement against people like Wuerl.

Victor W said...

There are quite a few labels being thrown about here. Let me say something about what happened many years ago in the Church. Those were new times, with new ideas, the old becoming quite unfashionable. The Church herself succumbed to many of these, but one in particular was a new way of thinking about God and the world. There was one man, however, who thought this was heretical thinking. He was someone who adhered to the Church's traditional thinking and would have none of it, and so had to fight against the entire Church. As a traddie, he was considered a crazie, a loonie, a fundamentalist nut by the Church. He was exiled and imprisoned, excorciated and laughed at in the hope that he would disappear. But he persisted and was unrelenting. It was after 40 years of determined battle that the Church finally seriously listened and was converted to the thinking of St Athanasius. Despite its modernist roots everywhere, Arianism was defeated. It took one holy man considered a nutty by everyone to defeat the heretical thinking of the entire Church at the time, East and West.
The reason why the Church succumbed so easily to heretical modernist thinking was because of the lack of clarity in that thinking which tamed the opposition, the same kind of lack of clarity we sometimes hear from Pope Francis, and not a few of the Conciliar documents, particularly the one on liturgy.
As for the illustrious Cardinal,the lovey, dovey, fluffy approach of the 1970's that merely taps the wrists of a public sinner ignores that there is a spiritual war going on in this world. As soldiers of Christ, every Catholic is called to do battle with the father of lies, and one of the greatest weapons is the Eucharist, which is Jesus, the Truth and the Light.

Jusadbellum said...

Calling someone a 'crazie' is fine so long as they're allowed to call their accusers heretics.

I'd gladly be called 'crazy' if I'm allowed to vent my spleen in return without the ban or the nuclear option (getting fired from job, hounded out of society, chased by a howling mob...).

But what does it accomplish for someone to sneer at the 'right-wing' as "crazy"? Does it actually proves them to be well, psychologically disturbed as in, 'insane'? At least calling someone a heretic has a defensible meaning with respect to opinions at odds with some objective standard. It's not ad hominem to assert someone is a heretic while it is ad hominem to call someone "crazy".

You can call a feminist "wrong" but if you called her "crazy woman" how would the paragons of public decorum take that?

You can call a Black Lives Matters or a Justice Or Else activist "socialists" but what if you called them "crazy minorities"? I don't think anyone would keep their job for longer than 6 hours after the news broke. They'd be lucky to not be chased out of their city and flee to places unknown within 2 weeks.

But call a right-winger "crazy"? Oh sure, why not?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am with Anonymous at 7.22, Gene and Jusadbellam. Here is another Catholic crazie Canadian Cardinal Thomas Collins who was one of the 13 who signed the letter to the Pope which Cardinal Wuerl critized them for. No doubt Cardinal Wuerl criticised the 13 because he himself didn't have the guts to stand up for the truth as the others did. Cardinal Wuerl most probably takes the middle way - as so many fence sitters do - to preserve his own position. Whatever the outcome he believes he is not going to lose - only he will lose where it truly counts at his own judgment because I believe that those who sit in the middle are akin to the lukewarm that Our Lord despises as He said. Anyway good on Cardinal Collins - this is what he had to say:

"Cardinal Thomas Collins, the archbishop of Toronto, has criticized Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica after the two suggested faithful Catholic prelates really “just don’t like the pope.”

“I don’t know where they’re coming from, either Cardinal Wuerl or Fr. Rosica,” Collins said from Rome in a phone interview with Toronto Star last week. “The Holy Father has been really clear: If you’ve got some concerns you express them. That’s hardly opposing the Pope or something; that’s ridiculous. What do we want, everyone to say nothing?”

Collins was one of a dozen or so Synod fathers who signed a letter to Pope Francis expressing concern over the direction taken by the Synod on the Family. He said he was simply fulfilling a cardinal’s duty to give “candid and honest advice to the Pope” when he put his name to the letter.

Cardinal Wuerl, in an interview with the Jesuit-run periodical America Magazine, harshly criticized those who had signed the letter. “I wonder if these people who are speaking sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes halfway implying, then backing off and then twisting around, I wonder if it is really that they find they just don’t like this pope.”

Anonymous said...

Also, St John Paul II The Great and Pope Benedict would have to be cast into the mold of right wing crazies as they both stated that Catholics who supported abortion, for instances should not receive communion which is something that Cardinal Wuerl dissented from and he also dissented from canon law. I really wonder why some people call themselves Catholic when they are not prepared to uphold Catholic teaching like Cardinal Wuerl. Pope Benedict said:

"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Since then, Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed this position speaking as Pope. Answering a reporter on an in-flight press conference in 2007, Pope Benedict addressed a question on the Mexican bishops excommunicating politicians who support legalizing abortion. "Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," said the Pope.

In the comment, the Pope was referring to the Church's Canon law 915, which states: "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

Anonymous said...

Like Mark Thomas I am going to prevail on Fr McDonald to accept a third post from me on this topic and say that I am proud to be in sync with other faithful Catholics (right wing crazies) who uphold the Church’s teaching. The likes of:
Cardinal Antonio Canizares who has said: "The strongest words are found in St. Paul: one who goes to the Eucharist and is not properly prepared, duly prepared, 'he eats his own condemnation.' This is the strongest thing that we can say and what is the most truthful statement."

Cardinal Francis Arinze said a pro-abortion politician "is not fit" to receive Communion. "If they should not receive, then they should not be given," he added, and Cardinal Burke: "No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow," wrote Burke. "To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law."

Cardinal Burke also mentions priests who, while claiming to uphold the Church’s teaching then give Holy Communion to public unrepentant sinners, not only causing scandal but aiding and abetting a Catholic towards possible damnation. How much more is a cardinal, or a priest for that matter, going to be held to account for that even more than the transgressor because they more than anyone else know the Church's teachings and should know better. So, from that point of view, I do not find Cardinal Wuerl a gift to the Church because he has failed in his duty on many occasions.

George said...


Good responses all.

I'm not sure what Cardinal Wuerl's rationale is for his position on the reception of the Eucharist for those public officials and others who dissent from Church teaching. It would be good if he would support a priest who chose to do this. I don't remember ever reading anything where Excommunication or the denial of Communion (when that has been done by the Church and her representatives in the past) was characterized or referred to as "using it as a weapon". I have thought about this and one of the problems today is that if priest A denies communion to a certain wayward political figure, that person then goes to priest B who has no problem with the person receiving. Attendant to this, priest A is then raked over the coals by the media.There was a time in the history of the Church where when a person was excommunicated, that person did not attempt to remain in her and defy her from within. And certainly there was a time when it was not an occasion for the media to attack the Church.
This reminds me of a Catholic hospital I learned about from someone who was from the city the facility was situated in. It seems that procedures were being done there that violated Catholic teaching. The bishop informed the hospital administration that if they wished to remain Catholic, then those procedures could no longer be done there. The hospital board then voted to take themselves secular rather than accede to the directive of the bishop. There was a time not that long ago in the history of the Church that this would not have happened.

Anonymous said...

Yes, George there was a time in the Church ... unfortunately, the Church is now full of dissenters from Church teaching, such as Cardinal Wuerl has shown himself to be. To me, barring divine intervention, only a schism will clean out these dissenters such as Cardinal Wuerl because it is highly unlikely he would go with the 13 right wing crazies who signed the letter to Pope Francis. In credible to think that followers of Church teaching are now regarded as right wing. If a schism does come about I wonder what side those in the middle would choose?

I have been hearing comments from priests who are normally careful not to comment that Pope Francis has lost his way ... when Cardinal Wuerl is mentioned they just raise their eyebrows.