UPDATED! As vigorously as our USA bishops have promoted the Church's pro-life message, message on marriage and family and on religious liberty, how successful has it been in changing the hearts of those who have changed America in this regard. Not very!
Pope Francis is promoting the same agenda as the American Bishops but in a differing way, by engaging those who disagree with us or are opposed to us and he speaks with gestures not so much words, which conservative Catholics of a political brand simply don't understand.
So when the pope kisses babies, touches the most handicapped child or adult and visits prisons and promotes care of the earth he is promoting the Church's pro-life agenda in a tender way that is not off-putting and thus entrenching those who disagree with the Church. Pope Francis approach may well plant the seed for conversion in those opposed to us.
Of course the Holy Father in doing his ministry in the way he is, through small gestures, rather than harsh words, is appealing to Catholics who are on the fence or lapsed. He is also appealing to those who have tuned out or turned off the Church, the secularists and politicians.
As Pope Francis has made abundantly clear in Laudato Si, there is a connection between God, humanity and the earth and all creatures. To upset this balance (first done through Original Sin and then subsequently through actual sins) is devastating to our relationship with God, each other and the earth and its creatures that sustain us.
When Pope Francis says we are a throw-away society, he's not just speaking of the consumer goods with throw away more more importantly the people we throw away, like the unborn, the handicapped, the poor, the elderly and the dying.
And our consumerism contributes to the depletion of the earth's resources and even the climate that then disproportionately hurts the poor.
And when we mess with natural law and poke it in the eye, there are consequences and this certainly applies to unnatural sex now enshrined in law.
This is about the most coherent, logical and theologically sound explanation of the Catholic ethos explained in down to earth terms that I've ever heard!
Seriously? You are going to seriously argue that the last 40 years has been a showcase of a robust, vigorous and sustained push by the majority of Catholic bishops on the pro-life front, on the counter-sexual revolution front?
Because, we can run the numbers and they don't look good and we can run the personnel hiring decisions too.
If the Bishops were full throated pro-lifers then why have the laity had to lead with so little support all these years? Look to the catechesis in parishes, in schools, in universities, in seminaries, in directives to pastors, in hiring decisions in chanceries etc.
There's a reason "Priests for Life" got founded and it's not because Fr. Pavone had too little to do. It's because by and large there was a gap between the average priest and bishop and what pro-lifers needed in their counter-cultural struggle for the sanctity of life.
The religious orders of nuns, brothers, and mainline ones like SJs etc. have been largely absent from the pro-life movement while heavily invested in personnel and money in the left-wing agit-prop efforts of their choosing like "nuclear freeze", the watermelon movement (green on the outside....), etc.
There's a reason De Paul University is a hot bed of post-Christian paganism and it's not because the Jesuits are vigorously promoting the pro-life culture of life.
Look how much is allocated to promotion of NFP and pro-life affairs in most dioceses and in most parishes. Sure we are officially pro-life, but if there is only token efforts can we be said to be culturally and vigorously pro-life? Only the symbolic gestures like March for Life or Life Chain are endorsed and even there it's not pushed very much.
If we are vigorous culture warriors why do groups actually in the trenches not get institutional support from the CCHD but instead millions are funneled almost exclusively to left-wing, culture of death affiliated groups?
How many resources are expended training and promoting NFP? Is it a priority?
How many personnel have been hired by schools, chanceries, etc. over the decades with KNOWN affiliations to Planned Parenthood, to KNOWN sexual-revolutionaries?
And homilies on the subject: most of us have gone decades without nary a peep from the pulpit about the issues. It's as though few of our pastors even read or know what "The Human Life Review" is. They don't use the language, they don't avail themselves of the arguments, they don't show signs of grasping the nuances and crucial distinctions. They show great reserve for even broaching the topic in prayers of the faithful or parish resource offerings.
I can't tell you the number of converts who report horrific RCIA meetings where the instructors laughed about NFP and the Church's teaching on Humane Vitae or told prospective Catholic converts that contraception is OK. It's almost the most common thing my converted friends report on.
Pro-lifers have been treated as the red-headed step child for decades and now you're saying that the Bishops and hierarchy have tried oh so hard to make a robust promotion of the faith and have failed so we might as well water everything down and just go the silent "when necessary use words" approach WHICH WAS, THE APPROACH WE'VE BEEN FOLLOWING FOR 40 YEARS!
Sorry to shout, but it can't be said enough that we have not lived our lives under an oppressive conservative Church regime in the USA full of fire and brimstone sermons and rabidly pro-life RCIA leaders or chanceries and Catholic institutions bursting at the seems with pro-life warriors.
It's not that we've tried and failed and now must try the other approach. The "other approach" IS what we've been trying for 40 years. The Church is only growing by immigration or by these counter-cultural forces who have only token support in most cases.
And another thing.... the Pro-life movement has moved on from "in your face" tactics since the 1980s... there's this thing called "VitaeCaring Foundation that has been producing TV and radio advertisements for YEARS promoting a soft-approach to winning hearts and minds to the culture of life.
The Human Life Review, Homiletic and Pastoral Review and other sources have FOR YEARS been pointing out the need to shift tactics...and the 13,000 crisis pregnancy centers - almost entirely self-funded by laity with minimal official support from parishes, dioceses and religious orders... are the 'soft-sell', the warm embrace, the gentle touch.
But as I mention, these self-funded groups are running on a shoe-string with little official support. Perhaps Macon is the exception. It probably is. But do all Catholic parishes in big cities in GA have a crisis pregnancy center? I don't think so.
There's being in your face, and there's giving the impression that the truths of the faith can be compromised. The latter can be by any number of ways: by omitting to mention them, by actively suggesting that they're not important, or not as important as other things, or that they're subject to fudging if not outright change (for instance, through "dialoguing"), or that they're not the basis of the faith, or by talking a lot more about less foundational issues.
I have personally witnessed/heard priests either downplay, omit mention of, or actively misrepresent the basics of the faith in order to avoid alienating RCIA catechumens and also in order to win favor from parishoners during Mass. Why should we think that such a thing would be limited to a single priest i a single parish? Why would we think a pope immune to this? (And please don't mention infallibility since we know it doesn't apply to the pope in many circumstances).
There is a place for both approaches.
Once a month, many years ago, I used to pray a Saturday morning rosary vigil with other pro-life Catholics in front of Planned Parenthood (most abortions are scheduled for Saturday mornings) in another city. The powers that be passed a "Bubble Law" that kept us a certain distance from the clinic. Fine. Then they passed a law against "harassment" which was left wide open for interpretation. So we prayed without our signs. What "harassing" and "intimidating" message was on our signs? Three words: "Abortion Kills Children".
So we would pray our vigil without signs and the people STILL knew why we were there. Planned Parenthood employees videotaped us. They called the police on us, yet the police were always polite and just reminded us not to violate any of the laws and told us we could keep praying on the sidewalk. Then the general public would drive by, calling us hypocrites, cussing at us, throwing things at us, and, once in a while, honking and giving us a thumbs-up in support. We just kept on praying.
Is this "in your face" behavior? If so, it worked. EVERY week, there would be people who would stop and talk to us, and at least ONE of them was a woman who was about to abort and changed her mind. We had pamphlets to give to anyone who wanted to talk. One sign we DID keep was a scale replica of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. You cannot believe how many Hispanic couples started into the parking lot, saw the image and turned around to leave. If that is "in your face" pro-life promotion, then it worked.
However, we also went to homes for unwed mothers and helped them. Some parishes held pro-life baby showers to raise supplies for poor women who were keeping their babies. We NEVER scolded a pregnant woman who came to the clinic and talked to us, whether she decided to leave or stay and abort. We always had people simultaneously praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament to support our prayer vigils in front of the clinic.
Oh, and let's not forget the terms of the debate. The abortion debate is controlled by the language that abortion promoters and the media have fashioned. Pro-lifers are "anti-choice" (as if killing is a civilized "choice"). Pro-lifers are terrorists because of a few abortion clinic bombings. FACT: Since Roe v. Wade became law in 1973 a total of 8 people have been killed by "pro-life" violence, while there have been 300 murders and 150 attempted murders by pro-abortion people against pro-lifers--something the media will never report. Further, every one of those abortion clinic bombings was condemned by mainstream pro-lifers and all were committed by fringe nut-cases who were operating on their own. "Women's Groups" wave coat hangers--when in fact, coat hanger abortions are largely a myth. The media also never mentions the more than 550 women who have died from botched LEGAL abortions, or the high incidence of sex crimes abortion doctors have committed. They also scream at us, asking us why we don't adopt all the aborted babies. There's no need for us to adopt them, because over a million parents are on adoption waiting lists. Why do you think so many people adopt children from overseas? They can't find enough of them here!
There is a place for both approaches to promoting Catholic morality. However, when it comes to abortion, let's get real. We almost NEVER hear homilies that deal with the subject, and when we do, they are usually pretty mild. If we keep doing what most Catholics are doing regarding this moral issue--which is NOTHING--and voting for pro-abort politicians--we will continue on the path that now has us at more than 50 million legal abortions since 1973.
Pope Francis' approach seems to come from the heart and extend outward to others; it is warm, giving and generous . . . a very merciful love!
The Holy Father is modeling the pastoral way to influence hearts. Can we allow him to be his own person? All popes have had their own unique personalities formed and influenced by their individual backgrounds, just as any of us are formed.
This "my way or no way" Catholicism that seems to be running rampant in our country will never solve anything and only divides us further. God weeps, and the evil one rejoices.
Can a Pope have different politics from mine? Can he express his opinions on global issues? Is he allowed a different way of showing his love of neighbor? I am convinced that he is a much bigger, more nuanced and complex person than most of us, particularly most of us here. He takes the gospel very seriously. Can we?
How have our bishops "vigorously" promoted the Church's pro-life message? Is it by offering inauguration Masses to Catholic pro-abortion governors? Is it by Cardinal Dolan allowing pro-abortion Governor Mark Cuomo, who lives in an unmarried relationship, to pretend he is a good Catholic? Is it by allowing pro-abortion nuns to act as escorts to abortion clinics? Or is it by the lip-service they pay to the pro-life cause once a year in a letter to the faithful that many priests don't even read at Mass? I mean if they are being too vigorous, then maybe they should just dial it down a bit. But first, we need to clarify just what these vigorous efforts entail.
I hope you can clear this up for me.
It's kind of like that time I found Michael Voris and Church Militant. I was really excited because of his hardline stance on Catholic issues, after finding myself in a "church of nice" parish. Well, I fowarded on my discovery to my lifelong Catholic Dad and his Catholic brothers and sisters. To say the least, none of them shared my enthusiasm for Michael Voris. My Dad was actually repulsed and said that Pope Francis would not approve. Of course, I respect my father's opinion and through Pope Francis' actions and style, see where my Dad was coming from. I still like Michael Voris and the bold truth he speaks, with no disrespect, whatsoever, to the Holy Father or my Dad. Good article, Father, as I see both sides of the issue, here.
More mental Twister to justify the actions of the Pope...as the Church continues to swirl the drain.
Well, Father, I became a Catholic after becoming enchanted with the extraordinary and prophetic voices of John Paul II and Benedict visa-vis the greatest moral crises of our time. So that is at least one person--a millennial no less! The person who instructed me in the faith and received me into the Church is widely regarded as one of the American episcopate's boldest "culture warriors," which only inspired me more. I assure you that there are many others, especially young people, who find a bold and unapologetic proclamation of truth to be deeply compelling. I am not necessarily saying that Francis doesn't do that, too, but I do think the premise of your argument is seriously flawed.
It's not that the Pope is wrong to kiss babies, smile, wave, and welcome anyone who approaches him. It's that it's WRONG to assume that pro-lifers DON'T or WON'T act with equal kindness and gentleness of spirit.
We're not asking priests to condemn women from the pulpit! We're asking priests to at least recognize, vocalize from the pulpit that abortion affects Catholic women. Acknowledge that many Catholic women have felt themselves forced into abortion by family, friends, or circumstances and how this is a shame because we are willing and ready to help!
Acknowledge that many men are involved because they didn't want to be responsible for their choices but that forgiveness is available and they need to 'man-up' and acknowledge their complicity in the degradation and abuse of the women they drove to abort their own sons.
You call out the sin in the SAME SENTENCE you mention God's mercy. That's how you do it. That it seems so hard or embarrassing for priests or deacons to do is a complete mystery to me. It's not "rocket surgery"!
It's not scandalous or x-rated to say "look, people we know may have had abortions. Abortion is a sin and a very sad defeat for humanity. But if we acknowledge our guilt we can find forgiveness and healing. It's part of our common priesthood to want to bring God's healing to all our scattered family of God but for healing to come, we need to accept our responsibility...."
So the attitude is not "down, down, evil-doers, to the fire of hell..." but "hey, it's statistically likely that some of our women and men have felt compelled to abort their children and this is a great tragedy and defeat, it leaves a great hole in their hearts and minds. It's a sin because instead of welcoming the greatest gift of God, a child, they turned away and abandoned that child. But there is mercy in God's heart if we but turn to him. Let's pray for those women and men that they realize and experience this mercy and let's pray for those women and men contemplating or being tempted to abort their children that they don't. That they realize we here at Parish [name ] are ready to help...."
See? Easy peasy. So why don't we hear a peep from the pulpit about this?
Saint Paul was quite successful. If he wasn't an "in your face" type of guy, I don't know who would qualify for that description.
Jus, the fact that, in your otherwise excellent posts, you claim that NFP is somehow pro-life and in accord with Catholic teaching says everything that one needs to know about how badly the bishops and priests have failed in conveying the teachings and practice of the Church. After all, despite your very pro-life stance, they still have you fooled that NFP is acceptable and Catholic.
I think we've all been hoodwinked. Father, this IS a joke isn't it? You deliberately mislabeled the US bishops abortion efforts as "vigorous" to get us all upset, didn't you? Surely you were not serious? C'mon and 'fess up!
Speaking of in your face, how about the Bishop who was instrumental in covering up abuse cases being brought into Philadelphia to stand with the Pope. Hey, who are we to judge. LOL! LOL! This is better than a carnival, and the carnival of denial that goes along with it.
The strongest stance this Pope has taken is his stance against so-called "sins against the earth." Seriously, now, how can you keep a straight face when defending this stuff. Carbon credits are the new indulgences.
"As soon as the global temperature drops,
The soul from Purgatory pops."
Hug a tree for Jesus.
Counting dolphins for Christ.
I am shocked at how intellectually unintegrated so many who are commenting here are as it concerns Catholic philosophy and doctrine.
Let's get this straight. Pope Francis is pro-life to the nth degree, but some here do not integrate their Catholic morality in a way the Holy Father does, from the moment of conception to natural death. This means he is opposed to abortion which is killing and the killing of any human being to the point of opposing the death penalty for those who do kill.
He is in favor of caring for human life after conception with proper health, nutrition and the goods of the earth that care for human life after birth!
The earth is like our mother's womb. If it is injured by us, it is like causing an abortion--you cause people to suffer including the mother who carries the child.
If people can't connect the dots here, I am astounded and shocked and can only attribute it to coloring book Catholicism or worse yet, political positions and rhetoric which aren't Catholic!
Being in favor of caring for immigrants and passing laws to do so legally, caring for the earth AND CONCERN FOR GLOBAL WARMING, health care, caring for the poor IS NOT A DEMOCRAT PARTY ISSUE, THEY TOOK IT FROM CATHOLIC TEACHING!
To be pro-life, pro-natural marriage and the like is NOT A REPUBLICAN PARTY ISSUE ALONE, THEY GOT IT FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!
Get with it people! You are the problem not the solution in criticizing the Holy Father with your lack of understanding of Catholic moral teachings and its foundations!
A culture of death vs. a culture of life.
Life: Save the babies, whales, trees, elderly, immigrants, homeless reform criminals, promote clean air, water and land, create healthy, positive jobs.
Death: Promote and "glorify" Abortion, Euthanasia, Homosexual activity, recreational drug use, fornication, waste of money.
It's a tragedy that these issues have become politicized. In the process, people have forgotten what true good and true evil are and have become mired in their trenches.
Like WWI, only death lies between them.
Lets see: there was he seamless garment, followed by the various voting guides where one could vote for politicians who support abortion. Then think of all the Catholic politicians who voted for abortion but were never censured and permitted the sacraments (Biden, Kennedy, Pelosi). Just recently, Former VA governor Kane, spoke hopefully of women's ordination. Someone with more time and better memory could put together a longer list than this commenter.
The reality is that our Bishops never got together and "vigorously" worked against abortion. Many priest gave permission in the confessional to contracept freely although, it is well known that most birth control agents work by preventing the implantation of a fertilized ovum, thus causing abortion. The laity knows all this decided that if the hierarchy cannot provide a united front why should they observe a doctrine on which our shepherds can't agree. Not a pretty picture.
Father, we are reacting to your characterization of the bishops and clergy having been "vigorously" pro-life all these years until Pope Francis showed up to show us how it's much better to soft-pedal things so as win hearts and minds. The cartoon of a hulking bully with a boxing glove (i.e. Bishops being vigorously pro-life) glaring down at a wimpy secular hedonist probably didn't help matters.
Because the reality is completely the reverse. The secular hedonists are the bully in our culture and we are the wimpy civilians shaking in our boots.
We don't buy this because we haven't seen such rigorous, vigorous, full-throated "in your face" pedal-to-the-metal drive of the bishops and our clergy to advance the culture of life (pro-life, pro-woman, pro-family...) notwithstanding a few isolated exceptions.
So the argument: big mean bad old Church was awfully judgmental and harsh from 1968 to the present and thus is to blame for people being turned off...but all we need to do is downplay culture-war divisiveness and placate the spirit of the age by adopting as our own the secular world's love for the environment and viola, we will have the new evangelization!!
But the entire argument hinges on whether in fact the Church has been this big bully with a boxing glove on the culture of life issue.
We laity on this blog say "no it most certainly has not been". And none of us have been making this a Democrat vs. Republican thing.
Item: No one (and I mean, absolutely NO ONE) is politically on the record in favor of ZERO immigrants. Everyone is in favor of immigration. Even Trump's wall is going to have doors! But being in favor of immigration in theory doesn't mean we must be in favor of open borders without VISAs, without any control of entry.
Item: Pollution is not a morally equivalent act to abortion. The entire planet is not of equal moral value of a single human embryo. Basic metaphysics 101 here. So while we can analogously say "like" that's all it is. Analogy. A hang-nail is like being shot in war too. In both bases it hurts. But that's about where the analogy stops.
Item: The death penalty involves 35 men being executed per year by the federal or state governments after serving a minimum of 8 years behind bars and being tried repeatedly in court. A total of 3,000 men sit on death row. Meanwhile 3,000 babies are legally slaughtered without trial, by private individuals PER DAY..... and are one factor in why the US feels the need to import illegals....
Item: To be pro-life and pro-natural marriage may not be a Republican only issue, but the Democratic Party Platform EXPLICITLY calls for abortion, embryo-killing research, euthanasia, sodomy, and contraception and more and more they are demanding we pay for it all and participate in these rituals on pain of being fired from our jobs. http://thefederalist.com/2015/09/28/abortion-suicide-and-same-sex-weddings-are-now-your-job/
So while one need not be Republican, one cannot be both a good (and educated Catholic) and a Democrat. But as we know from various sources, most bishops and priests are (or were) registered Democrats. Most religious orders are heavily involved with Democrats. The very chief of the CCHD was a former staffer of "Abortion Barbie" in Texas. The Nuns-on-the-bus are big Democrat supporters. And not coincidentally, they all seem pretty embarrassed by pro-lifers and being in charge, have tended to downplay or silence most pro-life messaging, forcing it into the shadows or into token status.
And so the Church has largely behaved as you would have us think Pope Francis WANTS us to behave - and yet Pew and CARA surveys show the Church shrinking in the all important attendance and sacramental counts.
It's not that we tried being vigorous and it's failed. It's that we're afraid to be vigorous and so haven't tried it.
Let's take a step back and evaluate the reality of things. Objectively, it does not matter what the pope believes. The Catholic Faith exists outside the pope's personal faith and will continue to exist whether he believes it or not. The only impact that the pope's personal faith has is in how he carries out the functions of his office, and the only purpose of his carrying out that office publicly is to call people to the Truth of Christ found in the Holy Catholic Church. There is no mission of the Church or the papacy outside of that mission of converting souls to the faith and confirming Catholics in the faith of the Apostles.
The integrated Catholic Faith, then, is not necessarily synonymous with that professed by the pope since the pope is not inerrant and could fall from the Catholic faith (as we know has happened in the past). There is no profit in determining what the pope thinks about things other than to comment on how well he is carrying out the mission of his office.
The Church teaches that abortion is intrinsically evil. The Church teaches that the state has the authority to carry out executions. The Church teaches that we are to care for the poor, including immigrants. The Church also teaches that people are to follow the state's laws when they do not contradict God's laws. The Church teaches that its adherents should care for the sick and poor voluntarily. And the Church teaches that the state cannot redistribute wealth without violating the Seventh Commandment. The Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman for life. And the Church teaches that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered behavior that constitutes grave matter.
The Church has no teaching on global warming. But the Church teaches that man is to subdue the earth, which involves a level of stewardship of the creation. Man is also to care for his neighbor, which implies and stewardship for future generations.
Now, some of these issues have been co-opted by politicians of whatever party. It is clear that neither party represents the Catholic interest wholly. Whatever good things either party does in its platform, it does as a result of its borrowing from Catholic teaching since Catholic teaching is inherently good as its ultimate source is Him who is all good.
As for the pope, since, as I mentioned above, his personal faith is of little importance except insofar as it manifests itself to the world through his teachings and actions, it seems prudent, when necessary, to comment on how well he has succeeded in manifesting the teachings of Christ. This follows from the virtue of prudence, in my opinion.
We have an illustrative example in this blog, I think. When it appears to Fr. McDonald that the commenters are not doing well at living up to the Church's teaching, he sees no problem in pointing out that our words give rise to a presumption that we are "coloring book Catholics" or "schismatics" or "Protestants."
There is no reason why the pope should get a pass simply because he is the pope. When the prior heretic popes were doing what heretics do, people discussed that so that the result of the pope-heretic's teaching was diminished. Where confusion reigns, truth and clarity should be made even more manifest. At this time, many people are confused, including, for example, my parents who last weekend were asking me why the pope was a communist. That sort of question deserves an answer.
Gee, Fr, you make me want to break out in song with that horrible tune, Trees."
"A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast..."
Used as an example of bad poetry in every English class. And, now, a great example of terrible theology.
The earth is not like our mother's womb. The earth did not birth us, what are you, some kind of neo-pagan, adopting ridiculous notions in order to desperately defend the indefensible? I hope people on the fence do read all this. They need to know just what in the Hell is going on.
For those commenters who might not be aware, Fr. McDonald's parish is doing a weekly "Faith Formation" class on Laudato si. So his support for this path is rather solidified in his so-called pastoral activities, which might go some way toward explaining why he is attempting to defend it so vigorously.
And today four thousand innocent souls in the USA were dispatched in the name of healthcare, right, privacy, choice and freedom. Catholics for Choice. How many "Cradle Catholics" never made it to the cradle? We wonder why things appear to be going so badly.
I cannot give the evildoers permission. I may not be able to stop the Evil but I can attempt to convey revealed Truth and pray for mercy for those who choose a deadly and perilous path on their way to Christ.
Father, thank you--
This post and your comment (1:48 pm) are the strongest statement yet supporting the Holy Father's total pro-life spectrum of concerns. Pro-life is not a buffet line of choices. You're gonna have to eat every single item if you call yourself an informed, committed Catholic. Some items may be more palatable than others to your personal tastes: some are savory, some are sweet, some bitter, some sour, and some downright disgust your personal tastebuds. Do you have an advanced palate or just pickin and choosin your favorites? Regardless, I can almost guarantee the Holy Father would listen, hug you, then ask you to pray for him.
Father, just keep teaching the truth and God will take it from there. It's up to us to listen and learn.
Being a good steward of God's creation is one thing. Swallowing controversial unproven scientific theories and using them as the basis of "integrated" teaching is quite another.
You can get indignant all you like Father, but far more Catholics and other innocent people have been harmed by Communist and totalitarian governments than by capitalist systems and for more innocent people have lost their lives to these systems than have been victims of environmental problems. The seams on this garment are growing a little bit too thick to fit any longer.
We may not be as educated as you, but we're not stupid.
"Objectively, it does not matter what the pope believes"
"As for the pope, since, as I mentioned above, his personal faith is of little importance except insofar as it manifests itself to the world through his teachings and actions"
It does indeed matter. Either the Pope fully believes, accepts, professeses and holds fully to all that is contained in the Deposit of Faith of the Catholic Church, which are those precepts and doctrines for which the complete assent of all the faithful is required,or he is not worthy to occupy the Chair of Peter.
With respect, I think you're setting up a straw man. At any rate, you're certainly setting one up with regard to me, and I imagine the same is true of others here. I'm against capital punishment. I'm an environmentalist. I believe in caring for the poor and sick, and attempt to do my part, although I admit that I could so more. And I am against abortion.
But as Paul indicates, it would be hard to point to--or at least quantify--any evil that matches the systematic legal murder of 4000 innocent people in America alone, every day--people who have no means of actual or legal defense. And that doesn't count "silent abortions" caused by various contraceptive mechanisms of action. Until the Church takes whatever action is neccesary to deal with that problem--excommunications, massive, open, episcopal civil disobedience, and anything else that can be thought of--I can't take her statements or actions on any of the other things very seriously.
This has been going on for decades. Clearly, whatever the Church has been doing hasn't been enough. And the comments that the Catholic effort has been sperheaded by laity and other non-episcopal action are dead on. The vast majority of bishops simply bob, dodge, and weave whenever the issue comes up, (such as when Pelosi's bishop stated that he didn't know where she stood on abortion). Either His Excellency is a fool or he thinks we are.
The two groups most reponsible for the availability of abortion inthe US today are the Republican Party and the Catholic bishops, largely because of their inaction when it mattered (and matters).
The pro-abortion lobby and the gay rights lobby have been certainly in our faces for many years and, personally, I think their tactics have been much more persuasive than the PC approach that has been being advocated by liberals in the Church. We are constantly being told by priests not to speak up against evil. No doubt because they want to keep bottoms on pews. They know that the vast majority of Catholics these days don't want to hear about sin - if they want to chuck the wife aside they want to be able to walk up to communion with the next guy; if they want to shack up they still want to be able to walk up to communion with the next; if they want an abortion, who are we to judge? The more PC we become, the more like the failing Episcopalian/Anglicans churches who now welcome open sinners into their congregations without a murmur - and it hasn't helped them one iota.
Christ didn't mince his words - He wasn't PC. He kicked the money lenders out of the temple. He told the woman to go and sin no more. That is what we have to do. We can't try to sugarcoat everything for fear of offending someone.
George, part of my point is that the personal faith and opinions of any particular pope are of no consequence to the faith since the faith does not belong to the pope. There have been heretic popes in the past -- they were not able to change the faith even though they were able to draw to their erroneous position scores of sycophants who were more than willing to disseminate their heretical propositions. The presence of error in the mind and actions of a pope are obviously problematic since so many people have an erroneous understanding of the nature of the papal office (as is evidenced by the posts on this blog).
No one is worthy to occupy the Chair of St. Peter. The saintly popes knew that that fact and that is why they were saintly.
Let's at least TRY to be objective here. We are approaching 58 million legal abortions since 1973. That's 58 million human lives and 58 million souls. Innocent lives. Souls that have never committed an actual sin.
Stalin is vilified for many reasons, not the least of which is that nearly 7 million innocent Ukrainians starved to death because of the contrived famine he inflicted upon them in 1932 and 1933.
Hitler is most hated for his "final solution" against the Jews, which killed an estimated 6 million people. Those who deny that it happened are pariahs and labeled "Holocaust Deniers."
So it only makes sense and ANY Catholic with a conscience would at very least REASONABLY expect the most visible leader of his faith to speak out against the barbaric injustice that we have sanitized and grown comfortable with, cloaking it in terms like "choice".
No Father, let's forget about being reasonable. Any Catholic with half of a conscience has every right in the world to DEMAND that his leader use his bully pulpit to speak out against this outrage that everyone is so numb about facing.
Yes, forget reasonable. Let's be candid: HOW DARE YOU JUDGE AND CONDEMN TRADITIONAL CATHOLICS AND PRO-LIFE CATHOLICS for being upset and discussing the fact that their pope barely pays lip service to the largest scale holocaust in human history? HOW DARE YOU?!?
Father, you're a nice man, but maybe YOU need to examine your conscience on this issue and go to confession for the trip you are laying on us.
"No one is worthy to occupy the Chair of St. Peter. The saintly popes knew that that fact and that is why they were saintly."
Who among us is worthy to be the beneficiary of Christ's Redemptive act of Salvation?
Who among us is worthy to receive His Precious Body and Blood?
That is not the sense of unworthiness I was using. I suppose one could argue and take the position that as long as the Pope did not commit heresy, his personal faith (or lack of) would not matter. To me, if he did not fully believe, accept, profess and hold fully to all that is the Catholic Church teaches and which must be believed, then he would be obligated to resign his office.
As far as you stating that," there have been heretic popes in the past", that is simply not true. Dr Warren H Carroll, who wrote a six volume "History of Christendom" (he is now deceased), once said that he would refute anyone who claimed any Pope ever committed heresy. It is fundamental doctrine of the Church that no pope can err in matters of faith and morals.
George, you can believe the pious fantasy that there haven't been heretic popes in the past. That mode of thinking leads logically to swdevacantism. Anyway, Honorius was condemned by a council. John XXII was nearly deposed but died first.
There is no doctrine that there haven't been heretic popes. And there will be no such doctrine because when the doctrine of papal infallibility was defined, they defined it in such a way as to not encompass the past heretics of which the Vatican Council fathers were very aware.
If you want to test the theory, read the sermons of Pope John XXII who undoubtedly taught heresy and was called on it by people at the time. Seriously, it is ridiculous to claim that a pope cannot be a heretic because he is pope. If that's true, why does the collect for the pope ask God to keep him in the faith?
I mentioned that Pope Honorious I was anathematized and condemned for heresy at the Third Council of Constantinople. Why did that not get posted. Is history taboo now?
Below is something that Dr Warren H. Carrol, a Catholic scholar, who wrote a six volume "History of Christendom" had to say on the subject:
I deny that any Pope was ever a heretic, have researched each case where that is claimed, and will be glad to answer and refute any claim that any Pope ever committed himself or called upon the faithful to hold any heretical belief.
Pope Liberius did condemn St. Athanasius under heavy pressure from his captors, he refused to sign a clearly Arian statement of faith, but did sign an equivocal statement which could be interpreted either in an orthodox or an Arian sense.The infallibility of the papacy was therefore preserved even under Liberius’ weak leadership. But Popes are not infallible when making excommunications, or any disciplinary judgment, for they are limited by the information they have on the individual or situation in question. They are only infallible in making doctrinal pronouncements ex cathedra. It is vitally important always to remember that the Pope has two kinds of authority, magisterial (when he is speaking ex cathedra, that is, in a way intended to be binding on the faithful), in which he is infallible; and administrative, as head of the Church appointed by Christ to govern it (which would include excommunications).
The Pope is not infallible when exercising his governing authority, but still must be obeyed when he does so, as long as his orders apply clearly to the Church rather than to temporal affairs.
Honorius was not condemned for heresy himself but for negligence in allowing it and not suppressing it.
This is basic to the Faith.
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