Thursday, October 29, 2015


I have written this before, but it is Déjà vu all over again in the Church. And it isn't a positive nostalgia at all. In three short years we have traveled back in time to the tumultuous 1970's in society and the Church, very much like the dynamic duo of the 1970's, culture and Church wars raging on and often it is difficult to teased the two phenomena apart because in fact the two are interrelated and closely wedded.

Both Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict were able to keep this sort of thing in check during their papacies. While many thought Pope Benedict would be the most divisive figure of a pope, he proved anything but that. Pope Francis has become and is what many thought Pope Benedict would be. 

The agents of change are the ones responsible for the unrest and polarization that occurs and is now occurring in the Church, although I am not sure it has filtered down to rank and file Catholics as it did in the immediate post-Vatican II period. Perhaps we have the absence of radical nuns and brothers in our schools to thank for this? They are the ones who fomented such polarization in local parishes especially in their schools. Then the children in these schools brought the polarization home. I don't think this is happening today.

On top of that the divisions and polarization Pope Francis has wrought don't have to do with Sunday liturgy. It is on a different level and having to do with personal morality and the Church blessing immorality rather than treating it which sometimes means amputation. It seems Pope Francis wants to simply place bandages on gangrenous wounds which only exacerbates the disease. Or worse yet, Pope Francis is an "enabler" of people's peccadilloes.

The polarization this time is happening on the internet and with blogs and newspapers. The two most interesting examples of this have to do with Russ Douthat of the New York Times, a conservative, orthodox Catholic who is calling things as he sees them.

Liberals and the heterodox in the Catholic Church are repressive and as I mentioned, in the 1970's they ruled with an iron fist to suppressed their opposition often times by humiliated them and marginalizing them. The worst insult they could hurl at someone was "you are so pre-Vatican II!" If you were a seminarian or a religious in formation that meant your days were numbered:

Here is an example of this kind of gestapo tactic of the leftist academics against a layman and brilliant New York Times reporter and those who signed it. Please note how they arrogantly call into question his intellectual qualifications to write on religion. This is clericalism to the hilt:

On Sunday, October 18, the Times published Ross Douthat’s piece “The Plot to Change Catholicism.” (You can read Ross's follow-up  HERE .) Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject, the problem with his article and other recent statements is his view of Catholicism as unapologetically subject to a politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is. Moreover, accusing other members of the Catholic church of heresy, sometimes subtly, sometimes openly, is serious business that can have serious consequences for those so accused. This is not what we expect of the New York Times.
October 26, 2015

John O’Malley, SJ (Georgetown University)
Massimo Faggioli (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Nicholas P. Cafardi (Duquesne University)
Gerard Mannion (Georgetown University)
Stephen Schloesser, SJ (Loyola University Chicago)
Katarina Schuth OSF (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Leslie Tentler (Catholic University of America, emerita)

John Slattery (University of Notre Dame)
Megan McCabe (Boston College)
Thomas M. Bolin (St. Norbert College)
Kevin Brown (Boston College)
Alan C. Mitchell (Georgetown University)
Elizabeth Antus (John Carroll University)
Kathleen Grimes (Villanova University)
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
Christopher Bellitto (Kean University)
Katharine Mahon (University of Notre Dame)
Corey Harris (Alvernia University)
Kevin Ahern (Manhattan College)
John DeCostanza (Dominican University)
Daniel Cosacchi (Loyola University Chicago)
Amy Levad (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Christine McCarthy (Fordham University)
Sonja Anderson (Yale University)
Fr. Robert A. Busch (Diocese of Amarillo)
Brandon Peterson (University of Utah)
Heather Miller Rubens (Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies)
Daniel Dion (Rivier University)
Mark Miller (University of San Francisco)
William T. Ditewig (Santa Clara University)
Stuart Squires (Brescia University)
Gerald O’Collins, SJ (Gregorian University, emeritus)
Anthony J. Godzieba (Villanova University)
Terrence W. Tilley (Fordham University)
Michael J. Hollerich (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Gerald Schlabach (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Luca Badini Confalonieri (Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research)
Francis Schussler Fiorenza (Harvard Divinity School)
Rebecca A. Chabot (Iliff School of Theology)
Mark Massa, SJ (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry)
James T. Bretzke, SJ (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry)
Anne Clifford (Iowa State University)
Jack Downey (La Salle University)
Sherry Jordon (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Julia Lamm (Georgetown University)

Then Fr. James Martin, SJ of America Magazine tries to manipulate things with his emotionalism and crocodile tears and how hateful everyone is today. The only thing he seems to forget or not mention that it is Pope Francis that has caused this polarization in the Church and the divisions that now are devolving into hatred. This is what happened after Vatican II and the progressives caused it just as they are causing it today. You can read Fr. Martin's crocodile-tears piece in America HERE.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League also got into it HERE.

Many commentators on the just finished synod are actually saying it is a win for the orthodox and not for the heterodox. The heterodox can only lay claim to victory by the use of the hermenuetic of a cracked door for their position but that could easily be solved and shut. This is what Fr. Z writes with links:

"So the journalists covering the synod document as a setback for the innovators (and, because he elevated them, the pontiff) are mostly correct, given their ambitions going in. But so, in a certain way, are the journalists covering it as a kind of cracked-door to innovation, because the conservatives didn’t have the votes or the power to keep every ambiguity at bay. The most straightforward reading of the synod text supports the first interpretation, for the reasons that (among others) George Weigel and Robert Royal lay out: There is no abrogation of the ancient ban on communion for the remarried, and plenty of phrasings that indicate that ban is still in force. But at the same time, as Royal also notes, the text is not as plain as the document it quotes, John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, and it spends so much time talking about discernment and individual cases that it seems to sometimes come “right up to the edge” of communion for the remarried, as Royal puts it, without “crossing over into it in so many words.”

My final comment: One thing is for sure. We need to pray, not participate in the hatred and remain sober.  


Gene said...

Like I said, hit dogs (and I do mean dogs) holler.

Gene said...

I also see where some gay Priest in Rome is having a hissy fit about the "inhuman treatment" of gay priests in the Vatican. He wants all the gay Cardinals, Bishops and Priests to abandon this horrible Church. Hell, the Tiber would have to part to let them all across. More popcorn.

Vox Cantoris said...

Is James Martin, S.J., along with these signatories, trying to have the journalist fired? Father Martin does not have to worry about his next meal or the gasoline for his car or the bill for his internet connection. No more than Tom Rosica, CSB had to worry about lawyer's fees when he attempted his disgraceful lawsuit against this writer.

This is clericalism of the worst kind.

And it is evil.

Gene said...

I will bet anybody on this blog a steak dinner that not a single one of those so-called theologians actually believes that Jesus is the Son of God, Incarnate of the Virgin Mary, who literally rose from the dead, is actually present to us in the Eucharist, and will return in righteous judgement at the end of historical time. Their entire theology, teaching careers, and lives are a huge lie, accepted by academia and the Church as a harmless charade.

Gene said...

We are now told that Kardinal Kasper is to be one of Pope Francis' major advisors in writing his upcoming statement about how the Church should deal with "modern" families, LGBT perverts, and other such nonsense. I am SO comforted.

Gene said...

Fr, I expect that, soon, the Pope will issue a directive that stones are to replace the wafers at Communion. Please don't order that big gravel that DOT uses on the forest roads. Get the little crush and run stuff. It goes down better with despair.

Gene said...

This needs to be read (several parts, by Ann Coulter):

It took a billionaire living the glamorous New York City life to exhibit real Christian courage by going against every elite group in the nation, every media outlet, every well-heeled donor, to defend America from destruction by immigration.

Baptist leader Russell Moore, desperate for liberal approval, claims that Christian conservatives “must repudiate everything they believe” in order to support Donald Trump, who “incites division, with slurs against Hispanic immigrants and with protectionist jargon that preys on turning economic insecurity into ugly ‘us versus them’ identity politics.” (Please like me, New York Times!)

Moore is especially offended by Trump’s “boisterous confidence” and “waving arms” — as he put it in the Times, journal of respectable liberal opinion. (Do Baptist preachers ever wave their arms? Somebody Google that.)

How would Gen. Douglas MacArthur fare with today’s evangelical leaders? Ronald Reagan was a visibly devout Christian, but Richard Nixon wasn’t. Joe McCarthy wasn’t. MacArthur wasn’t.

Sometimes the country needs a man.

The idea that Christians are supposed to be milquetoasts is liberal propaganda. Ask the money-changers how meek Jesus was. (Not the Clintons; I mean the other money-changers.) God commanded the Israelites to go to certain cities and kill “every living thing.” As I recall, the Crusaders were a little rough around the edges.

Gene said...


When Trump attacks, he targets the rich and powerful. When the elites attack, they target the average American and everything he cares about.

When Trump boasts -- about his wealth, his family, his intelligence -- it's funny, not mean-spirited. No one feels inferior. In fact, legions of political commentators who've never accomplished anything in their entire lives feel immensely superior to Trump.

No doubt, wisdom shall die with them. (Job 12:1 -- one of many examples of sarcasm in the Bible, a rhetorical device bossy Christians tell us is un-Christian.)

By contrast, Trump's personal style is denounced by the Piety Police with smug certitude, to showcase their superior moral understanding.

I'm almost sure the Bible says nothing about arm-waving, but it says quite a bit about the sort of pride that allows a person to presume to speak for God on acceptable speaking styles. God does not mandate personality types and, if He did, I doubt it would be "lisping sycophant."

It's not Trump who's displaying the sin of pride here.

Christians obsessed with ostentatious shows of religiosity in public life have basically the same disease as liberals who go around being offended all the time. It's all posturing. Trump's a Christian. This is a Christian country. How about helping keep it that way?

Although Trump has been winning the largest percentage of evangelical voters, evangelical "insiders" like Moore hate him. A poll of "insiders" hand-picked by anti-Trump Warren Cole Smith found only 1.1 percent of evangelical leaders supporting Trump, with 37.4 percent supporting Marco Rubio -- as their betters had hoped.

Smith sent the results of his survey to media outlets under the headline: "Evangelicals do NOT support Trump."

The problem is, they do. Evidently, the flock is not as dumb or "easily led" -- in the words of The Washington Post -- as evangelical leaders think.

While the Russell Moores and Warren Cole Smiths urgently warn conservative Christians that Trump is a model-marrying libertine, actual evangelicals understand that this is entirely beside the point.

This is not an election about who can check off the most boxes on an evangelical lifestyle list. This is an election about saving the concept of America, the last hope for Christianity on the planet.

A country in which partial birth abortions are freely available, but children can't hold hands and pray in school, is not a country where Christians are winning.

What difference does it make where a candidate stands on abortion or gay marriage, when a few more years of our current immigration flow will mean no Republican can ever be elected president again and nine Ruth Bader Ginsburgs will sit on the Supreme Court?

Unless Americans stop being outvoted by foreigners, Christians -- as well as libertarians, neoconservatives, fiscal conservatives and moderate Democrats -- have no hope of winning anything, anywhere, anytime. The last Christian country on Earth will be no more.

Evangelicals don't need candidates to have religious ecstasies on stage. They need a man with the courage to stand up to the infectious madness pushing Third World immigration on our country.

Marco Rubio devoted his entire Senate career to pushing amnesty -- but he made a point of letting the press know that he went to church on Wednesday this week, the day of the debate.

Gene said...


Meanwhile, Trump's pitch to the religious right is: Yeah, I don't go to church that much. (At least we know he's not lying!) But he promises to build a wall, deport illegals and end anchor babies.

Evangelicals know Trump will not go on a witch hunt against some county clerk over gay marriage or sue a high school football coach for allowing his players to pray. It's the left that has the maniacal bloodlust of totalitarians. Only Trump will oppose them -- and with gusto!

What other candidate would toss out un-PC phrases like "illegal immigrant" and "anchor babies" without breaking into a sweat? No other candidate of either party agrees with Trump on immigration -- and if they say they do, they're lying.

Even after Trump rocketed to the lead with his immigration policies, the media still refuse to discuss the issue. The demand for ever-more poverty-stricken immigrants from primitive cultures has gone beyond cheap labor and has become a mass hysteria.

Half the evangelical "leadership" in America can't comprehend anyone who is not consumed with worldly approval. Russell Moore is afraid to disagree with The New York Times from his religious community in Tennessee. Donald Trump actually is an elite, but he doesn't care what his friends on Fifth Avenue think of him.

Some Christians want proof that a candidate has memorized Bible verses. I want a candidate who lives by this verse: "So do not be afraid of them."


Unknown said...


Don't have an aneurysm.


Gene said...

No, Flavius, this is too much fun.