Friday, April 7, 2023


My Good Friday walk to Savannah’s Riverfront: 
I took a long walk from the rectory to Savannah’s Riverfront. This is the most beautiful city on the East Coast and it is booming. All kinds of construction going on downtown. I will be at the Cathedral Basilica’s Good Friday Liturgy at 12 Noon followed by confessions and then back home to HHI, the most beautiful island in the world. No brag, just fact…😇


Paul said...


Thanks for posting those photos - looks quite similar to Hobart, Tasmania.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I often thank the Lord that I was born here in Savannah, and that I'm able to enjoy it all year round. And if you think HH is the beautifulest, I wonder if you've ever been to Cumberland or Wassaw Islands.

TJM said...

Fr K,

I thought you were moving to New York whose “values” sync with yours: abortion is healthcare!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - You are a liar. I have repeatedly stated here that I do not believe that abortion is health care. The perverse pleasure you obviously take in committing the sin of detraction is tragic.

Luckylady said...


Why not ask Fr K WHY he has voted for Democratic political candidates (if in fact he has?).
Leaving aside the whole Trump factor.
I'd like to ask Fr K why he has voted for Democrats rather than Republicans, in recent years.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Lady - I have repeatedly explained my decision-making when voting. Repeatedly. I vote for the candidates I conclude are the best choices for the office(s) for which they are running. It's just that simple. I suspect you do the same thing.

Luckylady said...

Fr K,
I only rarely check out this blog.
I could list my reasons why, for example, I'd rather Ron DeSantis to be President in 2 years time than Joe Biden or Kamala Harris as President - and why I'd vote accordingly.
In your view, in your opinion, what makes a candidate a good choice to be a President, governor or senator?
I'll try to narrow things down a bit, as I am curious, what specific factors would make a Democrat candidate a good choice for any important political position that would override that Democrat candidate's personal commitment to supporting abortion on demand and supporting the very latest aspects of the LGBT agenda?

Luckylady said...

Fr K,
Assuming you, or assuming millions of Catholics, or knowing millions of Catholics voted for Joe Biden to be President, fully knowing Biden's stand on abortion and the LGBT agenda, apart from Old Joe not being Trump, what policies of Biden and the Democrats are so great, so better than Republican policies that it would be wise to vote for them?
Has the Biden administration's performance with the economy, energy, the southern border and foreign affairs, health care and the opioid crisis etc been that great to overlook their policies on abortion and having rather extreme LGBT material being introduced to millions of children in thousands of schools?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Lady, what do you think are the top 15 responsibilities of a US president and what are the qualifications a candidate should have in order to meet those responsibilities?

Paul said...

Fr K,

You wrote on April 7th, 4.12 :

“We know, without doubt, that Catholic doctrines developed over centuries.”

Fr K,

Are you in disagreement with the following:

“….I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport…..I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously….”

If you can’t agree with that; perhaps that would make it easier for you to agree with Cardinal Roche that (not over centuries) in one generation the theology of the Mass and Catholic ecclesiology DID change.

Fr K,

Does not your understanding of theologically acceptable historicism lead to believing:

Church doctrinal formulas are not immutable in themselves but historically conditioned answers given by the Church at a particular moment to questions raised by the thought currents of a particular time.

A sound principle to hold is that every era is inadequate to define truth for future eras.

No formula of faith can exhaust the truth; it can be exchanged for another formula more meaningful to the contemporary mind.

I’d appreciate it if you could apply your theological acumen to answer even one part of the above.

Luckylady said...

I agree with the late great A J P Taylor.
Truly great political leaders, presidents or prime ministers, are very rare.
A very above average, good political leader is one who avoids making serious blunders or serious mistakes with international relations/foreign affairs
and avoids serious mistakes in maintaining economic and social stability. Politicians will always have to react to events overseas or domestically; if serious mistakes are avoided in reacting to various important events that is quite an achievement.

I think important qualifications for any political leader is not to be experiencing significant cognitive decline and to have originally gone into politics to serve, to have sought power only because he/she wanted peace, prosperity and stability, what is best for their nation; as opposed to the politician who has no real policies, goals except individual politicak survival and seeing a career in politics as a means of enriching oneself and one's family.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


If you accept the doctrine of transubstantiation, a term first used in the 11th century, you are a believer in the development of doctrine.

If you accept the doctrine of the universal jursidiction of the pope, codified in Pastor Aeternus (1870), you are a believer in the evolution of doctrine.

Note that both "transubstantiation" and "universal jurisdiction" are formulations of what is divinely revealed truth. The truth did not change when then novel presentations were available, but understanding and expression of those truths did evolve.

Dave Armstrong wrote in the National Catholic Register in 2018, "The Catholic Church holds that our Lord Jesus Christ delivered one apostolic deposit to His apostles, and that it hasn't changed in terms of essence or substance. The Catholic Church preserves it, and is its guardian. But there is a growth in depth of clarity, in the understanding of those truths, without essential change."

Church doctrinal formulas are historically conditioned. As the formulas are products of human thought and wisdom, and since human though and wisdom are historically conditioned, the formulas are as well.

Paul said...

Surely it’s a matter of correct emphasis?

Where should the emphasis be:

Traditional Church doctrinal formulas were what they were and are what they are as a result, primarily, of divine revelation.

Or should the emphasis be:

Church doctrinal formulas are (your words) “products of human thought and wisdom” and “historically conditioned” ?

Does the centuries long Church teaching on sexual morality and marriage also “develop” to such an extent :

So traditional Catholic teaching on sexual morality that all sexual activity, heterosexual or homosexual, outside of marriage is wrong and sinful is a teaching that is, primarily, a product of past human thought and wisdom - and all Christian teaching on marriage must be seen as historically conditioned thus it is an acceptable “development” (in reality a repudiation) of Church teaching to create a liturgical service for and bless the relationship of 2 sexually active gay men in a Catholic church?
This is not something just being discussed in the German Synod but something that has already occurred in many Catholic churches in Belgium, Germany AND Italy.

Is it possible, for example, in any parish, in any diocese in the USA for a Catholic priest to do with impunity what occurs in other western nations -

To have a same sex couple, at a Catholic Mass, with their child on the altar at Father’s Day and have one of the homosexual men give a speech that includes the following: “…….my son is like Jesus; he has two dads!”

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - No, it is not a matter of "correct emphasis." It is a matter of legitimate and necessary evolution. That evolution takes place with the assistance of the Holy Spirit inasnuch as it is a function of the Magisterium. This understanding of the assistance of the Holy SPirit is as Traditional as it gets.

"Traditional Church doctrinal formulas were what they were and are what they are as a result, primarily, of divine revelation." Those formulas are, at the same time, the "products of human thought and wisdom," all under the influence of the Holy Spirit which continues to guide the Magisterium.

This holds true for the Sacred Scriptures themselves. CCC 106 "God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. 'To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.'" From the time of the inspiration until now, human thought and wisdom - "faculties and powers" - have played a role in the formulation of doctrine.

Paul said...

Fr K,

Thank you for your reply.

Is it possible that regarding all the 101 different aspects of the so-called "legitimate and necessary evolution" that have occurred over the last 60 have not all been inspired by the Holy Spirit?

What if a future pope and/or council, hopefully under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was to promulgate statements/teachings that were to in effect repudiate at least some of the so-called "Magisterium of Francis"?

I know anyone can say: we don't know the future, so such "what ifs" don't count.

But surely if the last 60 years has taught us anything - eg how encyclicals of Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X and Pius XII can be ignored (btw even Wikipedia on its page for Traditional Catholicism lists these encyclicals) if not officially repudiated....then what is to stop, say, a future Pope Pius XIII abrogating Traditiones Custodes as easily as Francis in effect abrogated Summorum Pontificum (sp?) , And a future Pope Pius XIII
or Pope JP3 claiming the centuries long teaching on the death penalty was correct and true; and taught strictly, clearly and traditionally on marriage and sexual morality and who can and can't receive Holy Communion?

What if in the future, as is possible, a future pope and or council was if not to officially abrogate and not condemn key aspects of the so-called "Magisterium of Francis" but politely but completely too ignored them and was quite emphatically more traditional and conservative and officially taught differently to Francis, Roche, Cupich, Batzing, Martin et al in our era - then would liberal "progressive" Catholic clerics a 50 to 100 years from now have to humbly submit to teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit?

PS please believe me, especially on this subject, I am not seeking to win an argument as much as I am seeking to learn and understand...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - Liturgical directives/legislation aren't doctrine. Hence, if the future Pope Califractus wants to change some rubric, say eliminating the hand washing at mass, he can.

I will let the progressives of 50 or 100 years hence determine how they might respond to the events of their time.

Some say that the current teaching of the Church regarding ecumenism (Unitatis Redentigratio) and the status of non-Christian denominations is a repudiation or an ignoring of Mortalium Animos. They are incorrect, not because MA or UR are heretical, but because they have failed to read carefully the texts of both. UR does not adopt a "lowest common denominator" approach to Christianity, it does not espouse "naturalism" as a replacement for revelation, it does not foresee a "federation" of Christian denominations but an organic unity, and it does not deny the unity of the Church, all common arguments traditionalists level against UR.

Paul said...

Is past traditional Catholic Church teaching on the death penalty, homosexual activity and divorce and remarriage etc doctrine?

Paul said...

I think an average 15 to 16 year old with average or a bit higher intelligence could read several texts over a semester on Church history etc and have sufficient knowledge and correct imagination to rightly perceive that all the Popes from Pius VI in the late 18th century to Pius XII in 1958, would have some serious difficulty in regarding all the words and actions of Francis 2013 - 2023 on ecumenism, politics, heaven and hell, the liturgy, the death penalty, marriage and second marriages etc as a sound, legitimate and orthodox development of what they each and all taught for circa 200 years...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - I refer you to the CCC on the death penalty, gay sex, and divorce and remarriage. (You will not find liturgical directives/legislation there.)

Paul said...

Seriously, Fr K, what would 99 per cent of Catholic bishops over 1,500 years, from St Augustine to Fulton Sheen make of JP2 and Assisi (sp?) in 1988 to the recent Pachamama affair and the new proposed Mayan Rite to the German sin-odal Way ?

A sound development? Orthodox and legitimate evolution?
Or a profound, and at times bizarre, rupture?

Paul said...

I think I can recall, when I studied some theology 40 years ago, that such modern Catholic theological giants as Hans Kung etc argued back then it was highly dishonest for the Church to claim all the 70s changes were "developments, shifts in emphasis, teaching old truths in new ways" etc - they claimed the Church had changed, in part, it's theology, had, in some instances, changed its doctrine....SO as to prove the Church doctrine re papal infallibility was also wrong!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - Speculation about what past bishops may make of the developoment of our Church's teaching on ecumenism and interreligious relations is rather pointless.

As for Fulton Sheen, from his autobiography: "The good Hindu, the good Buddhist, the good Confucianist, the good Moslem are all saved by Christ and not by Buddhism or Islam or Confucianism but through their sacraments, their prayers, their asceticism, their morality, their good life.” (p. 148)

That being said, I would hope that they would seek to understand why the Church adopted an approach to other Christian denominations and to non-Christian religions that was not the approach they were familiar with.

Unitatis Redentigratio does not, in any sense, represent a "rupture" in the Church's doctrine. If you maintain that it does, then you have to explain how your understanding of the Church's teaching without benefit of the charism given to the Magisterium is superior to that of the bishops who DO have that charism