Monday, June 26, 2006

Padawans today..

.always the red lightsaber they choose.

Sony DSC-H1 camera, Adobe Photoshop LE 5.0

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Theologians, or Lupi Rapaces, pt 1

Dad29 has been detailing some of Marqette University theology prof Daniel Maguire's, counter-catholic activities and propagandizing, so I thought I'd do a little digging.

Pope John Paull II, in August of 1990, promulgated a document called Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and was approved for application in the US by the USCCB in November of 1999. This apostolic constitution asserts the authority of the Church in relation to Catholic universities, and much to their ire, catholic theologians. Many catholic theologians have resented and loudly resisted this concept.

Daniel Maguire, much like his peer at Notre Dame, Fr. Richard McBrien, has publicly disparaged Ex Corde Ecclesiae and refused to humbly request a mandate from the local Bishop. Here's Maguire's explanation of his resistance to submitting to the bishop:
"The mandatum would anomalously subject professional theologians to the judgment of those who are outside academe and are not professional theologians. In my judgment, no theologian could accept this without violating the integrity of his or her discipline. It also puts the bishops into the embarrassing and impossible position of judging scholars without the benefit of the appropriate expertise."

He's somehow thinking that being a theologian trumps being catholic, and that his utterances about the Catholic Church should have no accountability.
" Published theologians are always subject to corrective criticism from their peers, that is, from those who are professionally qualified to judge their work."

Hence, the bishop, being a successor to the Apostles, has no business criticising a "catholic" theologian's work.
"However, the focus of Ex Corde is not on the epistemological subtlety of the effect of changed personal commitments on cognitive objectivity. Its mission, as I see it, is thought control and a denial of the legitimacy of the theological magisterium."

That precious "theological magisterium" is only authoritative if it is in harmony with the Magisterium of the Church, not in constant defiance of it. Maguire's activities with Planned Parenthood would incur a latae sententiae excommunication in Lincoln, Nebraska, but I imagine that his own bishop is not so ready to do something so bold. Here's a stumper: Do catholic theologians have to be Catholic?

Matt 7:15-20
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

"A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

"So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spiritual Disarmament

H/t Titus One Nine, Anglican Mainstream

From the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop-elect Jefferts Shori's sermon this morning:

"Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation and we are his children. We are going to have to give up fear. Do not be afraid. God is with you. You are God’s beloved and God is well pleased with you. When we know ourselves as beloved. We can recognise another beloved in a homeless man, a rhetorical opponent. We can reach beyond the defences of others. Our invitation in the last work of this convention is to lay down our fear and love the world. Lay down our shield and sword, lay down our narrow self interest. Lay down our need for power and control, and bow to God’s image in the weakest, poorest and most excluded."

Whoa, nelly! Our mother Jesus? Gives birth? Uhm, she seems to be preaching an entirely different gospel. Ahh, yes, love the World, slide into it's warm and fuzzy embrace, there is no sin here, only goodness and light. Lay down your shield (Eph 6:16)and sword, take off that cumbersome armor(Eph 6:10-12), you don't really need it. Bow to God's image (Man) in the weakest (sinful), poorest(corrupt), and most excluded (proud).

I'm not one for the schadenfreude, but this is really telling for what lies in store for not only the Episcopal Church, but via gradual osmosis, the entire Anglican Communion. The frightening thing is that there are many in the Roman Catholic Church who already think Shori's way, and would use this language if they could get away with it. If the Chittisters, Gumbletons, and McBriens in the Catholic Church had their way, we would be following the Anglicans down the same rabbit hole.

Ephesians 6:10-16
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Zero Tolerance?

On the issue of communion, [McCarrick] said there was "no substitute for the local bishop's pastoral judgment and his vital relationships with Catholic public officials in his own diocese."

Yes, the bishop's pastoral judgment is the final arbiter of a catholic politician committing sacrilege at Mass, and giving scandal to the Church while in office. Let's just juxtapose this upon another situation...

On the issue of communion, [McCarrick] said there was "no substitute for the local bishop's pastoral judgment and his vital relationships with sex-offending priests in his own diocese."

Doesn't have the same cachet, eh? Now I would posit that defending the Faith is just as vital and important as protecting children from molesters, so why not paint a similar situation with politicians? First, from Article 5, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People:

Diocesan/eparchial policy is to provide that for even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor*—whenever it occurred—which is admitted or established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon is to be permanently removed from ministry and, if warranted, dismissed from the clerical state..

The diocesan/eparchial bishop is to exercise his power of governance, within the parameters of the universal law of the Church, to ensure that any priest or deacon subject to his governance who has committed even one act of sexual abuse of a minor as described below shall not continue in ministry.

Let's change some of the language, shall we:

Diocesan/eparchial policy is to provide that for even a single act of voting for or proposing legislation contrary to Catholic Teaching—whenever it occurred—which is admitted or established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending politician is to be Latae Sententiae under particular personal interdict and, if warranted, excommunicated..

The diocesan/eparchial bishop is to exercise his power of governance, within the parameters of the universal law of the Church, to ensure that any politician subject to his governance who has committed even one act of voting for or proposing legislation contrary to Catholic Teaching, as described below, shall neither continue to give scandal the the Church nor commit sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament.

Ouch. Tough stuff, eh? Well, if violating the doctinal purity and discipline of the Church were viewed as grave as the abuse of minors, there would be more outcry to make politicians who claim to be Catholic actually behave so. But why would we want that? It's obvious that to be a successful politician, you need to worship the will of the people.

McCarrick said the church needs "more, not fewer Catholics in political life" and said that after one of the most challenging duties in his 30 years as a bishop, the task force was now disbanding its work.

Your Eminence, we still need them to be Catholic, and being Catholic entails being in full communion with Rome.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Doing the Math

h/t GOP Soccer Mom

One of the advantages of being Roman Catholic is that one is spared the burden of being one’s own pope. Had I still been an Anglican, I would have been forced to agonize over Scripture, Tradition, and Scientific evidence until I came to some understanding as to what moral position I should hold, and after a great deal of careful reading and honest reflection would likely have gotten it wrong anyway. Being a Catholic however, I am both permitted and expected to assume that the position of the Church, (incredible and unfair though it might appear) is actually the correct one, and simply work backward. It is like having an Algebra textbook with the answers in the back. One still needs to do one’s homework if one is ever expected to get on in math; however if you know how the equation is supposed to end, it is easier to work out the solution.

Clueless Christian

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Time To Clean Out the Bathtub

Msgr. Timothy Stein of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese thinks that traditional worship is just bath water:

“Smells and bells” and other assorted paraphernalia are supposed to help us nurture our relationship with Jesus. When they become a stumbling block, and prevent us from seeing Jesus, knowing Jesus, walking with Jesus, or when they obscure the path to Jesus for others, they must be put aside, or at least, reassessed. There were good reasons for throwing out so much of the bathwater. It had become murky. It was no longer serving a good purpose. It was time to take the baby from the bath, and move on.

Well, if traditional worship was a stumbling block, than contemporary worship is a complete blockade. By his logic, after ridding ourselves of inhibitive traditions, we should be booming, a nation of saints. Would anyone state that there has there been any meaningful growth, either in numbers or in devotion, to the Church here in America, aside from heretical groups? To the contrary, the last thirty years have been rife with apostasy, heresies, and schisms.

Beware the bathwater! Hidden in its depths may be a dose of pretty poison - - the temptation to idolatry - - the temptation to worship fleeting forms while ignoring lasting, enduring substance. Don’t mistake devotion to exterior signs for an interior conversion to life in union with Jesus.

Yes, and don't mistake disregard of external signs for an interior conversion as well. It's just the opposite, if I recall scripture right, a good tree will produce good fruit, a very external sign. The tree that the monsignor is satisfied with has resulted in a lot of bad fruits. How about we dump the bathwater of the Spirit of Vatican II&trade theology, clean out the tub, then get back to the clean water?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I hate being right

The upcoming, at the time, Boston Gay Pride Parade was the subject of discussion over at Lair of the Catholic Cavemen, and I mentioned that it would be telling where Fr. Walter Cuenin popped up in the festivities. Little did I realize that he would be the headline in the Boston Globe: Ousted Newton priest cheered at gay pride service
A Catholic priest preached yesterday at the main worship service associated with Boston's gay pride week, setting up a potential conflict with a church hierarchy that has been increasingly vocal in its criticism of the growing acceptance of gay relationships in Western societies.

The Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, a longtime advocate of outreach to gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church, did not criticize or dispute Catholic teaching during his remarks, and he quoted several times from a 1997 document issued by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which declared that ``the teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended."

So, a priest goes to a demonstration whose sole purpose is to elevate sin, and instead of admonishing the participants, he instead insists that the Church should uphold the dignity of those who adore their own sins. Hmm. Gross negligence, in failing to minister to the obvious need for spiritual guidance? How does leaving those in sin as captive to that sin fulfil his duty as a successor to the Apostles?

" Master, as you were on your way, your dear friend Lazarus has died."
" Oh well, I shall go to him anyway."
" Master, is there anything you can do?"
"Yes, roll back the stone."
Several men roll back the stone, and recoil from the stench of Lazarus' corruption.
" Lazarus, I uphold your inherent dignity, and I hope that tomb is comfy. You're going to be in there for quite a while.."
" Is that all, Master, you're just going to leave him in there?"
" Sure, God made him dead, why mess with that? Oh, look at the time! I've got a lunch at L'espalier to get to."

It just doesn't work. But, Fr. Cuenin thinks so:

`I told a friend of mine, about a month ago, that I was going to be here today, speaking at the gay pride interfaith service, and she said to me, `What's a Catholic priest doing at a gay pride service?' Cuenin said. ``My response was, `Why wouldn't a Catholic priest be here?' In the tradition of my own Christian faith, it seems to me, as I read it, that Jesus was always with those who were often the target of hatred and persecution."

Fr. Cuenin forgets, like so many others of his ilk, that Jesus called those sinners to repentance during His visits. "Go, and sin no more."(John 8:11, for those who actually believe sacred Scripture) Ring a bell, Fr. Cuenin? I'll let the Cavemen give Fr. Cuenin the lashing that my sense of charity forbids.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fr. McBrien is STILL Demoralized..

. and shows no sign of stopping. More Unhappy tidings to come.

Fr. McBrien parses Catholics into four camps: Ultra Conservatives, Moderate Conservatives, Moderate Liberals, Radical Liberal. He then illustrates a bit on the Ultracons:
Centrist Catholics do not view their moderate counterparts on the left or the right as an "ultimate threat" (Father Radcliffe's words) to their own place in the Church. Only Catholics of the far right view fellow Catholics that way --- in this case, moderately liberal Catholics and probably some moderate conservatives as well.

I beg to differ wih the good father, as his last column illustrates his terror at the conservative actions of conservative bishops. Fr. McBrien then shows some of the roots of his demoralization:
Father Andrew Greeley, a distinguished author and sociologist, has frequently pointed out that it was not the Council but Pope Paul VI's 1968 birth-control encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that opened the breach within the post-conciliar Church. If the pope had sided with the 2-1 majority of his Birth Control Commission and modified the official teaching on contraception, the post-Vatican II history of the Church might look entirely different.

And if his successor, John Paul I, had not died after only 33 days in office, the Church's hierarchy around the world might look entirely different as well.

He's absolutely right, it does go all the way back to Humanae Vitae, and the clergy's and laity's responses to it: Who can submit to the Church, and who will demand that the Church submit to the World. " If only the pope had sided with the 2-1 majority" is a crock, the Pope always has to side with the Magisterium, and guided by the Holy Spirit, he did just that. If, as Fr. McBrien fervently wishes, the Pope had sided with the majority opinion, we'd be in the same dire straits as the Anglican Communion and the divided United Methodist Church. Public opinion is the shifting sands on which no church can last.

Catholics of the far right, and bishops who share and enforce their ecclesiology, insist that obedience is one of Catholicism's primary virtues and that the teaching of the hierarchy, and especially the pope's, is the only sure guide to saving truth.

Obedience was one of Jesus' primary virtues as well, an obedience unto death, as with his mother Mary, by whose obedience unto life gave us our Savior. It's such an alien thought to the hippies, this concept of obedience. The article devolves from there into another gripe about Bishop Finn and his iron-fisted gardening style. Suffice to say, Fr. McBrien is still demoralized, and I'll bet that he'll continue to sulk in the future.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Lavender Mafia Disappears With A Poof

No, the blog titled "The Lavender Mafia" has pulled the plug. What were you thinking of?

Brother Angelo Mary started the blog about a month ago, then had to bail, leaving it to some others. The content was fair, and didn't resort to unnecessary invective, but stuck to the facts. The recent disappearance leaves one to believe that either the Lavender Mafia is an urban legend, or that Brother Angelo Mary is now laid to rest next to Jimmy Hoffa. Does anyone know?

Pentecost Sunday in my church was without Rainbow Sash drama. But, St. Therese's a small parish in Lincoln, Nebraska. So, while defiance would get some press, there seems an expectation that Rainbow Sashers would get excommunicated faster than you can say 'Judy Garland'.

The alternate reading in the missal was an apt message to those folks caught up in the Rainbow Sash Movement:

Galatians 5:16-25

Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

The RSM can obfuscate the nature of their dilemma all they want, but scripture and tradition make the truth painfully clear. The defiant defense of immoral sexuality, in any form, is a work of the flesh, nothing more.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wormwood coming? Don't tell Hal Lindsey.

Odd tidbit from
In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples -- water taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis's home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001 -- contain microbes from outer space.

Blood colored rain? Uh-Oh..
Louis speculates that the particles could be extraterrestrial bacteria adapted to the harsh conditions of space and that the microbes hitched a ride on a comet or meteorite that later broke apart in the upper atmosphere and mixed with rain clouds above India.

A large rock from space, you say?
Revelation 8
8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood,

9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.

11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

I can't wait to see if anyone jumps on this one as a 'sign' of the impending apokalypse.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fr. McBrien is Demoralized..

In an article called Demoralization in the Church, Fr. Richard McBrien lays some smack down on Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, over a speech Fr. Radcliffe gave at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress:
He had spoken, for example, of the gap between church teaching and the views of many ordinary Catholics without acknowledging the possibility that the gap exists, not simply because of a lack of understanding on the laity's part or a failure on the hierarchy's part to communicate its teachings effectively, but because many ordinary Catholics regard certain teachings as wrong.

Fr. McBrien is not "acknowledging the possibility" that the Church's teaching is right, and that he and many other catholics are wrong. Yes, ordinary Catholics may think some teachings are wrong, because they don't understand neither the teachings themselves nor the Magisterium of the Church. Apparently, Fr. McBrien also has trouble with those topics as well. It's a good thing that the Magisterium, and truth of Catholic doctrine, do not hinge on Catholics understanding or support of those teachings.
Conservative bishops (or what he would now refer to as Communion Catholics) hold a disproportionate amount of power that makes real brotherly and sisterly conversation impossible, for all practical purposes.

Yes, dialog with those pesky conservative bishops is difficult, with them always bringing Scripture and the Catechism into the conversation. It's hard to sway someone if they're always holding onto a firm position. Fr. McBrien insists on overstating the number of conservative bishops, but I imagine that he's just projecting his phobias a wee bit.
Only in those dioceses where a bishop who operates --- mentally, emotionally and pastorally --- outside of the broad center of Catholicism do we find any "strangulation" of missionary and evangelizing activities. One such diocese, Kansas City-St. Joseph, was featured in the May 12 issue of NCR.

Fr. McBrien is still sulking over that affair? Missionary and evangelizing activities abound in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, home of every liberal's arch-nemesis, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. I think it's time for the embittered catholics, lay and clergy, to get a grip that the Church is NOT a democracy and that the Truth is not negotiable.

Taxing the Dead to Death

As I've mentioned before, I love getting e-mail from Sojourners. It's like having a conversation with a very young child, who in learning to speak, makes some interesting nonsense along the way. This issue was the Estate Tax, and how those mean old republicans want to make it go away. Jim Wallis himself is up on the soapbox this time.

let's call it a "common good tax" - is focused where it was intended, on those who have benefited so much from the opportunities of America. In a very real sense, the estate tax is a repayment for the public services and infrastructure that enable wealth creation - our transportation system of highways, bridges, and airports; our legal and educational systems; and many other investments we make in our society.

Earth to Jim, Earth to Jim, that's why we have several taxes ALREADY IN PLACE to handle those issues:

Federal Income Tax
Capital Gains Tax
State Income Tax
Property Tax
Federal Gasoline Tax
Sales Tax (most states)
Motor Vehicle Tax (as if standing in line at the DMV wasn't taxing enough)
Telecommunications Fees (Universal Service Fund)

It is only right that having benefited so much from the opportunities of America, the wealthiest should be obligated to return some of their good fortune to expand the opportunities of other Americans..

If you look at the list of taxes above, you'll see that those with the most are already paying more than most. What Democrats want is a chance to tax someone's income and wealth twice, maybe even three or four times, from generation to generation.

Is this the America that we want? One whose top policy priority is to make the rich richer while abandoning the most needed efforts to reduce poverty and protect the common good?

Enough with the class-struggle rhetoric. It's a shame that Sojourners has become a shill for Tax-N-Spend Democrats, as all this talk about faith ends up sounding hollow when it's just being used to justify an attempt at socialism.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Life of Prayer and Penitence

I've had an idea, mulling in my brain, of what to do with clerical sex-offenders, rather than laicization or giving them the Caveman treatment. Why not establish a monastic order, dedicated to either St. Charles Lwanga, or St. Agnes of Rome, where violators can continue to work out their salvation in fear and trembling, but away from the temptations that they obviously are ill-equipped to resist. This is a long-term solution, not a couple month jaunt to St. Luke's Institute, and then a quiet reassignment. This would be voluntary: Either the violator accepts an obedience to report to the order (after his sentance is served in prison), or he gets laicized and thrown to the legal wolves.

The rule would be severe, the labor plentiful, and the comforts few. Contact with the outside world would be limited, to help the penitents refocus on their spiritual labors. No griping about the life to writers from the National Catholic Reporter, or other such public displays. The monks will farm, build, do special community projects, if needed, to generate some revenue to offset some of the costs to the host diocese(s).

This will NOT be a cloister for deviant religious to practice their deviancy. Medication to correct imbalances should be made available to help the penitent's get on an even keel, as well as real counselling (not just thereputic affirmation) for their psychological and spiritual shortcomings. The doctrine and liturgies will be traditional, with no disregard for rubrics. We don't want to substitute one kind of abuse for another.

This is just a basic idea I've been mulling. Anyone have some constructive additions to make? I'm thinking that if this model would work for violators already in the clergy, it could be widened to include laity as well. Society as a whole is struggling with what to do with sex offenders, and we could try to get them into an environment where their inherant dignity is upheld while keeping society shielded from further relapses. God loves sex offenders too, but society has not found a way to help them. Jail doesn't help their problems, and when they get out, the stigma and legal requirements make a normal life impossible.

Gimme feeback, link the heck out of it. I'd like to see everyone talking about this, if even for 5 minutes. And the discussion shouldn't start with " When can we put (insert name of suspect bishop here) in there?" But bishops would not be above inclusion, should the Pope see a need for it.