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Scholars Ponder Pope Disciplinary Actions
Associated Press ^ | 5/12/05 | Richard Ostling

Posted on 05/12/2005 11:59:17 AM PDT by Thorin

NEW YORK - The ouster of a respected editor at a Jesuit magazine has Roman Catholic scholars in the United States wondering whether Pope Benedict XVI will continue, or even extend, the disciplinary actions that John Paul II took against dissenters from church teachings.

As head of the Vatican's all-important doctrinal office, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger built a reputation as the church's enforcer, taking actions with John Paul's assent against a series of high-profile theologians who drifted from Catholic orthodoxy.

The final act of Ratzinger's tenure in his old job came in mid-March when, according to Jesuit sources, his office pressed leaders of that religious order to remove the Rev. Thomas Reese as editor of America, an influential U.S. weekly.

The irritant wasn't Reese's own doctrinal views, but articles he published by scholars who took issue with Catholic officialdom.

Reese this week declined any comment on the circumstances of his departure or his views on dissent. But others are buzzing. America's competitor, the lay-edited Commonweal magazine, editorialized that Reese's removal leaves the impression that the church is "a backward-looking, essentially authoritarian, institution run by men who are afraid of open debate and intellectual inquiry."

The Rev. Richard McBrien, a liberal theologian at the University of Notre Dame, said he's "astonished" because Reese was careful to air scholars' varying views on contested topics. Therefore, McBrien says, the ouster implies that the Vatican and its U.S. allies "don't think it's possible to discuss both sides."

Other Americans will be gratified if Benedict pursues John Paul's clampdown. Days after Benedict was elected, Patrick Reilly mailed a fund-raising appeal for his Cardinal Newman Society's campaign to restore schools' faithfulness to church teachings. "There are heretics and dissidents at Catholic colleges teaching anti-Catholic theology to our children and grandchildren and leading them away from the one true Faith," Reilly charged. He named theologians at 11 U.S. Catholic campuses as "hard-core" troublemakers, McBrien among them.

The Rev. Joseph Fessio, a conservative Jesuit and provost of Florida's Ave Maria University, figures that around 90 percent of theologians on Catholic campuses don't accept church teaching on one or more of these contested issues: contraception, homosexuality and the all-male priesthood.

"It's only fair to have a wait and see attitude," says Daniel Finn of St. John's University in Minnesota, who did liaison work with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of professors in the Catholic Theological Society of America. "I don't see any reason to expect dramatic change," he adds.

Terrence Tilley of the University of Dayton, another former CTSA liaison to U.S. bishops — and another name on Reilly's list — also thinks it's a mistake to draw conclusions about the pope from his performance running the doctrinal office. "We have no clear notion of what he will do administratively because his role is so different," he says.

But Tilley says he wouldn't be shocked by an American clampdown under Benedict "because of his profound concern with religious indifferentism and his view of the United States in general" as being troublesome. Reilly says that Benedict assumes the papacy knowing full well who the American church dissidents are. "If he has any desire to clean up the problem, it wouldn't take him long to do it," he says.

As a practical matter, what could Benedict do? The Reese affair demonstrates one option. Vatican agencies could press religious orders or bishops to simply reassign or otherwise limit the activities of priests, brothers and sisters under their authority. Fessio says that with new bishop appointments and support from Benedict's Vatican, the U.S. bishops could become "more emboldened to exercise their authority" and "take more responsibility" for requiring orthodoxy.

One vehicle is the "mandatum" that all Catholics teaching religious subjects are supposed to receive from the local bishop, under rules the U.S. hierarchy issued in 2001 to implement John Paul's decree on universities. A mandatum recognizes that a professor has pledged "to teach authentic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to" officially defined truth.

Finn and Tilley say nobody knows how many teachers have, in fact, been certified because there's no clearing house of information and most bishops have kept the matter private.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: benedictxvi; catholiclist; heresy; subversives
I hope Benedict fires a few more shots across the subversives' bow.
1 posted on 05/12/2005 11:59:17 AM PDT by Thorin
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To: Thorin
The Rev. Richard McBrien, a liberal theologian at the University of Notre Dame, said he's "astonished" because Reese was careful to air scholars' varying views on contested topics. Therefore, McBrien says, the ouster implies that the Vatican and its U.S. allies "don't think it's possible to discuss both sides

That's not it at all. It is really quite simple. The RNC would not fund a magazine that bashed Republicans. Microsoft would not fund a magazine that bashed Microsoft. Why should the Catholic Church fund a magazine that bashes the Church?

2 posted on 05/12/2005 12:03:06 PM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: Thorin
The Rev. Richard McBrien, a liberal theologian at the University of Notre Dame, said he's "astonished" because Reese was careful to air scholars' varying views on contested topics. Therefore, McBrien says, the ouster implies that the Vatican and its U.S. allies "don't think it's possible to discuss both sides."

If the Church has defined true doctrine on a matter, there is no room for discussion.

A discussion concerns two parties trying to reach the truth, not one party defending the truth and the other party asserting a lie.

The Church defined sodomy to be evil 3800 years ago.

There is no reason to "discuss" whether sodomy is evil today. As far as Catholics are concerned, the question is resolved.

3 posted on 05/12/2005 12:03:22 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: wideawake
The Church defined sodomy to be evil 3800 years ago.

To be more accurate, God gave the Israelites the Law, which defined sodomy to be evil, who in turn gave it to the Church. ;-)

4 posted on 05/12/2005 12:08:11 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady." - Tolkien)
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To: Thorin
As head of the Vatican's all-important doctrinal office, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger built a reputation as the church's enforcer, taking actions with John Paul's assent against a series of high-profile theologians who drifted from Catholic orthodoxy.

That's what he should do. Why would any faithful priests object to that, unless they're from the New Age church of the Antichrist Pope Paul once warned the world about.

5 posted on 05/12/2005 12:09:12 PM PDT by concerned about politics (Vote Republican - Vote morally correct!)
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To: Thorin
"The ouster of a respected editor at a Jesuit magazine has Roman Catholic scholars in the United States wondering whether Pope Benedict XVI will continue, or even extend, the disciplinary actions that John Paul II took against dissenters from church teachings."


Not if the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has anything to say about it. In fact Pope Benedict XVI may well not be confirmed.

6 posted on 05/12/2005 12:09:43 PM PDT by G.Mason ( Save the Republic from the shallow, demagogic sectarians.)
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To: G.Mason
In fact Pope Benedict XVI may well not be confirmed.

So there's still hope for Lazamataz to be elected pope?
7 posted on 05/12/2005 12:16:03 PM PDT by babyface00
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To: NYer; Salvation

I thought you might find this of interest.


8 posted on 05/12/2005 12:18:35 PM PDT by Thorin ("I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.")
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To: babyface00; Lazamataz
"So there's still hope for Lazamataz to be elected pope?"


Very doubtful, but let's ask him. ;)

9 posted on 05/12/2005 12:24:18 PM PDT by G.Mason ( Save the Republic from the shallow, demagogic sectarians.)
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To: Thorin
The ouster of a respected editor at a Jesuit magazine has Roman Catholic scholars in the United States wondering whether they will be able to keep their cushy jobs while teaching false doctrine.
10 posted on 05/12/2005 12:24:42 PM PDT by stop_fascism
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To: wideawake
The Church defined sodomy to be evil 3800 years ago

Which church? Anytype of christianity is less than 2000 years old.

11 posted on 05/12/2005 12:58:43 PM PDT by Paul C. Jesup
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To: Paul C. Jesup
Which church?

The Church simply consists of the faithful who are bound in God's covenant.

Our words "church", "congregation", the Greek ekklesia, the Greek syngogh and the Hebrew kohelet all have the same basic meaning - the assembly of God's covenant faithful.

This body of faithful existed before the Messiah was revealed and continued to exist after He rose from the dead.

12 posted on 05/12/2005 1:09:15 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: Thorin
It needs to be pointed out that there is a special angle to this happening to a Jesuit. Loyalty to the papacy is part of the very idea of the Society of Jesus, and they take an oath to support the papacy. I'm not Catholic, but I can't think of any reason why a Jesuit journal should be allowed to be forum for dissent from papal teaching.
13 posted on 05/12/2005 1:12:02 PM PDT by Southern Federalist
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To: wideawake

You are argueing semantics like a lawyer.


14 posted on 05/12/2005 1:13:30 PM PDT by Paul C. Jesup
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To: Paul C. Jesup
You are argueing semantics like a lawyer.

No, I am pointing out that Christianity is Judaism fulfilled and that Judaism before the Messiah was the prefiguration of the Christian Church.

Think of Simeon.

Anyone who is deep in the biblical languages would understand this immediately.

15 posted on 05/12/2005 1:15:58 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: Thorin
One vehicle is the "mandatum" that all Catholics teaching religious subjects are supposed to receive from the local bishop, under rules the U.S. hierarchy issued in 2001 to implement John Paul's decree on universities. A mandatum recognizes that a professor has pledged "to teach authentic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to" officially defined truth.

Finn and Tilley say nobody knows how many teachers have, in fact, been certified because there's no clearing house of information and most bishops have kept the matter private.

Make the mandatum useful: make the list public.

16 posted on 05/12/2005 1:22:55 PM PDT by conservonator (Lord, bless Your servant Benedict XVI)
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To: wideawake
No, I am pointing out that Christianity is Judaism fulfilled and that Judaism before the Messiah was the prefiguration of the Christian Church.

Both religions would disagree with you on this above statement.

I have better things to do that argue with someone who refuses to listen to reason and logic.

17 posted on 05/12/2005 1:25:56 PM PDT by Paul C. Jesup
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To: Rodney King
Why should the Catholic Church fund a magazine that bashes the Church?

Exactly. The Church is not obligated to present every side to every argument.

If Christ had talked about every side of every issue, His Gospel would have been a "mess" instead of a "message."

18 posted on 05/12/2005 1:33:36 PM PDT by syriacus (Weird George Felos repeatedly flicked his tongue out his gaping mouth when lying to the press 3/31)
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To: Paul C. Jesup
Both religions would disagree with you on this above statement.

Of course Jews would disagree with the above statements.

But it's interesting to see you on record claiming that Christ is not the fulfillment of the Jewish prophets and that he is not the Messiah.

I have better things to do that argue with someone who refuses to listen to reason and logic.

What reason and what logic have you presented on this thread? You asked one question and issued one insult.

That's all.

19 posted on 05/12/2005 1:39:29 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: Rodney King

You are so right. There is no logical reason to expect a Catholic University or a magazine pretending to represent "Catholic views" to be tolerated if they teach false doctrine.

I mean, would Ford Motor company hire a marketing director who decided to promote all the good things about GM cars?


20 posted on 05/12/2005 2:03:02 PM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: wideawake
Of course Jews would disagree with the above statements.

You're proving my point.

But it's interesting to see you on record claiming that Christ is not the fulfillment of the Jewish prophets and that he is not the Messiah.

That I did not say.

What reason and what logic have you presented on this thread?

Post 11 of this thread.

21 posted on 05/12/2005 2:03:34 PM PDT by Paul C. Jesup
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To: Paul C. Jesup
You're proving my point.

No.

Jews do not get to decide who is and who is not a member of the Church.

That I did not say.

I said that the community of faithful before Christ's coming is continuous with and a prefiguration of the community of faithful after His resurrection.

You said that this important theological fact was just a lawyer's game - i.e. just talk and not true.

If one does not believe that the faithful after the resurrection are the heirs and successors of the faithful before it, then one is saying that Christ is not the hoped-for Messiah of the ancient faithful, but someone else.

Post 11 of this thread.

Asked and answered.

The covenant faithful who lived in anticipation of the Messiah and those who live after His glorious resurrection are one community of faith.

This is why the Christian Church from the earliest days has numbered the patriarchs and prophets as among the blessed enjoying Christ's salvation in heaven.

Those who firmly believed that Christ was coming have as much right to the name of Christian as those who were fortunate enough to live after He had fulfilled the promise.

22 posted on 05/12/2005 2:17:46 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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