Skip to comments.Fr. McBrien Attacks Pro-Life Bishops in Syndicated Column
Posted on 12/18/2004 2:34:21 PM PST by marshmallow
LOS ANGELES, USA, Dec. 17, 2004 (CNA) - In his syndicated column, Fr. Richard McBrien, professor of Theology at the University of Notre-Dame, issued a scathing attack on bishops holding a pro-life position, claiming that they negate the importance of other concerns such as capital punishment, just war, or social justice.
McBrien criticism is delivered in a piece entitled Consistent ethic of life approach withstands backlash, where he defends the seamless garment approach to life-issues, which he presents as a theory which claims that all issues concerning the dignity of human life abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war, social justice (including issues like minimum wage) or human rights carry equal moral weight, and thus should have equal influence on a Catholic voters decision.
McBrien writes that this approach is the one adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the statement Faithful Citizenship, published in October 2003, in the run-up to this years elections.
Following the position held by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, McBrien explains three reasons for supporting the seamless garment approach. He says the first is that it is rooted in the Churchs opposition to both abortion and war, the second is that it unifies a church involved in diverse ministries, and third, is unusually appealing to many people at various points along the political spectrum.
McBrien, following Cardinal Bernardin, says that this approach is emphatically not a strategy for downplaying the issue of abortion in the church or in society, despite the criticisms of whom he calls single-issue, anti-abortion Catholics.
He then takes aim at a significant minority in the bishops conference, some of whose number played a highly visible role in the recent U.S. election, who acording to him- say that abortion is the only life-issue that matters --- to the point where it is said to trump all others.
McBrien also points out that the emerging backlash against the seamless garment theory is evident in the fact that many bishops apparently broke with precedent last month and withheld their votes from Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, one of ten candidates for Conference president.
Bishop Skylstad, Fr. McBrien claims, had been vice president for the past three years and, by tradition, should have received 70-80 percent support on the first ballot. Although he was elected on the first ballot, it was with only 52 percent of the votes cast.
A number of bishops apparently voted against him because he had explicitly promoted the consistent ethic of life approach during the recent political campaign, McBrien adds.
Father Richard P. McBrien is the Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
He has been writing his syndicated weekly column for some 33 years. Over that time, he appeared in as many as 40 diocesan newspapers. At last count, however, he is down to about 20 Catholic publications.
The Tidings of Los Angeles is one of them.
Papers that have dropped his column in the last years include that of his home Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn.
Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, shortly after he became bishop in 1991, told the editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Tablet, to drop McBrien's column.
Seven years ago, Bishop James Moynihan of Syracuse, N.Y., pulled McBrien from the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Sun, and substituted one written by George Weigel.
In 1996 letters to Father Richard McBrien, Archbishop John R. Quinn, then chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine and Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, acting chairman upon Archbishop Quinn's retirement, expressed disappointment that the then new edition of Father McBrien's book Catholicism did not sufficiently correct several deficiencies that the committee had identified in its examination of the first two editions of the book undertaken in the early '80s.
This examination culminated in a 1985 statement specifying a number of deficiencies that the committee hoped would be corrected in any future editions.
I hope this dismantler of the Catholic faith lives long enough to see all of Bernardin's doctrines and proteges go down the crapper.
If Notre Dame were a Catholic university, my kids could have a college choice worth aspiring to, and McB would be unemployed. Can't have everything, I guess.
Dick, wearing his favorite clerical garb.
He should be looking forward to spending eternity in hell holding hands with fellow heretic Frank Kissling.
In a possitive sign, the number of diocesan papers carrying his columns has decreased.
I would have thought that Portland's bankruptcy problems might have inspired a lack of confidence in Bishop Skylstad's leadership qualifications.
The Catechism certainly does not consider these issues as carrying equal moral weight. The subject of abortion is the only one that brings up excommunication. That warning should inform even the most casual reader, or even a tenured theology professor at a Catholic university, of the Church's teaching that abortion is considerered by the Church as having more gravity than the other "issues".
Dear Fr. O'Brien also seems to be having difficulty distinguishing from things that are intrinsically evil (abortion, euthanasia, homosexual "marriage"), things that are not instrinsically evil, and which require prudential judgment (war, capital punishment) depending on the circumstances, and things that are prudentially-developed attempts to ameliorate evils like poverty (minimum wage laws, universal health care).
I think my seven year old, who went to his First Confession today (yes, I am bragging - so sue me ;-) ), could make a better distinction than Fr. O'Brien.
Brag away and a heart-felt congrats to your boy and a Deo Gratias for you and the Mrs. for passing on the faith.
Personally, I like the seamless garment approach, and I do think all of these issues should be subjects of serious contemplation for every Catholic, but I think we can make distinctions, exactly as you indicate, as to what should be given more weight.
I hope everyone realizes that this priest is a dissenter and a priest in name only (my opinion only!)
Two progressivist shirt-and-tie priests at Vatican II. Father Joseph Ratzinger (R) was a co-worker with Father Karl Rahner (L) at the Council
It was a little dicey. Our pastor kept sort of hinting that he'd prefer we put the guys in the parish CCD.
Not a chance.
Seamless garment: What do you like about this approach? What do you include in, and what do you see as not being directly addressed by it?
actually I think McBrien is an emeritus professor now, he's so old. In my four years at Notre Dame, I never heard of him teaching a class or anyone taking a class from him. Most students, thankfully, have no idea who he is. Still it is an outrage that ND tolerates this man on their faculty - the whole theology dept of ND is an outrage. And that is why this alumna will not give a dime to ND til things change. Not that I have dimes to spare anyways, as I embark on a wildly lucrative career as a philosophy professor :)
Concurrently, I oppose the war in Iraq and believe that addressing poverty is a Christian obligation.
Any objections to that package?
On the other hand, the Church's taeching on war is SUBJECTIVE, and thus one can never say with certainty that a particular war was unjust.
McBrien is a leftwing fanatic who, IMO, clearly hates the Church and the Pope. Why the Pope puts up with him is beyond me. As to Bernardin, he is the best friend that sodomites ever had; my bet is that he was one himself. Bernardin, knowing that he was terminal, arranged for a gay choir to sing at his wake. I have no doubt whatsoever that Bernardin is burning in hell as we speak; he was, IMO, an agent of Satan.
|Fr. Richard McBrien||Claims that a future Pope must overturn the infallible document disallowing women "priests" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).|
|Fr. Richard McBrien||Says, among other things, that Jesus did not establish the Catholic Church, and calls into question the virginal conception of Jesus and the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, and promotes dissent.|
|Fr. Richard McBrien||Supporter of Call to Action.|
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