Skip to comments.On This and That (Bishops new abuse policy, Catholic reaction, Padre Pio...)
Posted on 06/18/2002 7:01:06 AM PDT by cathway
Its been quite a week for Catholics! After an agonizing several months in which we were avalanched beyond belief with reports on the clergy sex abuse scandal, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops finally delivered its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which must now be reviewed and perhaps tweaked by Rome. On the whole I think the Charter is a good and fair one. It eliminates abuser priests from priestly ministry, from representing themselves as priests, from saying Masses in public, even from wearing clerical garb. Of course much of the media---including some of the liberal Catholic outlets---wanted these abusers dismissed from the priesthood altogether, even if such immoral behavior is perfectly congruent with much that the culture, and not a few Catholic dissidents, accept as mere realism at other times (ask the vile Mr. Kinsey; and remember the outrage and the boycotts the Boy Scouts were hit with when they tried to keep their teens safe? Ah inconsistency! thou art Progressive).
Those who say the bishops did not go far enough forget that bishops, and bishops conferences especially, the last I heard, have no authority or competence to laicise a priest or, for that matter, send a bishop into the penitential desert, away from his flock. Only Rome can do that. And in some cases Rome may do so indeed, once the dust settles. The important thing is that the abusers will no longer have ministerial access to the People of God, especially ministerial access to teenage boys. A policy is in place----and not a few District Attorneys will be watching with interest.
As for the question of homosexuality (1) in the priesthood, the Vaticans spokesman, Dr. Navarro-Valls, in an interview with the New York Times back in March confirmed Pope John XXIIIs 1961 "Instruction On the Choice and Formation of Candidates To The State of Perfection and To Holy Orders," which stated:
". . . Finally let those who are afflicted by the perverse inclination towards homosexual vice or pederasty, by whom communal life and the sacerdotal ministry would be gravely at risk, be prohibited from religious vows and ordination . . ."
Navarro-Valls, according to the Times, said:
"People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained." He compared the situation of a man with homosexual inclinations who becomes a priest to that of a man with the same affliction who marries a woman unaware of his condition. Just as such a marriage can be annulled, considered invalid from the first, the ordination might similarly be invalid," he said, according to the Times. (NYT, March 3, 2002)
It has, I must admit, been somewhat amusing to see the far-out Integrists quoting that 1961 document since they mostly despise John XXIII as an arch-modernist, which he most certainly was not, and the father of the (wicked) Second Vatican Council which they are allergic to. But selective quoting serves their real intentions here again. They plan to throw the document of one pope into the face of another pope, John Paul II, in order to damn him publicly if and when some wayward bishops refuse to implement the policy which has never changed. They cannot agree on doctrines themselves; do not look for consistency among these motely trads, except one: they make themselves the measure of orthodoxy through private judgment. Quite a spectacle this.
It has also been difficult to behold National Review Online waxing eloquent in overheated righteousness during this sorrowful period. Why? Well, recall that their iconic conservative inspiration / founder, William F. Buckley, was one of the original dissenters from Paul VIs Humanae Vitae, the encyclical which reaffirmed traditional Catholic teachings regarding sexual morals in general and against artificial birth control after the Council. National Reviews Mr. Buckley subscribes to that old Cafeteria Catholicism, and begs to be excused where both Catholic social doctrine, and, of course, the bedroom are concerned.
Meanwhile, Mary Jo Anderson, that astute observer of things written between the lines and of spying out the critical subtexts, observes correctly with regard to those poor rascals who fancy themelves progressives:
An invisible war is being fought for the life of the Catholic Church in the United States and it is a fight to the death. The war is more than a century old now, and this is a key engagement. The war is not about pedophilia or homosexuality, as repugnant as those two symptoms are. It is about an attempted coup d'état within the Catholic Church one of only two global institutions on this planet. Whoever gets the Keys of St. Peter walks off with the power to change the world or so the betrayers think.
And it is certainly true, as TCR has pointed out so often, that the liberals have been pulling all-nighters, 24x7, since the beginning of the scandal to plot toward the next conclave which they hope cannot be far off, and to spin the sex scandal as one which reflects the need for a greater sense of diversity, sexual honesty, and a greater democratic participation of the faithful in all things Catholic. Go figure: the preachers of sexual diversity are supposed to be scandalized by sexual expression----- and therefore demand a more "realistic" and modern view of sex. That Apostle of confused identity, John Cornwell, decries the fact that Catholics cant even masturbate alone, never mind with a partner!
Which brings me to the so-called Voice of the Faithful, that Boston area group which cannot assemble much more than a couple of hundred people for their meetings (the press outnumbers them every time) but which claims, according to press reports, a membership of over 10,000! You see, if you give them your email address at their website they claim you as a member. Now, we asked them two simple questions:
You will not be surprised that after first hedging suggestively, saying they do not want to get involved in controversial matters, they refused, apparently, to answer our follow-up questions which were the same as the first questions. The faithful? Another ruse of the Neo-modernists, we fear. So far it looks that way. If they finally do answer us, well let you know what they say. They remind us of another group of agenda-laden faithful, this one at the other extreme, run by Steven Brady, calling itself The Roman Catholic Faithful, which recommends the works of JPII despisers, John Vennari and Christopher Ferrara, both apologists for groups which consider the Pope a violator of Catholic doctrine who will one day be deposed for his present day errors! Caveat Emptor!
Along other lines, we received a heartening letter this week from some London Catholics, women and people of color, who wrote to the Catholic Herald expressing their regret and hurt that the dissident group called We Are Church would lump black and ethnic minorities and women with groups which are said to be abandoned and excluded from the Church. Which groups? Lesbians and gay people divorced and remarried people.
These fine London Catholics wrote:
We wish to state categorically that we are deeply hurt by the suggestion that to belong to the black race, or to be a woman, is the same as breaking a marriage vow or choosing to live a lesbian lifestyle. We find this linkage insulting and offensive and ask that We Are Church apologize to faithful black, brown and female Catholics who gladly live by the moral teachings of our Church and affirm full support for our Holy Father and bishops who support them.
Linking is indeed another old ruse of the Neo-modernists, along with spinning truths and facts, crunching numbers / manipulating questions and results in polling, and so on. Like their bi-polar twins, the Integrists, these dissidents assimilate all facts into the agenda regardless of what violence it does to reality. After all, it is for them only the agenda, and, of course, private judgment (read: a private religion) that matters.
But enough of all that! I almost neglected to mention that great consolation which God is wont to send His People from time to time lest their suffering become unbearable. I am referring to the canonization of Padre Pio Sunday. Padre Pio! that great mystic, stigmatist, and lover of Jesus Christ, His Cross, His Eucharist and His mother, Mary! That great mystical theologian whose thousands of letters shows depths of spiritual and biblical knowledge perhaps second only to St. John of the Cross. How often I have been consoled, challenged, rebuked, and then healed by his teachings. I can only thank God, and, after Him, our Pope, John Paul II for this great grace for the whole Church. How this Pope has chisled the teachings of such saints into the heart of the future of the Church by his chosen canonizations! They are set forever against all the perfidy which presently afflicts the Church from so many sides.
I can only say that if you have not obtained the first (large) volume of St. Pio's Letters to his spiritual father(s) and to his spiritual children, you must put it ahead of all other books, except for the Bible. Your blessings, I promise you, will reach deeper than your present pain. St. Pio explains like few others why we need both pain and consolation.
(1) We must clearly distinguish the persons, who are made in the image and likeness of God, but who are afflicted with homosexual tendencies, and the homosexual lifestyle and acts which violate the natural and moral laws of creation. See See the Vatican's LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
If and when?????