Skip to comments.Open Season on the Catholic Church
Posted on 04/04/2002 12:26:30 PM PST by Caleb1411
The Catholic Church is under fire in the American press unlike any time I can ever remember. To be sure, much of it is self-inflicted; what is being reported as "news" is, sadly, news that demands coverage. That is something Catholics must accept. But Catholics do not have to accept what follows, the what-this-story-means analysis. Many in the press are using recent Church scandals as fodder for attacks on Catholicism in general, Pope John Paul II in particular, and that is also scandalous.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift has penned a piece on the magazine's Web site that demonstrates just how impossibly incoherent some can be when they choose to comment on a subject about which they know so little. She is positively breathless in her denunciation of the Roman Catholic faith.
Unable to go deeper than the superficial, Ms. Clift reduces the Church's problems to the political. "Like the church, Congress makes laws but doesn't always follow them," she explains. "The analogy extends to the Appropriations committees in the House and Senate, each of which is known as the College of Cardinals, because that's where the power is. They hold the purse strings."
Uh-huh. And why would this be so important? Here we go: "Pope John Paul II (has) named virtually every bishop in America. All of this pope's appointees are ideologically conservative. What has happened mirrors a U.S. president stacking the courts. With John Paul loyalists at every level" -- and here it comes -- "social change will be wrenching, if not impossible."
But the Catholic bishops aren't just out of step with the Enlightened; they're downright evil. Oh, Ms. Clift won't say that, of course. Instead she uses the old journalistic trick of having someone else say it for her. She finds the perfect gutless wonder to do her bidding, an anonymous diocesan priest. "As a group, they're like the Taliban," he proclaims, in his Christian kind of way, of his superiors. "If you want to succeed in this system, you never talk about the ordination of women -- and abortion and birth control are like the third rail."
This system. The Catholic Church with her 2,000-year-old tradition is thus reduced to some kind of Richard Daley good-old-boy political machine. Or Enron. The statement is preposterous, to be sure, but its inclusion in the article is calculated: Because this nameless source is a man of the cloth (we presume), he must by necessity be taken seriously. One wonders if it ever dawned on Ms. Clift that the reason he chose anonymity is not because his words are controversial, but because the "social change" he implicitly supports as a Catholic priest -- say, support of abortion -- is heresy in the eyes of the Church. One can be pretty certain that Ms. Clift never has figured out that what he told her is pretty stupid, too. But it doesn't matter. It's color he brings to her story, and that's really all that counts.
Ms. Clift now takes over and puts things in her own words. I wish she hadn't. "The papacy as we know it" -- she is now an authority on the matter -- "is a 19th-century convention. The idea that in an age of e-mail and fax, and the ability to whisk around the globe in jets, everybody kowtows to a central figure seems quaint."
Attention, Catholics: We had it all wrong. What Jesus Christ meant was, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church -- until the Internet comes along, at which point never mind."
Clift saves her best for last, returning to the scandals with as ugly a statement as she can muster. "The priesthood attracts sexually conflicted men," she states categorically, thus insulting every man who ever dedicated his life to Christ, every mother who ever bore a son who joined the priesthood, every Catholic who ever felt a certain reverence for those touched by God as his shepherds -- in short, every Catholic who calls himself a Catholic -- "and the church will have to face up to that as a potentially criminal matter, not as a way to perpetuate an outdated custom of celibacy."
She is called the Suffering Church for a reason. The Catholic Church survived the Romans, the Reformation, Hitler's Nazis and Lenin's communists. She will survive the poison quill of Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, too.
Clift should talk. She's had the hots for Bill Clinton for years.
Open season? I thought there was a three-cross limit.
This is more like Enron that you might think.
Many people are asking why it took the press so long to look into this story. HOW many damaged souls are out there because of sexual misdeeds by the most trustworthy person in their life?
Hey, didn't ya know, that's how evil works.
Maybe we oughta invoke the three-prelates-and-you're-out rule.
Witness her gushy comment some years ago (it might have made CNS's Notable Quotables) about the manly, expansive chests of Bill and Al.
You mean this Church, Eleanor?
771 "The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men." The Church is at the same time:
- a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
- the visible society and the spiritual community;
- the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches."
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element":
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.
O humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heaven's beauty has adorned her.
Liberals hold grudges too. They know what Pope Leo XIII said about them on December 28, 1878:
You understand, venerable brethren, that We speak of that sect of men who, under various and almost barbarous names, are called socialists, communists, or nihilists, and who, spread over all the world, and bound together by the closest ties in a wicked confederacy, no longer seek the shelter of secret meetings, but, openly and boldly marching forth in the light of day, strive to bring to a head what they have long been planning--the overthrow of all civil society whatsoever.
Surely these are they who, as the sacred Scriptures testify, "Defile the flesh, despise dominion and blaspheme majesty."
They leave nothing untouched or whole which by both human and divine laws has been wisely decreed for the health and beauty of life.
They refuse obedience to the higher powers, to whom, according to the admonition of the Apostle, every soul ought to be subject, and who derive the right of governing from God; and they proclaim the absolute equality of all men in rights and duties.
They debase the natural union of man and woman, which is held sacred even among barbarous peoples; and its bond, by which the family is chiefly held together, they weaken, or even deliver up to lust.
Lured, in fine, by the greed of present goods, which is "the root of all evils which some coveting have erred from the faith," they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one's mode of life.
These are the startling theories they utter in their meetings, set forth in their pamphlets, and scatter abroad in a cloud of journals and tracts.
Pope Leo XII
There are magazines that have looked at the issue more globally and impartially. Witness Lynn Vincent's excellent, if troubling, article in a recent issue of WORLD magazine: Breaking faith As sexual scandal rocks the Roman Catholic church, Protestants face a lurking sex scandal as well. Will churches and national organizations take biblical steps to prevent further shame?
Ewwwwwwww!!! You just made my skin crawl.
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