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Conservative Catholics urge Church to challenge "dissenters"
National Catholic Reporter ^ | 9/19/2003 | Joe Fuerherd

Posted on 09/18/2003 6:20:30 PM PDT by sinkspur

Pro-choice Catholics unfit for leadership posts, say meeting participants

The nation’s Catholic bishops should deny public honors to pro-choice Catholics and preclude them from serving in positions of church leadership, a group of conservative Catholics told leading members of the U.S. hierarchy Sept. 8.

Former Congressman and Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, a member of the bishop-appointed panel investigating the sexual abuse crisis, personifies the issue, Princeton University politics professor Robert George told the bishops.

Panetta’s pro-choice record, George said at a news conference following the all-day meeting, is “scandalous” and his appointment to the abuse panel “sends a message that we are not taking this issue too seriously if we then turn around and appoint to a position of great trust, indeed a position designed to advise the church on how to deal with a moral crisis, somebody who very publicly, very prominently, believes something that is contrary to Catholic teaching.”

Also problematic, though less so, given the range of opinion within the church on the death penalty, was the appointment of capital punishment enthusiast Frank Keating to chair the abuse panel, said George.

The closed-door meeting — attended by a who’s who of nearly 40 conservative Catholic journalists, intellectuals, clergy and activists — was the second such gathering in two months attended by Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and Bishops William Friend of Shreveport, La., William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., and Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The first meeting, in July, was called by Catholic philanthropist Geoffrey Boisi, who assembled a group of a decidedly more liberal bent (NCR, Aug. 1). Angered that the bishops met privately with the “kinds of liberal and dissident Catholics that would make a Call to Action conference jealous,” Crisis Magazine publisher Deal Hudson and Catholic writer Russell Shaw organized the more recent gathering.

Billed as a “Meeting in Support of the Church,” topics discussed included priestly celibacy, marriage, bioethics, and the potential of holding a U.S. church plenary council. But dissent from church teaching was, participants said, an overriding theme.

“I think that dissent is the major cause of the sexual abuse crisis because it has loosened priests and laity alike from their core beliefs, and particularly the core beliefs about sexual morality,” Hudson told the post-meeting news conference.

“There are those who are trying to take advantage of the scandal within the church, and in taking advantage of that scandal, are saying that the problem with the church is the teachings of the church,” said Atlanta businessman Frank Hanna. “We believe that the teachings of the church … are the answer to the problems within our church and within our society. And the bishops believe the same thing — so there was a nice unity of purpose.”

Among the more controversial topics: “When should or should not a bishop publicly reprimand” a Catholic politician who represents that his or her position is in accord with church teaching when it is not. Consensus broke down, according to the participants, not over the desirability of clarifying church teaching in such situations, but on the prudence of doing so.

The bishops voiced concern, said George, that “the effort to correct might cause a backlash because people might think the church is interfering wrongfully in politics and [such statements] might actually help the politician who is misrepresenting the church’s teaching.”

Said Shaw: “Nobody advocated excommunication or other canonical penalties” for dissenting Catholic politicians.

Another hot button: optional priestly celibacy, an issue raised most recently by Milwaukee priests who called on church leaders to discuss whether the priest shortage should prompt discussion of the issue.

Though meeting attendees who addressed the issue uniformly defended mandatory priestly celibacy, proponents of optional celibacy were not lumped into the dissenter category.

“No one was suggesting that someone who” favors optional celibacy is a “bad Catholic or an unfit Catholic or unfit to sit on boards or anything like that,” said George. “It is precisely the kind of question where faithful Catholics can disagree.”

The ground rules for the meeting stipulated that participants were free to share their own comments and provide an overview, but they agreed not to characterize with any specificity how the bishops responded. No bishops attended the news conference.

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: catholicchurch

1 posted on 09/18/2003 6:20:35 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
**Pro-choice Catholics unfit for leadership posts**

2 posted on 09/18/2003 6:25:33 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
But fit for whipping post.
3 posted on 09/18/2003 6:34:47 PM PDT by RockDoc
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To: RockDoc
The Deadly Dozen

Canadian Prime Minister Taunts Church: "I Am A Catholic And For Abortion"

Catholic Church asks Tom Daschle to stop calling himself a Catholic

On Catholic Politicians and Faith

Vatican Urges Catholic Politicians to Vote Along Church Lines

Senator Santorum on Being Catholic and a Politician

William E. Simon, Sr. and Jr. Devout Catholics, Philanthropists and Politicians

Deadly Dozen senator taken to task over claims of Catholicism

THE BISHOP AND THE SENATOR [author links to FR thread regarding Daschle in her online column]

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians

MI Gov Granholm Proclaims June "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month"

Colorado Governor To Media:'WE LOVE OUR CHURCH' [Gov. Bill Owens

U.S. Senator Brownback and Commentator Dick Morris Join Catholic Church


Kerry [Catholic} says he'll filibuster Supreme Court nominees who do not support abortion rights

Pope to MPs: Stop gay marriage

Vatican - Considerations regarding ... homosexual persons


Prelate says politicians who back abortion shouldn't go to Communion

Bishop draws fire for targeting Chrétien

Kennedy likens Vatican stance on gay unions to 'bigotry' (oh, go get a job, you little creep)

Ignorance or Malicious Intent? "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to..."

George Weigel on Authentic Catholic Citizenship, and the Duty of Catholic Politicians to Behave as Catholics

Conservative Catholics urge Church to challenge "dissenters"

4 posted on 09/18/2003 6:35:46 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: sinkspur
After reading other reports, I think this one kind of misses the point that the assembled were not happy with the bishops.
5 posted on 09/18/2003 7:13:59 PM PDT by RobbyS (nd)
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To: RobbyS
okay, so how does one tell an orthodox Roman Catholic bishop from a heterodox one?
6 posted on 09/18/2003 8:47:42 PM PDT by ahadams2
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To: ahadams2
"how does one tell an orthodox Roman Catholic
bishop from a heterodox one?"

Find out which is "too flexible"?

7 posted on 09/18/2003 9:03:49 PM PDT by John Beresford Tipton
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To: ahadams2
okay, so how does one tell an orthodox Roman Catholic bishop from a heterodox one?

Ask him if he watches Archbishop Rigali's new series on EWTN. If he does, he's orthodox. If he spits fire at the mere mention of Mother Angelica's masterpiece, he's not.
8 posted on 09/18/2003 9:07:15 PM PDT by Desdemona (Kempis' Imitation of Christ online!
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To: ahadams2
Well, Des proposed a good test. They hate her cause she is the kind of dissenter that they cannot tolerate.
9 posted on 09/18/2003 9:24:31 PM PDT by RobbyS (nd)
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To: John Beresford Tipton
LOL! one of the few things I have to say in favor of the spanish inquisition is that they left no one in any doubt of exactly what the end results of holding a certain theological position might be....
10 posted on 09/18/2003 9:28:34 PM PDT by ahadams2
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To: RobbyS
Mother Angelica is a dissenter? remember I'm an Anglican now, but from this perspective she seems to be the heart and soul of conservative Roman Catholicism!
11 posted on 09/18/2003 9:30:26 PM PDT by ahadams2
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To: ahadams2
She dissents from the liberal Catholicism that so many nuns have adopted. And she is sharp. I don't get her channel here, but recently in a motel in Florida I saw one of her very old tapes where she is teaching doctrine. For a minute you think she is your typical nun. Then she shifts gears and you know you are listening to a theologican who speaks without cant. She knows her own mind, but also the Church's.
12 posted on 09/18/2003 10:04:45 PM PDT by RobbyS (nd)
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To: RobbyS
After reading other reports, I think this one kind of misses the point that the assembled were not happy with the bishops.

The "National Catholic Reporter" is somewhat mistitled because there is not really much about it that is Catholic--at least not much that supports the Catholic faith as promulgated by Rome. The "Reporter" plumps for women's ordination, an acceptance of contraception, a more "democratic" structure in the Church, and so on. It's all quite predictable: the Catholic variant of the Democratic Party at prayer, although the "Reporter" does not favor abortion.
13 posted on 09/18/2003 11:50:50 PM PDT by polemikos
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To: polemikos
Thanks for the link. I have rear The Wanderer forever. I am gonna check out The Register. I like Keating but I can't stomach the NCR. I can't read around the heterodoxy.
14 posted on 09/19/2003 7:30:10 AM PDT by Catholicguy (When I was a kid obedience was not a vice and schism was not a virtue)
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To: Desdemona
Here's a bizarre thought:

* Archbishop Rigali is the only bishop who ever had the Pope fly out to his diocese, and only his diocese.
* Rigali is also very popular both among trads, and charismatics. He did wonders to promote Eucharistic adoration, and hosted the best Charismatic rally the country ever had. He is very tolerant of ultra-trads.
* Rigali is about to become a Cardinal.
* I read somewhere here at FR that the Pope said he has not yet elevated the next Pope, suggesting he has someone in mind who was not yet a Cardinal.

OK, this is wild absurd speculation. In the past, I've suspected Lustigier and Arinze. I now doubt their pick only because their time has past; I haven't changed my mind that one of them would have been made Pope.

15 posted on 09/20/2003 12:21:01 AM PDT by dangus
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