Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Vatican needs real PR guys, not Kodak moment guys. It may be a good thing the Vatican doesn't realize that.

The following excerpt is taken from the blog site PaddyAnglican and deals with another of the new norms recently released by the Vatican. In it's own way it's as insulting to our Protestant brothers and sisters as coupling women's ordination with clerical sexual abuse. It is another in a long line of Vatican repudiations of ecumenism under the guise of issueing statements about Catholic doctrine and dogma. It seems there was something to tick off virtually everyone in the new Canonical norms.

The publication this week of the Vatican Canon law document, ‘NORMAE DE GRAVIORIBUS DELICTIS’ heaped further gratuitous insult on the Protestant churches when the offence of celebrating the Eucharist with members of ‘ecclesial communities’ (Protestants) was given an equivalence to “the taking or retaining for a sacrilegious purpose or the throwing away of the consecrated species.” In other words celebrating the Eucharist with Protestants is the same as chucking the consecrated host in the bin!
I protest! This cannot be defended as ‘ecumenical honesty’ or ‘speaking the truth in love’ – this is quite simply sectarian and hateful language and has no place in any document which claims Christian provenance.

But there is more – As if that were not enough, sharing equal status with the sacramental crime of celebrating the Eucharist with Protestants is the further sacramental crime of attempting to ordain women to the priesthood and the moral crime of Pedophilia! All of these are described as grave delicts.

I protest! I protest again, but this time not just for Protestants, but for all women who are told that their feelings of vocation are a sacramental crime and that those who would ordain them will like them be excommunicated.

I protest for the children whose horrendous suffering is put on a par with either a Eucharistic irregularity or a misguided sense of vocation.

I protest against the subversion of Love to the Law.
I protest against those who would seek to defend the indefensible.
I protest against those who would dress up prejudice in doctrine.
I protest against those who say that this is the will of God.
I protest against those who think that for God to Love them he must hate others.
I am a Protestant and I protest!

Another over looked Vatican message is the Papal appointment and response to the Legionaires of Christ which was also released last week. I've maintained for a long long time that the Legion would not be touched in any way which would denounce it's credibility because the Vatican's concern would be to keep it's credibility. At an estimated worth of 33 billion, a corps of some 800 priests, and a slavish adherence to traditional notions of obedience to papal authority, it was too valuable to hold to any meaningful accountability. Check this excerpt out from the Legion owned news outlet Zenit:
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo has been asked by the Pope to govern the congregation in his name "during the time necessary to complete the path of renewal."

The 74-year-old Italian prelate is the president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

The Legion of Christ is being guided by the Church in a renewal, following the discovery that its founder, Father Marcial Maciel, fathered children and was guilty of other crimes. (Interesting how Zenit can't write: raped children including those he fathered.)

Last Saturday, Archbishop De Paolis visited the Legion's headquarters in Rome, entrusting its superiors with the papal letter naming him delegate, and a personal letter of that date in which he expressed his own thoughts and recommendations for the Legionaries.

In the Italian-language note, he affirmed Benedict XVI's intention that the papal delegate work as a "tangible witness of [his] closeness." And he noted the Pope's awareness of the "great number of members" of the congregation who show "sincere zeal" and a "fervent religious life."

Gift of a vocation

The archbishop said the Church, inspired not by human criteria but by those of the Spirit, "contemplates the beautiful reality that you are, that your congregation is." (Quite frankly this language is nausea inducing.)

"The Pope, through me," he said, "now wants to accompany you on this path, so that without allowing yourselves to be discouraged by the tragic events behind you, you can find joy in your current [reality], in the gift of the religious, priestly and missionary vocation that you have received."

Archbishop De Paolis affirmed that the Legionaries' vocation comes from the Heart of Christ and his love. And he invited the priests and seminarians to give thanks to God "for the work that he has accomplished in such a way" and "for his goodness, his mercy and his fidelity." (I guess it's better for the Vatican to claim God worked through a sociopathic predator than to admit it might have been the alternative 'spirit' working through a thoroughly perverted sociopathic predator.


Here's what I take from the Vatican's busy last week. Sharing the Eucharist with protestants is worse than sharing the Eucharist with Catholic priestly pedophiles--much worse in fact. Ordaining women priests, for which a Catholic priest or bishop will be both laicised and excommunicated, is worse than ordaining known sexual deviants. Believe me, the irregularity of Maciel's ordination is pretty indicative that someone knew Maciel had serious issues--like the freaking bishop uncle who actually did ordain him after essentially seminary homeschooling him. Maybe we should have some sort of Canon law that prevents family members from ordaining family members who get tossed out of two seminaries.

In the meantime we now have a norm that allows bishops to essentially engage in their own inquisitions, and clerical abuse norms that once again don't apply to bishops as either perpetrators or colluders. Only the Pope has that jurisdiction through the CDF. And of course, pontifical secrecy still applies to the whole process in order to protect all concerned. How thoughtful. I'm sure that's really appreciated by prelates like Cardinal Sodano who can still gum up the works in secret--for 'donations' and the rights of the accused.

In the end we have some cosmetic tweaking of clerical abuse norms which sure look like their main function was to sugar coat another serious shot at both women's ordination and ecumenism. At the same time this also serves to sneak in the fact that bishops have had their individual autonomy and authority increased and their accountability to the Pope as their sole authority underscored. A sort of setting in stone of the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back" kind of hierarchical accountability. It's the same mentality that kept Maciel going for so long and will apparently serve to save the Legion.

Oh and in case Regnum Christi members think the Pope is solicitous of them, forget it. It's really about the money you bring in, the priests the Legion has and the blind obedience the Legion formation program inculcates---because it's always about money and priests and blind obedience. These are the three corners on which the traditional Vatican stool has rested.

So what's the hidden lining in all of this? It's that true believers are starting to wonder. Right now the anger is directed at what they desperately need to see as the Vatican propensity for PR disasters. That will change. The fact is people will not re evaluate their view of emotionally important people or institutions because an outsider like me spews facts that intellectually contradict the person or institution. The only agent capable of causing a review of this kind is the behavior of the other half of the relationship. I suspect a number of True Believers are starting to undergo this process precisely because the object of their faith is forcing it. The PR issue is just the beginning.

Even a True believer is going to have difficulty getting their head around the fact they have committed a grave sacramental act if they share the Eucharist with their protestant friends at some occasion like a funeral. They would have to come to terms with the fact they committed a sacramental act determined to be canonically worse than active pedophiles saying Mass and giving Communion to their child victims. It will get worse for trads when they actually have to grapple with the fact that the theological logic behind the norms makes this view mandatory. Eventually some of them will come to the conclusion these norms aren't based in protecting any real form of Jesus, they are based in protecting the theology and the assumptions in the theology which underpin the clerical priesthood. None of these norms are about Christi, they are about the theology describing 'in persona christi', and that ultimately means the sacramental authority in the whole clerical system.

All of these recent Vatican moves are irritating and anger inducing to progressives, victims, and Christians of all sorts, but they are also potential sources of serious questioning for True Believers. It's this last consequence to which the Vatican seems blind. That ultimately may be a very good thing for the Universal Church.


  1. Great post - you draw the threads together so well. However like you I suspect, I am profoundly sad and lament what the Vatican is doing to the Roman Catholic Church. The only plus as you say is that it is blindingly obvious to all but the most wilfully blind observer. I have been a lifelong ecumenist and will remain such but its not getting any easier. :( Not sure if you are familiar with the 'Darwin Awards' but Vatican is coming close to getting a gold medal!

  2. Thanks Paddy and you are welcome for the link. Your flagging the communion part was important because I, like many other Catholics, missed it's significance in a first read through of the norms.

    In it's own way this one is just as explosive as the women's ordination norm because both are direct shots at ecumenism.

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  4. I wonder if the pope knows that the first Eucharist occurred in a Jewish only context. Only later was Baptism considered necessary. And Baptism was sufficient.

    It is a scandal that what began as a banquet - where all were invited (The Kingdom of God, as preached by Jesus) has become a divisive male-dominated clerical cult where rules and regulations and tossing people out takes precedence over a celebration of God's Kingdom.

  5. TheraP, your second paragraph mentions the SCANDAL and should I also say that the current Curia and Papacy are a SCHISM within the RCC? Pope Benedict's allowing SSPX back into the RCC is the SCHISM against VII, against the Holy Spirit.

    The new 'catholic identity' under Benedict is to:

    * Shun other Christian communities / denominations
    * Shun Catholics who Seek After Truth
    * Dismiss/condemn ideas that are contrary to the medieval catholic identity
    * Destroy all semblance of VII
    * Make the sickening mental association that ordaining women is equivalent and as grave as pedophilia in the minds of Catholics
    * Make the association with other denominations as not a "catholic" thing to do & couch it in such a way as to belittle people who are Christians but are not Catholics.

    All of the above is not Christ-like but is a religious fundamentalism that is really dead in its Faith, Hope & Love in Jesus Christ. In its loss of Faith, Hope & Love in Jesus Christ - the Roman Curia & SSPX Pope Benedict project that loss of faith, hope & love in Jesus Christ onto everyone else in the world. It has an agenda, not a message of faith, hope or love at all.

    This is a very nauseating situation. It is like the disease of cancer in that those suffering from this, the Proclaimers of Certainty, believe they are healthy but are deteriorating rapidly and don't know it.

    word is firess - May the descent of the Holy Spirit come and go where it will.

  6. Butterfly I think a person can state with some assuredness that the Vatican is certainly provoking a schism.

    SSPX's Christology is far more in line with the curia's than progressive Christology. I suspect that is far more important to Benedict's Vatican than a lot of the other issues which have theoretically kept them out of the fold.

    I think the really big problem the curial Vatican sees that can't be allowed to be addressed is the entire theology of the priesthood because it is the foundation on which ritual Catholicism rests.

    There is a vast difference between the life and world view Jesus was teaching, vs the Catholicism centered on ritual that the Vatican is desperate to maintain.

    Native ritual practice is founded on the idea that it serves to buttress the individual seeker as that seeker attempts to find a personal relationship with the Unknowable Creator. The primary emphasis is on the pilgrimage of the seeker with the varius rituals secondary but supportive of the seeker. They are ritualized not because they are necessary to finding truth, but because they have a history of supporting other seekers in their personal search.

    The personal search is always about receiving insights which will benefit the entire tribe in the here and now, and a vision which is essentially personal is not considered a very powerful vision--no matter how powerful it might have been to the vision seeker.

    I can't imagine what might happen in Catholicism if we adopted a similar attitude towards our ritual. Mystics might just find their true place in the Church, just as Rahner and others have said.

  7. Colleen, your comment brings to my thoughts the biblical quotation that the Sabbath was made for man, man was not made for the Sabbath.

    With the RCC being what it is today, mystics are not welcome. Seems to me, anyone with a thinking mind is not welcome!! Heaven forbid anyone think outside the SSPX box.

    word is poocky - The RCC is getting very spoocky

  8. I have to add this bit of humor here...

    "I do, I do, I do believe in spooks!!!""

    word verif is now ounbrats - The schism is run by the RCC's ownbrats........

  9. "I can't imagine what might happen in Catholicism if we adopted a similar attitude towards our ritual. Mystics might just find their true place in the Church, just as Rahner and others have said."

    What might happen in Catholicism in this case is an end to the cycle of abuse against persons enlightened by the Holy Spirit and the spirit of truth and love enlightening everyone in the Church and in the world. The world would be a happier, joyful place to live in.

    These delicts of Canon Law are tools for inquisition and have nothing to do with Jesus Christ's teachings or helping or aiding anyone in their path to living in the Spirit of God with Love.

    word is sitat - This seems to say - sit at the foot of the cross (too sad to stand or kneel) with the Mother of Jesus, John the Apostle and the Apostle Mary Magdalene and do not put false idols before you such as PBXVi and his cronies, the real schismatics.

  10. Why don't they just bring back Leviticus and be done with it? PURITY, that's what it's all about. And Jesus broke those rules! But god forbid, that means JESUS broke with tradition! (It would be funny if it weren't so sad.)

  11. We are headed back to the bad old days. Why doesn't the pope just say he's abrogating Vatican II?

  12. khughes, I think the Pope has been saying it in drips, like as in a small leak when left unattended will become a pond, then a lake, then you are drowning in a sea of drips.

    Ever heard of the story of the frog who was put into boiling water? A frog will jump right out of a hot kettle. A frog won't jump out of a kettle that is luke-warm but will swim around a simmering pot until it can swim no more.

    Benny is handling the Vatican SSPX boiler room ever so delicately with the frog getting cooked in mind. He's the Prince, progressives and liberals are the frogs I guess..... The problem is that some frogs are on to that type of scheme & won't get in the pope's lukewarm kettle.

  13. Colleen -

    In re the 'sharing Communion with the (GASP!!!) Protestants" matter....

    We need to consider the very real concept of a Spiritual Holy Communion. It is simply inviting Jesus into your heart in lieu of Sacramental Communion.

    It is free. No collection plate is passed. You can do it anytime you desire it. Jesus is always glad to oblige us, when we ask for His love.

    There are prayer formulae to use. But the most important element is the DESIRE for communion. Inviting Him in. It is virtually the same thing as Sacramental Communion,in spiritual effect. And for those unable to get to a mass.....or who cannot stomach what is going on in local is a viable solution.

    Now......most Protestant groups do not have 'valid orders' & valid Transubstantiation. One really cannot argue against this.

    BUT.....are you going to tell me that that little old Black Baptist lady with eyes brimming with palpable light, born of a deep & true love for Jesus.....cannot receive Him in Spiritual Communion due to the depth of her desire for Him? Of course she can!

    Ditto for the Methodist, Presyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran.......

    The key ingredients are Love for Jesus & genuine desire for union with Him.

    But of course if the Vatican were to admit this as true, it would further weaken their (self invented) hegemony.....

    Anon Y. Mouse

  14. "We are headed back to the bad old days. Why doesn't the pope just say he's abrogating Vatican II?"

    There is a reason for this, and those in the know in the LC/OD circles have hinted at it.

    If the Church repudiates what it did or taught in a former time, that throws everything into chaos. In other words, 'if we can question or redact X...why cannot we redact Y'.

    To them this denotes an Achilles heel. It is all wrapped up in their theology of Infallibility, etc. It would be rather like Toto pulling open & revealing 'the man behind the curtain' in the Wizard of Oz.

    So... they won't as they can't.

    Think know as well as I do that Ratz was a 'liberal' at V2. Actually, he was a 'mole' or 'plant' There were other like him. He had a job to do.

    Rather then follow through on what John XXIII wanted to do, they steered a different course. Intentionally sabotaging things, so GENUINE reform was short-circuited. What little reform did happen, was largely accidental.

    Why do even the known Opus Dei bishops always speak favorably of V2? It is company policy.

    The forecast that it will by like the steady drip is correct. That is the game plan. A great pretense.

    Why did JPII - put into office by Opus Dei - proclaim in his opening speech that he would continue the work of implementing Vatican II?

    When a overtly fascist & conservative element has successfully comandeered a supposedly 'Liberal" paradigm, are they going to give it up? No. Repudiate it? Why......when it has been so useful to their agenda.

    What I am trying to say here is that many sincere & well meaning Liberal Catholics - very much of John XXIII's mindset - have been taken to the cleaners....and played like a fiddle.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  15. Mouse I look around and see perhaps a different story unfolding. I don't disagree with your assesment of the games played with in the higher levels of the hierarchy.

    But I think they are concentrating so much on the power games amongst themselves they are missing what's happening beneath them. Obviously the West is pretty much a lost cause in terms of generating any meaningful numbers of faithful, but even in the South liberation theology is on the rise and the influence of the hierarchy is waning. The East too is promulgating a theology which tends towards liberation, and a much more ecumenical understanding of the Church's place in the modern world. Africa is combining spiritism with their own form of liberation theology. None of this is exactly the kind of Church envisioned by the 'reformers' in the Vatican.

    The old guard may have the microphone, but in the West few have them tuned in, and every place else it's largely a polite "um hmm, that's nice", while they silently do their own thing covered by Vatican static.

  16. Colleen -

    You assessment is interesting; on a certain level I agree. This is what is evident when viewed logically.

    But I suggest to you that they know all of this. More, that they have (largely) engineered it so. If this seems puzzling, ponder this:

    They are playing a chess game in three dimensions - plus a fourth (Time).

    Only certain high level administrators are privy to the overall true plans & goals. Most bishops only know on a 'need to know basis'. And what they need to know is this:

    "You will follow orders, no matter what - even if contradictory, illogical, or absurd. You will do what you are told as a good soldier. If you do, you will be protected, fed & clothed".

    This helps to explain many seeming absurdities in their words & deeds. You are made a bishop ONLY for your absolute & unquestioning loyalty. Secondly for your ability to be duplicitous on command.

    "None of this is exactly the kind of Church envisioned by the 'reformers' in the Vatican."

    Rethink this statement, & you are on the right track.

    The essence & mark of the Demonic is Inversion. So is the ability to think & act in the Dialectic.....while believing none of it. That is also the hallmark of a true Luciferian.

    I pretend to be a 'Liberal", while you my fellow Bishop feign 'Conservatism'. When we meet, we LOL about the foolish laity who are taking us seriously. And about the 'pious ones' (Left OR Right), knowing that it is all one big scam.

    If you want to destroy something from within, you must cause it to implode. Factionalize ppl against each other. Give them 'busy work" (issues, buzzwords, talking point) to distract them. Play to whatever side or agenda works - or as dictated by your 'orders' from above.

    A few bishops may literally be useful idiots. Very few. But many are 'in' on it - at least to the extent that they realize this is a game.

    Look at Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, AL (if you can stand to!). He is nothing but a shallow, mincing old queen without a whit of Faith in anything. A complete airhead. The 'church business' is merely a comfortable paycheck for him. will hear him on EWTN pretending to be 'oh-so-conservative'....just like Fabian dearest. Fabian was given marching orders, just as Robert has. Why else would the latter be sent to be the bishop of EWTNland? It would logically follow that he would have to be very Opus Dei friendly to have this position....

    My point is not to criticize your POV, but to suggest that you take it much farther. View it from outer space, if you will. From a different angle.

    If it was your intention to demolish by implosion the Roman Catholic Church organization - and with it the faith of millions - what would you do?

    N.B. realize also that the mainline Protestant church have experienced a very similar, parallel interior design.

    Those who 'want God" are given the choice of the Evangelicals or the various 'Catholic' cult/entities. Both fall under the aegis of Opus Dei.

    I am suggesting a very different paradigm then most would even consider.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  17. Mouse I think we are operating from the exact same paradigm. One of the interesting things about this paradigm is how neatly set up it is to discredit those who may actually see the bigger picture. That's the one aspect of all of this I can really appreciate for it's brilliance, knowing full well I have to to operate with in it's boundaries. So to speak.

    I found it very fascinating that the Washington Post is doing a major series of articles on the US Intelligence community. How ironic that is survives the way it does by inventing dozens of need to know levels and compartmentalizing certain topics from all other topics. Wonder what that's about? :)

  18. "One of the interesting things about this paradigm is how neatly set up it is to discredit those who may actually see the bigger picture."

    Indeed, those who would point out & describe this paradigm would be called by most (unthinking) Catholics....'nuts'.

    ...if not ' need of proper spiritual formation'.

    You could easily picture both a Bishop or a lay person saying that. It would be a postively macabre scenario if they were cognizant of their duplicity.

    Can't you just picture one of the 'radiant new priests/bishops' saying with a (mock) pitying expression:

    "Please tell me more of how you feel, so I can understand. Why do you feel this way? Give me an example of this 'conspiracy' you believe in. Did you get this from some book or website? You should not jeopardize your faith like this. Perhaps we can help you....."

    All spoken in a well modulated (and well practiced) tone & manner, born of years of training & experience.

    These folks are well trained in psychological manipulation - and know how to 'unhinge' someone by such techniques.

    Which came first: the Vatican or the US intel system?


    Anon Y. Mouse

  19. Depends on your view of time, but the energy which both serve to cover is timeless.

  20. Tis much like the 'chicken & the egg' scenario.But indeed.....we are talking about 'time' very much outside of the normal & much beloved 'box'.

    "...but the energy which both serve to cover is timeless."

    True. And as the one is the creation of folks in the employ of the other (directly or otherwise), they are serving the same "energy".

    Anon Y. Mouse

  21. This is still the bottom line:

  22. Benny, I like your blog. It's nice to read a more traditional blog that takes serious issues with a little humor. It is much more inviting than some others I have read.

    By the way you are on to something with your quantum wave references.