Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Prada Is On The Other Foot


For conservative Catholics, the cafeteria seems open.  I mean buffet, not cafeteria


While Archbishop Dolan may be shutting the door on inclusion, the door to the Catholic cafeteria has opened wide to welcome conservatives.  The following edited article is from Huffington Post.

Conservatives Reject Vatican Explanation On Condoms

Rachel Zoll - Huffington Post - 11/24/2010

NEW YORK — Faced with a changing outlook from Pope Benedict XVI on condoms and their role in preventing the spread of HIV, many prominent conservative Roman Catholics in the U.S. are rejecting the Vatican's own explanation of what the pope said. (And they are also shooting the messengers.)

Several orthodox Catholics said they would only accept a more formal papal pronouncement. Others insisted that journalists were purposely misrepresenting Benedict's comments. Some questioned whether the papal spokesman, the Rev. Frederico Lombardi, accurately quoted the pope. (Bang, bang, bang.)

Bishops and the experts who advise them were scrambling to make sense of the news.
"It's a mess," said John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, which advises church leaders, hospitals and Vatican offices. "I'm not ready to say that the pope said what Lombardi said.".... (Nothing like being your own pope, following your own selfish need to determine your own doctrine.  Hmmm, where have I heard that before?)

......Jenn Giroux, executive director of Human Life International America, which promotes Catholic teaching on contraception, abortion and other moral issues, said more clarification from the Vatican was needed.

"I am watching very carefully, as everyone is right now, before making a final pronouncement," said Giroux, a registered nurse and mother of nine. "We just got something from a spokesperson. As always, we look to church doctrine on statements like this." (You actually really might not want to go there. Your Pope is trying to tell you that.)

Germain Grisez, a prominent moral theologian who advises bishops, said that promoting condoms as protection against disease would be "pernicious" because it assumes a person does not have the capacity to make good, moral choices. He lamented that the pope's comments "can be – and are being – misused to sow doubt about Catholic teaching." (What's pernicious is pretending the majority of males will voluntarily keep their pecker in their pants as Church teaching dictates. They won't, they don't, they never have. They don't think it's natural.)

"Many of Jesus' own sayings were misused, and he no doubt foresaw that they would be misused. But he nevertheless said what he thought would lead to salvation those who were open to his teaching," Grisez wrote in an e-mail. "I assume that Pope Benedict's intention in speaking out as he does is similar to Jesus' intention. But Benedict's judgment about what to say may not be as sound as Jesus' judgment was."
(I thought the pope was Jesus's representative on earth. Has this changed?)

Haas, also a moral theologian, said he fielded calls all day Tuesday from bishops confused by what Lombardi had said. Benedict's comments come at a time when bishops in the United States are intensely focused on upholding Catholic orthodoxy on marriage and sexuality. (Wrong, they are intent on politicising Catholic orthodoxy.)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not respond to requests Tuesday for comment.
Philip Lawler, editor of Catholic World News, demanded the resignation of the editor of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, after the daily printed the pope's quotes on condoms and other topics in a Saturday edition, despite an embargo on the much-anticipated book. (Bang)

Lawler and many other orthodox Catholics argued that the newspaper undermined the pope by quoting him without the proper context. Lawler stood by his criticism and call for the editor's resignation after Lombardi's news conference Tuesday. (boom.)

"I think the clarification was confusing and frustrating," Lawler said. (Actually, it was pretty black and white and pro life.)

Catholic teaching has never totally barred condom use for protection against HIV and the Vatican has no official, authoritative policy on the issue.

In 1987, the U.S. bishops' conference issued the statement, "The Many Face of AIDS," that stressed limiting sex to marriage as the best protection against the virus, but said public education "could include accurate information about prophylactic devices" to prevent transmission. The document was criticized at the time by conservatives and some Vatican officials. (This was back in '87, twenty three years ago, when the USCCB actually had some...well, courage.)

Years ago, Vatican officials reportedly began studying the topic, with the goal of writing a document on the morality of condom use as protection against AIDS, but no statement was issued.

The pope's comments in a book interview do not amount to an official teaching, a point conservative Catholics made repeatedly and vociferously Tuesday. They argued that the pope was only noting that by using a condom, a person with HIV is displaying some moral sense about the consequences of his behavior.

"I maintain that nothing new has happened, that the church's teaching hasn't changed," said the Rev. Joseph Fessio of Ignatius Press, the English publisher of the book, in a phone interview from Rome. (Benedict's point of reference certainly has and with it his pastoral thinking.)

Yet, the pope's remarks are still seen as significant and must be analyzed and explained by church leaders. U.S. bishops oversee AIDS care programs through local and national Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. In a brief statement, Catholic Relief Services said, "Our current policy holds: we do not purchase, distribute or promote the use of condoms."

Very few U.S. bishops or church officials have commented since the pope's remarks were published last Saturday. (That's because the gang hasn't figured out how to protect it's political turf.)

"We're in for a long period of confusion," said Russell Shaw, a writer for the Catholic publication Our Sunday Visitor and former spokesman for the U.S. bishops' conference. "The bishops – and clergy especially – will have to go home now to their own dioceses and whether they like it or not start speaking very clearly about what just happened." (I'm sure Jesus will see to it that there is plenty of food in the cafeteria.


I admit I've had great fun with the angst exhibited by the right.  All the big political guns have lined up against Lombardi, L'Osservatore Romano, the 'lame stream' media, and anyone else not named Benedict who had anything to do with what Benedict actually said. On the serious side, I am sadly disappointed that American Catholicism's loudest and most quoted voices, seem to think it's more faithful to Catholic teaching to inflict someone with a death sentence than use a condom. Truthfully, I'm not really sure I want that kind of belief structure in my Catholic cafeteria. Oh well, I didn't have any choice about who was in my grade school cafeteria either. I suppose I'll just have to adjust.

On another subject, today is Thanksgiving and I hope everyone has a safe Thanksgiving weekend. I also hope everyone has a safe Black Friday and doesn't get run over by a shopping cart or a frenzied shopper looking for their next big buy. Only in America would we be thankful for our blessings one day, and manic consumer zombies the next.  Peace, love, and joy to one and all.


  1. Collen,
    You certainly do write beautifully and I am grateful that you have followed up on this in such detail.
    What a mess these so called guardians of the faith are !
    I know many good priests who are fed up with the bungling and the machinations.
    Happy Thanksgiving Day by the way !

  2. Blessings to you to Phil and thanks for the compliments. Oh by the way, I am jealous of the lay out on your blog, and apparently too lazy and incompetent to do anything about mine.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving,

    I'm grateful for the many faithful and holy Catholic priests and nuns who were so influential helping me develop as a spiritual, moral and ethical person. I'm grateful for those clergy and religious who continue to do good and faithful work despite the discouraging behavior of their colleagues.

    I am particularly grateful to the Fr. CF whose wisdom,kindness,and patience acquired while ministering in Pakistan and Calcutta brought me back to my faith.

    I give thanks that Frank Cocozzelli helped me to find this community. Thank you Colleen for this forum. Thank you other members of the EC community for engaging in debate, providing resources and commentary that have reawakened my interest in all things Catholic.

    Most of all, this year, I am grateful that a few people in my parish were able to prevent the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi from establishing a foothold.

    That's quite a bit to be grateful for and it isn't even my holiday.

    Enjoy the poultry and pigskin my friends.

  4. As a lions fan I am grateful they haven't been kicked off Thanksgiving day. There is still some charity left in the NFL.

    Thank you anon for your comment. It reminds me there is still much for me to be greatful for, especially the people who partake in this blog.

  5. "Nothing like being your own pope..."

    Exactly. Damn. I guess that makes me a Protestant.

    (word verification is "unglue")

  6. A good article, Colleen. As always, I enjoyed your witty comments.

  7. I love getting my news updates from you - always so informative! Happy Thanksgiving!