Friday, March 4, 2011

Another 'Pastoral' Message From Cardinal George

This is especially true if you happen to believe in some silly abstract thing like equality under the law.

 The following is excerpted from an article attributed to Cardinal George in Catholic New World, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Cardinal George starts out explaining the canonization process for JPII and then dives into idiocy, heresy, or bizarre rationalization, depending on your point of view:

......A saint lives in loving intimacy with God, who creates that love in the saint by first loving him or her. Since there are great saints and little saints, God doesn’t love everyone equally. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know why God loves some people more than others, but recognizing this difference reinforces our conviction that everyone is unique and challenges any assertion that everyone is equal, except before the abstract principles of the law. Life, however, is not a dialogue with legal principles. In life, differences abound in our relations to God and to other people. The differences — between the two sexes, among diverse races and cultures, in personal history and desire — make life rich. If we ignore them, we risk living only with ideas, divorced from real people. We become ideologues of “equality.” (I don't believe I have ever read a sicker rationalization to discriminate against others.  This entire paragraph has to be code for his campaign against gay 'marriage rights'.)
 Even if God loves each of us differently and unequally, he still loves us all. Thinking of sanctity, we have to ask also about our love for God. Do we all love God equally? Obviously not; but why not? I suppose there are as many answers as there are human creatures, but two reasons not to love God or at least not to love him as he wants to be loved come to mind.

First of all, perhaps our intimacy with God is stymied by fear, especially by fear of punishment. We tend to avoid those we fear; we ignore those who might ask us embarrassing questions, even God. This has been the pattern of human interaction with God ever since Adam and Eve hid from him after their disobedience in the garden. Perhaps, secondly, we resist intimacy with God because we resent losing our autonomy, our imagined self-sufficiency. To love another means he or she has entry into one’s life. To love God means he directs our life in ways we sometimes don’t care to go. Better to keep our distance, loving enough to be safe but not given to considering what God wants in our every thought and action. What makes great saints, however, is the desire to please God in every detail of their lives. (Now I get to add the fear that God doesn't love me as much as others, and I'm supposed to accept it doesn't matter that I will never know why.)


I have never been overly impressed with the thinking of Cardinal George and I can pretty much guarantee that isn't going to change in the near future.  The above essay might even be the signature entry for a new blog called Unenlightened CatholicismI have to wonder if the next offering from George will be plagiarized from the Protocols of Zion.

The idea that God loves some of us more than other of us is the worst type of Stage I spiritual thinking.  It is the product of an absurd level of anthropomorphising as it essentially says "God is just a bigger form of an immature daddy".

Except, I don't believe for one second Cardinal George actually believes his own writing.  I think he is quite capable of stooping low enough  to relativise God's love in order to justify the USCCB's anti gay marriage crusade.  It's right there in the first paragraph when he writes that God's relative love challenges the assertions of equality under abstract laws.  Next thing you know, he'll be writing that God loves the conceptus more than he loves any human who has actually taken a breath.  Oh wait, the USCCB actually pretty much already says this.  Well then maybe George will next speculate that God does not love members of unions as much as He loves Walmart employees and that furthermore God loves Walmart ownership even more.

It is really sad how pathetic our American Catholic leadership has become.  I would love to hear some bishop somewhere call George on the theology in this article.  There really does come a time when integrity should call for real bishops to break ranks with their so called leadership, and this is one of them.  Dragging God through the mud in order to prop up a political stance is about as low as it gets. 

I'm seriously beginning to wonder if one has to flunk an integrity test to get a red hat or if one's integrity is drained away by getting a red hat.  I do know that the last month has not been full of positive Kodak moments for the integrity quotient of American Cardinals. When I look at the stories around Bevilaqua and Rigali in Philadelphia, Mahony in LA, and Dolan in NY I guess Cardinal George deciding God's love is relative shouldn't really surprise me.  I just wish it wasn't so. 


  1. Horrible story and hideous example of neo-Nazi twisted rationalizing, but the suggestion for a new blog, "Unenlightened Catholicism," made me laugh out loud - in our school library.

  2. If God loving people unequally is now official Catholic theology, I have no place in the Catholic church. The entire idea is totally disgusting.

    Emperor Lew I

  3. (Long time lurker,first time commenter.) I had to stop myself from picking up my keyboard and hitting myself in the head with it. Following on the other commenters' points--what is it with the "leadership" that they are determined to tell God what He/She/They/It can and cannot do?


  4. I see the light! Cardinal George decides who is more and who is less loved by God!

    Contrasting equality with uniqueness is vile. George is too smart for that to be a mistake.

    The Pointy Hatted Ones are so besieged by calls for equality that they now must dig deep into the books (Dante, apparently) and declare that there's even a hierarchy of saints in heaven. There ain't even equality among the dead!

    They're well on their way to the "AIDS as punishment" school of natural science.

  5. Since there are great saints and little saints, God doesn’t love everyone equally.

    Compare John 17:11-21, 1 Cor. 12:12-31, Rom. 3:22-23, Gal. 3:28, Col. 3:11, and Eph. 2:14 (let alone countless church fathers, including Aquinas).

    In short, all believers are equal - effused with Divine mercy and grace and part of the same body. This is the fundamental, radical message of Christ echoed by Paul and many others. To claim otherwise is fundamentally at variance with Christ's teaching.

    First of all, perhaps our intimacy with God is stymied by fear, especially by fear of punishment.

    "God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:16-19)

    His eminence does nothing to refute the Leviticite notion of the angry old man envisioning of the OT Hebrew God. The image of an inviting, forgiving and loving deity that Christ, Paul and others talk about is absent from the good Cardinal's article.

    I cannot reconcile my meditations on scripture and personal experience with the image of the tribal deity who plays favourites as his eminence describes.

    If that understanding of God works for George, then peace be with him but it does not ring true with the teachings of the New Testament.

  6. Drivel. This starts out as a circular argument for why JPII is a "great saint" and then becomes a tirade against every group that George is offended by (looks like primarily gays and feminists with xenophobia thrown in for good measure). Either George needs a new editor, or he might to cut back on his consumption of communion wine.

    The real difference between great saints and little saints is money. The great saints aren't great because they suffered or achieved more in God's name; it's because the Vatican hierarchy has co-opted them for their political means and undertaken the financial commitment of seeing them through the beatification/canonization process. Official sainthood is first and foremost Vatican politics.

    The little saints are often local people who have led ordinary lives for the most part and given extraordinary witness to their communities through their faith - Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Oscar Romero. The people the Church calls "little" saints are often at odds with Church authority/structure.

    The cardinal is suggesting that God loves the greater saints more than the little saints...the greater saints whom the Church also endorses over the little saints. This "God is on the side of the right" (no pun intended)reasoning is not only stupid and offensive - it's poor theology.

    God loves all of us equally and without reservation. God looks past the messiness of everyday living and sees in each and everyone of us the perfection of his Creation. It's too bad George lacks the ability to do so.

  7. Great post & comments, all. Colleen, I love your suggestion for the "Unenlightened Catholicism" blog. This fits in well with Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column on nonbelievers today. Mr. Pitts notes "Indeed, I find myself struck by the similarity between certain atheists and fundamentalists -- meaning the ones who can always tell you exactly what's on God's mind and even what He had for breakfast
    this morning. God did this, they say, because He didn't like those people, did that because that country ticked Him off.
    Funnily enough, God's likes and dislikes always seem to match theirs exactly." That is what George is doing in this interview, attributing his own petty views to God.

  8. One other parting thought, George's blatherings appear to be most unpastoral and indeed, antipastoral.

  9. This reduces everything to one big miserable dysfunctional family, in which the children are not persons in themselves but actors in the sick parents' eternal psychodrama.
    Some are loved more than others. Of course, the little saps are the ones loved the most. They never really grow up, but what the hey?
    Cardinal George has serious issues with his mother. And it shows.

  10. "Since there are great saints and little saints, God doesn’t love everyone equally. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know why God loves some people more than others." --- When does the revolution begin?

    A thorn...

  11. Sigh! Where does that blather leave the Sacrament of Baptism? Are some more baptized and loved than others?
    What dreary tommyrot! In draining the spirit and hope of
    VatII, they have drained the love and
    hope from the leadership who are left to make hopeless drivel into theology! For shame!



  12. Before reading Cardinal George DST, I thought Babble-on referred to an ancient city mentioned in the Bible.

  13. Didn't Jesus himself say the God loves the poor, the small, the weak and meek and the women (the widow and her mite, the baker and her measure of yeast, the mother of the sick child) more than the priests and lawyers of the temple. If I were cardinal George, I would live much more in fear of Jesus' judgment than bask in the approval of the Vatican.

  14. Cardinal George reminds me of Dracula.

  15. God loves us Infinitely, Eternally! Even if we go to the farthest ends of the universe, we cannot escape God's Love. This renders the whole idea of equality or any other human experience or description that tries to put boundaries on God's Love - moot. This is just an exercise in trying to fit a broad theological notion into preconceived and anachronistic schematics call doctrine relevant to the particular kerfuffle of the day. It thus cannot be considered real theological reflection at all. It's just another partisan meme by an outmoded skecksey, just another way of saying " I - I - I - am still - still - the emperor!..."