|Some of those crazy Franciscans who support the LCWR. In spite of the religious apparel, I'm not sure these men are Bill Donohue's kind of Catholic.|
An Op Ed piece in the NY Times by Bill Keller has been generating a lot of commentary today. In this piece Keller basically agrees with Wild Bill Donohue that it's time progressive and centrist Catholics abandon ship. The battle over the soul of the Church has been won by the righteous right and these winners will not tolerate the presence of the losers. Wild Bill will gladly hold the door open for us as we exit.
In my own mind I actually see this split differently. It is really a tussle between those who have a need to be validated and motivated by an external authority structure and those who have fought through that and operate from an internalized structure. The two don't necessarily wind up in different places as far as behaviors, but they most certainly present an entirely different attitude towards others and towards ones self. One is based in absolute truths defined by an accepted authority, and one is based in process dynamics in which one moves towards the ideal and is motivated internally because they have validated the 'rightness' of a particular behavior in their own experience.
This, it seems to me, is what Cardinal Levada may mean when he describes the dust up between the CDF and the LCWR as a potential 'dialogue with the deaf'. Most members of the LCWR don't operate from a need for external validation concerning their faith and therefore don't have much need for the CDF. The CDF, on the other hand, owes it's existence as the source of Catholic authority precisely for those who need external validation---unfortunately this includes most of it's own members. The seeming indifference of the LCWR becomes a real threat precisely because it eats at the core reason for the CDF's existence.
But more than that, if members of the LCWR, who are all women, have internalized their value system and Faith expression, this very trait undercuts the Vatican's teachings on sexual complimentarity, which in it's core language implies women need to account for themselves to eternal male authority. I think it's this recognition on the part of the CDF which necessitated accusing the LCWR of 'radical feminism' amongst a list of other sexual disciplinary issues---because according to the theory of gender complementarity, it IS a form of radical feminism if women are answering to themselves or their own leadership rather than their male superiors. In this sense, it is the very existence of the LCWR as a leadership conference and the independent thinking it represents, that is the real issue. It undercuts so much of what Pope Benedict teaches about gender and sexuality. Hence Cardinal Levada and Archbishop Sartain are going to great lengths to separate their criticism of the leadership organization from the vast majority of sisters it represents. They seem to be saying it's the idea of independent female leadership that's at issue, not individual women who don't hold leadership positions. The CMSWR is not at fault because their leadership is content to be a funnel for the words of wisdom cascading down from male leadership and they are quite willing to subordinate their leadership role to men.
I suspect Cardinal Levada is correct, and this will be a dialogue of the deaf if the CDF and LCWR don't admit to the real issues and road blocks between them. The male leadership of the Roman Catholic Church is demanding a true Catholic is one whose behavior is determined and whose salvation is procured by obeying and being rewarded by external authority--especially for Catholic women. I call this the 'merit badge or military school' form of spirituality. Uniforms and titles, ranked clerical dress, religious habits etc. are big issues for this mindset. It's all external and has a lot of visual validation. It's pretty far from the LCWR or Vatican II mindset which was all about internalizing Catholicism and living it reflexively because it was who you were--and it was not dependent on one's gender. It was not something you had to think about much less wear like some merit badge which separated you from the sinful masses.
In the long run I don't think it will make much difference in the mission of LCWR congregations if the CDF decides to follow through on Cardinal Levada's veiled threats. People will know the LCWR women exactly as Jesus told his followers they would be known, not by their uniforms or subservient female obedience, but by their love.
I also wonder if the hard core conservatives realize what their vision of the Purer Catholic church will really look like.ReplyDelete
Instead of 4 Catholic churches, 4 schools and 1 catholic high school in my town of 135,000 people, imagine only one church. One, only one church maybe one k-8 school. And that's it.
No more Catholic hospitals, very few Catholic colleges in the entire country. How many huge cathedrals can be run or funded and maintained by a smaller, purer church?
How many bishops are really willing to give up living in mansions with fine whiskey and housekeepers, not to mention Magna Cappe liturgies? It is something to ask.
My most scary thought is that the self proclaimed true believers will front for the life style of their bishops and accept the decline in other services, blaming it on the less faithful. TheDelete
'teachers' will be fine. I think this for one major reason, the style the bishops live in reflects the validity of the faith of the true believers. Again it's all about external validation for the life one chooses to lead.
As the Communists used to say "...the system didn't fail, you failed the system." Ideology at its peak.Delete
I left my two cents on the article this morning. There are those of us who won't let Screamin' Bill, George Weigel, Robert George, and the rest of the right wingers define us as Catholic. Sue, I think you are right that the hard core conservatives don't realize that their ideal church will have a lot less money to play with. They don't anticipate that the 1% pushing this entire agenda won't be able to fund the lifestyle the bishops are used to, and they would have to sell off much more property than they have already had to thanks to their financial mismanagement and cover-ups of sexual abuse. Don't forget, the bishops also would like the sisters' properties to plug the holes in their spreadsheets.ReplyDelete
The 1% can keep their bishops and their cathedrals in their accustomed life style. They will ignore the other 99% who don't worship in the cathedral.Delete
I thought it was a mortal sin to leave the Church. BD is committing, and directly encouraging (and so, committing again), two mortal sins. He is also setting a bad example - another sin. His words may be the last straw for some Catholics: a fourth sin. He will be culpable for any apostasies he causes.ReplyDelete
"The salvation of souls is the supreme law" - he is endangering souls by encouraging them to leave. He is treating them as the Church were the Mystical Body of Bill Donoghue, & not of Jesus Christ. It is not BD's business to tell people to leave: Jesus did not tell anyone to leave, so who the Hell is Donoghue to do so ? It is none of his damn business who stays or leaves. Quite apart from his unChristian lack of compassion for others.
The trouble with treating others with contempt, is that one day one may be in their position. Jesus was often full of com-passion, of suffering-with people; but He never despised anyone. Those who are strong in faith are told by St. Paul to help those who are weak in faith. He does *not* say they should be torn down, let alone told to leave. Like his Divine Master, St. Paul had compassion. And did not put himself on a pedestal, but knew very well that he was weak. Too many Catholics put themselves on pedestals, from the lofty height of which they look without compassion on "termites"; if they were truly Catholic, as they claim to be, they would pray for those they treat with such little love. That would do good. Despising one's fellow-Christians, whom Christ has *not* cast out or rejected, never does good. BD is acting in a very worldly, secular-minded way :(
This discussion of "smaller and purer" attributed to Ratzinger from 2010 on Commonweal is illuminating. Only the right-wing, so called "orthodox" blowhards and haters interpret smaller and purer as a prescription for the future church. Donohue and fellow travelers are simply wrong. See: A smaller, purer church?Delete
Toward the bottom of the comments Christopher Ruddy quotes Ratzinger: ..." “The Church of the first three centuries was a small Church and nevertheless was not a sectarian community. On the contrary, she was not partitioned off; rather, she saw herself as responsible for the poor, for the sick, for everyone. All those who sought a faith in the one God, who sought a promise, found their place in her.
“The synagogue, Judaism in the Roman Empire, had surrounded itself with this circle of God-fearers, who were affiliated with it and thereby achieved a great opening up. The catechumenate of the early Church was very similar. Here people who didn’t feel able to identify with Christianity completely could, as it were, attach themselves to the Church, so as to see whether they would take the step of joining her. This consciousness of not being a closed club, but of always being open to everyone and everything, is an inseparable part of the Church. And it is precisely with the shrinking of Christian congregations we are experiencing that we shall have to consider looking for openness along the lines of such types of affiliation, of being able to associate oneself.
“I have nothing against it, then, if people who all year long never visit a church go there at least on Christmas Night or New Year’s Eve or on special occasions, because this is another way of belonging to the blessing of the sacred, to the light. There have to be various forms of participation and association; the Church has to be inwardly open” (God and the World, 442).
That quote of Ratzinger's does not suggest this 'open' church will share the Eucharist. The notion of Catechumenate, taken from the 'gentile' precincts in the Jewish High Temple implies there are steps to full acceptance. Jesus didn't teach that. He offered bread and wine--or bread and fish--to all who listened to Him. I just can't get on board this whole idea of ranks of commitment or belief. Pass the bread and wine around and see what happens. It's not our job to separate the wheat from the weeds. As Jesus said, the Father makes it rain on the just and the unjust. (Just a little lesson from 'natural law' as it pertains to the natural action of weather.)Delete
I agree Rat. BD is racking up a number of heavy duty sins, but hey, he's the unofficial mouth of Cardinal Dolan. Dolan probably hands out penance and forgiveness by the boatload for BD. Assuming either one of them recognizes any sin.Delete
Good points, all, Colleen. Where do these "self-identified true believers" get they idea that they can appoint themselves the temple police? Why does Donohue think he can set church policy? Why do people attempt to rid the church of the very people Jesus came to save? I wondered if it came from B16 as many have suggested and that's what led me to the Commonweal piece. I think these over-ambitious acolytes need to be reined in but they won't be while the Vatican possesses the garrison mentality. (Used in the Canadian Northrop Frye sense of building walls against the outside world to fight fear of inner emptiness as much as oppression from outside enemies.)Delete
Wonderful, Colleen--it's a clash between two mindsets, one entirely external and based on visual cues as in a military academy, the other internal.ReplyDelete
This seems so clear to me as I read people contributing to the Catholic identity discussion these days. One of the Commonweal regulars, who claims to stand in that mythic middle where he sees objective truth both the right and the left miss, has just pontificated to the group, telling them you must "embrace" the Catechism if you're a faithful Catholic.
Besides being theologically inane (since when did catechisms become infallible documents anyone has to "embrace" to be a true Catholic?), this statement reminds me of the old practice in pre-modern cultures of forcing people to kiss the whip before they're whipped by legal or military authorities.
Embrace the instrument of your torture: that's very much what some Catholics are saying to others these days. Nothing at all about internalizing Catholic values or living them in the core of one's being.
It's all about accepting coercion, delighting in it, and establishing Catholic identity according to coercion.
You're right Bill, it's classic abuse dynamics centered in a theology and Christology of sacrificial suffering. Kiss the ring that tells you that you are fundamentally disordered, or possessed of an innately sinful rebellious nature, or in the case of women, the originator of sin in the world needing the watchful discipline of a male master.Delete
It is all about accepting coercion, and elevating the suffering the coercion causes to a state of sacrificial holiness. It is in my estimation, anti human and therefore anti God.
Talking of which, take a look at this:Delete
Subtitle: "It has shown we Irish Catholics can put aside our bitterness about abuse and rejoice in what unites all the world’s faithful"
IOW - the ostriches are out in force, and de River Nile is in full flood. To praraphrase: "Abuse ? What abuse ? Oh - that. Do stop obsessing about it; it's old news, and there are much more important things to think about".
My reply: don't be a moron. This crap is not going to go away, ever, until people have the guts to acknowledge juist how ghastly it is, and how satanic it makes the CC look. If the CC doesn't care a kay-cee-you-eff for the minors in it, it should have the decency (one assumes, rather rashly, that the concept is familiar to the CC) to say so. If its attitude to them is "FOADIAF", it would be very good if this were made clear.
If Benny cared a toss for those who've been abused, he would not take years to do something about it. He swings into action fast enough when teh Evul Obama is "persecuting" the Church. But kiddy-diddling ? That can be stopped some other time.
This is just how a right wing mind-set works. If you don't believe the way they want you to believe - you are at fault and you must leave and/or you will be kicked out. You are "loved" they will say, very much so, however, you must change your thinking to our way of thinking or you are not welcome and we will kick you out. You are not allowed to question anything. You are not allowed to really say anything at all. You have no voice. That is what they are like. That is who they are. Bullies. And they never hear a word you say.ReplyDelete
I've witnessed this same pattern, has happened to me on many occasions in my own family. Same stuff. Only this is Bill Donahue, a member of the Catholic Church, who has taken on the role of the conservative right wing father tyrant to the rest of us. Same scenario I witnessed in my family for years and years. They are real good at scapegoating others. They will never take accountability for the mental torture, the denial of any compassion or love that they impose on others who do not think like them.
Best to live free or die from the maniacs of oppression.
Yet, inasmuch as Bill Donovan and his ilk will talk about how faithful he supposedly is with the blessings of the Rottweiler Pope, at every turn he only proves how unfaithful he truly is to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The LCWR will not be heard by those in authority in the Church right now. They have already been judged against. It is sick. Very sick. A sick blindness.
One of the accomplishments of the JPII/Benedict rule of the last forty years is how effective they have been in substituting the papacy and official magisterial teaching for Jesus Christ and the Gospels.Delete
The Pope is the successor of Peter, who was not exactly a paragon of consistency. The Pope is not Jesus Christ, but I swear to God trads have been so conditioned to think he is that they can't even see this in their own postings or own argumentation. Of course the one group for who the 'trickle down' effect works for in this conflation, are JPII priests. No wonder so many of them run their parishes like little fiefdoms and keep telling us all how they are sacramentally 'in persona christi'.
For all those trads who keep asking where has the Vatican rolled back on Vatican II, one place is in the reverting to the Trentan notion of priesthood, and the other is in usurping any notions of collegiality in order to enhance the aura of the papacy and the creeping infallibilism demonstrated by most of the recent work of the CDF. It's all of a piece.
The LCWR, amongst some other groups, represent a totally different way of doing business. They will be suppressed and that might just precipitate the schism Ratzinger has been creating for the last forty years.
From what I have witnessed in the last few years of the politics in the Catholic Church is that there has been no talk about Jesus Christ coming from any trads. As you say, their comments are about allegiance to the Pope, the institution, the legalism of the Church laws that Ratzinger and JPII have put into place, in reverse of VII concepts.Delete
I think that you are right to say that the suppression of the LCWR is likely to "precipitate the schism Ratzinger has been creating for the last forty years." In thinking about such a suppression of the LCWR, how can anyone who has read the Gospels, has truly had a religious encounter with the risen Jesus in a personal and salvific way, then follow a Pope whose action goes against the very Holy Spirit that nurtured one's very Faith?
It is just not possible for those true in Faith of Jesus Christ to then go follow the commands of a teacher, Pope Benedict XVI, who is so unchrist-like in this act against the LCWR. It's just not possible to follow such a Pope.
Also, what you say about Peter is so true. The evidence is very clear that Peter did not have a major role in forming the basis of Christianity, at least in my observation. That observation is in the Acts of the Apostles in which it seems to me that Paul was really the one who got the ball rolling in forming the Church. That is not to say that Peter had no role. He just was not the only player. It is just too legalistic to focus on the successor of Peter notion and Peter was certainly not infallible at all. Plus, one's Faith is not based on never making a mistake or in being infallible. God is the only infallible one. That's the way I see it.Delete
I have to add after writing that the exclusion of women such as Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles, can not be denied any longer. That is key I believe to getting the big picture that Jesus desired for us to know. Yet, she is excluded, as are the women in the Church who are blest with the love of the Holy Spirit that the current hierarchy want to continue to deny, stifle, obliterate and suppress.Delete
"The evidence is very clear that Peter did not have a major role in forming the basis of Christianity, at least in my observation. That observation is in the Acts of the Apostles in which it seems to me that Paul was really the one who got the ball rolling in forming the Church."Delete
## Not so :) St. Peter is mentioned in the NT more than any other Apostle: 195 times. He takes part in all the leading events - often with James or John or both, often not. In Acts he several times takes the initiative: in preaching at Pentecost, in replacing Judas, in admitting Gentiles to the Church, in rebuking Simon Magus. He certainly is not the only Apostle to be prominent, but neither is it right to under-emphasise his prominence.
As to Acts, it is divided roughly into two: a Peter-section, & a Paul-section. This fits the ancient pairing of the se two Apostles nicely - may e it helped to inspire it.
St.Paul played a very important part in preaching to the Gentiles - but he was not the first to do so, and it was St. Peter, not he, who decided that the Gentiles could & should be admitted to the Church. They played complementary parts in the Church. Protestants, who are often great admirers of St.Paul, sometimes speak as though St.Peter did nothikng but deny Jesus, & get the worst of an argument with St.Paul - & maybe this has done something to cause an equally one-sided emphasis on Matthew 16.13-19 among Catholics.
Sometimes, one could be forgiven for thinking that no Apostle was of any importance except those two.
Thanks Rat. Looks like I need a refresher in reading the NT. Paul for some reason stands out for me.Delete
Nuns on the bridge question austerity See: www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/20/1101802/-Nuns-On-The-Overpass-Question-AusterityDelete
Thanks for that link p2p. That is so awesome! What a delight to see the Nuns doing what our Church should be doing! I am so grateful, glad, over-joyed to see this!Delete
Here in Kansas City, there is a demonstration (peaceful gathering) this afternoon in support of the sisters. It is extremely hot and windy and I hope this does not adversely affect the turnout. Wish us luck!!!!ReplyDelete
I do, I do.Delete
My sincere prayer is that unlike the NOM bus trip across America which pretty much ran completely of out gas and support, this bus trip keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Hot and windy could be the Holy Spirit--it's reported somewhere, Gospels I think, that the Holy Spirit showed up just that way at Pentecost. :)
I left the Church after 56 years of being Catholic.ReplyDelete
We Americans let the church/Bishops get away with child sex abuse on an unimaginable scale. And they have the gall to want to outlaw abortion when they abused how many of God's children?
Why should they/how can they be our moral authorities?
The conservatives want a smaller church so they can do what they want, when they want without having to be accountable. I am sure they do not want pesky people demanding change and asking questions.
I foresee a major split in the church. A alternate church more in the lines of what Christ taught.
Leave the Church - why after 56 years? Come home! The Church is an imperfect body for sure, doing their imperfect best, and tolerating all saints and sinners because it is not our job to judge, God will take care of that. The Holy Spirit knows what s/he is doing. There should be room for all of Gods' children in His Church. The future is not known as to what the Catholic Church will look like, or how large or small it will become based on how the Spirit leads. If the Vatican is top-heavy and self-centered, who love Jesus, but through the veil of doctrine and laws, not to worry - God will correct his children. Keep the faith, or give it away as the situation dictates.ReplyDelete
This is such terrible advice! It is like advising a woman to return to the husband/boyfriend who beats her.Delete
Also, one should remember that leaving the institution called the Roman Catholic church is not the same thing as leaving the Church.
As to God correcting his children, I would not hold my breath. The RCC has been a greedy, power-grasping, blood-soaked monster since before the Medici, and I have not seen much in the way of divine corrections.
No, it is good advice.Delete
Leaving a spiritual entity for secular reasons is not a coherent decision, and should not be encouraged, no matter how great a chip on one's shoulder one has over "conservatives"/"modernists" (delete as appropriate).
Very interesting analysis, and a good added layer to Keller's piece. However, the English teacher in me can't help but urge you to edit more carefully for the use of "it's" and "its" -- "it's" is always a contraction of the words "it is" so if you can't substitute the words "it is" when you use "it's" -- then you need "its" instead...ReplyDelete
There was a comment thread about the Seal of the Confessional and Absolution I want to add to. In the ancient church, Absolution only came AFTER the penance was performed not before. Some sins are so dangerous ie sexual abuse, murder, treason, that a priest would be within rights to withhold absolution until the crime has been confessed to the police. Might not be a bad policy to bring back.ReplyDelete
Sue B - Penance takes a lifetime if it is sincere and one does not need a priest's forgiveness or absolution for any sin. We only need Jesus. For pedophiles who continue to be pedophiles and enablers to continue to be enablers they have not gone through any stage of penance. They will not confess to anyone, not to God, not to police either.ReplyDelete
You speak with what authority on this important doctrinal matter?
@AnonymousJune 19, 2012 10:06 PM:ReplyDelete
"Paul for some reason stands out for me."
## His names does preface 13 letters, to a mere 2 by St.Peter :) And St.Paul is a major character in the NT. And he is an outstanding theologian in 1st-century Christianity. And his letters are intensely personal. No wonder he makes such a strong impression.