Sometimes it seems to me that the National Catholic Distorter works to top themselves each week. I mean you can only keep walking so far off the cliff until gravity takes effect.
I am mesmerized by the Iranian citizens, most of them young, who are marching in the streets of Tehran. They show courage, spirit and a deep desire for justice. I’m especially intrigued by the women, many of whom are letting their head scarves slide back on their heads. A good number, I am sure, believe that the “hijab” is not essential for Muslim women. In that highly religious nation, this crowd clearly wants a government that reflects the best of Islam, the best of what their religion has to offer.
All this makes images of St. Peter’s Square flash through my mind. I recall in the late 1990s, marching through that square with hundreds of Catholic reformers from all over the world. We too wanted justice: justice in our church, such as gender equality in all ministries, optional celibacy for priests, and the right to elect our bishops. None of us wore veils, but if we had, they would have been slipping, you can be sure. We wanted a church that reflects the best of the Catholic tradition.
True, Iran is not the equivalent of the Vatican. Iran is a nation-state, and can put physical force behind its demands. The Vatican, although technically a “nation,” is really a seat of ecclesial power, with no physical security forces (only psychological ones) to enforce its will. But both are theocratic and although both have traditions of democracy in their history (yes, we did elect bishops in the church at one time), and neither seems to embrace the meaning of that tradition.
Yes the Vatican has psychological security forces. That certainly explains the existence of NCReporter, Commonweal, and other dissident publications. Theocracy of course means rule by God – not sure why they have a problem with that. Exactly how would they want the Church governed? Well of course they see themselves as the proper rulers who are inspired by the spirit of the age. For me I will stick with the Pope and his charism of infallibility (properly understood and defined at Vatican I) that did not pass out of existence with Vatican II. I really find this comparison of Iran and the Vatican to be rather offensive. The Progressive Catholics might have had hundreds of so-called reformers at St. Peter’s Square, but of course they discount the thousands and in fact millions of Catholic faithful to the Church. The problems with their reformers is that they forget that reform starts with themselves. Though I guess that is something all of us forget to some extent. If you want to reform the Church – grow in holiness.
Once again we have the comparison of mantillas, which were only worn at Mass, with the burka. The comparison is so ludicrous it is hard to imagine why it is even seriously advanced. To them I guess the mantilla is a veiled threat.
I often find it funny how they love to bring up the fact that Bishops at one time were selected by the faithful. Of course when the Church was so much smaller and was being persecuted the faithful were actually for the most part faithful. Something about adopting a faith that might make you a martyr during times of persecution makes you take it a bit more seriously. You might have noticed when their were hundreds of thousands of signatures against Obama speaking at Notre Dame the Progressive were not taking up the cause of Democracy within the Church. Do they think that a model of Church democracy would have been a good idea when the Arian heresy was so fervent? Do they actually think that Church doctrine should change based on the votes of the people? Hey lets vote out the doctrines of Hell and Purgatory so we can do as we please and go straight to Heaven. Let’s vote out
In Iran, at the traditional Friday prayers on June 19th, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader who can overrule everyone else, essentially told demonstrators that the recent election was legitimate, and that they should cease and desist. He rejected demands for a new election.
It reminded of that day many years ago in St. Peter’s Square, when our message too fell on deaf ears. Neither Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI has moved the church toward gender equality, optional celibacy or any semblance of church democracy.
The reason their message fell on deaf ears is that their message is intended for itching ears as in 2nd Timothy 4:3 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myth” If that isn’t an exact diagnoses of the less than faithful Catholics I don’t know what is. But as St. Paul says we must “Convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.”Why is it so difficult, I wonder, for absolute religious leaders to listen to the sensus fidelium (the sense of the faithful), or to change? Maybe it has something to do with the word, “absolute.”
Maybe it has something to do with the word, “absolute.” So why does absolute get scare quotes. What is wrong with the word absolute? A truth of the faith that can change is not a truth. I thank God for the Absolute and to paraphrase G.K. Chesterton that what is true on Monday is still true on Wednesday. Though as is true of all relativists Catholic’s is that they will hold as absolutes — female priests, contraception, homosexual activity, etc.
Also ironic that a declining periodical such as the National Catholic Reporter even mentions the sensus feidelium. The sensus fedulium has spoken subscription-wise. Besides the term means sense of the faithful and hey NCR crowd that means the faithful – not the dissidents. But what can we expect from people think an all male priesthood is a violation of gender equality. Besides gender is a grammatical term and has been corrupted when they mean sex. It is hard to argue with people whose theological thoughts are so simplistic and based on the ERA and not based on sacred scripture or sacred tradition. If they would stop whining about celibacy and start praying for men to answer their vocation we might get somewhere.