Apr 082015
 

From an article originally published by the Catholic News Agency.

WASHINGTON — The editor of Religion News Service has denied that a grant from a wealthy LGBT advocacy funder has biased its coverage of traditional religion, which includes a recent controversial story on Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The Arcus Foundation dispenses millions of dollars in grants every year to support LGBT activism. Its 2014 grants included $120,000 to the Religion Newswriters Foundation, the owner of the widely syndicated Religion News Service.

The Arcus Foundation’s grant listing said the one year of support was intended “to recruit and equip LGBT supportive leaders and advocates to counter rejection and antagonism within traditionally conservative Christian churches.”

The foundation’s Sept. 23, 2014, announcement said the grant aimed at “fostering a culture of LGBT understanding through the media” by funding the production of feature stories and blog posts “about religion and LGBT peoples of color.”

Kevin Eckstrom, RNS editor in chief, told CNA that receiving money from the advocacy group did not influence editorial choices.

I believe Kevin Eckstrom’s statement is totally accurate. RNS would have given us biased coverage in support of LGBT activism regardless of the grant. Their awful coverage of the Church was not affected at all by this grant. David Gibson would have written stupid stories on the Church regardless of the grant.

No the grant was just an honest acknowledgment of the work RNS has done in the past and will do in the future.

The best thing about the RNS byline is that I know it will be not worth my time reading and not even worth fisking.

Apr 062015
 

John Allen Jr. in his latest column writes An Easter reflection on what Christians and atheists have in common.

This week, Holy Week no less, two stories broke that together illustrate a towering irony about the rise of violent Islamic extremism: In a growing number of places these days, nobody has more in common than Christians and atheists.

In Kenya, the militant Islamic group Al-Shabaab launched an assault on Garissa University College, beginning by shooting up a Christian prayer service. The gunmen then moved on, leaving Muslims unharmed while killing or abducting Christians. All told, 147 people are believed to have died.

It’s not clear if the militants deliberately chose one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar for the assault, though Christmas and Easter tend to be periods of special risk for Christian minorities in many parts of the world.

In Bangladesh, a blogger passionately opposed to religious fundamentalism named Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death in Dhaka by two men wielding knives and meat cleavers. It followed the eerily similar murder of Bangladeshi-American atheist blogger Avijit Roy in late February. Roy was assaulted by two men with machetes.

Reports out of Bangladesh assert that over the past two years, several other atheist bloggers have either been murdered or died under mysterious circumstances.

Both these Kenyan and Bangladeshi victims were targeted not just for being non-Muslims, but a specific kind of non-Muslim.

Among Islamic radicals incensed with the West, no two groups stir rage like Christians and atheists. Christians symbolize the perceived sins of the Western past, while atheists embody what Islamists see as the decadence and apostasy of the Western present.

He goes on to write about how a coalition of Christians and atheists could evolve concerning an agenda of some shared goals along with some give-and-take. That also Pope Francis would be a key in putting such a partnership together.

Ideally such a coalition makes sense because there certainly is overlap in countries where Christians are a minority in how they and atheists are treated. Still I see little chance of this happening on any major level. The so-called new atheists emerged more into the public after the terrorist attack on 9/11. Making distinctions has never been a strong point for them. While this movement has been extremely anti-religion from its start, it has also mostly played out as anti-Christian in practice. The new atheists at times will criticize Islam, but much of their thrust has been anti-Christian in the amount of critique.

There is also a lot of overlap with the new atheists and secularism in general with a heavy dose of political correctness. They are natural allies and once again the thrust is anti-Christian with what should be a strange bend towards the defense of Islam. Strange indeed the secular apologists for Islam when it is so contrary to so much they profess. It only makes sense in light of the fact that these groups are primarily anti-Christian. As Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy “..any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with.”

There are of course notable exceptions to this with some atheist commentators making distinctions and seeing the threat as it is. But figures like Oriana Fallaci are few. I would love to see common cause in this where our goals do indeed intersect and that my own pessimism about this being totally wrong.

Note: The fuller quote is “This began to be alarming. It looked not so much as if Christianity was bad enough to include any vices, but rather as if any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with. What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?” — G. K. Chesterton. “Orthodoxy”

Mar 262015
 

Lifting this in full from Dr. Ed. Peters British priests have canonical rights, too.

There isn’t a word—not one single word—in the short, open letter signed by hundreds of British Catholic priests to the Catholic Herald (London) defending Church teaching on marriage and sacraments that any Catholic could not, and should not be proud to, personally profess and publically proclaim. The priests’ letter is a model of accuracy, balance, brevity, and pastoral respect for persons. It fortifies the soul to know it exists. It gladdens the heart to actually read it.

I am at a loss, therefore, to understand why Vincent Cardinal Nichols seems to chastise priests who signed letter for their allegedly “conducting [a] dialogue, between a priest and his bishop … through the press.” The priests’ letter is a statement of Catholic belief, not an opening gambit in a negotiation; it is addressed to a journal editor, and through him to lay and clerical public, not to a particular prelate. Moreover, the letter is a text-book example of clergy exercising a canonical right guaranteed to all the Christian faithful, namely, “to manifest to sacred pastors [Code for ‘bishops’] their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” Canon 212 § 3, my emphasis.

The Cardinal, of course, need not have said anything about the letter; frankly, his responding via the press is what might yet turn the event into a dialogue in the press. But, if a response was to be made, anything less than “I am delighted to know that so many priests love our Church, her teachings, and the people served by both” makes the direction of that dialogue suddenly worrisome.

It is bad enough that the secular world is attacking marriage, but when we have friends like Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal, Marx and, Cardinal Nichols, and other Catholic it is not very comforting. Still British Bishops have a tradition of not defending marriage since only one bishop stood up to King Henry VIII – St. John Fisher. Although this is certainly not confined to British bishops. Remember when the USCC and NCCB the predecessor groups to the USCCB totally freaked out over no fault divorce laws? Unfortunately history doesn’t remember this either.

Still it is awesome to see the support for marriage by hundreds of British Catholic priests.

Another story that has caught my attention regards Patricia Jannuzzi, the Catholic teacher removed from a Catholic school for defending Catholic teachings about marriage. When I first saw the story I had some initial skepticism. Often people can defend Catholic teaching in quite a belligerent way. Now that I have actually read the screenshot of this post I don’t see what was so highly objectionable other than to same-sex activists and their supporters. The post was just a tad hyperbolic, but the slippery slope argument in this regard certainly has merit. Was her post super-elegant with necessary caveats? Of course not it was on Facebook.

Later I saw another story with the diocese saying she had not fired her. So I wasn’t sure what the story was now.

Today I saw an update to this story from Maggie Gallagher and it doesn’t come off well for the diocese in that reportedly diocesan lawyers told her lawyer that there was no way she would ever be allowed to teach there again. Originally the bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen called Patricia Jannuzzi’s statement “disturbing.” Seems like the diocese is in damage control now. Especially after the Lepanto Institute ran a local radio add.

Last Friday’s ad encouraged listeners to “call Bishop Bootkoski now, 732–562–1990” and “ask him whose side he’s on: Catholics who defend our faith or Hollywood liberals who mock it.”

“Tell Bishop Bootkoski to put our values ahead of political correctness,” he said.

The Hollywood liberal aspect regards comments made by Susan Sarandon whose nephew was a student of Patricia Jannuzzi and was the one who got her Facebook post publicized.

I must say I am a bit uneasy about a radio ad of this nature and the tone of it. Part of that is my own uneasiness even posting about this story in the first place. It is too easy to take a narrative approach to a news story when really the only information you have about a story is through the news. It certainly seems to me that the diocese could have handled this much better and if they considered her post imprudent than certainly that could have been handled without firing her.

Still the story does have some contrasts with other stories. So on one coast we have a bishop under fire for wanting teachers who will teach the truth of the Catholic faith and on the other coast a bishop who apparently would fire a teacher for accepting the Church’s teaching.

Mar 092015
 

Lately there has been much discussion regarding the death penalty due to the “Capital punishment must end” editorial of America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor.

My first reaction to this was no big deal. Generally I align myself with Pope Saint John Paul II’s reasoning in the Evangelium Vitae and what is spelled out in the Catechism. Through most of my life I have not had a strong opinion either way. Mostly I have been against the death penalty and at times favoring it in some cases. It was not until I became Catholic that I formed a stronger opinion about this.

One of the things I strive to do as a Catholic is not to go farther than what the Church actually teaches. I credit Jimmy Akin for my desiring this attitude since time and time again I noticed this in the way he answered questions. As a result I have had to moderate my own favoring of the end of the death penalty to the fact that the Church has constantly taught the “moral liceity of the death penalty justly administered.”

Mark Shea from time to time has accused so-called “conservative Catholics” of using prudential questions as a way of ignoring doctrine. An aspect of this is true, but ignoring doctrine in this way is not limited to any one group. Especially since much of the support for eliminating the death penalty is almost totally prudential without much anchoring to the consistent teaching of the Church. When I finally read the editorial I found this to be mostly the case. As someone generally inclined in this direction I did not think the case made in the editorially very well thought out. Kind of all over the place with no caveats regarding Church teaching on this. I found it a bit dishonest.

I found myself nodding my head mostly in agreement as I read Dr. Ed Peter’s blog post today Okay, what about Catholics and the death penalty?.

… As a Catholic squarely in line with the Catholic tradition that, as Long accurately if turgidly sets out, supports the just administration of the death penalty for capital crimes, I have grown used to having my motives for such support reduced to: my thirst for vengeance, my disdain for mercy, my obliviousness to Christ’s salvific will, my despair about conversion, and my contempt for compassion. I apparently do not understand that the death penalty does not bring murder victims back to life (gee, whodathunkit?) but that’s not to worry, because my support for the death penalty can be excused (and then dismissed) on purely demographic grounds (I am, after all, white, male, middle-aged, and usually vote conservative, so who cares what a heartless jerk like me thinks about anything?)

… So argue, if one will, the prudence of the death penalty—there are some very good prudential arguments against it, as Häring noted fifty years ago—but do not read the Catechism as making any principled points against the death penalty beyond those that have long been part of the Church teaching on the death penalty, that is, for the last 20 centuries during which no Catholic thinker, let alone any Magisterial pronouncement, asserted the inherent immorality of the death penalty. To the contrary, as Long points out, acknowledgment of the moral liceity of the death penalty justly administered, is the Catholic tradition.

There has been way too much noise and straw men on both sides of the debate. I’ve seen some rather ridiculous arguments pro and con.

What was helpful for me in coming to understand this more was the late Cardinal Dulles’ article in First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment. This is an excellent overview of this issue.

In light of all this it seems safe to conclude that the death penalty is not in itself a violation of the right to life. The real issue for Catholics is to determine the circumstances under which that penalty ought to be applied. It is appropriate, I contend, when it is necessary to achieve the purposes of punishment and when it does not have disproportionate evil effects. I say “necessary” because I am of the opinion that killing should be avoided if the purposes of punishment can be obtained by bloodless means.

He goes over the fourfold purpose of punishment in secular courts as it applies to the death penalty and how it stacks up prudentially to the use of the death penalty. Really just read the article as I find it accurately states Catholic teaching along with the prudential concerns with the state administering the death penalty.

Mainly my point is that the debate should be about as he states “The real issue for Catholics is to determine the circumstances under which that penalty ought to be applied.” The problem with prudential questions is that of course they are prudential or as Dr. Ed Peters’ wrote “debatable”. What a shock that one persons prudential opinion goes against another’s. So as is often the case we have people arguing over each other and being rather dismissive towards their view even if it is within the range of what Catholics can believe on this issue.

Feb 282015
 

Last week there was this story:

The Vatican’s Office of the Synod intercepted mail to prevent delivery of a book to bishops participating in last October’s session of the Synod, journalist Edward Pentin reports.

Remaining in the Truth of Christ, a series of essays about Catholic teaching on marriage, was published just before the Synod meeting. The book, published simultaneously in several languages, was a response to the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper that Catholics who divorce and remarry might be allowed to receive Communion. Among the contributing authors were three cardinals: Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was then the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the retired president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

The editors and publishers of Remaining in the Truth of Christ sent advance copies to score of the bishops who were in Rome for the October Synod meeting. But the books that were addressed to bishops staying at the Vatican were not delivered, Pentin reports.

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the editor of Ignatius Press, which published the American edition of the book, confirms that dozens of books were received by the Vatican City governorate, but never reached the prelates to whom they were addressed.

According to Pentin, the books were intercepted on orders from Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops. Pentin writes that Cardinal Baldisseri was “furious” about the book, and said that it would “interfere with the Synod.”

Hey I read the book “The Book Thief” and it wasn’t about Cardinal Baldisseri. Still there are interesting aspects to this story. First off it was originally reported in a story by Pentin in NewsMax.com and not the National Catholic Register which is where Pentin normally has his stories published. So no doubt there were problems affirmatively sourcing the story as would be expected even if true.

Whatever the merits of the story, I find this press release from Ignatius Press hilarious.

I used their title The mysterious case of the Extraordinary Synod and the missing books in my title. This is simply awesome and we need Sherlock Holmes on the case. Besides he investigated the Vatican before – Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has denied this story:

“The copies that arrived by mail were distributed in the mailboxes without impediment,” Father Lombardi told AP. “One person told me he even received two copies!”

Father Joseph Fessio, the publisher of the book’s English-language edition, maintained that the books had not been delivered. “Only a few reached synod fathers at their mailboxes in the Vatican,” he told AP.

Confirmation bias tends me towards believing the story along with the fact that too often I have trusted Father Lombardi full revealing of the facts just a little less than the White House spokesman. Well that is hyperbolic, really it is that I detect too much spin in his statements and that they lack a real getting at the truth. Any amount of spin from a Vatican spokesman totally annoys me.

Whatever the merits of the original story, I find it unlikely that there was much of an investigation into this. Such an allegation should be strenuously investigated as it is matches totally the criticisms of the Curia from Pope Francis. See Dr. Peters post on this story It was worse than a crime–it was a blunder.

Feb 032015
 

There have been a number of stories regarding bakers and others refusing to materially cooperate with same-sex marriage and the resulting prosecution. When such stories appear we run the mental simulation of reversing the story and wondering what would happen. In this case such as requesting a baker to do some activity contrary to their possible support of same-sex marriage.

DENVER – Azucar Bakery on South Broadway is under investigation for religious discrimination by the Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies stemming from a March 2014 incident.

WHAT HAPPENED

A customer came into the store and requested a couple of cakes in the shape of Bibles, according to the owner Marjorie Silva.

Silva says the man pulled out a piece of paper with hateful phrases like “God hates gays” and requested her to write them on his cakes. He wouldn’t let employees make a copy of the paper and would not read the words out loud, Silva claims. The bakery owner also says the customer wanted an image of two men holding hands with an “X” on top.

“After I read it, I was like ‘No way,’” Silva said. “‘We’re not doing this. This is just very discriminatory and hateful.’”

Silva then received a complaint from DORA for religious discrimination.

“It’s unfair that he’s accusing me of discriminating when I think he was the one that is discriminating,” Silva said.

My first reaction when I saw this story was “Ha! About time somebody performed this reverse action.”

My second reaction was to repent of my first reaction. This really is evil. This is treating a person as a means to an end.

With all the other cases often it was remarked that the businesses were singled out by same-sex activists and this was certainly a possibility. People rightly decried this aspect. That the women was specifically targeted is quite evident in this case. That is is okay to sick the state on somebody to make an ironic point is totally missing the point of conscience rights and religious freedom. We want others to respect conscience rights while cheering trampling somebody else’s. That because somebody is wrong about their support of something means that you can treat them as somebody with no rights.

This is simply inexcusable, just as the other cases by same-sex activists were.

Jan 072015
 

Living in Florida I could have sworn I voted for a state constitutional amendment – Florida Definition of Marriage back in 2008. I was sure that it had passed by 62%. I also thought that we lived in a republic with a representational government. Silly me.

Should have remembered we live in a judgocracy. Usually at voting time I remember this as I always vote no on retaining judges. So after five judges interfered regarding this amendment it was overturned and expired on Jan 5, 2015 allowing same-sex “marriage” on the Feast of the Epiphany. Five “wise” judges replace the wise men.

On 5 January, 2015 the Catholic Bishops of Florida issued a statement addressing the redefinition of marriage. A fairly typical statement regarding the “redefinition of marriage.” Although I don’t find that a very accurate term. Mostly their has been an undefinition of marriage since they totally lack an ability to rationally define it.

The Archbishop of Miami wrote this letter for diocesan employees.

Dear Employees of the Archdiocese of Miami:

Given recent decisions by courts in Florida that has imposed the redefinition of marriage. I am attaching the statement issued today by the Florida Catholic Conference to provide you useful information regarding the teaching of the Church as well as assist you in answering any questions posed to you by family or friends on the subject.

Whatever the role in which you serve withing the Archdiocese, you publicly represent the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese in everything you do and say. Therefore, it is important thay you understand the Church’s position and are well informed. Our Archdiocesan website also contains prior columns I have written on marriage that might be useful.

Our Archdiocese of Miami Employee Handbook reminds us of the standard of conduct expected:

At all times and places, employees are expected to conduct themselves in a moral and ethical manner consistent with Catholic principles.

Employees will witness by their public behavior, actions and words a life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. All employees should note that, because of the Church’s particular function in society, certain conduct, inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church, could lead to disciplinary action, including termination, even if it occurs outside the normal working day and outside the strict confines of work performed by the employee for the Archdiocese. Employees should exercise discretion when posting on social media sites, and note that online activity indicative of prohibitive behaviors may subject an employee to disciplinary action or termination.

Be assured of my gratitude for all you do for the Archdiocese of Miami each day.

Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski

Archbishop of Miami

Archdiocese of Miami Employee Handbook

Nice to see the Archbishops proactive statement. Yet if somebody is fired our lovely court system will no doubt award them money such as the Catholic school teacher fired for using IVF who was recently awarded $1.95M.

Dec 132014
 

When I first started seeing headlines about Pope Francis saying animals go to Heaven I pretty much ignored the headlines and their supposed content. I doesn’t take much intelligence to know that this would be either total fabrication or something close to that. The headlines have had staying power and have continued throughout the week in various forms of media.

Thus I figured it wouldn’t be long until Jimmy Akin had a post refuting the whole thing. Today he published Did Pope Francis say animals go to heaven? in which he summarizes at the start “But the thing is … the whole story is false.”

Now Pope Francis speeches are not known for their exactness and are prone to generalities over precision. So in the back of my mind I thought there was a possibility that this tendency lead to this story in the typical distorted amplification of his words. Wow not only did they invent Pope Francis’s words for the story but came up with some new ones for St. Paul. Must have been from the lost Gospel of Fido.

Now even if all animals went to Heaven I would have serious questions about the salvation of journalists and editors and members of news agencies. This is just another case in a long line of cases where journalists have no love for the truth or any concern regarding the truth. Maybe Pontius Pilate is the patron of journalists. This case being even more egregious than normal. No fact checking just passed along from one news agency to another. The false quote of St. Paul should have been a major tipoff. It is so obvious that zero attempt was made to acquire even the most basic facts or even spending 5 minutes on Google.

So how does such a story get passed on? No doubt there are multiple reasons. When it comes to reporting on the Church any stick will do to beat the Church including one used to play fetch with their pet dog. Page views and driving traffic for advertising dollars is probably another aspect. Sensationalism in journalism is nothing new, but click-bait headlines and stories low or totally barren of facts bring this to a new level and a declining one at that. Sure such stories are gist for the mill of headline writers.

I found CNN’s Did Pope Francis open a doggy door to heaven? to be the funniest of the lot. The story itself tried to update itself but failed even at that.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story, citing a newspaper, attributed a quote to Pope Francis. The quote actually comes from Pope Paul VI.

The problem with that is we have no evidence that Pope Paul VI said it either. As Jimmy Akin points out:

7) Did Pope Paul VI say to a bereaved boy what is attributed to him?

Who knows?

If you search the Vatican web site for the relevant quote, you get nothing.

At this point, I don’t see why anyone should trust anything attributed to a pope about animals going to heaven—not without a solid reference to a checkable, primary source document.

I have heard several attempts to try to side step this understanding especially when talking with children. A lot of people really want the idea of their pets going to Heaven. So it seems strange to me that if Blessed Paul VI ever said this that the quote would be in use in a larger circulation. C.S. Lewis also speculated on this in his book “The Problem of Pain.” Still it seems to me there is often more an emotional appeal to a theological appeal.

The CNN article goes on.

While Catholic teachings don’t reject the notion that animals have souls, traditional dogma has long held that animals don’t go to heaven.

Well Catholic teaching has long held distinctions between, plant souls, sensitive souls (such as animals), and the rational soul such as we have. All living things have souls as the soul is the form of the body. St. Thomas Aquinas detailed the thrust of the distinctions as we currently understand them. Still as far as I know there is no magisterial teaching on this as to the classes of souls. Much less a dogmatic (hey that’s pretty funny in context) teaching that animals don’t go to heaven. The CNN articles tries to be somewhat skeptical of the story, but still totally blunders in its corrections. As Mark Shea says about reporting on the Church is that you can take off 50 IQ points.

Another aspect of the ridiculous coverage of the Church that I have notice growing in the last year is how often so-called traditionalists fall for them. Most serious Catholics are highly skeptical of Church reporting for good reason. Yet I keep seeing more and more stories on “traditionalist” sites that take these stories as Gospel. Instead of any stick to beat the Church it is any stick that can beat Pope Francis. There not skeptical of the stories because they are skeptical of Pope Francis and see even bad reporting via confirmation bias. This annoys me since I have common cause with many of the liturgical complaints of “traditionalists”, but this hatred or loathing of Pope Francis makes them as agenda driven as most secular journalists.

On the lighter side the brilliant “Eye of the Tiber” presents Pope Francis confirms casts still going to Hell. I have a couple of cats, but that is still pretty funny. Surely the Cat-echism say otherwise.

Nov 122014
 

I can almost always rely on maximum spin and distortion for a story from the Religion News Service. This article by Kimberly Winston delivered via RNS and Crux is very laughable in a sad way.

Were some Catholic saints transgender? Berkeley show raises eyebrows

BERKELEY, Calif. — Step into the one-room art gallery inside the Pacific School of Religion and look closely at the saints in the paintings: Some have beards; some have buzz cuts; some have their breasts obscured; some appear in unisex clothes like tanks tops and jeans.

Are they women or men?

That’s the point of artist Alma Lopez’s new show, “Queer Santas: Holy Violence,” on display at this theological school known for its embrace of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. In playing with the gender characteristics of religious icons usually depicted as feminine, Lopez asks us to reconsider our ideas of religion, beauty, and gender.

Justin Tanis, who teaches at the school, said it’s as if these saints, with their direct eye contact and open arms, are saying, “‘I am natural, I am one of God’s people.’ And yet this is an image that many people would consider heretical because gender play is involved.”

Gender play is at work in each of the icons in the show — St. Lucia, St. Wilgefortis, and St. Liberata.

Lopez, a visiting artist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said she was attracted to these saints because their stories have a common theme — each one tried to step out of the expected role for a woman of her time and, as a result, was the victim of terrible violence.

Take St. Wilgefortis’ story. A 14th-century noblewoman promised in marriage without her consent, she prayed to God to be made ugly so she could keep a vow of chastity she made to Jesus. God granted her a man’s beard. The marriage was off, but Wilgefortis — whose name means “strong face” — was crucified by her father.

The stories of St. Liberata and St. Lucia are similar: Liberata sprouted a beard, and Lucia had her eyes torn out when she disappointed her family.

“All of these saints are women who took their own agency and stepped outside gender norms,” Tanis said as he stood before Lopez’s rendition of St. Liberata, arms splayed in a way that suggests both crucifixion and winged flight. “In that sense, they were queer and violence was done to them for it.”

As they say “Read the whole thing” if you want to get hit repeatedly with the stupid hammer.

“So far it’s been quiet,” he said. “But we are prepared to offer hospitality to any protesters.”

In other words “Where are the protesters? We did something shocking to draw the loving media gaze and nobody is giving us free publicity by protesting us.”

Oct 202014
 

Well now that the synod is over until they meet again next year it is time for a little wrap up.

Thankfully Tom McDonald saved me from writing an inferior post so I will just point to The “Thank You God the Synod Is Over” Post. I totally agree with his synopsis concerning the synod and that while there were certainly areas to be concerned it was not the gates of hell some anticipated.

There was a soap opera aspect “As the Synod Turns” and once again highlighted how bad the Church can be a communication. The initial publishing of the relatio post disceptationem, the translation problems, the pushback by Cardinals regarding it, and the final release of the document as voted on by the synod. This was a total mess. Jimmy Akin described the document It’s written in turgid ecclesiastical bafflegab.

Now if this was a soap opera I would certainly vote for the character of Cardinal Kasper to be the one to develop amnesia.

Still all this reminds me is that we are not the Church of the document. Documents can be useful and to clarify matters. Yet they hardly ever settle anything. Remember how the issuing of Humanae Vitae settled the issue of contraception or how Ordinatio Sacerdotalis stopped people supporting women’s ordination? Me neither. The majority of Catholic are likely never to read documents issued by the Vatican or even bishop conferences. Mostly what they hear is mediated through the news media which means most of what they hear is just plain wrong. Fr. Longenecker recently describe how twice in one week people came to him who were in irregular marriages thinking they could now receive Communion.

The continuing problem, which will likely always be so, is how to provide ongoing formation when the main vehicle is a ten minute homily on Sundays. Sure there is such a wealth of resources now for committed Catholic to seek this out. This is just not much of a priority seemingly for most Catholics. Too often it is the Culture not the Catechism that is providing formation. So regardless what shape the final Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation takes, this problem will of course remain.

It was not the synod of bishops, the curia, or bishop’s conferences that Jesus gave the great commission to. It was to each and everyone of us. It is an easy habit to want to outsource this responsibility to them and then complain about how they are handling our individual responsibility.