Diogenes has some good questions in response to a Newsweek/Washington Post article by Aloysious Mowe, SJ calling the Church’s theology and discipline sexist and misogynist.
Here’s what I don’t understand. An agnostic or atheist or radical libertarian treats the Church’s claims with skepticism because he has declared himself immune from her authority. Fine. On its own terms that makes sense. But how can a Catholic — and still more a Catholic priest — make use of this skepticism? More to the point: having picked up the tool of skepticism to undercut doctrine A and doctrine B, how does he put it down again to accept as valid doctrines C through Z? If I claim the Church is wrong about, say, the sacrament of Orders — whereas the common opinion of my own social class in my own time has it right — how can I know the Church is a reliable teacher regarding those doctrines I cherish, such as the duty of charity, or the universal destination of goods, or the Resurrection? How can I know these doctrines won’t themselves be exposed as frauds twenty years from now? How can I acquit myself of that self-serving arbitariness I impute to the apostles and the Church fathers?
I have often wondered the same thing. They dig out the foundation of the Catholic faith and then want to stand on empty air proclaiming themselves Catholics. If the Church can get foundational things wrong then only a fool would follow her. The only reason to be Catholic is because it is true – that’s it. I just don’t understand what their ecclesiology can possibly mean other than just being a form of Catholic tribalism. If I believed what they believed of the Church I would denounce the Church as evil and would want no part of it. The Protestant so-called Reformers were at least honest in realizing their theology of the Church was quite at odds with the Church.
I have often wondered this myself. I can’t imagine why people, whether priests or not, dissent and complain so much and question fundamental aspects of the faith and yet remain in the Church. Why don’t they just become Lutherans? Episcopalians? Unitarians? I expect that it is just a form of tribalism, and we are seeing the last vestiges of ‘cultural catholicism’; Catholics for whom their identity is a vestige from their youth, a part of their identity which consists of parish picnics and Hail Marys. Since we’ve managed to gut most of our Catholic cultural identity over the last 40 years, most young people who dissent from the Church today find they have nothing worth holding on to at all and just leave altogether. This is my experience at least.
I think it the thinking runs like this: “I love the Church despite the terrible crimes and errors the Vatican has visited upon the common people. Since I know better than the Pope what doctrines are right and wrong, I will show my love for the Church by remaining in it and fixing the problems wrought by these unteachable Popes.”
nThe irony of this is, in accusing the Church of discrimination against women he is accusing the founder Himself, Jesus Christ, of sexism and mysogyny. I’m a woman and I’ve never felt discriminated against in the Church. I’ve always believed that men and women complement each other and God has ordained that they have different roles to fulfill in this life. The feminist movement still seeks to destroy feminism and like this priest, the Church itself.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
The only reason to be Catholic is because it is true – that’s it.
I guess it all depends on who you work for: The mystery of iniquity is already at work…even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness” (2 Thess 2:7; 2 Cor 11:14-15).
We are seeing a significant uptick in the MSMs coverage os the so called Gender inequality of the Catholic Church. It makes me really nervous. Is the media being used to cultivate mainstream opinion in preparation for state intervention of the church. NEVER SAY NEVER. I see it coming. The constitution can be twisted just like the Vatican II documents were.
The Church itself engenders some of this “internal dissent” by failing to clearly deal with situations that are “apparent” contradictions or perhaps even real contradictions, which are left unaddressed.
In his latest address to the Roman Rota in January of 2009 the Holf Father spoke against the “pessimism” regarding marriage that is pervasive throughout society as well as among Catholics. But who can have any confidence in the vows they have spoken or are speaking when their marriage can be “annulled” right out from under them and when every diocese in the United States, although it is not required by Canon Law, uses the “necessity” of a divorce, from a legal system that the bishops know is blatently biased and severely dysfunctional, as the gateway to annulments? This is claimed to be “evidence” that a marriage is beyond repair! How so if “nothing is impossible with God” and we are enjoined by Christ to forgive seven times seventy? Why is the Church fast to seek nullity but will do little or nothing to foster reconciliation?
How can anyone wonder why we are in the state we are in?
This is no small problem.
The Church may, on rare occassion, find that a marriage is valid, but countless priests and lay catholics, rather view this and publically state this as meaning that, no the marriage was not proven valid, it was just not able to be proven invalid, but those involved know it was so they can use the “internal forum” to “resolve these problems”.
This results in the laity and countless priests condoning adultery, and remarriages civillt and many times knowingly giving communion openly to those in these adulterous relationships.
What does this tell our children? What does this do to children who are old enough to have seen a functioning marriage around them and then to see it fall apart only to be found to have “never” existed.
What does this tell those spouses who remain faithful to their vows?
What does this say about those clerics who do this?
What does it say about the bishops who know this and do not stop it ot even bring canonical action against those priests who are part of this?
The reality is this is a real problem that is simply not being addressed in anything but words and possibly cosmetic changes.
How many other issues are there like this where their is a known and unaddressed dichotomy?
The buck has to stop with our bishops and priests. They must lead and for the past more than forty years their “leading” has been a dismal failure. They have “lead” us to where we are.
When our marriage was wounded and I sought the halp of priests, they all bailed out on us, but there have always been priests and bishops to support my wife in her adultery and to accept and teach her lover to be a Catholic through RCIA as he continued to sleep with my wife.
The blame belongs squarely with our clergy. We are, however, are far from blameless ourselves. Wherever my wife and her civilly married lover have lived in their twenty years of adultery, they have always been accepted with open arms by those who knew what was going on and accepted it.
Ultimately, the Catholic priest who know the situation and supports them told me to my face that he did not care about the truth but that he would do what was best for the children.
Funny, the ends of marriage, whose denial is now being used to find marriage null, call for the “good of the spouses”, which is supposed to mean that each spouse is to work towrds the salvation of the other spouse, as well as raising the children in their Catholic faith.
This “good” priest’s idea of marriage should find him separated from the priesthood for his “active” and “malignant” indifference toward a situation he could have real, positive influence on.
The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of prominent catholics.
Dissidents deny revealed truth both found in the Holy Scriptures and apostolic teachings of the Church fathers for 2,000 years. These are truth. They are not the Pope’s, or the Vatican’s, opinions or speculations. They would replace apostolic teachings with opinions and speculations, completely unfounded in Scripture or Church teachings.
Such dissidents revile orthodoxy and the transcendence of the human soul . . . in the name of an ideology of radical inclusivity, diversity, TOLERANCE!!! . . . They remove themselves from the apostolic and catholic faith of Jesus Christ.
In 21st Century America, you are not required to be a Roman Catholic. Anti-Catholic bigot, half-wits believe we are fools. There are hundreds of nominally Christian, Jewish and Muslim “churches” that normalize gays; ordain gay, lesbian, married men and women; condone abortion, euthanasia and chemical contraception; endorse sexual epicureanism; sanctify serial marriage; etc. etc. Have at it ELSEWHERE.
Edwin Faust: “But one thing puzzles me. Why do men pledge their lives to love that which they hate? Why do priests who reject the Church’s teachings pretend a loyalty to them? Why do they become priests at all? I cannot understand this. It is as though a man took for his wife a woman he despised, so that he might spend his marriage insulting, demeaning and destroying her. I can furnish plausible psychological explanations for such confounding behavior, but the ontological explanation — the reason for its very existence — appears to rest in the dark impenetrable heart of evil, what St. Paul calls the mystery of iniquity.”
4/22/2005: Henninger, WSJ: His memoir gives a better understanding of the source of Cardinal Ratzinger’s disputes with his enemies — a battle again penciled in as the dogma cop, bunkered in some Vatican redoubt, giving thumbs up or down on new ideas, according to his whim. In fact, Ratzinger’s beef is mainly with the post-Vatican II academic theologians who thought they should be writing, or rewriting, the Church’s rulebook based on whatever new theories spun out of their heads — not the bishops, the Pope or even the church faithful. The way the political game is now played, if John Paul and he had opened the door on one reform, say contraception, the whole gang would have roared in behind.
“The impression grew steadily,” he writes, “that nothing was now stable in the Church, that everything was open to revision” — by these scholars. This is not just some arcane dispute over how many angels dance on the head of a pin. It is precisely the fight over intellectual authority and daily application being fought right now in the U.S. Senate over the Bush judges and Constitutional interpretation. As Joseph Ratzinger put it, he opposes a “reality” that someone has “simply thought up.”
Archbishop Chaput talked about “tolerance” pretty clearly in a recent address:
We don’t have to be “tolerant” of other’s ongoing sin or open dissent of our faith.
Possibly. But you know what? The state intervenes in the Church and it ceases to be the Church. We go underground. We dissent.
Catholics in Japan went for two centuries operating underground, receiving the sacraments when they could (rarely) and marrying/baptising covertly.
The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. They may try, and they may even think they’re successful, but it won’t happen. That is a promise we can count on with total trust.
I think Karl, above, should take the time to learn, perhaps from his local Diocese Tribunal, more about how and why annulments are granted. I hope there are not the kinds of “abuses” to which he refers. Please, people, educate yourselves before sounding off on things which may appear very differently than they are. God Bless You All.
I have forgotten more about annulments than you, unless you are a canon lawyer, will ever, likely, know.
That is not said to insult you. It is just true, in most cases, among “normal” Catholics. If you are the exception, then, in advance, please accept my apology. I rarely meet the exception.
I speak from experience in numerous parishes and dioceses, personally, and by extension from the stories of others who have given me no cause to doubt what they have said. Nor do I trust the mere word of each person who comes along.
Please do not think that it was for “no reason” that the Holy Father chose to address the “universal” pessimism regarding marriage. He knows well the “corruption” among the canonists and in the pastoral practices throughout the Catholic Church in America, who do not even know that they have allowed themselves to be corrupted.
You can count on the “existance” of the abuses I never stop talking about.
The new Judicial Vicar in the Archdiocese which encompasses where I live was the canonist who was my advocate for the short time our case was here, before it was transferred out, without my consultation and in violation of canon law, I believe, which assured the battle that ensued over the next eleven years before our marriage was ultimately held to be valid before the Roman Rota. His work resulted in a unanimous decision by a panel of judges which rejected my wife’s original libellus(annulment petition)as having no basis. It was, however, returned to a Judicial Vicar who refused to investigate the charges I had registered with him, of perjury based upon the false information in the libellus, before I was able to wrestle the case from his jurisdiction, through the intervention of the Roman Rota, only to have the case sent back to him, where he and his fellow judges, true to my expectations, found our marriage to be null.
Of course the Roma Rota disagreed, but the return of our case to this Judicial Vicar. resulted in my wife marrying her lover within a week, as she had been assured that she would get her annulment and therefore had the “cover” to get married civilly, inorder to “hide” her pregnancy outside of even a civil marriage. It also forced me to fight this case, which had no basis at all and was predicated upon the retrojustification of a divorce and adultery, for a total of twelve years.
I live, Peggy, what I write about. I wish I hadn’t. But now I remind others of the “possibility” of defending their marriages and I continue to speak of the corruption I saw, which has never been addressed by the Catholic Church and which I hear from others still is alive and well, destroying other marriage and destroying the lives of the children of thses marriages.
Karl, this isn’t the first Catholic blog on which I’ve seen your annulments rant. The bitterness is eating at your soul. Please, dear brother in Christ, seek healing from the burdens you carry.
Karl has been victim of great evil, tragedy and stark injustice. I (hope I would be granted the grace to do this if I were in his shoes) think this requires constant prayer and resort to the Spiritual Acts of Mercy: “Forgive all injuries.”
Let’s not forget that wrath is one of the seven deadly sins. In my union VP “role”, I saw a good man allow wrath to consume him and destroy his life. It is to be avoided.
Worry less about my “bitterness” than the “bitterness” of those who reject the truth of which I speak or the “bitterness” of the injustices served upon those whose marriages are sacrificed on the altar of nullity(and their children)and expedience.
Your advice seems empty. It may be well intended. But if you support what is being done, fail to speak out against it and continue to contribute to the Church as it dismantles marriages in public, in effect, perpetrating the very circumstances which the Holy Father addressed, then your bitterness will likely be far worse than mine. Worry more for your soul than mine.
Stop being naive to the reality of this pastoral holocaust disguised as a canonical process.
Even if there are only hundreds of false nullities(no one knows or can at all reasonably guess and this failure to be able to quantify these is, IN ITSELF, A CHOICE FOR EVIL, BY THE CHURCH HIERARCHY) each of these is a monumental injustice, that should scream for hierarchical intervention and canonical action to be addressed. Yet they are not addressed.
The issues are not simple and they have not been adequately considered by those in power. Those who do terrible harm have no accounting.
This process is a joke.
The reality of this is that the Catholic Church abuses the meaning of scandal to “decide” when it will or will not act to bring canonical pressure to bear to try to reach out to a Catholic to bring them back into the fold.
The result of the past forty years of laxity, under the post Vatican II “Spirit” and reign of false charity disguised as mercy, has resulted in mass confusion regarding even the simplest teachings. This DOES CALL INTO DOUBT whether the Catholic Church is a reliable teacher or if she is not.
Read the treatise of Archbishop Burke on Canon 915, where he discusses what scandal means. It is clear from his writing, at least it was to me, that the situation is so bad in American society(and everywhere that “western culture has been present)that everything can “rightly” be considered scandalous now, since, in reality, what is “bad” has become “good” and there is near complete confusion regarding the “relativity” of morality.
It is past the time when every single unjust divorce should be formally handled with excommunication.
This is from the Encyclical of Leo XIII
“23. Let no one, then, be deceived by the distinction which some civil jurists have so strongly insisted upon – the distinction, namely, by virtue of which they sever the matrimonial contract from the sacrament, with intent to hand over the contract to the power and will of the rulers of the State, while reserving questions concerning the sacrament of the Church. A distinction, or rather severance, of this kind cannot be approved; for certain it is that in Christian marriage the contract is inseparable from the sacrament, and that, for this reason, the contract cannot be true and legitimate without being a sacrament as well. For Christ our Lord added to marriage the dignity of a sacrament; but marriage is the contract itself, whenever that contract is lawfully concluded.”
Here is the Code of Canon Law 1983:
Can. 1692 §1. Unless other provision is legitimately made in particular places, a decree of the diocesan bishop or a judicial sentence can decide the personal separation of baptized spouses according to the norm of the following canons.
§2. Where an ecclesiastical decision has no civil effects or if a civil sentence is not contrary to divine law, the bishop of the diocese of the residence of the spouses, after having weighed the special circumstances, can grant permission to approach the civil forum.
§3. If a case concerns only the merely civil effects of marriage, the judge, after having observed the prescript of §2, is to try to defer the case to the civil forum from the start.
To me there is a disconnect here.
The excerpt from Leo XIII Encyclical seems at complete odds with the Canon Law, although I am not a theologian by any means. It will take someone else to explain this.
Inch by inch, the Church has abdicated its role in marriage to the point where the large majority
of Catholics, including clergy, see nothing wrong with a civil divorce(as if it can be separated from reality) and with all of its consequences. The Church has brought this on itself and upon us, through these errors. The “justifications” for civil divorce are legion.
It is clear to me that the Church has lost its vision of marriage and has accepted this “separation” that apparently was forbidden, previously, in the Church. I cannot explain it otherwise.
I do not know this Catholic Church any longer and I do not think it knows itself.
For me, the only way I can cope is to have left the Catholic Church formally. Do not presume, because of my persistance, and ferocity that I will allow my “wrath” to consume my life. It certainly has that capability but I work at not allowing that to happen. It is not possible for me to separate what has happened from the effects it continues to have in the lives of those touched by this terrible injustice, including our children. It is in how it effects them where I am most vulnerable to consumption by my “wrath”.
Gentle words, in my experience, mean little except to a person who cares to listen. These are not the people in power in the Catholic Church. They do not listen to gentle words except in their “pet” issues. Yet, they are fast to ignore “harsh words” so they show their complete, or near complete corrution. This attitude I have seen reflected in those who “obey” their bishops. I am not at all surprised how thorough the complacent corruption is. I have seen it for many years and was able to “tolerate” it, with difficulty, however, until
I found myself being divorced by someone who had promised faithfulness and fidelity and I learned that the driving force for the divorce was the “promise” of annulment, which in turn was driven by my wife’s adultery.
Sorry folks, but the Catholic Church knows full well that divorce is encouraged by annulments and that annulments are used to justify adultery, perhaps not in every case but in many. And it does everything in its power to encourage this and to bring these adulterous couples together.
It has raised adultery to a “holy state”, rather than defending marriages with excommunications for those who divorce unjustly. It even overlooks proven adultery “for the good of the children” of that divorce even as the children of the valid marriage are destroyed.
Yet the Pope and the bishops do not seem to care.
The Catholic Church does not belong, only, to the hierarchy, it is yours as well, unless you must stop giving this Church your money to run its nullity mills and destroy marriages, you are getting what you are paying for.
Perhaps the Church should stop the pretense and simple accept that it really does not want to follow Christs plan for marriage.
Karl, I believe you make some valid points. But that’s not really what I’m concerned about.
Even if the Catholic Church totally revamped its policies and teachings regarding annulments to line up with your personal beliefs, that still would not erase the hurt and bitterness that you carry in your soul.
Please, seek healing.
While the Catholic Church continues its support of those who do not stopr their attempts to bring about my demised and care nothing about those others, our children, whose lives they are
harming, I will remain opposed to all that is being done and act on it.
A wound cannot heal that is allowed to be reopened. It becomes more and more calloused and the non-ending inflammation usually results in further, even fatal, consequences. This is what the Catholic Church REFUSES to address.
I cannot stop being punched in the face by someone intent on punching me in the face.
Perhaps there are those who can put themselves in a metaphysical state(or be put there by God) where they can ignore and be oblivious to what happens to them. I have never been their although I have, countless times asked to be delivered there in prayer. I pray daily to “forgive and have it stick”.
I am not an accepter of the belief that “I chose to be hurt”. I reject such as drivel, regardless of the argument presented.
Given the appropriate consent of authorities and presuming God would look the other way I would assert that there is not a soul whose life I could not break and drive into despair so deeply that I could destroy them, were I allowed complete freedom to do to them as I deemed necessary to prove my point.
Such is sick beyond defense. But I hold it to be true.
I would guess there may be a few, not many at all, who might be able to, forgive me through it. But they would be dang few. If you think that only those will receive the mercy of God, then worry about yourself, not me. I happen to believe that God is more merciful then that.
My concern is that I continue to try to forgive my wife and those, LEGIONS, ESPECIALLY OF CLERGY, who “pretend” to be good Catholics, but who choose to be otherwise and elad countless souls along with their insidiuosly malignant brand of perversion of truth. Whehn I stop trying, then I will lose my soul. I have not stopped yet, although I have scars on my body from my falls along that journey.
I am trying to view what I have been asked of by God, as a blessing to be embraced and to be joyfully shared as my tiny part of Christ’s immense love for me, personally. That is a choice I am trying to make. That is the best I can do, as yet.
I will not, however, unless it is made clear to me by Christ Himself, cease my exposing what I KNOW WITH MORAL CERTAINTY IS COMPLETELY AT ODDS WITH TRUTH AND AUTHENTIC CATHOLICISM IN PRACTICE regarding the practices of the Catholic Church regarding marriage and its complete denial of what marriage is. The scandal is everywhere.
I came upon this blog:
Check out this link:
Here is/are the money paragraph or two or three:
“What makes me SIMMER WITH RAGE is that my ex then got our marriage annulled. By
the Catholic Church. When neither one of us was Catholic, nor was our marriage
in the Catholic Church. And he was able to do this without my consent, and in
fact against my STRENUOUS OBJECTIONS. I wrote many, many letters to the Catholic
Church, insisting that my former marriage was REAL and VALID and did not meet
the requirements for annulment.
Finally a secretary sent me a little note saying, basically, “Um, off the record
for a moment—you realize that ‘annulment’ is just the way the Catholic Church
gets around their ‘no divorce/remarriage’ rule?” Yes, I knew this. I DID NOT
CARE. Even if it doesn’t actually mean the marriage is invalid and never
happened, that’s what it SAYS IT MEANS. I’m not playing GAMES, even with my BAD
MARRIAGE. Which DID HAPPEN and WAS VALID and did NOT meet the requirements for
annulment. …Sorry, I don’t seem to be able to get out of this loop.
The annulment went through. According to the Catholic Church, which was not in
any way involved with the marriage or its participants, the marriage was invalid
and never happened. My ex is free to marry a Catholic girl as if he were a
never-married man. This makes me so angry I can barely talk about it. It’s so
stupid I can barely stand it.
But of course, it doesn’t REALLY matter that it was annulled. It’s not like we
WANTED to be married to each other and some third party told us they had
dissolved our marriage without our consent: we WANTED the marriage dissolved and
so we voluntarily divorced, and I would LOVE IT if the marriage had never
happened. I should be GLAD it was annulled. When it comes up in conversation
that I was married before, I can lower my eyes and say, “It was a very brief
marriage, back while I was still in school. It was annulled.” This sounds so
much prettier than “We got a divorce.”
But I’m still so mad I could SPIT. Partly I’m angry at my ex, and I’m hurt by
the way he wanted to make it that our marriage was NULL. Not “over” but “never
started.” Partly I’m angry at the Catholic Church, for doing the annulment, and
for thinking they had the right to do that.”
This is a scandal of epic proportions and the attitude of bishops is so flippantly demeaning towards those of us THEY PERSECUTE, that it is SCANDALOUS FOR ME NOT TO KEEP THIS GARBAGE IN THEIR FACES WHEN I CAN, HOWEVER I CAN, WITH THE LITTLE TIME I HAVE THAT IS FREE.
If you think this woman’s attitude is atypical of peolple who have been touched by an annulment that they see as unjust, you are mistaken. Couple that with the already, tarnished is a catastrophic understantment, “tarnished” reputation of Catholicism, wrongly or rightly, and it is screaming out to be addressed, world wide. But it is not addressed, except in passing and before the Rota in snippets, not in any comprehensive manner. This is beyond irrational. It is diabolical, in nature.
I don’t think “the Catholic Church” is supporting your wife and her paramour in their adultery.
I’m very sorry for your children — as a child of divorce myself, not to mention the child of a parent who committed adultery against the other parent — I know how much it hurts, and how much hurt and bitterness it can cause within a family.
But it is not the fault of “the Catholic Church.” It is the fault of SOME SINFUL PEOPLE within the Catholic Church. Unless you have a signed decree from Pope Benedict saying that he and the Magesterium know that your wife is living in sin and applaud her actions, then the Catholic Church DOES NOT support or condone her actions, even if some sinful people within her local Catholic circle do.
Again, Karl, please seek healing of your bitterness and reconciliation with Christ’s church. Bear the cross thrust upon you with grace and dignity. Offer your sufferings up for your wife and children. Your treasure in heaven will be great if you do.
I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Comments are closed.