PopeWatch: Francis Effect

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VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

An article at ThinkProgress illustrates how dissenters from Church teaching on abortion, homosexual marriage and contraception, are attempting to use Pope Francis as a shield and club against Catholic clerics who have the temerity to stand up for Catholic teaching in these areas:

 

When Gino Gresh, high school senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Catholic school in San Francisco, California, returned home from a religious retreat in early February, he said he was “shocked” to learn what had happened while he was away: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, head of the San Francisco archdiocese and key organizer behind California’s short-lived same-sex marriage ban known as Proposition 8, had unveiled a new handbook for Catholic high school employees in Gresh’s area, instructing them to refrain from “visibly” contradicting the Church’s teachings on birth control, abortion, and homosexuality.

Worse, Cordileone was vying to designate teachers as “ministers” so the archdiocese could benefit from the so-called “ministerial exception,” a legal category expanded by a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case that exempts religious groups from non-discrimination laws when hiring for “ministry” positions that can include people who are not clergy.
 
In other words, teachers could be fired for, among other things, being publicly gay — in San Francisco.

 

“I remember sitting in class with a couple of students and saying ‘we need to do something,’” Gresh told ThinkProgress.

*******************************************

 

Indeed, while few question the authority of the Archbishop’s position within the Catholic hierarchy, McGarry’s faith-based embrace of homosexuality is a reminder that, despite conservative claims to the immutability of Catholic teaching, huge swaths of Catholic theology are essentially contested spaces, not forgone conclusions. After Pope Francis famously answered a question about gay priests in 2014 with the quip “Who am I to judge?”, the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference praised the pontiff and asked the Italian church to “listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of … homosexuality.” Francis has also already convened one of two synods to discuss homosexuality and other “family issues,” and closer to home at Santa Clara University, a Catholic liberal arts college in the Bay Area, Jesuit priest Paul Crowley reportedly leads courses exploring more inclusive spiritual understandings of homosexuality. In 2004, he published an academic article in which he concluded that homosexuality shouldn’t be a “problem” for the church, but rather “an invitation to a different way of looking at things, and toward a deeper embrace of the very gospel that threatens to subvert our most cherished notions about the God whose name is Love.”

Vatican officials, of course, eventually asked Crowley to publish a clarification more in line with established church teaching, and Francis has not changed Catholic doctrine on LGBT issues — or anything, really — since assuming the papacy. But the first Argentinian pope has clearly sought to minimize exactly the kind of culture war that Cordileone is waging, and has appointed more moderate bishops to replace retiring clerics famous for crusading against abortion and LGBT rights. Taken together, progressive Catholics in San Francisco and elsewhere see an ally in Francis’ rhetoric, if nothing else, and now that Catholics are more supportive of same-sex marriage than any other major religious group in America (an opinion echoed in several countries with large Catholic populations), San Franciscans are forcing the issue as to whether a bishop can risk ignoring Francis’ rhetorical shift without hemorrhaging parishioners.

Go here to read the rest.  The main occurrence that historians may note about the current pontificate is that during it the de facto schism of the Catholic Church became de jure.  PopeWatch fears that the Church is coming to a parting of the ways with Catholics going down divergent paths, and few at the Vatican seem to have the wit to grasp this.

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24 Comments

  1. An imaginary scene–back a couple thousand years:
    (Setting is Pontius Pilate’s chambers)
    “Are you a king?”
    “Thou has said it”
    “And why then did you come here?”
    “I’ve come to bring the truth by appointing moderate bishops…”

  2. It isn’t only Pope Francis’ fault. This has been seething for a long time.

    .
    I see the problem as misdirected zeal for faux peace and justice (feel-good, Dr. Phil pop psychology) and not a thought given to the eternal lives of souls.
    .
    Judas too was concerned with the worldly. So much so that he sold out our God and Redeemer for the price of a man, 30 pieces of silver.

  3. “faith-based embrace of homosexuality” Wow. Do we still use the term “True Faith”?

    Jeremiah 4:1-2
    If you return, O Israel,says the Lord, if you return to me,
    if you remove your abominations from my presence,and do not waver,
    and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives!’ in truth, in justice, and in uprightness,
    then nations shall be blessed* by him, and by him they shall boast.

  4. “…huge swaths of Catholic theology are essentially contested spaces, not forgone conclusions.”

    That is in fact what some in the Church teach. When I was in the Diaconate program one priest talked about there only being several infallible teachings. The rest for him were up for grabs.

    Which is why we may one day see certain Catholic bloggers talking about our homophobia.

  5. You make a big mistake when you believe the polls that major media organizations do. Polls are easy to manipulate, and news organizations are famously liberal. Their pollsters know that these newspapers are essentially paying for certain answers, and they comply. When the New York Times found a few years back that people were not as upset with George Bush as the Times wanted them to be, the Times forced them to redo the poll. That’s how insistent they are on the answers they get.

    So when I see these polls that claim that Catholics are more for gay marriage than any one else, I consider this in the same as a UFO story.

  6. The plain fact is that a significant percentage of the clergy, including the episcopate, is homosexual, and of those a significant number are active. The current climate encourages them to agitate for their preference. the Episcopal Church is an example of how such clergy (and laity) ally themselves with proponents of other immoral causes. It’s obvious that the rot has penetrated the highest circles of the church. These people have no use for the traditional family

    I don’t think the coming schism will be formal, but it will be obvious. Unless, of course, the Holy Spirit can move the heart of the pope.

  7. Philip wrote, “When I was in the Diaconate program one priest talked about there only being several infallible teachings. The rest for him were up for grabs.”
    The reduction of the Faith to a set of propositions is an approach common amongst both to liberals and neo-scholastics. Bl John Henry Newman makes an important distinction that they completely overlook or ignore:-
    “Theological dogmas are propositions expressive of the judgments, which the mind forms, or the impressions which it receives, of Revealed Truth. Revelation sets before it certain supernatural facts and actions, beings and principles; these make a certain impression or image upon it; and this impression spontaneously, or even necessarily, becomes the subject of reflection on the part of the mind itself, which proceeds to investigate it, and to draw it forth in successive and distinct sentences.” Facts and actions are not to be confused with the ideas or notions or reflections they produce.
    This led Erasmus to write in his Introduction to his Greek NT, “[An image] represents only the form of the body — if indeed it represents anything of Him — but these writings bring you the living image of His holy mind and the speaking, healing, dying, rising Christ Himself, and thus they render Him so fully present that you would see less if you gazed upon Him with your very eyes.” That, in short, is the difference between religion and theology.

  8. Funny. They’ve got some truth in what they say– huge swaths of Catholic Theology are up for debate, especially in how they’re done. Some examples are those are called “prudential matters” and the things like the theory of Limbo.
    The problem is that the stuff they want to use as a club tends to be the prudential stuff, and the stuff they want to debate on are binding…..

  9. “That, in short, is the difference between religion and theology.”

    Not sure what you are trying to say but I suspect I will disagree if your are saying we can never say something definite about God and Truth. And I know Newman and Erasmus would agree with me.

  10. Philip wrote, “I will disagree if your are saying we can never say something definite about God and Truth.”
    If Revelation could not be apprehended by the mind, then it would not be revelation – it would not reveal anything.

  11. Well, I’ve never written these words before, but thanks for the Think Progress link. Fascinating that Archbishop Cordileone (which means “lion heart”) is accused of trying to “destroy” Catholic schools through this teaching. Destroy them? Was the entire world in rubble up until 3 years ago? Apparently Christ was pro-gay, then there was a little blip in history, then DADT was repealed and the world blossomed. Apparently also the repeal of DADT was an infallible theological document…no, never mind, this is so full of madness that it’s impossible to twist it facetiously.

  12. I know that the Lord Jesus taught us that human sexual activity is ALWAYS AND ONLY ordered to a permanent and exclusive relationship between one man and one woman.

    everything else about human sexuality may be debated, I suppose. but, it must be debated within the limitations expressed above because these parameters were given to us by the Lord.

  13. truth is not a principle of the “mainstream media”. profit is a principle of the “mainstream media”. that should tell you what you most need to know about anything published in the “mainstream media”.

  14. The plain fact is that a significant percentage of the clergy, including the episcopate, is homosexual

    I don’t doubt that, but that explanation for the ruin of certain Catholic apostolates is misplaced. Their clientele and employees are largely laymen. Sixty years ago, the liturgy and daily religious practice provided people with a moat protected the from some of the corruptions of secular culture. That’s gone, and you have what you have in the Episcopal Church: a mess of confused bourgeois who draw their norms from the kultursmog and think the Church needs to ‘catch up’. Michael Davies spent much of his life as a Catholic high school teacher. That would be an exceedingly depressing way to earn a living in today’s environment.

  15. Don McClarey: “The main occurrence that historians may note about the current pontificate is that during it the de facto schism of the Catholic Church became de jure. PopeWatch fears that the Church is coming to a parting of the ways with Catholics going down divergent paths, and few at the Vatican seem to have the wit to grasp this.”
    .
    Things are in dire striaths but we must guard against Schism.
    .
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2015/02/12/category-archive-message-board-252-schism-is-not-an-option/
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2015/02/15/category-archive-message-board-255-petrus-romanus/
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2015/02/25/category-archive-message-board-265-extra-ecclessiam-nulla-salus-2/

  16. English question: if theology is the domain of theologians, then religion is the domain of :________ ? (the faithful?)
    Michael Paterson- Seymour, the last part of your example for Phillip is a perfect and plain perspective, describing the difference between religion and theology using the words of Erasmus.

  17. Author: Patricia
    Comment:
    English question: if theology is the domain of theologians, then religion is the domain of :________ ? (the faithful?)

    They’re not analogous.
    It’s like saying “If science is the domain of scientists, then what is nature the domain of?”
    One’s an area of study, the other is an area of activity that can be studied.

  18. Well-phrased words, encapsulating the bigger picture:

    “The main occurrence that historians may note about the current pontificate is that during it the de facto schism of the Catholic Church became de jure.”(DMcC)

    …. Brevity is the soul of wit.

  19. One other comment, as a local San Francisco observer: Sacred Heart Cathedral High, like so many once-proud redoubts of Catholic belief (you could add S. Ignatius, the Jesuit prep school; Notre Dame High; many other SF or nearby highs) have become completely radicalized by “the movement”. The smoke has entered the very precincts.

    You can thank the episcopacies of Arch-dissenter John Raphael Quinn, Mahony-crony William Levada, and pro-movement George Niederauer (and also recently elevated ultra-progressive Robert McElroy, who was advanced to the episcopacy by Quinn) for decades of disintegration: and this is what we have now.

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