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Jan. 21 at 2:30pm
I first joined Facebook to stalk (and I mean that benevolently) my college-bound daughter. For this I endured some ribbing from her younger brothers and sisters, the usual targets of my anti-social-media tirades. My standard rant went something like this:
Children, beware the subtle snares of self-absorption! They don't call it a web for nothing, you know!
Pity those poor wretches with nothing better to do than cultivate pseudo-relationships with virtual “friends”! Whose self-worth is so puny that it craves the thrill of the little red notification flag! Who’ve forgotten the feel of fresh air! Who inevitably come to a sad end because they can’t bear to be parted from their social …
The Pope has not endorsed Cardinal Kaspar's position, much less taught it as true. Rather, he has urged him to do his best to make his case. He has called for sincere debate among the competent theologians and pastors of the Church. He is searching for creative pastoral solutions to serious pastoral problems within the boundaries of Church teaching. He is trusting the Holy Spirit to guide the process and to protect him from teaching error. (His statements opening and closing the Synod make this beautifully clear.)
The reports from the Synod are not Church teaching, nor do they pretend to be. They are reports of the state of the debate. That's all.
I find Cardinal Burke's statement worrying not because I disagree with him on doctrine, but because he seems to me to be schooling the Pope, and spreading mistrust, which I think entirely unfitting and out of bounds.
If I were Pope, I'd be demoting him too, for his soul's sake.
Nov. 22 at 9:00am | See in context
Freda, there is so much I want to say in response to your thoughtful comments! Among them is that my facebook feed has been flooded with "conservative" anti-popery (strange oxymoron!) in recent weeks. Some groups do not shrink from calling for schism on the ground that the Pope is likely to teach false doctrine. Some of them are pinning their hopes on Benedict XVI—even calling him "the real pope". Many of them are rallying behind Cardinal Burke, as if he is speaking the truth in the face of practically-apostate Pope. One theologian who used to teach at the seminary here in Philly, is publicly "asking" the Pope if he is the antichrist.
You can get a flavor of it by reading the comments under the article I wrote for the NCR a couple weeks ago.
The problem with this kind of attitude and talk has nothing to do with commitment to dogma. It has rather to do with a profound lack of faith in the Church and the way truth (in the sense of its practical application in the here and now) is worked out through dialog and debate. "The collision of mind with mind," as Newman put it.
Nov. 22 at 8:52am | See in context
All that said, it should also be said that there is an all-important distinction between instructing priests not to withhold Communion and teaching that it's perfectly fine for anyone who wants Communion to take it, whether or not they're in union with the Church, and whether or not they are in a state of grace.
The latter would represent a change in doctrine, while the former is a change in approach.
The former doesn't touch the truth of the matter; it only shifts responsibility for living in accord with it onto each individual rather than the priest.
Like Jesus, the priest is to both teach what's true and offer himself as a sacrifice of love to sinners.
Classically, the "religious right" want to do away with the offering part and the "liberal leftists" want to do away with the truth part.
The miracle of the Church is that it values absolutely and integrates completely both realiites.
Nov. 22 at 8:33am | See in context
DI, "indoctrination of children" begins immediately in all families, doesn't it? Isn't it another word for educating, when we're speaking of children and doctrine?
A key principle of Catholic teaching is freedom. So, unlike in, say, Islam, we hold that there can be no cumpulsion in religious matters. No can be punished or intimidated into faith.
That means some adjustment over the years and centuries in our practices. We're learning gradually and constantly to incorporate more of the truth of our freedom into our way of conveying the faith. This is noticeable, I think, in such things as the rise of the Montessori method of catechesis, and the Pope's focus on evangelization as opposed to proselytism.
I also think it's the explanation behind many bishops' instructions to priests not to withhold Holy Communion from those who come up to receive it, even in cases when the priest knows the person is not Catholic or in a state of sin. I suspect that they are wanting to put more emphasis on personal freedom and responsibility. Priests are not to be "enforcers" so much as pastors, offering love and healing.
Nov. 22 at 8:24am | See in context
Very interesting comment Kate. I had never heard the "All sex is rape" line, and up until quite recently would have dismissed it out of hand as just the sort of angry absurdity one would expect from radical feminists. But what you and Katie say here makes a lot of sense.
Nov. 22 at 6:22am | See in context
Canada's criminal laws regarding prostitution were struck down a year ago by the courts after a challenge to them as endangering the health, wellbeing, and rights of the prostitutes. Parliament was given a year to rewrite the law. I know there was some push in some arenas to go to full decriminalization. Instead, we adopted (very recently--just this past month) a law very similar to Sweden's. It remains to be seen if we will be as good at implementing it as Sweden seems to have been. But I do see it as a great good for both men and women because it acknowledges that no, buying sex is not just another kind of commerce.
Nov. 22 at 12:12am | See in context
I seem to recall that there was more awareness of the effect of power differentials on consent in the early days of second-wave feminism. Remember the "All sex is rape" line often (inaccurately) attributed to Andrea Dworkin? But Dworkin and MacKinnon (who was also accused of equating sex with rape) were maligned precisely because they were interested in how the structural and cultural inequalities between the sexes affected things like sexual roles, expectations, and consent.
MacKinnon said that rape trials could not be just until they adopted female conceptions of consent and coercion rather than merely male ideas of what levels of force or coercion are acceptable when assuming consent (reading accounts of rape trials from 40 and 50 years ago makes me profoundly grateful for the work women like Dworkin and MacKinnon did, regardless of their flaws). On a much smaller scale, there was a lot of talk over the catcalling video that made the rounds a few weeks ago, and a lot of men said, "Most of those guys were just probably trying to be friendly." But the power differential is precisely what makes it feel threatening rather than friendly for the woman being catcalled.
Nov. 22 at 12:07am | See in context
Mr. van Schaijik,
(again, Thanks! for hosting, me.)
Limiting my focus to Jules':
My own sense, in case you like to know, is that allowing ... to receive communion, is incompatible with the Faith, and hence a corruption.
Attending Catholic grade-school, indoctrination to the Blessed Sacrament comes at a very-very early age. And how many kids have protested as they develop, only to meet compulsion by the adults? Then, when adult themselves, and self-willing, are met with the strictest of standards, and exclusion?
Appetizer to the last supper proper, Matthew 26, Jesus, knowing Judas would betray him, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me."-v.23. He did not prevent him. "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands, bearing this inscription, 'The Lord knows those who are his';"-2 Timothy 2:19, hearkening to John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.". (See also catholic? v.16?)
Can a sinner "corrupt" the Lord of lords?! Why not: "Give us today our 'epiousios' bread;"-Matthew 6:11?
Catechism: 1324 1384 1385 1393 1397 2827
Also?: "benignant love" at footnote 1, p.352, George Holmes Howison's "Limits of Evolution" (essay 7).
Nov. 21 at 12:02pm | See in context
Part 2 of very long comment:
s it Cardinal Burke that you are pointing to in your comments? Isn't it "licit" for a Cardinal -- indeed even for a layperson -- to debate a doctrinal position at odds with others in the magisterium, and even the Pope? I have read and reread the Catechism chapters on teaching authority and papal infallibility and I do not see how Cardinals' academic debates in the context of a conclave, can be considered somehow "unfaithful" to the Pope or the Church.
My own elementary understanding of the Church's catechism concerning the Sixth Commandment (I taught it for 10 years at the fourth grade level) tends to agree with Cardinal Burke's view, but I am aware that there are many "liberal" Catholics who think such views are passe and simplistic. One liberal Catholic is the pastor of a church in Massachusetts where I was disinvited from teaching eighth graders as a guest lecturer on the Ten Commandments this year because I was planning to teach the Sixth Commandment in accordance with the written catechism for Children that age (i.e., chastity, and wait until marriage, and only traditional marriage). The children were preparing for confession in advance of eventual confirmation. Yet, I was instructed to either avoid all mention of the Sixth Commandment or to warn parents in advance that the Sixth Commandment would be taught and allow the parents to opt out their children, because such "traditional" views are now considered "controversial;" gay marriage is here to stay;-- and, I was told, the Pope's view is that at the parish level, we must not be "obsessed" with such issues. With this encounter in mind, I would have immediately understood, Jules, if you had expressed irritation with self-described "liberal" supporters of the Pope. My own opinion is that this one Pastor and others dealing with children who are daily inculcated with "diversity" training in public schools, have, by their withdrawal of Church teaching on the subject, done great harm to scores of young people who have been thus misinstructed (my opinion) on the catechism.
Since the only "conservative" view on the issue among theologians that I know of is Cardinal Burke's view --your irritation at "conservatives" is a great surprise to me. Surely Cardinal Burke is defending the Church's teaching as it has existed for more than 2,000 years. Is that really so bad -- even if it seems to irritate the Pope -- or "liberal supporters" of the Pope?
So, I have the impression that you may be referring to people and comments that I have not heard -- or perhaps have not paid much attention to because their comments were over my head. And here you seem to be trying not to name names. Still, if you can, please explain -- at least on a level that this poor fourth grade volunteer catechist can understand. Kindest regards - I know that I can be a pain. Freda
Nov. 20 at 8:48pm | See in context
Dear Jules, I am going to put this comment into several frames because it is way over the "word limit".
Part 1: I've re-read your responses several times and I'm afraid I still don't understand your point. Perhaps this is because I don't know what and who you are talking about when you speak of the "conservative" critics of the Pope. In terms of Church doctrine (truly my only current interest) the only names I know are Cardinal Burke on the "conservative" side and Cardinal Kaspar on the "liberal" side. Cardinal Burke seems to be of the opinion that to allow divorced and remarried persons to receive communion while they are living in adulturous relationships would be an abrupt reversal of doctrine, and, in Newman's terms, not be a "development" but a corruption of doctrine. Cardinal Burke also argues that condoning same sex relationships and other sexual alliances outside of traditional marriage would also be a corruption of doctrine. Admittedly, I base my understanding of Cardinal Burke's poisition on an interview he gave to Raymond Arroyo on EWTN. I have not read his book (though I plan to do so). I did not hear him criticize the Pope.
Nov. 20 at 8:47pm | See in context
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