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When I heard about it, I wondered how is it that Jack Lew can go on TV and say the White House is "done" negotiating with Catholics? Did they not see the bishops' response to their "accommodation?"
"Take these comments seriously," he said.
As if I would do anything else!
And I read both. I'd encourage you to do the same.
But when I got to this passage, well let's just say I stopped taking the comments as seriously as my friend had probably intended.
When considering the position of the church on any issue, it's important to remember that the bishops are not "the entire picture."
A fuller picture of how Catholics have discerned moral truths in the past would include a "tripod" of views: those of the hierarchy, the "magisterium of the theologians," and the "grace-filled, experience-filled wisdom of the faithful."
Good grief, it's the Lutheran heresy writ large! Popular opinion carries equal weight to the Magisterium? And what's the "magisterium of the theologians" anyway? Do scholars issue encyclicals now? Or does His Holiness The Pope still confer authority to a theologian by virtue of extending his blessing to their work?
The number of those who have decided to neglect the official church teaching might also say something about how Catholics have decided to give weight to their own consciences when evaluating a question of morality.
While "it is logically possible that the vast majority of Catholics stumble into mortal sin" by neglecting the teaching on birth control, it is also possible that many "gave the matter serious thought," used "all of the resources at our disposal for formation of conscience," and came to a decision that "this teaching is not binding on my conscience."
If there is a better, albeit inadvertant definition of Cafeteria Catholicism, I haven't seen it. Let your conscience be your guide, because the bishops are just some random dudes with no inherent authority. So long as you've given the matter "serious thought" you're good to go!
This is going to be a long post. Because I'm just getting warmed up, and there is so much wrong here that I don't know where to start.
Obama thought he had his bases covered. He found some ostensibly "Catholic" organizations to endorse his faux compromise. Father Z calls them the Magisterium of Nuns.
What I mean by that phrase is a hitherto loose — now coalesing — group of catholics in organizations and as individuals who are setting themselves up as an alternate teaching authority, "magisterium", over and against the legitimate authority of bishops. Why "of Nuns"? Because they key figures are women religious, such as Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association — who gave cover to catholics in Congress to vote for Obamacare and Sr. McBride in Phoenix who approved a direct abortion at a catholic hospital, and a coven of other women religious who have set themselves against Catholic doctrine concerning the exclusive ordination of men, contraception, homosexuality, etc.
It's no coincidence that Sr. Keehan's endorsement of Obama's compromise was trumpeted by the White House itself. Alas she embodies a significant problem within the Church. The Magisterium of Nuns has no ecclesiastical authority. Yet they have accumulated considerable gravitas, granted by their schismatic relationship with the secular power structure in Washington, DC. They give cover to Obama when he, to quote Mark Steyn, "decided to go Henry VIII on the Church's medieval ass."
It is past time for the bishops to Do Something.
Again, Father Z has a suggestion.
The American bishops should meet in a special plenary session to discuss matters relating to the President's attack on religious liberty and on the Catholic Church.
One of the action items should be to issue a statement that Catholics United and the Catholic Health Association may not use the word "Catholic."
It's a start.
Bishop Jenky of Peoria is out in front.
Politicians who consider themselves Catholic but collaborate in "the assault against their faith" should remember they will one day have to give account for their acts before God, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois said Feb 10.
"There is a last judgment. There is a particular judgment. May they change their minds and may God have mercy on them," he told CNA during his visit to Rome.
When asked specifically about recent actions of Democratic Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Jenky replied "I am utterly scandalized."
Both Sebelius and Rep. Pelosi have been at the forefront of attempts to force Catholic institutions to cover contraception, sterilizations and abortifacients as part of their staff's health insurance plans.
Bishop Jenky said there are too many Catholic politicians in the U.S. who "like to wear green sweaters on St. Patrick's Day and march" or "have their pictures taken with the hierarchy:" or "have conspicuous crosses on their forehead with ashes" but who then "not only do not live their faith they collaborate in the assault against their faith."
I read somewhere that Secretary Sebelius is already forbidden from receiving Holy Communion due to her unabashed pro-abortion activities while governor of Kansas.
Yes, Canon 915 means what it says. The Church ought make more use of it.
Beyond that, the next logical step is of course, public excommunication.
It is awkward, of course, for our bishops to excommunicate people for challenging their administrative decision (to fight the mandate), or even for attempting to coerce Catholics into supporting evil, when the same bishops have been unwilling to excommunicate the same persons for contradicting the Church's moral teachings, giving grave scandal, and wreaking widespread havoc in society as a whole. It almost seems selfish; it is almost like saying we don't care how much you hurt yourself and others as long as you do not attack your bishops.
At the same time, the direct attack on the bishops through the HHS mandate is marvellously clarifying. If there were any ambiguity before, that ambiguity has been removed by the effort to coerce rather than simply ignore the Church. Further, just because the bishops should have acted more decisively long ago does not make it wrong for them to act decisively now, especially in response to a further provocation. Sometimes it takes a decisive moment to get people to shift direction, but when they do shift direction, they start doing many things that their timidity has prevented in the past. If the bishops have really reached their decisive moment, they will show it by fighting with more than mere words.
Yes. It is time to take the gloves off. Catholic politicians have gotten a pass for far too long. Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi have traveled far beyond the bounds of Canon 915. Formal excommunication is more than warranted.
The pseudo-magisterium of cafeteria catholics must be neutered post haste.
Some may be wondering who is going to win the battle for authority in the U.S. Catholic Church: The pseudo-magisterium or the bishops. I know one thing for certain: Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, so where does that leave the pseudo-magisterium and it's followers?
Pray for the bishops, that they may remain steadfast.
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