Last week the Pope released an Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM a detailed treatise on spreading the Gospel both within and outside the christian community as he put it

I have chosen to present some guidelines which can encourage and guide the whole Church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality. (17)

The primary message is the invitation to the Gospel

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.

The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.

And above all the duty to preach the Gospel to those who have rejected it

 we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him (15 ) [emphasis in original]

This is likely a huge surprise to all those who have listened to the MSM and believe the Pope’s letter primary subject is the evils of capitalism, but when one actually reads the piece they will be surprised at what they see:

Reminders of how Christianity should not be joyless: “lives seem like Lent without Easter” (6)

reminds us “ That the teaching of the Gospel “has to be reflected by the teacher’s way of life” (42)

talks of the need for patience with those walking progressively toward redemption  (44)

How the message should be delivered  (156)

Dignity in work in addition to charity  (192)

Ineffectual idealism with no basis in reality (232)

Faith reason and science (242)

That might be a surprise to those who only heard the reports on economics but there is more, a LOT more.  The Pope also toucheds on some vital issues  the media has been dodging:

Like human trafficking

 Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved?  Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses,in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labour? (211)

The persecution of Christians worldwide:

We also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise.  On occasion these may take the form of veritable attacks on religious freedom or new persecutions directed against Christians; in some countries these have reached alarming levels of hatred and violence.(61)
And specifically challenges to Muslim nations
We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! (233)
These are all huge issues internationally but the media in their rush to turn the Pope into a socialist somehow missed them.

While the left may not have noticed, those issues, there are other parts of EVANGELII GAUDIUM that I suspect they simply want to suppress such as his challenges to a phony sense of “diversity”,

When we, for our part, aspire to diversity, we become self-enclosed, exclusive and divisive; similarly, whenever we attempt to create unity on the basis of our human calculations, we end up imposing a monolithic uniformity. This is not helpful for the Church’s mission (131)

Say WHAT?

That certainly won’t play well in academic halls and this section on openness won’t play well at some Catholic institutions of higher learning populated by his fellow Jesuits

 True openness involves remaining steadfast in one’s deepest convictions, clear and joyful in one’s own identity, while at the same time being “open to understanding those of the other party” and “knowing that dialogue can enrich each side”.  What is not helpful is a diplomatic openness which says “yes” to everything in order to avoid problems, for this would be a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others. (251)
Nor will they love this on some scientific opinions as a “dogma of faith”.
Whenever the sciences – rigorously focused on their specific field of inquiry– arrive at a conclusion which reason cannot refute, faith does not contradict it. Neither can believers claim that a scientific opinion which is attractive but not sufficiently verified has the same weight as a dogma of faith. At times some scientists have exceeded the limits of their scientific competence by making certain statements or claims. But here the problem is not with reason itself, but with the promotion of a particular ideology which blocks the path to authentic, serene and productive dialogue (243)
I’m sure some Hockey Sticks are being shattered in anger over that
It goes without saying they didn’t like this direct attack on Abortion:
This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.  On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?

Abortion not a progressive solution in the case of rape or extreme poverty?  That was the entire basis of several democrat senate campaigns last year.

All of these themes and pieces of the Pope Apostolic Exhortation that the left does not want you to see, but if there is a single section that above all else, can not, nay MUST NOT be discussed and embraced by the general public, it’s this: (all emphasis mine)

A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.  The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace. (255)

When considering the effect of religion on public life, one must distinguish the different ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalizations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realizing that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same. Some politicians take advantage of this confusion to justify acts of discrimination. At other times, contempt is shown for writings which reflect religious convictions, overlooking the fact that religious classics can prove meaningful in every age; they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they arose in a context of religious belief ? These writings include principles which are profoundly humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious symbols and teachings, they have a certain value for reason (256)
Imagine just for a moment what would happen to the pillars of the left’s cultural elite if these words were widely quoted and accepted in the greater cultural community?  How long could their house built on sand endure?
For a long time the left has railed against a pseudo church throwing hatred at a straw church that never existed, now they are throwing love at yet another Pseudo church that they are trying to create in their own image.  I’m not surprised.  Nothing could be more damaging to the institutions of the left than the people actually hearing what the Catholic Church in general and Pope Francis is actually saying in particular.
That day would spell their doom.
Update:  Words (and outside) accidentally deleted from opening paragraph, fixed
Update 2:  Ed Morrissey in the Fiscal Times gets it

 

That’s the point that the media missed. Almost all of the coverage of the document failed to note the actual purpose of the apostolic exhortation, which was to evangelize in the real world. The criticisms of capitalism – and there are more than a few lines devoted to them – frame part of the challenges faced by those who wish to evangelize, especially those who make idols out of political or economic ideologies.

The Gospel, Pope Francis insists in Evangelii Gaudium, transcends those by reminding us to be mindful of the human cost of markets, and to feel the pain of those who are impoverished rather than dismiss them as mere statistics – like “the 47 percent,” for an example.  The central point for Catholics is to evangelize the Word of God through proclamation and service, and not “capitalism,” or “socialism,” or “utopianism.” Francis scolds governments for not structuring their economies better to prevent injustices, but the emphasis in Evangelii Gaudium is on individual action.

Hey what’s a lack of context when the media has a meme to advance, and others to ignore.

Update 3:  There is a lot more at Hotair where Ed Morrissey quotes this post among others and says:

To talk exclusively about Pope Francis’ remarks on the dysfunctions of capitalism is not just to miss the forest for the trees — it misses the forest for just a couple of trees. When read in the context of Catholic teaching on economics, it becomes clear that this is no innovation, but a broad restatement of traditional Catholic teaching that emphasizes personal engagement. That, however, doesn’t make for big headlines.

Nor does it advance the left’s agenda.

Update 4:  Could it be an issue of Translation?

Notice the differences:

  • The Spanish version states that the free market favors economic growth; the English version makes that sound like a mere theory.
  • The Spanish version says that growth by itself will not bring about social equity—a proposition that all but the most doctrinaire libertarians would accept. The English omits that important phrase.
  • In the next sentence, the Pope says that the theory described in #54 “has never been confirmed by the facts.” If he is saying that economic growth has not brought about greater equity, as the English version suggests, the facts are actually quite heavily stacked against him. If he’s saying that growth by itself hasn’t done the trick, that’s a much easier argument to defend.

The author notes how these type of Translation errors always seem to go in one ideological direction

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Olimometer 2.52

Last month for only the 2nd time since February this site failed to make Mortgage and payroll, albeit not by much. a mere $45 more a week would have put us over the top on the Mortgage and for the first payment to our magnificent Seven.

But It’s a new month and a new week which means that can all be put behind us and we can start again fresh and the best way to start it well is to try and fill that $340 weekly paycheck right at the start.

A tip jar hit of #25 from only 14 of you will get this month started the right way to get the mortgage and the magnificent Seven off to the right start. But that starts with you.

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Help us Retire DaTipJar for special trips and occasions by being one of them.




I am a Catholic who writes for a living in the hope that my readers will like my writing enough to allow me a living. The extent of my knowledge of the faith is my life, the example of my family, what I’ve and seven years of Catholic Elementary School

You are an Archbishop a leader of the church with degrees and education far beyond me.

However for all my ignorance compared to you of the faith, let me say this concerning a quote of yours to BBC Breakfast:

“On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand we have to face all of the ambitions of modern living.”

We must work to follow Christ, we might fail, we might sin, we might not understand but we must work to follow Christ, and aid other people to do so.

Following Christ is how we in fact deal all of the ambitions of the modern are or any age.

There IS no other hand!

That is all.

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Olimometer 2.52

Today starts a new week meaning a new chance to make not only the weekly paycheck to cover the mortgage and the Magnificent Seven but a new batch of news and events worth your time and effort.

We will as always do our best to bring you the best commentary and coverage of the weeks events as we can. And in return we ask for your eyes and patronage from 17 of you to the tune of $20

If you think that’s an equable exchange, please consider hitting daTipjar below

“It takes about five miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. But I think we started the motion.”

Congressman Allen West

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters #12

Today I’m going to be flat-out at the Madonna Della Cava festival so other than any kind of posts by my co-bloggers this is likely going to be it.

On Thursday I got into several discussions concerning Homosexuality & the Church, Gay adoption etc and I was standing with Lisa Graas.

One might think because I have a different take or a less confrontational style and generally enjoy the debate itself that I might not be as rigid as Lisa on doctrine.  This assumption would be a mistake.  Doctrine is what it is and I’m certainly not going to change it, nor should I consider trying.

While I don’t have Lisa’s directness I do have a style I’m mindful of this scripture from Paul

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law.  To those outside the law I became like one outside the law – though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ – to win over those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. 1 Cor 9 19-22

I will do my best to empathize with any person and maintain a speaking relationship because you can’t persuade someone who is so angry that they will not listen, but in doing so I will not and can not justify a decision toward sin, particularly mortal sin.  Nor will I call it good or allow a fellow Catholic in particular to do so.

My plan is the CS Lewis Screwtape plan in reverse.  I’m not expecting to convert anyone I’m only hoping to as Col West described it start to turn the carrier make people think.

As long as the seeds of that movement are planted the potential for that  turn is there and if one can get someone moving in the right direction, and authentically searching for God’s Truth it’s highly likely God will give a person a path there.

I don’t discount sin, I have my own to deal with and at time the temptation is overwhelming and I’m not proud of my failures, but that’s why God provides the sacrament of confession so if we fail we can get back on track and have a coach to keep us moving where we need to be.

We have a lifetime to get where we need to go.  Maybe the people I talk to will make it there, maybe not.  Maybe Lisa’s urgency as we don’t know the day or hour is better.  I honestly don’t know, but as there are many different examples as there are Saints perhaps it’s less important how we move the ball then getting the ball moving.

In many ways I think Lisa has both more courage than me & more love for people in sin than me.  If a person insists on sin and declines to speak further I stop.  Not Lisa.   She is so desperate to save strangers and those who hate her from damnation she is willing to be hated, abused, mocked, stalked and so much more for Christ.

A lot of people, particularly the non-religious mistake that for zeal or pride.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  It’s love.  Lisa loves people so much she is willing to be hated, mocked and have every calumny thrown upon her if in her mind there is the slightest chance she might persuade them and any others from mortal sin.

That takes a special kind of love & courage.  I simply don’t know if I have as much as she in either department.

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Olimometer 2.52

Sunday. A new week begins and so a new Da Weekly paycheck quest begins.

Last night with under 3 hours to go I managed to get da full paycheck proving as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.”

I’ve never made my full paycheck the very first day. It would be nice to have it happen, for me because it would be a worry free week, for you the reader because the tip jar requests would be retired till the next Sunday.

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Penny Carter: Is anyone gonna tell me what’s going on?

10th Doctor: What, you’re a journalist?

Penny Carter: Yes.

10th Doctor: Well, make it up!

Doctor Who Partners in Crime 2008

There seems to be a lot of people very worried about the media jumping all over the Pope’s statement as reported   with weeping and Gnashing of teeth. Here is the ABC report in full:

Pope Francis is reaching out to gays, saying he won’t judge priests for their sexual orientation, in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returns from his first foreign trip.

Francis says: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis is being much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

His remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil.

Before we even bother to touch this in context, lets look at it as ABC presents it.

“A person searching for the Lord and has good will” a person searching for the Lord is implicitly looking for truth, and person of good will, when finding truth will accept it. It might be hard, it might take time but a person searching the Lord will eventually find him waiting with arms open.

In other words, he is saying the Doctrine of the church as it has been, the problem being the MSM has always painted the church as something it is not.

This of course is not the message the media is transmitting or even wanting to transmit. The left is looking to spin this as: The Pope says Gay sex is OK and the low information voter might fall for it.

Catholics should not.

Now let’s look at it all in context. There are several issues, lets take them one by one:

Pope Francis told reporters, “I did what canon law said must be done, I ordered an ‘investigation brevia,’ and this investigation found nothing.”

The pope continued by talking about how “many times in the church, outside this case, but also in this one, we go searching for the sins — of one’s youth, for example — for publicity. I’m not talking about crimes here — the abuse of a minor is a crime — but of sins.”

There is a difference between sin and crime. You won’t always find crime when you look at a person but you’ll always be able to find sin because that is the nature of humanity:

“But if a person, whether a layperson, priest or sister, goes to confession and converts, the Lord forgives. And when the Lord forgives, he forgets. This is important,” he said, because those who want the Lord to forget their sins should forget those of others.

That is the whole point of confession, to have our sins forgiven. Even if we haven’t conquered them, even if we are still struggling with sin and wrestling with it as Jacob did with the angel.

“St. Peter committed one of the biggest sins ever — he denied Christ — and he made him pope,” Pope Francis said.

That’s some serious perspective. Now comes the quote the media is going nuts over.

“A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him?” the pope said.

I’ve already gone over this but with the context above the message is even clearer.  Stripped of all context it’s easier to spin, in context it’s a lot harder.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society.

Again this is clearly stated by anyone who has read it.

The problem isn’t this (homosexual) orientation — we must be like brothers and sisters.

We are all sinners and falling short of the glory of God, otherwise Christ’s sacrifice would not have been needed.

The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby.”

BINGO! Once we define ourselves, are lives and our actions based on sin, or based on our desire for sin everything changes. Instead of being the woman caught in sin accepting the forgiveness Christ offers her:

Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.”

we instead answer back:

But Jesus, I like this sin, I enjoy this sin and who are you to really say this is sin? Maybe you should reconsider.

The media is setting two traps with the same bait. The media want both the uninformed about the faith and the faithful to think the Pope is saying something he is not and on the later Satan is helping out using the most effective temptation of all, the sin of pride.

Let’s not fall for either. I’ll give the last word to the Anchoress:

To proclaim a Gospel of Mercy and then only permit a man or woman who has converted their lives in Christ to assume lesser or menial positions is to say we do not trust our own teaching — Christ’s own teaching — about mercy. The pope is correct; by that way of thinking, Peter would never have been given the keys to the kingdom. We are the church of Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Paul; sinners who were first forgiven and then trusted with prominence.


Update:
KJ Lopez at National Review:

It’s important to bear in mind that the pope today seemed (we’ve been reading partial transcripts in news stories) to be talking about men who are priests, not seminary candidates. Fundamentally, he was talking about mercy. It wasn’t a break with Benedict or a policy change but an elucidation of Church teaching (which popes don’t make up on airplane rides).

The media has not mentioned that there has been a real change in the seminaries over the last 10 years and those changes haven’t changed.

Update 2:
Lisa Graas makes a great point

Sandro Magister offers a concise explanation, in the context of the Msgr. Ricca story/scandal, of the difference in requirements re: same-sex attraction among priests, bishops and cardinals as opposed to consecrated persons. I knew this, but it leaped out at me as I read it as a point I have overlooked. A light bulb went off in my head.

Against homosexuals who live in chastity, including priests, bishops, cardinals, there is no preconceived hostility whatsoever in the Church, so much so that, in tranquility, a number of them have occupied and still occupy important positions.

What the Church does not accept is that consecrated persons, who have made a public commitment of celibacy and chastity “for the Kingdom of Heaven,” should betray their promise.

Aha. Like I said, I knew that…but it’s been going way over my head. If you want people to become saints, if you want people to know Jesus as St. Gemma did, you’re “hostile” to “gays.”

BTW that is a betrayal no matter who that vow is broken with is it’s own sin. If you have a second sin along with it that’s another story.

Update 3: Cardinal Dolan on CBS This Morning

What surprises me is that anyone is surprised

He is on the Today’s show and they are trying to pound him and he’s just letting it slide off his back.

Update 4: The Anchoress gets it so well we’ll quote her follow up post as well:

I am not sure many people fully realize what Francis did on that plane, so let me tell you: he neutralized the power of the media narrative; he exposed the truth that in Christ there is mercy and forgiveness, and that the church exists to offer this in his name; he set whatever “gay lobby” exists in the church on notice that while he has no intention of acting as gay-priest-witch-hunter, he won’t tolerate a bloc acting against the interests of the church.

in fact we’ll quote two of them:

As Mollie Hemingway pointed out at Get Religion, any pope discussing gay anything will make headlines. In this case, nothing Francis actually said about homosexuality was new. In fact, in these two quotes Francis is doing nothing more than pronouncing long-standing Catholic teaching on homosexuality, sin, and the mercy of God.

Let that sink in for a moment: A pope is teaching the Christian faith, and the press is accurately quoting him, in blazing headlines that everyone will read.

The Press doesn’t know what he is doing but the Holy Spirit does.

Update 5: Fr Longenecker

So if you think the mainstream media are pleased about Pope Francis the rock star pope. Think again. They’re hopping mad….

…but they’re not going to show it.

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Olimometer 2.52

I’m pretty close to my best month ever (very odd for a July) both in terms of DatipJar and in terms of page views, but the quest for the weekly paycheck continues unabated.

$253 more dollars Basically 13 Tip jar hitters of $20 this week will get me there, If you would care to be one of them hit datipJar below

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I would normally ignore the new attempt of the 60’s “Catholic” crowd to con the church into re-defining sin to accommodate their proclivities, particularly after Mark Shea delivered the perfect one line takedown:

Some people have lived 44 years since 1968. Some people have lived 1968 44 times.

and a follow up by Tom McDonald longer but just as good:

Their complaints are the usual litany of tediousness: less pope, more sex. That’s really it. That’s what it all boils down to: children who don’t like being told what to do with their gentiles by an adult. It’s not like they’re in a screaming hurry to rewrite our understanding of the dual nature of Christ in the incarnation, or dismantle the preferential option for the poor. They’re only attacking this make-believe boogeyman (“authority”) because it’s in the way of gettin’ biddy.

Their prescription is lots and lots of voting: voting on everything from bishops to condoms. Democracy may be a fine fit for running the occasional town meeting and deciding who gets eaten first when the rations run out on the lifeboat, but apply democracy to eternal truths, and you’ll have those Ten Commandments whittled down to three in no time at all. And that’s what they’re suggesting: putting the faith up to a vote. First order of business is to amend “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” to add “unless she’s totally HAWT!” Can I see a show of hands? Sorry, Mr. Kennedy, you may only vote once.

But what really struck me was a particular joke he led with:

Their motto for the past 40 years? “Too lazy to convert to Protestantism.”

But the more I thought about it the more the question came up, Why HAVEN’T they in all these year converted if they thought the church was wrong? Sure some are drawing church pay but surely some like Hans Kung could find an excellent financial reward as a former Catholic, and others would be lionized by press and by various churches for abandoning the faith.

That’s when it hit me. The problem isn’t because they don’t believe in the church, it’s because they still do.

One of the important aspects of confession is contrition, even if you are trapped in a cycle of repetitive sin, like say gambling or porn at the time of confession if you actually regret your sin and attempt to amend your ways you are forgiven. You may relapse, you may sin again but if you are actually trying, actually resisting and actually trying to amend your ways that makes all the difference.

But what if you aren’t sorry for your sins? What if isn’t a question of being trapped in a cycle of sin, but enjoying, celebrating and loving your sins and don’t want to give them up? What if you go into that confessional knowing you aren’t sorry for your sins and can’t wait to commit them again?

Can this be done? Well there is in fact a way:

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt 16:15-19 Matthew 16:18-19

Note how Christ phrases this, not might be bound, or could be bound but shall be bound.

That leave them an opening, if they can somehow, by some quirk of fate, by some miraculous shift by the Church and the Holy Father their sins can vanish, not by repentance of sin or abstinence of sin, but redefining what sin actually is suddenly all the things they celebrate become pure as the driven snow, something to be enjoyed again and again without the slightest fear of eternity.

The logical question would be: Why bother with such an impossible task? Why not simply choose a Protestant denomination that embraces those particular sins or even one that simply preaches “Once Saved Always Saved”. That would solve the problem wouldn’t it.

Well it would except for one thing. They understand the truth of the Church..

Moral sin, the recipe for damnation, requires three things: 1. Grave Matter, 2. Deliberation 3. Understanding. If one doesn’t know the church due to never being properly taught (either from the inside or outside) that third vital piece needed to achieve mortal sin can’t be achieved.

But these people know the church, they have understanding and worse of all they KNOW the consequences of said understanding. To deliberately leave while believing the church is true is simply self damnation.

So instead they stay, hoping upon hope that best case, they will get the church to see things their way, or barring that hope they will get a chance for absolution just before the moment of death, playing the 3 in their hand hoping upon hope that the church is holding a deuce.

Me I wouldn’t bet my soul on it.

They say deceit is the tribute dishonesty gives to the truth, ironically in their feeble attempt at self-justification our friends at Church Authority are doing they same their insistence on remaining Catholic declares to all the world that this is the place for salvation.

God certainly does work in mysterious ways.

“I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me.

Exodus 20:2-3

Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”… Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters VII (Glasgow: Collins, 1942

You must choose, but choose wisely

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989

We talked about the Vatican investigation of the LCWA a while back. Well the fruits of that investigation are complete:

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has called for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and named Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its Archbishop Delegate for the initiative. Bishop Leonard Blair and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki also were also named to assist in this effort.

The document uses a lot of words to get to the nittygritty of the problem:

“The Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated life,” calling it a crisis “characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration.

So the problem with these nuns pretty much is they wish to be social workers rather than you know, followers of Christ and members of the church. C.S. Lewis saw this coming years ago warning:

we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even to social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience.

and the final result is the LCWR.

So now the Cardinal and the Bishops are going to get involved, very involved and feminists in the church are outraged that Catholic organizations are going to be expected to you know be Catholic. When you have the National Catholic Reporter referring to the Bishop of Seattle as “Anti-gay” (look at the title of the post before it was modified) because he follows church teaching and opposes mortal sin, and they are just one of a litany of liberal Catholics urging defiance.

You know there is a reason why Pride is first on the list of deadly sins.

As I have said many times, Catholicism is a purely voluntary activity and those who don’t wish to practice have literally thousands of protestant denominations to choose from or no denomination at all. This isn’t Cuba and nobody is going to stop you from leaving the Island if you want to.

But if you are going to be in a Catholic religious order, it is not too much to ask you to follow Catholic Teaching because you are an example to others. If you are encouraging sin, you are part of the problem not the solution:

It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,

The only reason to be a Christian in general or a Catholic in particular is because it is true, if you think so then the right and the smart thing to do is to is to work with the Bishops and well, be Catholic.

If you don’t, then fine, fight the church. I’m sure you will be supported by many and celebrated by media and the culture for the rest of your days…

…after that you’re on your own.

Father Z post on the story of Fr. Marcel Guarnizo who has apparently been suspended for respecting the sacraments and the rules of confession:

If a Quaker, a Lutheran or a Buddhist, desiring communion had introduced himself as such, before Mass, a priest would be obligated to withhold communion. If someone had shown up in my sacristy drunk, or high on drugs, no communion would have been possible either. If a Catholic, divorced and remarried (without an annulment) would make that known in my sacristy, they too according to Catholic doctrine, would be impeded from receiving communion. This has nothing to do with canon 915. Ms. Johnson’s circumstances are precisely one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching. Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.

Or to put it another way. If I present myself for communion as a Catholic knowing I need confession I am committing mortal sin, but the priest has no way of knowing that. If the priest however knew that was the case, then he is ethically obliged to withhold communion to not be complicit in Mortal Sin.

So what did Fr. Guarnizo know and when did he know it concerning the lady in question? Funny you should ask…

A few minutes before the Mass began, Ms. Johnson came into the sacristy with another woman whom she announced as her “lover”. Her revelation was completely unsolicited.

and was not all that polite about it either:

As I attempted to follow Ms.Johnson, her lover stood in our narrow sacristy physically blocking my pathway to the door. I politely asked her to move and she refused.

It sounds to me like we have another Sandra Fluke, a person who was looking for confrontation and even worse, was using the occasion of a death of her mother to do so.

Fr. Guarnizo nails it here:

Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.

Fr. Z in charity to the diocese says this:

Fr. G was subsequently put on administrative leave in that Archdiocese for reasons, so it seems, other than the lesbian/Communion event. More information is forthcoming and in justice I need to post it

I would be interested in hearing exactly what they are claiming is the cause but my first thought is this: The diocese is making the same kind of mistake that the Bishops did 15 years ago and more during the sexual scandals. They are making a decision based on fear of what people would think. In the previous example they hid illegal behavior to prevent the embarrassment of scandal what people would say or think and it led to disaster . While the is no civil crime or physical harm in play, absent evidence to the contrary (which I’ll post if it becomes available) one must assume that the administration is once again acting in fear.

One must never forget that there is only one reason to be Catholic, because it is true. And what does Christ say about that:

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.

And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

John 6:60-66

Christ never based truth on popularity, neither should his Archdiocese.

Update: Via commentator Lionel Andrades Ed Peters, who knows Canon Law a lot better than me, thinks I’m wrong here:

The chief norm requiring the faithful to prepare well for the worthy reception of holy Communion is Canon 916. Of its nature, however, Canon 916, dealing essentially with internal forum matters, does not (any more than do several other canons in the Code) lend itself to exterior enforcement by ecclesiastical authority. Canon 916 binds gravely in conscience and an accounting to God of one’s conduct under that canon (or at any rate, under the values it protects) will be owed by each Catholic at Judgment. But Canon 916 itself is not regarded as an object of external-forum enforcement by ministers of holy Communion.

In contrast, Canon 915 binds ministers, not recipients. Prescinding from rarely encountered excommunication and interdict situations, Canon 915 lays out several distinct conditions that must be simultaneously satisfied before a minister of Holy Communion may (and indeed, should) withhold the Eucharist from a member of the faithful. To justify withholding the Eucharist under Canon 915 according to its plain terms, the conduct in which a communicant perseveres must be obstinate, manifest, grave, and sinful. These conditions must be understood and assessed according to the Church’s canonical tradition, else, one is no longer talking about the law of the Catholic Church.

The whole thing is kind of a heavy read but the gist is that in this particular case the decision belongs to the recipient even if it involves sin, rather than the priest.

Read the whole thing but bottom line I’m certainly going to defer to Mr. Peters in a case like this.

Yesterday my youngest son received the sacrament of confirmation. In his homily Bishop McManus extorted the candidates to have the courage of their faith saying how hard it is to be a Catholic in the modern world. This is certainly true, it requires courage which is the root of most virtues.

I couldn’t help think of that when I saw this argument on Gay Marriage that is being made by Tim Muldoon:

My thesis is that Christians ought to let go of the legal argument about what states should call “marriage,” and simply model the radical call of Jesus to live “what God has joined together.”

His basic argument is that the legal fight puts the prohibition on the “freedom” door which gives sympathy to the other side. He further believes we should instead model our lives after Christ and make the moral case outside of the courts and legislatures.

The second part of the argument isn’t bad, after all we should be modeling our life after Christ anyway and we need to be reminded of it on occasion. Christ should always be our primary focus.

Let’s however take the logical extension to the first argument and substitute some words in that paragraph (in bold) on a different Catholic social issue:

My thesis is that Christians ought to let go of the legal argument about what states or the federal government does about “abortion,” and simply model the radical call of Jesus to live “what God has joined together.”

Run that through your head a bit and while you’re at it consider this argument of his as well:

Gamaliel’s insight was that new ideas that are not rooted in God eventually fade away, but new ideas that are rooted in God are here to stay.

I guess Gamaliel has the insight that Islam is definitely from God as is every other polytheistic religion and the reformation.

Part of being Catholic is to acknowledge specific truths and fighting for them. It isn’t easy, we will face ridicule, we will face condemnation, we will be called bigots and we will be excoriated by the media elite, but if you look at scripture you will find that it’s part of the job description.

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. John 15:18-24

It’s much easier to avoid the legal fight, you face a lot less grief, that is the temptation apparent in Tim’s argument, but I say there is no reason why we can’t make both the legal argument and the moral case that Tim Muldoon is calling for. Rather than running from these fights meekly we need to boldly make these arguments trusting in prayer and the Holy Spirit to lead us correctly in deeds, in argument and in Christian charity for those we disagree with.

What is it going to be?

Update: An important point I forgot to make. As I said there is nothing wrong with making the legal fight or the political one on social issues, in fact it is important. It is also vital that we don’t fall into the trap of making the fight more important than the faith that drives it.

In response to my post concerning my neighbor the Jehovah’s Witness Lisa Graas wrote an interesting post:

For two millenia, the Catholic Church has named countless saints. These are people we know to be in Heaven. It is important to note, though, that the Church has never once named any individual to be in Hell. There is a reason for that. God saves whom He will.

The saints are people who lived lives of heroic virtue. DaTechGuy’s neighbor demonstrated an act of virtue. He did something that was ‘saintly’. Is he going to Hell because he is a Jehovah Witness? I have no idea. Having said that, I also don’t know if Attila the Hun is in Hell. I do know that St. Augustine is in Heaven. I know that St. Ambrose is in Heaven. I know that St. Jerome is in Heaven. St. Maria Goretti, the Martyrs of Cordoba, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Gemma Galgani are all in heaven ….and so on, and so on, and so on. They were all Catholic. Even Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was Catholic.

That’s what we know for sure.

That is certainly true, it is also true by definition a Saint is a person who is in fact in heaven. There are a large amount of saints that we have never heard of or may never hear of.

She is also quite correct in the doctrinal errors of the Witnesses. I have regularly debated these errors with them when they come to the door and I let them in as I do with all the Millerite religions.

One must remember however that one of the requirement for Mortal Sin is an understanding of the sin, there is a difference between not knowing the truth and denying it. There is also the question of Baptism of intent as I wrote before:

The final method of baptism is called Baptism of desire and is explained here:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. emphasis mine

Thus a Muslim, a Hindu a Jew or a person of any denomination who does not know the Gospel of Christ or a native of Tahiti before the time of Captain Cook would all qualify assuming that they, seek the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it so in the eyes of the Catholic church anyone who does this IS a considered a baptized member of the church (although not in full communion with the Catholic Church).

Many non Catholics and non Christians are offended by this (as are some Catholics) then again some are offended by the teachings on adultery or on celibacy or holy communion or whatever. The church doesn’t change its doctrine based on feelings or polling..

Thus my friend across the street (assuming his Baptism is not considered valid) may in fact qualify as Baptized via this method.

All of this doesn’t change what I have said over and over: There is only one reason to be a Christian in general and/or a Catholic in particular. Because it is true and on that note there is no compromise, there is no equivocation.

This is an excellent opportunity to bring up my pastor’s excellent message from the Jan 16th bulletin on the subject:

Dear Friends,
John the Baptist makes a claim about Jesus which every Christian must affirm: “Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God.” Jesus is categorically different from any other great religious teacher because He claims for Himself Divinity, to be the fully divine incarnation of God on earth. Either He is delusional or we have to take Him at His word.

There is no middle ground. We cannot say He was mistaken in His core beliefs about who He was while at the same time assert that He is a great teacher. You can’t have it both ways.

There is a very important difference between saying all religions should be respected and all religions are the same. As Catholic Christians, we insist on complete freedom of conscience and religious freedom for all. That is not the same thing as saying all religion is the same. All religions have the same rights, but as Christians, we must assert that Jesus Christ is the unique Savior of the entire human race. In a world of intellectual relativity, where nothing is fact and all is opinion, that seems to be the height of arrogance. But there is also such a thing as Truth. Truth cannot be imposed or forced on anyone. We are called to be witnesses to the truth with love. We are called to affirm our faith in Jesus Christ and to make Him known.

It is the duty of every Catholic in particular and every Christian in general to proclaim the gospel of Christ. As St. Francis of Assisi said:

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words

Works for me.

Apparently there is a hospital in Arizona that is unclear on the concept of what being a “Catholic” hospital means as Fr. Z explains:

St. Joseph’s Hospital, run by the Religious Sisters of Mercy with the administration of Catholic Healthcare West based in San Francisco, at the okay of their ethics panel, did a direct abortion. They have also provided contraceptive services and, apparently, done other abortions

Unless you get your Catholicism from MSNBC you know this is what we in Catholic Circles call Mortal Sin thus the local Bishop has done what a local Bishop is supposed to do in such a case:

By virtue of my Episcopal authority as the Ordinary of the Particular Church of the Diocese of Phoenix, and in accord with Canon 216 of the Code of Canon Law, I hereby revoke my consent for the following organization to utilize in any way the name “Catholic”.
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ

As you might guess some of the usual suspects are up in arms:

“Catholic Healthcare West and its system hospitals are valued members of the Catholic Health Association,” said that group’s president, Sister Carol Keehan. Her remarks came less than 24 hours after the Bishop of Phoenix stripped one of those hospitals, St. Joseph’s in Phoenix, of its Catholic affiliation.

You might remember Sr. Keehan as the $800,000 a yr. Nun who helped back Obamacare and its abortion provisions, as I noted before there is considerable inflation since 29 ad and 30 pieces of Silver.

The article goes on to explain who is in charge here:

As for who truly “speaks for the Catholic Church,” the cardinal left no room for doubt: “The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them.”

That means if you want to be Catholic you listen to the Bishop and the church not to an organization contradicting them or a nun who has a flexible definition of the vow of poverty.

Fr Z bottom lines it:

You may be tempted to think, “Is that all the bishop can do? Remove this symbol? Remove the title ‘Catholic’?” But, had this been a Methodist Hospital, would it matter if the hospital lost its “Methodist” title? Would it matter if it kept it? No, because symbols are not important to Methodists in the way they are to Catholics. Catholicism is immersed in a profoundly symbolic world, like no other religion in history.

When a Catholic bishop issues a formal decree to confirm that you have stripped yourself of your Catholic identity, that is monumental. This is what schism smells like, friends.

Be clear: the administration of the hospital stripped itself of its Catholic identity and Bp. Olmsted confirmed their decision.

As for Sr. Keehan et/al they are certainly welcome to do what they want and say what they want and I’m sure the mainstream media and this administration will back and honor them for the rest of their lives…

…after that they’re on their own.