Civilization, climate change, homosexuality, Jesus Christ, liberation theology, Pope Francis, ritual, sexual abuse of children, The Catholic Church, The Gospel
I have been, of late, watching the difficulties of the Catholic Church. There is every indication the Church, across the globe, may be far more corrupt, particularly in the tolerance, even the advocacy of the sexual abuse of children by priests and even higher ranking clergy than has heretofore been imagined. Such abuse seems to be primarily homosexual in orientation, and obviously encompasses the active violation of priestly vows of celibacy, to say nothing of violation of the law.
Most disturbing are the actions of the Pope, which seem to be informed more by his leftist political views than by adherence to the Gospel. Priests and popes are, of course, only human. One must primarily judge a religion by its adherence to the scriptures, not by the failings of its all too human clergy, but when a Pope abandons fundamental church teachings, such as that on homosexuality, that is a different matter.
Tolerance is not, for a second, the issue. The Bible is more than clear, and more than once, on homosexuality, and no less an authority than Jesus Christ made it clear marriage is between a man and his wife, not a man assuming the social role of “wife.” Individuals may choose to ignore or honor the teachings of the Gospel–and Christ Himself–as they please, but presumable, the Pope may not.
I was therefore gratified to find an article in The American Spectator from my favorite Bookworm on the troubles of the Church. I have often mentioned and linked to her work at Bookworm Room and encourage you, gentle readers, to visit daily–after your daily visit to this scruffy little blog, of course. She is one of our finest minds and writers, far beyond that which passes for good writing in the Lamestream Media and Punditocracy. She eloquently addresses the issues:
Pope Francis, however, is taking the Church in new directions. He is not creatively interpreting or delicately eliding Catholic doctrine. He is, instead, undermining it. Long before Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò accused Pope Francis of returning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to active duty after Pope Benedict had essentially exiled him gross sexual malfeasance, Francis had been pushing to upend Church teachings on homosexuality.
For example, just a few months ago, Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay man who was the victim of clerical abuse, stated that Pope Francis told him, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.’ Putting aside the Pope’s factual error, because it was probably priestly sexual abuse, not God, that put the Cruz on the path to homosexuality, what’s significant is that the Vatican never challenged a report that the Pope abandoned entirely traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Cruz’s report was only the latest in Pope Francis’s gay-friendly positions. In his first year in the papacy, when a reporter asked him about a ‘gay lobby,’ he refused to answer. Instead, he shot back his own question: ‘Who am I to judge?’ Thing about it: The administrative and spiritual head of the Catholic Church was refusing to agree with Church doctrine holding that gay sex is wrong.
Who is he to judge?! He’s the head of the oldest–the first–Christian church, by doctrine infallible in church teaching. He is of a direct line of descent from Peter, the rock upon which Christ built the church. He is the Vicar of Christ, responsible for faithfully spreading and defending the Gospel. What more would he have to be to judge such matters? What more could he be?
Christian doctrine is to love the sinner–we all sin–but to recognize sin for what it is: in opposition to the Word of God, in opposition to his blueprint–if you will–for living. Presumably, the Pope, and all Christian clergy, accept this?
In my youth, filled with the passion, unwarranted certainty and blindness of youth, I resisted ritual and doctrine as I resisted all authority. I found it boring, antiquated and unnecessary, an impediment to my enlightened understanding of…well, actually I didn’t understand much, and certainly not nearly as much as I imagined. I have, for more than a decade, been a professional singer in an Anglican church, and with age has come, perhaps, a modicum of wisdom. Ritual is now comforting, and I find, more and more, greater depth and understanding in its practice. I feel a connection reaching back millennia to Christians whose faith and sacrifice made possible all we now enjoy, and I hear, faintly, their voices as I sing music that fills the soul and transcends the ages.
It is therefore distressing to find the Pope, and a great many other clergy of other denominations, consciously veering away from the Gospel into petty contemporary politics, in effect, substituting for the Gospel the doctrine of man, particularly progressive man. Bookworm explains:
Francis’s obsessive focus on climate change also veers closer to Progressive Gaia worship than one would expect from the leader of the Catholic Church. His 2015 encyclical demanding action on climate change is a Progressive dream document:
[Climate change] represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.
Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change. However, many of these symptoms indicate that such effects will continue to worse if we continue with current models of production and consumption.
I almost expected the encyclical to wrap up with an exhortation to reduce to one the number of antiperspirants available to consumers.
By all means, take the link and read her entire article. It is an important article, and offers a convincing argument about how the Church has come to this sorry present. I leave you, gentle readers, with her final observation:
I’m Jewish, so it’s reasonable to ask why I care so much about this canker eating away at the heart of the Catholic Church. The answer is simple: I care because I believe that Judeo-Christian civilization a bulwark against mankind’s innate savagery, something the Holocaust reminded us is barely held in check. Moreover, I believe that the Catholic Church is one of the essential bulwarks of this civilization. Bring it down and there is very little left to protect us from our worst, basest, most murderous instincts.
Civilization is, as it has always been, all too easily lost, and its descent begins from within the hearts of every man and woman.
Phil (the other one) said:
Mike, like you I was raised anglican. When my kids were school age, we found only the catholic church had Christian schools for k-8 and mostly all of the Christian high schools. So we put our girls there. I found the local priest and the congregation to be of deep faith and good people. The real issue, from what I can see, is we live in a very sexually promiscuously society today – much more so than when we were kids – and priests in the Catholic church are not permitted to marry. My late friend Jerry Pournelle, who knew a lot more about this kind of thing than I do, told me the chastity requirement started about 1000 years ago because of property ownership. Back then, the parish priest by common law owned the parish. If he had kids did they inherit? It was not clear, so the pope at the time declared the requirement of chastity. That’s been solved in modern times. The local diocese is a corporation and it owns all of the parishes. So let the priests marry, have normal sex and we can probably solve this issue.
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear Phil (the other one):
I’m not actually Anglican, but I play one at rehearsals and on Sunday mornings.
Phil (the other one) said:
Oh, and run this current pope out. We need another John Paul II. As usual, the arrogance of man tries to drown out the word of GOD.
Old Guy said:
Statistics do not show Catholic priest abuse boys in any greater number than members of other profession. Or that exposer to abuse leads a victim to homosexual behavior.
The problem is that the church did not remove the priests from positions in the church and did not report the offenses to the legal authorities to be dealt with under the criminal statutes. This lead to the repeated commissions of the abuse by the same priests. Criminal behavior should be handled by the criminal justice system.
As priests, they are expected to be above statistics. Zero is the correct number for members of the Holy See.
Mike McDaniel said:
Old Guy said:
Zero is the correct number for all groups and professions.
March Hare said:
Correct, Old Guy.
I am old enough to remember when the Boy Scouts had a similar scandalmof abuse, back in the 1980’s. These were men who were expected to lead the boys, to help them on the path to becoming good men themselves. The broken trust hit those of us in the Scouting Community hard. Scout Leaders do not take a vow of celibacy–predators saw this as an opportunity.
A celibate priesthood also means the priests are always very to serve the Church. There are no divided loyalties between family obligations and pastoral ones.
Old Guy said:
I have never that priest celibacy was a good idea but that is not the cause. I believe most of the Scout Masters were married and many of the school teachers who abuse are married.
The question to me is structure and how the organization, in this case the church deals with offenders. Keeping it secret is not a way yo handle it.
A good article and a good point. I am a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church and there is no doubt that there has been a homosexual subculture in the priesthood and hierarchy for years (at least in the USA). The issue at hand is not pedophilia, as reported in much of the mainstream media and generally accepted as true, but rather pederasty, or the abuse of young men by older men. In some cases, this is a criminal offense, but as far as I am concerned even “consensual” relations between a prelate and a younger man who is in formation should be grounds for laicization (defrocking).
There is no excuse for prelates who fail to follow their sacred vows nor for those who enable or ignore their behavior. When a Cardinal is exposed as s serial predator, one can be sure that there is plenty of rot that needs to be dealt with.
Pope Francis has done some good things and some confusing things. Clearly he wants to move beyond theology and reach out to the divorced and remarried, but he has an annoying habit of making ambiguous statements in matters of settled doctrine. He goes beyond annoying when he enters the political and economic realms and makes statements on matters in which the Church has never claimed any expertise. Too many of his episcopal appointments have gone to social justice advocates (Cupich is a primary example…if you want to read something unintentionally amusing, read his response following the Orlando nightclub massacre).
I wish Benedict hadn’t resigned. We need strong and resolute leadership at this point in Church history and not silence. We also need justice.
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear deacon blues:
Thanks for your great comment. It seems clear too many in the church have come to believe their own welfare and the reputation of the church is more important than living the Gospel and serving as priests. It’s hard to imagine a greater moral betrayal.
The goal of Marxism is to perfect mankind and create a socialist utopia, a heaven on Earth. Marxism becomes their religion. I firmly believe that one cannot be a Marxist and a Christian. The Pope is clearly a Marxist, given his public positions on non-theological matters of economics, the environment, and immigration, and therefore he cannot be Catholic. The children and seminarians who are being abused and betrayed really aren’t as important as his quest to save the environment. As one of Stalin’s henchmen said, “Why wail over broken eggs when we are trying to make an omelette!”
Two Phil’s on one thread. Oh my. Should I change my name to…Philibuster?
“Bring it down and there is very little left to protect us from our worst, basest, most murderous instincts.”
The Cathars were unavailable for comment.