Thursday, September 03, 2009

"Cardinal, you got some 'splainin' to do..."


And he did.
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Cardinal Sean explained why he was at Kennedy's funeral.
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Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley last night issued a forceful defense of his decision to participate in the funeral of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, an appearance that has drawn sharp criticism from some conservative Catholics because of Kennedy’s ardent support for abortion rights.
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He warned against “harsh judgments’’ and attributing “the worst motives’’ to people with whom Catholics have disagreements, saying “these attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church.’’
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“If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness,’’ he added, “it will be doomed to marginalization and failure.’’ And to those who argued that Kennedy did not merit a Catholic funeral because of his support for abortion rights, the cardinal wrote: “In the strongest terms I disagree with that position.’’ - Boston.com
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I knew that.
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I figured that one out myself - why the Cardinal was there and why Kennedy got a public Catholic funeral: Pastoral reasons.
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“As archbishop of Boston, I considered it appropriate to represent the church at this liturgy out of respect for the senator, his family, those who attended the Mass and all those who were praying for the senator and his family at this difficult time. We are people of faith and we believe in a loving and forgiving God from whom we seek mercy.’’ - Cardinal Sean's Blog
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I get that.
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I also see another huge pastoral problem Raymond Arroyo wisely pointed out:
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In his blog, he wrote: “The prayer intercessions at the funeral Mass, the endless eulogies, the image of the cardinal archbishop of Boston reading prayers, and finally Cardinal McCarrick interring the remains sent an uncontested message: One may defy church teaching, publicly lead others astray, deprive innocent lives of their rights, and still be seen a good Catholic, even an exemplary one.’’ - Raymond's blog
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What Raymond Arroyo is doing is pointing out exactly where the scandal lies. You know what scandal is, right? On the other hand, the Cardinal seems to be dismissive of it.
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"O'Malley insists, “We will stop the practice of abortion by changing the law, and we will be successful in changing the law if we change people’s hearts,’’ he wrote. “We will not change hearts by turning away from people in their time of need and when they are experiencing grief and loss."
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“Our ability to change people’s hearts and help them to grasp the dignity of each and every life, from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death, is directly related to our ability to increase love and unity in the church, for our proclamation of the truth is hindered when we are divided and fighting with each other,’’ he wrote." - Boston Globe
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Hmmmmmm. As a pro-choice legislator, Kennedy worked - some say fought - tirelessly, for a woman's right to kill her baby, and endorsed, promoted, and campaigned for the most pro-abortion President in history to ensure that remains the law. Hopefully the Senator had a change of heart before he died - but we can't know that for certain - if he did, a public act of repentance would have been helpful. From the sounds of it, the Senator was so convinced of his self-righteousness he felt a need to inform the Pope on how well he did in support of Catholic social teaching. I wonder how he defended his position on abortion?
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All very nice - remember now, no "harsh judgements" or "attributing the worst motives" to our beloved leaders in the culture of death.
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Photo source.

24 comments:

  1. Nicely done, Terry. I didn't mince words at my blog. In fact, I was rather disappointed with his "splainin"

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  2. Anonymous12:49 PM

    I met the Cardinal yesterday. Wasn't planning on it. I just happened to be where he was. I won't get into specifics...

    Anyway, he seemed nice. I'll leave it at that as you've expressed well my opinion exactly. Actually, is it an "opinion" or is something objective: Cardinals (and all Churchmen) should not give scandal, but rather should be 'scandalous' to the world, to worldliness, to evil. A sign of contradiction...

    Cardinals wear red. But some appear to mean it.

    Patrick

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  3. This begs the question....

    If Senator Kennedy had mouthed support for pro-life (anti-abortion) legislation, but supported war and capital punishment and torture...

    would the Arroyos and Z's et al still be apoplectic?

    I think not, though I would love to be corrected.

    (As far as pastoring the local Church goes, I'll trust a Cardinal Archbishop over a news commentator or a roving, independent priest or a PAC blogger anyday.)

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  4. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Thom,

    War and capital punishment are not intrinsically evil. It is simply not just to compare those matters with abortion, which is intrinsically evil. Further, the clear and unapologetic speaking out against abortion (even against "Catholic" democrats) is simply that, and is not meant to be taken as a statement of approval of other matters which are wrong but not, by nature, evil.

    Patrick

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  5. Patrick, that's a popular talking point, but is not eveil, well, evil? Especially to those who are conscious of the Church's teaching (Just War and the requirements that make capital punishment justifiable).

    I notice that you glossed over torture, a topic that EWTN's commentators have been in direct conflict with the Magisterium over.

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  6. Austringer7:21 PM

    Thom,

    Patrick's comments reflect Church doctrine, not "popular talking points".

    CCC 2267 "The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor."

    The Church also teaches that, at least in developed counntries, other, non-letal ways are "practicable" which would make the use of capital punishment unecessary. But note that capital punishment, unlike abortion, is NOT an intrinsic evil.

    2297 ...
    Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.

    I have no problem with the Church's teaching on this one. As a societal problem, however, it simply doesn't rise to the level of 48 million innocent dead from abortion.

    As for war, I would suggest you inform yourself as to the Church's tecahing on just war. There is room for disagreement on this one: i.e.; two faithful Catholics might come to different conclusions regarding the justness of any particular war.

    Proportionality, please?? Neither do I understand your positing your three issues in some kind of "opposition"...I don't get it.

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  7. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Thom,

    It's no "talking point" (why has this somehow taken on the tone of an empty political conversation?). Evil is evil, but there are matters that can simply never be supported. Abortion is one of them. Catholics can disagree about whether a war is just or not.

    I didn't mention torture so as to contrast the difference between intrinsically evils acts like abortion from those which are non-intrinsically evil. Torture, as far as I know, would fit into the intrinsically evil category.

    My point is simply that one cannot pin a host of other, nonintrinsic evils against abortion (or something akin) so as to weigh the potential of supporting something the Church says can never be supported.

    Thom, to be frank with, I don't understand why Catholics have such a hard time understanding this.

    Patrick

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  8. I left this comment at the cardinal's blog:



    Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

    I have been pondering Pope Benedict’s words in his new encyclical “Charity in Truth”:
    “To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity.”

    To speak the truth is an indispensable form of charity, especially when that truth is unpopular. Our society does not want to hear that the unborn child must not be killed.

    Despite whatever good he did, Senator Kennedy spent the better part of his long political career actively working for legislation that would favor abortion. That is not a judgment; it is part of the public record. He even voted in favor of partial-birth abortion, a horrendous procedure in which the baby’s brains are sucked out.
    He did immense damage to the pro-life movement. Is that of any consequence in the eyes of the bishops?
    While we pray in charity for his soul, it is indeed a deep scandal for the Church to imply that his record on abortion is of no consequence. I realize you were in a difficult position, but I am deeply disappointed that the overall impression given by the funeral was that it doesn’t really matter if a Catholic politician ardently supports abortion.

    Who is speaking up for the millions of innocents who have been slaughtered and continue to die every day?
    While Ted Kennedy had a magnificent funeral, these innocent children are thrown into dumpsters. And no one weeps.

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  9. It should have been a private funeral and I told Cd. Sean so.

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  10. Sister Lorraine - thanks for your courage and witness.

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  11. I'm with Angela. It should have been a private funeral and if they wished to have a public memorial service - fine. Instead we got a public dog and pony show in a Catholic Church that IMHO was stomach churning.

    What the he** kind of message did that send to non-Catholics as well as Catholics?

    One of the commenters on Cardinal Sean's blog said it "was things like this that made it hard to be Catholic." I agree...

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  12. An excellent piece Terry, just one type-o. You wrote "Pastoral reasons" when of course the correct spelling is Pastoral Treasons.

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  13. The Church could save a lot of money training priests and grroming them for the episcopacy if they would just put the laity in charge of all of the decision making!

    It kills me... ultra-montanists, the lot of you, if it's something you agree with, if it fits your image of how you think things should be. But let a Cardinal Archbishop make a decision that you don't like? Woo. Treasonous.

    Meh. It's a nice day outside. Too nice for all this.

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  14. Now, now Thom, don't be so upset. I'm sure there are things you could disagree with this Cardinal about too, and maybe even get a bit angry about. For instance, you know he is against gay marriage and adoption and supports Church teaching regarding homosexual behavior. This from his blog:
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    "We know that friends and relatives of homosexual Catholics sometimes feel torn between their allegiance to Christ and their concern for their loved ones. I assure them that these goals are not incompatible. As Catholics we profess a firm belief in the dignity of each person and in the eternal destiny to which God calls us.
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    Calling people to embrace the cross of discipleship, to live the commandments and at the same time assuring them that we love them as brothers and sisters can be difficult.
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    Sometimes we are told: 'If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me.' In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: 'Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.'" - Cardinal Sean
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    You see?

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  15. Terry, believe me, I'm not upset. :-)

    The whole business is so incongruous.

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  16. Made several decisions which are in direct opposition to the teaching the cardinal espoused when receiving holy orders, doctrine and dogma which has not changed and will not change and which is presented as fully open to individual interpretation making each clergy and lay person their own little magisterium.

    It kills me....the lot of you non Catholics who think you have a say in what the Church teaches. Let a non Catholic pronounce on what the people of the Church should accept or not accept as right for them and it's woo, the voice or reason.

    It's a beautiful day, on that we agree.

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  17. btw, Owen, I'm Catholic- by choice, not birth- and while you get to speak to a lot of things, my status in the Church isn't one of them. ;-)

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  18. "The whole business is so incongruous." Incongruous it on that no doubt we both agree and disagree as evidence by your lumped mislabeling as ultra-montanists those who wish to hold to apostolic teaching of the Church instead of trying to push the Church into a relativistic template of ones own making.

    I'm not upset either but the days when I would simply sit back and not speak out for both truth and love are ending.

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  19. Hi Thom, sorry, I did not mean to imply you were not a Catholic at all but was reflecting on those who are not and got there by a serendipitous leap from your won views as a Catholic, at least as I have understood them here and in other posts over time on Terry's blog.

    I thought you were out enjoying the day? I'm headed back to the studio now.

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  20. Thom - with all due respect, we have a right and a duty to speak out when things are not right.

    By your reasoning we should have turned a blind eye to the priests who took advantage of their position to wreak all sorts of havoc in the lives of young people by abusing them (as many Bishops did, I might add)

    It should not be over some petty little grievance, but a serious issue. Public sin and scandal is always serious.

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  21. Here- argue with Bishop Martino, too:


    I’m afraid that for not a few Catholics, the funeral rites for Senator Kennedy were a source of scandal — that is, quite literally, led them into sin. From not a few corners has come the question, “how on earth could Teddy Kennedy be buried from the Church?” There have also been expressions from some, that “whatever happens in Church, Senator Kennedy will now face justice, which will lead him inside the gates of Hell.”

    From the earliest days of the Church it was defined as sinful to enjoy the thought that someone might be in Hell. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit worked powerfully through history so that Hell could be avoided by the proper exercise of human freedom, and to take delight in the perceived foiling of God’s plan is wrong.

    Pope Benedict XVI has written very beautifully that on the Cross of Christ there was lived out a conflict between God’s justice, in that someone who was Himself equal to God had to die in reparation for man’s sinfulness, and God’s mercy: from the very beginning, the Church believed and taught that Jesus died precisely so that sins might be forgiven. His body was broken and His blood was shed so that sins might be forgiven, so that there might be mercy.

    The death of Senator Kennedy has called forth at least an apparent rejection of mercy on the part of not a few Catholics. On the cross of Christ, God’s justice came into conflict with God’s mercy. God’s justice was fully satisfied, but mercy triumphed in the conflict, according to the teaching of Pope Benedict. Without denying any misdeeds on the part of Senator Kennedy, the Church, seeking to reflect the face of Christ, proclaimed God’s mercy for the whole world to see in a subdued but unmistakable way. It was more than appropriate.

    In the seminary I was taught to speak like a lion from the pulpit — certainly there are those in the diocese who believe that perhaps I do that all too well — but that in the confessional I should be a lamb, reflecting the face of the Lamb of God, who died so that there might be mercy. The funeral rites for Senator Kennedy challenge all of us to question ourselves as to whether we are less eager to grant mercy than God Himself is.

    It is so important at this time that our Catholic homes and families re-emphasize their role as schools of mercy, not at the expense of justice, and not at the expense of Truth, but recognizing that Jesus Christ gave His body to be broken and His blood to be poured out, so that there might be mercy. This is the reason for our devotion, through the inspiration of Sister Faustina and its confirmation by Pope John Paul II, to the Divine Mercy prayers, which I hope are becoming more prominent and more frequently practiced in our homes and in our parishes.

    So, let our witness to mercy, which in the end was victorious on the Cross, even while justice was satisfied, resound through this diocese. This resolution of the conflict between mercy and justice could be accomplished only in and through Jesus Christ. And in this hour of hope and challenge, as Church, to be the Body of Christ, let us proclaim in word and in deed this same mystery every single day! That is your mission and mine. Someday, you and I will be in desperate need of that triumph of mercy.

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  22. Thom - that is beautiful - thanks for sharing that.

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  23. Thank you Thom. Personally I can't find anything to argue about in what was said by this bishop.

    One most certainly prays for mercy for the soul of Ted Kennedy (I could never wish anyone in hell) and one also prays for for "truth in love" for all the faithful and as well one prays for mercy for all clergy who show in word and action evidence that they are in opposition to the foundational truths and love of the Church that has graed them with holy orders.

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