"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

When the New York Times said ...

'God Is Dead', and the wars begun...'

When the New York Times said...

'Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope’s Embrace'

Today's story from the NYT's reminded me of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song, Levon, hence the reference in the post title.

Did you know the full title of the Times piece which the lyrics referenced went like this:  "The actual New York Times page 1 headline that included the phrase "God Is Dead" is dated March 24, 1968; the full headline read, "'God Is Dead' Doctrine Losing Ground to 'Theology of Hope'."

Ironic, don't you think?  Because the so-called conservative Catholics might well be saying the same thing today as back then - just fiddle with the subject a bit.  "Under Pope Francis, Catholic Doctrine gaining ground to 'Theology of Hope'."  (Incidentally - Benedict XVI started all of this, with his particular emphasis on the theology of Hope.)

Perhaps not the best analogy, but if you'll pardon the reference, it seems to me the elder sons and daughters of the Church seem to feel left out as the Pope welcomes the prodigal sons and daughters who fell away back home.  Just a thought.

The New York Times story.
Some Catholics in the church’s conservative wing in the United States say Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled. On the Internet and in conversations among themselves, they despair that after 35 years in which the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, drew clear boundaries between right and wrong, Francis is muddying Catholic doctrine to appeal to the broadest possible audience. -NYT

Any Catholic with a blog or who reads Catholic blogs know the story.  Many spread the story.

This weekend in my Archdiocese protesters are picketing outside the Archbishop's residence demanding Archbishop Nienstedt resign - because cases of sexual abuse were mishandled in the archdiocese.  Many of the protesters are considered dissident Catholic because they are in favor of women's ordination and same sex marriage.

Just goes to show you can't please everybody.

Inevitably, journalists find there way to Catholic blogs to enhance their stories.  The Times article favored this one:
Steve Skojec, the vice president of a real estate firm in Virginia and a blogger who has written for several conservative Catholic websites, wrote of Francis’ statements: “Are they explicitly heretical? No. Are they dangerously close? Absolutely. What kind of a Christian tells an atheist he has no intention to convert him? That alone should disturb Catholics everywhere.”  
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Skojec said he was overwhelmed by the positive response to his blog from people who said they were thinking the same things but had not wanted to say them in public. He said he had come to suspect that Francis is a “self-styled revolutionary” who wants to change the church fundamentally. 
“There have been bad popes in the history of the church,” Mr. Skojec said. “Popes that murdered, popes that had mistresses. I’m not saying Pope Francis is terrible, but there’s no divine protection that keeps him from being the type of guy who with subtlety undermines the teachings of the church to bring about a different vision.” - NYT

What is so hard to understand?  Especially when the Holy Father affirmed:

"The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church..."

We don't have to like the pope, we don't even have to read what he says - except if he speaks ex-cathedra.  Popes don't do it that often anyway.  We don't have to get our approval for the good works we do from the pope, the bishop or any priest.  We can't depend upon approval or support or even thanks and praise from any person or human organization - only from God. 


I love this comment on the Times article from Fr. Martin:
Laurie Goodstein's new piece, "Conservative US Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope's Embrace," gives voice to a strain of Catholicism in this country that has been increasingly noticeable. A few of the quotes in this piece are patently ridiculous - like the person who accuses Pope Francis of being "dangerously close" to heresy. But the greatest irony is that some Catholics from this part of the church were the same ones who would excoriate anyone who disagreed in the slightest with any statement of Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI. Apparently, it's now okay to disagree with the Pope. - Fr. James Martin, S.J.

I wanted to say that.


  1. The difficulty here is that the older siblings are jealous of the focus on the younger brother. We need to keep calm and carry on; Pope Francis is a faithful son of the Church and those of us who are his siblings in the faith need to focus on the good we were already doing and not worry about the warm fuzzies others are having because of his attentiveness to their needs.

    I wished I'd had time to mount a counter-protest at the Chancery. The part that bothers me is that they're calling Abp. to step down for mistakes his predecessor made. If he didn't speak Truth to all, nobody would care.

  2. I think it is an unfair attack on the Archbishop myself.

    I hope all is working out for you Nan - with your mom and all - I've been praying.

  3. "We don't have to like the pope, we don't even have to read what he says - except if he speaks ex-cathedra."

    Yes. Basically, I want to know if there's a new sentence in the catechism. If not, well, then not.

    With our blogs and twitter and goodreads, every man is a king, every woman a queen. We are all so important we can't see straight for our saintly glow.

    I like Francis (the other one), the "build my church" fellow. That's what I want for myself. That's what I want to do. So, in my own little corner in my own little chair, I try to help women find communities that still wear habits.

    That's with minimal talent. Oh, I am so humble. That's with MINIMAL talent. It would be neat, yes, it would be so nice is there were people who would find their niche in the church, on the internet, in helpful ways.

    That has nothing to do with whether you say "nice and pretty things" or not. Nothing. Take your Poodle post, for instance.

    Sorry, Terry, I had to bring that up. I was born with a sense of humor so bizarre it is best not to talk about it. I nearly always have tremendous regrets about the things I say on your blog.

  4. Thanks Pennyyak. It's not in the catechism of course - the reason I said it like that is because a very good Capuchin said it to me years ago when I made my first confession upon returning to the Church. I said, "Father - one thing - I don't understand infallibility of the Pope?" He pretty much said 'don't worry about it' - and then said half as much as what I wrote.

    To be sure I'm not offering catechetical instruction here, but there are readers who get sidetracked by these discussions and can't imagine how or why they would even want to come into a Church which they feel condemns - if not them - every one else they know and love.

    I'm glad you mentioned the poodle post - one of my best, I have to say.

    Big hug.

  5. "What is so hard to understand? "

    You have the read between the lines and get the 'sense' of the interview - and of those who surround the Pope (like Cardinal Maradiaga ) - to understand.


  6. I knew that! *smoking*

  7. "Big hug."
    Like-wise Terry.


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