"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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Calling Cardinal Dolan a what?

Yesterday I checked out a link to a blog called Motley Monk. The author, a priest I know nothing about, linked to a another blogger who called Cardinal Dolan a "jackass". I was surprised that a priest would post such a derogatory quote.

A Protestant Allegory: The four evangelists stoning the pope, 
together with hypocrisy and avarice.

We who blog cannot avoid sin.

I've read too many other blog posts which make snide remarks about the Pope and what he says and does.  I've read posts which suggest the pope suffers from delusion, that he is ignorant, incompetent, and not Catholic.

There are of course a few Catholic priests who speak and write critical commentary against bishops, cardinals and the pope.  A couple go so far as to call out bishops (not their own) in the way these bishops deal with clerics who are under their obedience.

Yesterday I came across a comment on another blog asking the administrator of the blog to go after a novice in a particular religious order because of accusations from the candidate's past.  The commenter was suggesting the author devote a blog post exposing the man.

Such posts foment suspicion and mistrust and lack charity.

It seems to me many of us who blog may be Catholic - but I'm not at all sure we are always Christian.

At bottom there is always hidden pride at work when criticism of the Church adopts that tone of rancorous bitterness which today is already beginning to become a fashionable habit. Unfortunately it is accompanied only too often by a spiritual emptiness in which the specific nature of the Church as a whole is no longer seen, in which it is only regarded as a political instrument whose organization is felt to be pitiable or brutal, as the case may be, as if the real function of the Church did not lie beyond organization, in the comfort of the Word and of the sacraments which she provides in good and bad days alike. Those who really believe do not attribute too much importance to the struggle for the reform of ecclesiastical ritual. They live on what the Church always is; and if one wants to know what the Church really is one must go to them. For the Church is most present not where organizing, reforming and governing are going on but in those who simply believe and receive from her the gift of faith that is life to them." - Cardinal Ratzinger: "Introduction to Christianity." Holy, Yet Mingled with Sinners: The Church of the Pope Theologian


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  2. I think you're right, Terry.

    It is how I think of St. Paul's teaching on love, its bearing all things and its patience, its hoping all things.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Our Lord provided the example and St. Augustine explains:

      "This patience the Lord taught, when, the servants being moved at the mixing in of the tares and wishing to gather them up, He said that the householder answered, Leave both to grow until the harvest. That, namely, must be patience put up with, which must not be in haste put away. Of this patience Himself afforded and showed an example, when, before the passion of His Body, He so bore with His disciple Judas, that ere He pointed him out as the traitor, He endured him as a thief; and before experience of bonds and cross and death, did, to those lips so full of guile, not deny the kiss of peace."

      From his discussion on patience.

  3. I have a different perspective on this as a mother and grandmother. Jesus was very clear about what should happen to those who scandalize little ones. Many clerics are guilty of scandalizing the flock and laying burdens that make it harder for them to follow the narrow path. I have fought this fight at Catholic high schools where we were taking out a second mortgage on our house to pay for tuitions. My own faith was damaged at a so-called Catholic college that was going off the rails in the 60s and now is totally lost where the faith is concerned. While I hesitate to call anyone a "jackass" I have personally described some of our bishops as buffoons which is charitable in the sense that it implies giving scandal out of ignorance rather than malice. Frankly, I think many of them have had their heads turned by being "princes" and they love to hob-nob with the rich and powerful. Human respect is a temptation for all of us, but especially those in the public eye.

    But I think not to call out scandal because the scandal-monger is a high level cleric is what clericalism is all about. They should expect the same level of respect as Joe Schmoe and they should give the low and the high equal respect. Jesus made that clear when he talked about treating the man in ragged clothing with respect and telling the high and mighty to choose the low places..

    There are all kinds of saints. Some are sharp-tongued prophets and some are meek and mild. Let's pray for each other that we will only do God's will whether it means calling out a jackass, tending the wounds of an enemy, or turning our own cheek and walking the extra mile.

    1. Even the meek and mild saints spoke in stark terms. In the Apostle John's first letter, he describes those who have come into the Christian community and then left again (individuals who would be known to his first readers) as "Anti-christs". Sts. Peter and Jude also said some devastating things in their letters, as well. There's a season for everything--except sin.

  4. I guess I'm easily scandalized. Who am I to judge?

  5. What a beautiful observation from our beloved Pope Emeritus. Amen to what he said. This rancor and lack of civility in the name of protecting children from heresy is BS. Teach your children well at home, pray and do penance and if you can't communicate with someone without name-calling, say nothing at all. Whatever happened to privately correcting someone first? Plain and simple, it's about politics, not salvation.

  6. I wonder what pus water tastes like.

    1. Like the kingdom of God...?

  7. Good post and great quote, Terry.

    Let me preface this comment by saying that my response is not about the priest sex abuse scandal, which I put into a different category and treat differently. Rather, my comment is about the vast majority of complaints about the pope and bishops out there today concerning what a pope wears to what he or a bishop may say that causes controversy, etc.

    I think there is a difference between a father correcting a son or daughter; a friend correcting a friend; a pastor correcting a parishioner; and, people engaging in what they believe is "fraternal correction" of a prelate. Most of it is not authentic fraternal correction, but mere bitching (there, I said it). I'm guilty of it myself sometimes.

    I once followed blogs and sites that satisfied an itch to hear the latest scandal happening in the dark corners of the Church, but good priests I knew gave me some gentle pastoral guidance. Pondering such things before the Blessed Sacrament, it seemed to me that this habit was nothing more than yielding to a rather unsuspecting form of concupiscence. I stopped following sites that had almost a singular focus on "heresy-hunting" or fault-finding because such things seem contrary to the Gospel itself. We read about Peter's weaknesses in Scripture, but they don't dominate. Our Lord admonishes us in Scripture not to focus on the faults of others as it causes us to take our eye off of our own faults.

    Authentic fraternal correction, more often than not is something that happens between superior and subordinate, and between people of equal footing like lay to lay. St. Thomas Aquinas doesn't rule out fraternal correction of a prelate by lay people, or of subordinates to superiors, but he makes one thing very clear to me: Such fraternal correction of is not without boundaries. It should be rare and made with great care.

    Needless to say, I think referring to a prelate as a "jackass" is outside the scope of fraternal correction, as is most stuff you find on the internet of a critical nature. Such talk is a form of upbraiding. It is often filled with contempt and where there is contempt, there cannot be love.

    I won't make my argument here because I have already done so in a post entitled: "What Aquinas really said about fraternal correction [of a prelate]…" I dig deeply into what the Angelic Doctor said about fraternal correction of a prelate, looking beyond the usual quote found attributed to him on the internet. I wonder how many of those people actually read the entire section he wrote on the subject because they seem to be missing those boundaries he laid out so well and his caveats.

    Sadly, people can't set aside their anger for a period of time to read and reflect deeply on what Aquinas says. They throw out the usual canard, "Jesus used a whip and turned tables." What fools they are to risk offending God in other ways by using that to justify insolence, irreverence for sacred persons, and contempt-filled talk about them. Little do they realize they are nothing more than clanging cymbals.

    I think the priest in this Audio Sancto homily also refers to it as such. I know not everyone is a fan of audio sancto because they post these homilies anonymously. One or two sermons had to be taken down and I suspect that priest is no longer contributing. These are presumably FSSP and others in communion with the Church, but they are EF priests and you can tell they are addressing EF congregations. I thought this homily was outstanding and I discussed it here. He does get into what we are discussing here.

  8. I thought this was an interesting conversation to have, but as usual, I fear all nuance is lost in internet conversations. There's actually a lot of middle ground between the garbage that so often goes on in the catholic internet and an anglo-saxon fragility about any strong language or phrases. My question is, and has been for some time, why don't our priests, bishops and faithful laymen talk like Jesus and his apostles? Why are we so afraid of ever offending anyone--especially in homilies? Where are those who speak directly like Padre Pio or Mother Angelica or any of the saints and apostles I mentioned above? There is a middle ground between the wimpy discourse that has dominated the Church since I was born and the endless bitching (great word, Diane) that runs through most of the Catholic internet.

  9. I do my best not to take the low road when blogging, but sometimes the breakers get thrown and something ugly creeps through. Cardinal Mahoney was tweeting out some awful insults to Benedict at one point, and I was vicious in response. It was wrong, and I updated it with an apology, but I chose not to take it down. I think sometimes people stumble and give into anger, and if they try to work it through with charity and faith, we should walk with them.

    I don't get the idea that the "jackass" blogger sees anything wrong with her outburst. She writes with pride in her bio: "On April 3, ARSH 2011, after seeing Sen. Lindsey Graham advocate for Sharia Law and the punishing of American citizens who “disrespected” the islamic political system and its manifesto, the koran, I rebutted Graham’s remarks and then burned a koran – bookmarked with raw bacon – and concluded by announcing my address and inviting all musloid and/or FEDGOV comers to come and get a piece of me."

    That's not a healthy, thinking, mature adult Christian. That's someone stuck in a perpetual adolescence characterized by acting out and attention-getting behavior.

  10. I never followed the link to see what all this "jackass" business was about, and so I certainly don't want to defend that person's behavior. I guess what I'm defending, is that when you read something like Cardinal Mahoney's tweets and then say to your wife nearby, "What a jackass", then that's not even a venial sin unless you say it with real animus. But putting that thought into print is a whole other issue. If you had called Mahoney a jackass in your post, and then deleted it ten minutes later, then I wouldn't even have thought twice about the matter.

  11. I watched Dolan on Charlie Rose last night. He is so not a 'jackass'.

  12. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/bishop-warns-against-slander-lack-of-charity-on-social-media?utm_campaign=dailyhtml&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dispatch

  13. "It seems to me many of us who blog may be Catholic - but I'm not at all sure we are always Christian."

    Amen, unfortunately. Everyone of us is in great need of God's mercy, but if we can't extend mercy to others, we should not be expecting mercy from God.


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