Monday, August 07, 2017

Fr. Z chimes in again - on Fr. Martin, SJ

Good for him.  The Catholic Church never taught that he was.

It's clear and concise.

Fr. Z tackles Fr. James Martin's claim that the LGBTQ hasn't received the Church's teaching, after Fr. Martin wrote: "To take a theological perspective, a teaching must be “received” by the faithful."  Fr. Z makes the distinction and corrects Fr. Martin's misunderstanding as regards sensus fidei fidelium:
The sensus fidei fidelium is real and serious. However, the problem with lib claims about the sensus fidei fidelium is that the sensus has to be that precisely of the fidelium… the FAITHFUL. You have to be faithful to the Church and her teachings to have the “sense/grasp/perception” of the Faith. To bring in Augustine: Nisi credideritis non intelligetis… Unless you will have first believed you will not understand. - Fr. Z
Works for me.

I just wish Fr. Z would let go of the jibes and labels he's so fond of.  What he says might not be rejected out of hand so quickly.  It turns people off - not his followers of course, and I get it that he and others don't care about that.  They live in 'camps' - liberals and progressives, and I guess, conservatives.  

One thing I'd like to comment on what Fr. Martin actually said,
 “Theologically speaking, you could say that these teachings have not been “received” by the L.G.B.T. community, to whom they were directed.” Fr. Martin, SJ
I'm not sure the teachings were directed at the LGBTQ.  The instruction, or catechesis is directed to and for the faithful, or the catechumen interested in becoming Catholic.  I may be wrong, but the catechism is intended to educate, to catechize the believer, but it's not necessarily intended to proselytize non-believers.

That kind of popped out at me.

I think Courage Apostolate is sometimes misinterpreted in the same manner.  It is often seen by critics to be a program of rehabilitation, or a group to change homosexuals from gay to straight, as well as an evangelical outreach to convert homosexuals.  When in fact, it was founded as a support for men and women who wish to live chaste, celibate lives in fidelity to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality.  I'm thinking Fr. Martin may even be prejudiced against chaste-gay groups on account of such misunderstanding.  Catholic teaching and groups like Courage are for those who accept it, those who wish to sanctify their lives in and through the spiritual support the group offers, and so on.

Those who reject Catholic teaching are free to do so.  As Benedict XVI said, "the Church does not impose but freely proposes the Catholic faith."  I have friends who reject Catholic teaching - it's their business, their prerogative, even if they reject me for believing as I do.  This should not be forced as a politicized issue - except when it introduced as a civil issue, as in legalizing gay marriage for instance.  Then voters have the right to be informed and to vote their conscience.  Catholics will necessarily consult Catholic social teaching and other resources.  Yet I think it is wrong to reduce Catholic teaching to a problem between liberals and conservatives.  In and of itself, such arguments detract from the faith, or at least tarnish it.
Catechesis is the act of handing on the Word of God intended to inform the faith community and candidates for initiation into the Church about the teachings of Christ, transmitted by the Apostles to the Church. - USCCB

Around 1982, when I initially discovered Courage and met with Fr. Harvey in the hope of establishing a Courage chapter in the Twin Cities, I was attracted to the spirituality and the idea of a support group for those who believed they were alone in the struggle to live chastely, surrounded by so much opposition.  At the time Dignity was gaining popularity, yet was against Catholic teaching on sexuality, and members lobbied for the Church to change not only the language, but her teaching as well.

The CDF came out with Letter(s) to Bishops on the pastoral care of persons with homosexual inclination, to advise and clarify Catholic teaching, and so on.  Once again, the CDF instructions were addressed to bishops, priests and the faithful - not the LGBTQ 'community'.

Know what I'm saying?


  1. Well said, Terry. My understanding of Courage is that it encourages those with SSA, etc. to live within the teaching of the Church. That is, to live chastely in their lives, as all of us are called to do - the clergy, the married, and those who are single.

    Did you know New Ways Ministry and Fr. Martin are calling for Fr. Mychal Judge to be canonized? His actions on 9/11 were in service to God and were brave and selfless, to his eternal credit. But he was a proponent of Dignity, and he did not always live in accordance with Church teaching. Besides, NWM has been condemned for their views and "ministry" more than once by the USCCB, the CDF, etc. So I don't see that going anywhere.

    Peace to all here - Susan, ofs

    1. I did know New Ways is attempting to promote Fr. Mychal for canonization. No doubt about it, Fr. Mychal was a kind, loving, compassionate priest - I know he was very open in his support of groups like Dignity, I'm not aware of any problems with his moral life, and I don't want to know, but he was dedicated and heroic on 9/11. It is unlikely his cause would go forward beyond grass roots initiative. So I'm with you, I can't imagine it going anywhere. (Fr. Martin thinks Sr. Grammick is a saint, and she definitely departs from Catholic teaching and seems to act in contempt of former restrictions on her promoting LGBTQ ideology. So Fr. Martin's endorsement for the cause of Fr. Mychal may not impress the Causes for the Saints.)

  2. Fr. Z preaches to the choir. Yes, he's smart but he can also be rude and dismissive. A long time ago he moderated a Catholic forum I belonged to. He made fun of a woman who kept writing "babtized" and another that asked if fortune cookies were on the same level as New Age. Personally I found his reaction cruel and unnecessary. This was on a public forum and he wrote under his own name so this is not gossip - it's public record.

    1. Yeah - that's the stuff I mean. It's kind of typical of the very, very bright, well educated Catholics online. They assert their superiority over others that way. The strange thing is, at the same time they complain that Pope Francis is mean to them.

    2. I hope the sanctimonious ones get a special judgement at the end. And being smart doesn't get you to heaven...thank goodness or I would never get there!

    3. Pope Francis is mean to them? How is that?

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Fr. Z is Fr. Z; he's rock-solid on some things, annoyingly puerile on others. =)

    1. I agree completely.

    2. pu·er·ile
      childishly silly and trivial.
      "you're making puerile excuses"
      synonyms: childish, immature, infantile, juvenile, babyish

      Hum ... I learned a new word today. ;)

  4. Much like Mark Shea. I love his books and his thought-out essays. But I have stopped reading his blog because his every word is a dismissal of any ideas to the contrary.


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