Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Church is Not Burger King - You can't "have it your way!"

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters has a new post up about 69 year old Maryknoll priest, Father Roy Bourgeois, who has been given an ultimatum: Recant support for women's ordination in 30 days or face excommunication.

In his reply to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made public here, Father Bourgeois, wrote, in part:

I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21, 2008, giving me 30 days to recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or I will be excommunicated.

I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep love for my Church and ministry.

When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972.

Over the years I have met a number of women in our Church who, like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You, our Church leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women cannot be ordained.

With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church’s teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. A 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission supports the research of Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics who have studied and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded that there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood.

Setting aside many problematic things in his letter, there is one underlying thing here that goes terribly wrong: All those Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many "faithful" Catholics are not the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. They do not make up the Magisterium.

Pray for this priest and all of the people being scandalized by his refusal to humbly submit to the teachings of the Church.

In that link I provided above that contains his letter are comments from many who encourage Father to press on. One suggests:

If he is excommunicated he will join a large band of angels. I am sure that God pays no attention to the vituperation of the earthly band of overly-fed, overly-pampered, overly-cautions synchophants called church hierarchy.

Stick to your guns, Roy ... fidelity to conscience is more important than that dog collar around your neck.

DuhThe Church is not Burger King!

He may very well join a large band of angels, but they won't be heavenly. The root of all sin is pride. There is a false humility that runs large among those who treat Church teachings with open defiance. Rather than exhibit true humility as Mary did when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her: "Let it be done unto me...", their mantra is "Your way long as it agrees with mine".

Is it any wonder why this group is often indifferent toward's the Blessed Mother or holds her in disdain? She is the new Eve who rejected pride in humble obedience to the will of God for her.

The defiant attitude we see belongs to the "either/or" crowd - the one that tries to pit peace and justice against humility and obedience; and the Iraq war against abortion. Mother Teresa proved that peace and justice worked right along side humility and obedience (and perhaps that is why she is held in disdain by some in this group). And, you can't compare nearly 50,000,000 lives of the unborn lost to several thousand in the Iraq war. All lives are valuable and the 50 million can't be ignored.

I have also found the propensity running high among them for using the priest scandal as an excuse to set aside authentic dialogue and reason. At the very least, the priest scandal is used to divert attention away from the subject at hand. Judas was a priest called by Jesus, yet God gave him, as he gives all, a free will. We will always have "Judas" among the priests because God does not force them to choose good over evil, virtue over vice, or holy boldness over nonfeasance.

Folks, there can only be one true North, where the compass points. One cannot go south and proclaim that it is north because he wants it to be so. Catholics need to understand that we rely on a compass to tell us where North is and that compass is the Catholic Church. Otherwise, we would have some people going East and want to proclaim it as North, while others are going West or South and want those to be proclaimed as North.

Jesus Christ is Truth. There can't be different versions of the truth any more than there could be different types of Jesus to pick and choose from. But, that is what some are trying to do - to treat the Church like Burger King where you can, "have it your way".

The fact that Father Bourgeois was ordained in 1972 says alot. Seminaries were malforming priests heavily by that time. Not only were things lacking in their formation and education, but there were perversions of Church teaching given to them. High on that list of missing or perverted teachings was Magisterial authority. For this, I have pity on them.

It's why you don't hear about it in many parishes today. It's why you don't hear much about sacrifice, or mortification, or taming the will. Those things all require humility and hard work. And, they go against the "doctrine" of challenging authority. They require us to set aside our own feelings about a matter and to make a leap of faith, especially where we do not fully understand something. Faith doesn't follow understanding. Rather, faith seeks understanding. If we had to understand everything before we humbly accepted it, there would be no purpose for faith. You can't pit 2000 years of experience against hippy-era, loophole theology. Christ didn't say the defiant hippy-era ideals would survive the gates of hell, but the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Is it any wonder why the Creed is inconspicuously missing in some parishes today?

Seminarians are now blessed with the internet where they can read important documents like Dei Verbum (Word of God), Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of Truth), and letters issued like those below pertaining to women's ordination. No matter how the loophole theologians stuff the seminary shelves with dissenting material while purging it of time-tested classics, these young men are venturing out and reading what the Church really teaches.

No longer can seminary rectors and professors filter and sanitize what seminarians are learning because the internet brings them documents in seconds. They can, and do, try to pass along loophole tacticts, but I would remind people that Christ taught with simplicity. When someone tries to introduce fancy complexities, you can be assured the Father of Lies is providing the fuel.

Seminaries are also turning as a new generation of priests and bishops emerge and take over - the JPII generation. Don't be surprised when a new, young priest comes to your parish and doesn't embrace the Burger King theology of the previous generation. Parishes are also beginning to experience the change as this generation's influence moves in.

We must always turn anger and disdain for dissidents into prayer. It is best to have pity for them in our hearts, to pray for their salvation, and for the salvation of those being led astray by them.

Related Links:

Read the two documents below on the Male only priesthood. In the original 1994 document, Pope John Paul II explains why the Church does not have the authority to ordain women. It's not a preferential issue. It is theologically deep and all arguments were considered. Some simply cannot accept the final decision of Rome. The subsequent letter by then Cardinal Ratzinger, makes it clear that it belongs to the deposit of faith. The door has been closed for over 10 years now. It's now a matter of humble acceptance of what has been handed down.

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!