|Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron|
The American Catholic Council, which is an umbrella group for just about every dissident group calling itself Catholic has come under fire by the Archdiocese of Detroit with the event they have planned this weekend in Detroit. At the same time, Archbishop Vigneron has endorsed the Call to Holiness also taking place this weekend, with the main event on Saturday. This post has a number of useful links and information. It may be updated with additional links later today or tomorrow.
Most would find it absurd if a self-proclaimed vegan were to sit down and eat a beef steak and wash it down with a glass of milk. The American Catholic Council is doing just that. It is using the Catholic name in a disingenuous way, offering a meal stuffed with open dissent from authentic Catholic teaching. Just as one cannot redefine "vegan" to include those who eat steak and drink milk, the American Catholic Council cannot redefine Catholicism.
They want to make the Church into a democracy - literally. Using their rationale, if 9 out of 10 people wanted two-plus-two to equal five, then they would be willing to change the objective reality that the answer is four, by a majority vote.
Before I go any further, I want to suggest that you tune in to Ave Maria Radio (AM 990 in metro detroit or avemariaradio.net online) and listen to Kresta in the Afternoon today (4-6 pm local time here in Detroit) as I believe he will be discussing this today. Watch his site later this morning to see his agenda which is posted daily at the Kresta in the Afternoon blog.
Many of the changes these groups want involve teachings the Church does not have the authority to change, like abortion, or homosexual activity, women's ordination. They also want to change the Church's discipline on clerical celibacy often cloaking it with discussion of the clerical abuse scandal. Apparently they have not briefed themselves on the fact that the greatest number of perpetrators of sexual abuse against children are within the family. Hence, a man with a "taste" for children is not cured by marriage. Further, sexual abuse of children is 100x worse by school personnel than by priests according to scholar, Charol Shakeshaft. How many of those teachers, administrators, and coaches abusing children were married?
The Catholic Church has apostolates like Courage which is a support group for people with same sex attraction who desire to live a chaste life, which is the path for anyone not bound in sacramental marriage. However, you won't see Courage listed on any of the dissident group websites. Stepping back on other arguments as to why the Church cannot approve of homosexual activity which is at the core of same sex "marriage" or unions, I want to look at it with greater simplicity. Just as the Church cannot say it is "ok" for a man to sleep with a woman who is not his wife, or a woman who is not her husband (which is called fornication or adultery in the Ten Commandments), the Church cannot condone homosexual activity. The dissidents often consider the 10 Commandments as the "10 Suggestions", or they dismiss them altogether misleading themselves and others to think that either the New Testament or Vatican II itself voided them. Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, and he mentions the Commandments in the Gospels (see examples here: John 15: 9-12, Mark 10:18, Matthew 5:17-20)
The group also wants the Church to ordain women. In 1994, Blessed John Paul II explained that the Church did not have any such authority in a document called, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:
4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.
In 1995, then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote has head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith saying that the teaching belonged to the deposit of the faith and requires the assent of Catholics
Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.
Responsum: In the affirmative.
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
There is more information here on why this is considered infallible teaching.
The Detroit Free Press has an article about the American Catholic Council event coming up this weekend and discussed the archdiocesan position. Likewise, the Detroit News is running an article on the dust-up this has caused for the archdiocese. Catholic blogger, Larry D, has had a running list of posts on the American Catholic Council, including an analysis on their "Bill of Wrongs". Click and scroll in his tab on the ACC
Further reading (note that links to Archdiocese of Detroit may load slowly).
- Archbishop Vigneron's Letter on American Catholic Council (June 3, 2011 - AoD)
- Archdiocese of Detroit Advisory on American Catholic Council (Oct 12, 2010 - AoD)
- Archdiocese of Detroit resource page on ACC (includes FAQ's)
- Commentary on ACC by Bill Donohue of Catholic League
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