Monday, March 5, 2012

Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Lori take on the 'pseudo-magisterium'

Before I lead you to some excellent responses by Bishop Lori who heads the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, and USCCB President, Cardinal Dolan, I want to explain the 'pseudo-magisterium'.

Loyal Catholics have waited decades to see their bishops defend Holy Mother Church from attacks from within by a 'pseudo-magisterium' of dissenting voices that have competed with them for authority. The authority of the bishops is apostolic and can be traced back to the first apostles. The Holy Spirit is with them when in union with the Holy Father, and in harmony with the teaching Magisterium.  I'm not quite sure what spirit guides the 'pseudo-magisterium', but it can't be the Holy Spirit, because these people set out to oppose the real Magisterium, competing for souls in the pews by popular opinion and telling them they can have things that contradict the 10 Commandments.

The pseudo-Magisterium is made up of publicly dissenting priests, religious (often referred to as the 'magisterium-of-nuns'), and lay people. They are peppered in the ranks of educational institutions, government, media, the workplace, and even the diocese, parish and various Church organizations.

The spirit guiding the 'pseudo-magisterium' has strategically positioned voices in those places. This placement makes it easy to sway the unsuspecting flock, presenting to it 'forbidden fruits' that look healthful and appetizing in often subtle ways. They speak, often rightfully about many social justice issues; but will turn a blind eye to any problem involving the 6th and 9th Commandments, from contraception to abortion. Sometimes, they outright promote or advocate these things, such as what we see with Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi.  It is not uncommon to find testimonies online by those who have gone through a parish RCIA program only to get fed information that is contrary to what is in black-and-white in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The same spirit that guides the pseudo-magisterium has led otherwise good priests and bishops to be silent from the pulpit and in other forums on topics that directly or indirectly involve the 6th and 9th Commandments. Prior to the current threat against religious liberty, very few people had ever heard Catholic clerics speak on these topics. This led to a de-emphasis on Sacramental Confession and dwindling lines, so much so, that in some quarters it was reduced to, "by appointment".

As difficult as it is to see our religious liberty so casually assaulted, and even backed by a flock which had been tactfully prepped for this day by the pseudo-magisterium, there is a benefit. As Scripture tells us, "Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more" (Romans 5:20). Our bishops have been galvanized in a way that I have never witnessed and they are coming out strong. Priests are beginning to teach about those previously, 'undiscussible' things related to the 6th and 9th Commandments from the pulpit, and they do so with far less fear of getting shipped off by the bishop or priest-assignment-board to some far corner of the diocese, or a chaplaincy for doing so. They stand boldly at their pulpit, calmly teaching the truth, standing silently as some get up shout out in anger, waiting for them to leave. They rightly preach to the humble willing to listen, than to the prideful who act like those in the town who did not want Jesus to enter.

Some weeks ago, Fr. Perrone told parishioners from the pulpit that now is not the time to dwell in what was or wasn't done these past decades.  When the Church is being attacked from the outside, so viciously, and the bishops are standing up to the attacks, it's time to set that aside and get behind the bishops, supporting them with prayer and with actions that they ask of us.  I myself am so glad to see them standing up - finally - to the pseudo-magisterium, that I am focused on today, and the future.  I don't see less teaching about the fullness of the faith going forward; I see more - much more.  This makes me hopeful for the future which is where we need to be looking. 

With that, I leave you with two things to read.

Bp Lori and Card. Dolan take on the 'pseudo-magisterium'

Bishop Lori responded to an editorial that appeared in the Jesuit-run, America Magazine, which spoke critically of the bishops over the HHS mandate, siding with Obama. He responded in that very magazine with some very harsh words.

Cardinal Dolan chased that with an update to his brother bishops, also drawing attention to Bishop Lori's editorial. This is the boldest I've heard Dolan speak, yet. I don't know if you get from it what I did, but it sounds to me like the USCCB may be about the sue the federal government.

What really puts a burr under my saddle is how the Obama administration, and it's puppet media is trying to project blame on the bishops for choosing this point in time to speak, as we head in to the election. That's a lot of gumption, as my dad used to say. Cardinal Dolan rightly points out, that we didn't choose this particular fight, and we certainly didn't choose the timing. The bishops are merely responding to a vicious attack on the religious liberty, and a chunk of the ecumenical community is standing with the Church because they know that they may be next on some other issue.

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