Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Episcopal Bishop "rebukes" Catholic Archbishop for teaching Catholics, Catholic teachings

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. 
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. (Hebrews 13:8, 9)

I just spotted a headline in the Detroit Free Press that made me do a double-take: Gay Episcopal bishop rebukes Detroit Catholic archbishop for anti-gay marriage remarks. Upon clicking it, I learned  it was a report on a blog-post made by Gene Robinson at the Washington Post's, "On Faith" blog, entitled: Catholic leaders using Communion as a weapon in the culture wars.

If you are unfamiliar with what Archbishop Vigneron said that sparked this, see my last post on the subject.

First of all, I want to say something about the title of Robinson's post: "Catholic leaders using Communion as a weapon in the culture wars." That is a complete perversion of what is going on between Archbishop Vigneron and Detroit Catholics, about whom he is speaking.  What we believe as Catholics is based on sacred Scripture, sacred Tradition, and the teaching Magisterium (CCC 74-95). When Catholics knowingly espouse and promote beliefs that are contrary to these things, they lead themselves and others down paths that could be spiritually perilous (1 Cor 11:2-29).  It would be a form of malpractice for a priest or bishop to remain silent if they are aware that souls are putting themselves in danger and do nothing.

Going to his blog-post, here is one excerpt:
I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.
Note that he starts out with what he believes, personally.  His frame of reference is not Catholic teaching, but what he personally believes.  That's why the rest of his argument is so messed up.  When he begins to talk about "worthiness" I'm wanting to know where in the Bible he gets that?  What does Scripture say?
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. (1 Cor 11:2-29)
The Sacrament is profaned by those who receive it unworthily, not by those who try to discourage others from eating and drinking unworthily.


Robinson continues:

While some are seeking to withhold Communion from pro-choice and pro-marriage-equality Catholics, I have heard no call to withhold Communion from priests and bishops who have engaged in horrific sexual abuse against vulnerable children, nor their enablers. Bernard Cardinal Law, whose administration actively facilitated the moving around of known pedophile priests to other unsuspecting parishes, has not been denied Communion, but instead been rewarded with a prestigious church in Rome.

Non sequitur? Apples and oranges?  A little bait-and-switch?

There are many flaws in this argument and I will probably only pull a couple.  For example, pro-choice means pro-abortion; and, abortion is murder.  So, if one wants to thumb their nose at the 5th Commandment and work at Planned Parenthood as an escort they are free to do so, but they would compound their problem by receiving holy Communion with this kind of conflict.  One should abstain from Communion until they have reconciled through Sacramental Confession.

With regards to predator clerics who are guilty of sins that cry out to heaven in the form of sex abuse against children, this is indeed grave matter that, if one is guilty, they should abstain from holy Communion until they have reconciled through Sacramental Confession.  This doesn't mean one can slide from justice here on earth. A debt to the victims and society should be expected.

If a priest or bishop was involved in some kind of cover up of sexual abuse, an examination of conscience needs to search for the true cause of the cover up.  Nothing can be hidden from God - not the guilt of wanting to hide the shame involved or any malfeasance.  Here too, Sacramental Confession would free someone to receive holy Communion.

There is no teaching that says someone is permanently banned from ever receiving Communion again, no matter what they have done.  If one seeks forgiveness, repents, and has a firm purpose of amendment and receives absolution through Sacramental Confession, they are free to present themselves for Communion.  This does not mean they cannot be held accountable in a court of law for their deeds.

Here is the next paragraph:

It seems that the church hierarchy is sending the following message: two gay men or lesbians (not to mention their supporters) who want to vow a lifetime of commitment, monogamy and love should be denied Communion, but those who exploit vulnerable children (and those who facilitate their abuse) for their own sexual gratification are still welcome. Those who make the excruciating and gut-wrenching decision to have an abortion (not to mention those who understand why this might be a moral choice) are barred from receiving Communion, but those prelates who live a lavish lifestyle far from the real-life, harsh circumstances some women face that might make such an abortion morally permissible are accepted at the Communion rail.

I find it amazing that he doesn't really mentioned Sacred Scripture.  Everything he says is based on feelings and emotion and these are very subjective. He doesn't mention pleasing God; he only mentions pleasing people. It's all kind of horizontal thing he has going on without much of anything vertical.  He continues to compare apples to oranges rather than comparing the apples and oranges to Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium.

Robinson is also revealing his relativistic mind-set.  Those unfamiliar with Catholic teaching on things like relativism, consequentialism, proportionalism, subjectivism, and a few other "isms" should read Pope John Paul II's Encyclical, Veritatis Splendor.  Perhaps before giving the Catholic Church advice on what she should teach the faithful, Gene Robinson would do well to consult this Magisterial teaching of the Church on these things.  He basically wants to change something that he does  not understand, and if he did understand it, he would know the Church does not have the authority to change these things.

In the next two paragraphs we get Robinson's ad populum potpourri:

American Catholics have a long and honorable history of discerning their own consciences in matters of human life and dignity. For instance, 98 percent of Catholic women have gone against church law and used birth control. Indeed, individual conscience is a core value in Catholic teaching. It seems that Catholic laity are refusing to be treated like morally ignorant children who cannot think for themselves. At a very minimum, Catholic laity (and many of their local clergy) know that these issues should be discussed in an open and faithful way. They also know that people of faith will disagree on some of the ramifications of trying to live out the Gospel. 
But increasingly, it appears that the hierarchy wants to shut down open discussion by punishing those who would raise any questions about the church’s stance on these issues. Fewer and fewer Catholics are willing to be threatened by such tactics, and many are looking elsewhere for spiritual nourishment, or simply becoming disillusioned with a church that has lost its way.

That false and misleading 98% figure was dealt with here. But for talking purposes, the only number that matters is the number of married women of child-bearing age using contraceptives to avoid pregnancy.  Any other Catholic women using contraceptives to prevent pregnancy are already involved in other sinful activities (pre-marital/extra-marital sex).  Aside from that, while numbers mean everything to liberals who try to force an issue through ad populum arguments, would do well to remember Our Lord was crucified via poll.  Polls are subjective opinions in motion - one day it reads this way, in 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years, it could read differently.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

As far as the "fewer and fewer Catholics are willing to be threatened by such tactics, and many are looking elsewhere for spiritual nourishment..." I have two words: Anglicanorum Coetibus.  So many Anglicans and Episcopalians were looking to find their way into the Catholic Church because of her clear and constant teaching, Pope Benedict XVI had to create a provision that would allow large groups to come in all at once.  And, they are taking advantage of it (see here, here and here for some examples).  I don't have time at the moment to grab statistics, but I don't think the numbers will be favorable to Robinson's claim.  The Catholic Church is growing and I believe the Anglican/Episcopalian Church is shrinking.  But I will find the data, unless one of my readers can find recent statistics versus say 5-10 years ago.

You can read the rest of his blog post at the link at top.  I'm done quoting.

Gene Robinson has an awful lot of gumption to look over from his side of the Tiber and point fingers at a Catholic archbishop interpreting Catholic teaching for his flock.

The bottom line is that Gene Robinson can't accept a Catholic archbishop teaching Catholics, Catholic teachings. He doesn't understand that Catholicism is not like Protestantism whereby you make faith your own thing. While he is busy re-inventing faith to make it relevant to himself and to the people of today, Archbishop Vigneron is simply passing down the faith Catholics have held for some 2000 years, which is his job.

Truth is timeless and unchanging.  Five plus two will always equal seven. And, Our Lord told us the road is narrow and difficult, not wide and easy (Mt 7:13,14).  Just think of the many who died getting us to where we are today. While some died horrific red martyrdoms, many more have died to themselves in white martyrdom by saying "no" to their own will and "yes" to God's will.  Love for God doesn't demand that he accept our ways; rather, love for God demands that we seek to understand of what is pleasing and displeasing to him and act accordingly.  No amount of rationalization about the forbidden fruit could make Adam and Eve eating it pleasing to God.  It doesn't matter if it was nutritious, pleasant tasting, and made them feel good. The greatest appetite Adam and Eve satisfied by eating the forbidden fruit was the appetite to do their own thing without regard for what God wanted.

I want to add some links at the bottom here for related posts written by others on this continuing saga, and I'm sure there will be some new posts out in response to what Gene Robinson had to say.  Check back tomorrow night for more.

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