Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bishop of Bathurst, Bishop Patrick Dougherty, gives Fr Dresser a Dressing Down

And you can take it as read that it is now on the official "banned" list, together with all the heretical opinions therein.

As I commented earlier on this blog, since Fr Peter Dresser is a priest of the Diocese of Bathurst, his bishop, Patrick Dougherty, is the one who is responsible for any disciplinary measures. It seems to me that he has done this admirably in the following statement:
Media Release - 10th November 2008

An unpublished book written by Father Peter Dresser, Parish Priest of Coonamble in the Diocese of Bathurst, has been receiving a certain distribution and publicity.

With regard to the Divinity of Jesus, the Virginity of Mary and the Resurrection of Jesus, Father Dresser has re-affirmed to me, and intends to endorse by a public statement, his adherence to these and to all the teaching of the Catholic Church. In the book, however, such foundational truths of our Christian Catholic Faith were not affirmed: readers could rightly conclude that some were denied and that the views expressed about them were heretical.

The watering down or emptying out of Christian teaching is not the path towards rendering Catholic doctrine more deeply known by people of faith or acceptable to sceptical people.

Whatever Father Dresser's stated good intentions and motives, stances taken in this book with regard to Jesus Christ and Mary are not acceptable: they are alien to Christian authenticity and to the fulfillment of the teaching mission of priests.

+ Patrick Dougherty

Bishop of Bathurst
The important things to note are:

1) "With regard to the Divinity of Jesus, the Virginity of Mary and the Resurrection of Jesus", Fr Peter has "re-affirmed" to his Bishop, "and intends to endorse by a public statement his adherence to these [doctrines] and to all the teaching of the Catholic Church".

Is this "public statement" the one issued yesterday? In which case, it is fair to say that one could hope more specific recantation of the specific errors in his published writing and radio interview.

2) "Whatever Father Dresser's stated good intentions and motives", the "stances taken in [his] book with regard to Jesus Christ and Mary are not acceptable: they are alien to Christian authenticity and to the fulfillment of the teaching mission of priests."

Spot on, your Lordship. By publishing this book, Fr Dresser has specifically abused his priestly "teaching mission".

3) "Readers could rightly conclude that [in this book] some [foundational truths of our Christian Catholic Faith] were denied and that the views expressed about them were heretical."

That seems a fair judgement. Although I don't know what the "could" means. "Would" would be more to the point.

4) And finally: "The watering down or emptying out of Christian teaching is not the path towards rendering Catholic doctrine more deeply known by people of faith or acceptable to sceptical people."

Which is just what Pope Benedict said in his General Audience last Wednesday. Hint to theologians: Your task is to explicate and clarify the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith, not to "go beyond doctrine and dogma" (vis a vis the Starship Enterprise) to some point of your own fantasy.

123 Comments:

At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:19:00 pm , Anonymous Sharon said...

To Dissenting Priests

"It is your duty to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defense of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other."

--from Christian Apologetics by C.S. Lewis, Easter 1945.
(Reprinted in God in the Dock pp. 89-90)

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:40:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Spot on, Sharon!

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 3:55:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Your problem, David, is that you assume Benedict has superior access to "Truth" to everyone else on the face of the planet. Many are coming to doubt that today. These man are as much driven by ego (more a factor with JPII than Benedict I would submit) and their pains and anxieties as all the rest of humankind. They are often trying to bolster the institution (trying to maintain its place of prestige in the world) as "seeking ultimate truth".

I repeat again this sycophantic version of Catholicism that you seem to propose in the long run does not get people to heaven. It satisfies a temporal emotional need for certitude and security. It is NOT what faith and Catholicism is ultimately all about.

Blessings, Brian Coyne

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 4:45:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Thank you for diagnosing "my problem", Brian. My psychologist has trying to figure that one out for years without success.

Thanks too for your blessings.

All that considered, I simply point to the Bishop of Rome as the most authoritative voice within the Catholic Church today. I would challenge even you to suggest a more authoritative voice.

However, anyone who reads the scriptures in the Faith of the Church (yea, verily, even the most humble layman or laywoman) - or, for that matter, simply in GOOD faith - can see that three things are evident:

1) the Gospels unanimously bear witness to both the visible and bodily appearance of the Risen Jesus AND to the empty tomb (unless we discount the latter witness as unreliable because witnessed to by mere women rather than, for eg., a pope)

2) that the Scriptures themselves witness to the apostolic awareness that Jesus was God (long before the Council of Nicea) - an awareness that is intimately linked to the encounter with the risen Jesus.

3) that Matthew and Luke, at least, both regarded the birth of Jesus as a VIRGIN birth, and not the product of sexual relations with Joseph or any other man (again, long before the Council of Nicea).

I don't need the Pope to tell me this. I can read it for myself in the scriptures. The Pope, however, simply confirms the faith which the Church has always held on this matter. As if it needed confirming...

And as for this being a "sycophantic version of Catholicism", I could find for you the most anti-Catholic, anti-Roman, anti-Papal Protestant, and he would tell you the same:

Jesus is God. He was born of the Virgin Mary. He bodily rose from the grave.

And, oddly enough, those three things ARE exactly what faith and Catholicism "is ultimately all about".

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 5:35:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

David,

I appreciate your perspective about the authority of the Pope. I was brought up on all those matters and they are deeply embedded in my skull. If you have been following the discussions on Catholica, which I suspect you haven't, there is another view emerging. It might help explain why so many, particularly in the Western world, have become disenchanted with this sycophantic version of Catholicism that elevates the Pope over the Body of Christ. Yes, certainly the Church (the entire body of the faithful) might lay some claim to Christ being with us until the end of time — even perhaps some claim to infallibility. This "game" of elevating our pontiffs to the point where they are lauded as demigods or Gods is not only unfair to them, it is unfair to the Body of Christ and to humanity at large. Whose commandment or teaching is it, precisely, that God speaks exclusively only through the Roman Pontiff? When was that neat innovation introduced into the corpus of Catholic teaching, precisely?

When are we going to wake up as to why so many have walked away? When there is only a rump of 5% still listening? When Hell freezes over? Or when we are all standing before Almighty God in judgment, including a few of these Popes who "had all the answers", and we are asked what level of responsibility we would like to shoulder for driving so many out of the institution?

Brian Coyne
www.catholica.com.au

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 5:42:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Perhaps I should have added...

Whose commandment or teaching is it, precisely, that God speaks exclusively only through the Roman Pontiff? When was that neat innovation introduced into the corpus of Catholic teaching, precisely — before or after Cardinal Newman? LOL

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 6:42:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Who is this fool?

The argument is about the very fundamentals of belief - in Our Lord's true Divinity, Birth from the Virgin, and physical Resurrection (without which our Faith would be in vain, as the Apostle candidly admits) - and it is used as an attempt to have a go at the poor Pope.

I think it's clear who's got psychological problems.

I do wish ageing dissenters would stop bleating.

His perversion of the Catholic Faith is anathema.

But as to this subsidiary point so unpleasantly raised:

Everyone knows that the role of the Pope is to confirm his brethren in the faith, lest it be utterly lost by a facile accommodation to the world (look at the Anglican mess for a sad example of what Popelessness entails).

If one doesn't believe in the Petrine Ministry (as opposed to, say, having doubts about it but holding on), in conscience then one should not remain Catholic, as in such a case the abhorrent sinfulness of going along with what would appear so false and blasphemous an organization, with such therefore wrongful and horrific evil effects down the ages, would impel one to become a modernistic Protestant (since I cannot see the person concerned liking Orthodoxy much either).

If honesty is called for - go and be honest, but don't pervert Catholicism, especially by superciliously naming oneself a member of some pathetically victim-complex-afflicted pseudo-elite a la the Gnostics of old.

Shame!

How aCatholic indeed!

Repent and have the peace of a good conscience, not the bitterness that is the hallmark of all such "liberals".

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 7:08:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Oh, please excuse my own intemperateness in the last post - I can get very worked up, and write more rudely than I should.

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 9:25:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on David. Anyone paying attention to the lectionary at this timne of year could not fail to note that the opening verses of 1 Thessalonians, the oldest writing in the New Testament (ca. 50AD),clearly assume a trinitarian and incarnational faith.

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 10:32:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well, if you're looking for an anti-Catholic, anti-Roman, anti-Papal Protestant, perhaps I'll do until a better one comes along, which ain't likely on this blog, so yes, I'll tell you the same.

These are men with whom I profoundly disagree, now as a Lutheran, then as a Catholic.

That said, perhaps truth would be better defended than to refuse to those who, whether they do or not aside, would uphold the same truths as you, the intellectual honesty and even courtesy of addressing their positions substantively that you extend to any and all comers in your "ecumenism" and "dialogue", and perhaps find a basis of refutation other than the age and supposed affect of bitterness and victim complex of their proponents.

You (the two sides) see each other in exactly the same way: attaching yourself to one point in the community of faith's understanding and seeking to impose it on all other points to which you deny a place in the community.

And that said, I put back on the hat with which I came here, not Lutheran, not Catholic, ex-Catholic. If you're looking for a sad example of a mess created by facile accomodation to the world, there is no better one than this, in which one post-conciliar un-Catholic version of Catholicism contends with another for the title of a religion which neither affirms and both stomp into the dustbin of history.

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:26:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I repeat again this sycophantic version of Catholicism that you seem to propose in the long run does not get people to heaven.

It doesn't? How can you possibly know this, Brian?

It satisfies a temporal emotional need for certitude and security.

The Secularist Heresy that "uncertainty" is somehow a moral good is not rational.

Please provide evidence that it satisfies a temporal emotional need for certitude and security.

I await with bated breath, because I assure you, the certainty I have that:
1. God exists
2. Jesus is God and Man
3. The Catholic Church is the Church he founded

as well as other issues such as abortion being in all cases immoral, provide me with at least as many opportunities for feeling miserable as they do for feeling "secure."

The Secular Heresy that "uncertainty" is some kind of virtue is merely a ruse. A person can yammer on to his heart's content about being "uncertain" about anything which the Judeo-Christian tradition has set forth as morally binding, while still being able to feel good about himself that he is not "evil," merely "uncertain." Interestingly enough, he is always pretty damn certain about the New Morality (eg divorce, contraception, abortion, ESCR, gay marriage etc are all "good.")

It is NOT what faith and Catholicism is ultimately all about.

Well, what is it all about, if not the Trinity?

 
At Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:28:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I meant, "Please provide evidence that [David's sycophantic version of Catholicism] satisfies a temporal emotional need for certitude and security."

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:05:00 am , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

There's about 86% evidence of the baptised across the face of the Western world, Louise. What further proof do you want? Most people simply don't believe it anymore. What do you want — for 95% of them to walk out the door, or 99%?

In the alternative: where is your "proof" that David's version — which I presume fairly well equates to Benedict's version — guarantees "salvation" (or however you define the end objective of our religious/spiritual quest)?

Cheers, Brian Coyne

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:32:00 am , Anonymous Innocent III said...

I do so love the heirs of the spirit of V II. In 1967 we were told to get with the times or the Church would become irrelavent. Well we got with the times and the Church has indeed become irrelavent. Yet now according to Brian it is the sycophantic church which has led to this falling away of the faithful. He reminds me of my teaching colleagues who unceasingly cry out that it is all the conservatives fault that schools are failing even though the progressives have been in charge for the last 30 years. When oh when will the progressives who took over the Church in the 70's and 80's finally admit responsibility for the destruction of the faith instead of blaming all their faults on others.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:04:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Damn if this blog doesn't bring them right out the woodwork. First Wolsey, then (not so) Innocent III. Youda thunk after all that with the whole Philip/Otto thing in the HRE (church, empire, what the hell), the bloody Albigensians, getting Langton on the chair in Canterbury (little blowback there with Henry VII, huh), the Fourth Crusade, and the Fourth Lateran Council, a guy would take a well deserved "from his labours rest".

Then again, can't keep the author of De sacro altaris mysterio down -- you know the bleeders are wearing BLUE in Advent here and there now?

Hell Lothario, the progressives took over the church in the 70s and 80s (I assume you mean the 1970s and 1980s)? Holy crap, what a comedown from when a pope, say yourself, could say that by divine institution a pope rules everyone and everything everywhere in every time.

I suspect the "progressives" will admit the destruction of the faith was all their fault about the same time when, cross town, the mitre and crosier crowd admits they haven't taught the faith since the 1970s and 1980s either.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:06:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Henry VII, sorry pal, but you know how it is when you get on a good rant.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:08:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Henry VIII, Judas at Best Buy, where is that "I know what you mean" function in Vista anyway? No wonder everyone grumbles about Vista.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 4:56:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

And, oddly enough, those three things ARE exactly what faith and Catholicism "is ultimately all about".

Yepper David. They were when I became Catholic in 1997.

They still are.

And they are not the personal property of Benedict or any pope, they are the Truth that has been held from apostolic times on.

I'm very inspired by the young Catholic families here in the US that I've come to know since my conversion. From the dustbin of history given to them by their boomer parents they are resurrecting traditional Catholic devotions and practices, such as Perpetual Adoration, etc. God bless 'em!

Hey PE, I hear Vista is no longer Vista -- too many bugs (yikes, that's going to resurrect "The Bugman for PE) --- they're going back to "Microsoft" -- or am I thinking about something else ??

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:52:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Brian,

I didn't say that "that God speaks exclusively only through the Roman Pontiff".

Christ is in fact the highest authority in the Church - and indeed the highest HUMAN authority - and yet we need authentic sources to hear the voice of Christ.

Since I am a Lutheran in Communion with the Bishop of Rome, that means that for me, as for any Lutheran or Catholic, the primary place in which Christ speaks is in his word, the Holy Scriptures.

Thus, the Word of God - the Holy Scriptures - is the highest authority in the Church, but as Newman said, a book cannot speak for itself. The bible, like the word of Christ himself, must be spoken through human voices in order to be heard by human ears and received in human hearts.

Thus the question arises: who speaks for the the Word of God (Christ the Logos). The answer is: those he has authorised to speak for him, those of whom he said "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:6 from memory?).

For Catholics, that means primarily the bishops. And among the bishops, the first among equals, charged with the preservation of the unity of the faith for the universal Church, is the Bishop of Rome.

There is thus nothing "sycophanitic" about heeding the bishop of Rome's teaching.

You cannot put up, in opposition to the authority of the Holy Father, the "voice of the Church", since many millions of the Church do not speak with one voice. Indeed, we must "listen to the Church", but that throws us back upon the need to listen to those who are authorised (by Christ) to speak in her name, and I am afraid that leads us back to the bishops and the Pope.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:12:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Brian: There's about 86% evidence of the baptised across the face of the Western world, Louise. What further proof do you want? Most people simply don't believe it anymore. What do you want — for 95% of them to walk out the door, or 99%?

Schütz: You are a product of your times, Brian. You have assumed the first premise of the theory of democracy that power in numbers gives the majority moral authority and access to objective truth. This is simply not so.

Moreover, consider this: If I went to a village of Gooniwigs in darkest Munjabo, and baptised them all without giving them any catechisation whatsoever, and them asked them gave them all type writers, I think it would be reasonable to expect that they would take longer to come up with the Catechism of the Catholic Church than a room full of monkeys would take to come up with the complete works of Shakespeare.

My point is, that due to almost a half century of woeful catechisation and preaching, it should not be surprising to us to find that upwards of %80 baptised Catholics haven't the faintest idea about the fundamentals of the Catholic faith.

Most, however, will have gathered this much: Jesus is God, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and he rose from the dead.

Brian: In the alternative: where is your "proof" that David's version — which I presume fairly well equates to Benedict's version — guarantees "salvation" (or however you define the end objective of our religious/spiritual quest)?

Schütz: There is of course no "proof", Brian. But consider something with which I am sure you will agree. "Salvation" - in any religious or spiritual meaning of the term - cannot be divorced from "truth". Jesus promised that when we "know the truth" "the truth will set you free". That is sound. Even modern psychology, which would probably share with you a skepticism about my "problem" (a pathological need for certainty) would agree that "salvation" only comes through true knowledge of yourself and of your situation in life. Spiritual masters have always taught us to know "the true self" in order to find salvation.

So, the Truth will lead to Salvation, no?

The next question is, who can I reliably rely upon to lead me to truth? Myself? That's the modern answer. As a Christian, however, we would unanimously say "Christ", for he is, as he said, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life".

The final question which must be answered then is: How does Christ speak to me? Where can I be assured that I can hear the authentic voice of Christ?

For me the answer is a no-brainer: in the Catholic Church, where Christ's teaching has been preserved in the Scripture and Tradition of the Church as reliably interpreted by those he authorised to be his apostles and their successors.

Your alternative is some sort of appeal to democracy.

Nope. I don't buy it.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:47:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

No, it's some sort of appeal to community, same as yours.

Except you appeal to a community which by your own numbers 80% haven't a frigging clue due to the near total abdication of their occupiers of the duties of the office to which you appeal.

So maybe Brian's deserves a second look.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 8:15:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Except you appeal to a community which by your own numbers 80% haven't a frigging clue due to the near total abdication of their occupiers of the duties of the office to which you appeal.

Horses arse, says me. Last statistics I saw were that the greying heads of the Call to Action crowd were lamenting that their children weren't interested in attending Mass. I'm shocked. Shocked, I say!!

Those of us in the remnant (although in the U.S. it's still a decent sized remnant) who attend Mass weekly or even daily have a pretty good idea of why we do.

Tip of the hat to Brian, but I think he'd make a great Episcopalian.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 8:52:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

And that was my point - rather than in pride wishing the Church to conform herself to you, why not move into the sort of ecclesiastical polity that actually does articulate your own views, so that you can be a member of the denomination that is in consonance with your conscientious beliefs?

I would have thought that Coyne would make a fine Anglican.

Obviously I wouldn't advise people to leave as if they ought 'seek the truth' elsewhere, for I believe the Catholic Church to teach the truth in line with her mission received from Our Lord, but IF in conscience one cannot believe in nor assent to the faith proposed by her, and indeed one believes that the faith proposed by her is radically defective and productive of great harm in the world, then logically one should join one's real co-religionists elsewhere.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:02:00 am , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

David,

I have to confess that as a "cradle Catholic" it is interesting reading the comments of recent converts like yourself and Louise. Evidently, from what you write and how you have named your blog, the big appeal of Catholicism is this belief — or is it a hope? — that there is somewhere in this world where "Truth" is defined Absolutely. The Pope is IT! All else hinges around that. As I wrote on Catholica in recent days (not in relation to you but in relation to the bigger picture of the minority and declining viewpoint you would seem to represent) "for some this belief that the Pope can make no mistakes is now a Credal position and article of faith held at a higher level than the Creed we say at Mass itself').

My position might only be thought of as "some sort of appeal to democracy" in the same sense that Cardinal Newman's arguments in the extended series of essays he wrote that eventually formed the published collection "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine" might be thought of as "some sort of appeal to democracy".

For an extended exploration of what I see as an almost life and death struggle going on within Catholicism now as to "where truth resides, who defines what it is, and differing paradigmatic understandings of the role of the Pope" I'd invite you to consider the arguments I laid out in a recent post on Catholica at: www.catholica.com.au/forum/forum_entry.php?id=18386. (You might note that essentially what we are discussing here is a continuing discussion on the question I posed to you some time ago. I really am interested in the hows and whys a man like yourself came to Roman Catholicism and you really do seem to believe that the highest credal position is this sense of "the pope has to be right at all costs. He is my guarantee of salvation." I do not believe that. I believe, if anything is some "guarantee" of my salvation this side of death it is "the Corpus Christi — the Body of Christ — or The Church [meaning the pope and ALL its members].")

Some call this new phenomenon of "elevating the importance and inerrancy of the Pope" above the propositions of the Creed — ie "I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, etc." — creeping infallibility. Newman so perceptively saw through all this and that is why he opposed so strongly all the arguments from the UltraMontanists leading up to Vatican I so vehemently. In the end a compromise resolution was adopted at Vatican I but the way some people carry on you would hardly believe today Cardinal Newman had advanced any arguments whatsoever and you could be forgiven for believing that the position adopted at Vatican I was the position of the most ultra-UltraMontanists.

I submit, in all seriousness, David, that your blog is misnamed, or should I say, I actually love the name of your blog and I sincerely believe we ought all do precisely what those words invite us to do "to think with the Church". But thinking with the Pope is not necessarily the same thing as "thinking with the Church". Certainly the Pope might think they are both the same thing but self-evidently from the statistics many, in fact most, have lost faith in this new post-Vatican I "article of faith". As I argued in the post I have provided a link to above: in my argument the Pope is still important, even primal. He's just not "the only one holding the Royal Telephone". He's the one who helps (not Brian Coyne or David Shütz but the entire corpus of the Church) as "servant of the servants of the people of God" discern what God is saying to us all. It's a different understanding of what "Sentire Cum Ecclesia" means. It's a different understanding of what St Ignatius was driving at.

Cheers, Brian

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:52:00 am , Blogger Peter said...

If you have been following the discussions on Catholica, which I suspect you haven't, there is another view emerging.

Right, because if you haven't been reading Catholica, Mr Schutz, you don't have the REAL version of Catholicism.

It seems Brian is not so opposed to a supreme pontif as he claims. His only problem is that nobody takes "Pope Brian I" very seriously.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:14:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Peter,

it really is boring and childish. I do not claim to have all the answers or even any answers for others outside myself. I do have many core things I believe in and they are largely grounded in Catholic thinking and theology. I do not believe the pope, or the temporal institution is "above error" though in all things. I'm a searcher, like many others — and particularly on those matters whwere I believe many baptised Catholics today are no longer convinced by "the party line" issuing from Rome Central. I do believe "truth" ultimately resides with "the Body of Christ — the entire insitution in communion and discussion" not any particular individual who believes they alone have "the royal telephone" or whom a minority or small choir of conservative supporters believe have some sort of exclusive insight into God's mind.

Where do you stand? Do you believe God speaks exclusively and only through the Pope and his immediate advisers and supporters? Or do you believe it is more likely God is speaking through all of his Creation? Simple enough question. What's your answer?

Cheers, Brian

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:22:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Brian, I think you were answering a question I did not ask. For one thing, I didn't ask for "proof" of anything.

You said to David:

I repeat again this sycophantic version of Catholicism that you seem to propose in the long run does not get people to heaven.

I asked, how can you possibly know that is the case?

I'm not sure what your reply was actually addressing, in fact.

To reiterate then, if even the doctrine of the Trinity is up for grabs, what is Catholicism all about?

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:31:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I do not claim to have all the answers or even any answers for others outside myself.

Yes you do. Your view, which you (naturally enough) believe is the correct one, is what you want us all to believe. The views you do have are the ones you want for me and everone else. Why you can't say so is beyond me. GK Chesterton divided the world into two groups of people: those who are dogmatic and know it; those who are dogmatic and don't know it. David and I and others fall into the first category, you and others fall into the second.

I do not believe the pope, or the temporal institution is "above error" though in all things.

Neither do I. Nor does the Church. Do you know what the doctrine of papal infallibility teaches?


I'm a searcher, like many others

And do you ever find what you are looking for? Do you ever find the truth and then accept it or do you just keep searching because you don't like what you've found? I'm a finder, myself.


and particularly on those matters whwere I believe many baptised Catholics today are no longer convinced by "the party line" issuing from Rome Central.

Lord, preserve us from Baby Boomerism.

I do believe "truth" ultimately resides with "the Body of Christ — the entire insitution in communion and discussion" not any particular individual who believes they alone have "the royal telephone" or whom a minority or small choir of conservative supporters believe have some sort of exclusive insight into God's mind.

This is such a bad caricature of the Church's teaching on authority I can't be bothered addressing it.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 4:30:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Brian: I have to confess that as a "cradle Catholic" it is interesting reading the comments of recent converts like yourself and Louise.

Is Louise a convert? I didn't know. She seems to me like many of the faithful young cradle Catholic mums-of-five-plus-kids I know. Strong, faithful, spunky (if one can use that word still today), and committed. A good stick, as I like to say of many of my friends.

I note a comment by one great convert of our age, Fr Richard John Neuhaus, in connection with another great convert, Cardinal Avery Dulles, in his recent column about "younger Catholics and converts to the faith" whose "experience of Catholicism is not that of being adrift but of coming into safe harbor, not that of loss but of discovery." And hence we tend to be somewhat more enthusiastic about the old girl we know as the Catholic Church.

As for comparing yourself and your ideas to those of Cardinal Newman (ANOTHER convert, shock horror!), you have tickets on yourself. Note that his essay was about "consulting the Faithful", not the UNfaithful.

As for where Truth resides, one may learn a lot from that great sage (who is, sad to say, NOT a convert or a cradle Catholic) Terry Pratchett, quoted elsewhere on this page: "The Truth is out there, but lies are inside your head."

For the record, and I thought I had stated this clearly enough, but you continue reading this through the lenses of your own bias, the Pope is NOT the guarentee of my salvation. That honour goes to my Lord Jesus Christ. My Lord Christ, however, did not leave me as an orphan, but continues to exercise his authority over me through the one to whom he said: "Thou art Peter". Permit me to ask how the Lord Jesus exercises his authority in your life, Brian?

If it is any consolation to you, I live with the unfounded fear (well, one of the many unfounded fears that I live with any way) that one day during my life time a pope will be elected with whom I find myself disagreeing at every turn. That will certainly be a deep challenge to my faith - however, note that I have said that it is an "unfounded" fear. Not because I trust the pope, but because I trust my Lord Jesus. As it is, I can't believe God's good grace and favour to us in raising Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter to continue the work of John Paul the Great. I know this run of good and wise popes can't last forever (the Church is a human institution after all) but I do rely on my Lord Jesus to guarentee that none of them will lead his Church astray.

Brian: Do you believe God speaks exclusively and only through the Pope and his immediate advisers and supporters?

Surely I have said a hundred times that I believe my Lord Jesus speaks most definitively through his Word - his Scriptures. If I have recourse to the Church it is because the Scriptures require an interpreter - and for the life of me I cannot find an interpreter with better credentials to speak in the name of my Lord Jesus than the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Brian: I'm a searcher, like many others

That reminds me of what Geoffrey Robinson said, which was remarkably similar to the line of GKC which Louise quoted, only from the other side of the argument. He divided (very certainly and dogmatically) the world into two kinds of people: those who are searchers and happy to remain so and those who (like me) have a pathological need for certainty and objective truth.

But there is no virtue to being a "searcher" if there is nothing to be found! I too remain a searcher - only of the kind that is fairly certain that I have found the road which will lead me to that which I seek.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:06:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Is Louise a convert?

Nyet.

For the record, and I thought I had stated this clearly enough, but you continue reading this through the lenses of your own bias, the Pope is NOT the guarentee of my salvation. That honour goes to my Lord Jesus Christ. My Lord Christ, however, did not leave me as an orphan, but continues to exercise his authority over me through the one to whom he said: "Thou art Peter".

Well said, David.

Perhaps, Brian, you can tell us what you think of Jesus. Is He God? Is He Lord? Is He just a really nice bloke? Who is He?

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:08:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Mr Coyne continues to take this discussion off track.

The original argument was about Fr Dresser's dressing-down for apparently denying precisely those credal statements at the heart of our Faith - the Divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection of Our Lord in reality and not in semblance.

Then we were diverted onto the whingeing anti-Pope track: apparently one can with impunity dispute even these most central dogmas, because (lo! a false syllogism) the nasty Pope and his mates are sooo mean, they make us cry.

Kindergarten stuff!

As I'm sure PE will ardently agree, IF Vatican I was in error when it said the Pope can speak infallibly ex cathedra (a rare occurrence, BTW), "non autem consensu Ecclesiae", THEN the Catholic Church's claim to be the one Church is untrue, and we ought abandon her as the Whore of Babylon.

To say her doctrines are untrue, and yet wish to remain within her, is ridiculous: in such a case, one would be obliged in conscience to find the church that actually does teach what one thinks is the truth - especially because, as Coyne asserts, the Catholic Church is the agent for so much bad in the world (insert here the usual list of issues of sexual morality).

How interesting that moral turpitude and doctrinal deviation are intertwined...

From what he writes, surely Anglicanism (or the Uniting Church) would be more his cup of tea?

But to return to the central issue: of course the Pope is not possessed of a magic telephone to heaven - his role is to act as the conserver and safeguarder of the Deposit of Faith, and to this end we hold to the eminently reasonable doctrine that IF he speaks on an issue of faith and morals, intending to bind the whole Church, THEN (lest he lead us all astray) a purely negative form of infallibility, by God's grace, comes into play, in that he is prevented by the illumination of the Holy Spirit from teaching falsehood. He may teach poorly, he may teach in a less than perfect manner, but what he teaches will not be false. That is what Vatican I defined. It is actually, as Newman long ago pointed out, a most restrictive definition, no more than the minimum logic demands if his role is in truth to confirm his brethren in the Faith.

Therefore, of course the Pope is not above the Creed: instead, his job is precisely to confirm us in the Faith, and not to let us go astray. The Pope's task is to make sure that the Church doesn't deviate from the faith once delivered to the saints.

Does this exclude development of doctrine? Not at all, as so very long ago St Vincent of Lerins explained so well. His task is to ensure that proposed explanations of doctrine are not denials thereof.

Bishops should be the agents of this guardianship in their dioceses, as they are the principal teachers of their flocks. The Pope only comes into play if bishops are unwilling or unable or or divided or confused about how to act.

If our episcopate was, frankly, as united in faith as the Orthodox, we would hardly need recourse to the Pope, who is the emergency backstop as it were; although, for Western Catholics, he is our Patriarch (unfortunate he dropt that title, but it'll come back, since it does express the truth of his role vis a vis the Roman Rite and Roman Church).

Most importantly, we must drop this hateful attitude of abusing and maligning the Holy Father.

If we really don't like him and all his works and words and his (to us) empty promises, then we ought follow our conscience and declare that we cannot go along with what appears to us a false and misleading church, and instead seek out the church that seems to teach the truth.

To consult the faithful on matters of doctrine is not to poll a mob so poorly catechized they couldn't explain anything about the Trinity without lapsing into the crudest tritheism, subordinationism or Arianism. To consult the faithful is to hearken to what people believe who actually hold to the faith as the Church has taught.

Until - surprise, surprise - the 1960's and the Pill, any practising Catholic would have been amazed if the Pope were impugned in his teachings. It is all too obvious that the many who went astray did so because of a moral fault, and subsequently tried to justify their sin by a retrospective change of belief. They proved themselves unfaithful.

As Coyne again proves, so-called cradle Catholics are too often smug in their ignorance and laziness, thinking they can dispute any and every doctrine, and then have the rudeness to mock at those who actually wish to sentire cum Ecclesia.

The Church consists of two categories: the good and the bad. Now, God knows I've got many sins, but I strive to follow the teachings of the Church and not proudly dissent from them. As Schuetz says, Simul justus et peccator, semper paenitens.

Faith is a precious gift - it must be conformed to Revelation as mediated to us through Tradition right down to the actual Magisterium of our own day. To imagine for yourself some other faith is not to be faithful; it is to be a pimp for your own mind.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:13:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Who summoned me? (Relax, just having fun.)

Your fear is not unfounded at all, David. And then you will find your Lord Jesus Christ has nothing whatever to do with the popes of Rome.

It's already happened to a great many people, some still trying to remain Catholic, some gone. John Paul the Great? What a joke. The phenomenologically warmed over universalism this great actor offered in place of Catholicism will itself have a replacement. Speaking of greying heads, look for it in the years when the pope of Rome will no longer be one of the conciliar generation. Then you will pull your Newman out of his grave with the bones of another man and do your damndest to hang on. You will wish you had never heard of the Catholic Church yet its lies will leave you thinking there is no other place to go. Safe harbour? Pig's bum. You only see a safe harbour because the coastline is different now. You can not have a sense of loss for that which you have not discovered.

These great guarantors of orthodoxy have yet left 80% of their church uncatechised! Watch out, before you know it some upset priest will write a little catechism dercying such a sorry state!

Maybe you guys should put more effort toward them than trying to find Mr Coyne a new church. Neither he nor Fr Dresser deny a bloody thing -- except the validity of your effort to make of Vatican II the new Trent.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:17:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

My apologies. It was Christine not Louise who made the remark about joining the Church in 1997.

As for all the rest, all I can say is that one day I expect we will all have to eyeball God and answer for the choices we made. I'm simply no longer prepared to take the chance of eyeballing God and trotting out the confident certitudes a Pell, a JPII, a Richard John Neuhaus, or you might trot out David. Yes, I do appreciate how confident each of you are that "you have it all sewn up" and that all the rest of the baptised faithful who question your certitudes, or who have gone off to search in fresh pastures, are wrong. One day we will find out who called the game correctly. If you want to place your bet that Pell has read it better than Geoffrey Robinson that's fine by me. I have made a different bet. I don't pretend Geoff Robinson has all the answers but I do classify him as a "genuine searcher for answers" and not a "searcher after certitudes or simplicitudes". Nor does he come across to me as "a man on the make". Speaking out as he has has not brought any comfort into his life, nor promotions, nor millions of dollars in income. It just brings trouble. Someone else taught us that a long time ago.

Cheers, Brian

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:26:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

In response to Louise: I dare say my views on Jesus are as nuanced and as complex as yours. I have had plenty to say on the subject through the pages of www.catholica.com.au. I do believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man, and all that we say we believe about him in each of the Creeds that are foundational to Catholic belief. Any further questions?

Cheers, Brian

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:44:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

I do wish Mr Coyne would not indulge in, well, what I may well have indulged in- that is, presuming that those he disagrees with (the good Cardinal Abp of Sydney, for instance, and doubtless his auxiliaries et al.) are somehow bad people on the make, apeing piety so as to amass filthy lucre, etc.

This is really very mean-spirited.

As an acquaintance at the very least of several of such persons that he has criticized, I must say I think he is too cruel toward them.

Now, to postulate some distinction between certitude and answers (?!) is to miss the point - or is it...

We are all of us after faith.

What, then, is faith?

It is an infused intellectual supernatural intellectual virtue.

Unformed faith, or belief in the natural sense, is that trust we have in some statement of religious belief being true (such as, that God exists), without having sanctifying grace - this is the faith that a catechumen has before his baptism.

Now, at baptism, we receive as a gift, a supernatural perfection of our soul, effected by the Holy Ghost. This enables us to have supernatural faith, to believe in truths whose apprehension is otherwise outside our ability. It is a good habit, or a virtue, because it enables us easily to believe on an ongoing basis what otherwise be literally beyond our natural capacities. It is an intellectual gift, as it concerns our intellect, being our acceptance as true of what God has deigned to reveal.

To be "seeking answers" in the quasi-New-Age sense, is to seek out truth, but to prescind from the great richness actually revealed to us. This is unduly to restrict ourselves to that unformed faith, I would submit, being as it were unable finally to achieve knowledge of higher things. It is the faith of a philosopher (only). Only supernatural faith can grant us certitude, a certitude in fact stronger than even mathematical or logical certitude - because founded not on ourselves but on God, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

This is true faith.

Faith of course should seek understanding, but not in a carping critical manner, let alone by exercising that destructive hermeneutic of suspicion that vitiates the efforts of many.

The Pope is not the enemy!

How one can go on calling oneself Catholic and yet hate the Vicar of Christ is beyond me. If you have this fundamentally schismatic attitude, go on and fulfil it!

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:47:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Sharon's original comment is best: a priest has a duty to preach the Faith that is Catholic, indeed in a personal way born of inner conviction, but NOT at the expense of the official statements of the Church, such as the Creeds, etc. If you do not honestly assent to the Faith as the Church teaches it, it would be hypocrisy to be a priest and teach it, but it would also be hypocrisy to be a priest and teach in opposition to it, because you would be using the pulpit to preach a Faith other than the one you were ordained to propagate and defend.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:52:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Coyne is right that Faith and Catholicism is about getting to heaven, but wrong in that he thinks that Catholics loyal to the Magisterium are somehow weak evildoers, as opposed to noble souls who in lordly fashion dispense with what is taught as the Faith.

It is the latter category who pretend to special access to the Divine counsels. They, too, are those driven by ego. Of course, some persons who like Pell, for instance, can be a little embarrassing in their regard for him, as can some votaries of the late Pope, but both groups are at base loyal to the Catholic Faith and accept it voluntarily, often at personal cost.

It is entirely different to spew forth visceral hatred of the Church, her ministers, her teachings, and yet declare oneself a better Catholic for it - such are vipers in her bosom, and snares for the unaware.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:55:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

And the army of dissenting priests and bishops who so wickedly told people it was OK to disobey Humanae Vitae who led so many into rebellion are most to blame for the great lack of faith and loyalty in the Church.

Personally, I blame Paul VI for being so weak-willed and Hamlet-like as not to act with force and vigor to quell such ructions - if he had, there would not be the de facto schism that has existed since his reign.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:05:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

As for this notion that truth resides in the Body of Christ - this is a cunning expression indeed!

Nuanced properly, it is true; manipulated falsely, it is wrong.

If all Catholics voted together to define what they believed, I would not trust the result of such a vote for an instant.

This is the fallacy that has afflicted Anglicanism: that a Synod composed of persons of wildly different outlook can define the truth.

No, Truth is a given, given us in Jesus Christ. He passed on His revelation in Holy Tradition, in both the canonical Scriptures and in the traditional teachings of the Church (as instanced by the liturgies, prayer for the dead, and other immemorial elements). Over time, the assemblies of orthodox bishops in communion with him of Rome "rightly divided the word of truth" against all heresies.

Today, so many are almost wholly uncatechized and infected with the spirit of this dark world that they would believe only the most crushingly secular morality, and decline nearly all supernatural truths except in the most subjective and nugatory manner.

If baptized, one is a member of the Body of Christ, but one is not therefore ipso facto possessed of a perfect command of sacred doctrine.

That is why there is the Ecclesia docens and the Ecclesia discens, the teaching Church and the Church that is the recipient of teaching.

What is disguised by the idea of "communion and discussion" is the modern arch-manipulation of "facilitating" discussion to obtain whatsoever outcome one desires in the darkness of one's heart.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:09:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Neither he nor Fr Dresser deny a bloody thing -- except the validity of your effort to make of Vatican II the new Trent.

This is a mysterious statement, PE.

Fr Dresser, as far as I can tell has denied that Jesus is God, for example. Brian, as far as I can tell would disagree with both Trent and Vatican II, which just makes things a little problematic.

I think Joshua was merely pointing out that if you don't agree with the Catholic Church on some core issues, it's pretty bizarre to remain in such a Church. I wouldn't myself, because I believe in Truth and that one should act on it. I'm personally not asking Brian or anyone else to leave the Church, I just can't work out why they remain when they obviously disagree about so much. In that respect, I can see much more logic in your own position, PE, for you have acted on your beliefs.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:11:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

And Joshua is right abou the moral issues. GK Chesterton, the Apostle of Common Sense, said that the next great heresy would be an attack on morality and in particular sexual morality. And lo! 1968!

He didn't give it a name as far as I know, but it has a name now: Secularism.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:17:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I blame Paul VI for being so weak-willed and Hamlet-like as not to act with force and vigor to quell such ructions - if he had, there would not be the de facto schism that has existed since his reign.

No doubt he could have done a better job, but I don't think anyone was prepared for the tempest of '68, which was more spiritual than anything. The Baby Boomers, God love 'em, like to take credit for it, but it was something much bigger than them.

No pope had ever had such enormous opposition, if you take into account the new media. Someone else has noted that he was like a rabbit in the headlights.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:23:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I dare say my views on Jesus are as nuanced and as complex as yours.

Um, no, not really what I would call nuanced, actually.

Jesus is God and Man. Think "creeds."

And Joshua is right about the Truth. The truth is the truth even if no-one has the sense to believe it. It's not democratically decided. Surely everyone can see that.

Eg either there is a God or there isn't a God. Now surely if there is a God, then He exists even if no-one believes in Him, yes?

And if there is no God, then He does not exist, even if everyone believes in Him, yes?

So, I don't really see what the opinions of the majority of baptised Catholics have to do with it.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:33:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

We keep talking about catechesis and indeed that is what is urgently required now (as well as prayer, assisting at Mass etc). But I don't think the catechesis was necessarily always that great before.

Both my grandmother and my husband's grandmother would have been hard pressed to differentiate between say a solemn teaching of the Church (eg obligation to assist at Mass every Sunday) and a discipline of the Church (eg Friday fasting). Now, these were intelligent women, but there were some concepts which they obviously had never been taught, largely because they were not so important prior to the upheavals of recent decades.

When the heresy of Secularism broke upon us like a tsunami and enveloped Western Civilisation in the New Dark Age, that original insufficient catechesis was shown up. It has, undoubtedly, only got worse overall, because the people in charge of such things, on the whole, have been seduced by the heresy of Secularism. The situation is really about as grim as it was during the Arian heresy. People who complain now that things are really bad need to take a longer view, IMO, because the Church has always had to deal with such things.

And those who are proving unhelpful in various ways now would have been equally unhelpful during the Arian heresy.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:35:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Joshua,

Thanks for your responses. I am glad I have stirred you up. In the final analysis though I think, to put it mildly, "you are playing with yourself". I did that for a long time also.

By the way I know a lot of those sort of guys also. I was sitting at dinner with one of them not long ago. I have no doubt that a lot of them are "nice people" and "sincerely intentioned". Just go read Dr Paul O'Shea's exploration of the life of Eugenio Pacelli. I feel sorry for the poor bastard for all the "positions of high office" he occupied in the world — imprisoned in this "cultural construct" that he was imprisoned in and then having to face the monster Hitler. The guy was completely out of his depth in the end. Similarly with Paul VI. The information is that he virtually ended up a cot case for the last ten years of his pontificate. He knew in his bones that he'd "got it wrong" over Humanae Vitae. He never produced another encyclical again. Then what do we get this "raving egomaniac" in JPII pretending to be the humblest individual God ever hreathed life into. Give us a break! All of these men are very, very human. In general terms they are also very immature. That's one of the failings of priesthood that we are discovering today through the sexual abuse scandals. As I wrote today privately to a friend "They're like little boys from a kindergarten who have been invited to sit in the drivers' seat of a steam train, or a diesel locomotive, at the local railway station."

Benedict is cut from a different cloth to PJII and thankfully doesn't seem driven by this enormous, out-of-control, ego. He does seem driven by anxiety and pain though. He's much more of the mould of Pacelli — trying desperately to believe in a "cultural construct" that is literally crumbling all around him.

People are not "dumb and stupid". They can see through all of this. That's why, over the last century, participation rates of the baptised have effectively reversed themselves — at the start of the 20th Century it was 20% who dropped out in adulthood and 80% who continued practising, and believing, until their death. Today it is actually worse than the reverse of that — and right across the face of the Western world. You live in a fantasy world if you believe "the true believers" are the only ones who "know truth" and the rest of civilisation is "damned to spend Eternity in Hell". It really is "fantasy land".

Society today is searching for a new spiritual paradigm — searching for new leaders who can explain "the God and Jesus" story that better corresponds with our "lived perceptions of life". Civilisation has been through these upheavals before. There is nothing to be afraid of.

As I see it as a journalist and writer I have this sense that we realise no person is God — not even Popes. What we are watching is "the last gasp of the Ancien Regime and the belief that Kings and Emperors were Gods". We, the entire human family, "struggle for answers". None of us have "THE Answer" or "The Answers" individually. But, collectively, we can access the answers. This was the great insight of Cardinal Newman in that series of essays he wrote. We (civilisation/human society/the church) does need a mechanism through which we discern what God is saying through this "chaos of communication" that comes "from our Creator-God into the world". It IS confusing hearing all these different voices. We do need a Primate, and someone who coordinates the entire human effort to "make sense" of all the communication. We do need to pay attention to all "the ancient wisdom that has been learned by our forebears in the long progress of civilisation and human history" and we also need to be hearing "what God is saying NOW". Jesus Christ is, I believe, the "fullness of revelation". He is "the complete story — the full model of a Way (to think and act like God [as per the thinking of St Gregory of Nyassa])" that is going to be given to us. While he is "the fullness of Revelation" that does not mean that we yet "fully understand Jesus" or we yet "fully understand his message".

Cheers, Brian

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:46:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Brian said: I'm simply no longer prepared to take the chance of eyeballing God and trotting out the confident certitudes a Pell, a JPII, a Richard John Neuhaus, or you might trot out David.

Well, given that it's all consistent with the teaching of the Apostles, I'm not sure why that would be the case. It is, after all, the more "liberal" Catholics who depart significantly with the teachings of the early Church.

Yes, I do appreciate how confident each of you are that "you have it all sewn up" and that all the rest of the baptised faithful who question your certitudes, or who have gone off to search in fresh pastures, are wrong.

And how would this be different from your own attitude?

I do classify him as a "genuine searcher for answers" and not a "searcher after certitudes or simplicitudes".

Right. So when you find an answer it's an "answer" and when we find answers they are "certitudes" and "simplicitudes." I see.

Nor does he come across to me as "a man on the make". Speaking out as he has has not brought any comfort into his life, nor promotions, nor millions of dollars in income. It just brings trouble. Someone else taught us that a long time ago.

I don't get this reference at all.

Suffice it to say, in my own parish where I must endure the homilies of my PP who is inclined to bash anyone who believes in the contents of the catechism, I don't receive a lot of comfort. Let's face it, when it comes to "power" in the ordinary life of a pew-warmer, the PP has a lot more than the Pope, whom I never have to listen to if I don't want to.

Never ceases to amaze me that Catholics at "The Tablet" end of the spectrum can't grasp this.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:47:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

How dare you accuse me of intellectual masturbation, you dirty cheap fellow!

Typical of sex-obsessed Baby Boomers to insinuate that priests are immature, or, to put it as crudely as you would, that they're infantilized because they haven't made themselves real men by getting their rocks off! Shame!

If only a minority believe, so be it: it's for God to grant graces and us to cooperate with them.

Your deluded idea that the Church is finished is just what the Anglicans said when the Immaculate Conception was defined (they thought it proof of Rome's senile madness and imminent collapse), and just what Napoleon &c. thought earlier on...

As for this pop psychology nonsense of "lived perceptions", it amounts to nothing.

Go and be an Anglican, let those who actually want to be Catholics get on with it unhindered by pests.

Thank God I've never read aCatholic, my blood pressure would go so high I'd die.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:48:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Just to conclude that last post: we also need a mechanism — a church — that facilitates this entire process of "listening to the Divine — of listening to God", and making sense of it all and articulating it into something rational that we can understand in the limited paradigm in which we can do our thinking. We are natural, not supernatural. Our ways of thinking ARE limited and constrained. We also need a mechanism that "preserves, archives and constantly reminds us of the accumulated 'wisdom of the ages' and the previous 'Divine Wisdom and Revelation' that has been communicated to our forebears. But that "Church", that "mechanism", is NOT God. To turn the Church, or the head of the Church, into a type of God is a form of idolatry.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:52:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

I completely agree with your last statement.

Please don't think I make the Church an idol: God knows I've suffered at the hands of her members and that her teachings can seem a cross, but it is in her that I recognize the Master's Voice. Hence, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" - I know that the Church teaches what Our Lord teaches, and so to that I must agree.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:30:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:36:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

But that "Church", that "mechanism", is NOT God. To turn the Church, or the head of the Church, into a type of God is a form of idolatry.

OK, Brian.

Well, I do not worship the Church any more than I worship my own mother. I love 'em both.

Incidentally, I don't really see how marriage can prevent men becoming sexual predators, since some sexual predators are married. Not to mention that in this society at least, men marry women, not girls and boys, so, I'm not impressed with that "narrative" Brian. Besides, it's just another red herring.

And by God, you've got a cheek telling Joshua he's playing with himself! I think if we follow your own position, Brian, we'll see there's not a lot of rational thinking there. Lots of blessed "uncertainty" to be sure, but not much else.

And the way we show reverence and worship to Our Lord Jesus Christ is by ignoring the Church He created for our benefit? Right.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 12:26:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Yes, Coyne would render uncertainty his idol.

Making uncertainty into an idol, and then worshipping this most convenient and Californian of deities, which smiles inanely on every peccadillo and favourite moral failing, is to erect for oneself a god not worth doing anything for.

It is a true deus otiosus: a lazy, indifferent god who cares as little for one as one would for it.

The trouble at base with Coyne's thesis is that it would produce at worst Spong's complete evisceration of Christianity, which is a sort of secularism that worships itself, and at best inculcate the sort of boring, banal, mediocre, suburban, lowest-common-denominator petit bourgeois laziness and cult of niceness and inane jokes and smiles that afflicts Australian parishes. Such is death warmed up, and makes anyone with a mind and will wish to run out and vomit, after the example of Our Lord's devastating critique of the smug Laodiceans (Apoc. iii, 14-22) - "you are lukewarm... and I'll spew you out of my mouth".

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 12:28:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Why is it that philistines rule in Aussie parishes? Why is it all so boring? If this is a taste of Coyne's medicine for the Church, let alone if he wants WATAC pseudo-liturgies or the sort of childish cringeworthy coloured-candle-and-coloured-material navel-gazing sessions that 'progressive' types think the acme of worship, God help us!

Such attempts are the nadir of twenty centuries of Christian adoration.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 12:55:00 am , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Louise,

I have never proposed that "marriage" is the panacea for sexual abuse. I think one of the problems (as to why the Church has become so irrelevant in the minds of so many) is that our priests live an artificial life. For all the talk of "poverty" (diocesan priests do not in fact take a vow of poverty, that only applies to order priests and religious) being a priest is really a very "comfortable life" with "ordination-to-grave security" (provided you toe-the-party-line and do not question "the system/the culture/etc"). Priests might think that seeing their nieces and nephews for Sunday or Christmas lunch gives them some insight into family life. It is a very different matter to being a mother, or a father, with three, four or six teenagers screaming at one another and YOU are responsible for their welfare 24/7 for somewhere between 18 and 25 years. I honestly don't listen much anymore to parents "on the way through". A lot of the people in the circles I mix in have raised children through to adulthood. They followed all the "neat" instructions coming from Rome. The reality is that it takes about 25 years to work out what the shortcomings in all those "neat little rules" were. Our kids have taught us a lot.

Listen to a lot of those voices of both men and women on Catholica — now in their 60s, 60s and 80s who have "really seen life". They are no longer deluded by the fantasies. Our priests, unfortunately, never experience any of that. Their shirts are basically ironed and put away for them. They don't have to worry inordinately about where the next meal is coming from, how they can afford to pay for the kid's schools books, or the next excursion, or ensure their kids have the iPod, or other "latest piece of technology" that all their friends, or consumer society is telling them "they've gotta have". You can't experience that unless you have the respinsibility 24/7 relentlessly for 18-25 years — and, if anything the time is extending as kids are leaving home a lot later these days than they did in the past.

In short the "issue" is not sexual relations, the issue isn't even male-female relationships — the "issue" that sets priests apart from where "most people are at" is this very practical and humungously mundane stuff of how does a person intelligently, compassionately and lovingly guide one's own offspring through to intelligent, balanced and wholistic adult personhood? The "hard bit" is not with "little kids" — the battle only begins in late adolescence for many. You can rail against Baby=Boomers for all you like. Many of these people who have become sceptical are in fact from the generations that preceded us "baby boomers". We "baby boomers" are their children.

A further "problem" is that going with this culture of "clericalism" they (the priests and the ones who are supposed to be our spiritual guides) honestly have been schooled, or inculturated, to believe they "have all the answers" or "Rome has all the answers". A lot of them are almost totally incapable of even "listening" to what parents and the members of their flock are saying. They literally have no concept whatsoever that "God might be speaking through the members of their flock". The "culture" that they bought into on "joining up", and which has been carefully cultivated at every point along the way, is that "wisdom" comes exclusively "downward from Rome" — we're not going to learn anything from "listening to 'the people' who are perceived to be 'below' them". The people are not perceived to be the source of any wisdom whatsoever. Their role is to "pray up, pay up, shut up and listen to us! We, and the institution, is the ONLY source of wisdom that matters. Most people have become jack of that. They have ceased turning up on Sundays — or any of the sacraments much.

The older parent and grandparent generations, through the "lived experience" of, principally, actually raising their own families — and their kids not swallowing the old myths — they have "learned the hard way" that the fairy tales down work anymore.

Stick around long enough and watch the families still trying all the conservative stuff of heavy discipline, homeschooling and what not. My experience is "down the other end" you end up with one of two outcomes: screwed up and extremely rebellious adult children or you see adult children who have completely had the spirit ripped completely out of them and they are equally screwed up adults in the opposite direction. The ones that end up "balanced" and "well-rounded" tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

The world hungers today for spiritual guides who can "really teach" and who do know what they are talking about. They hunger for a Church that can communicate again — and communicate some very practical stuff.

Cheers, Brian

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:04:00 am , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Keep it up, Joshua. I'm enjoying the entertainment immensely. It's wonderful listening to all this "ancient wisdom" you are so exclusively privvy to.

Cheers, Brian

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:20:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Learn to spell - privy not privvy.

I don't like being mocked either.

You should easily recognize what I'm repeating as not at all original but what I can but try and say in defence of the Faith.

And you still owe me an apology for your rude insinuation.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:21:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

My apologies. It was Christine not Louise who made the remark about joining the Church in 1997.

Not sure if it will earn me any more bona fides, Brian, but Christine grew up with one Catholic and one Lutheran parent and got to see both communions in detail before her conversion.

I had plenty of exposure to the Catholic way of life through my Catholic father (in Europe, by the way) and through my marriage into a Catholic family. I attended Mass often with my Catholic in-laws before I formally converted.

I'm not a novice.

As a Lutheran my great heritage was the Sacred Scriptures and their place of primacy in the Church, which David also acknowledges. I do not view the Pope as divine (the way you carry on one would think the Holy Father speaks infallibly every twenty minutes). My Lord Jesus Christ is the One who defines my faith. But I do acknowledge the place of the Petrine ministry in the life of the Church and am grateful for the role of the papacy.

As for God speaking through Creation, which is very, very dear to me (having lived on three continents, including Australia before I was even 12 years old has given me a lot of exposure to Creation), Holy Writ tells us that Creation, too, is in bondage to sin and needs redemption, a little matter that has been forgotten and has led to a great deal of pantheism across the Christian spectrum.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:22:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

If people don't turn up for the Sacraments, more fool them - though the hopelessly uninspiring poor level of preaching and celebration thereof may have something to do with it.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:23:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Yes, I do hope the aCatholic types die off quick and leave us in peace.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:28:00 am , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Thanks, Christine, and my apologies again for the confusion I created. I appreciated hearing a little of your story.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:35:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

The blather about priests is certainly in some ways true - being a parent is no joke, and some priests do fix up for themselves a cushy lazy life - but a priest should really lead a hard life of self-sacrifice, very different from that of a family man or what have you, but one that should be as full of work and effort, else your criticism is exactly on target.

There are two types of priests: those who work and those who don't.

No one likes a priest who works so little he's a scandal to his hard-working congregation.

Now, my quibble is with the inherent assumption that putting in the hard yards with one's family somehow privileges one, whereas, O scandal to modern man, it is the constant teaching down the ages that the celibate life is a higher state in and of itself (tho' a lazy priest certainly isn't living up to it and is probably worse off spiritually than his hardworking parishioners).

Here we have Americanism: downplaying the supernatural, exalting the natural. Marriage is good, very good; but dedication of oneself totally to God for the sake of the Kingdom is better. If one's dedication to God then falters and pans out as a comfortable bachelor's life sans wife but blessed with TV, whisky, car and easygoing leisure, then it is a contradiction and a scandal, of course.

I compare and contrast these sorts of lazy priests - liberals, all of them - with the very hardworking, prayerful, sacrificing, priests I know who are conservative and traditional. They are the ones I look up to; I wish I were not so lazy as I am, and could work as hard and pray as hard as they.

In my experience, every supposedly nice friendly liberal priest has turned out to be boring or mean or domineering or otherwise less than ideal; while all the supposedly scary rigid priests I was warned of turned out to be friendly, humorous, decent, hardworking priests who moreover love God and strive for holiness.

This led to me to pursue the path of fidelity to Catholicism, rather than continue in my own life to water down the faith to nothing and live badly.

Liberals in my experience are bitter and unpleasant and lazy; their opposites, the ones faithful to Catholic Faith, are happy and kind and good, and have endured much from the former category.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:43:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

And where in all this is the universal call to holiness?

We must at all costs avoid the temptation to conform what we believe to what we would like to believe, else we shall be ensnared in the toils of the world, the flesh and the devil; we must be truly countercultural by reading the signs of the times, not to give in to the culture of death around us, but to see that the only answer is in Jesus Christ and His Church, and to conform our beliefs to the truth that she received from Him and still, if we be not hardhearted, seeks to pass on to us.

Fr Dresser's confused backflip is a case in point: it appears he was taking on various rehashes of German Protestant Biblical critiques that denied the truth of several fundamental Christian beliefs, but has - one must wonder how sincerely, though in charity we think the best - now come back to a more orthodox belief based upon Divine Revelation.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:45:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

David, what say you round all this up and bring it to an end? I suggest humbly that over sixty posts should be enough, particularly as Mr Coyne has his own nest elsewhere and can post as he likes there without let or hindrance.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 2:52:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

I have acted on my beliefs? (A good bit of the above happened during what is night over here, and following a popular custom I slept through it.)

The beliefs I acted upon in leaving the Catholic Church were not those I hold now. They were the beliefs taught to me by the Catholic Church, now nowhere upheld by any faction claiming to be in accord with the reforms of Vatican II.

I see no such position on the part of Mr Coyne, CA or its American counterparts, and would therefore expect no such action.

The final nail in the coffin was not the carryings-on of that crowd, but reading the texts of the novus ordo itself, in Latin, something more violently opposed to Catholic teaching and the teaching in action known as liturgy than anything mustered by CA types or your dreaded Baby Boomers (itself the product not of them but their parents' generation, one of the last of whom now sits upon the papal throne).

At least they present a clear and consistent understanding of the Catholic faith vis a vis the lived perception of life, and how that understanding takes its place in the ongoing history of such understandings.

They do not engage in all sorts of mental gymanstics, trying to trade on the credibility of one such understanding, the preconciliar church, to establish their new postconciliar church, in fact, what am I saying, deny that the new is REALLY new or the change is REALLY a change at all. Most certainly they do not engage in the utter mendaciousness to invent out of thin air against all history and precedent a rite which is one rite in two forms, one allowed as a museum piece after forty years of kicking the ass of anyone who did not kiss theirs to celebrate it, on condition that their new rite be acknowledged as the ordinary form of the same rite it trashes.

Not to mention such abominations as the Joint Declaration, where we all agree except where we don't which doesn't meant that we don't. God bless me sideways, it would be easier to just say Joseph Smith really had the plates from the angel and the Urim and Thummim to translate them than to follow this shadow and fantasy, out of the truth into shadow and fantasy indeed.

As to clerical life, how indeed shall a man manage the family of God if he cannot manage his own family is not solved by not allowing the man a family at all, thereby managing nothing!

Hell yes wrap it up -- all opposition not being addressed in substantive terms but, there being a priori no possible basis for opposition, passed off as the fruit of bitterness, hatred, laziness, age or whatever.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 9:22:00 am , Blogger Joshua Martin said...

PE,

I've read the Novus Ordo texts in Latin too, and can't honestly see the abominations you contend to be present there. Could you give some examples?

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:38:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

The beliefs I acted upon in leaving the Catholic Church were not those I hold now.

Well, I won't presume to argue with you over what you've done in your life, PE! I just thought that whenever you have come to a conclusion (eg "the Catholic Church is not what it says it is," or "Christianity is not the real deal I'll become Jew") you have acted and followed wherever the line of your reasoning took you. At least, that's the impression I'm under. Obviously, you know better than I in this matter.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:39:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

At any rate, a person ought to act in accordance with the conclusions they reach.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:47:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

Good onya, Brian. I love how your kids have "taught you a lot" but you won't listen to me because my kids are not grown up! Good grief! What kind Universe do you live in?

Talk about marginalising people and ostracising them yada yada; nobody does that better than liberals.

And what have your children taught you, Brian? That sex before marriage and the obvious increase in abortions, which must go along with that, are just ducky? Or perhaps that the benefits of no-fault divorce are the best thing since sliced bread? Or that best way to worship God is by not going to Mass on Sunday? What?

And where do you draw the line, exactly for minimal belief in the Catholic Church? Should a priest who openly teaches there is no God at all still be permitted to live on the parishioner's Church donations?

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:50:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

It's hard to get a lookin on such long series of posts, but I just have to say ... well, I don't have to ... that I just don't get you PE. I like that in a person!

I've contributed to a couple of DBs for quite a few years now but I still feel like a neophyte in terms of how they fit into the complex world of human communication.

This kind of forum relies heavily on the whims and fancies of the 'blogmeister' -- kinda obvious really -- and results in people responding positively or negatively to those pearls.

We are, even more than on a DB I'd suggest, disembodied opinions.

We can 'let it rip' confident in the knowledge that our salvos are directed at another disembodied opinion.

I'd be interested in other's perspectives, but hey, this is not my playground!

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:01:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

Stick around long enough and watch the families still trying all the conservative stuff of heavy discipline, homeschooling and what not.

I'm not watching it, Brian, I'm doing it. Apparently you think I think if I do all these things I'll guarantee that my kids will turn out as little Louise clones. Where do you get these ideas? Because I am a woman, I am a realist (according to the beloved Chesterton). I know perfectly well that no matter how I bring up my kids, they will end up making their own choices. It *may* happen, however, that those choices are not dissimilar to mine after all. Your hubris beggars belief. I choose to raise my kids in accordance with what I think is best for them, not to churn out little sausages in a factory. It would sadden me to see them take up the Secularist heresy, but given that it's the predominant world view in our society and grants licence to commit one's favourite mortal sins, it would hardly be *surprising* if they did so. And if they did so, it would not prove the New Morality right, just more attractive.

The blather about priests is certainly in some ways true - being a parent is no joke, and some priests do fix up for themselves a cushy lazy life

This has always been true and is largely irrelevant. Certainly such priests are more of a hindrance than a help in spreading The Gospel, but the questions are simply whether or not:

1. God exists
2. Jesus is both God and Man (and which Fr Dresser seems to think is not the case)
3. The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded.

*If* all these are true, then lazy or bad priests are irrelevant. And *if* they are true then Fr Dresser needs a boot up the bum for leading his flock astray and sent to the nearest Centrelink.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:06:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

Hell yes wrap it up -- all opposition not being addressed in substantive terms but, there being a priori no possible basis for opposition, passed off as the fruit of bitterness, hatred, laziness, age or whatever.

Not a lot of *substantive* opposition, from what I can see.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:24:00 am , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Particularly addressed to David, but also to anyone else who has lasted the distance through this enlightening exchange of vastly different viewpoints…

I've been re-reading the thread. There are many points that one could pick up on but I'd particularly like to pick up on this small part of your argument, David, where you respond to the question I posed. Here it is again in full before I respond. (Please note I have also posted this on Catholica as a discussion starter over there. The version on Catholica {LINK] has much more highlighting than I'm able to provide here.

Brian: In the alternative: where is your "proof" that David's version — which I presume fairly well equates to Benedict's version — guarantees "salvation" (or however you define the end objective of our religious/spiritual quest)?

Schütz: There is of course no "proof", Brian. But consider something with which I am sure you will agree. "Salvation" - in any religious or spiritual meaning of the term - cannot be divorced from "truth". Jesus promised that when we "know the truth" "the truth will set you free". That is sound. Even modern psychology, which would probably share with you a skepticism about my "problem" (a pathological need for certainty) would agree that "salvation" only comes through true knowledge of yourself and of your situation in life. Spiritual masters have always taught us to know "the true self" in order to find salvation.

So, the Truth will lead to Salvation, no?

The next question is, who can I reliably rely upon to lead me to truth? Myself? That's the modern answer. As a Christian, however, we would unanimously say "Christ", for he is, as he said, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life".

The final question which must be answered then is: How does Christ speak to me? Where can I be assured that I can hear the authentic voice of Christ?

For me the answer is a no-brainer: in the Catholic Church, where Christ's teaching has been preserved in the Scripture and Tradition of the Church as reliably interpreted by those he authorised to be his apostles and their successors.

Your alternative is some sort of appeal to democracy.

Nope. I don't buy it.


RESPONSE:

Yes, I agree with your first paragraph. Truth is essentially what leads to Salvation. Truth — to see as God sees —is ultimately what Salvation is. Compared to God, we're like the classical "elephant in a dark cave". Our perspective is forever limited by our humanness, and by the bounds (the four dimensions (x, y, z and t) of temporal Creation. It is part of the human condition that we are constantly seeking to break out of our prison and "see as God sees in an unbounded/unconstrained way".

I also agree with you that the next logical question to pose "who can I reliably rely upon to lead me to truth?"

I then part company with you when you start to provide your answer to that question.

No, the answer is not "myself" — either in the sense of addressing that to Brian Coyne, nor in the sense of addressing it to any individual. And I would submit, that also includes the pope at least in the sense that the papacy has abrogated to itself, or had abrogated to it by a minority, a sense of infallibility and certitude that was never given or commissioned to it even by Jesus Christ himself.

I do believe we only discern "truth" in community — or "in communion". None of us can discern "truth" alone.. We might be able to discern small parts of "truth" as self-contained individuals but in order to access "ultimate truth", "Divine truth" or "absolute truth" we can only do so collectively. In other words: we need a church — or some kind of structure which marshalls the "collective quest for truth". Proceeding logically from that, we also require some "person in authority" who both symbolises the structure and who coordinates the work of that structure and who, importantly and either as an individual or more likely as a chairperson of something like a "college of bishops", serves an overseeing role to ensure this organisation does not stray from its core objective.

I suspect you would disagree with this David but I would ask you to reflect on it. I think a large part of the reason why so many have "brought down the shutters and stopped listening" or "walked" is for the simple reason that they have this sense — whether they can articulate it or not is a different question (people often have a sense, or intuition, of something is wrong long before they can articulate what is wrong) … they have this sense that we have somehow strayed from the original founding vision of Jesus Christ and the very early Church. The "new" vision which has replaced the old is one where the "truth" is seemingly "revealed" down this "royal telephone" conduit through the Pope alone — he's "the One", the "exclusive One", who interprets Scripture, who interprets history, who interprets "the wisdom of the ages", who interprets "Divine wisdom" and he then articulates it to "the plebs, God's people or "the faithful". THE PEOPLE are not listening to that model anymore. The problem is the model is wrong.

Yes, as I said, we NEED a church and, yes again, we NEED a pope (or some "head of church". That's the part of the model which is correct. Where it has run off the rails is in the next step of logicial thinking. The "truth" is not communicated exclusively by God down through the Pope. It is communicated through "all of the people". Yes, there is a problem with that, in that the message that "comes out he other end" is confused, and confusing. The role of Church and Pope though is essentially, and primarily, one of "making sense of that confusion". Then articulating our "collective sense" of what "truth" is. Then "archiving" or, in the words of Jesus Christ, "remembering" the accumulated wisdom and divine insights down through the ages.

Is that the model we have today? I think not. God is NOT perceived as "speaking through all of the people". The model we have at the moment is that it is NOT the people — the body of Christ — that is perceived as "the repository of truth", but the Pope which is perceived alone (or virtually alone if you include his close advisors), as "the repository and interpreter of truth". Most people don't buy it anymore. They have stopped listening. They see even popes as "fallible individuals". The real revelation coming from the sexual abuse scandals is precisely that. Priesthood is no guarantee against fallibility and human weakness. The woeful responses of bishops and the popes themselves shows that the "problem" goes "right up the hierarchical tree".

Go read Robert Tilley's most interesting book, "Benedict XVI and the Search for Truth". To me its great value is that it doesn't "prove" what Robert Tilley set out to prove. It illustrates perfectly how we have "run off the rails". It is unfair to our pontiffs as much as it is unfair to "the people" to saddle one man as being "the royal conduit of truth from God". God is the ultimate repository of "truth". God doesn't speak to humankind through the exclusive channel of a Joshua Smith, a Henry VIII, a Thomas More, any more than he does through a Karol Wojtyla, a Josef Ratzinger, a Roncolli or a Eugenio Pacelli. God speaks through "ALL men and women" and we ALL screw up the message. We do need a mechanism through which we collectively discern, articulate and remember what God is saying. The moment though we elevate that temporal mechanism and start giving it Divine status we have entered into the realm of Idolatry.

Yes, we do need to accord a sense of respect to our institution — the mechanism through we we discern, articulate and remember — and, it is common sense, to accord respect to the leaders of that institution. That respect though has to be earned on merit. It is not accorded simply because someone sticks a funny hat on someone's head. ALL temporal leaders today have to "earn respect". It is not accorded simply because one is made a king, a president or a pope. One does have to lead. One has to provide intelligent leadership. A leader has to earn the respect of their people through the wisdom of their intelligence — and the sense that even "the plebs" or "the great unwashed" develop that "this person is leading us in the correct direction towards truth".

I honestly think this is the sort of model of "church" and "papacy" that the Holy Spirit was leading our Church to through the momentous developments of the Second Vatican Council. Here you had God "speaking" through the entire assembly of bishops. Ever since Vatican II we have had a small gaggle of men trying desperately to ensure that "the collective of all the bishops" is never given the floor again in that way. Benedict might constantly say that all he does is "in the spirit of Vatican II". It is Orwell-speak though. Judge the man by his actions, not his words. At every point he is endeavouring to turn back the thinking and "spirit" of Vatican II. So was his predecessor. For forty-one years now we have had a "small gaggle of men at the top" seeking to undo Vatican II and take us back to a "royal telephone model" of Divine communications. The people at large can see through it. They have "bugged off out the door" and are no longer even pretending to listen. There is but a small and dwindling gaggle of old hens hoping against hope that they can restore the old model: the picture of God speaking exclusively to a Pope and the Pope then singularly interprets and articulates what "Truth" is — what God is saying — to The People.

I'll look forward to your defence of this model. Why does it provide us with a greater assurance that we have "accessed truth" rather than the more distributed model of responsibility which, I would argue, is much closer to the model of Church given to us by the likes of Peter, Paul, James, Barnabas, Phobe, Chloe and all the early disciples?

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:49:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Dicit ei Pilatus: Quid est veritas? Et cum hoc dixisset, iterum exivit ad Iudaeos, et dicit eis: Ego nullam invenio in eo causam.

Or as Bishop Sheen used to say, Pilate asked, What is truth -- then crucified it.

Bye now, and God love you.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:13:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

David, what say you round all this up and bring it to an end?

Why, just when it is getting intersting?

Dicit ei Pilatus: Quid est veritas?

Thank you , PE, that was precisely my point when I said (somewhere way up in the stratosphere on this comment string but recently resurrected in the last comment by Brian):

"The next question is, who can I reliably rely upon to lead me to truth? Myself? That's the modern answer. As a Christian, however, we would unanimously say "Christ", for he is, as he said, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life".

Oddly enough, in his lengthy reply above, Brian addresses the first half of this statement (that I as an individual cannot be a reliable guide to truth), but completely ignores the paramount statement that follows: that for any Christian Jesus Christ alone is the reliable guide to truth.

But Brian goes direct from the individual as ultimate guide to truth to the community as ultimate guide to truth, all along the way slinging off at the Pope. In other words, he completely ignores (deliberately? or simply out of habit?) the place of Jesus Christ in our Faith.

Actually, Brian, you do this all the time. I am beginning to wonder what your problem with Jesus is.

You are like Pilate, asking "What is Truth" and then turning around to consult the "community" outside when Truth is standing right in front of your nose.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:56:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

David,

Give us a break. Throughout my response I continually emphasized that "God is the ultimate source of truth". It was said, or implied, in almost every paragraph. Yes, granted I did not use the name of Jesus, but elsewhere in this string — and continually through all that I write — I emphasize that Jesus is "the Way" to thinking and acting like God.

The trouble is, and even your "model" of Church/authority, acknowledges this, we need to interpret Jesus and the Scriptures through which Jesus speaks to us. We need a mechanism to do that so that we don't go off into "strange or indiosyncratic interpretations" a la Joseph Smith Jr (founder of the Mormons), Charles Taze Russell (Founder of the JWs), Brian Coyne or David Schütz. You believe the existing mechanism of the Pope, in communion with the bishops, provides us with that mechanism and protection. I dispute that. The evidence is that increasing numbers of Catholics dispute that. They have stopped listening — stopped participating. (On Catholica, Cliff Baxter has drawn attention to a news report from the US of the almost stratospheric disobedience of ordinary Catholics to the directives of their bishops in the recent election. [LINK] We have begun deifying our institution, deifying our popes and bishops turning them into little different to Joseph Smith Juniors. I argue we need to stop doing that. It is not the model Jesus gave us.

David, honestly mate, you are attempting to engage in a distraction with what you wrote. I do acknowledge God as the ultimate source of truth and I acknowledge Jesus as the "Way" provided to us to access that truth. I also acknowledge that we require a mechanism, a Church, and a head of that Church, who coodinates the collective effort to authoritatively discern, articulate and remember what God is saying to us through Jesus, through Scriptures and through "Tradition" (the accumulation of "Divine Wisdom" discerned by our forebears).

Where I disagree with you is the level of authority that is accorded to the mechanism. Is it a "substitute for Christ" or is "the Body of Christ — the entire Assembly" the substitute for, and channel from, Jesus Christ (and ultimately from the Trinitarian Godhead)?

Now, rather than bending my arguments, can we get back and hear your defence of your model? Why does it provide us with a greater assurance that we have "accessed truth" rather than the more distributed model of responsibility which, I would argue, is much closer to the model of Church given to us by the likes of Peter, Paul, James, Barnabas, Phoebe, Chloe and all the early disciples?

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 6:37:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

people often have a sense, or intuition, of something is wrong long before they can articulate what is wrong) … they have this sense that we have somehow strayed from the original founding vision of Jesus Christ and the very early Church.

Because Jesus was quite okay with fornication, divorce, and sodomy, for example. As were the Apostles.

Let's look at the actual issues people currently disagree with the Church on and I think we'll find that as Joshua said, it all goes back to an unwillingness to listen to the Church on various moral issues, particularly sexual ones.

When a person disagrees with the Church about these kinds of issues, which the Church says must be believed by Catholics, then they have a vested interest in believing that the Church has somehow lost its way.

Brian, I'd suggest you don't understand David's model of the Church, because you've described his "model" in a way that I don't recognise as the orthodox "model."

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 6:38:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Why does it provide us with a greater assurance that we have "accessed truth" rather than the more distributed model of responsibility which, I would argue, is much closer to the model of Church given to us by the likes of Peter, Paul, James, Barnabas, Phoebe, Chloe and all the early disciples?

Why did St Paul argue with St Peter about circumcision?

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 6:39:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

David, is this the largest number of comments on your blog?

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:51:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Yes, I think so, Lou.

Brian, Brian, Brian, Brian...

I tried to bring Jesus back into this conversation, because in the end it comes down to loving him and wanting to do his will. Maybe I'm still just an old evangelical, but I love the Church because I love Jesus. I want to think with the Church because I want to think with Jesus.

Dear brother, I think you would have an entirely different perspective on the Church if you had (gasp, horror, yes, I am really about to say it) a personal relationship with Jesus. That is, if you regarded yourself as first and foremost a disciple of Jesus, and if you had a living devotion to him, and if you were willing to place yourself under his Lordship.

That would help bring you out of yourself a little too, Brian. Far to much of the incurvatus in se for your health.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 9:58:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

David, David, David, David,

Schütz Dear brother, I think you would have an entirely different perspective on the Church if you had (gasp, horror, yes, I am really about to say it) a personal relationship with Jesus. That is, if you regarded yourself as first and foremost a disciple of Jesus, and if you had a living devotion to him, and if you were willing to place yourself under his Lordship.

That would help bring you out of yourself a little too, Brian. Far to much of the
incurvatus in se for your health.

To loosely borrow the words of yourself from up near the top of this string...

Thank you for diagnosing "my problem", David. My spiritual director has been trying to figure that one out for years without success.

Now ………………… can we get back and hear your defence of your model? Why does it provide us with a greater assurance that we have "accessed truth" rather than the more distributed model of responsibility which, I would argue, is much closer to the model of Church given to us by the likes of Peter, Paul, James, Barnabas, Phoebe, Chloe and all the early disciples? What assurance or guarantee can you give us that His Holiness always gets it right? Is that something that we everywhere and always just have to accept as "a matter of faith"? What of the situation, as there have been in the past, when one has corrupt popes, or simply misguided popes?

Still looking forward to your answer (without getting sidetracked into discussions of my shortcomings),

What assurance can you provide that your model of Catholicism ultimately leads "to truth — to salvation"? What assurance, or arguments can you advance, that it will turn around the unprecedented exit out of the pews the Western world has experienced over the last century?

Perhaps I could advance a question on the other side also: what arguments can you advance that the version of "truth" the alternative model leads to is inferior to the "truth" your model leads to?

Cheers,

Brian

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:17:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Brian, you really don't get it, do you? I don't find my assurance in a "model" of Catholicism, but in Jesus.

Jesus leads me to Truth. He led me to the Catholic Church so that I can keep on walking with him. Simple as that.

Sorry to disappoint you, but we can wank on about "models" all we like. I'm not dealing with a model here, but with my Lord and Saviour.

 
At Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:04:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

"Wank on" indeed - I'm still waiting (till Hell freezes over?) for this Coyne creature to be a Christian and apologize for his rude insinuation toward me.

I must say it is proven by all evidence that "Scratch a liberal, find a fascist" and that such persons tend to rabbit on about being loving and nice, but then turn out to be the rudest and most merciless if ever one crosses them.

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 1:56:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

This is the best ever! Post-conciliar Catholicism is ON THE AIR! Welcome to 1968!

OK, done dancing, now from the wheelchair. Unlike myself, David and Louise and Joshua and other "documents of Vatican II" types, as I like to call them in contrast to the "spirit of Vatican II types, these guys don't leave because, unlike myself, they see no reason to leave, and if anything, it is they who precisely are more faithful to the Catholic Church as instituted by Christ as distinct from you who seek to impose later understandings as normative -- so if anyone should leave on the basis of not believing the Catholic faith, it is you, not they.

Since I do not have a horse in this race, neither side of you representing authentic Catholicism, here's a message from the outside, both as one who is outside by current belief, and as one who walked away, populations about whom you both express concern.

Can you not see that neither of your positions result from a lack of love for the Church or for Jesus? And that therefore, to attempt to prevail by a demonstration of the other side's lack thereof is doomed to fail?

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 9:43:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

Can you not see that neither of your positions result from a lack of love for the Church or for Jesus? And that therefore, to attempt to prevail by a demonstration of the other side's lack thereof is doomed to fail?

What a spoil-sport you are PE!

Brilliant, just the same.

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 12:11:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

For a moment, I had forgotten you were above us all, PE. Thanks for clearing that up.

You think we're arguing about Vatican II, but we're not. We're arguing about whether the teaching authority of the Church is with Peter and the bishops or whether it's in some other, vague, undetermined place, conveniently obscure for anyone who wishes to go against the traditional morality of the Church since its birth.

We are arguing about our ecclesiology, not whether or not there is a Church at all. You understand it differently from all the rest of us, PE, and obviously Brian sees it differently from the remainder of us.

It seems that we should - if we are to continue with the conversation - come to an agreement that there is a Church (we do all agree on that, yes?) and then work from there to see where we diverge.

I strongly suspect, in the end, that our view will be the more rational, but go ahead and prove me wrong. Doing so without personal insults etc, I'm sure, would be preferable.

And Brian, you were very rude to Joshua and ought to apologise.

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 12:12:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I'm sure we can assume that at least we all love Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Can we also assume that we all believe in the Trinity and that Jesus established a Church with teaching authority?

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 2:20:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Well, my point, Louise, is I don't know if we can. You see, even in those two sentences you are talking about different things - one is the "affective" faith, and the other the "intellectual" faith.

What I am suggesting is that besides intellectual assent to orthodox teaching, we need the committed discipleship of the heart that arises from deep personal love of Jesus Christ.

If you start at that point, you end up in a very different position.

How many Catholics have gone to the Penties and there declared that they have come to know Jesus in a way that they never did in the Catholic Church?

What I pray for is literally an evangelical revival in the Catholic Church in which cradle Catholics wake up and see what a great treasure they are sitting on in their patrimony of the Faith.

It is certainly beginning to happen - and it seems to be being driven by converts to the Church. I could just name Sherry Weddell of Called and Gifted for one example (see her blog at http://blog.siena.org/index.html). Although a big help along this line was given by JPII and his enthusiastic promotion of the New Evagelisation (which, I think, was invented by Paul VI).

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 4:49:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well, Louise, if you think my suggestion that none of the positions stated in this combox result from a lack of love for Christ or his Church and that therefore trying to demonstrate same on the part of those of not-your postition is doomed to fail is simply arrogance, perhaps you can leave my diagnosed arrogance to me, God, and such spiritual directors as I may have, and address the matter at hand.

As to my position now, nowhere, any place at any time, did I say there is no Church at all. What I say is there is indeed a Church, and that the Catholic Church is neither it nor that in which its fulness subsists. Not the same thing.

As to Brian's position, nowhere, at any place at any time, do I read him saying there is no Church at all, nor that there is not a teaching authority with the Pope and the Catholic bishops. In fact he lays out quite clearly that there is, and how that works out, both as originally constituted by Christ and to which Vatican II began to recall the Church. You don't agree with that view of how it works out, or that that was the original constitution by Christ, or that Vatican II began a recall to it. Not the same thing.

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 7:12:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Starting from the bottom and responding to the comments directed to me since my last post...

Past Elder: As to Brian's position, nowhere, at any place at any time, do I read him saying there is no Church at all, nor that there is not a teaching authority with the Pope and the Catholic bishops. In fact he lays out quite clearly that there is, and how that works out, both as originally constituted by Christ and to which Vatican II began to recall the Church. You don't agree with that view of how it works out, or that that was the original constitution by Christ, or that Vatican II began a recall to it. Not the same thing.

Thank you for that. And also for your insight that all positions in this string do genuinely come out of a "love of Christ" as their foundation. I accept that and acknowledge that. Certainly that is the foundational position of not only my beliefs but my life. I noticed in the paper yesterday that average weekly earning have now reached $1,147 per week. It is now over nine years since I could even dream of earning that much a week. I work on less than the stipend paid to a priest and I work far longer hours each week than any priest or bishop. After my treatment by two individuals who are supposed to represent Christ to us "in persona Christi" I learned that if I wanted "truth" it was high time that I forgot about the security of an institution-guaranteed income and superannuation. My commitment is not a wank. I did seek the financial support of the institution on a number of occasions but people who ask the sort of questions I ask are not given preferment these days. We are "shown the door". That hurts but that is also life. I think it is in small part symptomatic of why so many get really cheesed off and piss off out the door.

I would also like to acknowledge though that I appreciate that David, and all the other contributors to this conversation also operate from the fundamental premise or foundation of a love for Jesus Christ. That said, it is plainly evident that all of us have wildly different understandings of what our love for Jesus calls us to. We might all "love Jesus" but we can end up with an opposing set of beliefs as to what style of Church Jesus called for us to believe in. The debate here is NOT essentially about our "love for Jesus". It is a discussion about what sort of Church Jesus calls for that can express his love, and his Word, in the world.

Louise: And Brian, you were very rude to Joshua and ought to apologise.

I disagree. My words were fairly mild (and I think an accurate reflection of what Joshua is engaged in). He was the one who spelled out in graphic detail the original meaning of those words in a sexual context. I did not use those lurid words. I think Joshua is "playing with himself" intellectually and emotionally. I continue to believe that. I also respect the man's evident sincerity and commitment to his beliefs. He also evidently disagrees with my beliefs and commitment and he does not hold back in expressing that.

Also, in the post above the one I have just quoted from I agree with this point you make, Louise: "We are arguing about our ecclesiology, not whether or not there is a Church at all."

Past Elder: Can you not see that neither of your positions result from a lack of love for the Church or for Jesus? And that therefore, to attempt to prevail by a demonstration of the other side's lack thereof is doomed to fail?

Again, thank you for that. I can only agree and reproduce it again here to underline the point.

Joshua: "Wank on" indeed - I'm still waiting (till Hell freezes over?) for this Coyne creature to be a Christian and apologize for his rude insinuation toward me.

I must say it is proven by all evidence that "Scratch a liberal, find a fascist" and that such persons tend to rabbit on about being loving and nice, but then turn out to be the rudest and most merciless if ever one crosses them.


Thank you, Joshua. Charming!

Schütz: Brian, you really don't get it, do you? I don't find my assurance in a "model" of Catholicism, but in Jesus. … Sorry to disappoint you, but we can wank on about "models" all we like. I'm not dealing with a model here, but with my Lord and Saviour.

David: I simply refer back to what Past Elder has said and which I agree with in this post. I do not doubt for a single moment the depth of your commitment to, and love of, Jesus. I don't doubt my one either. I think we are both motivated by the same foundational belief in a person. Louise though has perhaps identified the central issue that is causing disagreement here and the fuel for this conversation: "We are arguing about our ecclesiology, not whether or not there is a Church at all."

I would dispute strongly your last statement implying that you are not interested in models. For Christ's sake, David, what a cop out that is. To borrow a phrase from conversations a few have been engaged in with the likes of Exy or our old friend Herman (what's happened to him?) from the old CNDB, when you come up with responses like that having a conversation with you is reduced down to the level of "trying to nail a lump of jelly to a tree". I don't dispute that you operate in Christ's name and for his sake and his love. But, pull the other leg, trying to convince me that you are "dealing with a model here". The very name of your blog very much indicates that everything you are about is a particular model of Church. This sychophantic style you run around operating out of excpecting your readers to get down in prayer mats in some of the ecclesial leaders you quote is very much "modelling" a certain vision of Catholicism. It's one I profoundly disagree with. Where, precisely, did Jesus set up this model you propose of this curtsying and prostrating ourselves before any authority figures and treating them as Gods and demigods as though they can think and say no wrong whatsoever? Where? And if you can answer that you will be answering the question I have repeated about three times so far and won't do so again. David, I have no doubt at all about your great love for Jesus, nor for your immediate employer, nor for His Holiness. None whatsoever. It is blatantly obvious from everything you write. Tell us though where Jesus told us that these blokes are infallible in everything? Show us where their "vision" or "model" of Church is re-evangelising the masses. I've shown the statistics that pretty clearly show that there model or vision has been an unmitigated disaster that has effectively been driving "God's faithful" out of the pews for more than a century at a rate that has been unprecedented history. Show us something — anything — that might give us even a skerrick of confidence that this fawning, sycophantic, "yes, Holy Father, no, Holy Father, three bags full, Holy Father" version, or model, of Catholicism is stemming the exit out of the pews. I don't believe Jesus invites us into any form of sychophancy either towards Himself, towards his Father, and least of all to any of his lieutenants here in the temporal sphere. We are invited to discern, articulate and live out/act out "the will of our Father in heaven" is the expression Jesus used. In modern language it seems to me that translates to mean we are invited to discern, articulate and live out/act out "the will of God" in our lives. As that other priest who was crucified by your mate, George Pell, argues, that "God" is not up there in the sky somewhere — he's not an "elsewhere God" — he resides "in our hearts"; in that sanctuary of conscience where we meet the Divine "face-to-face".

What we're dealing with here is not ultimately some "intellectual game". Neither is it some emotional game — some wank! Nor is it some kindergarten game of "let's all see who can be nicest for teacher today" to earn a glitter star or helephant stamp on the wrist. It's a profound journey involving both heart and mind, the intellect and the emotions, into that "inner temple where we meet God face to face and profess our obedience to those arduous commitments God asks us to make in conscience" (not at the level of our feelings trying to "curry favour" with our employers, our mothers, nor even those ideas that were planted in us by our mothers as what good girls or good boys" we were called to be. Jesus, and "the Father" calls us beyond all that. Somewhere, far, far deeper.

Cheers, and have a good weekend. I will check back from time to time to see if you have finally responded to my question but essentially this will be my final contribution to this discussion for now. I have enjoyed it immensely, I have to admit. Thank you all.

 
At Friday, November 14, 2008 8:29:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Sorry about the typos in that last post. We had a thunderstorm up here in the mountains and I was trying to post it in haste before switching my modem off. (We lost our last modem about a year ago through a lightning strike that melted every modem in our little village.) The storm has now passed and I am watching a brilliant lightning display over the Cumberland Plain and the City of Sydney as I type this.

I've re-posted my response on Catholica where I could correct the typos and also add a bit of colour to separate out the various ideas we were discussing a bit more.

Again thanks to you all for what has been, for me at least, an enjoyable and enriching conversation. Yes, it has helped me depth what I am trying to say a little better and articulate me thoughts more clearly.

You'll find the post at www.catholica.com.au/forum/forum_entry.php?id=19009.

Cheers, Brian

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 2:32:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

If Coyne thinks I am - I assume he means deluding - myself, so be it; I suppose he can hardly think otherwise without denying his own position.

I too stand by my remarks: the atrocious suffering that liberals inflict on others seems normally to go unspoken, but it does exist: certainly I would fear them if they get any sort of power at all.

At the end of the day I am glad I don't have to deal with them - I don't regard them as faithful Catholics, considering them as wilfully deceiving themselves and others in the way that Coyne thinks I do myself.

Good night.

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:07:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I don't believe Jesus invites us into any form of sychophancy either towards Himself, towards his Father, and least of all to any of his lieutenants here in the temporal sphere. We are invited to discern, articulate and live out/act out "the will of our Father in heaven" is the expression Jesus used. In modern language it seems to me that translates to mean we are invited to discern, articulate and live out/act out "the will of God" in our lives.

Hmmm.

I know much of the language of Scripture is highly symbolic, but --

if the angels in heaven themselves veil their faces in the presence of the Glory --

Moses prostrated himself before the Divine --

Thomas the Doubter gasped "My Lord and my God --

and at the parousia EVERY knee shall bow --

Now, I don't want to be seen as utterly fawning and servile but I think a bit of reverence is in order. Jesus didn't just come to "fix" this world, He came to beckon us to the next.

As that other priest who was crucified by your mate, George Pell, argues, that "God" is not up there in the sky somewhere — he's not an "elsewhere God" — he resides "in our hearts"; in that sanctuary of conscience where we meet the Divine "face-to-face".

As Q used to say in the movie, "Oh do come along Bond!!" Does anyone with any modicum of intelligence believe that God is "up there" ??

I don't entirely trust my "conscience" to be the arbiter of revealed Christianity.

Here's another poor fella about to get the Vatican smackdown:

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Despite being threatened with excommunication by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois said he would not recant his belief that women should be ordained as Catholic priests.

"There's nothing that Rome can do to me to take away the peace, the clarity I have on this issue," Father Bourgeois told Catholic News Service Nov. 12. "No matter what the consequences, I feel I am doing the right thing."

Father Bourgeois sent a letter to congregation officials Nov. 7 outlining his stance on women's ordination and how he believes church "teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny." He said the issue is one of conscience and that he cannot recant something of which he remains firmly convinced.

The letter was made public Nov. 11 by the priest's attorney, Bill Quigley, in New Orleans, La.

The 69-year-old priest said his letter was in response to an Oct. 21 notice from the Vatican congregation, headed by Cardinal William J. Levada, an American, that gave him 30 days to recant his belief and public statements about the ordination of women or be excommunicated.

Known widely for his 19-year campaign to close a U.S. army school at Fort Benning, Ga., that trains Latin American soldiers, Father Bourgeois attracted the attention of the leaders of his order and church officials following his participation in a reported ordination ceremony sponsored by Roman Catholic Womenpriests Aug. 9 in Lexington, Ky.

In August Father Bourgeois said he concelebrated the liturgy, delivered the homily and laid hands on longtime friend and fellow peace activist Janice Sevre-Duszynska during what traditionally would have been the ordination rite at the ceremony in a Unitarian Universalist church. He said he was invited to the ceremony by Sevre-Duszynska and decided to participate after a period of discernment.

He received a canonical warning from Maryknoll leadership during an Aug. 18 meeting with representatives of the order's General Council in Maryknoll, N.Y. At the time, Father Bourgeois said he hoped the issue was settled because he had no intention of participating in any other such ceremony.

The Maryknoll order, through spokeswoman Betsey Guest, said Nov. 13 that a confidential notice had been received from the Vatican congregation and forwarded to Father Bourgeois. She said the order "continues to respect the confidentiality" of the communications.

"We are definitely required to abide by the decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," she said. "At the same time we have an obligation to ensure the canonical rights of our members."

She added that it would be Father Bourgeois' decision on the next step to take once a final decision from the congregation is received.

The congregation's letter came as a shock, said Father Bourgeois, who was ordained in 1972. "The seriousness set in," he said. "It wasn't complicated. They said very seriously I had 30 days and if I didn't recant I will be excommunicated. That's pretty serious. That's pretty clear. No ifs, ands or buts."

Father Bourgeois said he spent two weeks in prayer and discernment before crafting his response. He said he then drove from his home in Columbus, Ga., to Lutcher, La., 35 miles west of New Orleans, to meet with his family, including his 95-year-old father.

"To them and to me (my father) said, 'Roy has been all over the world and God brought him back from the war in Vietnam safely. God brought him back from Bolivia and El Salvador (where he served as a Maryknoll missioner) and God is going to take care of him now. I support him 100 percent and he's doing the right thing,'" Father Bourgeois told CNS.

"When we get the blessing from family and loved ones, it does bring some peace. At the same time, it saddens me to put them through this," he said.

For now, Father Bourgeois will continue to prepare for the Nov. 21-23 vigil and procession to the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus, the home of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the army school he has been trying to close for nearly two decades.

He also said he may try to arrange a meeting with congregation officials with the help of his superiors in New York and in Rome to discuss the issue.


It’s priests like him who helped drive my cradle Catholic husband out of the church (and hubby served in Viet Nam and spent his working life as a police officer, so Father B hasn’t seen anything that hubby hasn’t seen).

Utopia is not going to happen in this world.

All the best, Brian !!

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 3:11:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

What Coyne can't cope with - because he wants the exact opposite done - is that Pell and the Pope and so on are acting as the Church has done in all ages: rooting out heretics. The actions of bishops in the first centuries (cf. SS Polycarp, Ignatius, Irenæus) were no different.

The confused aCatholic brigade are suffering from that Baby Boomer egomania that the rest of us have had to endure at their hands: they - like Satan - feel they have the need and therefore the right to imperiously remould the Faith in their own image.

Their fate is obvious.

And I do wish such persons would learn that "depth" as a verb is another tired example of nun-talk, while their use of "sycophancy" is quite eccentric and abnormal; but I suppose they wish to twist language, too, to serve their fell ends.

Shame!

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 8:20:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well God bless me. What in all free falling Judas in a wind tunnel is a sycophant anyway? This being a Roman Rite blog, supposedly, let's get Roman. The Latin word is delator. What's a delator? Literally, the word means denouncer. Originally it meant one who told the government that someone else owed it money, then that someone else had broken any law and deserved punishment, and often included a reward for the accuser. Hmm. The Greek word literally means to show the fig. What's that all about? It was someone who turned informer against someone who stole figs from the sacred fig trees and exported them. Hmm.

So, we've got someone who reports someone else to their authorities with accusations of something that is punishable. Seems to fit pretty well here!

Delatores actually is yet another aspect of the Roman Imperial system that made its way into church structure and canon law. Not to mention, "the fig" has another meaning altogether, though in modern times the "one fingered salute" has emerged as a rival to this most ancient and venerable tradition.

Carry on, delatores!

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:56:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

perhaps you can leave my diagnosed arrogance to me, God, and such spiritual directors as I may have

I have now, I assure you.

and address the matter at hand.

Well, not that I am constrained to address the matters at hand which you think are important, but what makes you think I am not doing so?

While I do think that Brian's position is objectively bad for the Church, I don't assume he is deliberately trying to harm the Church, from his perspective. Just because I'm arguing the toss with other people who love God (I assume, because I cannot read people's hearts) doesn't mean I think they are acting with malice.

In short, I think they're objectively wrong and I'm happy to argue about that.

As to my position now, nowhere, any place at any time, did I say there is no Church at all. What I say is there is indeed a Church, and that the Catholic Church is neither it nor that in which its fulness subsists. Not the same thing.

There may be a misunderstanding here. I may have expressed myself badly. I don't think I actually did suggest that you and Brian do not think there is a Church at all, it's just that I find it odd that people can think there's this thing called a Church (and which handed down a tradition, eg dogmas such as the Trinity) and yet it's pretty vague.

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:25:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I disagree. My words were fairly mild (and I think an accurate reflection of what Joshua is engaged in).

Brian, we may have to remain in disagreement on that point, the expression was obvious enough in its meaning, even if not lurid.

I think Joshua is "playing with himself" intellectually and emotionally. I continue to believe that.

How interesting. I myself can never get over how irrational the liberal view of things is (both in and out of the Church).

PE said, And that therefore, to attempt to prevail by a demonstration of the other side's lack thereof is doomed to fail?

I don't recall trying to demonstrate this myself, although it might be possible to distinguish between love as an emotion of affection and friendship etc and that of a more objective nature, related to doing what is objectively good for the sake of the other.

I think it is quite wrong to be constantly acting against the Church's authority (in general, the exception being where members of the Church hierarchy have acted unjustly according to God's Law and need to be admonished).

Joshua said, "Scratch a liberal, find a fascist" and that such persons tend to rabbit on about being loving and nice, but then turn out to be the rudest and most merciless if ever one crosses them.

And I just have to say that this has been my "lived experience too."

e.g. My PP is a good bloke, but he and I are at different ends of the Church's "spectrum." He and I make a bit of a joke about it, based on a homily of his once: I am at the "AD2000" position on the spectrum and he is at "The Tablet" end.

Now, unfortunately, he has been known on a number of occasions to state that ordinary pew-warmers who just want to live according to the catechism are mean and nasty. As opposed to all the lovely warm'n'fuzzy "Tablet" types. So, although I have not, to my knowledge, harmed anyone in the parish, I feel chastised regularly merely for trying to live as I think Catholics are supposed to live. I must go to Mass every Sunday if I am to give God at least the bare minimum of what He is entitled to and therefore must hear my PP berating me for my views regularly. Yet, if I never wanted to hear from the Pope, I need never know what he is saying from one year to the next. So it is for every parishioner. In reality, our PPs have more "power" in our lives than the Pope does.

Yet these same PPs bang on about wicked old "Rome" all the time!

And this, I'm afraid, is typical of liberals. Those who complain about the Church being a boys club where only the men have the power, have never met some of the women Pastoral Associates that I have, obviously. Get in *their* way and see what happens to you.

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:38:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

As Q used to say in the movie, "Oh do come along Bond!!" Does anyone with any modicum of intelligence believe that God is "up there" ??

Heh! Well said, Christine. The *supposed* position and beliefs of orthodox Catholics as represented by the liberal Catholics is the grossest of caricatures. This is a typical example.

I don't entirely trust my "conscience" to be the arbiter of revealed Christianity.

Exactly, Christine. Again, well said.

The confused aCatholic brigade are suffering from that Baby Boomer egomania that the rest of us have had to endure at their hands

It's the fact that they cannot see it that's most annoying in my "lived experience."

Dissent from the Pope - yeah, "speak truth to power"! Dissent from the Baby Boomers and lookout, you're a sycophantic wanker.

they - like Satan - feel they have the need and therefore the right to imperiously remould the Faith in their own image.

Well, not just the Faith either, but the faithful. See above.

And I do wish such persons would learn that "depth" as a verb is another tired example of nun-talk

We'll just add it to our index prohibitorum, eh Joshua? Along with "tolerance" "diversity" "respect" "vibrant"...

 
At Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:41:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Delatores actually is yet another aspect of the Roman Imperial system that made its way into church structure and canon law.

I'll try to find some examples of this in the scriptures for you shall I, PE? I think you'll find that if this is a problem it goes way back.

For now, however, I must take myself to bed.

Good night, one and all!

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 10:24:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Let's indeed start a new list of words and phrases so bestially misused as to make one reach for one's pistol (if one had such a thing - we're Aussies, we don't leave guns lying around for Junior to play with):

"story" (when used of the Scriptures);

"spirit of Vatican II" (O spirit, what crimes are committed in thy name!);

"journey" (that overused and self-serving image of the post-Vatican II Church as the POG - People of God - wandering in the desert, which is true enough now I think about it...);

"faith level" (an otherwise friendly nun having once been almost as rude as that Coyne - notice I never address him directly - by saying patronizingly that I was only on "faith level 4" whatever the Hell that means!).

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 10:24:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

And this is the hundredth comment.

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 2:05:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Combox 101 -- I think that People of God thing derives from chapter two of Lumen gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, with a whole later chapter, if memory serves, on the "pilgrim" Church, pilgrims by definition being on a journey. Hell, anybody remember who was the peritus to Josef Cardinal Frings -- he whose shouting match 8 November 1963 with Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, the council's leading voice for actual Catholicism as taught by the Church up to the 1960, pretty well sums the whole deal up?

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 5:22:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

PE,

Have you ever considered the curious parallels between yourself and Tertullian?

(He even wrote in a compressed, racy style!)

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:01:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

pilgrims by definition being on a journey

Yes, PE, but I think it's the way the word is used that annoys Joshua. And me.

Incidentally, PE, I know you think some of us just write you all off, but it's the way in which you in particular address yourself to us that makes some of us cranky. If you don't wish to be sidelined out of the conversation or ignored or whatever it is you think we do, I'd suggest you adopt a more civil tone yourself.

David's posts are typically unobjectionable in their tone at least.

Mind you, most of us appear to have a certain affection for you - even me.

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:25:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Yes, PE, we prefer your American note to that false Coyne any day!

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:41:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Triple whippy and a double bippy! I suppose you mean a one-time defender of Catholic orthodoxy going off the rails later over a heretic's teaching.

Now, that would imply a parallel between Montanus and Luther. While it is true that each has been called "the first Protestant", any comparison between Montanist teaching, especially Montanist teaching re Montanist teaching, and Lutheran teaching made to the good Herr Doktor Luther would have produced all kinds of otherwise inexplicable markings on his recently excavated toilet.

However, there is some similarity between Tertullian and Terence, after whom I was named (and it not being that common in the pre-conciliar Church to name someone after a pagan rather than a saint, but Dad got it done even though Mom wanted Stephen. Both were Berbers. And, like me, Terence got the name later, him getting the name from the Roman senator who had bought him as a slave, and me being born Douglas and renamed Terence after adoption.

Actually, though, there is some uncertainty whether Terence was a Berber by birth or taken there later with his mother as slaves, but the name Afri makes him Libyan rather than Carthaginian per se, which would have been punicus, as in the punic wars.

God bless me, you guys are up and posting! My tone? Great flying cheeseballs with crackers, first psychoanalysis, then spritual direction re virtues, now expository prose -- is there anything one who does not bow to the god of Rome cannot find here?

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:45:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

PE,

You know we are all only too glad to instruct you in every aspect of behaviour and belief.

:-)

P.S. If your Pres.-elect ushers in anti-Christian persecution you're welcome to come to Oz!

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 7:00:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Sunny beaches, I forgot to mention that Luther quoted Terence and thought his plays good for lit class for schoolkids. Does it get any better than that?

While I doubt soon-to-be President Obama will become the American Diocletian, nonetheless I would love to come to Oz. As it is, likely my closest contact with be my years rooming with "Crocodile Dundee" in graduate school. He moved to Melbourne with his Norwegian Minnesotan Lutheran wife. He has sinced passed on early to whatever his reward may be and she returned to the US I hear, so I'll look for a place close to Schuetzie's, Lito's, Bob Catholic's, not yours though because I think you're from NSW. Louise may require a crash cart if I am seen moving in next door.

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 7:54:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

From NSW!?!

You might as well name me a @#%&*!

I'm Tasmanian; and just about to move back home, after a stint in WA. (Oh, and I did live in Victoria on and off for nearly a decade, hence my acquaintance with Herr Schütz et al.)

You should know that as an adopted Melburnian, due to my time there, I cannot bear the idea of being accused of being a Sydneysider - aptly referred to as "the sinful city of Sydney, sunk in vice" as opposed to the Glorious See of Melbourne.

 
At Sunday, November 16, 2008 8:11:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Who's the bleeder from NSW then? And my deepest apologies for the mistake! BTW, "Croc" was Tasmanian too. Hobart. Then here. Then Melbourne.

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 10:07:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

God bless me, you guys are up and posting! My tone? Great flying cheeseballs with crackers, first psychoanalysis, then spritual direction re virtues, now expository prose -- is there anything one who does not bow to the god of Rome cannot find here?

You can get it all here, PE, which is probably why you keep coming back!

I think I was provoked by all the spiritual and moral guidance coming from you, PE, but hey, if you want to do a log and splinters thing, go right ahead.

What the blazes is a crash cart?

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 10:11:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

Joshua, when are you coming back to the blighted see of Hobart ("on the verge of institutional collapse")?

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 11:01:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Geez Louise (like that one?) I keep coming back to see if you guys finally do profess Catholicism instead of this Brave New Church and its phenomenology with an accent with which you seek to think.

Log and splinters? There's no moral and spiritual guidance from SCE? My favourite was the combox where I ask if David thought I would look good in a dalmatic und der Blogmeister sagt No but I think you'd look good in a confessional.

A crash cart is the cart full of stuff the nurses (can't remember if you guys call them sisters) come in with in an emergency.

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 4:29:00 pm , Blogger Peter said...

This string of comments would be an excellent study for modern debating classes.

When trying to justify something without any decent argument, first throw up a sarcastic straw man version of the Church's teaching to mock, making sure to place the key sacred concepts in sneering "inverted commas", contemptuously refer to any disagreement as the spawn of a serious psychological disorder (using more up to date psycho-babble adds more punch though) and, most importantly, when your argument is about as convincing as a wet lettuce SHOUT LIKE HELL

That about covers it for that method. For the extension classes, visit anti-Pope Brian I's site.

David: Your writing is supurb, but it pales in comparison with your patience! God bless you all.

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 6:33:00 pm , Blogger snuffyboots said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 6:37:00 pm , Blogger snuffyboots said...

There's no moral and spiritual guidance from SCE?

1. Was that before or after you first came here, with constant harranguing of David and anyone else *you* disagree with?

2. So, you take this out on me?

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 6:41:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Oops! That snuffyboots was really me!

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 11:59:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I keep forgetting how utterly humourless post-conciliar "Catholicism" is. Then again, when you're not Catholicism but saying you are, there's a lot at stake and a big lie to cover up, and that tension spills over to your followers.

(Relax: "you" refers to the post-conciliar RCC, not you guys, who are "followers".)

OMG, the old "that's not what the Church REALLY teaches" again! ALways useful in the face of what the Church really teaches. The old "nothing really changed in the changes" should be along shortly now. Black is an aggiornamento of white, white a doctrinal development of black. Welcome to Rome. Where what it taught yesterday is "your personal opinion" and what it teaches to-day is "what it has always taught".

If you're looking for an "anti-pope", look to John Paul II. His universalism strained through phenomenology disguised as Christianity more seriously departs from the Catholic Church than anything I've heard coming from Brian.

 
At Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:17:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

PE,

Really, naughty, naughty!

As if you and that false Coyne would agree on morals - I assume that you as a confessional (?) Lutheran still hold to decent morality, and clearly Rome still teaches the same, while the aCatholic types don't, and instead are on the high road to hell along with so-called mainline Protestantism.

 
At Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:49:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

David: Your writing is supurb, but it pales in comparison with your patience! God bless you all.

Ta, but I think it's time to go to bed guys...

(And, BTW, the joke's on you guys if you think I have been reading all this blatther!)

 
At Tuesday, November 18, 2008 4:39:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Joshua, you're missing my whole point in this thread. No, I don't agree with Mr Coyne's ecclesiology stated herein or with much of anything else I've read on my visits to CA.

Mr Coyne, and those like him, articulate a clear and consistent ecclesiology, insofar as I can tell born of a profound love for Christ and his Church, and its Scriptures, history and teaching, especially as evidenced in Vatican II, which they identify as closer to the intent of Christ and his Church than much of what has historically followed, and yes, in the context of which, it not being the same ecclesiology you, or I for that matter, find out of the same love, and may also see as one with the original intent, may then draw different moral conclusions than you, or I, for that matter, too.

Alles klar? (Yikes, that was German, I'll take a swig of coffee and try to remain in the stylistic wheelchair preferred here, it means "everything clear?" btw.)

The difference is, they just up and say so! They do not engage in all sorts of convolutions about this change being a change but not really a change because it's the same. Which directly derives from the different ecclesiologies.

As an example, which is only one of many possible examples but I use it here because it is accessible to all, the Liturgy. They make no bones about their distaste for the Tridentine Liturgy itself or the form of Church it both represents and out of which it grew, and see all that as an historical aberration within the Church from its real self to which we are now called to return.

I don't buy any of it, but it's honest, it is exactly what it says it is, it does not engage in proposing something new relative to our times as actually the same thing. As in, banish altogether any celebration of the prior rite unless one first jumps through restrictive hoops imposed by them, then forty years later pull it out of their arses as the "extraordinary" form of the rite whose "ordinary" form you will acknowledge as their new rite.

I'll take Mr Coyne, the CA crowd and their counterparts elsewhere any day over all this doublespeak verbal sleight of hand.

 
At Tuesday, November 18, 2008 8:56:00 am , Blogger eulogos said...

I would not presume to say anyone is on the road to hell...or it would take a lot more than what anyone has said here to induce me to say such a thing.

I believe the argument IS about ecclesiology. But the one Mr. Schultz holds and I hold, is that there is such a thing as truth, that some truths, those about the incarnation, saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, are essential to the salvation of our souls, that God wanted to make sure that we could know those truths, and for that purpose he gave a mission of teaching that truth to the apostles and their successors, with Peter at their head. Now the Pope is NOT the source of truth; the source of truth is divine revelation which comes to us in Scripture and apostolic tradition. The Pope and the Bishops are the interpreter of Scripture and tradition when there are disputed points. In doing that they do ask themselves what the Christian people have always believed; one of the chief sources for this would be what is written in the ancient and venerable liturgies of East and West. If the people of God have been singing for a thousand and a half years or so to the "Theotokos who a virgin gave birth to Christ the Word" this is a testimony that this is the belief of the church.
Mr. Coyne appears to believe that we ought to conduct an opinion poll! He seems to think that the fact that in these times which are returning to paganism, it is hard for parents to pass on their faith to their children, so that many of our adult children do not believe, that this means that the truths of the faith are somehow not true any more. He seems to have a confusion between truth and "what works" or between truth and what a majority of people can accept in 2008. He seems to be confusing the Zeitgeist with the Holy Spirit. This seems to be a genuine and sincere confusion, but it isn't Catholicism. I think Mr. Coyne would be happier in an ecclesial body whose leaders think the way he does; I know the American Episcopal Church thinks that way; is there anything similar in Austrailia? What he shouldn't be doing is to be trying to make the Catholic Church be something which it is not and never will be.

Past elder, I believe you have mistaken a particular incarnation of Catholicismm, or one might say, a particular sociological moment in Catholicism, for Catholicism itself. Even the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, wonderful as it is, does not compass or limit Catholicism. Remember, Aquinas was condemned for a while for trying to integrate Aristotle's thought with Catholicism; it wasn't thought possible. I believe those who are trying to use the thought great modern philosopher as a framework for a theology could be engaging in a great work. Of course there could be great dangers attached and it is something I don't think one could dare it without a living magisterium to pass judgment on the conclusions. I myself did not deal well with Hegel, and find JPII's writing dense, especially the more academic writings. I donated my copy of The Acting Person to the Toronto Oratory, knowing that some people there might be able to get something out of it but I am unlikely to. But I don't see why he should be condemned for the attempt. I think that it will be a long time before whatever is good from it is thoroughly integrated into the Church's life. I know that whatever is not helpful from it will ultimately be rejected, because I believe in Christ's promise to the Church.

Mr. Coyne, Mr Schutz is not "syncophantish." He believes in Catholicism. You do not. I don't know how to tell you strongly enough that what you and those like you are doing is utterly futile; the Church will never be what you think it is and what you want it to be.

Susan Peterson

 
At Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:13:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Great, so we're back to telling Mr Coyne what he does and doesn't believe and to finding him a new church.

Funny you should say I have mistaken a particular moment in Catholicism for Catholicism itself. Now, as long as everyone is speaking for Mr Coyne, I guess I'll have a go, and my guess is he would say the same about you -- that the Church as you understand it with which you want to think is neither Church as instituted by Christ or recalled by Vatican II, but a point in time you seek to impose on all later points in time.

Likewise doctrine: to seek to impose one moment of understanding of doctrine on all other points and call it unbelief if not accepted.

And, like the sycophants of old, seek to have them punished and/or removed by the authorities to whom you appeal.

 
At Friday, November 21, 2008 7:51:00 am , Blogger eulogos said...

PE- I think I know what you are trying to say but your second paragraph is incoherenet.

I do believe the Catholic Church was founded by Christ himself, although I realize that he did so in a kernel form which later developed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I believe the kernel included bishops priests and deacons with somewhat differentiated roles,the idea that bishops would be the successors of the apostles, the idea that Peter was the first of the apostles and that that position would continue in his successors, the two main sacraments and some words of guidance from the Lord which were intended to point us to the other sacraments, and in general the idea that the church must be one in faith and visibly and structurally one. (This is ecclesiology now, not all the basics of the faith.)

Isn't that what you believed as a Catholic? It is what the Church still teaches.

Mr. Coyne as I understand it from his defending this Spongian priest, has trouble with the basics of the Christian faith, the trinity, incarnation,divinity of Christ, virgin birth. The Church could never have a "moment" in which She denied these doctrines.
Susan Peterson

 

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