Sep 2, 2006

"Self-appointed guardians and defenders of the Faith"

A commenter's reference to "self-appointed guardians and defenders of the Faith" prompts these thoughts in me:

Should a layman or laywoman be name-called, belittled, stereotyped and denounced for reading Papal, Holy See and Conciliar instructions, orders and documents, seeing what they plainly say and then commenting publicly when local ordinaries and clergy violate them or get around them and when higher authorities do not correct the violations?

Should such lay people be called "fringe" or "extremist?'

In the particular case of San Francisco Catholic Charities now taking part in the handing over of orphans to homosexuals, would the children mind it if lay people were the ones to get the Holy See to quash the handing over? Would the children mind who it was who saved them?

Would the children say, "Sorry, I refuse to be rescued by a self-appointed guardian and defender of the Faith?"

And if those in the offices of the Holy See do not, for the time being, enforce their own order, would the orphans call that order invalid?

Who is right -- people who cite and uphold Papal and Holy See instructions and orders, or people who violate and get around those orders? People who protect kids, or people who do not?

42 Comments:

Blogger Tito said...

People who cite and protect those orders.

The question probably comes up that 'we' should do this in a charitable way.

But often times even this can be condemned by cafeteria Catholics.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Father G said...

As I have repeatedly said, echoing Jehu, our Church is not a democracy; it has a hierarchical structure with a Code of Canon Law that spells out rights and responsibilities. If someone has a case against a bishop, he should communicate the issue to the Apostolic See which is then responsible for investigating and disposing of the matter according to the Canons.

Trying bishops in the court of public opinion can have very serious negative effects: it could destroy the "communio" that should exist between bishops and their flocks; it can undermine faith and confidence in the hierarchy Jesus himself established; it can lead to the sins of detraction and calumny.

If anyone believes that a bishop is acting contrary to the laws and teaching of the Church, by all means the individual should inform the apostolic nuncio, one of the dicasteries of the Holy See, e.g. the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or the Holy Father himself.

But publicly railing against bishops, setting oneself as a higher authority than bishops, inciting disobedience against bishops, calling bishops in good standing "heretics" and the like--all these things are contradictions when they emanate from "traditional" Catholics. In fact, "traditional" Catholics who do such things are really the "heads" to "progressive" Catholics' (Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful) "tails"--two sides of the same coin!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fr. g: No, we're not a democracy and therefore, I don't have the POWER to remove errant bishops. However, the fact that we're not a democracy doesn't not stop me (or Quintero or Kenneth Fisher) from pointing out the truth.

In fact, it not just our right to speak the truth, it is our DUTY.

--Jehu

2:16 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

It is good of you to acknowledge that Voice of the Faithful and Call to Action set themselves up as higher authorities than the bishops. Some of them even think they are above the Pope, when they disobey him about "priestesses."

No one ever calls dissenters of that stripe "self-appointed"; but we should, because that is exactly what they are.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Tito,

You are totally right that we need to operate always in charity. That is a very good reminder.

You are also right that cafeteria Catholics condemn us even for that, because in their eyes we can never do anything right; to them we are "conservatives" and by definition baddies.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Jack Clough said...

father g

Cardinal Law would still be in Boston if we had left it entirely up to the Apostolic See.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

You are recommending exactly the methods of many "traditionalists" over the years who have followed the proper procedures: Contacting their pastor, or their bishop, and only after that the apostolic nuncio, the dicasteries at the Holy See, and the Pope himself.

The word "railing" has, or used to have, a connotation of being intemperate in language; and that we should always avoid. But it is not "railing" to calmly point out glaring discrepancies between what some bishops do and say and what the Popes and the Magisterium say.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Jehu,

You make a very good point when you say we have not only a right to defend the Faith but a duty to.

Thanks for pointing that out!

2:36 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

Commenter Jack makes a good point. There are times when those manning "the proper channels" -- e.g., some bishops, such as Daniel Ryan and Rembert Weakland (former keynoter at Cardinal Mahony's annual "congress") -- are part of the problem that needs fixing.

There is a definite place for action by devoted lay people, and many of the saints tell us so.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Jehu,
I disagree with your assessment that although we are not a democratic Church, we should publicly criticize, deride and even condemn bishops whose actions and policies strike us as wrong or wrong-headed. What constructive purpose does this serve other than to upset others who are like-minded?

Since bishops are not subject to a democratic process, but serve by the grace of God and the favor of the Apostolic See, what conceivable good is to be accomplished in attempting to marshall public opinion against them? As you yourself said, we do not have majority rule.

No, we should follow the process I outlined above and then pray that the Holy See make the right decision and that, if a bishop is indeed in error, that he will accept fraternal correction from those authorized to give it to them.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

What destroys communio and faith is bishops and clergy who subvert, attack and contradict the Popes, the Magisterium, Catholic morality and common human decency.

Lay people are not the problem when they publicly support the Pope, the Magisterium, Catholic morality and common human decency, especially in defense of the many defenseless, innocent orphans whom bishops and cardinals are helping be turned over to homosexuals.

It cannot be "setting onself as a higher authority than bishops" for a lay person to cite Papal orders, instructions and documents.

Can it be right to remain silent and cite command structure when the immortal souls and the lifelong mental and physical well-being of California orphans are in danger from Catholic officials?

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
I do consider it "railing" when individual Catholics who have no authority to do so take it upon themselves to publicly denounce bishops in good standing as "heretics". I fully endorse delating allegedly errant bishops to the Holy See; it is the constant derision and attempts to manipulate public opinion against the Pope, or bishops in communion with him, to which I object.

If we are truly "traditional" Catholics (and I consider myself one for I consider a "traditional" Catholic one who is faithful to the Magisterium: the Pope and the bishops in communion with him), we must put personal preferences aside in order to see God's will in the decisions of those whom we believe the Holy Spirit chooses to carry on the governance of Christ's Church.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
I couldn't agree with you more that Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful do not represent mainstream Catholicism.

Mainstream Catholics accept all the teachings and liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council; they accept the hierarchical structure the Church; they accept the Church's teachings on personal as well as social morality; they accept all the dogmas of the Church, including the male-only priesthood; etc.

One can be mainstream and favor that the Church adopt a certain discipline--allow or forbid Communion in the hand, allow or forbid the ordination of married men, allow or forbid the celebration of the Mass of Pope St. Pius V according to the 1962 revisions, etc.--but one cannot be mainstream and oppose that which is the constant teaching of the Church--that procured abortion is an abomination, that women may not be ordained, that sexual relations are good and holy only between a man and a woman who are married to each other, etc.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fr. g: You wrote that I said we should "...publicly criticize, deride and even condemn bishops whose actions and policies strike us as wrong or wrong-headed."

I'm going to have to ask you to not misquote me. That is not at all what I wrote.

I stated that we needed to point out the truth.

I'd like an apology, please.

--Jehu

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Mr. Clough,
Cardinal Bernard Law offered to resign at lesast twice and the Holy Father eventually accepted. The sad thing is that his resignation gave the impression that non-mainstream groups like Voice of the Faithful, given the opportunity to drum up enough opposition, could force a bishop to step down.

I, for one, was glad that Pope John Paul the Great offered Cardinal Law rehabilitation by appointing him archpriest of the Basilica of St. mary Major.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Jehu,
I do indeed apologize if I misrepresented your view. From your posts, I concluded that you aligned yourself with such folk...I'm sorry for the wrong conclusion but glad to discover it was wrong!

Will you join me in denouncing those who do "...publicly criticize, deride and even condemn bishops whose actions and policies strike us as wrong or wrong-headed."? After all, silence does connote consent.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Please forgive my typo...Cardinal Law is the archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fr. g: Is that what you think Kenneth Fisher and Quintero are doing? "Condemning" Card. Mahony? If so, please say so. Because I've seen neither of them doing that. I've seen them both stand up for the truth.

I don't believe it is wrong to publically criticize an individual.

It is wrong to "condemn" someone (in the Biblical terms in which Jesus speaks when He says "condemn not and you will not be condemned") and that is the main clarification I wished to make.

And as for deriding, as I've pointed out, you have sometimes used words to mean different things than the "mainstream" definition, so I must remain silent on that one until you've clarified your meaning.

--Jehu

3:43 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

But how can one be a "mainstream" Catholic and be silent while our Catholic hierarchy is complicit in giving orphans to homosexuals?

How can the Catholic hierarchy be part of a process that involves posting little orphans' photos on the Net for homosexuals to pick and choose from for adoption?

You have not replied to my queries about protecting the orphans. Are we to favor protecting bishops over protecting little children?

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Jack Clough said...

father g

Cardinal Law only offered to resign when the "handwriting was on the wall". No, I wouldn't give Voice of the Faithful total credit either. However, the Pope did Law a great favor by getting him out of the country and the "hot water" he put himself in. This certainly gave the appearance Cardinal Law was being rewarded for his cover-ups.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Jehu,

Thank you for the kind words about ole Q here and about Kenneth.

You deserve kind words for your devotion to Catholic truth!

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
Catholic Charities of San Francisco, with the approval of Archbishop Niederauer, seems convinced that it has discovered a way to move children from foster care to adoptive homes in a way that keeps Catholic Charities in conformity with Church law as well as with the requirements of the civil entities with which it contracts...at least that's how I understand the story in The San Francisco Chronicle. I feel confident that the Holy See will take quick action if Catholic Charities of San Francisco is acting contrary to the directives that Cardinal Levada handed on. It may be necessary for Catholic Charities of San Francisco to go the route taken by Catholic Charities of Boston and get out of the child placement process altogether. We shall soon see, I'm sure.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Jehu,
I didn't ask you to "deride" anyone (no apology necessary); I asked if you would join me in denouncing those who "...publicly criticize, deride and even condemn bishops whose actions and policies strike us as wrong or wrong-headed."

By denounce, I mean to reject and refuse to be associated with such attitudes and acts, and to say so publicly.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fr.g: I KNOW that you didn't ask me to reride them. I was stating that I didn't know how YOU defined that term with regard to your misquote of my statement. Please reread the back-and-forth in context.

In other words, I didn't know what you meant by "deride" (with regard to "deriding" bishops) so I don't know whether that would be okay. In OTHER words still, I don't know if you think that what Q, Mr. Fisher, and I have said about some of the bishops' actions ... if what WE'VE said about them, mind you ... counts as derision.

Are we, in your opinion, deriding the bishops?

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, that last comment was mine.

--Jehu

7:06 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

Yes, it would be far better for them to drop adoption altogether than to take part in turning orphans over to homosexuals.

The archdiocese's approval of its own perfidy is immaterial. Safety of the children is what counts.

The Catholic Charities director has admitted that lots of kids will go to the homosexuals under the plan, and he has called that the Church's work. That is a DISORDERED and EVIL statement.

If Cardinal Levada has okayed the current plan that results in handing over little orphans to homosexuals, is that really okay with you? It is NOT okay with me.

The Holy See has said that giving kids to homosexuals does VIOLENCE to the CHILDREN; so a cardinal's or archbishop's approval of any plan that results in that cannot be legitimate, prima facie.

We cannot assent to orphan-betrayal and -endangerment and say, "I was just obeying orders."

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
Since compliance with a directive of the Holy See is what's at question, I expect the Holy See to act if its own directive is being violated. One implication that my be weighing on people's minds is the prospect that even more children might be placed with unmarried couples--gay and straight--if Catholic Charities of San Francisco withdraws from child placement altogether. I don't know if this is the case; I am merely suggesting that it could be a consideration. Clearly, a clarification is needed from the Holy See if its wishes are not being followed.

5:54 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

Thank you for saying that the Holy See needs to clarify matters if its wishes are not being followed.

But if Cdl Levada has already okayed the new policy, as Abp Niederauer seems to have intimated, what then? Who will explain to the Pope that there is a problem in his household?

Are the orphan children to be orphaned anew, with Holy Mother Church abandoning them? Can none of us try other channels in the hierarchy and the Holy See?

Of course we can.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Copied from another thread:

Dear Quintero,
I still insist that Archbishop Niederauer and Cardinal Levada are in the position to judge what is and what is not an appropriate interpretation and application of the Holy See's directives in this matter. I fail to see what good can possibly be accomplished by constantly second-guessing them.

I guess, in reality, you and I have been arguing about two different things. Since the directive about placing children with homosexual couples came from the Holy See, I rely upon the competent Church authorities to see to it that the directives are properly interpreted and applied. It may very well be the case that the Holy See is satisfied that the interpretation and application of the directive by Catholic Charities in San Francisco is an adequate one.

You, on the other hand, seem to be arguing that no child ever be placed wiith homosexual couples and that the Church must completely remove itself from any system that enables gay couples to adopt. (We know, of course, that under California law, same-sex couples may adopt children and that this practice will continue whether the Church remains in or withdraws from the process.)

Apparently, the Magisterium does not take a view as strict as yours and interprets the directive more broadly, allowing there to be remote involvement with agencies that do place some children with homosexual couples but that there can be no direct involvement with placing children with such couples.

I respect your viewpoint and can understand your concern. My concern, as a priest and extension of the bishops' teaching office (they exercise Magisterium; I don't), is to promote fidelity to the Magisterium even when we might find its decisions difficult to accept.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

Well, what could be gained by public and private protest would be to win the endangered children some allies inside and outside the Church who could save them.

Never in the entire two-millennium history of the Church could anyone have conceived that bishops handing children to homosexuals could be okay by the Magisterium.

Only in the last few decades of moral and spiritual disintegration could bishops see it that way.

I say no to all arguments that leave children in harm's way. Quod erat demonstrandum.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
Just suppose the Holy See determines that Catholic Charities of San Francisco has indeed fulfilled its obligations by removing itself from the direct placement of children but that this can include only remote cooperation with an agency that will place some children with same-sex couples.

At what point are you prepared to say, "Roma locuta est, causa finita est?"

Personally, I would have no problem with saying "Roma locuta...causea finita" if the Holy See adopts your strict interpretation of Cardinal Levada's directives or if it OKs Archbiship Niederauer's more nuanced approach.

Since there would be no issue had Rome not spoken in the first place, however Rome decides the matter works for me.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Kenneth Fisher, Founder & Chrm. CRCOA said...

father g,

In reply to your statements, I quote St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church "it must be observed that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even PUBLICLY"

Kenneth M. Fisher

11:04 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

Well, will you tell the little orphans that giving them to homosexuals "works for you?"

The "Roma locuta est, causa finita est" onus is NOT on me but on those who have crafted a plot that indisputably evades the already given directive from the Holy See that explicitly says giving children to homosexuals does VIOLENCE to those children.

May I add a point about terminology? When people say "same-sex couples" instead of "homosexuals," they are unconsciously using a euphemism that undermines our side.

Terminology is important, of course; ex-abortionist Bernard Nathanson, a convert to the Faith, says, "Verbal engineering precedes social engineering."

The pro-aborts paid a communicator many tens of thousands of dollars for inventing their "pro-choice" euphemism, which is so sickeningly effective that even some pro-lifers unconsciously say it.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
Since the Greek prefix "homo" means "same," I see no difference between saying "homosexual" couples and "same-sex" couples as they both mean the same thing. To be honest, I was using "same-sex" to add a little variety to the writing.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Mr. Fisher:
I do not believe the Faith itself is endangered in disputes over the correct application of a directive such as the one we have been discussing. What does undermine and endanger the Faith itself is challenges to the legitmate exercise of authority by the Magisterium (the teachng office exercised by the Pope and the bishops in communion with him); witness the schism brought about by the obstinancy of the Society of St. Pius X, for example.

The directive we have been discussing originated with Cardinal Levada. If he is satisfied that his directive is being adequately interpreted and applied by Catholic Charities of San Francisco, that should be the end of the story. Of couse, since Cardinal Levada serves at the pleasure of Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father is perfectly free to override the good Cardinal's decision.

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Kenneth Fisher, Founder & Chrm. CRCOA said...

father g,

You disagree with ST THOMAS AQUINAS! Perhaps that is understandable since most seminaries no longer teach him.

Father, let me ask you some questions:

If your Ordinary ordered you to turn over a innocent child to a homosexual, do you actually believe you are required to obey?

If your ordinary ordered you to give Communion to a public sinner, such as Kennedy or Schwartzeneger, do you actually believe you are required to obey?

Do you actually believe you are required to obey your Ordinary in SIN?

Finally, would you have obeyed Archbishop Cranmer in his drive to eliminate the Catholic Church, he was a validly consecrated Archbishop you know?

We are praying for you Father.

God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher

10:04 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

If the decision stands, and there appears to be no challenge to it anyway, it will NOT be "the end of the story" for the thousands of orphans to be victimized by it for years and even a lifetime.

Their childhoods will be scarred by unrelenting and inescapable exposure to disorderedness and evil attitudes and behavior.

The cardinal and the archbishop should, but won't, be man enough to say it to the orphans to their faces: "You got no gripe, kid -- we only turned you over to the homosexuals through remote cooperation, not direct! We're off the hook morally, and you're stuck with disordered adults!"

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Mr. Fisher:
I do not disagree wth the Angelic Doctor regarding defense of the Faith when it is endangered, although disagreement with him is sometimes encouraged, even demanded by the Magisterium (e.g. on the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary).

What I disagree with is your equating, in essence, the directive of Cardinal Levada to an article of Faith. Believe me, there is no danger to the Faith if the interpretation of the cardinal's directive and its application by Catholic Charities of San Francisco passes muster. If it's acceptable to Cardinal Levada, and not overridden by the Holy Father, then I say "Roma locuta est, causa finita est." End of story.

I get the distinct impression that you and Quintero are arguing that your interpretation be the only acceptable one and that you will keep criticizing the Magisterium until it acts the way you think it should. That attitude, my dear friend, endangers the Faith "in potency" if not "in act."

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Mr. Fisher:
I will respectfully decline to answer hypothetical questions because hypotheticals never seem to tell the whole story. Real life moral decision-making involves many considerations on the subjective as well as the objective planes. Catholic theology, as you know, deals with nuances and none of your hypothetical questions is nuanced.

I will say this about administering Holy Communion: Cardinal Mahony has stated that, in this archdiocese, it is the responsibility of the communicant to be properly disposed to receive the Eucharist. Ministers of the Eucharist, ordinary and extraordinary, have no way of reading hearts (we're not St. Pius of Pietrelcina [Padre Pio], you know), so we must presume that anyone who presents himself for Holy Communion is in the state of grace and has observed the Communion fast. (I won't even go into when it's allowable to give Holy Communion to a non-Catholic here.)

This is the holding of the Magisterium, endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI when he was the cardinal-prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that local ordinaries may determine when withholding Holy Communion might be appropriate.

As we know, Archbishop Cramner led the English hierarchy in rebellion against the Holy See; our present situation, so far as we know, is in complete accord with the Holy See.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Kenneth Fisher, Founder & Chrm. CRCOA said...

fr. g,

Is deliberate disobedience to "Liturgicam Authenticam", "Inaestabile Dominum" and many others in complete accord with the Holy See.

I can show you many pictures of Cardinal Mahony saying mass with whicker baskets and glass pictures, which is in direct disobedience to the above first mentioned Encyclical, and I can show you plenty of pictures of so called Liturgical Dancers at Mahony's Masses, which is in direct disobedience to "Inaestabile Dominum" and the list goes on and on.

Just what does "in complete accord with the Holy See" mean to you?

Again we pray for your confused soul.

Kenneth M. Fisher

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Mr. Fisher,
When I said the current situation is in accord with the Holy See, I was referring specifically to the Catholic Charities of San Francisco interpretation and application of Cardinal Levada's directive.

There is much about liturgy that I, too, dislike. But many items are for the diocesan bishop to interpret and apply; if he is not interpretng and applying liturgical norms correctly, the competent authority in the Holy See must offer fraternal correction.

I guess where you and I dffer is that I treat these things much like Church matrimonial tribunals approach marriage cases--the marriage is presumed to be valid unless and until it is shown to be otherwise and declared null and void by competent Church authority.

I presume the actions of a bishop are valid and licit until they are shown to be otherwise by competent Church authority. You and I have every right to protest to the competent Church authority but we do not have the right to presume that we are correct and the bishop wrong unless and until the competent Church authority rules in our favor.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Kenneth Fisher, Founder & Chrm. CRCOA said...

father g,

I don't see how, if you have read "Liturgicam Authenticam" and "Inaestabile Doiminun" or many other Papal Pronouncements such as "Ecclesia
Dei Adflicta" that you can possibly say that they have not shown themselves to be in conflict with at least what Rome teaches.

As an Engineer, well schooled in the practical applications of logic(Engineering is nothing but the application of logic and Math), I just don't understand your strange logic at all!

By the way, another of our Bishop Advisors was the late Bishop Mark Hurley, and he told me personally that he stayed as far away from Mahony as possible. I believe that it was the mess caused by Mahony's protege, Zieman, that caused his untimely death.

I knew Zieman when he was a young priest, and at that time I thought he was a pretty good one, unfortunately "Chancellorietis" got to him.

By the way; when I have told many Pastors under Mahony's yoke, that I am the one who organizes the picketing of the REC, many of them have robustly told me "good for you, someone has to do it"!

We will be praying for you, especially since we don't agree with you.

God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher

11:37 PM  

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