Stretching can be painful. Ask anyone who has ever been in the martial arts or yoga. Stretching can be gruelling, at first. Done correctly, stretching helps us gain freedom and authentic flexibility. Spiritual exercises and the counsel of the saints help us to respond more deeply to God's invitation to holiness.
As we grow up and gain a wider perspective, we understand what motivated our parents to discipline us in ways that, though such methods may have not seemed pleasant to us, were necessary for our health and well being at the time.
For all the saints.
When the Archdiocese of Philadelphia originally got wind of this report, its communications office issued the following statement:
The Lepanto Institute and Church Militant have proven once again that they are not interested in presenting information in any useful way. Neither the World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015 nor any of its leadership supports Planned Parenthood. The sole desire of both Lepanto and Church Militant is to create division, confusion, and conflict within the Church. Actions of that nature run contrary to Christian tradition. Their reports are not to be taken seriously.
Commentary that confronts obstinate or entrenched misbheaviour can and frequently does require an upsetting of the apple cart. Those driving the apple cart might take offence at Voris' methods, but being offended by a critic's methods does not mean the content of one's critics' criticism is necessarily wrong. The soft approach has been tried for decades. Has it helped overcome dissent and confusion? Not so much.
An imprimatur is not an endorsement by the bishop of the contents of a book, not even of the religious opinions expressed in it, being merely a declaration about what is not in the book. In the published work, the imprimatur is sometimes accompanied by a declaration of the following tenor:
The nihil obstat and imprimatur are declarations that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral error. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the nihil obstat or imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or statements expressed.
No one can control how people will respond to even the best crafted criticism. People bring along a lot of personal baggage when they encounter criticism. Attempting to rid criticism of offence is a fool's errand. What matters foremost is content, i.e., orthodoxy, delivered with clarity and charity.
It is not surprising, since many in the Church have lost the vocabulary of fraternal correction, that many priests and bishops reject or attack the faithful or other prelates (such as the formidable Bishop Athanasius Schnieder or Raymond Cardinal Burke) when they speak plainly and demand the Church be the Church of love AND truth.
(b)oth Lepanto and Church Militant sow division wherever they tread. They do not seem to acknowledge the need to work with civic society and its representatives on a project like the World Meeting of Families. And we are not going to spend/waste time arguing with them. They are sincere, but also destructive. No one on our leadership team supports abortion or Planned Parenthood.
The last time I wrote an article about the World Meeting of Families, Ken Gavin [communications director for the archdiocese] read me the riot act for not contacting the archdiocese first. This time, I wrote and called several times since last Thursday, sending them all the information I had written in the article, including additional information on the executive cabinet of the WMOF, which I will be publishing either later this week or next week. In addition to writing the archdiocese, I wrote to Ciaruffoli himself, but didn't receive a response from him, either.
So for the archdiocese to say that I am 'not interested in presenting information in any useful way,' is not only disingenuous, it makes them guilty of the very things they accuse me of. This could very easily have been discussed before publication, and if there was any reasonable explanation to be given, I would have been willing to even kill the story. But instead, they chose to ignore me and the concerns I sent them for whatever reason.
Evangelization can be messy. Humans are messy. At times, they need ten reminders just to tie their shoelaces. Read the Old Testament—the people of Israel needed a lot of reminders, and the reminders were not always gentle. At times, the call to repentance involved banishment and exile, wandering in a desert for a very long time, invasion by a foreign power, etc. Let's not confine God to nice Canadian pleasantries. Let's not limit fraternal correction to the stroke of a feather. Unless, that is, the feather becomes a quill used to issue a letter of censure intended to inhibit behaviour that puts souls at risk.
Christ objected to St. Peter's use of a sword to defend his master. He rebuked Peter and healed the soldier. We can and should reserve our swords (of truth spoken with conviction in charity) for those moments when a feather simply won't do. Peaceful resistance or protest, fasting, silent witness on a sidewalk outside an abortuary—these are not everyone's cup of tea, but they are necessary forms of witness to challenge injustice.