We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dinosaurs and dissenters and the Magisterium of Charles P. Pierce.

There are many Catholics, lay and ordained, who imagine the Church to be made in their own image.

For the purposes of identifying the problems associated with the liberal-progressive (c)atholic mind, let us turn to someone with a very public history of expressing his mind on matters about which he claims so very much knowledge.

Charles P. Pierce, a writer of questionable faith and broken understanding of Catholic doctrine and Holy Scripture, is one such (c)atholic whose finger pointing and snarky wit brings to mind an angry drunk whose tirades are always directed at people more sober than himself.

I judge you to be judgemental. Can't tag your butcher!

Mr. Pierce, writer of adolescent screed, enjoys sitting in judgement of others while denying any role to those who happen to disagree with his half-baked, intellectually dishonest take on Catholicism and public life. His is a faith or rationale stripped of the wisdom and authority provided to the Church by the Holy Spirit and mediated by the Magisterium. Mr. Pierce's loutish commentary tends to confirm the notion that he sees his opinion approaching the authority of bishops, if not the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Most liberal-progressives habitually attempt to deny to their critics any opportunity to challenge an idea because to permit such an opportunity would likely result in their liberal agenda—founded as it frequently is upon massaged statistics and the gerrymandering of facts—being dismantled. In the liberal world, liberals are allowed to criticize and judge others while non-liberals are expected to keep silent or, failing the constraints imposed upon them, are bullied in an attempt to silence them.

Pierce, Lay Bishop of Heterodoxy vs His Excellency Daniel Jenky, Catholic Bishop of Peoria.
In a piece dating back to 2012, Mr. Pierce tears a strip out of Bishop Daniel Jenky for acting like a bishop should. Jenky had the nerve to challenge the Obama Admin's policies which attempt to force Catholics to support practices which offend God and contradict Church teaching. Apparently, Pierce-of-the-Progressive-Sanhedrin could not abide a bishop of the Catholic Church speaking in plain terms about a travesty of justice that the Obama Admin was trying to foist upon American citizens.
The following article by Mr. Pierce represents a common way of doing things among progressives who habitually identify as members of the Democratic Party.
The Worst Bishop of 2012 by CHARLES P. PIERCE
NOV 1, 2012
I'd like to congratulate Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria for being just about the biggest jackass ever given Holy Orders.
Bishop Daniel Jenky. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community's grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception... . Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: Behold your King. The mob roared back: We have no king but Caesar. Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin. For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God's great mercy in time will give way to God's perfect judgment in eternity.
Even granting that my patience with the Clan of the Red Beanie ran out about 25,000 unpunished felonies ago (cheap shot? hyperbole that panders to bigots?), Bishop Jenks nonetheless has managed to jump on my last nerve. He is no different from the Renaissance cardinals who used their spiritual mandate to get laid, or, more recently, the various bishops who used the vows of sacred obedience to swear their parish priests to secrecy regarding the crimes of sexual assault, and the crimes of the hierarchy in being accessories after the fact. He is (hyperbole alert) an authoritarian madman who is using the powers granted to him under the sacrament of Holy Orders in a profane attempt to attain a secular political result. He is (hyperbole alert) an authoritarian madman who is using the powers granted to him under the sacrament of Holy Orders to threaten the withdrawal of God's grace and salvation from Catholics who do not vote the way he wants them to in a secular political election. (How is it that Mr. Pierce gets to play Lord while refusing bishops their authority to govern and guide souls?) And he is lying to do it. (Nobody is forcing Catholic institutions to cover abortions.) (Actually, Mr. Pierce, the government was and is trying to do just that! However you train your blood tinted glasses, the Obama Admin was/is trying to force Catholic institutions to cover abortions. By shifting "relief" on to the insurers who will, contra Pierce's assertion, pass on costs to Catholic organizations, the Obama Admin's goal was/is to get money out of Catholic organizations to fund the Obama attack on innocent human life.—cf., CWR article cited below) Bishop Daniel Jenky stands arraigned of grave mortal sins. (Mr. Pierce is on very shaky ground when it comes to accusing Bishop Jenky of mortal sin.) I think he should seek out his confessor immediately. And, while he's at it, find both a good shrink, and a gallon jug of Thorazine. (Lukewarm believers have difficulty identifying the Lord Jesus Christ by name!) Or, as the Founder (some anonymous nice guy,...) put it, when His (At least Pierce gets the capitalization correct.) own last nerve was being jumped upon (Did Pierce just compare his sufferings to those of Jesus?):
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former... Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Gotta love the misuse of Holy Scripture by Mr. Pierce whose own actions place him well within the category of hypocrite extraordinaire. Grow up, Mr. Pierce, and, if you haven't already, take your own advice and repeat as often as necessary the Sacrament of Penance.)
Mr. Pierce quoting Holy Scripture evokes the memory of another salesman who, in Scripture, quoted Holy Writ in an attempt to persuade the Son of God to buy into his corrupt agenda (cf. St. Luke 4:1-13).

Mr. Pierce, by behaving with a minion's sycophantic loyalty, lowers himself to the level of the politicians and their surrogates who have contributed to the adoption of a lie, a lie that ends human lives and robs people of the freedom to live responsibly the reasoned dictates of their consciences.

Pierced by Pierce's transgressions.

Mr. Pierce has a habit of being on the wrong side of the debate. He chose to side with critics of Ross Douthat when Douthat faced criticism for his able dismantlement of the liberal progressive agenda.

Mr. Pierce's childish attempt to bring Douthat to heel only serves to confirm the liberal mindset which is incapable of conducting a reasoned argument and which, rife with the arrogance of an authoritarianism which he readily assigns to Douthat and others, merely insults the intelligence of any informed reader who knows and steadfastly strives to observe the whole teaching of the Church.
http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a39293/douthat-catholic-church-takedown/
For Mr. Pierce or anyone possessing a similar opinion to assert that
(a)llowing divorced Catholics to rejoin the sacraments doesn't touch anything essential in the gospel message(,)
such an erroneous assertion makes it difficult for the informed reader to keep from laughing at the utter audacity or stupidity it takes to make such a statement that clearly flies in the face of Church teaching. Anyone with a non-progressive brain knows that Jesus' teaching on marriage precludes someone living in mortal sin (i.e., divorced and remarried without benefit of a decree of nullity concerning any prior "union") from receiving Holy Communion precisely because he or she is living in mortal sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27).

Perhaps Mr. Pierce fancies himself a faithful disciple of the liberal's favourite pope?
Strangely enough, with all the media buzzing about what the Pope really thinks concerning this footnote (351 of paragraph 305 of Amoris Laetitia), and the larger issue of invalidly married couples receiving Holy Communion, almost no one has brought up the Pontiff's own words uttered less than two months prior which speak directly to this question. Nor have they brought up the Pope's interview conducted in Rome from the previous year where he responds to the same question in virtually the same manner. Both go a long way in revealing the Pope's mindset on this matter.
The Pope fielded 12 questions during his hour-long in-flight interview returning from Juarez to Rome in mid-February. Anne Thompson from NBC asked the Pope a question regarding mercy to the divorced and remarried.
In response, Pope Francis emphasized, "The key phrase used by the synod, which I'll take up again, is 'integrate' in the life of the Church the wounded families, remarried families, etc."
Thompson then asked, "Does that mean they can receive Communion?" 
Pope Francis, with unusual clarity, responded, "This is the last thing. Integrating in the Church doesn't mean receiving Communion."—CM
However liberals want to spin Pope Francis' teaching, they cannot blur Pope Francis' own words that affirm the Church's teaching which denies Holy Communion to those living in mortal sin. To reiterate:
Regarding divorced and remarried couples, Pope Francis clarifies, "Integrating into the life of the Church doesn't mean receiving Communion." He adds that to do so "would be an injury also to marriage, to the couple, because it wouldn't allow them to proceed on this path of integration."
Perhaps Mr. Pierce, and for that matter the heterodox signatories of the Letter to the NYTimes Editor, missed the following lesson during catechism class:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church 
1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.
1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:
They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace.
Douthat vs Dinosaurs and Dissenters

Most likely, Mr. Pierce read Ross Douthat's able retort (Letter to the Catholic Academy) that exposed the behaviour of the doctors of the law (of Catholicism-lite) as the behaviour of mere punks and petulant know-nothings. Rarely cited among the all-knowing liberal elite are the responses of orthodox theologians who share Mr. Douthat's orthodox faith and his assessment of the state of the Church.

By cozying up with the heterodox signatories of the letter to the Editor of the NYTimes, Mr. Pierce has fallen prey to the erroneous belief that in matters of argument a strength of numbers equates to validity, a superior position. In the case of the attack on Mr. Douthat, the only strength multiplied among the erudite heterodox nobodies and/or ne'er-do-wells who signed the critique, the letter to the Editor of the New York Times complaining about Mr. Douthat's article, was weak theological thinking. In other words, the only quality increased among the signatories of the anti-Douthat letter was their apparent heterodoxy, a fact which Mr. Douthat's response exposed very well.
At which point we come to the third argument, which makes an appearance in your letter: You don’t understand, you’re not a theologian. As indeed I am not. But neither is Catholicism supposed to be an esoteric religion, its teachings accessible only to academic adepts. And the impression left by this moving target, I’m afraid, is that some reformers are downplaying their real position in the hopes of bringing conservatives gradually along.
What is that real position? That almost anything Catholic can change when the times require it, and “developing” doctrine just means keeping up with capital-H History, no matter how much of the New Testament is left behind.
As I noted earlier, the columnist’s task is to be provocative. So I must tell you, openly and not subtly, that this view sounds like heresy by any reasonable definition of the term.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/opinion/sunday/letter-to-the-catholic-academy.html
Bishop Robert Barron weighed in by exposing the weakness of the heterodox theologians who, like their political liberal brethren, attempted to shut down rational debate by attacking Mr. Douthat's qualifications to speak on a subject.
The letter to the (Editor of the New York) Times is indicative indeed of a much wider problem in our intellectual culture, namely, the tendency to avoid real argument and to censor what makes us, for whatever reason, uncomfortable. On many of our university campuses this incarnates itself as a demand for “safe spaces,” where students won’t feel threatened by certain forms of speech or writing. For the first time in my life, I agreed with Richard Dawkins who recently declared on Twitter, “A university is not a 'safe space'. If you need a safe space, leave, go home, [and] hug your teddy... until [you are] ready for university.”
So in the spirit of Howard Sudberry, I would say to those who signed the letter against Ross Douthat, “Make an argument against him; prove him wrong; marshal your evidence; have a debate with him; take him on. But don’t attempt to censor him.” I understand that the signatories disagree with him, but he’s playing by the rules.
Excepting their own absolute authority to which they demand all others submit, liberals, antinomians and anarchists that they are, hate rules and authority.

Well all was said and done, the signatories of the NYTimes Letter to the Editor merely confirmed their heterodox orientation and home addresses, making them easier to spot in a crowd and making it easier for bishops to avoid sending their seminarians anywhere near them and easier to avoid inviting any member of said rabble to give a conference or lecture.

Mr. Pierce is yet another example of someone who wants the best for America but has no idea beyond his own sacred ideology—accompanied by a form of wit that is a remnant of a fading generation's flash over substance marketing ploy— how to contribute to the achievement of what is best for the common good. Mr. Pierce, for his part, has mastered said ploy. His approach to journalism confirms his place in (liberal revisionist) history.

668—Relative of Relativism

It has been said here and elsewhere that progressives, having thrown out the baby of reason and having kept the greywater of relativism, cannot tell the difference between fiction and fact. Even when a lie has been exposed for them, they stubbornly cling to their comfortable (half) truths because their egos simply will not let them admit that their one goal is the acquisition and retention of power at all costs. Which is to say, the use of power to the furtherance of the culture of death, the dodging of justice, and the corrupt means by which only a lie can be propagated, is that to which progressives cling and adore.
Pointing to the “stupidity” of the American voters, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the creators of Obamacare, admitted at a videotaped conference with fellow academics in 2012 that the Obama administration went through “tortured” mechanisms to keep the truth about the health care legislation from the American people. Paid more than $397,000 of taxpayer money, Gruber served as primary spokesperson on the economics of the Affordable Care Act, playing the role of the earnest and disinterested professor reassuring everyone that the president’s plan would provide tremendous financial benefits to all by streamlining health care delivery.
However, this week’s release of the videotaped statements from Gruber—when he thought he was among fellow academics who would congratulate him on his cleverness—reveal that from the beginning, Obamacare was based on lies. Claiming that keeping the facts from the American people was important, Gruber told his audience that the “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage…basically that was really, really critical to get for the thing to pass.”
[...]

By 2012—after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, including funding for abortion and the contraceptive mandate—Kmiec continued to criticize bishops who he claimed “overstated matters considerably” with regard to the mandate. In an article published in the National Catholic Reporter (popularly known as the Fishwrap) in 2012, Kmiec countered the bishops’ concerns about the contraceptive mandate, claiming that “the president has gone a good distance to make certain the Catholic Church and its auxiliaries are not the providers of contraceptive care.” Kmiec also joined Gruber in the distortions surrounding the economics of Obamacare. In that same 2012 NCRpiece, Kmiec claimed that “the mandate results in more balanced risk pools and lower premiums.” How could anyone who had read about the skyrocketing insurance costs have believed him? Still, Kmiec soldiers on—now supporting Hilary Clinton’s bid for the presidency in a September 2014 article entitled “The Indispensability of President Hillary Clinton to Marriage, Gender Equality, and Religious Freedom.”

Both Cafardi and Kmiec (and Pierce) must know that the rhetoric on abortion funding they deployed to help pass the health care legislation was misleading. A 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued earlier this year documents new public funding of abortion in the president’s health care law. Despite the president’s promise that under his plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion, the GAO found that 1,036 plans do not itemize the required separate abortion surcharge on their bills—ignoring the accounting scheme the president put in place to “protect” taxpayers from paying for abortion. The GAO concludes that that some qualified health plans provide a “comprehensive package of health benefits—including abortion services—counter to what the president and his faithful helpers promised. The GAO report added that after providing a draft of its report to the HHS offices, the Obama administration responded that “additional clarification may be needed and CMS will use our findings to address issues of concern to better ensure that stakeholders understand the laws and regulations governing the provision of non-excepted abortion services coverages.”

Conclusion

Will Americans fall for the propaganda that a Hilary Clinton administration will be different from the Obama administration? The collective memory of previous chicanery seems to be compromised by a willingness or unconscious need to absolve oneself from allowing oneself to be fooled by the same ruse on multiple occasions, of being seen as (repeatedly) stupid. That is to say, Americans who have allowed their thinking to be compromised by a pleasant fiction are the low-information citizens who are most likely the ones to perpetuate Obama-era social programs in a Hilary Clinton administration. Let us hope that, in the lead up to the election this Fall, many additional well informed citizens will manage to have their voices heard above the media-aided fog of wishful thinking and dangerous politics.

The mental gymnastics and cognitive dissonances entertained by so-called progressives are, indeed, signs of a willingness to endure suffering for a cause as big as themselves, self imposed suffering endured in support of the culture of death. They must surely know that, being the highly intelligent and enlightened liberal beings they smugly think themselves to be, such suffering cannot be made redemptive. It, being a lie in support of a lie, makes one opaque to the influence of fraternal correction and the love of the Holy Spirit Who, for those willing to keep the commandments of God, fashions docile hearts and minds into living temples of truth and justice and authentic charity. There is no room for truth-charity in the thinking of the Mister Pierces of the world who, as long as they think and act like dictators, wall themselves off behind the magnificently tragic construct of their own arrogance.

Speaking of the disservice that the actions of people such as Kmiec, Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Sebelius, Kaine and Pierce do to the national conversation, Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap.,
lamented the harm done by Catholic groups like the progressive organization Catholics United, which have “done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership and witness of their own bishops.” Singling out the Catholic Health Association in particular, he stated, “the actions of the Catholic Health Association in providing a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging…. CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress. The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and other similar Catholic organizations.”—ibid., Catholic World Report.
The choice between the counsel of Mr. Pierce or that of Archbishop Chaput should present little challenge for a faithful Catholic who should have little doubt that the counsel of the good Archbishop of Philadelphia, like that of his brother bishop, the Bishop of Peoria, is the far better choice for the health of one's soul.

Let us hope that many more Catholics are not bamboozled by "progressives" into electing the candidate (for the Office of President) who has made a career out of lying. For that to happen, i.e., that Catholics are able to avoid becoming swayed by progressivist fiction, the bishops must lead from the pulpit and make clear that, while the hierarchy does not endorse a particular candidate, the Catholic in the pew must listen to the counsel being given by their legitimate leaders (and not lay-led dissenting groups!) and must inform herself or himself to a sufficient degree so as to give the highest office of the land to someone who will best protect inalienable rights, especially the right to life, the right upon which all other rights and freedoms depend.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.