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.

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.—St. Francis of Assisi.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Infallible Progressive: Blaise Cupich and the unhinged Hinges.

Just as the five dubia of the four Cardinals were issued in charity, so this brief essay is offered with the same intention to anyone who has ears and who might hear the voice of a citizen who, aspiring to holiness in Christ, is very concerned about the confused (messy?) behaviour of our beloved Holy Father.

This essay is not an incitement to hate Pope Francis. Rather, in an inadequate way, and albeit with a hint of frustration and with more than just a little (hopefully righteous) indignation attached to certain phrases, this essay attempts to sum up and echo the heart of the concern many, many, many people have about the unsettling goings on in the Church.

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The heterodox are coming out of hiding like cockroaches after the lights go out. Thank goodness there are faithful bishops with strong flashlights to drive away the nudniks! Faithful bishops, that is, such as The Four Horsemen of the Amelioration.

In a curious and unsettling attempted inversion of the definition of obedience, the bold Four Horsemen of the Amelioration have been accused of naivete and, worse, heresy, by those who think they know and practice obedience. Cardinal Cupich and his ilk have attacked, with rather unfortunate choices of words, Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner for merely asking in charity a series of very important questions. Pope Francis, for his part, has chosen to rebuff the faithful Cardinals. The Four have been lambasted and grilled over internet coals by others who are less than credible witnesses to the Apostolic Faith.
CARDINAL: Old English, from Latin cardinalis, from cardo, cardin- ‘hinge.’
Were the situation not so serious, it would be laughable that so many theologically wishy-washy prelates have defended Amoris Laetitia and the Holy Father's jumbled witness to the sanctity of marriage. It seems the authority of the papacy only matters to "progressives" when time and circumstance require them to defend teaching that appears to serve the cause of heterodoxy. Pope Saint John Paul II (The Great!) must surely be casting down a look of strong disapproval at the actions of Pope Francis whose problematic exhortation Amoris Laetitia has obscured the clear magisterial teaching of Familiaris Consortio.

If the Holy Father is not willing to answer a few simple questions concerning Amoris Laetitia in order to overcome ambiguity that is causing concern among the faithful, what does that say about the current occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter's ability to speak to the facts of the Faith? What does that say about his concern for all the sheep of the flock?

Why is it that the liberal prelates and priests are now coming to the defence of the Petrine Ministry? For far too long they have been permitted their limp obedience and their awkward teaching permitted free reign in the Church to the loss of countless souls and the clouding of the minds of the faithful. From Greek prelate to an American Cardinal who emerged from obscurity and who has been suspected of careerist ambition, the wolves in our midst are now exposing themselves with shameless fervor.
Cardinal Cupich is Mistaken: Synod Fathers Did Reject Communion for Remarried Divorcees
Critics argue that to say two-thirds of synod fathers supported the proposition is therefore very misleading.
Edward Pentin

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago fielded about half a dozen questions from reporters after Pope Francis elevated him to the College of Cardinals on Saturday.
A question I asked him was about the Dubia, the five doubts about Amoris Laetitia that four cardinals have sent to the Pope to ascertain whether some of the most controversial passages are consistent with Church teaching.
Although the Dubia questions ask for a simple “yes” or “no” answer on whether previous magisterial teachings, particularly of Pope St. John Paul II, are still valid in light of these passages, the Holy Father has decided not to respond, nor requested to meet the cardinals to specifically discuss their concerns. READ MORE HERE
Will Cardinal Cupich attack the journalist par excellence Mr. Pentin for exposing Cardinal Cupich's clear bias and his myth-leading evaluation of Francis' reflections on the Synod?

Compounding his ignorance, willful or otherwise, Cardinal Cupich, who has exposed himself as not the brightest nor the most reliable lightbulb among the American theological illuminati, has confused the challenge to Pope Francis' writings as a challenge to that of all popes. Cardinal Cupich is right to be concerned when people question the authority of the popes, as the "Reformers" (wrongly) did some centuries ago. However, Cardinal Cupich has failed to acknowledge that Pope Francis' teaching in Amoris Laetitia is not as authoritative as he might like to think it to be.

An exhortation, if it be orthodox, can easily withstand the test of comparison to the teaching of Christ—you know, that pesky thing called divine revelation which an exhortation surely and precisely should reflect. Just because something has been inked by a pope does not automatically make it magisterial. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us about the varied characters of papal writings by identifying when his own writings, his books for example, were theological reflections with which anyone was free to disagree, and when his writings were the voice of the Office of Peter which required the faithful Catholic's allegiance.

Cardinal Cupich—spare us your sanctimonious attitude. Your rise in the Church is a testament to the careerism that Pope Benedict (and Francis) condemned on several occasions.

The four Cardinals who issued their dubia have legitimately asked for a clarification, nothing more. Amoris Laetitia is not as beyond criticism as the scarlet pumpernickel Cardinal Cupich thinks it to be.
I think that if you begin to question the legitimacy or what is being said in such a document, do you throw into question then all the other documents that have been issued before by the other popes. So I think it’s not for the pope to respond to that, it’s a moment for anyone who has doubts to examine how they got to that position because it is a magisterial document of the Catholic Church. [S]
Magisterial document? Only if it repeats (and most certainly does not contradict) the teaching of the preceding magisteria of popes such as Pope St John Paul II. If Amoris Laetitia cannot stand up to the test, then perhaps it should be consigned in whole or in part to the ash heap of history! Likewise, if Pope Francis cannot stand up for the ("rigid") teaching of Christ and address legitimate concerns in a timely and respectful manner, perhaps he should make way for a faithful African cardinal to assume the Chair of Peter.

What is that ("rigid") teaching of Jesus that seems to be a cause of cognitive dissonance for Francis, et al?
And (Jesus) said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”—St. Mark 10:11-12.
Got a problem with that teaching? Talk to Jesus—the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity—about it.

Cardinal Cupich would do well to (re-)acquaint himself with Pope Francis' own words regarding the nature of Amoris Laetitia.
The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium (3). (Got that, Cardinal Cupich?) The very form of the document confirms the same. It is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops. For instance, in Chapter Eight, which some wish to interpret as the proposal of a new discipline with obvious implications for the Church’s doctrine, Pope Francis, citing his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, declares:
I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street” (308). (It is entirely possible to love people AND, without sacrificing Truth, call people to conversion to the Gospel and Person of Jesus Christ. Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) did a pretty good job of that, don't cha think?)
In other words, the Holy Father is proposing what he personally believes is the will of Christ for his Church, but he does not intend to impose his point of view, nor to condemn those who insist on what he calls “a more rigorous pastoral care.” The personal, that is, non-magisterial, nature of the document is also evident in the fact that the references cited are principally the final report of the 2015 session of the Synod of Bishops and the addresses and homilies of Pope Francis himself. There is no consistent effort to relate the text, in general, or these citations to the magisterium, the Fathers of the Church and other proven authors. [S]
Pope Francis' unfortunate comments in the wake of the publication of the dubia only serve to confirm that Francis is at odds with himself. The comments cited above, from 23 November 2013, convey a sense of acceptance toward diverse pastoral approaches while his comments of late, dismissive and condescending in tone, appear to be a rebuke of those who, faithful to the approach of Christ, maintain in Francis' words "a more rigorous pastoral care". If by 'rigorous' Pope Francis is referring to bishops who insist that would-be communicants must be in a state of grace in order to receive Holy Communion, then yes, being rigorous is an appropriate choice of words. That said, there seems to be a curious and perhaps telling absence in Francis' teaching of Saint Paul's doctrine on the correct disposition to receive Holy Communion (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:28-30). Is Saint Paul a little too "rigorous" toward sinners who obstinately refuse to abide the Lord's teaching on, say, adultery?

If there is anything positive to be gleaned from the events of the past few years, it would be that the exposure of those who promote heterodoxy indicates that God is tidying up His Church. If internet conversations of late and an abundance of erudite articles by respected authors from the past few decades are any indication, perhaps we are seeing the innumerable prayers for relief from cafeteria (c)atholicism being answered. Having permitted priests and bishops enough rope to hang themselves on the gallows of heresy, God may very well be weeding His flock by allowing the cafeteria types to expose themselves and their misdoings. God's promise to protect the Church must guide our thoughts and prayers lest we take delight in the exposure (and, post-death, the likely harsh judgement) of our erring brethren. If any men need God's mercy, surely it must be those rebellious red hats and purple clad hierarchs who have no idea that their bad behaviour and goofy teaching has contributed to the emptying of pews and the pollution of minds.

In all this, we must ask—where is Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)? Surely Cardinal Müller has explained to Pope Francis that the dubia of the four Cardinals are reasonable questions that merit serious consideration and a timely response. Where's the hurt (to Pope Francis) in affirming the Apostolic Faith? Can you imagine being the guardian of doctrine under a papacy so confused by personal pronouncements mixed with the unchanging (dogmatic) doctrine of the Church? If you thought Cardinal Ratzinger had it tough dealing with the minions of "Liberation Theology", Cardinal Müller surely has the more difficult job.

Perhaps Pope Francis has not even bothered to consult his right hand man? Would it be unfair to say that, given his comfort with tossing off-the-cuff quasi-theological boomerangs, perhaps Pope Francis has no need of his doctrinal watchdog? Perhaps someone of Edward Pentin's skill could interview the Theologian of the Pontifical Household, Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P., for his take on things.

The Four Horsemen of the Amelioration are certainly not alone. They have the support of many. As Cardinal Sarah has reminded all of us,
The entire Church has always (Quod Ubique, Semper, et Ab Omnibus) firmly held that one may not receive communion with the knowledge of being in a state of mortal sin, a principle recalled as definitive by John Paul II in his 2003 encyclical ‘Ecclesia de Eucharistia,’” said the prefect. “Not even a pope can dispense from such a divine law.”
With confusion rampant even among the clergy about Pope Francis’ own stance regarding communion for those in grave sin,... Cardinal Sarah’s statements come at a critical moment. [S]
Pray for the four Cardinals who have stood up for orthodoxy: Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner. May God protect them from calumny and the other cheap attacks launched against them by men of low character. May God help The Four find through the attacks they have already suffered the grace of acceptance for being more closely united to the Crucified Christ in His sufferings.

Lord God: Francis is Your pope. Please help him do the right thing!
Mary, Holy Mother of God, pray for Pope Francis.
Saint Michael—protect the Holy See!
God's will, not man's, be done.

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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.