Generating Scandal

Deal Hudson doesn’t get it.

Bishop Morlino does not locate the sin in the public criticism of the funeral, however: “From the earliest days of the Church it was defined as sinful to enjoy the thought that someone might be in Hell.”

I went back to reread the three toughest statements I knew about the Kennedy funeral — those from Raymond Arroyo, Judie Brown, and Phil Lawler. Nowhere could I find anything close to the sin described by Bishop Morlino.

In the minds of some bloggers, it’s all about and only about other bloggers. The A-list, usually. Bishop Morlino seems to have read the comboxes of the bloggers in question, as well as others. I have too. There was a certain glee in some of the commentary on Cardinal O’Malley, a certain delight in catching him in a stumble. Mr Hudson should be familiar with the strategy–the gotcha! politics of the modern GOP.

Deal’s web site doesn’t even police its echo chamber by its own set of rules. Note the comments there on “spinelss buffoons” and “spinless scumbags,” a heating of passions which makes Bishop Morlino’s essay a self-fulfilling prophecy. Did he err by even writing the piece, surely knowing it would stir the self-styled orthodox into more bile?

For sensible Catholics, at what point are we obliged to be silent lest we inspire others to leap off the lemming cliff of the Culture of Complaint?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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18 Responses to Generating Scandal

  1. Bill Sr. says:

    I suggest that you read Raymond Arroyo’s commentary for yourself to see if you feel there might be some bishops who are out of phase with the faithful or they may at times “edit” Papal announcements to us in order to keep the message in line with their personal views.

  2. Gerry says:

    Uh, next time try to actually refute an argument rather than sticking your tongue out.

  3. Chris from Maryland says:

    Dear Mr. Flowerday:

    While I can join you in rejecting the vulgarity of how some bloggers vent their anger, I believe that you are focusing on the small things, and that Mr. Hudson et al are focusing on the big things.

    If one cares about defending human life and opposing the lie of abortion, it is no wonder to see the powerful sense of betrayal and revulsion felt toward Cardinal McCarrick. He connived against the Truth and the unity of The Church in his role in the Land-of-Lakes episode, he was underhanded in how he orchestrated the USCCB and ArchDiocese of Washington response to the American Catholic Church’s Sex Scandal, and he was underhanded when he withheld Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter from his fellow Bishops.

    He has proven himself untrustworthy, as have many of his American brother bishops. Granted, problems with wobbly bishops are not new, as Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher can tell us.

    And yet, add to this type of episcopal behavior the pervasive violations of trust caused by the funding of ACORN by the Catholic Charities, the Federal attack to force Belmont Abbey College to fund contraception in its health care plan, and cap it off by Kathleen Kennedy’s brazen declaration for “His Holiness Obama” against Pope Benedict.

    These, just like the “self-absolution” communicated by Sen. Kennedy in his “private letter” to Pope Benedict, and the publicity stunt of publicizing this letter by the Kennedy clan at his funeral, all of this are types of the counterfeit spawn of ‘McCarrick-Catholicism’.

    In Christus Veritas,

    Chris from Maryland

  4. Todd says:

    I disagree, Chris. Mr Hudson and other bloggers affect, promote, and encourage what many legitimately label as sinful behavior. Mr Hudson’s associates, in particular, do not police his own web site by their own standards of conduct, let alone a Christian ethic.

    This post is not about those other issues. It’s about Catholics behaving badly in public forums and being whipped into a frenzy, in part, by self-styled “faithful” Catholics.

    In addition, focusing on the echo-issues raised by Mr Hudson and others does the Gospel no credit. I think Catholics have been led astray by some bishops and a number of lay leaders. It would seem that recent statements by the ordinaries of Madison and Chicago recognize the damage done to Church unity. It will be interesting to see how they address a value we profess every Sunday in a Creed. It would seem some believers have placed non-credal values above unity, holiness, catholicity, and an apostolic grounding.

  5. Chris B from Maryland says:

    Dear Mr. Flowerday:

    I take it you do mean to suggest in your closing that concern over defending the right to life is over-blown and unwarranted, because the life issue is ‘non-credal’? If that is your sense, then you needn’t worry about Church unity…the only thing you need to worry about is the division of Church property.

    It is important to understand whether fellow Catholics agree that other Catholics and Bishops have been led astray by Cardinal McCarrick et al.

    There is a general problem with the dynamics of the provoke-and-retreat tactic in posts such as the one you’ve begun, with the dismissive opening that “so-and-so just doesn’t get it.”

    The central problem is not whether or not certain Catholics behaving badly in public forums is sinful behavior…the central problem is that Catholics like Sen. Kennedy continued in the state Cardinal Ratzinger correctly pronounced as “An objective situation of sin” and that Bishops like Cardinal McCarrick chose to prevent other Bishops from uniting around the corrective teaching needed for Sen. Kennedy’s soul, and the souls of millions of Catholics.

    In the case of Cardinal McCarrick’s withholding of Cardinal Ratizinger’s letter, no one has denied that Cardinal McCarrick withheld Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter. In doing so, Cardinal McCarrick betrayed the unity of Catholics and Bishops who hold fast to the Magisterial teaching about the primacy of the right to life. I am mindful that Cardinal McCarrick cloaked himself in the cause of unity when he did this, yet he seemed to care little for such unity when he helped pen the Land-of-Lakes declaration.

    To betray a fundamental truth in the name of the lesser good of unity indicates a preference for the current impoverished state of unity that inflicts still more damage on the Church.

    I don’t share your priorities in this matter. “An objective situation of sin”, which we know to be mortal sin, is worth talking about, more than the topic of behaving badly in public forums.

  6. Todd says:

    “I take it you do mean to suggest in your closing …”

    You are incorrect. I’m referring to the means and method of delivering the pro-life message, not the message itself.

    As for the particular tactic used in this post, there is a context on thie web page, and I think a coherent criticism of the notion that the end justifies the means.

    Mr Hudson doesn’t get it because he doesn’t see the damage to unity he and his site promotes. In politics, perhaps a motto like “by any means necessary” is common enough. In Christianity, it just doesn’t cut it.

    The idea that a pro-life Catholic is not bound by common-sense applications of holiness, unity, charity, hope, and faith just because the cause is grave and just is wholly contrary to traditional Catholic teaching. What is more damaging to the pro-life cause, and to the promotion of the Gospel, is that the bearers of the message alienate rather than convert.

    It’s almost as if there’s a certain braggadocio, a dare laid down, rather than a genuine affection for the other. “I’m right. I know it. You should know it too.” The bile spewn at other pro-lifers is among the worst of it all.

    • Ted Seeber says:

      What gets me is that many of the people posting at Inside Catholic are not pro-life.

      They Reject the Seamless Garment of Life as defined by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, choosing instead the easy worship of an elephant instead.

      • BakerStreetRider says:

        The only seamless garment of life officially taught by Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II has been that Catholics must reject: abortion, contraception, homosexual relations, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research. To verify this, see Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae.

  7. BakerStreetRider says:

    I don’t know where you’re seeing glee from those who protest Cardinal O’Malley’s failure to defend the teachings of the Church. The reactions ranged from sadness, to disappointment, to a sense of hurt from his betrayal, but anyone who was gleeful needs to have their heads examined.

    You discuss “self-styled orthodoxy.” What is so self-styled about trying to support what every single Catholic pope has taught from St. Peter to Pope Benedict XVI about the sanctity of life and the need for a clear witness of Catholicism, without hypocrisy?

    Bishops, primarily, need to give a strong example of what the Church teaches. Allowing Kennedy to be canonized in a Catholic funeral given on national television was a horror and a scandal. It wronged Senator Kennedy, because the funeral did not spend much time praying for his soul, which is what the Church owes every Catholic who has died. It wronged Catholics and non-Catholics alike by honoring a man who openly defied some of the most fundamental teachings of the Church.

  8. Ted Seeber says:

    BakerStreetRider: We seem to have hit a threading limit, so I hope you see this. You seem to be limited in your reading of Evangelium Vitae, since you missed a few other items that Catholics must reject.

    Evangelium Vitae also rejected suicide (euthanasia), unjust distribution of resources, unjust discrimination, illegitimate defense (War and the Death Penalty, when there are other technologically possible options to protect civilization), and artificial birth control (as a method of abortion).

    The true Catholic is for the protection of human life between conception and natural death. The ONLY legitimate exception to this is in protection of human life, that is, to defend the innocent against an attacker, and even then, we are called to use non-lethal means whenever possible.

    Unlike the Constitution of the United States, the Church calls a sentence of life welded into solitary confinement in a steel plate cell more moral than The Death Penalty. It would call the modern directed sound-based weapons of the US Military and the carrying of Tasers by local police forces the more moral option, despite the severe pain these cause.

    If we had handled the War on Terror by this teaching, we would have been called to ration gasoline and end imports and tourism from the Middle East entirely after 9-11, rather than sending soldiers to fight on foreign soil. Both solutions would have protected our civilization from Islamic Aggression, but only one would have truly been protecting human life without discrimination.

    I’ve challenged Deal personally on this point before- and found he’d rather take the side of the GOP Elephant than the side of the Holy See.

  9. Bill Sr. says:

    May I suggest that we all take a break from this court room and leave the Kennedy’s and those who are in awe of them to continue their march into history.
    There is much more to be concerned with which is of greater danger to us on the horizon.
    Go to Bill Donohue’s website and click on Penn and Teller. That’s
    and prepare to defend the faith against it’s real enemy.

  10. Chris from Maryland says:

    Ted and Todd:

    Here’s what The Holy See says about all this:

    from the 2004 letter from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal (now Pope) Joseph Ratzinger…

    “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
 When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”

    The ‘seamless garment’ is an escape clause to assuage the consciences of pro-choice Catholics who are failing their responsibility to take a stand and defend the right of the unborn, the terminally ill and the elderly to live.

    Catholics who incline toward the position of Kathleen Kennedy and Hans Kung, who have publicly stated that they identify more with President Obama than with Pope Benedict, are morally disoriented.

    The sad truth is, millions of American Catholics, like Kathleen Kennedy, support abortion.

    • Ted Seeber says:

      I would point out that the War on Terror was not to repel an invading aggressor- all the *invading* aggressors died in the initial attack.

      I would also point out that I refuse to let the “Seamless Garment” argument become reason for voting for a pro-choice politician, any more than I would vote for a pro-aggressive-war politician.

      I refused to support either Kathleen Kennedy, or Hans Kung- or former President Bush. For that reason I ended up voting for Chuck Baldwin in the last election, not Obama or McCain, neither of which are sufficiently pro-life in my view.

  11. Todd says:

    Chris, I think you’ve wandered off-topic. The issue for my post wasn’t the worthiness of the politician, but the behavior of the critics. If you want to produce a quote that supports name-calling, I’m all ears.

  12. Jimmy Mac says:

    Todd: these, too, shall pass — hopefully sooner rather than later.

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