Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Catholic bishops and Vatican wage battle with the laity and enlightened religious

In the news today, a Catholic bishop ranting about President Obama:

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, Daniel R. Jenky, has compared President Obama to Hitler and Stalin:
“The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism. And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry...The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the president of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and be ready to fight to defend our faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.


Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, President Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in our beloved country that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgment seat of Almighty God this is not a battle where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.”
Also in the news, at least six Catholic parishes in Washington are ignoring the Seattle Archbishop's (Peter Sartrain) demand to gather signatures for a referendum to repeal the state's recent marriage equality law. And one brave priest, Rev. Tim Clark, received a standing ovation when he announced at Our Lady of the Lake parish that they would not be participating in the anti-equality campaign:
“I am happy to report that Our Lady of the Lake parishoners have been overwhelmingly and, thus far, unanimously supportive of the decision I made NOT to gather signatures in support of this referendum,” Clark wrote. “The standing ovation experienced during one of the Masses says less about me and much more about the health of this parish. I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause — the ‘sensus fidelium’ — of the people. He needs to listen to this ‘voice.’ That is my prayer.”
Yes, those are the Catholics I know and love! Mike expressed the opinion that this will make the Catholic Church come down hard on Seattle. Maybe they will send someone like the Rt. Rev. John Nienstedt, archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, who is staunchly anti-gay, anti-divorce, and anti-premarital sex. He said he "would brook no public dissent from any priest in the archdiocese," and “It is my expectation that all the priests and deacons in this archdiocese will support this venture and cooperate with us in the important efforts that lie ahead." Archbishop Nienstedt mailed out 400,000 anti-gay DVDs to Catholics in his diocese and refused communion to students wearing rainbows at a diocesan mass.

In the meantime, after silencing a popular Irish Catholic priest who has been vocal in his criticism of the church, the Vatican issued its "Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious," which has been investigating the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) since 2009. The report expresses grave concerns that the women are being too welcoming of gay people and also support women's ordination, among other seriously threatening and heretical stands. (!) They are also radical feminists:
"Radical Feminism. The Cardinal noted a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR, including theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world. Moreover, some commentaries on “patriarchy” distort the way in which Jesus has structured sacramental life in the Church; others even undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the inspiration of Sacred Scripture."

The Vatican (through my old "friend" Cardinal William Levada) appointed Archbishop Sartrain of Seattle to reform the LCWR (and stamp out all that radical feminism!). Perhaps this is a way to reward Sartrain for his anti-gay proselytizing, or perhaps it's the Vatican attempting to replace him with someone more likely to rule with an iron fist. Yes, bring in the men and fix those uppity women! Sartrain and his cronies will have authority to: 

  • Revise LCWR statutes
  • Review LCWR plans and programs
  • Create new programs for the organization
  • Review and offer guidance on the application of liturgical texts
  • Review LCWR's affiliations with other organizations, citing specifically NETWORK and the Resource Center for Religious Institutes
They'll whip those brazen hussy nuns into shape! How dare those radical feminists do such evil things like supporting the Affordable Health Care Act!!! I for one am waiting for good Catholics everywhere to start speaking out and standing up to the bullies at the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Bishops, as Maura Casey wrote about in her Oregonian piece, "Catholic women must speak out" (about birth control).

We desperately need a Catholic spring, not just in Ireland but across the world. As more and more Catholic religious and laypeople begin mustering the courage to express their faith through speaking out in favor of justice, the Vatican and its henchmen are swinging their hammers. The only way for the church to change is for the people to bravely speak out. Yes, I know it's easy for me to say as a Lutheran, who really cannot understand the concept of church hierarchy telling me what to believe and how to vote.

Most Catholics disregard most of what the hierarchy says and just quietly do their own thing (use birth control and support gay marriage, for example). But silence is agreement. It's time to speak up and be brave like the Catholic priests in Seattle.

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