How anti-Catholic is Newsweek? They published a piece by Richard McBrien.
As you read this keep in mind a couple things.
First, Richard McBrien is a liberal dissident. He detests Pope Benedict. That is what his following dreck is about.
When the Holy Father wrote to the people of Ireland, he said that we need to return to more traditional practices of penance and prayer to help deal with the situation of the Church and society. Perhaps McBrien would prefer to preserve the status quo, the same environment in which the abuse rose in Ireland rather than support anything the Pope wants.
McBrien wants you to take away from this piece that a conservative agenda in the Church will perpetuate the environment of abuse. If we become enlightened and embrace the liberal agenda, these problems will be healed.
Don’t accept this guy’s premises and follow him down the rabbit hole into his assumptive world.
My emphases and comments.
Conservatives in the Catholic Church had a champion in Pope Benedict, whom they counted upon to turn back the clock. That may be over now.
The child sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic priesthood—and the worldwide cover-up that seems, at least indirectly, to have involved Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was elevated to the papacy—has embarrassed the Catholic Church and angered parishioners. It’s a good bet Pope Benedict XVI won’t resign under pressure; it’s not his style and, more importantly, nobody can compel him. But that doesn’t mean the scandal will simply go away. Benedict brought a clearly conservative moral agenda to the Vatican, [THAT is the real point of this hit piece. McBrien doesn’t care about the kids. He hates Benedict.] and he has gone about implementing it slowly. Yet until he comes clean on what he knew—and fires bishops who mishandled abuse cases—his changes are likely to stall or fail altogether. [Instead of obsessing over the Pope, why doesn’t McBrien apply his insights to something close to home? Has there never been any sexual abuse at Notre Dame? In the Notre Dame theology department, for example? Has ND ever urged students to come forward about sexual abuse on campus? Have they, I don’t know,… established a hotline? If there ever was such abuse, say, in the theology department, did the chairman of the department work to discover if there were any other cases? Did he write to the bishop? To the Vatican’s Congregation for Education about what was going on? Or did he perhaps leave it to the … who does this sort of thing in universities… the provost? Did anyone issue a press release for the sake of transparency? Nah. That might make "donors feel uncomfortable".]
The pope’s ideas about the church include his belief [RED HERRING ALERT!] that interpreters of Vatican II overly weakened the church’s teachings on salvation outside the church (that is, they relaxed the message that only Catholic dogma can lead to salvation), [My God! It isn’t even thinly disguised, is it!] ecumenical relations with other Christian communities, abortion, homosexuality, and contraception, for example. [Does McBrien favor these things? Probably.] There is already an air of widespread indifference, if not outright opposition, to some of Benedict’s objections, such as those related to human sexuality and reproduction.
But the pope’s minority agenda [Not even thinly veiled.] is avidly supported by various high-ranking officials in the Curia Romana (the papal "cabinet"), many cardinals and bishops around the world, and a number of conservative organizations like Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ. [Again… no problems at all at Notre Dame?] With Benedict at the helm, this group—many of whom implicitly regard the Second Vatican Council’s reforms of the liturgy and the way authority is exercised in the church, from the bottom up rather than the top down, as a serious mistake and hope to repeal them—obviously has much greater clout than it otherwise would have. [What sort of sentence was that?] Through the pope’s forceful personality [LOL!] and the adroit control of the Vatican’s administrative machinery, [ROFL! Who is this Pope that McBrien is talking about?! I would love to meet him! Folks… this clown doesn’t have a clue as to what sort of administrator Pope Benedict is, nor any clue about the "force" of his personality… which is forceful only by the impressive nature of his gentleness and good humor. McBrien is clinging to the old smear label of "God’s Rotweiler".] Benedict has made headway in his rollback, especially in the appointment and promotion of like-minded bishops and curial officials, in his efforts to reverse some of the changes made at the 1965 council.
Now, though, the pope’s moral authority is very much in doubt. Especially if additional cases surface, his teaching on moral matters will hold much less sway among ordinary Catholics. [This is what he wants. McBrien wants the Pope’s moral authority to be harmed.] The indifference to his agenda would probably expand into outright rejection. [That is what McBrien is promoting, dear readers.] And Benedict would likely be less able to draft undecided Catholics to his side, except perhaps the most conservative. [And, as liberals know, they are just knuckle-dragging cave-dwellers.]
Damage to Pope Benedict XVI’s moral authority would also probably affect his capacity to impose his conservative liturgical initiatives on the worldwide Church. [This really freaks out the liberal dissidents such as McBrien. They know that if we revitalize our worship, their out-of-date hippie-thing will be unmasked for what it really is. But just take these ravings for what they are. McBrien is terrified of the transcendent in worship. Remember how he despises Eucharistic Adoration.] Vatican II and the late Pope Paul VI were adamantly opposed to having two liturgical rites, functioning side-by-side in the Roman Catholic Church—one in the vernacular for the majority of Catholics, and one still in Latin for a deeply conservative minority. [That "minority" has the ring of the "n-word", doesn’t it?] The Vatican II’s reforms also led to the turning around of the altar in order to enhance what the council and Paul VI called "the active participation" of the laity in the church’s main act of worship. [Nooo….] But to Bendict, these are anathema, [Has this clown ever actually read what Benedict has to say about "active participation"? McBrien wants to link Benedict’s conservative liturgical agenda to clerical sexual abuse cover-ups. I wonder if Notre Dame ever had on their faculty any clerical sexual abuser in their ultra-liberal, McBrien-harmonious, summer liturgical institute? Ever?] and he had hoped to turn the alter [sic!] back away from the congregation, encourage the celebration of mass in Latin, promote eucharistic adoration (a devotion outside of mass that focuses one’s attention and prayer on the consecrated Host), [See what I mean?] and support new and controversial translations of the texts for the mass and the other sacraments that many find overly literal and stilted. [Again, this is not about kids who were harmed. This is raw hatred for Pope Benedict.]
Each of these changes—they are often referred to as a "reform of the reform" by church insiders—requires political capital and widespread respect, even if it comes grudgingly. Yet with every day and every revelation, the pope has suffered a little more injury, [from people like McBrien, among others] and the collateral damage is a proportionate injury to his agenda. And with that would follow the sinking fortunes of the conservative Catholic minority, in the curia and beyond, who would like nothing better than the effective repeal of Vatican II. [Brush off the spittle and continue.]
In the Catholic Church, conservatives have been riding high since 1978, [You have got to be kidding me. Conservatives have been riding high? On which planet? How can I go there?] when Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope John Paul II. Five years ago, with the election of Benedict XVI, their power was reaffirmed, and conservatives have benefited, as noted above, from appointments to crucial posts and bishoprics. Now, with sexual-abuse scandals reaching the very highest office, their control is suddenly in jeopardy. If Benedict does not find a way to put down the controversy, their power will finally begin to ebb.
McBrien is [inexplicably] a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and the author, most recently, of The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism .
I think McBrien is pissed off that Hans Kung got press on this issue before he did.
Folks… don’t accept McBrien’s premises and follow him down the rabbit hole into his assumptive world.