US Catholic goes to the zoo about the new “graviora delicta” norms

You perhaps won’t be surprised if Bryan Cones of the über-liberal US Catholic threw a little nutty about the CDF’s new norms concerning graviora delicta, "exceptionally serious crimes".

Here is the piece in all is wondrous weirdness with my emphases and comments:

Sex abuse and women’s ordination?
Friday, July 9, 2010
By Bryan Cones

Great news from the Vatican, according to Catholic News Service: New norms against the sexual abuse of children will double length of time a victim has to bring charges from 10 to 20 years after the victim’s 18th birthday. It will also extend the penalties for sexual abuse of children to those who abuse the mentally disabled.

Bad news: The new norms will simultaneously add to the list of grave offenses against the sacrament of holy orders the "attempted ordination of women." Seriously?  [Yes.  This is about graviora delicta, right?]

Why is that bad? First, the "attempted ordination of women" already brings with it automatic excommunication, so making it one of the "delicta graviora" is redundant. [No, it doesn't.  The writer fails to understand that these norms make it possible to expedite the process for clerics who participate.] Second, it conflates two completely separate issues, and in effect, [watch this stunning piece of reasoning...]  or at least in the minds of many people who will read the news, seems to equate the "attempted ordination of women" with the rape and torture of children.  [He neither understood the document nor understood the explanation given during the press conference.  Read my piece on the site of the Washington Post for a simple explanation.  And, btw, in their wisdom WaPo changed the title of my piece and now everyone is obsessing about the word "logic".  The real, original title was: "The Vatican’s new norms safeguard faith, morals and sacraments".  Go over there and read some of the truly hate-filled comments from the liberals.]

[Let the real nutty begin!] Quite frankly, it is an outrage to pair the two, a complete injustice [Don't you love hyperbole?] to connect the aspirations of some women among the baptized [Ooooo!  Poor things!] to ordained ministry with what are some of the worst crimes that can be committed against the least of Christ’s members. [But, Mr. Cones, that is not what the new norms do!]

Furthermore, if I were a member or supporter of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, I would be opening a bottle of champagne right now. [I recommend Veuve Clicquot.] The Vatican has in effect given legitimacy and momentum to what is still an incredibly tiny movement with this clumsy legal manuver, tantamount to the United States dropping a nuclear weapon on Luxembourg – only more ridiculous because this will do absolutely no damage to women’s ordination movement. [Indeed! Tens of wymyn will now be even more inspired to get out there and get ordained!] It is more like a gift. None of those women are afraid of excommunication any longer; indeed, it is now the Vatican that appears fearful. [Not afraid of excommunication?  Okay... I hope that'll see them though that whole dying and judgment thingy.  Personally, I think they are in for an ugly surprise.]

[The nutty continues...] This decision boggles the mind: [Is it really that hard for you to grasp what really happened?] The faithful have been justly demanding for nearly a decade clear guidelines for dealing with the sexual abuse of children, along with just punishments for both offenders and bishops who have abetted these crimes. What we have gotten is half of what we have been asking for (still no sanctions for bishops), [I think the writer missed something, namely: "§ 2. With regard to the delicts mentioned above in § 1, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by mandate of the Roman Pontiff, may judge Cardinals, Patriarchs, Legates of the Apostolic See, Bishops as well as other physical persons mentioned in can. 1405 § 3 of the Code of Canon Law[4], and in can. 1061 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches."  Yep.  That pretty much covers every cleric in the world. But I noticed that because I actually read the norms and then thought about them for 3 or 4 minutes.] along with a completely unconnected and unnecessary condemnation of the ordination of women. [And there we have it.  He wants women to be ordained.  Right?] This is especially ironic given that many Catholics, and I include myself among them, see the absence of women in positions of power in the church as a contributor to the ongoing sex abuse crisis.  [It must be the genius of their feminine relational wisdom, right?  Remember that SNAP has been after the LCWR about how women religious superiors have covered up sexual abuse of children by women.  This week a Lutheran bishopette in Germany resigned by failing to act in the obvious case of one of her pastors sexually abusing a minor.  That's just the beginning of the story.]

This move is a mistake, plain and simple, imprudent at best, at worst a serious further blow to Rome’s already damaged credibility.

 

The Anglicans are waiting for you, Mr. Cones.

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81 Responses to US Catholic goes to the zoo about the new “graviora delicta” norms

  1. Randii says:

    I have a priest friend an we’ve talked about this – the possibility of female ordination.

    The point we came to was that the church in the future could ordain women – under the Scripture passage where Jesus says what ever you bind on earth. There are no exceptions to this clause. It’s open and does not say except for female priests.

    It’s the same authority under which the church at one time required meatless Friday’s or moved the sabbath to Sunday or defined the imaculate conception.

    I don’t see anything in Scripture which precludes this possibility.

  2. MargaretC says:

    All right, I have to get this off my chest:

    “This is especially ironic given that many Catholics, and I include myself among them, see the absence of women in positions of power in the church as a contributor to the ongoing sex abuse crisis.”

    The “women in positions of power will never do anything bad” is a meme that refuses to die. The myth of woman as pure, spiritual, compassionate, caring and so on dates from the Romantic era and flourished all through the Victorian period, where it was used by both advocates and oponents of women’s emancipation. Ironically, feminists to this day continue to make use of the image when it serves their purposes.

    My response to any woman who makes this argument is always: “Did you go to junior high school?”

  3. MargaretC says:

    Oh, and by the way, as an ex-Anglican I loved your closing advice to Mr. Cones.

  4. Sorry, Randi. Pope John Paul II said, “No”; it is against apostolic teaching and tradition.
    Pope Benedict confirms this and it is the ordinary magisterium of the Church that does and will continue to teach this. It’s not just like changing the universal law on “meatless Fridays” or moving the sabbath to Sunday (read Pope Benedict writings on the significance of Sunday and Pope John Paul II’s “Dies Domini”). It’s not just a “rule”…there are all kinds of dogmatic teachings that forbid the ordination of women. It’s a closed case. Finito.
    I understand why those who are not Catholic find this a bit perplexing, if not “outrageous”; so goes the “way of the world”.
    But Catholics?
    I guess sacraments aren’t sacred, holy, to be protected; they are to be protected as are the faithful, esp. the most vulnerable and innocent, children and adults who are mentally disabled (which I am very happy that this is included…the abuse of the mentally handicapped is just an outrage in and of itself).
    The Sacrament of Holy Orders is not just a “job”, “career”, or privilege…it’s a Sacrament; and one that should be protected by this present legislation.
    Pouring the Sacred Species down the drain is outrageous, sacrilegious and just plain ignorant; why is the “simulation” of the Sacrament of Holy Orders any different? Isn’t this sacrilege, as well? Does GOD have any rights any more? (Said tongue in cheek, while my poor tongue is bleeding…ah well, so goes it!).

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    MargaretC: My response to any woman who makes this argument is always: “Did you go to junior high school?”

    In case you mean to imply that Mr. Cone lacks the acuity of a junior high schooler, I must rise to his defense and mention that he not only graduated from a Catholic high school that I’m familiar with, but thereafter (as I understand) received the benefit of some seminary training.

  6. Randii says:

    Well, Nazareth priest, we’ll agree to disagree on this. BTW, my priest friend is very orthodox. A younger priest who learned to love and know Scripture in part through Scott Hahn’s ministry. He’s one of the hoped for new generation of priests in love with the Church and the Word.

    Just curious, which specific apostolic teaching are you referring to?

    BTW, a celibate priesthood could be argued as being against tradition.

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    some people just don’t get that Holy Orders is not a ‘right’ – ah well pray and do penance.

  8. Randii: I did not speak of “celibate” priesthood. And you are incorrect; there are books that document a celibate priesthood from apostolic origins; they are available from Ignatius Press (I can’t remember the names of the authors, sorry)…if a married man was ordained, there is a strong tradition that he then lived in continence; the documentation is there if you want to read about it. I do not deny that married priests are a present reality; but in the Latin Church it is not the norm, nor has it been.
    The ordination of women is contrary to the Tradition; read Pope John Paul II’s document on this.
    Pope Benedict has made this clear, as well.
    I can’t give you anything else. It’s just the way it is.

  9. Upon further reflection: that a priest-student of Dr. Hahn’s would make these kind of conjectures is troubling, to say the least.
    I hope he heard Dr. Hahn wrong.
    As Catholics, Scripture is one source of Tradition; but it is interpreted according to the living Magisterium. And the Magisterium has made it clear, time and again, that women cannot be ordained to Holy Orders.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    Well, Randii, I’d respectfully suggest that your fine young priest needs a bit more study before he makes such erroneous statements about settled matters than are no longer subject to difference of opinion in the Church. Pope John Paul II pronounced definitively that the Church does not have the power to ordain women, irrespective of whether it should ever desire to do so.

    ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_22051994_ordinatio-sacerdotalis_en.html

    “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    The CDF has reiterated that assent by all the faithful is mandatory. I’d think your young priest would want to know about this, so as not to continue to give advice contrary to the de fide teachings of the Church

  11. dcs says:

    BTW, a celibate priesthood could be argued as being against tradition.

    How so? Tradition is what is handed down and received, not what might have been practiced in the past but is not practiced any more. For example, the Agape feast isn’t traditional.

  12. Randii says:

    Nazareth priest – to argue that whatever married priests there were in the apostolic church they much lived a continent lives is simply not accurate. In fact the Latin church imposed celibacy on itself in part because of sexual abuses by clergy at the time.

    The Orthodox model is a truer reflection of the ancient church. Their married clergy are not continent. It’s simpy erroneous to claim this as a tradition.

    The Orthodox are wrong on one thing though – bishops used to be married in the ancient church. The Orthodox don’t allow that though some Orthodox groups are talking about that possibility again.

  13. Randii says:

    To clarify Nazareth Priest, I said this young priest learned to love and understand Scripture from Dr. Hahn’s works. He can quote Bible verses with the best of Baptist preachers.

    He was not a student of Dr. Hahn’s and his (not Dr. Hahn’s) opinion on female ordination comes from reading the Bible and studying the early churh.

  14. Jack Hughes says:

    Randii

    Here is the book from Ignatius documenting the origins of clerical celibacy- “The Case For Clerical Celibacy: Its Historical Development & Theological Foundations”

    Alfons Maria, Cardinal Stickler

  15. irishgirl says:

    Right on, nazareth priest!

    Why can’t people-both men and women-understand that the issue of female ordination has been settled once and for all?

    Read the Holy Father’s lips! No priestesses! Not now! Not ever! NEVER!

    Rome has spoken! Case is CLOSED! GOT IT?

  16. Thanks, Jack. You’re the best! (I could not for the life of me think of Cardinal Stickler’s name!).
    Randii: It’s a complex web of history, theology and Church discipline.
    I just want to say that clerical celibacy is one thing (and it is a very strong thing; check out Jack’s reference; I believe the other one is by Manfred Hauke).
    But ordaining women is NOT part of “what you bind on earth is bound in heaven”. It simply is not.
    Married priests? God knows…the Sacrament of Orders and the Sacrament of Marriage and separate and whatever develops is beyond me; for the present, celibate priests in the Latin Rite is the norm.
    Ordained women as deacons or priests? No. The Popes have said so. It’s not an open question nor is it a part of Scripture.

  17. jbas says:

    Mr. Cones is a graduate of our own Saint Joseph School and Knoxville Catholic High School here in the Diocese of Knoxville. He is also a graduate of Conception Seminary College in Missouri.

  18. Jordanes says:

    Randii said: The point we came to was that the church in the future could ordain women – under the Scripture passage where Jesus says what ever you bind on earth. There are no exceptions to this clause. It’s open and does not say except for female priests.

    That is a monstrous twisting of Our Lord’s words. The power of the keys is NOT the power to contravene the teachings of Jesus Christ or to introduce doctrines and practices not received from Him or contrary to His commandments.

    Seriously, do you think Peter has the power to someday declare, “Murder and adultery are now virtuous and holy things — please fornicate and slaughter with abandon”? Yet that is what you and your priest are claiming: no exceptions to “whatsoever you bind on earth . . .” means NO EXCEPTIONS. That means you think someday the Pope could announce, “God is not a Trinity,” or, “Jesus is not the Christ,” or, “You can marry your parakeet.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong — the Pope is the guardian of the Tradition, not it’s absolute master.

    Your priest may be able to quote scripture like a Baptist, but it would be better if you and he learned to READ scripture like a CATHOLIC. I doubt even very many Baptists would interpret “whatsoever you bind on earth . . .” in the foolish manner you and your priest have proposed.

  19. I think we’re losing our focus here. Ordaining women is not for discussion. Disciplining priests who participate in these simulations is.
    This whole thing is mainly about priests who do what they “should” know better than to do(in all sorts of ways, dealing with the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Holy Orders)…why is this such an outrage?
    The media accuses the hierarchy of not “doing their job” and then when they, in fact, do, they are condemned because, “Gasp”, the simulation of the Sacrament of Orders with a woman candidate is included in the “most grievous crimes”.
    Well, shoot.
    That’s the Catholic religion. Are you gonna take on the Moslems for their religious beliefs and practices?
    You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
    That’s why US Catholic and Monsieur Cones can just keep whistling in the wind, as far as I’m concerned.
    Tell it to somebody who cares.

  20. MargaretC says:

    To Henry Edwards and jbas: Sorry if I wasn’t clear. If you’ll look again, my remark reads, “My response to any _woman_ who makes this argument…” (and I’ve heard this from a number of women).

    The petty cruelty of junior high girls is proverbial. I use the example to illustrate my point, that women are just as capable of cruelty, cowardice, careerism, and moral blindness as men. (They may express these sins differently.)

    Thank you for filling me in on Mr. Cones educational background. These are all excellent institutions. I just wonder if he took full advantage of them.

  21. Re: the junior high remark, I believe that the poster was not referring to level of education, but rather, to the wonderful “socialization” one experiences in junior high, and the amazing levels of cruelty which the female junior high schooler routinely achieves.

    Speaking as almost the least popular person in my (public) junior high school, which was only a tad bit less cruel than 6th grade in my (parochial) elementary school, I would say that the girls and the boys were equally eager to push me downstairs, kick me, and generally make my life heck by physical, verbal, and mental abuse. During these years, most children are very unsure of themselves and their social status; so the insecurely popular assure themselves of their own popularity by keeping the untermensch down. Thus, junior high is a wonderful education in human nature.

    Mr. Cones was apparently homeschooled or went to a boys’ school, and apparently did not have any female siblings or nasty girlfriends. At any rate, he seems to have escaped all that, and thus has an idealistic view of female human nature and female administrators.

  22. Oh, and I’m all for punishing people who misuse their powers, and who lie through their actions about the teachings of the Church. As TV Tropes might say, Catholicism believes Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

    An honest bishop who disagreed about women’s ordination, or an honest woman wishing to become a priest, would wait and lobby. As soon as you start making up your own wording and claiming falsely that it’s on the tin, it’s time you made your own tin or found one that accepts your wording.

  23. Anyway, it was already covered under “simulation of a sacrament”. This just moves simulated women’s ordination over to the CDF as its own category, instead of lumping it together with other horrific kinds of simulation.

  24. Geoffrey says:

    “in the minds of many people who will read the news, seems to equate the ‘attempted ordination of women’ with the rape and torture of children.”

    I knew that one was coming.

  25. ALL: Randi must be having us on. One cannot read Scripture and – this made me smile – the Fathers of the Church and come away with the impression a) that the Church could ever ordain a woman and b) that you can set your own opinion against the Church’s teaching and not be in great peril of winding up in hell.

    I therefore conclude that Randi is having us on. Otherwise his? her? friend is either quite thick or deeply confused.

  26. Henry Edwards says:

    I continue to wonder why so many Catholics cannot understand the apples-oranges difference between priestly celibacy and women’s ordination.

    The celibacy of priests is a disciplinary policy that (in principle) could be changed tomorrow. A Catholic is free to maintain a personal opinion whether this would be a good idea.

    That women cannot be ordained has been proclaimed definitively as a matter of faith. Therefore the individual Catholic has no right to maintain a contrary personal opinion about it.

    What’s so hard to understand about any of this?

  27. TJerome says:

    I didn’t know “US Catholic” was even published anymore. Does it have 5 or 6 subscribers. Mr Cones diatribe is pure piffle and I loved the fisking he received. You wonder if people like Cones ever bother questioning their own biases and prejudices?

  28. Henry: It is not hard to understand, at all. Even if you’re an atheist. The Catholic Church teaches what She teaches; her disciplinary norms are also a part of this teaching, even if not “infallible.”
    The problem, which I know you know, so I’m not “preaching” to you, here:<)!, is that dissident Catholics and the media and other pundits want Her to change Her unchangeable teaching by deriding and shaming Her disciplines, Her ‘naughty’ bishops and priests, etc.
    It’s the typical shamegame; forgive my psychobabble, but it’s typical behaviour of adolescents and adults with adolescent arrested development who would like the Catholic Church to conform to the whims and fantasies they have at the moment.
    Thanks be to God, She DOES NOT do this…in matters of central importance; other matters of a more disciplinary nature (girl altar servers? Communion in the hand?etc…) that’s up for grabs, I guess. We pray for a saner time, yeah?

  29. Henry Edwards says:

    TJerome: I believe Damien Thompson mentioned the other day that the Tablet (aka “Bitter Pill”) which is seen stacked in so many English Catholic churches, has now gone into social networking in a big way.

    He said its Twitter feed already has 4 followers and its Facebook page has 9 friends. I suspect that U.S. Catholic is enjoying similar success.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    Various opinions about the ordination of women notwithstanding, I think equating it with pedophilia is a big PR mistake for the Vatican; it’s an unnecessary ramping up that will do more harm than good. The move could be argued on philosophical, theological or canoncial grounds, but practically speaking it doesn’t seem to have been well thought out.

  31. Henry Edwards says:

    jbas: After his previous article panning the April 24 pontifical TLM in Washington, I wondered whether Mr. Cones might be planning to visit his home parish anytime soon, and if so whether I ought to send him the Knoxville Latin Mass web site address to check our TLM schedule.

    Is it possible that a beautiful high Mass in familiar surroundings, and maybe some congenial discussion over coffee and doughnuts downstairs afterwards, could favorably affect editorial policy at U.S. Catholic? Hmm … What’s the percentage in my pursuing this?

  32. terryprest says:

    1. Supporters of the ordination of women have to explain and justify why the ordination of women is necessary when it would mean giving up forever on the possible re-union of the Roman Catholic Church with the Eastern and Russian Orthodox Churches and other Churches of the First Millenium who see the ordination of women as an illegitimate abandonment of authentic Tradition.

    2. The Anglican decision to ordain women and consecrate women bishops is a conscious attempt to widen the great scandal of the splits in a divided Christendom. Do such Anglicans and suppporters of woman`s ordination not see that they are promoting a great wrong which justifies in itself such a promotion being categorised as “a grave offence” ?

    3. Some supporters of women`s ordination also advocate the title of Mary as “co-Redemptrix”. By doing so, they hope to promote the cause of women`s ordination. Now that the change to the Canon Law has been made which firmly rules out women`s ordination, is the Pope also making a small step towards making it easier for the declaration of Mary as “co-Redemptrix” ?

  33. Jeremy says:

    many Catholics, and I include myself among them, see the absence of women in positions of power in the church as a contributor to the ongoing sex abuse crisis.
    Ah, so he does think they are connected!

  34. robtbrown says:

    Randii,

    If your priest friend is “orthodox” (a word I almost never use), he would know that female ordination is impossible.

    The Bind and Loose text from Scripture refers to the authority of the Church over sin, not to the promulgation of articles of faith.

    I don’t know of anyone who thinks that an argument can be made against celibacy from tradition. And there is certainly nothing in Scripture that necessarily indicates married bishops. There is a text, however, that can be interpreted that way, but there are other equally valid interpretations.

  35. FrJim: I have to disagree with you.
    The holiness of the Sacraments, the very purpose they have been given to us through the Mercy of Almighty God, is to impart a sharing in divine life.
    The horrid crime of the abuse of minors is a sin against the innocent and is also a sin against God, as well; and more so for one consecrated a priest of God…it is a sin against the virtue of religion.
    The simulation of Ordination of a woman is likewise a sacrilege; it is an offense against Almighty God and His Bride, the Church.
    So what if the PR aspect is misunderstood?
    Too bad for them.
    If you “get it” from the get-go, in other words, Sacraments are God’s initiative, not ours, yet they are meant for people, it is also a great injustice to simulate a Sacrament, esp. in regards to Holy Orders upon recipients who cannot receive it.
    Like Henry Edwards so rightfully asked and I repeat, “What is so hard to understand about this?”

  36. Ismael says:

    I must say, however, that the Vatican PR have done a ‘dumb action’.

    Unfortunately many people will now say ‘oh the vatican equates ordination of women with pedophilia’ even if it’s not true.

    I mean the Vatican should now understand that newspapers ‘will use anything he says against him’ :S

  37. Girgadis says:

    I think a lot of people are missing the point. So long as the MSM and others continue to insist that the ordination of women could have prevented or reduced the number of sexual abuse cases, the Vatican is compelled to respond as it did. A priest or bishop who would blatantly disobey the Church by attemtpting the pseudo-ordination of women has committed a grave disordered sin, just as priest who would use his authority over children to rape them and otherwise abuse them is also commiting a grave disordered sin. The headlines that have appeared in the MSM may not have helped the PR issue any (as if there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of that not happening anyway), but clearly, the Vatican recognizes that it cannot allow one travesty to become an excuse for another.

  38. Andrew says:

    What is this talk about “positions of power” and “empowerment”? Why is that word (power) so very popular these days with certain individuals? Is that why they are Christians? To be empowered? They’re in the wrong place looking for power. You want power? Get into politics. Don’t look for empowerment among the followers of the Cross.

  39. Jerry says:

    re: frjim4321 – “I think equating it with pedophilia is a big PR mistake for the Vatican”

    The Vatican _didn’t_ equate the two and more than civil law equates murder and rape because they are both felonies.

    It’s bad enough that supposedly Catholic journalists get people riled up with inflammatory rhetoric. It’s even worse when the faithful apologize for the Church and her “errors” instead of defending her.

  40. dans0622 says:

    I don’t know how often Fr. Z offers commentary on secular sites but with his remarks over at the Washington Post, including a link to this site, we might see some outliers in the comments….perhaps “Randii” is an example.

    Anyway, regarding PR, The Anchoress has a post about it. I think the whole notion of the Vatican having good PR is basically impossible these days, and therefore irrelevant. People in the secular media (including secular “Catholic” media like US Catholic) will not be swayed by attempts at PR unless and until the substance of “the Vatican’s” statements agree with their positions. Even then, PR is irrelevant.

    Dan

    Dan

  41. Jerry says:

    re: Ismael – “I must say, however, that the Vatican PR have done a ‘dumb action’. Unfortunately many people will now say ‘oh the vatican equates ordination of women with pedophilia’ even if it’s not true.”

    People are going to misrepresent the Church’s actions regardless of what she does or how it is presented. She can’t refrain from doing what is right and necessary because of how people might react (if, in fact, the reactions could be predicted).

  42. PostCatholic says:

    “The Anglicans are waiting for you, Mr. Cones.”

    Let me extend an invitation from the Unitarian Universalists, too.

  43. robtbrown says:

    Let me extend an invitation from the Unitarian Universalists, too.
    Comment by PostCatholic

    Why the name Universalists? What’s universal about Unitarian Universalism?

  44. Henry Edwards says:

    Why the name Universalists? What’s universal about Unitarian Universalism?

    They universally believe in at most one God.

  45. robtbrown says:

    This is the Internet at its best. First, a magazine publishes an article by someone like Bryan Cones, yet another writer who has looks at the Catholic faith through the prism of the Marxist critique. Years ago that writer’s pontifications would have been the last word.

    After Vat II the liberals knew well that to control the various publications was to control the Church in the US. In the 1970′s it was all but impossible in the US to get an article published that challenged Proportionalism in any older Catholic” magazine or scholarly periodical.

    With the Internet, however, comes blogs like Fr Z’s that feature informed commentators who point out what drivel writers like Mr Cones has produced.

  46. robtbrown says:

    Why the name Universalists? What’s universal about Unitarian Universalism?

    They universally believe in at most one God.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    Actually, acc to this site, they also welcome atheists.

    http://www.uua.org/

  47. Henry Edwards says:

    Actually, acc to this site, they also welcome atheists.

    Indeed, “at most one God” is the way a logician or philosopher (or a mathematician like me) says “either one God or no God”. I’ve long suspected that the latter alternative is the one satisfied by a majority of them.

  48. robtbrown says:

    Indeed, “at most one God” is the way a logician or philosopher (or a mathematician like me) says “either one God or no God”. I’ve long suspected that the latter alternative is the one satisfied by a majority of them.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    I got that, but the problem is that “believe” is predicated affirmatively.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    The womens’ ordination thing is nothing. Okay, maybe it’s a little tiny pimple on the Church’s rear end, but it will heal. What’s REALLY REALLY important about this is the following:

    “§ 2. With regard to the delicts mentioned above in § 1, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by mandate of the Roman Pontiff, may judge Cardinals, Patriarchs, Legates of the Apostolic See, Bishops as well as other physical persons mentioned in can. 1405 § 3 of the Code of Canon Law[4], and in can. 1061 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.”

    THIS IS HUGE. Some of the bishops act as though no one, not even God, can touch them. They behave like little kings in their own kingdoms and believe they are not even beholden to the Church who appointed them. This document subjects them to the judgment of the Church for their transgressions. It is HUGE. And necessary. And has always been within the rights of the Holy Catholic Church. Now only if she uses this ability that she has. We can only pray.

  50. Henry Edwards says:

    I got that, but the problem is that “believe” is predicated affirmatively.

    So I might better have said that “they universally admit the possible existence of at most one God”?

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Each of the bishops is to be respected and obeyed with respect to the things particular to his diocese. BUT no one has made each of them, some of them rinky-dink bureaucrats with mediocre ideas in backwater places, POPE. Although some of them believe that they are on a par with the pope and all of tradition. This has contributed to the disarray in the church to a horrible degree.

    Even the USCCB, in all its pomp and hubris, is not equal to one pope. IT has no juridical authority, being merely an advisory union for the convenience and efficiency of the American bishops, and it’s about time it realized that. Thus the juridical force of such ridiculous pronouncements like “Always our Children,” becomes clear (although their content might have made this basic fact as clear.)

    Bishops who transgress the laws of the church and grossly transgress the laws of morality should be every bit as subject to correction as the plainest seminarian. More subject to it, in fact, except for the corruption that comes with power. Enough of it. The Christian faith isn’t a pawn of power. It never was and there’s no point in allowing its appearance to be a pawn that belies its real existence. Want to talk “peace and justice?” This is a great document. Bravo, CDF.

  52. robtbrown says:

    So I might better have said that “they universally admit the possible existence of at most one God”?
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    Does an atheist admit the possibility of God? Or does the admission of the possibility make it impossible to be an atheist?

  53. Henry Edwards says:

    Or does the admission of the possibility make it impossible to be an atheist?

    In order to “admit the possible existence of at most one God”, it is not necessary to admit the possibility of the existence of a God.

    That is, one who denies the existence of any God at all, is one who admits the possible existence of zero Gods, and thus admits the possibility existence of at most God (since zero is less than one, and therefore is certainly at most one).

  54. TJerome says:

    robtbrown, I agree with you that the internet (ironically a modern creation) has dealt the death blow to the control exercised for decades by the liberal (and increasingly looney) secular and religious media. With regard to publications like “US Catholic” they are being eviscerated almost daily by folks who are much better educated in the Faith ( e.g. Father Z) than their current cadre of “journalists.”

  55. Peggy R says:

    Looking at this and other columns freaking out on the new norms and various other issues, as well as looking at the freak-outs on your (Fr Z) WaPost column, it is clear that the art of READING COMPREHENSION is lost on a good chunk of the population. It appears that a good many people simply look at a word and have some emotional and quite illogical reaction to it that bears little connection to the actual meaning or context of words. The art of clear analytical thinking is quite absent today.

    The other observation I have is about Mr. Cones’ note that the wymyn are not afraid of excommunication. Excommunication is not just what the bishop does–in fact they bring it on themselves. It has supernatural implications that this author doesn’t appreciate. This is yet another of MANY, MANY examples I come across–including at happy-clappy ‘meal-oriented’ masses–in which the progressives seem to have lost a sense of the sacred and cannot imagine or understand the Faith beyond the material world. They think in material terms, not spiritual or supernatural. They don’t think of the supernatural world, God’s Kingdom, as being something beyond their comprehension. They can’t handle such imaginings, I suppose. This is why they don’t worship the Eucharist, they play sappy music and are easily distracted at mass. And that’s directly contrary to their claims of superiority for being “spiritual, not religious.”

  56. PostCatholic says:

    Only because I was asked, and to correct some error here:

    Unitarian Universalism is the result of the merger of two historically Christian faith traditions dating to the Enlightenment which featured congregational polity (Catholicism has episcopal polity).

    The established church of New England, essentially descended from the Puritans, became over time split into what is now the United Church of Christ (a Trinitarian faith) and what was once the American Unitarian Association, which professed a Deist faith in the Christian Father but did not accept Jesus nor the Holy Spirit as divine beings. Very few “Unitarians” of today would align themselves with that theology, as I’ll explain.

    Universalism (a Trinitarian faith) is the belief that the Christian god saves all in the afterlife. There are still several Universalist churches within modern Unitarian Universalism which practice this theology.

    These two religions merged in 1961 to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. The UUA is a non-creedal faith and essentially post-Christian in that while it has Christian roots it does not require any beliefs in Christianity. (I just came from a service in which no biblical text was used at all.) To quote http://uua.org “It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.” If you would like to know more, Wikipedia has a somewhat biased but factual article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalism.

    My comment was meant in support of Rev. Zuhlsdorf with his observation that the writer sounds like someone who cannot conform his beliefs to Catholicism.

  57. Supertradmum says:

    MargaretC, re: jbas,

    At least one of the institutions in Mr. Cones’ background invited a women who was pro-choice and pro-contraceptive to speak in the classrooms, and a deacon who was pro-choice to speak during the last presidential election; the deacon stating that abortion was only one issue among many and making it clear he supported now POTUS. Students also asked to have Father Frank Pavone speak there and were told he was “too political” and not welcomed. Conception Seminary College may have some excellent teachers, but many monks support liberal ideas, as do some of the lay faculty. The EF is only said twice a year and not encouraged.

    As to seemingly equating woman’s ordination with pedophilia, both are sins and incur excommunication. Sin is sin and serious sin has the same result-loss of eternal life. One should not compare “sins” but speak of disobedience as the root, which is behind all sin. I do not think Mr. Cones or his supporters are very rational in their debates and seem to confuse issues on purpose. The heritage of our educational system, where how one “feels” about an issue trumps logic. Good commentary, Father Z.

  58. Andrew’s comment is on point. What the women’s ordination group wants is power–the status of being in the hierarchy and governing others; in other words, the type of power the world respects. The irony is that women have always had a certain type of power within the church–power in the sense that they got things done. Think of all the nuns who started schools and hospitals. Think of Ss. Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena. These women used power in the best sense of the word, but offered themselves in total obedience to their bishops and to the Pope.

  59. Jordanes says:

    Unitarian Universalism is the result of the merger of two historically Christian faith traditions

    “Historically Christian” in the sense that the Unitarians derive from a Christian denomination — they ceased being Christian when they became Unitarian.

    These days Unitarian Universalists believe in virtually anything and everything, which amounts to their really believing in nothing. They’re a reductio ad absurdum of one of the innate trends of Protestantism.

  60. becket1 says:

    If this tiny minority of women don’t like it. Then they should go and join the Episcopalians or join the Church of England. None of the “first millenium” churches want to deal with this women priests issue!. That means Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Christians. All three of us are on the same page with this.

  61. PostCatholic says:

    “These days Unitarian Universalists believe in virtually anything and everything, which amounts to their really believing in nothing. They’re a reductio ad absurdum of one of the innate trends of Protestantism.”

    Show a little respect, please, becket1. I haven’t insulted you or your Church by agreeing with Rev. Zuhlsdorf and I don’t see the need for you to respond so rudely. If we UU’s believed in nothing, why would we have a religion at all? My quote supra said, inter alia, that UUs are “people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion,” and pointed you to places where you could find out what we do believe. It’s not “anything and everything”, as you put it, and it’s certainly not “nothing.”

  62. becket1 says:

    I did show respect. I told them to go and join a denomination that agrees with their views.

  63. Supertradmum says:

    The women priests stay in the Church, supposedly, because they want to change the Church. Same reason why the Liberation Theologians, Protestantizers of the liturgy, and homosexual/lesbian couples claim to be “Catholic”. They want to make the Church in their own image and likeness.

  64. PostCatholic says:

    I apologize to you, becket1. It was Jordanes who gave me offense.

  65. becket1 says:

    I forgive you PostCatholic.

  66. Jordanes says:

    PostCatholic asked: If we UU’s believed in nothing, why would we have a religion at all?

    Because our need for communion with the Blessed Trinity is written on our hearts. Even those ignorant of divine revelation, or who, such as yourself, reject it, still have the religious imperative within them. That’s where the various natural religions, such as Unitarian Universalism, come from.

    But since you can worship any deity or deities, or no deities at all, and be a Unitarian Universalist, that amounts to an attempted synthesis of irreconcilables. If you can believe virtually anything and be accepted as a Unitarian Universalist, practically speaking that amounts to not having any defined theological teachings at all — which logically means Unitarian Universalists believe in nothing.

    I do not intend that to give personal offense, but in my view such religious mush is offensive. The human soul deserves and needs better than that.

  67. PostCatholic says:

    I have a rejoinder but I sincerely do not wish to give offense, and won’t.

    I hope you can find a way speak to others, Jordanes, that gives a better witness of what peace and joy you’ve managed to find in your Catholicism.

  68. This has gone far afield, and not in a good direction.

    Shall I shut this down?

  69. PostCatholic says:

    I would like you to.

  70. Horatius says:

    PostCatholic is a moniker perhaps intended to offend, given the faith of the author of this site and his readership; on that basis alone, I’d love to see this thread shut down, and the post made to change his name (I am trying to imagine the reception he or she might receive on a Jewish website if named PostJew. Much as I would like to learn about UUA–I lived in Boston and Cambridge long enough to get a good look, thanks–it may be that the line between robust exchanges, which I love, and impatient and uncharitable claims, has been crossed.

  71. robtbrown says:

    In order to “admit the possible existence of at most one God”, it is not necessary to admit the possibility of the existence of a God.

    That is, one who denies the existence of any God at all, is one who admits the possible existence of zero Gods, and thus admits the possibility existence of at most God (since zero is less than one, and therefore is certainly at most one).
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    By definition, God is a necessary being. Thus to admit the possibility of the existence of a necessary being means we cannot consider it as merely possible. I won’t go so far as to endorse Anselm’s ontological proof, but I do think it has something in common with St Thomas’ Tertia Via.

    Your second part concerns the nature of number. This is not the place to discuss it here, but the philosopher’s understanding of number and the mathematicians’s are the same.

  72. PostCatholic says:

    The moniker is not intended to offend. It is a way I often identify my faith journey, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I felt it was more accurate than the oft-used “PostChristian’ and a way of stating where I stand in the economy of ideas. Being that I’m the one who came up with the handle, I would hope you’ll accept my sincerity when I tell you such was my intent.

    In life we will all have spiritual opposition and people who disagree with our strongly held beliefs. Making enemies of them rarely serves our purposes, and honest and respectful dialogue opens us to intellectual progress.

    I find it really odd that a statement in support of the original post, and description of my religious faith once asked to supply it, has led to such vitriolic and intemperate postings. I do my best to be respectful of Catholic views when engaging in debate at this blog–but this time I didn’t even disagree. Rev. Zuhlsdorf offered that Mr. Cones ought to consider leaving Catholicism for another religion; I agreed.

  73. robtbrown says:

    and the mathematicians’s are the same.

    Should be:

    and the mathematician’s are NOT the same.

  74. Jordanes says:

    I haven’t seen any vitriolic and intemperate postings in this discussion, nor have I made any, PostCatholic (nor offered any personal insults). You don’t like my description and appraisal of your religion, and I understand that, but I still think my description of Unitarian Universalism as a non-Christian faith with no defined theology that attempts to accommodate irreconcilable beliefs is correct — and yes, I agree that Mr. Cones might find either Anglicanism or Unitarian Universalism a better bit for his opinions than the faith that God has revealed. But Father Zuhlsdorf has said that this rabbit trail is not taking things in a good direction, and as this is his weblog I won’t continue this any further. I only express again my hope that you’ll shed your erroneous beliefs and return to the truth handed on to us from Jesus and the Apostles.

  75. Jayna says:

    Someone I know made the same arguments as this “journalist.” And did I mention she’s not Catholic? Anyway, I tried to correct her erroneous reasoning and ended up being called a “brainwashed minion” in the end. It was a grand ol’ time.

  76. PostCatholic says:

    “non-Christian faith”

    Correct.

    “with no defined theology”

    Incorrect.

    “that attempts to accommodate irreconcilable beliefs”

    Incorrect.

    And that is why one should not speak from ignorance.

  77. PostCatholic: Huh?
    And that is authentic, sincere and just plain “Huh?”
    Universalist Unitarian, from my understanding, is just like the air.
    What the hell can you hang on to?

  78. PostCatholic says:

    Then you have an uninformed understanding, nazareth priest. I shared to a few links earlier where one might learn more, if one is so inclined, but I really don’t think it’s right of me to use this space to outline UU theology or theologians.

    I’m really trying to be patient. I hope that shows.

  79. robtbrown says:

    Post Catholic.

    Acc to uua.org:

    We welcome people who identify with and draw inspiration from Atheism and Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Paganism, and other religious or philosophical traditions.

    Are you saying that Atheism and Christianity are reconcilable?

  80. Frank H says:

    UUs seem like religious grazers. They try a little of this, a little of that. In my experience, nice folks but sorta fuzzy. Many of their “churches” do, however, host some mighty fine folk music series.

  81. PostCatholic says:

    What I’m saying is that Mr. Cones is very welcome to join us.