Dr. Peters: indefatigable vivsectionist – CONTINUED and UPDATED

ORIGINAL: Published on: Feb 26, 2011

Dr. Ed Peters, canonist, may be able to add “indefatigable vivsectionist” to his CV if he keeps up this pace.

A few days ago, he exposed problems in a statement from the Diocese of Albany.

Yesterday, he diced a spaghetti flinger from the Fishwrap.

Today, he disemboweled a jackanapes from the Huffington Post.

One of my favorites remarks:

In any case, shuddering even to contemplate the punishment of Hell being visited on a fellow being, and knowing that Church law (my specialty) has no jurisdiction over such eventualities, I said nothing about Hell. Collins did. For reasons he chooses not to share.

Read the whole thing there.

UPDATE 27 FEB 23:27 GMT:

Dr. Peters, the learnéd, the tireless, has responded to the Jesuit darling of the liberal media Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ, of Georgetown University.

Fr. Reese, defending Communion for Gov. Cuomo despite can. 915, has waded in with a personal attack on the person of Dr. Peters.

A good line from Dr. Peter’s:

Reese can hardly be ignorant of the differences between Canons 915 and 916, so I can only take his derisive comments that I must have “some kind of spiritual telescope to look into the soul of Gov. Andrew Cuomo” as a deliberate obfuscation of my position.

And so it continues for Dr. Peters.


Mr. Winters of Fishwrap, reprising the role of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, has … once again… responded to Dr. Peters.


Dr. Peters has patiently responded… once again.

A snip:

If I may be permitted a personal illustration, I remember in college when my Jesuit spiritual director told me in our first session, “Well, Ed, you start by observing the Ten Commandments.” St. Paul spoke from a mystical appreciation of just Who stood behind the Ten Commandments when he warned the Corinthians—and us—against taking the Lord’s Body and Blood outwardly to our condemnation inwardly. Canons 915 and 916, I suggest, simply expresses these same points canonically–you know, f/b/o Catholics who don’t read the Bible but who keep a copy of the Code on their nightstand.

Dr. Peters laments that there is no moderator for this sort of discussion, or any judge to determine who won.

I hereby volunteer.

Another snip for your delectation:

I am not going to convince Winters of the persuasiveness of my position over his, because he believes that (take your pick): my interpretation of canon law represents horrible theology, I engage in sneering, I don’t quote Scripture in my canonical writing, I am given to plunging canonical daggers into straw men, I feel mighty self-satisfied with the 99 sheep instead of looking for the lost one (indeed I pose a threat to the returning sheep), I must see law as a purely penal instrument, I am more prone to condemning instead of using the medicine of mercy, and so on and so on and so on. Well, okay. I am none of these things. But so what?

Mostly, though, I sense the futility of debating Winters further because he still defends a fundamentally skewered understanding of the role of canon law in the Church.


UPDATE 3 March 1640 GMT:

Again, Dr. Peters.  This time, on his excellent blog, we find a reaction to a column by the distinguished Phil Lawler.  NB: This is not an adversarial exchange.

However, in the context of his most recent entry, Peter also educates a “young Franciscan” who, it seems, thinks that St. Francis would have given Communion to anyone no matter what that implied or what the Church’s law is.

I am right now thinking of some of the things the real Francis wrote and did in his life.  Francis wasn’t just bunnies and birdies and Sister Moon.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Tominellay says:

    Peters is such a good read! Thanks for these links…

  2. Maltese says:

    Dr. Peters is a fine word-smith; sometimes equally important with what you say is how you say it. Interesting that Church law has no say over the eventuality of Hell. Interesting, I say, because doesn’t the Church loose and bind? Is that not, in a sense, Church law? I’m no canonist, but I do find it interesting–I would like to learn more. I also know that only God knows who is in Hell, whereas the Church can know for certainty that some souls are in heaven (the Saints); though, of course, many others may be in Heaven who are not formally declared. Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing. Btw, I found the following (somewhat on-point) quote from Saint Maria Faustina, from her diaries, cir. 1930, interesting:

    “…I Saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings” (Diary 153).

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    Ed Peters ROCKS!!………. in a calm and collected sorta way

  4. Jesus Christ is the Judge. The Church is the spouse of the Judge.

    Canon law is a handmaiden of the Bride and Bridegroom, but canon law is not the Judge Himself. It does not become a canon lawyer to step out of his proper jurisdiction [Canonists don’t have jurisdiction by the fact that they are canonists.] and make declarations as if he were the Judge (particularly when the canon lawyer is a layman and not in persona Christi). Mr. Peters was being entirely correct in not invoking the final penalty, when the lesser medicinal penalties are still not being imposed as they should.

    So Maltese, you really don’t need to go where angels fear to tread — ie, presuming to know who is going to Hell.

  5. Maltese says:

    Suburban, good points; I completely agree that a canonist shouldn’t step outside his jurisdiction. [See above.]

    But, and maybe I’m trying to split hairs in my distinctions, but does the Church have NO say over who is damned or saved? I know that only God is the ultimate Arbiter, but I think the Church at least plays a role in its role (no double entendre intended) to bind and loose; to offer forgiveness or not; to excommunicate or not….I know God ultimately decides, but doesn’t the Church, here on this Rock called Earth, get to decide, say, that someone is unforgiven of their sins, or in mortal sin? And, if so, the Church plays a small role, methinks, in their eternal Salvation. Because otherwise, one falls into the protestant heresy that the Sacraments are inefficient, or Sola Scriptura prevails….

  6. shadowlands says:

    If a priest witholds absolution to a penitent soul, I am sure he would give good reason and also the opportunity for the person to seek true repentance and therefore obtain God’s mercy before the final judgment. It would be a lack of some sort in the penitent’s contriteness needing to be corrected, not a final judgment on the person’s eternal destiny. Surely that is the limit in the authority Christ gave to the apostles regarding forgiveness? [This is off topic.]

  7. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I am glad I was reading Ed Peters’ blog “In Light of the Law” before it was cool.

    Keep up the good work, Ed!

    I expected the comments from the peanut gallery from the secular press. The attacks from the Catholic press have been demoralizing – and scandalous. How slow they are to praise virtue, and quick they are to defend sin.

    We should track who in the Catholic press has said what with regard to this issue and hold them to account.

    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    that He which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.

    – Shakespeare, Henry V

  8. See, I should have known better than treading where canon lawyers fear to tread, also. :)

    I am now writing on the board 100 times, “I will not try to use loose colloquial definitions of church technical and legal words in church technical and legal discussions.”

  9. And yes, I wasn’t even thinking that it _was_ a church or civil legal word, but that’s my problem and not the Church’s.

  10. Tony Layne says:

    Why is it that, once you prove yourself a shootist, every plowboy wants to pull iron on you? Folks, just leave Dr. Peters alone; you’re only gonna hurt yourselves. OOHRAH!

  11. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I am lately seeing, in Reese but also in some others, a new theme in the ad hominem-s directed against me which focus on, of all things, the fact that I am based in Detroit. Now, my city of employment is utterly irrelevant to my qualifications as a canonist or the strength of my arguments, but, since Reese brought it into this discussion, those of us who would like to see Detroit rise from its troubles, and who manifest our commitment to that recovery by living and working here, don’t appreciate subtle condescensions from others blessed to work/reside in swanky spots like Georgetown.

    In short, Fr. Reese, let’s talk canon law, not zip codes.

    This debate is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only do we get better and better repartee – but the added advantage of flushing out the arch-heretics from the City of Dis.

    Bring the Thunder, Dr. Peters!

  12. TNCath says:

    I am glad to see Dr. Peters’ taking on Fr. Reese et al. one at time.

  13. benedetta says:

    Very entertaining. Gov. Cuomo is a politician, and his team obviously called the cameras ahead of time to assure they were rolling to capture him at Mass. He put himself out there for a media moment as a paragon of Catholicism in the first place. It should not be any surprise that someone in the Catholic universe, living in Detroit or knows where, might be called upon, or even take it upon themselves, to freely question such a media-organized display. If it had been a private moment that somehow got leaked that would be one thing but it was organized specifically for press coverage. But the entertainment aspect is that a savvy campaigner and politician now requires this media rehabilitation from HuffPo, National Catholic Reporter, and, Fr. Reese? They seem to want to say that the governor, is in a state of grace, but they cannot. So, they want the next best thing which is to say that it is no one’s business, and that would be all well and good had not the governor by his actions invited the press in to make it people’s business. If you want the camera moment, then you can’t say, just the approving press is welcome but those who scratch their heads are not!
    I still don’t see what makes this person more special than the myriad Catholics who abstain from communion for the same situations. And if they slip up and go to communion anyway, they don’t get a Jesuit out there on their behalf defending them. It really isn’t just about communion. It is about presenting publicly as a Catholic and the public choices made by a Catholic leader that creates scandal. Scandal is very real. Catholic leaders are empowered to make better choices that build up the Church, the faithful, and anyone considering the faith, instead of belittling it as all about whatever they on a given day want or think they deserve.

  14. Tominellay says:

    …hoping Chris Matthews will try…

  15. avecrux says:

    Dr. Peters has struck a major nerve. My prayers are with you, Dr. Peters – they only attack like this (especially with goal post shifting and ad hominems) when your argument is very, very strong.

  16. Andrew says:

    There is no need in this case to look into anyone’s soul, with or without a telescope, since Canon 915 speaks of “manifest” actions, i.e. contrary to hidden.

  17. Clinton says:

    In all of this controversy, I’ve yet to see any of the folks objecting to Dr. Peters’ insights
    actually engage them. Instead, from His Excellency the Bishop of Albany to Fr.
    Reese to Mr. Winters of the National Catholic Distorter to the lickspittle hacks of
    the mainstream media, the responses have been nothing but ad hominem, mischaracterization,
    spin, non sequitur and obfuscation. Nothing helpful there.

    No one has come remotely close to demonstrating any serious flaws in Dr. Peters’
    reasoning. If he is correct, and canon law is being ignored by one whose position calls for
    him to uphold it–what then? While I do enjoy watching Dr. Peters dispatch those who dispute
    his argument, I find myself reading about this with increasing worry. Not that Dr. Peters’
    reasoning will be found at fault–there seems little chance of that. Instead, I worry that his
    argument will be ignored. What recourse does the Church have if one whose sworn duty it
    is to uphold Church law demonstrably neglects that duty?

    And for those who feel that this controversy is just a silly squabble among Catholics, something
    as irrelevant to society at large as arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin,
    I’d point out that this country seems to be experiencing a presidency that engages in similar
    neglect of duly constituted but inconvenient laws.

  18. dans0622 says:

    As noted above, there aren’t any real substantive critiques of what Dr. Peters has said. The reason is simple–his argumentation is rock solid, air tight, inescapable, etc. The page at his website devoted to canon 915 is a real treasure, as is then-Archbishop Burke’s article on it, which can be found here: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/holycom/denial.htm

  19. Charles E Flynn says:

    I find the remarks about Detroit very funny. Between Dr. Peters, Dr. Janet Smith, and the outstanding blogger Oswald Sobrino (http://catholicanalysis.blogspot.com/) I think of Detroit as a powerhouse of Catholicism. I think of the magazine Fr. Reese used to edit as valuable mostly for its Ignatius Press ads.

  20. amenamen says:

    Dr. Peters and Fr. Reese discussing canon 915,
    as re-enacted by Inigo Montoya and Prince Humperdinck:

  21. I greatly appreciate all his articles (the one on continence of the clergy was also good). Nice to see someone who understands logic these days- it has become such a rare commodity.
    Bravo Dr Peter’s! Hip Hip Hoorah!
    Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
    I think I have regained my composure now.

  22. teomatteo says:

    Detroit… ah… my town… reminds me of a seminar I attended at Dr. Peter’s place of work a couple of years ago. An archbishop of Denver was speaking and after his wonderful talk on Catholics and our public responsibility he was asked what to make of Notre Dame and Pres. Obama (ND had announced the night before of their plans). The Archbishop said amoung other things (i’m paraphrasing): I have worked behind the scene with public figures regarding their ignoring catholic teaching. For twenty years I have used the quiet, gentle, and suggestive approach and I can say that it just doesn’t work.
    (If someone else was there and I am mistaken in my memory … please correct me)

  23. Rob Cartusciello says:

    If the faithful in the Diocese of Albany want to make their voices heard, I advise the following:

    Write two checks. One for $1, and one for $99 (or whatever you would ordinarily give to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, less one dollar).

    Send the $99 check to the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Missionaries of Charity or the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

    Send the $1 check to the Diocese with a note stating the money should be used to send Bishop Hubbard on a sabbatical to brush up on Catholic ethics. Also be sure to tell them where the balance of your donation went.

  24. The quiet, gentle, suggestive approach only works if the person is amenable to suggestions. I mean, sure, some people are already beating themselves up over their sins, and they only want an invitation to change.

    But life in politics… I think it tends to harden a lot of people, or make them think that a suggestion is only a guideline. Many politicians today seem to think better of themselves (and assume they have more innate moral authority) than the average medieval king. What the Kennedys used to feel they had a right to do (and were allowed to get away with), now Joe O’Schmo thinks he has practically a duty to do. So of course Cuomo is that arrogant. (And yeah, Newt’s not exactly fading becomingly into the woodwork in gratitude for the Church’s motherly kindness, either.)

    So it’s not any big surprise that, when a guy in the parish is getting married again, we don’t hear anything about whether it’s on the up and up with the Church; we just hear that we should get him a present. I would like to _assume_ that everything is okey-doke, but in this climate, I can’t. And nobody thinks about how this sounds to the woman in the parish who doesn’t go to Communion because her current husband won’t bestir himself to get his previous marriage annulled, or whether people will look askance at the guy getting married, for that matter. Very hole and corner, very cavalier treatment of the faithful. But very hard to fight, when bishops and famous Catholic politicians show the world that they don’t care a bit for the faith’s principles.

  25. Torkay says:

    As Avecrux and others have pointed out, I hope the good Dr. Peters is prepared to be smeared by those who think that ad hominem = rational debate. Once again we have a demonstration that “SJ” no longer stands for Society of Jesus, but “social justice,” the Marxist version of which has dethroned Our Lord.

    As for Mr. Cuomo, I worked at HUD while he was Secretary, and I’d have to say that he was no different from any other vain, self-serving, shallow, glib politician I’ve ever met. BTW, how come no one has raised the issue of whether Cuomo is in full communion with the Church? Do we have to wait until he attends an SSPX parish (where he would most assuredly be denied Communion without hesitation) first?

  26. HyacinthClare says:

    I have enjoyed meditating for years on the characters of fruitful, orthodox Christians as they are lifted by God for a particular work, using the categories of Canticles (Song of Solomon) 8:9: is he a wall or a door? Dr. Peters, bless him, is a WALL. Dr. Thomas Howard in Hallowed Be This House describes how walls are necessary… otherwise, how will we know we are in the house? The image of “windows open” to either fresh air or smoke has been used a lot of the troubles since Vatican II; but it seems to me the real image ought to have been the smashing down of walls, so we never knew if we were in the Church or not. Bless Dr. Peters and all good men like him. Be a wall, Sir!!

  27. Brooklyn says:

    Those who attack Dr. Peters and others who stand up for the Catholic faith are actually doing us and the whole world a huge favor, because each time they attack, we are forced to share even more of the truth with them. I think this is what the Apostle Paul was talking about in his letter to the Philippians:

    “I want you to know, brothers, that my situation has turned out rather to advance the gospel, so that my imprisonment has become well known in Christ throughout the whole praetorium and to all the rest, and so that the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly. Of course, some preach Christ from envy and rivalry, others from good will. The latter act out of love, aware that I am here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not from pure motives, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. What difference does it make, as long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I rejoice. ” (Philip. 1:12-18)

    The more Dr. Peters is attacked, the more opportunity he has to get his message out. Remember the Israelites. The more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites flourished.

    God bless Dr. Peters and all the others who tirelessly and courageously stand up for the truth.

  28. benedetta says:

    Totally agree with the above. And with Sed libera nos about Albany and the lack of leadership. It is no longer credible, among Catholic elitists/dissenters to proclaim allegiance with a platform of social justice but neglect the most vulnerable among us. Young people are increasingly mistrustful, with good reason as it lacks integrity. You can see where some activists of a certain age decided to “go with” the abortion agenda in the earlier days, when no one, whether it be PP, the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Roe, or Catholic politicians envisioned that abortion would someday become so over-utilized as to bring about the statistics of genocide that now plague New York. But, now that the results are in and the poorest and most vulnerable among us have neither been encouraged, enriched, or empowered through the abortion industry, it is time for our leaders who supposedly espouse social justice and the dignity of all women to come forward and acknowledge that it was a mistake and turn to a different, more enlightened, life-giving, encouraging approach founded on authentic social justice and dignity for all. Who can trust or take seriously a politician or church leader who speaks out of both sides of the mouth…who stands only for life for those who manage to make it, and to the rest, well…too bad? That is not Catholic, that is not leadership. I am a Catholic woman and I am here to say, a governor who professes the faith yet in his inaugural promises to increase the number of abortions in a state already saturated by the culture of death such that the statistics are sickening, by any criteria, ought not be singled out by a Catholic Bishop as an “evangelizer”. Just, no. Pastoral, for whom? For the elites? What about the pastoral approach on behalf of the most vulnerable among us? Who evangelize us in their humanity though they have no voice, no power, no riches, nothing to offer but their very presence as God’s own. The day a Bishop promotes a politician who advocates more death for the people of his state will be counted as one of the harshest times in the unfolding of the history of the totalitarian commercialist, relativist, secularist regimes ever.

  29. irishgirl says:

    Rob-I don’t live in the Albany diocese (I’m in the one to the west of it), but if I were, I’d take up your ‘donation suggestion’.
    Bravo to Ed Peters for taking on the Bishop of Albany! As HyacinthClare said, ‘Be a wall, sir!’
    And ‘boo’ to Fr. Reese! (Please, St. Ignatius Loyola, give a Basque slap to this errant son of yours!)

  30. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oorah to Dr. Peters!

    and, irishgirl . . . I confess my knowledge of the Basque people is limited to Sabine Baring-Gould’s charming translation of “Gabriel’s Message” . . . itself a translation of “Angelus ad virginem” . . . .

    but what is a Basque slap?

  31. Rob Cartusciello says:

    St. Ignatius of Loyola was Basque. As was Francis Xavier.

    Thus a certain “manual rebuke” (preferably backhanded) would be a Basque Slap.

  32. Marc says:

    Thomas Reese is still priest?

  33. spock says:

    Guess I thought this was the best line of Dr. Reese’s response (It’s at least #2) :

    “In short, Fr. Reese, let’s talk canon law, not zip codes”

  34. spock says:

    oops should have said “Dr. Peters” instead. Sorry about that.

  35. Another variation on Rob Cartusciello’s idea would be to send the normal contribution to the annual appeal, but post-date the check November 1, 2012. In the memo field, simply write, “Remember Ed Peters!”

  36. AnAmericanMother says:

    Merci, Rob!

  37. LarryD says:

    I find the remarks about Detroit very funny. Between Dr. Peters, Dr. Janet Smith, and the outstanding blogger Oswald Sobrino (http://catholicanalysis.blogspot.com/) I think of Detroit as a powerhouse of Catholicism.

    As a metro Detroit blogger myself, I agree with your assessment. One day I hope to be able to be good enough to replace the battery in their wireless mouse.

    Acts Of The Apostasy

  38. Stvsmith2009 says:

    It never fails. Whenever one attempts to correct, they are called judgemental. Yet we are all called to correct when we see someone do wrong. Correcting is not passing judgement, but this escapes most people, and when they have no bona fide defense, then they start accusing people of judging them.

  39. KristenB says:

    Considering just how out there the Bishop of Albany is, is anyone surprised?
    Having talked to several people in positions of power, evangelization and youth ministry in that diocese, I am surprised there is even a catholic diocese at all!

    Speaking of out there bishops… any news on who is replacing Bishop Trautman when he retires this summer?

  40. MikeM says:

    If these people think that the application of the CIC is unChristian, why don’t they petition Rome to repeal or alter Canon 915 instead of attacking Dr. Peters?

  41. Its only by the grace of God and some faithful priests we still have any Catholics left here in the Albany diocese. If it wasn’t by the grace of God and a firm conviction through study that the Catholic Church is the only true Church I would never have become a Catholic in this diocese. As a matter of fact I didn’t for years due to all the scandal and immorality promoted here (as well as the lack of reverence for the liturgy- in my experience). Attending a Catholic school didn’t help matters (although some people there were faithful there in retrospect).

    Don’t give up Dr Peter’s. You may not convince them (trust me they are impervious to logic) but you eloquently state the case for all Catholics nationwide who have to deal with this continually. Trust me they try to win the fight by wearing their opponents down to where they don’t respond- all the while claiming they are so smart that those who don’t understand them are just ignorant. They pretend to listen but thats all. The only reason they even do that is because they want to look good.

    When we lose parishes here they hold phoney meetings and never answer our questions or provide valid reasons- its their standard tactic. Then they claim we all support their decision and that it really was our decision- though in reality virtually no one did. Since we don’t have the power to speak otherwise it is assumed they are telling the truth. They assume if they can silence their enemy then they win. In a certain sense they do. That is why they are all ganging up and shooting off whatever comes out of their mouths as well as making personal attacks.

    Please keep doing what you have been. They wouldn’t be doing this if you had not touched a nerve and they were not afraid of you. They are not afraid of the people in the parishes so they don’t even respond to us. God bless you and keep up the good fight.

    Deus vult!

  42. By the way I do like the donation idea- so far I haven’t given 1 cent to the diocese intentionally. Until we actually have a authentic Catholic bishop I refuse to- its a waste of the resources God has given me. I also don’t trust where the money is going (like dirty needle exchange for example- yes Dr Peters called out bishop Hubbard on that also and thankfully made us aware of that). Personally I prefer Aid to the Church in Need which technically is headed by the Holy Father and is at least now very sound.

    Thankfully we where moved to a Carmelite parish so he is unlikely to close it within 3 years. Though I do find it troublesome that all the work etc, we did on the previous church may only add to the value for some protestant, buddhist, theater group, etc who may buy it. We even got the carillon working again and were starting to work on the clock. Hehe (evil cackle) they will have trouble fixing that- I have some of the parts to repair it which are hard to find- possibly impossible. My family paid for them out of our own pocket and I was not going to install them when I knew it was going to be sold so I’m keeping them for now. Besides I didn’t put it back together. Let them figure out how to do it and figure out where all the parts are. Though it would be funny to watch them try to figure it out.

    Hopefully it won’t be sold before we receive a new bishop and he reopens it. There was no good reason to close it- if there was I would be more understanding. The worst of it is absolutely no concern was given to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It was our Lord’s temple and habitation and the Albany diocese has absolutely no concern or reverence for that (amoungst other things).

  43. benedetta says:

    This latest installment of Winters is pretty much all about him, it reads, “I, I, I…” and then, “Peters”. It is a distraction. At this point he is reduced to having to defend the public scandal, and then says sort of the cuff that the canon law “ought to be changed”. He condemns things as “bad theology” but really, there is no other, is there. What is the substitute? This latest foolishness and public media stunt? It is not at all coherent and is not something that will register with the great number of people who struggle with this and do wind up abstaining from communion, out of the conclusion of their very own individual consciences. The vast majority of individuals in this situation do not call down the media and arrange a moment with their Bishop, period. Winters and others seem to prefer to attack Peters and portray him as endless stereotypes which he is not rather than discuss the very genuine concern that many laity, even those in the VII camp he cites, legitimately have.
    I am waiting for Winters, Reese, and others to now take a positive, encouraging route and begin discussion of how rewarding it would be for the governor to take his Bishop’s pronouncement of him as an evangelizer at face value and in true communion and with respect shown, embark on a new path that would include, perhaps, he and his girlfriend, even if temporarily, living in separate households. Winters discusses some sort of gossip sheet item about the governor’s girlfriend feeling like a parent. Then it is an excellent place to start as a woman to affirm the dignity of women and say that it is not, “nothing” and “no big deal” and “worthless” to formalize a sacramental marriage in the Catholic church. I don’t really care for this tactic which appears to be chosen which is to attack Peters and drag him down into the mud for merely voicing what is totally expected and predictable given the public presentation. They blame the messenger. It doesn’t do anything to rehabilitate the public scandal created and it does not offset the fact that this is an elitist situation in which Catholic elitists rush to the defense, and has no coherent vision for average Catholics in the world, as one would rightly expect from so-called “leaders”.

  44. benedetta says:

    And thanks for the morning Python, Fr. Z! “It’s just a flesh wound!” Exactly.

  45. AndyMo says:

    If this were a boxing match the ref would have stopped the fight long ago.

  46. benedetta says:

    Oh I hope it just keeps going as it is so entertaining to observe. What’s also particularly special in this installment is that Winters accuses Peters of having some unique issue with one Bishop as “this is the second time he’s gone after him in one year”. (The “first” time having to do with the uproar in the Catholic world about prioritizing resources to sponsor a needle exchange for persons addicted to illegal (costly) drugs such as crack and heroin.) Hilarious. And in the same breath Winters vilifies, Burke, Olmstead, and Dolan…um, how many times in “one year” has the fishwrap and friends “gone after” (really, gone after) various bishops, archbishops and cardinals on their hit list for gross stereotype, derision, ridicule and sarcasm? I guess when they ridicule it is fine and above any reproach but when canon law is applied to concrete but questionable public displays by all of one layman that is something else. What’s worse, really, sarcasm, belittling and descriptors of “bad theology” towards Catholic leaders or canonists, or, a concrete inquiry into “what the canon law really says?” Or, as Peters points out, what the Ten Commandments really say…

    Fr. Z’s Python excerpt is hilarious and also right-on. Arthur invites the Black Knight to join him on his quest…Instead of responding, the Black Knight just stubbornly insists, in a draconian manner, “None shall pass.” That is it in a nutshell. Does the Black Knight decline Arthur’s invitation but offer an alternative in leadership? No, just, draws his sword, repeating ominously “None shall pass”. Fair enough, sword thus drawn, Arthur draws his own sword and…in this version…hilarity ensues…

    I think that not only will those who actually like, despite the “Oooh, cooties” approach of the dissenting Catholic press, Dolan, Olmstead, Burke and Pope Benedict, not be convinced that Peters is somehow, without explanation, deserving of the brand “evil” and worthy of derision, but, plenty of liberal Catholics, reverts, and been there done that dissenters will also recognize that the Black Knight for all his buffoonery has never presented a vision for a way forward and still will not, preferring to live in the hipstamatic glory days of the 70s which never were.

  47. irishgirl says:

    Oh, that Monty Python! A little gory for my taste, but pretty funny Brit-humor-wise!

  48. dans0622 says:

    I see Dr. Peters has provided a link to Mr. Winters’ latest response. I have not read it. I wonder if, as the black knight, he is now continuing to be a torso arrogantly hopping around helplessly.

  49. dan: Let’s just say that Winters doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

  50. Charles E Flynn says:

    Carl Olson has posted an appreciation of Dr. Peters, whose class in canon law he took:


  51. The Cobbler says:

    “…I feel mighty self-satisfied with the 99 sheep instead of looking for the lost one (indeed I pose a threat to the returning sheep)…”
    Call the one sheep back and his friends say you just care about the ninety-nine. Hilarious! Shall we discuss water flowing uphill next?

  52. benedetta says:

    Since Winters launched the this is “bad theology” thing towards Peters I wondered after reading his fishwrap columns linked here just what his credentials in theology or canon law were. I could find nothing save a dubious internet account on a blog which stated that he is a seminary drop out. Before he was permitted to blog about the Obama campaign for one Catholic weekly he used to launch somewhat personal attacks towards others in comment boxes, under his own name and the attacks went along the lines of implied threats that he would expose some personal trait or gossip item towards another commenter who simply disagreed with one point or another of his. As a Christian blog I would expect others would have been rightly appalled. Wonder whether they spoke to him about this sort of bullying behaviour before giving him the Obama blog platform. Though now he is self-styled as a writer and journalist, he seems to be searching for a place to roost on the web. From the sheer number of characters and columnists on the fishwrap blog page it’s clear that there is at least this one organized place for blogging polarized thoughts and diatribes against the Church. But given his background and his history, at the end of the day I can’t imagine that either the governor or the bishop in this case would say, “Hey thanks, guy, thanks for getting my back on that one…” but rather would be a little uncomfortable with the association. I don’t see either one getting out there now as poster person for the ultimate in polarization, dissent and divisiveness in the Church and seriously doubt either would agree to Winters’ characterizations. If it is to be no one’s business that is fine but debatable given the public display, but that doesn’t make it Winters’ personal investment and business either, does it.

  53. dans0622 says:

    Fortunately, it seems as though Dr. Peters has crossed the bridge and left the torso of Mr. Winters with its head attached. If, by chance, Dr. Peters has to cross that bridge again, the little blood Mr. Winters has left will end up being spilled.

  54. Scout says:

    More Peters debates on Canon 915 with Bro. Dan Horan, OFM, at DatingGod: The Eucharist is Not a Weapon: Part I and with Fr. Mark White at Devil, Does Your Dog Bite? Arch-Conservatives and Whoopi Together.

  55. Scout says:

    Fr. Z, the Franciscan offers a reply to your comments on St. Francis: Dating God: A Vocation Lived to Challenge and Support.

  56. Scout: Okay. I’ll bite, even for the sake of the tens of people who see that blog.

    The idea that St. Francis would have approved, against the explicit law of the Church, the admission to Communion of a public person living in concubinage is ABSURD.

    Nullus frater praedicet contra formam et institutionem sanctae Ecclesiae et nisi concessum sibi fuerit a ministro suo. Et caveat sibi minister, ne alicui indiscrete concedat. Omnes tamen fratres operibus praedicent. Et nullus minister vel praedicator appropriet sibi ministerium fratrum vel officium praedicationis, sed quacumque hora ei iniunctum fuerit, sine omni contradictione dimittat suum officium. Regula non Bullata

  57. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    To ‘shoot off my keyboard’ before doing my homework, again, in the post Scott links in his last comment, Brother Dan Hoban, OFM, quotes the Rule of 1221, saying, “Chapter XVI of the Rule says that the way the friars were to go among the ‘saracens and other nonbelievers,’ that is non-Christians, was ‘not to engage in arguments or disputes but to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake and to acknowledge that they are Christians’ (v.6).”

    What is a good ed. of this Rule? Is there one worth recommending, online? And is the grammar of the last clause quoted ambiguous in the original? Brother Dan seems to take it to mean ‘the friars were […] “to acknowledge that they [= “saracens and other nonbelievers”] are Christians” (interpreting “are” as meaning something like, ‘are in certain important ways not to be treated differently from’). The obvious sense of it to me was, that while not engaging “in arguments or disputes” the friars were “to acknowledge [openly] that they [themselves] are Christians”.

    I do not know enough Franciscan history to know if any of the Franciscans martyred by Muslims did no more than openly acknowledge that they themselves were Christians, and refuse to apostatize, or, contrary to the letter [!] of this Rule [!], actually “engage[d] in arguments or disputes”.

    Dear Fr. Z., what (I ask lazily), is the source/ref. details of your citation?

Comments are closed.