Another example of liberal panic

When I was last in London, about a month ago, people were talking about the good decision to deny Tina Beattie a speaking gigantic a Catholic institution in Bristol.

Now we see this in The Guardian:

US university accused of ‘Sovietisation’ of Catholic intellectual life
University of San Diego rescinded visiting fellow invitation to liberal theologian who has argued case for same-sex marriage

Tina Beattie, who has argued case for same-sex marriage on grounds that she ‘dissents publicly’ from Church’s moral teachings.
Lizzy Davies, Thu 1 Nov 2012

A leading [according to …?] British historian has accused a US university of “colluding in the Sovietisation” of Roman Catholic intellectual life after it rescinded an invitation to a prominent liberal theologian who has argued the case for same-sex marriage on the grounds that she “dissent[s] publicly” from the Church’s moral teachings.
Tina Beattie, director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Catholic Studies at Roehampton University, was one of 27 theologians, clerics and activists who earlier this year wrote a letter to the Times arguing that Catholics could, “using fully informed consciences … support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.”
The intervention, in August, prompted an outcry from traditionalists and led to the cancellation of a lecture Beattie was due to give in Bristol.
It has now emerged that Beattie, who had been invited to be a visiting fellow and give public lectures at the University of San Diego this winter, has had that invitation rescinded by the Catholic institution, whose president said Beattie’s “public stances” were not in keeping with the campus. [Excellent!] The decision, which Beattie learned of last week and which she made public on Thursday, has sparked criticism from theologians on both sides of the Atlantic.
Eamon Duffy, [I am not that surprised that he is on the wrong side of this.] professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge, has urged the university to reconsider. “It is deeply dispiriting that the president of a Catholic university should characterise academic discussion and debate among Catholics as ‘dissent’, and should seek to suppress academic exchange by black-balling an individual whom the church has not condemned,” he wrote in a letter to the university’s president, Mary Lyons.
Comparing her stance unfavourably with that of Cardinal Newman, [?!?!] who “deplored similar attempts to silence discussion in the church”, he concluded: “I fear that by publicly withdrawing this invitation, the University of San Diego has brought academic ignominy on itself, and is colluding in the Sovietisation [This must like Godwin’s Law.] of Catholic intellectual life which many feel is one of the saddest features of the contemporary church.”
Beattie said that, while the exact reasons for the cancellation of her San Diego visit have not been given, [NB] she had been the target of an online “blog campaign” by her critics ever since the letter in the Times, and that the controversy had spread to the US. The Clifton lecture, she added, had been cancelled following an outcry by protesters and a subsequent intervention by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the body which oversees Catholic doctrine and is seen by many as having become more authoritarian under Pope Benedict XVI, as well as less tolerant of aspects of the Catholic Church for England and Wales.
“I think it’s a really important time for the Church in this country because we have so far been not divided by this kind of ugly rupture,” Beattie told the Guardian, calling on the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to show a “very strong united front” in the face of any attempt to stifle dissent. “There’s been a creative atmosphere of people being able to hold different positions in this country without it causing this kind of ugliness and I really think it’s vital that the Bishops collectively stand up to protect that now.” [This is a great example of the panic many liberals are feeling as they feel the ground shifting under them. Thing are changing in the UK episcopate.]
The row over Beattie comes amid reports that the prefect of the CDF, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, intends [NB] to clamp down on the pastoral provision – supported by Archbishop Vincent Nichols – given to gay Christians by the so-called Soho Masses in London. The German magazine Katholishches reported last month that Mueller, who was appointed by the pope in July, was determined to tackle the services, which are a unique and much-cherished feature of the gay community.
In an email to Beattie, Lyons said that the invitation to be a visiting fellow at the university’s Frances G Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture was being rescinded “after great and thoughtful consideration” because of what was deemed the contradiction between Beattie’s beliefs and the centre’s mission. “This [fellowship] would include clear and consistent presentations concerning the Church’s moral teachings, teachings with which you, as a Catholic theologian, dissent publicly,” she added.
On her blog, Beattie said: “The cancellation of my visit is not the most important issue in all this. The real issues are academic freedom, the vocation of lay theologians in relation to the official magisterium, and the power of a hostile minority of bloggers (some of whom are ordained deacons and priests) to command the attention and support of the CDF. The latter is the most sinister development of all, and it is a cause for scandal which brings the church into disrepute. However, it also shows how deep this crisis has become.” [See what I mean?]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Legisperitus says:

    Wow, Fr. Z. I never knew you had the “sinister” “power” to “command” the attention of the CDF. I always figured people just paid attention to you because you made some good points. Shows what I know.

  2. jpkvmi says:

    Assuming it was a speech she was scheduled to give, I would have liked to see them change the engagment from a speaking one to a debate with someone like Arch Bishop Chaput, Dr. Peter Kreeft or Cardinal Dolan. That would have quelched this “Sovietization” drivel and would have exposed the heresy she is preaching all at once.

  3. Christopher says:

    I thought ‘Sovietisation’ lead to breaking up of families, and reducing the meaning of marriage so there would only be the relation of man directly to the state? Would not then, Tina Beattie be the true example of seeking to ‘Sovietise’ the Church?

    God Bless.

  4. Southern Catholic says:

    and it is a cause for scandal which brings the church into disrepute

    No Beattie, you are the one causing the scandal by supporting gay marriage. The irony.

  5. Imrahil says:

    However, there’s something into this viz. the following:

    to suppress academic exchange […] an individual whom the church has not condemned

    The things that are meant to fight dissent are: a formal pastoral letter that this precise position is not Catholic; an explicit order to appear in the official and abjure; suspension; (temporary) removal from office (if it is a Church office); excommunication.

    It is the Church’s right, but still feels… strange… that the Church denies full freedom of discussion when she, apparently, does not feel a necessity to fight them and their positions with her real weapons. For in the Church, discussion is not totally free; but as means to set boundaries to it, are the means of the Church’s penal law, not “uninvitation” because we “have to stick to our Catholic profile” without any clear condemnation of the adversing position as absolutely untruth.

    Just saying; still the action was on the whole a sign of progress (if I may use the word).

    On an aside, if we could always choose new aliases I’d call myself Montag (aka Imrahil) or something like that for this post. What about fighting truth to be hearable, etc.? But then we are not to make fun on names.

  6. Matt R says:

    “the vocation of lay theologians in relation to the official magisterium”
    As if if there is a second one…oh wait, I hear it now. “The nuns on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the nuns on the bus go round and round, full of their dissent!”

  7. AAJD says:

    Unlike the distinguished Fr. Z, I find that I AM a bit surprised to see Eamon Duffy weigh in on this. Duffy is an excellent historian, and not your usual left-wing academic but rather a quite “traditional” Catholic. E.g., many years ago in one of his essays he inveighed against the abandonment of Friday fasting in the UK, and that essay helped motivate the recent restoration of that practice. He’s also written first-rate histories of the Anglican Reformation, showing how horrid it was for Catholics, and how Catholics like Queen (“Bloody”) Mary have been unjustly maligned (she was not nearly so bloody as her Protestant predecessors and successors).

  8. Marianna says:

    It looks as if Prof. Duffy is all ready to receive Rowan Williams as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, then!

  9. wmeyer says:


    The Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has addressed this matter [dissent]. … it taught one is not giving a true obsequium religiosum if one dissents from magisterial teaching and proposes one’s own position as a position that the faithful are at liberty to follow, substituting it for the teaching of the magisterium.

    In other words, there is a prescribed procedure for registering dissent (and I believe that was pointed out recently here in another article), but one which the “theologian” in question is not following. The essence being that a theologian is required to present dissenting views for study and consideration by the Magisterium, and not to go charging off in her own direction, possibly spreading heretical views among the laity.

  10. robtbrown says:

    I wonder how many liberals thought it was Sovietisation when in the 70’s Catholic journals would not print articles defending Humanae Vitae or against Proportionalism. Or advocating Latin liturgy?

    In this particular matter, however, I favor the medieval approach. Rather than letting the woman make a speech, let her defend her position in a public debate with someone who thinks she’s wrong.

    Someday, God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, I want to write an article asking what happened to the dialogic nature of theology.

  11. avecrux says:

    It would give me great pleasure if these “theologians” couldn’t get a speaking engagement or professorship anywhere in the Catholic world. No more money in this game… they’d have to find a real job.

  12. Giuseppe says:

    I agree with Jpkvmi and Robtbrown. Invite dissenters to speak, but ensure that it is in a debate form.

    Unfortunately, sometimes these debates wind up with the dissenter saying a, b, c and the rebuttal is ‘The church says x — case closed.’ Granted, that should be enough for Roman Catholics. But that strategy does not win over doubters. The rebuttal debater has to be on his/her game.

    Re. Catholic theologians. I thought all theologians who teach Catholic theology at a Catholic university had to be Catholic and adhere to the magisterium. Not sure if there are any standards at non-Catholic universities. And also Catholic universities offer courses about Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Protestantism, etc, and I imagine those professors do not have to be Catholic or adhere to the magisterium.

  13. wmeyer says:

    I agree with Jpkvmi and Robtbrown. Invite dissenters to speak, but ensure that it is in a debate form.

    You might agree with them, but you must then disagree with the CDF.

  14. chantgirl says:

    I agree with others that dissenters should be invited for a debate with an opponent who is worthy to demonstrate why the Church’s position is true. Students will be better prepared to go out into the world if they have heard the typical dissenting point of view crushed by a well-explained Church view. We should not be afraid of debate . However, it is not acceptable to invite a dissenter to speak as a lecturer, as that implies that the university condones the views of the speaker, and students do not have an equal footing to challenge such a speaker. Let them come, and let their arguments be crushed.

  15. Jack Orlando says:

    I too am surprised about Duffy. I thank Fr. Z for the information.

  16. Dismas says:

    Yes, as their crisis increases so seems their use of oxymoronic hyperbole (hyperbolic oxymoron?) To think that poor Ms. Beattie must suffer the “hostile, sinister, scandalous, and disreputable” assertion of Catholic academic freedom positively expressed and asserted by Catholic clergy, Catholic bloggers and the CDF? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

  17. robtbrown says:

    The “vocation of the lay theologian” is one of those phrases confiscated by liberal dissenters, the assumption being that being lay theologians means being a liberal dissenter. (The same is true in politics, where liberals also use “women’s issues” as a euphemism for “pro abortion”. )

    It is always amusing when, after being confronted by dissenters trying to base their opinions on “the vocation of the laity”, I mention that members of Opus Dei would disagree, and that they are the true experts in “the vocation of the laity”. Then I watch the squirming and hear the excuses.

  18. William Tighe says:

    Eamon Duffy might well be characterized, if a bit simplisitically, as “an ultramontanist liberal.” He has fairly conservative liturgical and devotional predilections, but his doctrinal views are hardly conservative; in 1998 he himself told me that all a pope would have to do to “authorize” the pretended ordination of women would be simply to sign a document authorizing a change of “church practive” on that matter. I hope that he does not entertain the same view on the matter of sodomitic pseudogamy.

    For a brief “spiritual autobiography” by Duffy, see:

  19. robtbrown says:

    wmeyer says:

    I agree with Jpkvmi and Robtbrown. Invite dissenters to speak, but ensure that it is in a debate form.

    You might agree with them, but you must then disagree with the CDF.

    How do we disagree with the CDF?

  20. wmeyer says:

    See my citation above, with link to the article I quoted. The CDF has laid out a procedure for the evaluation of dissent by theologians. It does not support the anarchical publication to the laity of unreviewed assertions by independent theologians who are in dissent with the Magisterium.

  21. PA mom says:

    I think that Catholics in general have no shortage of opportunities to hear dissenting opinions regarding Church teaching. What youth need first is a grounding in why these opposing theories are wrong, and then allow some time for digestion.
    If you want to have debate, have it be in an audience of adults, where no punches need to be pulled due to delicacy, and the listeners have life experience to draw upon for support.
    Let her try to go speak at Protestant universities. Although she lacks the biblical support that would be required of such an attempt.

  22. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I am not surprised by Duffy. A fine historian but a progressivist Catholic for the most part. He doesn’t usually let these views influence his historical judgments. One major exception is his “History of the Popes”, especially his commentary on the popes since Bl. Pius IX. He is pretty withering in his criticism of the popes who have been most aggressive in combatting modernism. Duffy is a strong advocate of a “big tent” Catholic Church.

  23. robtbrown says:

    wmeyer says:

    See my citation above, with link to the article I quoted. The CDF has laid out a procedure for the evaluation of dissent by theologians. It does not support the anarchical publication to the laity of unreviewed assertions by independent theologians who are in dissent with the Magisterium.

    That’s fine, but it has nothing to do with a public debate.

  24. wmeyer says:

    That’s fine, but it has nothing to do with a public debate.

    Clearly you have missed the entire point of the CDF’s instructions.

  25. contrarian says:

    This article is so insane I don’t even know how I’d argue with someone who made the position of this woman. It would be like, “Ok, first of all, …now wait, FIRST of all,….Ok, wait. Let’s step back.”

    There’s no overlap on the Venn Diagram here.

    It reminds me of that article in the Washington Post about that poor Sunday School teacher who was made by the pastor to sign a statement saying she’d teach Catholic doctrine. The Post article obviously took the side of the persecuted Sunday School teacher.

  26. chantgirl says:

    PA mom- Colleges should be preparing students to be Catholic adults in the real world. High school is a good time to introduce Catholic teaching on difficult subjects, but college is time to develop some real-world fighting skills. A Catholic adult is going to encounter many dissenting views, and should be practiced in defending the Catholic position. Watching someone who is an adept debater is a great learning experience. We need more of a bootcamp metality when it comes to preparing Catholic college kids to survive as Catholics in the adult world. Send people out prepared and not as cannon fodder.

  27. wmeyer says:

    To apply a Venn diagram would be to impose the rational on the irrational. The woman is supposed to be a Catholic theologian, but chooses instead to teach in opposition to the Church. No overlap possible.

  28. Stephen D says:

    The letter to The Times signed by this woman was instigated by our Prime Minister, David Cameron who believed that his (and The Times’) campaign for homosexual ‘marriage’ would be helped if some prominent ‘Catholics’ were to write a letter supporting it. His intermediary in finding these traitors was the notorious Peter Tatchell, a homosexual activist who has also long campaigned for the removal of the ‘age of consent’ in the UK. Tatchell led protests against the Pope’s visit to the UK because of the clerical abuse scandal and the alleged complicity of the Vatican and was allowed to meet senior bishops to make his ‘case’ against the visit!
    It is good to know that one of these signatories is to suffer a little for her protest, she should choose her friends more carefully.

  29. robtbrown says:

    ,B.wmeyer says:

    That’s fine, but it has nothing to do with a public debate.

    Clearly you have missed the entire point of the CDF’s instructions.

    Clearly, I have taught theology and understand that in grasping what is true, one must also understand why contrary errors are false. That’s why I like the idea of public debate, which not only does not undermine doctrine but in fact promotes it by enlightening the mind. From a social point of view, it is advantageous that those who promote errors are exposed publicly.

    Clearly, anyone who knows anything about St Thomas knows that the Summa Theologiae uses the method of the Quaestio, which is based on the structure of the public debate. Ditto the Quaestiones Disputatae and Questiones Quodlibetales. In all of the three the objections are extraordinarily important in understanding St Thomas’ positions.

    Clearly, I am an advocate of the medieval maxim: Error is not found in what is affirmed but rather in what is denied. The eye of the intellect is the real teacher,which gives me the occasion to restate what I have said here more than once: Catholic Doctrine is not ideology. IMHO, one of the reasons for the general collapse of Catholic life was that for many years priests (and Catholics) learned the answers but never really understood the questions.

    BTW, two of my profs at the Angelicum were part of the team that produced Donum Veritatis.

  30. drea916 says:

    Faithful Catholics are surrounded by the world’s take on morality, the whole reason we choose to go to faithful Catholic collleges is that it provides a little pocket of sanity. No, you’re not the only one in the world who actually believes what the Church teaches, and here’s how to understand it better. If I want to hear about how great same sex “marriage” is, I can pay a lot less and go to State college.

  31. wmeyer says:

    IMHO, one of the reasons for the general collapse of Catholic life was that for many years priests (and Catholics) learned the answers but never really understood the questions.

    And IMHO, one of the reasons that many of the laity have little clue about their faith is that dissidents are left to prate on about their opinions, unscathed by the identification they should bear.

  32. chantgirl says:

    When the civilized world was largely Catholic, maybe it was enough to know the faith, but now that we live in a post-Christian world, we have to be able to defend and explain the faith, or to “give an account” as St. Peter would say.

    For those who oppose inviting dissenters to debate (NOT lecture), an alternative approach would be for the faithful Catholic professor to bring up points of dissent in his lecture and then prove them wrong. However, I think it makes more of an impact for two people who hold different positions to debate. Students may not trust someone to argue against his own position as vehemently as an actual opponent would. Frankly, if Catholic colleges had been doing their job for the past 60 years, we might not be disagreeing on what is a pretty classical approach to learning- one that has been used by some of the best Catholic theologians over the centuries. We’re so scarred by decades of dissent without rebuke that we are afraid to have a legitimate debate.

  33. Sissy says:

    “that dissidents are left to prate on about their opinions, unscathed by the identification they should bear.”

    Amen. Without a clear identification that these are dissenters from Catholic teaching, college students are left to their own devices to decide which argument sounds more attractive. Naturally, they are going to choose the side that “tickles their ears”.

  34. wmeyer says:

    Students may not trust someone to argue against his own position as vehemently as an actual opponent would.

    Had catechesis not been so ill managed these past 40+ years, we might depend on Catholic students to know their faith and to have well-formed consciences. However, to present such a debate to those whose knowledge and skills are inadequate to recognize the heretical arguments being made is rather like the situation we face in the coming election, where the majority of the electorate are clueless about economics, and are hearing attractive but false claims every day.

  35. JacobWall says:

    The liberals continually attempt to present this as a battle of the “official” Magisterium vs. lay – i.e. they claim to represent the lay. However, in my experience this is not the case at all. Fortunately, most of the priests I’ve had the pleasure of meeting have been fairly orthodox. However, on the occasion of hearing a sermon from a more liberal priest once, the reaction I saw was lay people quietly muttering complaints to each other, careful not to do so too openly.

    On a similar note, I was once chatting with a lady about 60 years old about the history of our parish; although we were alone, she leaned close to me (looking over her shoulder as though she was afraid of being caught by some secret police) to tell me how upset she was that they removed the high altar in a 1990’s renovation. (Fortunately not a complete “wreck-o-vation;” the only change was the removal of the high altar.) From speaking to some of the old-timers in my parish, I get the feeling that most of the 70s and 80s stuff was forced on them against their will, and that if they didn’t like it, it was clear that they were to keep their mouths shut. Of course, there are the liberals among them, but I feel that there are many more who were opposed, but would only express their opposition quietly behind closed doors.

    I think liberals have been somewhat successful in giving the impression that they are the voice of the lay people because of this very factor; if my impression is right, there have now been a few decades in which any conservative or traditional opinion has to hushed up and expressed only in secret. I still see this caution even now. In my 1.5 years in the Church, when I speak to people in person, those with more traditional views hesitate to express them, and seem to wait until they see some indication that I will be sympathetic. Fortunately, it is changing. But I think 3 decades of this “secret police” mentality has hit people hard – especially those who saw the worst of it still seem to feel they need to be looking over their shoulders if they say something against liberalization.

    But as this feeling changes, it will become more and more clear that liberals do NOT in fact represent the lay people as a whole or even in the majority, but only a certain group within them.

  36. JacobWall says:

    Concerning the main point of this post, I agree whole-heartedly with the decision to rescind the invitation and NOT replace it with a debate. I suspect that part of the problem during the last 3 or 4 decades was that lay people would see Catholic institutions and even hierarchy invite these liberals to speak without even so much as a peep of disapproval about their ideas. This could easily give the impression that liberal views are the final word, and that you’d better keep your mouth shut if you don’t like it. You, a simple lay person, hear a “theologian” speak; you know he/she’s full of …it, yet the leaders of the institution say nothing. The local hierarchy says nothing. The Vatican says nothing. The conservative theologian from the other side of the country who says something is sidelined. Even if the message is unspoken, it remains very clear: if you don’t like the new liberal stuff being forced on you, shut up and keep it to yourself.

    Things like this will do a good deal to change that message. It will start delivering the message to more lay people that they can speak out against liberalism. I’m in favour.

  37. chantgirl says:

    Sissy and wmeyer- I am all for colleges clearly stating that someone is a dissenter. Pass out the scarlet D’s! However, I would propose prior clear instruction be given on authentic Catholic teaching before any debate on Catholic morals.

  38. wmeyer says:

    However, I would propose prior clear instruction be given on authentic Catholic teaching before any debate on Catholic morals.

    And that would be terrific. However, to inoculate the students against the heretical positions to be espoused by this woman is not the work of a few minutes before the debate. Rather, it would take weeks and months of remedial catechesis, as we can’t imagine which aspects of the faith have been missed in what the students have learned.

  39. robtbrown says:

    wmeyer says:

    IMHO, one of the reasons for the general collapse of Catholic life was that for many years priests (and Catholics) learned the answers but never really understood the questions.

    And IMHO, one of the reasons that many of the laity have little clue about their faith is that dissidents are left to prate on about their opinions, unscathed by the identification they should bear.

    The purpose of public debate is to scathe their identifications.

  40. Sissy says:

    “The purpose of public debate is to scathe their identifications.”

    Who is going to do that? It seems to me that the kinds of groups who would invite a speaker like this have an agenda they want to promote. Who is to say that any rebuttal would even be offered?

  41. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Here’s where I encountered the background to this the other week (though I did not force myself to read the quotations from Professor Beattie’s works):

    Something like Godwin’s Law? Maybe… It struck me as more like a classic case of attacking by accusing the other of what you yourself are doing.

    Professor Duffy characterizes what might be simply someone attempting to exercise their very reasonable right not to bankroll and provide a bully pulpit to Professor Beattie as “seek[ing] to suppress academic exchange by black-balling an individual whom the church has not condemned”.

    I hope that the decision of President Lyons et al. is as simple and honest as a word in the direction of ‘Pull down that Wall”, for what Professor Duffy really seems to be lamenting as “one of the saddest features of the contemporary church” looks in fact like the possiblility of breaches in the “colluding in the Sovietisation of Catholic intellectual life” which has been conducted so long with such success.

  42. wmeyer says:


    In the early Middle Ages the focus of the Mass was not just the sacrificial death of Christ but the incarnation as a whole, in the late Middle Ages it came to be understood more explicitly as a sacrifice, today it has become an act of (homo) sexual intercourse…

    One can only wonder why there was an invitation issued in the first place. This single position seems more than sufficient grounds, in my view, to render her unsuited to any role on the campus.

  43. chantgirl says:

    Dr. Peter Kreeft? George Weigel? Any old-school Jesuit priest? I’m sure others could throw out some names of worthy debate opponents. Sissy, I agree that the debate model works best when done by a good Catholic college that doesn’t rig the system. From a Catholic perspective, the idea would be to teach authentic Truth to the students, and then teach them how to defend it. These kinds of Catholic colleges are few and far between, which makes the the choice of college a supremely important responsibility of Catholic parents.

  44. Sissy says:

    I’m revolted. This woman should not be invited to any Catholic college campus to speak.

  45. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, I agree. This isn’t merely some quibble over a doctrinal point. Hers is a gravely disordered view of the liturgy, and presumably, of the Church.

  46. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, et al: Not completely off-topic:

    It seems the “Catholics for Obama” didn’t meet with much enthusiasm; it would seem these Catholic students are pretty discerning.

  47. Sandy says:

    Hurrah, the pressure on my Alma Mater here in San Diego worked!!!! I had not heard this latest that the invitation was rescinded, but am delighted. It’s giving away my age :) to say that this university was truly Catholic in the 60’s. We went to First Friday Mass in caps and gowns, the cloistered Religious of the Sacred Heart wore habits, of course, etc., etc. Now there is a “Pride” group on campus, and there are people teaching there who dissent from Church teaching. All alums should know what goes on there and stop supporting this pagan place!

  48. Sandy says:

    BTW, you don’t even read in Father’s article here the worst of what this woman has said. I can’t even repeat it, but it was in a local “underground” Catholic paper recently. (California Catholic Daily) She is not only a dissenter but is obscene.

  49. chantgirl says:

    Sissy- I’m glad to hear that only a few showed up to that “dialogue”. It sounds like it was more like the “Obama/Catholics for Choice Mutual Admiration Society”.

  50. gracie says:

    Here’s another gem from Tina:

    “In these times of radical change in our understanding of sexuality and human dignity (especially the full and equal dignity of women in this life and not just in the life to come), maybe we heterosexuals need the marriages of our homosexual friends to help us to understand what marriage looks like when it’s not corrupted by traditions of domination and subordination.”

  51. William Tighe says:

    Eamon Duffy’s remarks do not surprise me at all, either. He is neither a “conservative” nor a “traditionalist” in Catholic terms. He has conservative devotional (especially) and liturgical predilections, and over the past twenty years he has written articles decrying the changes made in the funeral rites of the Latin Rite after Vatican II, and attacking the old ICEL translation of the collects, secrets and postcommunion prayers of the Roman Rite — but in his attitude towards Church authority generally I would describe him as an ultramontanist liberal. In 1998, for instance, he stated in a conversation in which I was one of the three participants that all it would take to authorize the pretended ordination of women in the Catholic Church was a stroke of the papal pen on a document allowing their ordination (without any preceding dogmatic definition declaring it to be possible, nor, necessarily, any theological rationale for it; the mere exercise of papal authority would suffice). I hope that he does not embrace the same view as regards giving permission for same-sex pseudogamy to be “blessed” by and within the Catholic Church.

    Those interested in Duffy’s religious background and views may find this religious autobiography of his useful:

    (I tried to place an earlier version of this comment on the thread at around 10:35 am today, but it appears to have vanished into cyberspace.)

  52. wmeyer says:

    “They don’t even have the right to hint how you’re supposed to vote, as a number of them have been doing lately in their non-endorsement endorsements,” he said, adding that no one can question the decision of an informed conscience.

    So many errors. First, they have not only the right, but the obligation, to lead us to right choices in our lives, helping us to turn away from sin. Second, the presumption that all voters are in possession of “informed conscience” is utterly unwarranted. Third, a priest can certainly question, or more to the point, call us to question, our decisions. Fourth, no action in our lives is apart from our faith.

    These people are dissidents, and the framing of their statements tells me they know quite well they are not in accord with Church teaching.

  53. KristinLA says:

    Disappointed in Eamon Duffy. Years ago I read his book, The Stripping of the Altars, about how the English people held onto their deeply loved Catholic faith as best they could in the midst of the hideous iconoclasm of the “reformation.” After reading some of his ideas for the modern church, one wonders if he has reconsidered the merits of aforementioned reformation.

  54. mammamia says:

    Dear Giuseppe: “Re. Catholic theologians. I thought all theologians who teach Catholic theology at a Catholic university had to be Catholic and adhere to the magisterium.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha. A ha ha ha ha ha. Ah ha ha ha ha. (I am not laughing at you, promise. Your assumption and logic make perfect sense–it’s just, sadly, the ha ha’s were my first reaction when I read your comment. Explanation below!)

    With deep sadness, I can tell you that many of the “theologians” at “Catholic” Universities are nothing more than bitter old spinsters that pervert the teachings of our Church using silver-tongued logic that is quite effective at convincing many Catholics that have not taken the time to really learn their faith to support the progressive agenda. It is terrifying watching Satan at work in them as they ‘win’ more and more to their side. They are out to destroy the Church AND America as we know it.

    (And I agree with all the other commenters re the poor Catechesis many have received and are therefore not immune to the disgusting subversion of their own faith by these “theologians” but the blame (especially when referring to young adults) cannot all be placed on Priests; as parents, public schools, and all those that are too chicken to call these people out are culpable as well. (And what is also sad is the lack of hunger for independently taking the time to learn their faith.))

  55. David Collins says:

    conducting an experiment. Sorry, just wanting to learn how to use a cool HTML tag

  56. David Collins says:

    experiment didn’t work too well

  57. David Collins says:

    for the last time

  58. Imrahil says:

    On another issue: I wonder whether such thing as a vocation of the lay theologian even exists.

    There is a vocation of the layman, of the laywoman, of the frater, of the nun. (I wonder – this is not rhetorical – whether even these can be brought under one collective term that is essentially more than a mere definitory summing of them.) There is a vocation of the theologian. There can be laymen that are theologians. As Bl. John Henry once remarked, every Christian has a bit of the theologian in himself.

    But is there such thing as a lay theologian? I mean beyond the not so exciting fact that someone happens to be a layman, happens to be a theologian and of course his personality is not unnaturally separated so that his laymanship will have some ties with his theology &v.v.. This of course is granted.

    Was not the teaching something specifically clerical to do, and is not it still the Church’s official policy that rather priests are to be appointed professors of theology?

    I think as an analogy of a non-combatant soldier. These exist (medics, wounded disarmed, etc.), but you would not think of a mission (in Church language: vocation) of The Non-Combatant Soldier.

    Of course also, dear @JacobWall is totally right. The laypeople are always conservative, and especially about such things as affect them most in their daily lives (such as liturgy). Take away Silent Night from the Midnight Mass and you get a riot, or at least half of it. Some of them have, however, given in to some of the progressists’ positions; not progressism as such (a thing totally foreign to them) nor such ideas of moral endeavors etc. which are so constantly woven into progressists’ argumentations (without making clear of wherein this consists), but the plain position that, for fun and comfort, some of the vetoes that they do not understand the reasons for must go away. I do not say it in a rant; notably I do not use words such as “fun” and “comfort” in a rant; their position makes at least much more sense than the prevarications of the progressists who probably forgot themselves why they want what they want, and what little sense there remains in what they want. All sin is reaching for pseudo-joy, says the philosopher; which is a compliment to the sinner, as compared with the progressist theologian, who, in his usual manner of argumenting, has buried even the pseudo-joy under tons of jabbering.

    But the thing that is to be done here is giving them the convincing arguments. Interestingly enough, the argument that does at this moment still convince, despite of the tendencies I mentioned, much of the laity for a traditional, orthodox, conservative Catholicism is “if we do all that that seems preferable to you, we wouldn’t look Catholic anymore would-we.”

  59. KristinLA says:

    I enjoy Duffy as a historian, but he is not in his sphere of competency if he says female priesthood can be inaugurated with a stroke of the pen. How can he misunderstand Holy Orders so egregiously as to think that the ordination of a woman to act in persona Christi could possibly be valid and effective? The Pope could not change the essence of the priesthood if he wanted to. Wherever female ordination is attempted it is completely null and void.

  60. eyeclinic says:

    Thank you for referring to Duffy as “A historian” rather than the abominable “AN historian”.
    This bothers me so, that the common usage has become “an” before every “h”. The nuns would have rapped our knuckles(figuratively) if we would have referred to an history book, an his/hers bathroom, an human being etc. End of rant. Back to the regularly scheduled program…

  61. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    eyeclinic: Fowler starts his Dictionary of English Usage (1937 rev. of 1926) with the judgement that “an was formerly usual before an unaccented syllable beginning with h (an historical work) but now that the h in such words is pronounced the distinction has become pedantic, & a historical should be said and written”. Some pedantry dies hard, it seems: alternatively, one could drop his ‘haitches’ to make it sound apporpriate…

  62. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Or even ‘appropriate’ (!)

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