Liberals and the exercise of authority

When liberals, dissidents, progressivists, whatever, sense that things are not going their way, they rise up against the exercise of authority by the hierarchy.  “The institutional church is repressing the prophetic spirit-filled people!”, they cry.

When liberals (see above) sense that things are going their way, they rise up and demand that the hierarchy exercise their authority.  “It’s time to sweep away the rigidity of institutions through a spirit-filled exercise of power to do what we want!”, they cry.

I saw at Fishwrap that the perennial Sr. Joan Chittister has resurfaced with another spirit-filled prophetic column about yet another coalition of liberal change groups.   She is into groups of groups, I think.  Remember how she waxed eloquent about the Council of Elders after her Triumph in Tahir?  Come to think of it, it has been a while since Sr. Joan has given us a column.  I wonder if she has been in Iraq, negotiating for human rights with ISIS.   I digress.  Sr. Joan was chuffed about the group of groups that has gone to Rome to lobby the Pope and the Synod for “Change!”.   Here is a sample:

The joy lies in the fact that they are a sign that the church is taking the church in hand.

The disappointment lies in the fact that anyone could even think of having such a synod on such a subject and not invite them to be part of it in the first place. [It’s called the Synod of BISHOPS for a reason.]


Yes, I’d like to be sitting in the midst of them right now, but not to see the city — much as Rome affects me deeply no matter how many times I see it.

I don’t want to be with them simply to enjoy the pomp and circumstance, the street-side pizza, and the softness of the Roman nights, though I love all of those things.


This group, Catholic Church Reform, is there breathing one spirit, calling with one voice for the single issue that unites us all: the commitment of all facets of the church for the revival of the spirit of renewal in the church. Not just from the people up, but from the top down.


But wait!  There’s more.  Over at Crux there is a piece about the group of groups mentioned by Sr. Joan… which officially gives them far more attention than they merit, but let’s play the game anyway.  A snip that reveals their thinking (any resemblance to a bag full of cats is coincidental):

One recurrent theme in the meeting was a surprising note for many Catholic liberals, who over the years have called for tighter limits on papal authority. Now, however, they want Francis to be bold.

John Buggy from Australia, one of the founders of this group, said he’d like to get a message to the pontiff.

“I’d ask him not to wait for the bishops to catch up because he’s going to be long and truly dead before that happens,” Buggy said. “You’re the pope. Be the pope and tell them what to do.”  [Use your power to do what we want, but when you want us to do what the Church has always wanted for us then… power… not so much, thanks anyway.]

If presented with the same opportunity, Reed would express her disappointment over the misrepresentation of the broad spectrum of Catholic opinion in the synod. According to her, the vast majority of the people disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception, homosexuality, divorce, withholding Eucharist from the divorced, but none of those have been invited.

“There’s not a single reform mind that’s been invited to the Synod,” she said.  [Given what they think “reform” is, I suppose we can reaffirm our belief that the Holy Spirit is involved after all.]

Liberals will accuse faithful Catholics of, for example, “politicizing” the Eucharist if we insist that we should apply can. 915 (which exists for a reason).   Recently, Card. Kasper accused some of those who have dismantled his own proposals of acting like “politicians”. That was during one of His Eminence’s many interviews with the press, including the secular press.  On the other hand, they think nothing of sending what can only be called pressure groups to Rome to function exactly as a political lobbyist.

So, keep your ears tuned and eyes open as you read the coverage of the Synod.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Events, Liberals, The Drill, What are they REALLY saying?. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. pfreddys says:

    This is only tangently related to the post but I wanted to write before the synod:

    I cannot understand why Catholics who have gone through the legal procedure of divorce are not given a very important ‘pastoral’ message: IF YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH A DIVORCE YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DATE. This simple message which is not being taught by anyone anywhere from true believers to liberal wakos would probably save the majority of those tragic cases talked about that people find themselves in.
    Dating is essentially an occasion of sin. It is both tolerated and accepted because its end is matrimony. In the case of a Roman Catholic who has gone through a civil divorce there is no end to justify exposing themselves to an occasion of sin; therefore, we Catholics who find ourselves in this situation the prohibition is clear: WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DATE. Subjecting oneself to an occasion of sin can be tolerated certain , instances; the sin of adultery cannot be.

  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    I think there already is a blog called Crooks and Liars, so that option might be off the table, as fitting as it may be.

    My father always used to say – scratch a liberal, uncover a dictator – and that axiom has played out again and again in my life. Personally, I’m hoping that the attacks and pressure from liberal groups like this have the same effect on Pope Francis as similar attacks had on Bl. Pius IX 160-some odd years ago.

  3. Susan M says:

    Sr Joan Chittister promotes what she calls prophetic “crossover moments”. “Crossover moments” are moments when something that was true, then becomes that same something which is not true any longer, hence “crossover”, i.e., true one moment, then not true the next. It’s “change”, described as a “natural process” after deep deep thought, which is always on the part of a person who fits the description of a liberal.

    Therefore, according to this type of prophetic thought process, every Church teaching can have its own “crossover moment”. There is no absolute Truth because Truth can change during it’s
    “crossover moment” to a newly discovered truth, one that had been there all along but was just waiting for the right prophet to discover it.

    This change process leaves the original Truth unworthy of belief which then must be tossed into the dust bin of history to make way for the new and improved currently discovered “truth”.

  4. frahobbit says:

    I am wondering much about what one website says of Card. Kasper: that the Pope has been backing him in the publicizing of his views on these issues, and that if enough bishops at the synod would only support him, the Pope will come out in support of giving Holy Communion to divorced and civil-remarried persons.

  5. Father:

    Great analysis, thanks.

    You hit on something I’ve been noticing, but which I haven’t seen much discussion of: the sudden shift, on the part of progressives, from what they call a “collegial” ecclesiology. Remember? Way, way, back in the year…2010! our liberal friends were bemoaning the imposition “from above” of the improved English translation. Oh, why can’t Rome “trust” the local church? They pointed to bishops who “bravely” pushed back.

    No more of that! Now the progressives are all riding the Ultramontane Express, in first class berths! They want the pope to oust bishops here and there, whenever the bishop doesn’t toe the line.

    Meanwhile, beyond the politicization in all this, real questions of theology remain. Didn’t progressives used to care about ecumenism? All this pope-calling-all-shots stuff doesn’t go over very well in ecumenical talks, I’m thinking.

    At this rate, will the N”C”R soon gain a strange new respect for Blessed Pius IX?

  6. greenlight says:

    I don’t like seeing the sausage being made.

  7. Pingback: Crd. Wuerl: Save the Middle-East Christians -

  8. Joe in Canada says:

    I hope Sr Donna Quinn and other pro-abortion ‘Catholics’ notice that they’ve been thrown under the bus by this group.

  9. No more comments about Crux nickname. Rabbit hole closed.

    I deleted a few.


  10. TWF says:

    I don’t agree with Cardinal Kasper’s position, but, when compared to LCWR types, he is an ultra-conservative. From the perspective of radical liberals, such as Sr. Joan or the LCWR, no “reform minded” individuals will be participating in the Synod. They will not be content to “accept” but yet not “tolerate” second marriages…Cardinal Kasper doesn’t go far enough for them. They won’t be happy until second marriages, and a whole score of other morally questionable situations, are unequivocally embraced.
    I’m not comfortable labeling Cardinal Kasper a “liberal”. I don’t agree with his position, but it isn’t something he’s made up nor is it new. It was the position of some of the Church Fathers (St. Basil comes to mind) and it was introduced into the praxis of the Eastern Church long before the schism with Rome. It may not be compatible with the Catholic Church’s understanding of marriage, which has been refined over time, but it isn’t a novel idea.

  11. TWF says:

    Correction: They will not be content to “tolerate” yet not “accept” second marriages. They want full blown acceptance.

  12. marcelus says:

    frahobbit says:
    4 October 2014 at 12:29 pm
    I am wondering much about what one website says of Card. Kasper: that the Pope has been backing him in the publicizing of his views on these issues, and that if enough bishops at the synod would only support him, the Pope will come out in support of giving Holy Communion to divorced and civil-remarried persons.

    You know, there is a loooot going around. In truth, all we have is PF getting “annoyed” on the the plane when some journalist asked him about the divorce issue in the upcoming synod.To that he responded that the synod is far bigger than that and so. Plus 2 first hand “witnesses” Cardinals Meisner & DOmingues who directly asked the Pope about this, to which he answer plainly : That will no change, That was tought by Jesus and the Pope can not change that,.

    Other than that, I just can not see the point or maybe I can, to what Crdl Kasper is doing, giving interviews anywhere and stating that he has some consent? from Francis or that if you are not with him you are against the Pope?? That is just unbecoming of a Cardinal. Sounds to me like a drowning man last attempt.

    If I were in his shoes and had this papal ok, I’d keep my mouth shut and wait for the Synod.

  13. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear pfreddys,

    I’m troubled by your comment that “Dating is essentially an occasion of sin.” While it is certainly true that the possibility exists, it is by no means a foregone conclusion that this is the case. A person, and especially a Catholic, with a well-formed conscience knows what is moral and licit and can date chastely.

  14. Antonin says:

    I think Francis fully supports collegiality and synodality. He criticized airport bishops on these grounds. They should be close to their flock and certainly not careerists in the Roman curia. I would like to see far more synods of Bishops and the cardinalate greatly reduced. If bishops are close to their flocks, they will be more than aware of these issues and the pastoral challenges.

    I don’t think the Pope should bark orders and although he is a Jesuit, he should govern like a Dominican or Benedictine. I am not a fan of the Jesuit governance model although I like individual Jesuits!

  15. JoseTomas says:

    Let’s remember some basics:

    (1) The Church is guided by The Holy Ghost

    (2) Diligentibus Deum, omia cooperantur in bonum

    (3) Very few popes were deemed worthy of being regarded as saints

    (4) Jesus hates lack of faith

    (5) But we can pray “Adauge nobis fidem”

    (6) “Liberals” are our brothers and sisters and, because they are wrong (and they are), they deserve our most earnest love and prayers and mercy

    (7) Nothing happens without express permission by Divine Providence.

    Times are tough? They are! God wants it. Let’s not forget it!

  16. i keep wondering.Why are they even Catholic? Why bother?

  17. If it hasn’t been rather obvious within our culture, liberals see law as useful when it suits a particular purpose. Otherwise it’s to be ignored. Whether it’s the constitution, or even when it comes to Canon Law, Liturgical Law and things of that nature.

    With the ambiguity of everything that’s been going on, I can’t blame them for trying to sense a “change in the winds” and get something accomplished, but it won’t work.

    Let us pray for the Church that she not cave to pressure….apparently we’re not supposed to let a good crisis go o waste.

Comments are closed.