More dangerous garbage from the National Schismatic Reporter

This is the sort of dreck that Fishwrap publishes on Ash Wednesday – destruction of the Church’s identity and life through “updating” the sacraments.

Keep in mind that Christ instituted the sacraments during His earthly life. The Church has authority over how they are celebrated. The Church can and has altered the way that they have been celebrated. However, the Church has always been faithful to the Apostolic origins of the celebrations of sacraments and the changes have been made in continuity and not rupture.

Along comes Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) which touts a book reviewed by a feminist at a non-Catholic generic seminary in NYC. The writer, Dr. Joseph Martos co-authored four books on spirituality with Fr. Richard Rohr, and has been involved with as Pax Christi and the Southern Poverty Law Center. His involvement in Catholic institutions includes a string of ultra-liberal places, such as St. Norbert’s in De Pere, St. John’s Collegville, CTU (blech). He was in a seminary in the 1960’s and did an STB at the Greg in Rome in 1967-68, so I assume he is an ex-priest.

What does the review say the book says?  My emphases and comments.


Given that centuries have passed since the schoolmen fashioned this interpretation of the sacraments [NB: a poorly described version of the Church’s understanding of sacraments], it is time for the church, Martos argues, to reimagine and redesign the sacraments [“you shall be as gods” said the serpent] so that they once again express the genuine spiritual experiences of the Christian community.

Some examples: We should celebrate the sacrament of ordination not as the according of miraculous powers to an individual but as the communal recognition of those who have the skills needed for ministry — preaching, administration, counseling, governance — skills that are not limited by gender or sexual orientation. [NB: reduction of priesthood to tasks, and “recoginition” smacks of Rahner and recognition by celebration of pre-existing realities.  The whole nasty business stinks of Schillebeeckx.] Marriage becomes the celebration of the spiritual reality at the heart of a mutually supportive, agape-type relationship, not a purity-based commitment to procreation. [That’s right, get procreation out of there, so that men can inseminate each others orifices and have the Church celebrate their sin.] Reconciliation should mean reaching out into the community to bring alienated groups and individuals together, not an individualist ritual of forgiveness for having broken some rules. [That bad ol’ institutional Church with all its “rules”!] The anointing of the sick, Martos believes, is already an “honest ritual” because the forms have expanded from a ritual exclusively for the dying to a variety of ceremonies, [?!?] in hospitals and nursing homes, at healing Masses in parishes (though the exclusion of women celebrants continues to be a problem). [It’s only a problem if you don’t care about efficacy of sacraments.  But get this…] And the Eucharist should become the celebration and affirmation of what brings people together in a particular community around the vision and values of Jesus. Local church communities, under the leadership of local bishops, should implement these changes.


More dangerous garbage from the National Schismatic Reporter.

I refer the readership to my

Prayer for Fishwrap.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The usual ‘social justice’ rhetoric from fishwrap: It’s all about us and not about God; let’s make the Church to reflect us as we become gods.


  2. Sawyer says:

    Such theological malarkey reeks of modernism. Martos apparently doesn’t believe in a sacred order, salvation from sin, growth in holiness, Revelation, nor sacramental efficacy. The sacraments seem to him to be purely horizontal celebrations to affirm all the present day left-wing virtues. The Church is transformed into a quasi-religious affirmation of what leftist politics already values. So then why is the Church necessary?

    I say no thank you to modernist phony sacramental theology peddled by Martos. Perhaps he also believes that Christ’s passion and death didn’t effect anything: merely expressed the “giving-unto-death” of Jesus, which inspired his followers to create tolerant, affirming communities in remembrance of his example.

    Makes me want to throw away my copy of “Doors to the Sacred” by Martos.

  3. Malta says:

    Dr. Martos: “…reimagine and redesign the sacraments…” Ha ha, good one! How do you “redesign” something designed by God? The Sacraments are easy enough for a child to understand; maybe this “Doctor” would also like to redesign the Ten Commandments.

  4. FrankWalshingham says:

    Be very suspicious of anybody who hangs with Richard Rohr. Having been brought to one of his men’s retreats by somebody who told me it would be a good Catholic event, I was shocked at the apostacy openly espoused. They even let married priests who left the priesthood come up and concelebrate Mass.

  5. This reminds me: you DO know when the first liturgy commission was formed, don’t you? At Mt. Sinai, while Moses was delayed.

  6. Dismas says:

    Religion without revelation is superstition. As they deny the truth claims of the Church, they end up with nothing but banal blandishments and insane rituals. Just ask Varro.

    @ Fr Martin Fox – that one never gets old.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Wh y do they think they are proposing sacraments or a church?

    They are describing a club or a Facebook group.

  8. ChesterFrank says:

    I am sick of this garbage. It’s the left flung liberal drool that is desperately trying to make religion irrelevant. Sadly in the wacky northeast we are used to it.

  9. Charles E Flynn says:

    Someone does not know the difference between agape and a sinfully-debased eros.

  10. Grant M says:

    “This reminds me: you DO know when the first liturgy commission was formed, don’t you? At Mt. Sinai, while Moses was delayed.”

    Google an image of Michelangelo’s Moses and ponder Moses’s expression as he sees the results of the first liturgy commission.

  11. JustaSinner says:

    And a New Green Deal too! And rainbows and unicorns, and dishes that you can eat! Candy corn on the cob, flying pigs, flying cars, flying nuns(!) and flying your freak flag! Puppets at Mass, Muppets hearing confessions, and both if you need their healing services. Clowns saying Mass, a mass of clowns at Mass, interpretive dance Mass. Boy, sign me up! What evee could go wrong?

  12. Imrahil says:

    I’m still quite astonished, not that somebody is a heretic – that is a well-known enough occurrence, alas – but that they actually seem to think their vision is attractive. I can hardly imagine any vision that would be less attractive.

    But I, I cannot read it [the riddle]
    although I run and run –
    of them that do not have the faith
    and will not have the fun.
    (G. K. Chesterton)

  13. OrdinaryCatholic says:

    ” How do you “redesign” something designed by God?”

    By claiming that God had nothing to do with the designing and/or the conferring of said sacraments. That leaves man alone to fix what man broke.

  14. bonhomme says:

    This interesting article made me think about something that I probably ought to know as a Catholic. I know quite a bit about the sacraments but I am not sure why we have the seven we do. I believe the Eastern Orthodox, who call them mysteries, agree with us that there are at least seven. They do say there are possibly more although they never seem to say how many. One I do know they claim to be a sacrament (mystery), which we do not recognise, is the coronation of a monarch.

  15. rtjl says:

    Fr Z. I have Martos’ book “Doors to the Sacred” and a few other books on the sacraments, all from around the same time period. They are all pretty bad. I have some recent title that are better, but not much. If you were to name one book on the sacraments worth reading, what would it be?

  16. DavidJ says:

    Wouldn’t that really just be replicating what the CoE is doing? Why wait? They’re right there waiting for you!

  17. Chuck4247 says:

    If I had the time to research and write a book worthy of such a title: “Sacraments through the Ages: A History of the Rites and Wrongs of the Sacraments”

  18. Gaetano says:

    These proposals always begin with one of two statements:

    “The Church has never developed a theology of _____” or “The Church’s theology of _____ is outdated (or “hasn’t been received” per James Martin).”

    I’ve had people claim the Church hasn’t developed a theology of priesthood, despite the fact that the issue pervades Letter to the Hebrews.

    I’m also reminded of Chesterton, who said that when something old isn’t understood, it can’t be dismissed until one understands why it came to be in the first place.

    As for the proposal, it’s Episcopalianism with extra steps – and we’ve seen how successful that experiment has been.

  19. Benedict Joseph says:

    Well and good were these absurdities only held by the denizens of Fishwrap, a flake fembot at NYTS [who teaches Catholic studies! More accurately “katholic” kandy…] and Joseph Martos. Father, you do a disservice to Dr. Martos, besides his obvious train wreck of a “vocation” and various institutional affiliation which you cite, he is also an adjunct at the Aquinas Institute [let not the name beguile you] and “ … he has been a member of local and national organizations such as Pax Christi, Bread for the World, the Southern Poverty Law Center [!!!], and Amnesty International. As a member of his parish’s social justice committee, he has visited Nicaragua and reported on conditions there, and he has also made trips to rebuild hurricane-damaged homes. He is an avid news reader and distributes internet articles daily to people interested in national and world affairs through his free news service, NewsLinks. Martos and his wife Arden live in a Victorian house in Old Louisville, where they are active members of the neighborhood association.”
    You can’t make it up.
    No, the greater concern is that this sort of deconstructionism has pride of place throughout the theological academy, the episcopate and undoubtedly in Rome.
    The enemy is within. Well within. Even floating atop.

  20. FrAnt says:

    Why do these people remain in the Catholic Church? What he is espousing is Protestant. Why not just go and start a community where all of their heart’s desires can be lived out.

  21. FrAnt says: Why do these people remain in the Catholic Church? What he is espousing is Protestant. Why not just go and start a community where all of their heart’s desires can be lived out.

    Because they “love” the Catholic Church so much, and she “needs” them, for only they have got what it takes to “reform” her from within.

  22. Athelstan says:

    It’s surely one of the most powerful ironies in Church history that theologies that zealously pursue a horizontal focus on worship as *community* are also the most effective at emptying out the pews of their communities.

  23. PostCatholic says:

    What’s the objection to Pax Christi and to the Southern Poverty Law Center?

  24. tmartin747 says:

    Ah they have a church with these exact “sacraments” already. It’s the non denominational one with the rainbow flag that has Christmas “services” 3 days before Christmas because people are too busy to come on Christmas Day.

  25. ajf1984 says:

    To paraphrase Miss Flannery O’Connor, if the Eucharist becomes “the celebration and affirmation of what brings people together in a particular community…”, then, to Hell with it! I want–and desperately need!–a Savior, not a community organizer or a social club.

  26. Semper Gumby says:

    “Affirmation”…sounds like Stuart Smalley territory. These two should spend a little time with Revelation or Joshua. A little Smiting and a little Shaking the Dust off one’s Feet goes a long way.

    ajf1984: Exactly.

    JustaSinner: Good one. How about clowns with fire bowls as liturgical dancers?

    Fr. Fox: This may be the influence of Cecil B. DeMille, but they probably had fire bowls at the base of Mt. Sinai.

    If I recall, Richard Rohr is a fan of the Enneagram and such stuff. He may have some connection to Canadian billionaire Maurice Strong’s Baca Grande “spiritual community” in Colorado- just north of Rohr’s stomping grounds in New Mexico. Baca Grande is an exotic petting zoo of spiritual aberrations. They’ve got a small Mesopotamian ziggurat, for example.

  27. robtbrown says:

    FrAnt says:

    Why do these people remain in the Catholic Church? 

    With no desire for Truth, they nevertheless still want to satisfy a certain appetite for religion, which ultimately is little else than sentimentalism.

    They want to have Charity without the Truth of Faith.

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