Saturday, August 18, 2018

Understanding the Rot in the Roman Catholic Church

Like most of you, I am sickened by what a Pennsylvania grand jury has exposed about abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church.  But what most do not understand is the abuse is largely the fruit of a corrupt and liberal hierarchy.   Yes, there are outwardly conservative clerics who were involved in the abuse and/or cover-ups. But the abuse would not have gotten to be endemic without it being enabled by libchurchers.
Peter Kwasniewski is one of the few who gets it and is not shy about saying so:
The ring of criminal Nancy Boys is the same ring that has been sedulously working for decades to undermine the integrity of the doctrinal, moral, sacramental, liturgical Church. These men – McCarrick, McElroy, Wuerl, O’Malley, Mahony, Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, Lynch, Weakland, Paglia, Maradiaga, their lovable mouthpiece James Martin, Thomas Rosica, and far too many others, including ones who have passed on to their eternal fate, such as Lyons, Boland, Brom – are the same ones who have destabilized and adulterated catechesis, theology, liturgy, and most obviously the Church’s commitment to the unchanging moral law, as we saw in the Amoris Laetitia debacle and all that surrounded and succeeded it….
These are not just men of bad moral character; they are apostates, and they are trying to remake the Church in the image of their own apostasy. The Church has been smashed up in front of our eyes in slow motion for decades and few can even begin to admit that we are now faced with a Church in actual smithereens. The Nancy Boys have conducted their campaign of demolition with a kind of imperial sway. It is not this or that aspect of the Church that is corrupt; the rot is now everywhere. It is a rot on which the McCarrick Ring still sups, like maggots feasting on a corpse. For this reason, to hear well meaning people say Bergoglio must impanel some investigative body to set things right is Alice in Wonderland lunacy. It’s like putting Himmler in charge of Nuremberg….
It is a package deal. This, above all, is what people need to see. The moral depravity, the doctrinal heresy, the liturgical devastation – all of it goes together.

Like I said, he is not shy, but he is right. The abuse and libchurch apostasy go hand in hand, so to speak.  Take Boston, Cardinal Law (spit), and Paul Shanley for example.  Before Shanley’s predations on boys became public knowledge, he was well known as a radical “street preacher” who opposed church teaching on homosexuality.  He even spoke in defense of pedophilia at a NAMBLA conference in 1979. So, even apart from his abuse, why did it take decades after that for him to be defrocked?
Damnable lib bishops, that’s why.  From a 2002 New York Times article: 
Bishop McCormack, who served as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston before his appointment to Manchester, oversaw the transfer of several priests from parish to parish even after evidence of sexual misconduct grew with multiple accusations made against them.
One of those he helped to transfer around the country was the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, who has been accused of the sexual abuse of more than 20 young boys and who publicly defended pedophilia at a 1979 meeting of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.
The rot goes all the way to Vatican. Rod Dreher reveals how Uncle Ted McCarrick became a Cardinal:
Back then, I received a tip from a priest who had gone on his own dime to Rome, along with a group of prominent US Catholic laymen, to meet with an official for the Roman Curial congregation that names bishops. It had been rumored at the time that Theodore McCarrick, the Archbishop of Newark, was going to be moved to Washington, DC, and to be made a cardinal. This group traveled to Rome to warn the Vatican that McCarrick was a sexual harrasser of seminarians. The story this priest shared with me was that McCarrick had a habit of compelling seminarians to share his bed for cuddling. These allegations did not involve sexual molestation, but were clearly about unwanted sexual harassment. To refuse the archbishop’s bedtime entreaties would be to risk your future as a priest, I was told.
Rome was informed by these laymen — whose number included professionally distinguished Catholics in a position to understand the kind of harm this would cause –that McCarrick was sexually exploiting these seminarians, but it did no good. McCarrick received his appointment to the Washington archdiocese in 2000.
That’s some of the “smoke of Satan” in the Vatican Benedict warned about.
Roman Catholics in the pews, like the mainstream Protestant counterparts, have put up with these libchurchers for too long. Kwasniewski again:

We need the apostates identified, denounced, and removed. We need a reaffirmation of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. To clean up this mess, we have to clean up more than the scandal of homosexuality, with all of its attendant horrors. We have to denounce and reject the apostasy that powerful and influential homosexuals and their friends have insinuated into the Church over decades.
 
Although I applaud and pray for those orthodox who are committed to reforming the Roman Catholic Church, I do not share Kwasniewski’s optimism that it can be done.  For one thing, Pope Francis has stacked the College of Cardinals with the likes of Blase Cupich and worse.  So I fear Benedict may be the last robustly orthodox pope.  Further, reform would require an orthodox pope with the will power and energy to clean up the Vatican and the College of Cardinals.  Not even Benedict had that nor has any pope since Vatican II.

That’s the thing about libchurchers. If you don’t put them in their place early, they end up taking over the place . . . with damnable consequences.
The rot in the Roman Catholic Church has implications of great import for Anglicans.  But I will get to that another time.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Is ACNA Nearing Broken Communion?

Statements by key Forward in Faith bishops at the Fort Worth FiF meeting earlier this month beg the question of whether communion within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will sooner or later go beyond impaired to becoming broken altogether over women's ordination among other issues.
Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth’s statement was particularly strong:

“I am extremely dismayed, because the [ACNA] College of Bishops has decided to fudge the issue by allowing ‘two integrities.’ There are two practices, one is apostolic, universal, scriptural, the other is schismatic, rebellious, feminist and revolutionary. Begun by the Episcopal Church illegally and forced upon the Church.” 
Iker then said that Forward in Faith, the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Mission in North America “came into ACNA” believing “we’d go into a theological discussion of the issue and move the right way forward. Now we’re being told that we signed on to ‘two integrities’.”…

Speeches by retired Bishop William Wantland and Missionary Diocese of All Saints Bishop William Ilgenfritz were perhaps even stronger medicine.  Read excerpts over at Forward in Christ Magazine.
In any case, this does not sound like bishops who intend to stick around if the “two integrities” status quo in ACNA remains the status quo.  Having said that, I do not expect anyone to leave before next year’s ACNA Provincial Assembly.  And with the Diocese of Ft. Worth there is the additional consideration of continuing litigation with The Episcopal Church.  They may want a resolution of that before deciding whether to stay in ACNA.  (But please note that I do NOT have any inside information in that regard.  This is my thinking only.)
As Fr. Michael Heidt concludes, “Whether and to what extent the Anglo-Catholic bishops of Forward in Faith North America will be able to live in a state of impaired communion with ACNA over female ordinations remains to be seen.”

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Did Pope Francis Really Change Church Teaching?

I promised to comment further on the change in the Roman Catholic Catechism on the subject of capital punishment now that the official Latin text is out. So I guess I should keep my promise.  But I do not have much more to add except to say that it is not as certain as I first thought that Pope Francis has changed official R. C. Church teaching, although I remain appalled at his arbitrary tinkering with the Catechism to turn part of it into an act of political lobbying. 
However, to avoid further ranting and to focus on the presenting question – it is unclear whether official Roman Catholic teaching has changed.  I say this for two main reasons.  First, there is a lot of debate among Roman Catholics whether church teaching has changed, which is a good sign.  Second, as Fr John Hunwicke has noted, the letter that accompanied the Catechism change is hedged and “not how the Catholic Church talks about grave moral offenses.”
My best guess is that whether the Catechism change really is a change in official R. C. Church teaching depends on what future popes do with it.
Please do not mistake that for optimism. Given how Francis is stacking the College of Cardinals, I do not expect another robustly orthodox pope in my lifetime at least.  But if this bit of pessimism and my earlier posts on the capital punishment change prove alarmist and mistaken, I will be most glad to be proven wrong.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Fr. Hunwicke on Pope Francis’ “Deathgate” UPDATED

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Fr. John Hunwicke’s observations on Pope Francis apparently changing the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on capital punishment.  Hunwicke has not disappointed me.  He rarely does.
First, to my surprise, he posits that the situation might not be quite as bad as I and others have feared.  For the official text of the revised R. C. Catechism has not yet been published.  Hunwicke:
I can't see much point in making substantive comments on the "changes made to the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the death penalty" until the new text is published. All I can so far find on the Internet are some vernacular versions.

This, in itself, I object to. The world has been given the impression that the Catholic Church has changed its teaching when nobody has the wherewithal to judge whether or not this is true. I can only call this sort of behaviour in matters of faith and morals disgracefully frivolous. Can it be that PF wants to make an immediate impression on world opinion without giving theological professionals the prior opportunity to weaken by their analyses that impact?
But Hunwicke expects that once the official Latin text is published, capital punishment won’t be so completely “inadmissible” after all. 
By the way, he is very much opposed to capital punishment, yet shares my concern about how this apparent change in teaching has come about.
…such an arbitrary change in a documentary henotikon, in which X has metamorphosed into not-X in a very few years, and without (as far as we know) a detailed collegial consultation with the whole College of Bishops (such as Pius XII conducted before defining the Assumption), leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth. It is because I have been driven to the unhappy conclusion that the present pontificate is manipulative and dishonest, that I wonder if this change in the CCC may be preparing the way for some of Senor Bergoglio's other private opinions and personal convictions to be given spurious Magisterial colouring.
That is my chief concern.  I doubt that Francis will confine himself to capital punishment in arbitrarily changing church teaching.

UPDATE: The official Latin text has been released.  I will comment at a later time.

Friday, August 03, 2018

More on Pope Francis Changing Catechism on Capital Punishment: “This. Is. Big.”

Yesterday I concluded that the arbitrary change in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Catechism on capital punishment “could be the beginning of something awful.”
Rod Dreher gets this and spells out why very well.  I highly recommend reading his whole post.  He quotes Edward Feser at length in reviewing the teaching of scripture and the Fathers on capital punishment, which teaches that it is a legitimate tool of the state even if it should be used with great restraint.
Feser, anticipating that Pope Francis might change this longstanding church teaching on capital punishment, then wrote that doing so would be “effectively saying – whether consciously or unconsciously – that previous popes, Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and even divinely inspired Scripture are in error.”
Dreher rightly asserts that this is exactly what Francis did and continues:
It seems to me that the Pope has crossed a bright line. He is denying, for the first time in nearly two millennia of Catholic teaching, and in direct contradiction to the Fathers of the Church, that the state has the right to impose capital punishment. That’s a meaningful difference from saying that the state has that right, but shouldn’t use it.
Even if you disfavor the death penalty, understand what this means: this Pope has claimed forthrightly that the Catholic Church taught error, but now, at long last, he has set the Church straight. From a traditional point of view, though, this means that the Pope is teaching error.
This. Is. Big.
Indeed it is.  And to clarify further, this is not just Pope Francis giving his opinion on capital punishment.  Hey, he’s a Libpope who likes to shoot off his mouth.  His stating his opposition to the death penalty is predictable.

He has gone far beyond expressing his opinion.  He has taken his opinion, which is contradicted by scripture, the Fathers, and many faithful today, and enshrined that opinion in the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, and that without the backing of a church council. (In fact, several have made that case that Vatican I forbids what Francis just did.)  Regardless of whether the subject is capital punishment, changing official church doctrine like this crosses “a bright line” that even Francis has not crossed before.
Both the tyrannical act and its implications are greatly alarming. Having pulled this doctrinal coup, does anyone think Francis will stop with only capital punishment? I fear for the damage he may do to the church in his remaining years.
This. Indeed. Is. Big.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Pope Francis Changes Roman Catholic Catechism on Death Penalty

First, the facts which Crux spells out well.
The Vatican announced on Thursday Pope Francis approved changes to the compendium of Catholic teaching published under Pope John Paul II.

“The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church now says on the death penalty, adding that the Church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”
This is a departure from what the document, approved under Pope John Paul II in 1992, says on the matter: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”
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As it’s been re-written, the Catechism now also says that “Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.”
Yet today, “there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.”
“Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption,” says the Catechism now, as it was approved by Pope Francis.
It’s for this reason, and “in light of the Gospel,” that the Church teaches that the practice is now inadmissible.

Let me say that I consider capital punishment an issue on which faithful Christians can differ.  However, the weight of Scripture and of the Fathers leans very much for capital punishment in certain instances.  Steve Skojec reviews that background well.

Thus for the Pope to change the Catechism so that it is dead against all capital punishment is the height of arrogance, dismissing much scripture, the Fathers, and the consciences of many faithful.  That the Catechism is then twisted into a lobbying tool, e. g. the church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide” is outrageous and an attack on the consciences of those faithful who are convinced that there are times when capital punishment is appropriate. 
As Rorate Caeli points out, this is at the very least an egregious abuse of authority:
The current Pope has far exceeded his authority: his authority is to guard and protect the doctrine that was received from Christ and the Apostles, not to alter it according to his personal views. We are reaping the rewards of an unchecked hyper-clericalism: the same hyper-clericalism that allowed for abuses of people like Theodore McCarrick to go ignored and unpunished and now allows for the recklessness of the alteration of established doctrine received from Christ and the Apostles…. He is in open violation of the authority recognized to him by Christ and His Church throughout the ages: he has abused his authority by pretending to have an authority that he has not.
I cannot add much to that at this time. Well, I could rant and rave. But, looking at the bigger picture, it reveals a grave weakness of the Roman Catholic Church that such a man as Bergoglio could become pope and then be very hard, if not impossible, to depose.  I fear that he is now doubling down on his tyranny against the faithful in his final years.  This arbitrary change in RCC teaching on capital punishment, bad enough in itself, could be the beginning of something even more awful.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

World Vision Responds to Islamic Relief Agency Concerns

To their credit, World Vision has contacted me and issued a statement addressing my and others’ concerns about their role in funding the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA or IRA).
I do not have any value-added commentary to add, but I find their statement plausible at least.  I post it below in full.
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World Vision’s work in Sudan is focused on improving the lives of the most vulnerable children. In 2017, our programs reached approximately 674,000 vulnerable people, 70 percent of these were children and women.  The work sub-granted to IRA in 2014 was a very small percentage of our significant program expenditures in Sudan, less than 1% of our total at that time.
In March 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) approved World Vision’s grant proposal that clearly listed Islamic Relief Agency (IRA) as a proposed sub-grantee. At the time of selection, there was no indication that IRA had any possible ties to an alleged terrorist-supporting organisation.
There are several Islamic Relief organisations operating around the world which are not blocked, and when we searched the blocked parties lists for "Islamic Relief" in "Sudan," the searches produced no results.  That is still true today on the website of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
In May 2014, when WV applied to renew its registration with OFAC as a charity working in Sudan, it identified IRA as a sub-grantee in its application. OFAC approved the renewal in August 2014 without any comments or questions about IRA.
In November 2014, we informed OFAC and USAID that we had concerns about IRA in Sudan possibly being related to certain other organisations with “Islamic Relief” in their names, designated by the US government as organisations allegedly supporting terrorism.  Because of these concerns, we suspended further grant implementation by IRA pending clarification from OFAC.
In January 2015, OFAC responded that IRA in Sudan “appears to be the same entity” as the one on OFAC’s blocked parties list. The sub-grant by then had expired, it was not renewed, and we discontinued any future collaboration with IRA.  At this time, OFAC authorised us to pay IRA $125,000 for the humanitarian work that was verified to have already been completed under the grant.  The payment made to IRA was not a diversion of funds but payment for programming services of confirmed quality.
World Vision took its compliance obligations seriously, but respectfully asked permission to pay IRA money owing for legitimate humanitarian work (salaries, humanitarian aid and supplies for beneficiaries, travel etc.) already incurred. World Vision explained failure to do so could have exposed it to potential legal liability for breach of contract, resulted in the very real chance of Government expulsion from Sudan and as a consequence, the loss of a lifeline for tens of thousands of children and their families.
World Vision has robust controls and screening processes in place and condemns any diversion of aid funding and strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for those activities.  
We have no evidence that any of our funds have been used for anything other than urgent humanitarian work.