Part 1 - Canon 915 and Father Guarnizo
The first rule of interpretation in canon law is to read the canon. Canon 915 reads
"Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."
As Ed Peters clearly points out, canon 915 lays an obligation on the minister distributing Holy Communion to deny Holy Communion to certain parties. Who are these parties? The first two parties are those who have been excommunicated or interdicted by imposition or declaration. The third party to be denied Holy Communion are those who fulfill all of the following three conditions, i.e., those who
1. Obstinately persist... ]]>
1. We need to see an itemized list, with specifics and details, of the “deep concerns” that the bishop has with Fr. Pavone’s financial stewardship. 2. We need to have an adequate explanation, in light of the mountain of financial data provided by PFL, of how Fr. Pavone has failed to provide “a transparent and complete auditing of all expenditures”. 3. And lastly, to be convinced of the appropriateness of the Bishop’s decision, we need to have specific details of Fr. Pavone’s “incorrigible defiance” of the bishop’s legitimate authority.... ]]>
On the death of President Reagan, Pope John Paul II wrote to Mrs Reagan:
"I recall with deep gratitude the late president's unwavering commitment to the service of the nation and to the cause of freedom as well as his abiding faith in the human and spiritual values which ensure a future of solidarity, justice and peace in our world.. Together with your family and the American people I commend his noble soul to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father and cordially invoke upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of consolation, strength and peace,”
When Reagan addressed the parliament of Portugal, he became the first president to mention Our Lady of Fatima. He recalled how the Pope went to Fatima after the attempt on his life, “to fulfill his special devotion to Mary.” He added, “...in the prayers of simple people everywhere, simple people like the children of Fatima, there resides more power than in all the great armies and statesmen of the world.” When Communist members of the parliament stormed out, the President drew laughter: “I notice that those on the Left have found their seats uncomfortable.”
Many of our cultural elite were uncomfortable when on March 8, 1983 he called the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire.” Anthony Lewis of the New York Times said the speech was “primitive...simplistic theology” and Henry Steele Commager of Columbia University called it “the worst speech ever given by an American president.” But when news of the speech reached Natan Sharansky, confined to an eight-by-ten foot cell on the Siberian border, the reaction was different: “Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan’s ‘provocation’ quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth — a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.”
I catechized and received into the Church a friend, Peter Robinson, who went on as presidential speechwriter in 1987 to pen the line “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Various advisors urged that it be removed, but President Reagan shouted it in Berlin, and soon the wall came down.
Some patronized Reagan as just "a great communicator.” He said, “I am not a great communicator but I communicate great things.” Mother Teresa visited him in June after he was shot and told him: “You have suffered the passion of the cross and have received grace. There is a purpose to this…This has happened to you at this time because your country and the world needs you.”
On January 14, 1988 he signed a document: “Now therefore I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death, and I do proclaim, ordain, and declare that I will take care that the Constitution and laws of the United States are faithfully executed for the protection of America’s unborn children.”
Only those who support that are fit for public office.... ]]>
One example of the latter category can be found in an e-mail recently sent to the editors of PewSitter.com, one of the best websites, in my humble opinion, for Catholic news and views. The e-mail (slightly edited), printed below in italics, was sent by the editor/publisher of a left-wing “news and views” website that PewSitter’s editors link to on various occasions. I’ve decided to redact the name of the editor/publisher and the website so as to not give it further publicity.
“The very idea that the CCHD would praise CIW in a document that apologizes for funding pro-abortion, pro-homosexual organizations in the past and promises to make a stronger effort to avoid doing so in the future seriously undermines their credibility,” said Michael Hichborn, lead researcher for RCN member American Life League. “How is anyone to believe that CCHD can make good on its promises if it can't even get it right from the beginning?”
RCN’s report outlines in specific detail how CIW participated in the US Social Forum 2010; something the RCN reported on back in June. The US Social Forum ran a collection of workshops, many of which were devoted to abortion rights, homosexual rights, and Marxist Socialism. RCN's report also specifies three of CIW’s coalition and network partnerships that are in and of themselves pro-abortion and pro-homosexual, and whose mission is to encourage cross-issues advocacy of their members. The report can be found on the Reform CCHD Now web site here: www.reformcchdnow.com/report_11_4_10_renewal.pdf.
This incomplete defense is followed by a lengthy and abstract discussion on balancing solidarity and subsidiarity, building “intermediary” institutions, correcting the tax structure, pursuing the “twin goals of stimulating the production or wealth and preventing the marginalization of those who fall behind;” and patient acceptance with the way things are until something better can be created. “Conservative Catholics need to recognize that it is not wrong in Catholic social theory to engage government in fostering the economic common good. ” Here we must wonder where a conservative may disagree. Would they be against the ‘economic common good,” or just against re-distributionist confiscation and its uniformly negative results?
This familiar lullaby is epidemic in faithful Catholic intellectual circles. It grows mainly out of pride and a misunderstanding of the social justice writing of Leo XIII, Chesterton, and the Distributists. Such destructive thinking needs to be addressed as it runs contrary to natural law and the laws of God. Furthermore the Bishops, as they manifest culturally and politically via the USCCB, are not only socialists, but function regularly as statist agents. They do not shout for socialism; they just enact it and applaud its ongoing construction. They should be assessed not by what they advocate, but by what they achieve and destroy.
Mirus predictably goes on to say that there is no place for the wrong kind of rhetoric in this “legitimate debate” and that we should approach the discussion as “Catholics,” and not as conservatives or liberals. This tired approach, which draws a moral equivalency between capitalism and socialism, only exists to drag Catholics and others leftward toward oppression and despair. The article’s thesis on growing the correct types of “intermediary” institutions to replace federal programs first; smacks of Friedrick Hayek’s utopian “planners” People do not need new kinds of well-conceived institutions in America. They need freedom and the Church needs faith.
Dr. Mirus urges that Catholics respect the correct role of the state to care for the poor and the needy, and that conservative Catholics be charitable. He tells us that “It is simply not possible to be a Catholic while embracing a morally-deficient conservatism.”
This somewhat veiled condemnation of right and left alike, handed down by Catholic thinkers over the last two centuries, must be unpacked then scrapped. If capitalism “makes no provision for charity” it is because it simply trumpets freedom, leaving people to do as they may and as they must. Capitalism should not even be an “ism,” as socialism is. It is just what happens when you leave people to their own lives and property. It does not contradict Church teaching, it is simply a necessary component of it, as freedom is necessary to salvation.
Free “capitalist,” individuals are still compelled to charity in the name of Christ. That has nothing to do with government. It’s like blaming public schools for not giving out better free lunches and daycare. That is not their role and the failure is not theirs. Discussions of give and take in economic systems are not within the subject of charity; which is the purview of free human beings and the associations they freely create.
The oppression that the Distributists ascribe to capitalism is really just the collusion of business titans and big government. Ubiquitous corporate empires which destroy families and property then marginalize the poor, are not the natural course of free people in a free society. Furthermore, they were never an aspect of Christendom, where true charity was a holy institution and subsidiarity reigned in life and politics.
The comparisons of the economic systems of socialism and capitalism are unsound, and people understand this, which is why they protest big government. When we say “socialism and capitalism,” what we are really talking about is oppression and freedom. Are both morally deficient? I say no. The peasants of the Old World, the American founders, and the wandering ancient people of God all understood: the freedom that comes from Him is ours to use for good.
Catholic thinkers rightly understand that the conservatism written into the American framework is not a complete system. What they miss however is that the founders understood natural law and a truly just society. James Madison, when asked to support a law which provided assistance to a needy cause, famously said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” In his mind, this would have been stealing.
The founders respect for freedom of individuals and property is, as many evangelicals will say, “biblical.” Christ did nothing to alter this scriptural truth. He was not political. His parables are full of support for the rights of individuals to their money and property. What he gave to us in terms of charity and mercy did not remove any “jot” of the old law; it only added to it. We must do the same and respect the ancient laws while adhering to the requirements of Christian love as free men and women.... ]]>
Last week we reported that Archbishop Dolan had sent a letter to the pastor of St. Francis Xavier parish, requesting that the parish not participate in the “March.” In spite of his directive plans were still in the works for parish participation in this event At the time that article was written the Lesbian and Gay Ministry group within the parish was continuing to promote the March and distributing flyers encouraging support.
Last weekend, on June 19, Archbishop Dolan was the celebrant at the rededication Mass of St. Francis Xavier in which a ten year renovation project was concluded. Cardinal Egan was also present. Archbishop Dolan welcomed all the parish organizations at the end of the Mass including the lesbian, gay, and transgendered group members, and those wearing rainbow ribbons. No public mention was made during the rededication Mass of the parish defying the archbishop’s request.
The official roster for this week’s Pride March can be found here. On page 1 of 4 of this document, dated June 22, 2010 is the listing for St. Francis Xavier Parish as an official participant. A picture of a section of that page appears below and the entire document can be found here. ... ]]>
Today the Korean car giant issued a general statement apologizing for their ‘insensitivity’ in speaking to the “passion of international soccer fans.” The text of their response appears below:... ]]>
Here, thought many bishops—and many others as well, was the signature document of Vatican II, its most important achievement. For here the Church at long last engaged contemporary secular culture as a worthy interlocutor and, to some extent, even as a mentor for itself.
Forty-five years later Gaudium et Spes still stands as a major achievement of Vatican II, but the overall judgment of it by now is mixed. The pastoral constitution, it is commonly pointed out, was in many ways a product of its time and that shows—not for the best either. For these were the tumultuous, confused 1960s when cultural revolution had entered the mainstream, including even the mainstream of the Church.
In this context, the big problem with Gaudium et Spes is its “uncritical acceptance of modern progressivism,” said to cause Christians to neglect “the necessary distinction between progress conceived politically, economically, and scientifically…and the advancement of the kingdom of heaven.” This in turn is responsible for a kind of collective amnesia concerning “the most fundamental political insight that faith has to offer,” namely: “that politics is not the working out of the divine plan, that it is essentially limited and anti-utopian, and this for its own good.”
The words quoted here come from an important—and unusual—new book, The Social and Political Thought of Benedict XVI (published by Lexington Books). It is the work of Thomas R. Rourke, professor and chair of the department of political science and philosophy at Clarion University in Pennsylvania.
Rourke’s study can rightly be called “unusual” for an obvious reason. Although Pope Benedict—Joseph Ratzinger—is widely recognized as one of the most important Catholic theological figures of the last half-century, not many people think of him as a significant social thinker as well.... ]]>
There is a gigantic problem though. The bishops’ opposition lacks any detail or specificity – and it is the details that are important. It’s a lot like saying one is opposed to war and for peace. Almost everyone can agree on that point. The disagreement arises in the details—because there are circumstances where war is justified and necessary to achieve peace.
Archbishop Dolan of New York addressed the AZ immigration bill in his blog. In this column he laments and condemns the fact that immigrants often become scapecoats. He also, quite rightly, points to the Catholic ethos of welcoming everyone, and the important role that immigrants have played in the U.S. There is only one problem with his analysis: immigrants can be separated into legal and illegal categories. By an overwhelming majority, those that entered the U.S. in the latter part of the 19th and the first of half of the 20th century, were LEGAL immigrants. The immigrants that the AZ law is attempting to address are ILLEGAL ones.
Cardinal Mahoney was one of the first to comment on the new law, he compromised his credibility by comparing it to Nazism. His comments really served no purpose but to ratchet up the rhetoric. One wonders if he even read the law. It’s only seventeen pages and having read it, there is nothing in it that would justify such an over-the-top slam. I would call it a quite reasonable and commonsense law – and one that I support.
So you see, there is a huge disconnect between the bishops’ almost universal criticism of this bill and my understanding as a Catholic layman as to why. Frankly, the President has the same problem with the citizens of this country; an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens oppose illegal immigration – NOT immigration – illegal immigration.
Catholic bishops studied moral theology in the seminary; I have not. I admit that I may be ignorant on this topic and am very much willing to be educated about the moral imperatives of this subject. To that end I have a few questions to ask Your Excellencies. The answers may help me understand your moral opposition to this law.
The Bishop writes that not only is such a position “a serious understatement,” but also a “serious error.”
“If they were further to claim that the plan has so many other good features that an insistence on the elimination of abortion provisions is really a demand for an unrealistic “perfection” then they are in serious error.”
To clarify his point he uses the example of the importance of fidelity in marriage.
“No one would claim that a fiancee’s insistence on fidelity … is an enemy of an otherwise “good” relationship. Absurd! No one would counsel a fiancee to ignore the present infidelities … on the grounds that he or she is really a good, well-intentioned person. No, the infidelity destroys the possibility of an authentic relationship.”
No matter which side of the fence you are on for authentic health care reform, as a Catholic “the provision of abortion funding or abortion expansion destroys the very heart of health care.” Which means that one in good conscience cannot support the Health Care Bill. How can true social justice include Satan’s number one attack on our society today, consisting of murdering innocent little babies?
Sometimes when writing about such controversial topics one might water down what is true, but Bishop Vasa is very clear when he says, “a plan that includes funds for the direct and intentional killing of innocent human beings is much more than imperfect, it is nothing short of positively evil.”
Although the Bishop did not mention Mr. Bart Stupak by name he does refer to his misconceived thought process. “I do not at all believe it is legitimate to conditionally support such a plan even if there is a “promise” that the objections to abortion will be worked out once the plan is approved.”
Bishop Vasa concludes by saying , “besides involving the federal government in the business of killing pre-born children, such a policy would coerce men and women to pay for a procedure they find absolutely abhorrent.”... ]]>