Jesuitical 2

John P. Lanagan

In the National Catholic Reporter, Father John P. Lanagan, SJ, of Georgetown takes to task those bishops and cardinals in our country who view abortion as the pre-eminent moral issue of our time and who have the audacity to speak out against the Obama administration because of it.  Father Z shows him the errors of his way.

As I noted in my first Jesuitical post, the Society of Jesus certainly seems to often be a force in opposition to the Church these days.  However there are good orthodox Jesuits, loyal to the Magisterium.  One of them is Father Paul Shaughnessy, currently a Navy Chaplain.  Here is what he wrote about his order in 2002:

THE TRAJECTORY of the decline is not hard to trace, and the Jesuit story, though more dramatic, differs little from that of other progressive religious orders in the decades following the Second Vatican Council. Liberalism had been seen to foster tolerance and mutual respect in pluralist secular communities. Yet, being purely negative in content and procedural in application, it proved lethal when imported into an intentional association like the Society of Jesus, one both doctrinally exclusivist and rigidly hierarchical. Almost overnight the pope’s light infantry became a battalion in which every man decided for himself which war he was fighting. The result was an institutional nightmare: confusion and cowardice at the top; despair, rage, and disillusionment in the ranks. American Jesuits went from 8,400 members in 1965 to 3,500 today. Entering novices declined from a peak one-year total of 409 to a low of 38. Worse, the number of priests who jump ship each year roughly equals the number of entering novices; the number of Jesuits who die annually is twice as high as either.

Yet at its heart, the crisis is not one of size but of allegiance. One of the signal services performed by “Passionate Uncertainty” is that it lets us hear influential Jesuits–those who shape policy–speak their minds frankly, in words unsoftened by the public relations personnel in the fund-raising offices. “I am appalled by the direction of the present papacy,” says a university administrator. “I am scandalized by Rome’s intransigent refusal to re-examine its doctrines regarding gender and  sex. . . . Frankly I think the church is being governed by thugs.” “The church as we have known it is dying,” a retreat master insists. “I hope and pray that the Society will help to facilitate this death and resurrection.” An academic gloats, “The Society has not sold its soul to the ‘Restoration’ of John Paul II.” Another Jesuit scholar, a church historian, ranks John Paul II as “probably the worst pope of all times”–adding, “He’s not one of the worst popes; he’s the worst. Don’t misquote me.” The respondents make it clear that their contempt for the pope is based almost entirely on his intransigence, his unwillingness to imitate their own adaptability in the matter of doctrine.

I think C. S. Lewis once opined that there were few things lower than a man who is paid to defend certain doctrines and who then works against the doctrines while still taking the money.  He was right.

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46 Responses to Jesuitical 2

  1. Ah, so “Jesuitical” is going to be a series, eh? You really HAVE taken the place of “The Cafeteria Is Closed.”

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Whether it is a series Catholic Anarchist depends upon how many Jesuits in prominent positions say inane things. On that basis I fear it probably will be a series.

  3. In the National Catholic Reporter, Father John P. Lanagan, SJ, of Georgetown…

    I got this far in the post and just knew that the news would be bad.

    Why might that be?

  4. Bret Ramsey says:

    It took you that long Paul?

    It only took me to “In the National Catholic Reporter” to know it was bad news.

  5. Cafeteria is Closed commenters migrated here, I see.

  6. George Crosley says:

    So nice to see a Jesuit in his collar …

  7. Rick Lugari says:

    Cafeteria is Closed commenters migrated here, I see.

    I wouldn’t really know about that, but I can’t see how that would be any less credible than having the ever-morphing hysteric CiC author finding a comfortable home in one’s combox.

  8. paul zummo says:

    But Rick, the political left-wing Church dissident CiC guy is so much better than the right-wing Orthodox CiC guy. Of course he has a welcome home there.

  9. Zak says:

    Fr. Langen was one of my professors, and if he is (in my eyes) insufficiently committed to the ideals of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, he is nonetheless an intelligent and orthodox priest. This man is not Fr. Drinan. He is offering practical wisdom, which is sorely needed. Archbishop Burke may be a holy man and an expert in canon law, but his rhetoric strikes me as counterproductive for the goals of the pro-life movement, because its bombastic nature drives away people who might otherwise be amenable to large parts of our agenda. If one of our goals is to undermine support for Roe vs. Wade, that is not done through raging that “pro-aborts” are the anti-Christ. Who is won over through the efforts of Randall Terry? Where is the incentive for Obama to make small concessions if his speaking at Notre Dame is treated as an invitation to Hitler to preach at Easter mass? An imprudent step by a university is not grounds for some of the statements issued by bishops, just as Bob Casey’s vote for Kathleen Sibelius isn’t grounds for excommunication. If we want conscience-protections preserved, is this rhetoric amenable to that goal? If we want a justice nominated who is not the most extreme on abortion, do we want to blast all nominees equally?

  10. Zak says:

    My impression from both his talk and previous experience with him is that he wants abortion to play a prominent role within a “seamless garment” public philosophy. That didn’t work in the 80s because it wasn’t really a seamless garment; it was a many colored coat which seemed to be patched together (here’s the anti-nuke patch, here’s the anti-abortion patch, here’s the anti-death penalty patch, here’s the economic justice patch). When Popes Benedict and John Paul have discussed politics they situate abortion within a broad framework in the Church’s teaching about respect for the human person. Rarely does a church leader or a Catholic politician articulate such a systematic understanding of social justice and human dignity; partly that’s because of the nature of politics, where individual issues arise and seem to demand individual responses. Partly it’s because American politics is divided into two parties that only pay attention to parts of social teaching. But it’s also because people are too unwilling to look for the good in what others say (witness the harsh responses to Tim Shipe) and see where they can be worked with.

    PS. Fr. Langan’s speech was reported on in NCR, he wasn’t writing for them, as your post suggests.

  11. Matt McDonald says:

    Zak,

    he is nonetheless an intelligent and orthodox priest.

    Umm… intelligent maybe, but on it’s face he is not orthodox.

    I don’t even have to read his statement, he violates canon law when he gets up in the morning and refuses to don his habit:

    Code of Canon Law #284
    Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs

  12. Gerard E. says:

    1. The mark of dissident priests- bad imitations of secular styles. The combover, the striped shirt, the old tie- so five minutes ago.

    2. Something about the Council broke open the dam for many religious orders. Decades of dissent buildingbuildingbuilding until whoosh. Must have come with building of fancy colleges and universities. Georgetown of course the most pronounced. If President Obama were scheduled to speak there not a peep.

    3. They really will have to decide sooner or later Are You Wid Us Or Agin Us. Might have to split from this Roman Catholic structure and try their own. With their own limited followers. Then again, might be too cool to quit. Here I am 66 years old and a bold swinging dissident- ooch there goes my hip.

    4. To Zak- it really is that important. Abortion really is The Great Dividing Line in Catholicism. Separating wheat from chaff. Hip from square. Aging dissident priest with combover and cheap tie with newly ordained and orthodox cleric on fire. It’s playing out now, in optimum conditions of our most pro-abort presidency. Keep it up.

  13. John Gonzalez says:

    Regarding the mundane issue of “suitable ecclesiastical garb.” the commentary of canon 284 stats:
    “It would certainly be within the spirit of the law in the United States today to limit the use of clerical attire to situations in which the cleric is on duty, actually functioning as a cleric, or attending formal gatherings in the diocese. He could, for example, wear sport clothes while traveling or attending class.” So with this lets leave Fr. Lanagan’s attire to himself and his Bishop.

    And now with regards to the more important issue of abortion. Let us consult with what the Bishops say in “Faithful Citizenship:”

    “A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.”

    Abortion is not the Great Dividing Line. The Gospel is not that narrow. The Gospel is a Gospel of Life and Life at the service of God and all of God’s people is the great dividing line. Here is where abortion, as an issue, find its place of preeminence as an intrinsic evil that is opposed to life. But to be blind of all sins that destroy and damage the dignity of life (War, torture, racism, poverty) is to juggle with the value of Life itself. If you visit the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) site you will find that many Bishops have congratulated Obama for a number of issues including Torture and recently the budget that provides for those in need. The Pope had sent his own congratulatory note to Obama and soon will be receiving him as a guest. These positions of political attack do not come from an altruistic Catholic outcry, Rather they seem to defend a partisan agenda that chooses to ignore an entire tradition of our Catholic teachings.

  14. Umm… intelligent maybe, but on it’s face he is not orthodox.

    Who do you think you are?

    I don’t even have to read his statement, he violates canon law when he gets up in the morning and refuses to don his habit

    “I don’t have to listen to him. He wears a tie.”

    What a joke.

  15. To everyone:

    While I agree that priests should wear clerics as often as possible, it is uncharitable to mock a priest who is not wearing clerics on his wardrobe. Comments about his tie and collar, etc. are not befitting.

    To Gerald E.:

    I think abortion might be a good political sign of orthodoxy, in personal lives the sharpest issue seems to be contraception.

    Of course, the question of why contraception doesn’t play a bigger role in Catholic politics might be an interesting question to ponder and discussion.

  16. Matt McDonald says:

    Re: clerics

    I did not mock him, nor did I presume to judge him. I did suggest that he ought not to be listened to (for that reason anyway). I simply pointed out that he lives a life in violation of canon law, as a direct refute to the statement that he is “orthodox”. Orthodox priests wear clerics whenever possible to do so reasonably. Gardening in comfortable clothes? Fine. Athletic clothing during sports? Fine. If the situation calls for a layperson to wear a shirt and tie it certainly calls for a priest to wear his clerics in OBEDIENCE to the laws of the Church, it’s not so mundane that it was left out and so it ought to be obeyed.

    Michael D.,

    on contraception as the personal issue you are absolutely correct. Far more people walk out on a sermon on contraception than abortion. Though, I’m not so sure it’s a political issue as such, at least of the same priority or possibility in the current milieu.

  17. McDonald – The canon law you refer to clearly makes reference to “legitimate local customs.” This is obviously and purposefully open to interpretation. You are welcome to hold a narrow view of this law, but to simply call the priest in question “unorthodox” is ridiculous.

  18. Zak says:

    There is a difference between orthodoxy and and orthopraxis. And is the cheapness of the tie really the issue? Would I prefer priests to wear their clerics? Yes. Did someone appoint me (or you) the appropriate interpreter of canon 284? No. It’s too bad his ordinary is a “moral coward” to use the terms of another abortion-only Catholic, or else maybe he’d excommunicate Langan for his attire.

    In his talk, he said nothing that seemed unorthodox to me. He’s not dealing with Christian doctrine; he’s dealing with prudential matters of how to frame the issue of abortion and other political issues so as to create the optimal outcome.

    The message of Christianity is not, “are you with us or against us.”

  19. I did not mock him, nor did I presume to judge him.

    You certainly did judge him when you said he was not orthodox.

  20. j. christian says:

    Every time someone says that “abortion is not the great dividing line,” he trots out a constellation of issues that supposedly counterbalance the life issues. But I have yet to see a pro-war, pro-torture, pro-poverty, AND pro-racism candidate. It’s a false opposition. If the choice were as dire as that, then we’d have something serious to discuss. A president cannot wave away poverty or racism with a magic wand. He has less leeway in foreign policy than you believe. You’re chasing fleeting hopes on all these fronts… Meanwhile, a pro-Roe Supreme Court justice is retiring, and there is an actual, real, tangible political action that a president could’ve taken in a meaningful way.

    Thanks for all your “nuanced” ideas about being pro-life, folks.

  21. Anon says:

    Look, Michael “The Church is heterosexist” Iafrate is worried about people being labeled unorthodox. Gee, I wonder why he’d be nervous about that . . . .

  22. John Henry says:

    Anon,

    Michael did not say ‘the Church is heterosexist,’ directly (as far as I can tell), and so the quotation marks are inappropriate, even if you believe that he implied it by calling someone else ‘heterosexist’. Additionally, I do not see what good comes from taunting him with that quote (which isn’t even a quote) on multiple comment threads. If comment threads are going to be tolerable (or interesting), we can’t just keep dredging up the same old past disagreements every single thread.

  23. Anon says:

    He used the term “heterosexist,” twice, to describe the Church’s position that marriage is for a man and woman. My quote is a perfectly accurate summary of what Iafrate was saying. Moreover, it is not an “old past disagreement” . . . no one, not even other commenters, over at Vox Nova had the courage to disagree with Iafrate’s use of the term “heterosexist.” The only point is to remind him of the shaky ground he stands on when he pretends to care about other people’s fidelity to the Church (since he’s such an obvious dissenter himself).

  24. Matt McDonald says:

    Zak,

    you seem to have forgotten that I was responding to your claim that the priest is orthodox, not a claim that the article was orthodox (which it is not).

    he is nonetheless an intelligent and orthodox priest.

    you made a claim about his character, I demonstrated that claim, ON IT’S FACE is not true. Nothing anyone has said refutes what I said.

  25. Anon,

    I share your sentiment that Michael is someone who takes rather too much joy in treading the peripheries of Catholic orthodoxy, all the while spouting off mightily at all and sundry. However, to be totally precise, Michael did not say that the Church was heterosexist. He responded to the statement:

    …we should proclaim loudly, proudly, respectfully, forcefully that marriage between one man and one woman is the very foundation of a good and properly ordered society.

    With:
    Keep doing your part to give ideological-linguistic justification to racism and sexism (and, judging from your last comment, heterosexism!).

    [link]

    Now since the first comment was entirely compatible with with Church’s view of marriage, and Michael proceeded to brand it as “heterosexism”, we can probably conclude that Michael is at least somewhat at variance with the Church’s position. (Or else that, like a toddle finding toys upon the floor, Michael can’t see a good buzzword without putting it in his mouth.) But although that’s probably a reasonable conclusion, it’s still not necessary to bring it up all the time.

  26. Anon says:

    But if Iafrate had ever defended himself on that point, then it would be correct to refer to a past “disagreement.” So far, there’s been no disagreement; just statements of blatant heresy without any discussion or disagreement from anyone else. So, if you like, I’m trying to get Iafrate to actually have a discussion about his heretical views, for the first time.

  27. Anon says:

    But although that’s probably a reasonable conclusion, it’s still not necessary to bring it up all the time.

    OK, OK. Not necessary. But you know it’s fun . . . .

  28. Donald R. McClarey says:

    This thread is going rather far afield. Whether the Catholic Anarchist’s views are orthodox or heterodox is not the subject matter of this thread. Let’s stay on topic please.

  29. Mike Petrik says:

    Matt,
    In all fairness I do not think that violation of any particular provision of canon law necessarily renders one a heretic. Moreover, I doubt that a priest’s decision to wear conventional clothing automatically violates canon 284. I would imagine context and frequency both matter here.

  30. Zak says:

    No Matt, you demonstrated that you don’t like his clothes. You seem to have ignored the proper distinction between practice and belief, as well as the numerous statements opposing your contradiction of canon 284 (as well as the legitimacy of your authority to judge others regarding it).

  31. Matt McDonald says:

    Mike,

    If you read the canon in English it does. I didn’t call him a heretic, I am referring to his acts of disobedience, which in my book suggests a lack of orthodoxy.

    Zak,

    so you claim for yourself authority to declare a man “orthodox” despite his violations of canon law, and attack my “authority” to observe that he does in fact act in violation of canon law…

  32. Joe says:

    I encourage all readers who know Jesuits to send them this link where it is not the commentary but the indented excerpt from a letter of Fr Arrupe that is worth reading: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otr.cfm?id=4507&repos=6&subrepos=4&searchid=460941
    “because the opposition to the encyclical has become widespread in some places, I wish to delay no longer before calling to mind once more our duty as Jesuits. With regard to the successor of Peter, the only response for us is an attitude of obedience which is at once loving, firm, open and truly creative. I do not say that this is necessarily painless and easy.”
    “A teaching such as the one he (scil. the Pope) presents merits assent not simply because of the reasons he offers, but also, and above all, because of the charism which enables him to present it. Guided by the authentic word of the Pope — a word that need not be infallible to be highly respected — every Jesuit owes it to himself, by reason of his vocation, to do everything possible to penetrate, and to help others penetrate, into the thought which may not have been his own previously; however, as he goes beyond the evidence available to him personally, he finds or will find a solid foundation for it.”
    and ”
    You understand well that it is the spirit of the Constitutions which inspires me as I write these words. For, as the Constitutions tell us in substance, each member of the Society must remember that his personal manner of serving God is realized through a faithful obedience to the Roman Pontiff. That is why I am certain that today too, the Society is able to show itself worthy of four centuries of complete fidelity to the Holy See. It certainly cannot be said that the Second Vatican Council has changed all this.”

  33. e. says:

    To be fair, Matt does have a point.

    If Zak were to question Matt’s “legitimacy of [his] authority to judge” the priest as such, then what exactly is the basis for Zak’s own legitimate authority to judge the priest as ultimately being “orthodox”?

    Surely, there needs be more to such legitimate authority than simply crying out a creed of certain liberalist notion of what one actually considers “orthodox” even in matters as this.

    That is something I could never understand of the liberal mind; while they, like Zak, seem wont to express some notion of liberal right for all to freely speak & believe as they feel thus; should a conservative himself dare to believe/speak his own mind, such right is automatically rendered null.

  34. Matt McDonald says:

    1994 Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests

    66. Obligation of Ecclesiastical Attire.

    In a secularised and materialistic society, where the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to disappear, it is particularly important that the community be able to recognise the priest, man of God and dispenser of his mysteries, by his attire as well, which is an unequivocal sign of his dedication and his identity as a public minister. The priest should be identifiable primarily through his conduct, but also by his manner of dressing, which makes visible to all the faithful, indeed and to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and the Church.

    For this reason, the clergy should wear “suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and the legitimate local custom”. This means that the attire, when it is not the cassock, must be different from the manner in which the laity dress, and conform to the dignity and sacredness of his ministry. The style and colour should be established by the Episcopal Conference, always in agreement with the dispositions of the universal law.

    Because of their incoherence with the spirit of this discipline, contrary practices cannot be considered legitimate customs; and should be removed by the competent authority.

    Outside of entirely exceptional cases, a cleric’s failure to use this proper ecclesiastical attire could manifest a weak sense of his identity

  35. Just a very brief response to the distortion of what I said, quoted here, if you will allow me the opportunity to defend myself once again, which is only fair since you allowed “Anon”‘s off topic and blatantly FALSE accusations to stand. (I do not intend to derail the thread further.)

    My comment (to translate it for you, since you didn’t get it) was to indicate that the person I was conversing with was using the Church’s teaching on sexuality as an ideological justification for his own heterosexism. The Church’s teaching is not heterosexist. The authentic teaching of the Church opposes heterosexism. But what the Church does say about homosexuality can be used in support of heterosexist views. I do not believe the Church’s teaching on sexuality is heterosexist.

    I hope that clears things up for “Anon” (i.e. Stuart Buck) and Darwin who judged the lie to be a “reasonable conclusion.”

    Thanks. That is the last time that I will address the subject. I’d appreciate it if AC bloggers would respect my views enough not to allow such accusations to stand.

  36. Zak says:

    I will correct what I wrote – I have never heard him utter any unorthodox words, nor did I ever hear complaints about him from friends (some of them very conservative Catholics) who took his classes on St. Thomas Aquinas. That is what I meant – evaluating what I have seen and heard from him in light of Catholic doctrine as best I understand it. Perhaps my profession of his orthodoxy was somewhat presumptuous.

    You continue to misunderstand what the word orthodox means if you think clothes have something to do with it. Orthodoxy applies to belief.

    I am no liberal; if Archbishop Wuerl or the Rector of the Jesuit community at Georgetown were to order the Jesuits there to where priestly attire in all situations where it is possible (excluding exercise, etc.) I would applaud the decision. I certainly believe their should be more authority than what I understand orthodoxy to be – thankfully, there is one, and it is not Matt McDonald. There is Archbishop Wuerl, the ordinary in the diocese where Fr. Langan is located. There is the USCCB Committee on Doctrine. There is the CDF. There is the pope. Since he is a Jesuit, and not a diocesan priest, there are his Rector and the Provincial, and finally the superior general of the Society of Jesus. All of these are legitimate authorities over Fr. Langan. If any of these had criticized Fr. Langan, as they have some other priests that have been at Georgetown, I would accept their actions. What upsets me is the lay “Madame Defarges” constantly looking out for “liberalist” (side note: when liberal already is both adjective and noun, one needn’t create a neologism from it) priests to attack.

  37. Matt McDonald says:

    Zak,

    for your benefit, let me repost this paragraph which is binding on all priests, even if they are in Abp. Weurl’s diocese:

    Matt McDonald Says:
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 A.D. at 3:04 pm

    1994 Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests

    66. Obligation of Ecclesiastical Attire.

    In a secularised and materialistic society, where the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to disappear, it is particularly important that the community be able to recognise the priest, man of God and dispenser of his mysteries, by his attire as well, which is an unequivocal sign of his dedication and his identity as a public minister. The priest should be identifiable primarily through his conduct, but also by his manner of dressing, which makes visible to all the faithful, indeed and to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and the Church.

    For this reason, the clergy should wear “suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and the legitimate local custom”. This means that the attire, when it is not the cassock, must be different from the manner in which the laity dress, and conform to the dignity and sacredness of his ministry. The style and colour should be established by the Episcopal Conference, always in agreement with the dispositions of the universal law.

    Because of their incoherence with the spirit of this discipline, contrary practices cannot be considered legitimate customs; and should be removed by the competent authority.

    Outside of entirely exceptional cases, a cleric’s failure to use this proper ecclesiastical attire could manifest a weak sense of his identity

    So you see, while orthodoxy is based on believe, lack of orthopraxy is a reasonable demonstration of a lack of orthodoxy. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Cloths have something to do with it.

    Why do you suppose that the Abp. is the highest authority in the CHurch? It seems to me you are conveniently leaning on the example of one who refuses to exercise that authority even when the Laws of the Church demand it.

  38. Matt McDonald says:

    ps. Perhaps my profession of his orthodoxy was somewhat presumptuous.

    which was my point in the first place. In any event, his attack on the Church’s stance against abortion is hardly demonstrating orthodoxy, while it MAY be absent any clear heresy, it certainly doesn’t sound like he is showing the degree of obedience demanded of priests, nor does he demonstrate the level of compassion for the unborn that the Church has expected.

  39. Zak says:

    He did not attack the church’s stance against abortion. He criticized particular tactics as being counterproductive. To whom is he being disobedient? Your claim about his heterodoxy is equally presumptuous (based upon circumstantial evidence related to waterfowl).

    The Archbishop is certainly not the highest authority. He is, nevertheless, the competent authority in his diocese, where Georgetown is located (although as regards religious orders, his authority is somewhat limited – to issues of the sacraments and teaching, I believe).

  40. Matt McDonald says:

    Zak,

    He did not attack the church’s stance against abortion. He criticized particular tactics as being counterproductive.

    Bishops who try to make abortion the sole or overriding political issue for Catholics are “marginalizing the church’s political influence,”

    The Church has clearly made abortion and euthanasia the overriding moral issues, but they are moral issues, not political ones.

    a tendency which thoughtful religious people should look at critically and should try to mitigate rather than reinforce with one-sided demands for righteousness, demands which often turn out to be narrowly focused and rigidly exclusive.

    Should we not be narrowly focussed on the gravest and most pervasive evils in society? Doesn’t the Church say that?

    “There seems to be a fairly strong prima facie case for Catholics to support the Obama administration and its agenda as an effort to move American society somewhat closer to the ideals of Catholic social thought and to move our society forward from the pit which it has dug for itself,” he said.

    So, we should compromise on abortion, and get on the Obama bandwagon. Doesn’t sound orthodox to me.

    proposed path out of that impasse for many Catholic Democrats – not criminalizing abortion, but implementing a social and economic agenda that aims to reduce the number of abortions – “does not satisfy the followers and teachers of the straight and narrow path which leads to the absolute prohibition of abortion, a path which actually leads over some very rough territory and which may well be blocked by insurmountable constitutional and political obstacles.”

    His juxtoposition betwen the “thoughtful” Catholic Dems who say they want abortion to be safe legal and rare, with those “followers and teachers of the straight and narrow path” clearly places those who support the Church’s position on abortion in a negative light, if not declaring them to be in error.

    “Pro-life Democrats—and some pro-life Republicans as well—are looking for the Obama administration to offer reassurances with regard to conscience clauses [protecting health care workers who conscientiously oppose abortion] and some signs that it is prepared to take seriously the goal of making abortion rare as well as safe and legal.

    is he not presenting this morally repugnant compromise in a postive light?

    To whom is he being disobedient?

    I didn’t say he was being disobedient, I said his rejection of the Church’s approach and the many bishops reinforcing it does not IMPLY obedience.

    Your claim about his heterodoxy is equally presumptuous (based upon circumstantial evidence related to waterfowl).

    I did not claim he was “heterodox”, I simply claimed that his dress does not suggest orthodoxy.

    The Archbishop is certainly not the highest authority. He is, nevertheless, the competent authority in his diocese, where Georgetown is located (although as regards religious orders, his authority is somewhat limited – to issues of the sacraments and teaching, I believe).

    NO, the Abp. is responsible for overseeing all matters of faith and morals in his diocese. He does not have a right to ignore canon law, nor do the Jesuit superiors. Both have responsibility to ensure that legitimate norms are enforced.

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