Thursday, April 16, 2015

Divisiveness: the unforgivable sin

Influential Catholics call for removal of San Francisco archbishop:
A powerful cross-section of Catholics in the San Francisco archdiocese is asking Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, saying the archbishop has "fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance."
In an April 16 full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle, more than 100 signers say the embattled archbishop pursues "a single-issue agenda," coercing teachers with a "morality code which violates individual consciences as well as California labor laws" and "[isolating] himself from our community" as he "relies ... on a tiny group of advisors recruited from outside of our diocese and estranged from their own religious orders."
Referring to themselves as "committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II," signers include well-known philanthropists in the archdiocese, members of school and university boards, the former director of Catholic Charities CYO, high-profile attorneys and physicians, major figures in the business and corporate world, and officials of trusts, foundations and charitable organizations.
Whenever Catholic rabbit people start whining about intolerance or divisiveness, it's helpful to recall the words of our Savior:
"Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.  For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And as a man's enemies shall be they of his own household." - Matthew 10:34-36
That's just one of many examples. Jesus regularly speaks of those who love the world more than he and how they are not worthy to follow him. He says that those who do not eat his flesh nor drink his blood have no life in them. He says those who reject him reject God the Father. He said that in the Final Judgment he will separate the sheep from the goats, and that the latter shall be cast into the lake of fire where they will burn for all eternity with their master Satan. In other words, our Lord said many things that should strike modern ears as being harsh, divisive, and worst of all, judgmental. Thanks be to God we're so much smarter, so much more loving and tolerant than all of those mean old saints, doctors, martyrs, and popes, right?

Catholics are infamously ignorant of Scripture compared to some Protestant fundamentalist sects. St. Jerome said that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. In practice, this means we're unequipped to respond when liberals and Modernists hijack the Gospel. If we do not know the real Christ as testified in the New Testament, then we cannot answer when the rabbits speak of how Jesus is our boyfriend who loves us just the way we are, and makes no demands of us, and never, ever judges anyone not named Adolf Hitler or Marcel Lefebvre.
There is a press conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today at the Merchants Exchange Building owned by Clint Reilly, reportedly one of the major drivers behind the open letter and a prominent figure in San Francisco civic life. Reilly is a former chair of Catholic Charities CYO's board and is president and chairman of Clinton Reilly Holdings.
The signers of the Chronicle ad criticized what they called "the absolute mean-spiritedness of [Cordileone's] required language for the Archdiocesan high school faculty handbook" that "sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.
"Students, families and teachers have been deeply wounded by this language, yet the Archbishop refuses to withdraw his demands," the ad continues.
God bless Cordileone for staying strong. Heh, "wounded." They're trying to have an archbishop removed from his position because he said things - true things it should be pointed out - that hurt their feelings. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Remember that when rabbity SJWs accuse you of mean-spiritedness, or hatefulness, or bigotry, or of being an "angry white man," they're almost never referring to actual insults or serious attempts to harm others. Cordileone expects teachers in Archdiocesan Catholic schools to uphold Catholic doctrine in the classroom. One point of doctrine they object to is the intrinsically evil nature of sodomy and artificial contraception. It is the teaching of the Church that sodomy and contraception are mortal sins for which you will burn in hell for all eternity if you do not repent, confess, and do penance.

You seldom hear Catholic clergy put it in those terms anymore, but no matter how much they dance around the subject with paaaaastoral language, that remains the doctrine of the Church. And it is that to which the Modernists object. The smarter ones know that doctrine itself cannot change so they prefer that we just never talk about it. That which goes unspoken eventually goes unthought. For example, Jesus Christ speaks of the existence of hell and the possibility of going there more than any other figure in the Bible. How often do you hear hell mentioned in a Catholic homily? I expect most Catholics would be shocked at the black and white nature of the demands Jesus makes of us.

The liberal Modernist version of Christ is not at all an attractive figure. I'm not alone in thinking this; over the last 50 years, millions of men worldwide have voted with their feet. The Christ I know from Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium challenges us and warns us of the consequences of turning away from him. He offers us the only Way, the Truth, and the Life: himself. He knows our weaknesses and our tendency toward sin. That's why he always stands ready to forgive us and help us begin again when we fall.

I don't claim to be a great evangelist, but I'd ask my five loyal readers to be honest: that short thumbnail sketch of Christ I just penned is a bit more compelling than the invisible non-judgmental boyfriend the Modernists offer us, eh? Of course it is. You may even think it poorly written but it's rooted in the truth. The truth is the truth regardless of our feelings.

If nothing else, stories like these confirm why I wouldn't be happy as a diocesan priest. Priests are trained to greet angry parishioners like these with soothing platitudes and invitations to fruitful dialogue where we peacefully work out our differences in all charity. In contrast, my every instinct says to respond to the petition with, "I'll tell you wrinkled old hippies where you can stick your dirty money." When this latest rabbity temper tantrum first came into the news, I sent the Arch an email telling him he has my prayers and support for what they're worth. My prayer is that he'll stay strong. If he shows them that he won't be intimidated by their childish fist pounding, they'll back down.


  1. "I don't claim to be a great evangelist, but I'd ask my five loyal readers to be honest: that short thumbnail sketch of Christ I just penned is a bit more compelling than the invisible non-judgmental boyfriend the Modernists offer us, eh?"

    That's great and all, but as an outsider looking in to all your churches, how do I distinguish between your compelling Jesus and the other compelling Jesus that, say, some Eastern Orthodox have who's going to throw all Catholics in gehenna for adulterating the symbol of faith with their filioque nonsense and polluting their prayer with sensual imaginings?

    Honest question. At this point I've read Eastern Orthodox denouncing Catholics, Catholics denouncing Eastern Orthodox, Old Calendar Orthodox denouncing New Calendar Orthodox (and each other), SSPX denouncing cafeteria Catholics, traditionalist Catholics denouncing SSPX separatists, and every kind of rancor and division under the sun. My only conclusions so far are that if I all want is to be scared straight, any one of a dozen traditions provides the necessary psychological pressure to do so. If I want the Truth, poring through everyone's pretensions to be the sole heir and claimant to it does not clear things up. If I treat the differences as immaterial, and 'just join a Church you sinner, they're pretty much the same', I'm a heretical ecumenist. What am I missing?

    1. I commend you for your approach. Choosing a Church to join, if that's what you're considering, is a serious thing with serious repercussions. Obviously I'm biased toward the Catholic Church and my answers to your questions will steer you in that direction.

      It sounds as if you've read a lot of apologetic and polemical works, so I won't rehash them now. In my own case, I spent three years studying the different churches before I took action and formally joined. Suffice it to say, I found the Catholic Church's positions to be convincing and compelling, specifically regarding the papacy. Are there specific intellectual roadblocks you're grappling with? Either I or any number of professional writers and apologists can help you with those. Ultimately it's the Holy Spirit that grants conviction and moves people to formal conversion. I wish you the best in your studies.

    2. Thanks for the well-wishes. In a certain sense, my roadblocks are more emotional than intellectual in nature. The process of 'studying the different churches' has only made me suspicious of reasoning myself into one denomination or another based on what I think is compelling evidence. I see too many people who are obviously in their religion merely because its doctrines happen to appeal to them -- a case of believing what they want to believe. Say, it is clear from your blog that you are a hard-hitting type of person, and therefore a hard-hitting religion would appeal to you -- one could suspect that the hard sayings quoted above did not draw an emotional objection, and lacking that, any intellectual objections were easier to deal with.

      Whereas I have a mushy, sentimental disposition and correspondingly gravitate towards the most universalist version of each denomination and end up mired in evidence-less arguments about whether few or many people are damned. This leads me to make conclusions such as the following (comment on

      "It might be argued that all this concern about Heaven and Hell is irrelevant; I can perfectly well love my neighbour while he is burning in Hell in accordance to God’s justice. But if I do not love my neighbour as myself, I am not fulfilling the commandment; and if I do love my neighbour as myself, it should make no difference to me whether it is my neighbour that is punished in Hell, or whether I am punished in Hell. This peculiar insistence I have on my own salvation, a matter in no wise necessary to God’s justice, seems to violate the commandment unless I insist the same for my neighbour."

      That is, I pray and insist every day that I not be allowed to enter into eternal life unless all manner of godless people enter ahead of me, or at worst get dragged in on my coattails. A friend of mine, say, committed suicide, and while I cannot be blamed for that death in the judgment of mankind, my conduct leading up to it strikes me as deplorable -- it would seem plainly wrong for God to deploy His forgiveness to the extent that my friend were to die the eternal death, and I were to live. That experience sort of takes the steam out of wanting to chase my own salvation in a One True Church untroubled as to the fate of damned multitudes.

      You can see what I mean by my stumbling points being more emotional in nature. My provisional conclusion from all this is that comparing Churches is less productive (for me) than the hard work of repentance, and comparing where I fall short of what I (currently) know is right -- the former leads to more polemics than I can make heads or tails of, with no answer to my actual questions. The latter is the only leverage I have to make it more likely that God will -- if necessary -- express Himself unambiguously.