|Mallon's Media Watch|
Saturday, May 11, 2002
Inside the Vatican magazine in The Hauge, The Netherlands.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mark Shea has some good comments on this today on his blog
Mark Shea has some good comments on this today on his blogand The Washington Times does as well. Another one here.
Hello, Good Man++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sister Mary Bill Keller Explains it All for You
John Mallon's commentary on Is the Pope Catholic? By Bill Keller, The New York Times May 4, 2002 (No, Mallon's comments were not in the New York Times)
(Keller in Italics, Mallon's comments in plain text)
Bill Keller's op-ed, Is the Pope Catholic? in The New York Times is stunning in its ignorance. I read his bio which accompanied his article on the web, and was amazed that a man with such a distinguished background could be so class-free in discussing a great religion and be so smug and snide towards a religion that is not his own. If a Catholic wrote such an article about another religion there would be a riot.
Actually, Keller refers to himself as a "collapsed Catholic." He'll get no argument from me. In the commentary that follows excerpts from his article are in Italics. My remarks are in plain text.
He starts out fairly reasonably but then slips in this little dig:
The Catholic bishops and their Vatican handlers...
Oh, if only, Mr. Keller, if only the US bishops were handled by Rome we wouldn't be in this mess.
This paragraph is where he starts to get wound up:
One paradox of the Polish pope is that while he is rightly revered for helping bring down the godless Communists, he has replicated something very like the old Communist Party in his church.
I'll get back to this...
Karol Wojtyla has shaped a hierarchy that is intolerant of dissent...
Really? Where are they?
... The Communists mouthed pieties about "social justice" and the rule of the working class while creating a corrupt dictatorship of bureaucrats.
You mean like what we have now with liberal priests and nuns?
Like the Communist Party circa Leonid Brezhnev, the Vatican exists first and foremost to preserve its own power. This is disheartening for the many good Catholics who hope this crisis will provoke a renaissance in their church. Nobody quite says it this way, but one reason many Catholics see the moment as ripe for reform is that this pope is on his last legs. Soon, the hope goes, a vigorous new leader may emerge.
Don't start that! JPII is the vigorous new leader. God in His mercy sent him to us in 1978. I love it when these people say JPII "turned back the clock" on Vatican II or "stifled renewal." John Paul II wrote Vatican II! Well, not all of it, but he was one of the brightest of the young bishops there.
If he is expecting the next pope to be a raving liberal who will overturn everything John Paul II did, he shouldn't hold his breath. Thankfully John Paul has outlived most of that generation. Besides, popes don't overturn the work of their successors, they continue it, because it is the Holy Spirit who governs the Church through the successor of Peter.
And what kind of "renaissance" does he have in mind? Contraception, abortion, divorce and remarriage, buying into the sexual revolution, which is heading quickly in the direction of increased sexualization of children? Wow! Legal pedophilia! Full circle! What is he complaining about?
Maybe so. But like the Communists, John Paul has carefully constructed a Kremlin that will be inhospitable to a reformer. He has strengthened the Vatican equivalent of the party Central Committee, called the Curia, and populated it with reactionaries.
Reactionary? Ah, yes, like the gentle, courteous academic Cardinal Ratzinger? Yes, it is reactionary to expect what is presented as Catholic really is Catholic. What a concept.
Now, about comparing John Paul II and the Vatican to Soviet Communism. . .
Earth to Bill: There is a big difference between Catholics in America who feel "oppressed" by the pontificate of John Paul II and those who actually were oppressed under Communism: They can leave. If they want their contraception blessed, and ordained priestesses there is nothing stopping them from going down to the good folks with the sign that says "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." They can become good Episcopalians ... like Bill Keller. Except that if they were good Episcopalians instead of rebellious Catholics the media would drop them like a stone. That settles that.
He has put a stamp of papal infallibility on the issue of ordaining women, making it more difficult for a successor to come to terms with the issue.
No, the Holy Spirit did that. And who is this Episcopalian telling Catholics what their Church needs to do. See Bill, some of us don't think ordaining women is the next step in some kind of moral evolution. Some of us think God set the deal up and made men and women different for a reason and actual believing Catholic women don't feel they have to prove anything by doing everything men do. They think "just" being a woman is pretty good. The liberal reasoning on this reminds me of the guy who wanted to get a sex change operation so he could be a lesbian. I don't know how he ended up but I'm sure whatever it is he's politically correct.
He has trained bishops that the path of advancement is obsequious obedience to himself.
Again, where can we find those bishops? I want one in my diocese.
Alarmed by priests who showed too much populist sympathy for their parishioners, the pope, according to the Notre Dame historian R. Scott Appleby, has turned seminaries into factories of conformity, begetting a generation of inflexible young priests who have no idea how to talk to real-life Catholics.
Populist sympathy? You mean like the priests who do Al Gore sighs and ridicule young married couples who want to learn Natural Family Planning, obey the Church and be generous with life? I agree, the conformity issue is a real problem. If you're heterosexual and orthodox you may have trouble fitting in. I don't know Scott Appleby but he's starting to sound like a protégé of Richard McBrien. Ooo! What an awful thing to say about someone!
Next month, after years of resistance, the American church is supposed to begin requiring that theologians teaching in Catholic universities accept a "mandatum" from their bishops, a pledge of allegiance to doctrinal orthodoxy.
Oh... so you mean students who go to a Catholic university can actually learn Catholic theology instead of some theologian's wishful thinking and charlatanism?
The American bishops fear this will stifle intellectual discussion, but the pope insists. No glasnost on his watch.
Intellectual discussion... I agree. I think orthodox students at Catholic universities should be allowed to contribute to a discussion without the professor rolling his eyes.
Nor is the pope about to let America's uppity laity exploit the current crisis to claim a greater voice in their own affairs.
Yes, the American liberal clergy that run the middle management are never going to allow orthodox lay people to have a say in things.
The American policy on handling sexual abuse is to be dictated by Rome.
It is? That would solve everything!
And while a large majority of Catholics want leaders who mishandled marauding priests to resign, the culpability of bishops is not even on the Vatican's agenda. It now seems clear that the pope declined to let Cardinal Law resign because he feared it might give the laity the idea their opinion mattered.
Is that the reason? Bill's got a direct line.
What reform might mean in the church is something I leave to Catholics who care more than I do.
So you wrote this whole article for nothing? Next time spare yourself the trouble.
I am what a friend calls a "collapsed Catholic" — well beyond lapsed — and therefore claim no voice in whom the church ordains or how it prays or what it chooses to call a sin.
Now you tell us!
But the struggle within the church is interesting as part of a larger struggle within the human race, between the forces of tolerance and absolutism.
You mean they have replaced good and evil as the larger struggle? So it's good to be tolerant? Always? Is it good to tolerate evil. But Bill is pretty intolerant of Catholicism... Should we tolerate the sex scandals in the Church? Or condemn them absolutely? Which is it Bill? Are there absolutely no absolutes? You just sawed off the limb your article was sitting on. Cool!
Bill, your small-c is too small! And so is your understanding. Um... do you have anything a little more recent than the Crusades? And don't be so hard on the inquisitors, they're still around only today we call them the enforcers of Political Correctness ... you know ... liberals.
That seemed destined to change after the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, which relaxed the grip of the papal apparat and elevated the importance of individual conscience. The Vatican II spirit of a more open and dynamic church invigorated American Catholic support for civil rights and other liberal causes. But it soon ran smack-dab into the sexual revolution.
Bill, I hate to break it to you, but the liberal of 1965 is not the liberal of 2002. By the way, have you ever read the documents of Vatican II? You know, the stuff Wojtyla wrote?
Probably no institution run by a fraternity of aging celibates was going to reconcile easily with a movement that embraced the equality of women, abortion on demand and gay rights.
Where have you been, Bill? The Church embraced the equality of women before everybody else; in the first century.
Abortion and gay rights ... Bill, who says Catholics have to accept these things? You? When we believe that God says we must not accept these things, what higher authority are you offering that says we have to?
It is possible, though, to imagine a leadership that would have given it a try. In fact, Pope Paul VI indicated some interest in adopting a more lenient view of birth control, and he handpicked a committee of prominent Catholics who endorsed the idea almost by acclamation. The pope agonized, and then astonished Catholics by reaffirming the old ban.
So? Oh. I guess Bill Clinton should have been pope and taken a poll.
"If you want to look for where credibility on human sexuality got lost, it got lost there," said the Catholic University sociologist William D'Antonio.
Maybe that's where William D'Antonio lost his credibility. Along with everybody else.
There is some reason to believe that the man who changed that pope's mind on birth control was the Polish cardinal who would succeed him. Whether or not that is true, once Cardinal Wojtyla ascended to the papacy he adhered to the most austere, doctrinaire view of sexual ethics, and the most hierarchical concept of church governance.
Oh, Bill you're just a dumb-ass! Have you ever read the dazzlingly beautiful volumes John Paul II has written on human sexuality? His theology of the body? Wake up! You don't know what you're talking about!
Implored by Catholics to consider, at least, the lifesaving power of condoms in the age of AIDS, John Paul II was unyielding.
Bill, let me explain this to you slowly. Condoms are designed to prevent pregnancy. The latex contains pores that are 70 times larger than the AIDS virus. Okay? They DON'T WORK as an AIDS prevention gimmick. Do you want to read this over again? In other words, a homosexual depending on condoms to protect him is playing Russian Roulette. Get it? It's good to be unyielding when lives are at stake.
How about the lifesaving power of keeping your pants on? Contrary to what you may have heard, that won't kill you.
He actually grouped contraception with genocide in a litany of "intrinsically evil" acts that condemn sinners to hell for eternity. "The vast majority of Catholic married couples, that is, stand on the wrong side of the abyss with Hitler and Pol Pot," as Charles R. Morris observed in his splendid history of American Catholicism.
Yeah, I hear this preached every Sunday. But, you've got a point. After all, who is the Pope next to Charles R. Morris? The Pope should sit and learn at his feet. William D'Antonio's, too.
In America most Catholics ignore the pope on this, as they do on divorce and remarriage, abortion, sex out of wedlock, homosexuality and many other things Rome condemns as violations of natural law.
Bill, Rome didn't condemn these things, Jesus did. Rome is just passing it on. Don't shoot the messenger! By the way, Most people ignored Jesus too in His day. In fact, John's Gospel Chapter 6, has a whole bunch of people getting up and walking out on Him. Jesus didn't chase them: "Hey fellas! You misunderstood! Let's dialogue! Lets take a poll!" No. He let them go. How terrifying.
It seems fair to say that a church that was not so estranged from its own members on subjects of sex and gender, a more collegial church, would have handled the issue of child abuse earlier and better.
Well that settles it. I guess the Church has to get down on its knees and kiss the ass of the god of sex and gender.
By the way Bill, why do so many people who conform to the ideas you are here expressing think that more liberalism will solve the problem of moral turpitude? Here's some gasoline, Bill, go put out that fire.
There is a dwindling population of older Catholic conservatives who say, in effect, the pope's the man, love it or leave it.
Right Bill. Why don't you throw a World Youth Day and see who shows up?
And there is a growing population of American Catholics who are doing just that — withdrawing tacitly from Rome while keeping the faith in their own parishes, if they happen to have accommodating clergy, or in their own hearts.
Like I said, Bill, Jesus didn't call them back.
Whether the church will reform, or fracture, or continue this continental drift, I have no way of knowing, but I wonder how long faith withstands such a corrosive rain of hypocrisy.
Bill, real faith can withstand anything, even the corrosive hypocrisy of articles like yours. God love you.
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
Commentary Copyright 2002 John Mallon
Friday, May 10, 2002
This guy screens seminarians++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"The psychologist [Dr. David J. Brown, a clinical psychologist under contract with the Altoona-Johnstown diocese] says the characterization [of him in Michael Rose's book Goodbye, Good Men] is false, the author is a hate-monger, and his conservative critics are; the Catholic Taliban.' "
Well, this guy's nuanced, eh?
“Part of Rose’s central thesis is that ultra-liberals and gays have taken over the process of becoming a priest, and that I only give liberals or gays a recommendation. That’s false and paranoid,”
“These people are pathologically homophobic"
Is that a professional, medical diagnosis? Is "Homophobia" in the DSM IV?
"the goal of local conservative Catholics is to have the bishop terminate my work."
Did somebody say paranoid?
“They are the local Catholic Taliban. They insist on their point of view. They are relentless, mean-spirited and punitive,” he said.
Of course liberals and dissenters are never like that.
Frances rides again++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I guess if we would only let her kill them they wouldn't be molested.
Thursday, May 09, 2002
Some of the people who inspired this blog include ex-priest James Carroll, Maureen Dowd, Jimmy Breslin and Bill Keller. What is even worse than their obnoxiousness in their columns on the Church scandal, but, yes, simply the stupidity of the things they say with such a smug air of authority.
Do they have any idea how ridiculous they sound? So...dated. They are using the same clichés that those of us close to the situation have been hearing for 35 years!
It's as if they went slumming from their usual "sophisticated" beats and spat out a few gems of what they must consider self-evident wisdom they heard Charlie Curran say in the 60s. And now they show up as secular heavyweights condescending to notice a Church problem, to get the rest of us troglodytes caught up on things.
They have no clue about how utterly wrong-headed and out of place they are--they are almost ... quaint... And they wouldn't have any idea what you were talking about if you tried to explain it to them.
It's as if they walked into Notre Dame Cathedral as the goofy American tourist in ugly garish tourist clothes treating it like it was a MacDonalds, wondering why all them foreigners don't talk American.
I'm going to get into some specific analysis on this in coming days, but tonight it's too late. But check back, it will be fun.
Mallon's Media Watch++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I'm a Fox News addict, but I was a bit disappointed with Hannity and Colmes tonight, with that big teaser, "Will, priests be required to report to the police what they hear in the confessional?"
Actually, that's a non-negotiable. They discussed a scenario of someone coming in and saying "I molested a child, and I'll do it again." Well, this is a problem.
When you go to confession there is something called Firm purpose of ammendment.They pointed out that genuine pedophiles are compulsive repeat offenders, but still there are ways of dealing with this. This is a case where it would have cleared up everything to have a good solid priest on. In a case like this (and I am willing to be corrected) the priest would simply try to get a better sense of the situation, and perhaps propose they have a counselling session where the priest would discuss the problem with him and try to persuade him to give himself up to the police to avoid hurting anyone else.
But if the penitent is obstinate, the priest could simply refuse to give him absolution until turns himself in and gets therapy. The purpose of going to confession is to cleanse the soul, and one must take it seriously (ie believe) for the sacrament to be of any real effect. Good faith requires that the penitent must both want to stop acting out this behavior so as not to harm anyone, and also, well... go to heaven. Those are the stakes. But under no circumstance can the priest reveal what he hears in confession. On HandC they basically agreed on this.
Welcome to Mallon's Media Watch.
If you are an orthodox (small "o") Roman Catholic like me, you are frustrated when you read, hear, or see on TV a commentator "pontificating" on the Catholic Church when they clearly haven't a clue into the mind of the Church or her teaching. That's what this site is about. I can offer a unique, professional, Catholic perspective and response to the avalanche (tsunami?) of uninformed commentary flooding out since the beginning of "The Great Boston Meltdown" in January of 2002.
I grew up in the Archdiocese of Boston, where John Geoghan was my parish priest when I was a child. Mercifully, he never got his clutches on me, but some of my friends weren't so lucky. I've seen their names in the newspapers as victims.
After a conversion experience (chronicled in the book Spiritual Journeys: Toward the Fullness of Faith) I returned to the Catholic Church after straying in my teens and 20s. After which I pursued and earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Boston College and a master's degree in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
In 1994 I was invited by the Archbishop of Oklahoma City to edit his diocesan newspaper, The Sooner Catholic and be his Director of Communications and media spokesman.
In 1997 I left that position and became a Contributing Editor to Inside the Vatican magazine, and also worked as an editorial consultant to the editorial page of The Daily Oklahoman.Now I am also a columnist for the Catholic Website, PetersVoice.com.
I dedicate this site to the Glory of God in the Catholic Church, on this day May 8, 2002, in gratitude to God because on this day, May 8, 1982, 20 years ago, I received the ministry of deliverance (private exorcism) at the hands of a priest and beheld the power and personal love of God which set me free. Thank you, Jesus.
I place this site under the patronage of the three archangels, Michael, Raphael & Gabriel on this Feast (old calendar) of the appearance of St. Michael at Gargano.