Cardinal Müller: No Elephant in Room…

Cardinal Müller Covers His Eyes

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 9, 2017

The article below is taken from the Fatima Center website

According to Stanze Vaticane, the blog for the Italian TV channel TGCom24, Card. Gerhard Ludwig Müller has ejected any correction of Pope Francis concerning those explosive sections of Amoris Laetitia (especially Chapter 8, ¶¶ 302-305) which prompted the four cardinals to present

Cardinal Müller

Cardinal Müller

their dubia to Pope Francis. Those passages of Amoris clearly open the door to Holy Communion for the divorced and “remarried” in “certain cases” — as bishop after bishop is now declaring — while appearing to reduce exceptionless negative precepts of the natural law (including “Thou shalt not commit adultery”) to “general rules” and mere “objective ideals” rather than divine commands from which no one can claim an exemption.

But Müller’s choice of words is very curious.  As reported by Stanze Vaticane, during an interview with TGCom 24 (translations mine), Müller stated:

“Everyone, above all the cardinals of the Roman Church [sic], have the right to write a letter to the Pope. I was astonished, however, that this became public, almost constraining the Pope to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. I do not like this. Also, a possible fraternal correction of the Pope seems to me very far off. It is not possible at this moment because it does not involve a danger to the faith as Saint Thomas has said. We are very far from a correction and I say that it harms the Church to discuss these things publicly.

Amoris Laetitia is very clear in its doctrine, and we can make out the whole doctrine of the Church on matrimony, all the doctrine of the Church in 2000 years of history. Pope Francis asks for discernment of the situation of those persons who live in an irregular union, that is, not according to the doctrine of the Church on matrimony, and he asks for aid of these persons to find a path for a new integration in the Church according to the conditions of the Sacraments, of the Christian message on matrimony. But I do not see any contraposition: on the one hand we have the clear doctrine on matrimony, and on the other the obligation of the Church to concern herself with these persons in difficulty.”

First of all, why is Müller “astonished” that the dubia became public?  The four cardinals state clearly in their accompanying letter that while their dubia were first submitted privately to Francis, “The Holy Father has decided not to respond. We have interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection, and the discussion, calmly and with respect. And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.” 

That is their right as cardinals, and indeed it is the right of any member of the faithful:

“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”  (Canon 212, § 3)

Secondly, why is a “possible fraternal correction” deemed “very far off” — meaning that there is a potential for one — when Müller says at one and the same time that Amoris presents the Catholic doctrine on matrimony and that there is no opposition to that doctrine in the call for “discernment” of the situation of people in “irregular unions”? If Amoris were really so clear, and there were really no contradiction between Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage and Francis’ call for “discernment,” Müller would say simply that a correction of Francis is unnecessary. He would not say a correction is “not possible at this moment…”

I am afraid Müller’s statement falls into the category of so much of what has come out of the Vatican over the past fifty years: artfully worded doubletalk that tries to have it both ways.

Now let us be serious. Cardinal Müller knows very well that Amoris is not only problematic, but a veritable H-bomb targeted on the foundations of Christian life. As the four cardinals note in their presentation to a stonily silent Francis, different bishops interpret Amoris differently — some pro, some con — regarding the admission of public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments (in “certain cases”) without a prior amendment of life. Müller also knows well that Francis has sided with the pro faction.  In his letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires regarding their “guidelines” for the “implementation” of Amoris, Francis declared there is “no other interpretation” of Amoris than their guidelines, which provide as follows:

“If it is acknowledged that, in a concrete case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), especially when a person believes he/she would incur a subsequent fault by harming the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia offers the possibility of having access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (cf. footnotes 336 and 351).”

Accordingly, the four cardinals rightly note with alarm (while Francis stays silent) that interpreters of Amoris “come to different conclusions… due to divergent ways of understanding the Christian moral life.”  Thus, as they conclude:

“In this sense, what is at stake in Amoris Laetitia is not only the question of whether or not the divorced who have entered into a new union can — under certain circumstances — be readmitted to the sacraments. 

“Rather, the interpretation of the document also implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life. Thus, while the first question of the dubia concerns a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, the other four questions touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.

Indeed, the fifth question presented asks the Roman Pontiff, of all people, if following Amoris “does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, n.56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?”  In short: Is Francis — the Pope — authorizing departures from the natural law?

Müller knows all of this.  And he knows the whole Catholic world is in turmoil following the publication of Amoris, as some dioceses now regard as “mercy” what others still regard as a mortal sin: the reception of Holy Communion while living in adultery. There is no way he cannot know what is happening. Yet he has chosen to put on a blindfold in order to be able to say that a correction of Francis “is not possible at this moment because it does not involve a danger to the faith…”

Really? If not now, when?  After thousands and perhaps millions of souls have put their eternal salvation at risk by receiving Holy Communion while engaging in adulterous sexual relations?  After the already weakened faith in Holy Matrimony is completely destroyed in many by the spectacle of people who are not married being treated as if they were?  After the very concept of mortal sin is de facto abolished by the subversive notion, promoted by Francis in Amoris (¶ 303), that conscience can properly counsel the continuation of gravely sinful conduct as “what for now [!] is the most generous response which can be given to God… while yet not fully the objective ideal”?

What a sad day for the Church when the very head of its doctrinal congregation blinds himself to what is perhaps, as Bishop Athanasius Schneider has observed, the greatest doctrinal crisis since the Arian heresy.  How sad as well that, in contrast to the four cardinals who confront the crisis with eyes wide open, we must say of Müller what Our Lord said of the Pharisees: “Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.” (Matt 15:14)   

Comment:

Can you explain Cardinal Müller’s assertion that:  “…a possible fraternal correction of the Pope seems to me very far off.  It is not possible at this moment because it does not involve a danger to the faith…”  

I read those words with a sense of incredulity.  Given that most of us can see  the elephant in the room (even those who are late to the circus) and can, moreover, see it hurtling around the the room causing havoc, how can Cardinal Müller deny the fact that great danger to the Faith has already been caused by Amoris Laetitia. What’s wrong with him?  No rudeness, mind, folks, keep the heid. Nobody’s asking you to say it with flowers, just don’t be rude 😀   

Update: 11 January – The mystery deepens

Cardinals Join Battle With Pope Francis

Cardinal Burke on Amoris Laetitia Dubia: ‘Tremendous Division’ Warrants Action

Posted by Edward Pentin on Tuesday Nov 15th, 2016 at 11:25 AM
In an exclusive Register interview, [Cardinal Burke] elaborates about why four cardinals were impelled to seek clarity about the papal exhortation’s controversial elements.

Four cardinals asked Pope Francis five dubia questions, or “doubts,” about the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in a bid to clear up ambiguities and confusion surrounding the text. On Nov. 14, they went public with their request, after they learned that the Holy Father had decided not to respond to their questions.

Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Burke

In this exclusive interview with the Register, Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, explains in more detail the cardinals’ aims; why the publication of their letter should be seen as an act of charity, unity and pastoral concern, rather than as a political action; and what the next steps will be, if the Holy Father continues to refuse to respond.

Your Eminence, what do you aim to achieve by this initiative?

The initiative is aimed at one thing only, namely the good of the Church, which, right now, is suffering from a tremendous confusion on at least these five points. There are a number of other questions as well, but these five critical points have to do with irreformable moral principles. So we, as cardinals, judged it our responsibility to request a clarification with regard to these questions, in order to put an end to this spread of confusion that is actually leading people into error.


Are you hearing this concern about confusion a lot?

Everywhere I go I hear it. Priests are divided from one another, priests from bishops, bishops among themselves. There’s a tremendous division that has set in in the Church, and that is not the way of the Church. That is why we settle on these fundamental moral questions which unify us.

Why is Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia of such particular concern?

Because it has been the font of all of these confused discussions. Even diocesan directives are confused and in error. We have one set of directives in one diocese; for instance, saying that priests are free in the confessional, if they judge it necessary, to permit a person who is living in an adulterous union and continues to do so to have access to the sacraments — whereas, in another diocese, in accord with what the Church’s practice has always been, a priest is able to grant such permission to those who make the firm purpose of amendment to live chastely within a marriage, namely as brother and sister, and to only receive the sacraments in a place where there would be no question of scandal. This really has to be addressed. But then there are the further questions in the dubia apart from that particular question of the divorced and remarried, which deal with the term “instrinsic evil,” with the state of sin and with the correct notion of conscience.

Without the clarification you are seeking, are you saying, therefore, that this and other teaching in Amoris Laetitia go against the law of non-contradiction (which states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time when dealing with the same context)?

Of course, because, for instance, if you take the marriage issue, the Church teaches that marriage is indissoluble, in accord with the word of Christ, “He who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Therefore, if you are divorced, you may not enter a marital relationship with another person unless the indissoluble bond to which you are bound is declared to be null, to be nonexistent. But if we say, well, in certain cases, a person living in an irregular marriage union can receive holy Communion, then one of two things has to be the case: Either marriage really is not indissoluble — as for instance, in the kind of “enlightenment theory” of Cardinal [Walter] Kasper, who holds that marriage is an ideal to which we cannot realistically hold people. In such a case, we have lost the sense of the grace of the sacrament, which enables the married to live the truth of their marriage covenant — or holy Communion is not communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. Of course, neither of those two is possible. They contradict the constant teachings of the Church from the beginning and, therefore, cannot be true.

Some will see this initiative through a political lens and criticize it as a “conservative vs. liberal” move, something you and the other signatories reject. What is your response to such an accusation?

Our response is simply this: We are not taking some kind of position within the Church, like a political decision, for instance. The Pharisees accused Jesus of coming down on one side of a debate between the experts in Jewish Law, but Jesus did not do that at all. He appealed to the order that God placed in nature from the moment of creation. He said Moses let you divorce because of your hardness of heart, but it was not this way from the beginning. So we are simply setting forth what the Church has always taught and practiced in asking these five questions that address the Church’s constant teaching and practice. The answers to these questions provide an essential interpretative tool for Amoris Laetitia. They have to be set forth publicly because so many people are saying: “We’re confused, and we don’t understand why the cardinals or someone in authority doesn’t speak up and help us.”

It’s a pastoral duty?

That’s right, and I can assure you that I know all of the cardinals involved, and this has been something we’ve undertaken with the greatest sense of our responsibility as bishops and cardinals. But it has also been undertaken with the greatest respect for the Petrine Office, because if the Petrine Office does not uphold these fundamental principles of doctrine and discipline, then, practically speaking, division has entered into the Church, which is contrary to our very nature.

And the Petrine ministry, too, whose primary purpose is unity?

Yes, as the Second Vatican Council says, the Pope is the foundation of the unity of the bishops and of all the faithful. This idea, for instance, that the Pope should be some kind of innovator, who is leading a revolution in the Church or something similar, is completely foreign to the Office of Peter. The Pope is a great servant of the truths of the faith, as they’ve been handed down in an unbroken line from the time of the apostles.

Is this why you emphasize that what you are doing is an act of charity and justice?

Absolutely. We have this responsibility before the people for whom we are bishops, and an even greater responsibility as cardinals, who are the chief advisers to the Pope. For us to remain silent about these fundamental doubts, which have arisen as a result of the text of Amoris Laetitia, would, on our part, be a grave lack of charity toward the Pope and a grave lack in fulfilling the duties of our own office in the Church.

Some might argue that you are only four cardinals, among whom you’re the only one who is not retired, and this is not very representative of the entire Church. In that case, they might ask: Why should the Pope listen and respond to you?

Well, numbers aren’t the issue. The issue is the truth. In the trial of St. Thomas More, someone told him that most of the English bishops had accepted the king’s order, but he said that may be true, but the saints in heaven did not accept it. That’s the point here. I would think that even though other cardinals did not sign this, they would share the same concern. But that doesn’t bother me. Even if we were one, two or three, if it’s a question of something that’s true and is essential to the salvation of souls, then it needs to be said.

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.

In a conflict between ecclesial authority and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which one is binding on the believer and who has the authority to determine this?

What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition. I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if “even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”

If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?

It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.

Comment:

Some commentators may argue that the Cardinals’ action will have little to no effect, that things will continue apace.  But IS this an historic moment in the life of the Church? Might this conscientious challenge by the four Cardinals, mark a turning point in the current, worsening crisis?  What about the papolatrists? How do they reconcile their false belief that the pope – any pope – is beyond criticism, with the impending public correction of Pope Francis by a number of  Princes of the Church?  How do they square that circle? Maybe we should ask Michael Voris! 

Bishop on Unbelievers in Hierarchy

LAST WEEK, Rorate Caeli interviewed His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, one of the most visible prelates working on the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass and faith, on numerous topics.

In this wide-ranging interview, His Excellency thoughtfully expounded on issues critical to the Church in this great time of crisis. Read the entire interview so you don’t miss His Excellency’s thoughts on the current status of the SSPX, women’s participation in the Mass and the washing of women’s feet, whether Russia was ever truly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Summorum Pontificum and anti-pastoral bishops and much, much more. 

For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of 'pope-centrism' or a kind of 'papolatria' which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.

For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of ‘pope-centrism’ or a kind of ‘papolatria’ which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.


POST-SYNOD CHURCH & UNBELIEVERS IN THE HIERARCHY

Rorate Caeli: In the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?

H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: ‘Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism’ (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c).

The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope.

The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.

Rorate Caeli: Speaking of typical Catholics, what will the typical parish priest face now that he didn’t face before the Synod began? What pressures, such as the washing of women’s feet on Maundy Thursday after the example of Francis, will burden the parish priest even more than he is burdened today?

H.E. Schneider: A typical Catholic parish priest should know well the perennial sense of the Catholic faith, the perennial sense as well of the laws of the Catholic liturgy and, knowing this, he should have an interior sureness and firmness. He should always remember the Catholic principle of discernment: ‘Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus’, i.e. ‘What has been always, everywhere and from all’ believed and practiced.

The categories ‘always, everywhere, all’ are not to be understood in an arithmetical, but in a moral sense. A concrete criterion for discernment is this: ‘Does this change in a doctrinal affirmation, in a pastoral or in a liturgical practice constitute a rupture with the centuries-old, or even with the millennial past? And does this innovation really make the faith shine clearer and brighter? Does this liturgical innovation bring to us closer the sanctity of God, or manifest deeper and more beautiful the Divine mysteries? Does this disciplinary innovation really increase a greater zeal for the holiness of life?’

As concretely to the innovation of washing the feet of women during the Holy Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday: This Holy Mass celebrates the commemoration of the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Therefore, the foot washing of women along with the men not only distracts from the main focus on Eucharist and on Priesthood, but generates confusion regarding the historical symbolism of the ‘twelve’ and of the apostles being of male sex. The universal tradition of the Church never allowed the foot washing during the Holy Mass, but instead outside of Mass, in a special ceremony.

By the way: the public washing and usually also kissing of the feet of women on the part of a man, in our case, of a priest or a bishop, is considered by every person of common sense in all cultures as being improper and even indecent. Thanks be to God no priest or bishop is obliged to wash publicly the feet of women on Holy Thursday, for there is no binding norm for it, and the foot washing itself is only facultative. 

PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF ST. PIUS X (SSPX)

Rorate Caeli: A non-typical situation in the church is the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Why does Your Excellency think that so many Catholics are afraid of the SSPX or anxious about any association with it? From what Your Excellency has seen, what gifts do you think the SSPX can bring to the mainstream Church?

H.E. Schneider: When someone or something is unimportant and weak, nobody has fear of it. Those who have fear of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X ultimately have fear of the perennial Catholic truths and of its demands in the moral and the liturgical domain.

When the SSPX tries to believe, to worship and to live morally the way our fore-fathers and the best-known Saints did during a millennial period, then one has to consider the life and the work of these Catholic priests and faithful of the SSPX as a gift for the Church in our days – even as one of the several instruments which the Divine Providence uses to remedy the enormity of the current general crisis of the faith, of the morals and of the liturgy inside the Church.

In some sectors of the SSPX there are, however, as it is the case in every human society some eccentric personalities. They have a method and a mindset which lack justice and charity and consequently the true ‘sentire cum ecclesia,’ and there is the danger of an ecclesial autocephaly and to be the last judicial instance in the Church. However, to my knowledge, the healthier part corresponds to the major part of the SSPX and I consider their General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. There is some hope for a canonical recognition of the SPPX.  To read the entire, very outspoken interview click  here

 

I consider [the SSPX] General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, [pictured] as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. (Bishop Schneider) (Bishop Schneider)

I consider [the SSPX] General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, [pictured] as an exemplarily and
true Catholic bishop.
(Bishop Schneider)

 

Comment:

Bishop Schneider is to be commended for speaking out. Will any UK Bishops follow suit?  If not, why not? 

Pope Should “Stamp Out” Orkney Redemptorists – Aberdeen Priest

papastronsayMgr Basil Loftus’ latest savage attack on the traditional Mass and all that goes with it
(e.g. doctrine, morals, vestments)  is writ large in this week’s Catholic Times where he traces the history of Pope Francis’ efforts to “stamp out” traditional Orders, praising his “patience and tolerance of those who disagree with him” (straight faces all round, please and thank you) but pointing out that, nevertheless, “he feels bound to intervene.”  There are just too many examples, too much of the Monsignor’s “all over the place” style of writing for me to be bothered quoting verbatim, but the upshot is that, since Papa Francis The Merciful has made great inroads into stamping out the old rite Mass whenever and wherever possible in foreign parts, perhaps it’s now time for him to turn to our own shores and put the ancient Mass out of reach once and for all. Mgr Loftus writes: “One only has to think, in our own countries, of the  “Tridentine” Redemptorists in the Orkney Islands – almost but not quite visible across the water from my study window as I write this.”  He adds: “There are other communities of ‘St Peter’ priests in the dioceses of Shrewsbury and of Lancaster who are not only totally cocooned in pre-Vatican II rubrics and pre-Pius XII liturgical outlook; but who enjoy immunity and isolation from the 99.9 recurrent percent of the rest of the Catholic Church, as though it were a contagious disease against which their baptism had not vaccinated them.” 

There is  a laughable reference to Robert Mickens of the insufferable and largely Anglican “Tablet” whom he quotes as saying: “this” [devotion to the ancient Mass] “goes to ecclesiology and not just to lace and cappa magnas”. Too true.  Just as the new Mass “goes to” Modernism, that synthesis of all heresies, so the Traditional Latin Mass “goes to” the traditional Catholic Faith, dogma, morals, the lot. And that’s why Mgr Loftus concludes his latest venomous attack on the Mass with the hope that Pope Francis will see off the traditional Mass here, as he has tried to do elsewhere, in jig time. “The whole question” [of the old Mass] “has to be examined” he opines, as if anybody takes him seriously. “Our own countries” he concludes “are by no means the worst offenders [“offenders”?] – but there is room for thought to be given to the matter. ” (Taken from Mgr Loftus: Crusade of mercy and forgiveness, Catholic Times, 12 December, 2014)

Honestly, I can’t make up my mind for whom I feel most pity:  Loftus himself, for his ignorance of the Faith and  total lack of true Catholicity, Flaherty, his editor for his sheer stupidity in publishing Loftus {without a thought to how he’s going to get himself out of his Modernist hole when Pope Pius XIII is elected!) or the Transalpine Monks for having thrown in the towel in the fight against Modernism, knowing now that in addition to not being wanted by the Bishop in the first place, they are now treated to the spectacle of the Bishop (Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen) permitting another priest resident in the Diocese to publicly insult  and humiliate them,  all but calling for them to be “stamped out”.  Just imagine if any traditional priest had similarly insulted Loftus or any other Modernist in the public square. Would the Bishop remain silent? You kidding?  Maybe you feel sorry for the Bishop caught in the middle of this shocking  attack by Mgr Loftus on the monks? So, let’s hear it – who, if any of the above, gets your sympathy? 

Who Are The Real Schismatics?

NUNSThe LCWR was given 5 years (starting in 2012) to implement a reform and thereby conform itself which Church doctrine and morals. What have been the results of this reform and how has the treatment of the LCWR differed from [that of]  the SSPX?

Once again, the LCWR is in the news for pretty much the same reason:

“Actions by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) at its latest annual assembly suggest that it may be closed to the possibility of reform, one writer on Catholic religious life has said.”[1]

This mega organization of female religious superiors was recently given this description by the Catholic News Agency:

“With some 1,500 members, the LCWR constitutes about 3% of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. However, the group says it represents 80% of American sisters since its members are leaders of their respective religious communities.”[2]

 So, what is the problem with the LCWR? After all, this organization was canonically-erected. And though it acts like the USCCB for female religious, nevertheless, “democratization” of the Church (or collegiality) is in vogue.

The “minor” problem is that this mega power of sisters acts as if it can pick and choose—as heretics are wont to do—what it wants to accept of Church doctrine and authority. This problem of the LCWR was no secret. Despite cries for bringing the dissenting sisters into conformity with Church teaching, they were winked at by the hierarchy. Finally in 2011, the Vatican ordered an Apostolic Visitation to be made by Archbishop Peter Sartain. Not surprisingly, several of the sisters immediately issued an open letter denouncing the visitation as a “witch hunt.”

Paradoxically, the New York Times simultaneously reported on the drastic decrease of priests and religious who were serving as chief executives in Catholic hospitals. For example in the 1960s, the presiding total was 770 in 796 of the nation’s ecclesiastically-run hospitals, whereas today, the figure is 8 out of 636 hospitals.[3] In retrospect, perhaps the literary denouncers should have considered the Visitation as more of a haunted house tour—with mere ghosts of sisters—than a witch hunt!

It is also interesting to note that even the Times drew the connection that the near “extinction” of sisters from hospitals was “accompanied” by the rise of feminism, the sexual revolution and changes wrought by Vatican II.

It is no surprise that the 2012 publication of the LCWR visitation report indicated serious dissent on various Church matters, not only in the doctrinal sphere on such topics as the divinity of Christ and the priesthood, but also in morality, such as on sex and gender matters.

Rather than calling the LCWR to task to immediately rectify these matters of dissent (even to sign on the dotted line), the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith granted Archbishop Sartain an “extension” of up to 5 years to lead a reform.

So how much of this reform has been accomplished within the past two years? Not much as can be witnessed by the recent statement of LCWR board members during its annual assembly just held in Nashville from August 12-16:

“The board members said they wanted to continue in conversation with Archbishop Sartain in order “that new ways may be created within the church [sic] for healthy discussion of differences.”[6]

 What is the implication of such a statement? That these religious have adopted the modernist tactic of “stay put and rock the boat from within”! In fact, this was confirmed by Cardinal Franc Rode in 2011, when he affirmed that there were some in religious life:

“who have chosen paths that have carried them away from communion with Christ in the Catholic Church, even though they have decided to physically “be” in the Church.”[4]

 Hence, it is clear that the LCWR is playing by the same modernist tune of “alter from within”.

Perhaps in the confusion of the post-conciliar crisis these sisters simply “can’t get” what the Catholic Church actually teaches. Such a naïve notion was debunked by Ann Carey, a noted author and contemporary expert on female religious (Sisters in Crisis and Sisters in Crisis Revisited), who just recently told CNA:

“These are educated women, and certainly they have the intellectual ability to understand the doctrinal teachings of the church… Rather than actually engaging some of the doctrinal issues involved, they tend to bring in speakers who reinforce their own views and even propose unproven theories such as ‘conscious evolution’ and ‘new cosmology’”[5]

 So there we have it—the LCWR leadership definitely knows what it is doing in dissenting with Catholic doctrines and morals, let alone Church authority.

The irony here is that the “kid-glove” treatment has been consistently applied to the blatantly dissenting and heterodox LCWR and others of this attitude during the post-conciliar era, while traditional groups such as the Society of St. Pius X, whose fidelity to the Catholic Faith is unquestionable, have received stricter treatment.

The case of the LCWR—to use their own words—is unfortunately another case of the post-conciliar double-standard: those who adhere to the “new ways” are “in” the Church, while those who stand fast with the “old ways” are to be regarded as if they are “out”.  Source

Footnotes
1 Quoted from the August 20, 2014 CNA article, “LCWR may not be open to reform, commentator worries”.
2 Ibid.
3 Cited from the August 20, 2011 article, “Nuns, a ‘Dying Breed,’ Fade From Leadership Roles at Catholic Hospitals”.
4 Cited from December 5, 2008 CNA article, “Renew religious life by returning to founding charisms, Cardinal Rode tells orders”.
5 CNA article of August 20th.
6 National Catholic Reporter piece of August 22, 2014, “LCWR: business as usual despite cloud of Vatican mandate”.

Comment

It’s almost beyond belief that there are still ignorant people out there who describe the SSPX as “schismatic” when no pope has ever said that – quite the reverse. Pope Benedict’s appointed representative said many times (5 times in one interview alone) that anyone who thinks the SSPX is in schism “does not understand the situation.”   In any case, maybe even those numpties who insist on accusing the Society of being in schism, even now as the crisis in the Church lurches from worse to catastrophic, will stop short and ask themselves why on earth the Vatican is tolerating these nuns, whose relationship with Catholic doctrine is about as solid as a bowl of ice-cream, while effectively persecuting the SSPX.  Despite the fact that even the Modernist Pope Francis has not pronounced the Society to be in schism, the continuing  irregular SSPX situation allows the less intelligent (or, at least , the less theologically literate) among us to continue to accuse them of schism. The basic question here then is… what the heck is going on?  Why are these (anything but) religious sisters being treated with kid gloves?