Thursday, March 31, 2011

Become a bishop. Know everything immediately!

It seems that the bishop of Osaka, Japan, has weighed in about nuclear power. All nuclear power.
"The issue about the direction we are taking, to build other nuclear power plants, is an important question,” said Auxiliary Bishop Michael Goro Matsuura of Osaka. “Together with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Japanese Bishops, which I headed up until last year, we have raised awareness to fight the construction of new nuclear power plants in Japan and globally. I believe that this serious incident should be a lesson for Japan and for the entire planet, and will be an incentive to abandon these projects. We call on the solidarity of Christians worldwide to support this campaign.
This is a classic example of the tendency of today's bishops to spend time delivering opinions on subjects in which they have good intentions but no competence whatsoever.

Nuclear powerplants depend upon very sophisticated technology, which it takes years of study to master (much like theology -- hmmmm). Only a person with such training is truly qualified to judge how safe really-up-to-date nuclear plants are. And only once we're confident of the risks can we judge whether the benefits outweigh them.

I'm sure Bishop Matsuura is a good man. But in this, he has no more competence to judge for himself -- let alone "call on the solidarity of Christians worldwide" -- than the average informed lay person.

And I would have to ask the bishop to explain what his flock are supposed to do if he gets his way? What source of electrical power, available now and as cheaply as nuclear-generated power, are his flock supposed to use instead?

Or are they supposed to sit obediently in the cold and dark, meditating on the Peace and Justice which they will then enjoy?

Maryknoll madness

Only two years after it became impossible to ignore his defiance of Church doctrine, the Maryknolls have finally gotten around to dismissing Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a strident and persistent advocate of women's ordination to the Catholic priesthood.

Oh, wait. Apparently two years isn't enough time to be fully pastoral. They're only warning him of possible dismissal and laicization.

Faithful Catholics know this for what it is: justice delayed and delayed and delayed, open defiance going unpunished. And justice delayed, they say, is justice denied.

Non-Catholics, I suppose, are surprised at the fuss, since women are ordained all the time in Protestant denominations. The fuss, my friends, is that Catholic teaching, for good and sufficient reasons, states that only men may be ordained. It's part of the "brand", if you will.

And we view employees who bash our brand the same way that a Ford dealership would view salesmen who openly sell Chevys out the back door.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hubbard to Cuomo: Heading for Hell? Need a lift?

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, has announced that a provision of Canon Law won't be enforced by the bishops of his state. That would be Canon 915, of course, which states that those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

The person who will benefit from this episode of clerical nullification is the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who is both a supporter of abortion like his father, Mario, and also living with his girlfriend.

Bishop Hubbard says:
there are norms for all Catholics about receiving Communion and we have to be sensitive pastorally to every person in their own particular situation.
He goes on to say:
and when it comes to judging worthiness for Communion, we do not comment on either public figures or private figures. That’s something between the communicant and his pastor personally. It’s not something we comment on.
All right, step by step.

First, both conditions of the severity of the act are met. Both the fornication and the complicity in the vast murder operation represented by legalized abortion are "manifest" (since both are widely reported in the popular press), and both are publicly defended by Mr. Cuomo, contrary to the teachings of the Church.

Second, they're certainly "grave." I hope there wouldn't be too much disagreement here among Catholics.

Third, though I suppose opinions might differ on how to interpret "obstinately persevering" (e.g., how many times do you have to ignore warnings before you become obstinate? And how long can you draw out your defiance before you can be said to be persevering?), Mr. Cuomo's track record amply shows that he's been at these things for years.

Before anyone tries to avoid conflict by leaving it all up to Mr. Cuomo's conscience, we should take careful note the language of Canon 915. It doesn't say that those who do what Mr. Cuomo's doing shouldn't come up for Communion, but if they really really want to, and they feel that it's right, it's up to them. It says that they are "not to be admitted" to Communion.

And by whom can they be admitted or not admitted? The bishop, represented by the priest.

Bishop Hubbard says we must be "sensitive pastorally" to each person's situation. Fine. Could the laity then please have an explanation of the pastoral conditions to which he is being sensitive? Does Mr. Cuomo get his feelings hurt easily? Would it harm his self-esteem? Would some elderly relative be shocked into apoplexy if little Andy were publicly disciplined by a Bishop? What? Why does he get a pass?

I can hear some people already dragging out the tattered (and wrong) "judge not lest ye be judged" excuse. I'm not condemning him to Hell. That's up to God. But I am judging his public actions and his bishop's public pronouncements against the established moral and legal standards of our Church.

I would like to see Mr. Cuomo repudiate his previous pro-abortion stance, and at least get his live-in girlfriend to live out until the Church allows him (a divorced man) to marry again.

Because until Bishop Hubbard, and all the other bishops, begin denying him Holy Communion, the terrible words of 1 Corinthians 11:27 will hang over him:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.
So who is being careful and "pastoral" of the soul of such a man as Mr. Cuomo? Not the one who willingly gives him the Holy Eucharist and abets the destruction of his soul, that's for sure.