I'm Starting to Like This Pope

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by Del » Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:32 am

wosbald wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:40 pm
+JMJ+

Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church/Alt-Left
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 63 / pg 64 / pg 65 / pg 65 / pg 66 / pg 66 / pg 73 / pg 84 / pg 120 / pg 123 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 127 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Two sides of the same coin?":pg 12 / pg 13
"Mary Alone": pg 18 / pg 20 /pg 20
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 38 / pg 46 / pg 46 / pg 46
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 152 / pg 152 / pg 152
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 10 / pg 10
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 5 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10
"Purely Politics II": pg 13 / pg 14 / pg 28 / pg 28 / pg 44 / pg 52 / pg 61 / pg 71 / pg 79 / pg 108 / pg 108



Cardinal: Too many Catholics don’t understand that some church teachings can actually change
For any last person who is still reading this thread:

This is Amerika Magazine, a publication by the American Jesuits. And so... it is always important to identify the thing is what the writer is leaving out.

The Jesuits are very pro-gay politics. The writer wants to lead their weak Catholic readers into thinking that it is okay to oppose Pope Francis and Catholic faith.

They want us to encourage homosexual acts and seek blessings for same-sex "marriage."

They do this by blurring the meaning of "teaching can change." Thus, lots of words around a very simple concept.

- Eternal teachings can develop. We can accept the teaching of the Apostles (and the Scriptures they wrote), and then study and understand them more fully. This sort of change is good and necessary.... it is the teaching authority of the Church.

The headline is false: Most Catholics know this.

- Eternal teachings cannot be reversed. Amerika and Fishwrap prey upon weak Catholics who do not understand this.
G.K. Chesterton — 'It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.'

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:14 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News": pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 27 / pg 35
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 11



What Better Way to Celebrate the Defeat of Death Than by Celebrating the Defeat of the Death Penalty? [Opinion]
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On March 24, the eve of the Annunciation, when God entered the world to begin the work of destroying death — the veil that covers all the nations — the State of Virginia joined the civilized world by outlawing the death penalty to the delight of the Holy Spirit and the intense consternation of the Greatest Catholics of All Time, who lead the charge against Holy Church in the struggle to unnecessarily kill as many people as possible while bragging about being “prolife”. This is an even bigger deal because Virginia was the second biggest killer of prisoners in the United States.

There are two ways for Catholics to look at it. The first way — the sane way — is to rejoice that a stupid, barbaric practice has been abolished. It is a barbaric practice which:
  • offers four completely innocent human beings out of a hundred as human sacrifices to …
  • the bloodlust of vengeful MAGA conservatives consumed with lust for the blood of people who do not need to be killed …
  • (all while turning those MAGA conservatives into sworn enemies of the Church) in obedience to a false Magisterium of social media mini-popes …
  • and turning executioners into murderers of the innocent and unnecessarily brutal butchers of the guilty.
The second way is to babble “Something-something St. Thomas! Let’s keep killing because something-something tradition!”

Here’s the deal. The Magisterium, not some jackanapes in a paper mitre on Twitter, interprets the Tradition. The Church’s Magisterium has definitively called for the abolition of the death penalty, and your favorite Folk Hero preferring bloodlust and murder to mercy has absolutely no authority in the matter, even if he has a nice website and published his plea for death with Ignatius Press. It’s over. Roma locuta, causa finita est. More than this, St. Thomas would absolutely have your guts for garters if you ever pitted him against the developed teaching of the Church. St. Thomas also (like a typical Dominican of his day) rejected the Immaculate Conception (as did Third Order Dominican St Catherine of Siena).

Guess what? They were wrong, proving nothing more than the fact that even Michael Jordan misses layups sometimes. Invoking Thomas to attack the Magisterium over the death penalty is typical MAGA cafeteria Catholicism. It is not “prudential judgement” for the simple reason that it absolutely lacks Prudence. Prudential judgment is about how best — not whether — to obey the Church’s teaching. The Church says to abolish the death penalty. Our task is not to ask, “Really though?”. It is to ask what part we need to play to accomplish that mission.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:29 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Seamless Garment/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 130 / pg 130 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"The Statement on Social Justice": pg 6
"Pro-life Bills/Laws": pg 15
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 9
"Economics": pg 6 / pg 6
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 150 / pg 150 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 153
"The Climate Change Thread": pg 14 / pg 14 / pg 15 / pg 16
"Biden has done a ['X'] job so far": pg 17 / pg 18
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11



An inside look at how Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar have revolutionized Catholic-Muslim relations [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque and university, arrive for an interreligious meeting at the Founder's Memorial in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 4, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

What inspired Pope Francis and the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, to write the Document on Human Fraternity, which they presented to the world in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, 2019? How did they co-write this document given that one lives in the Vatican and the other in Cairo? What is the background story to this first-ever text written by the leader of the Catholic Church and the head of the most prestigious and influential Islamic institute in the world?

The answers to these questions are found in the captivating new book The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path, written by Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam. The book, published in Arabic and English, was written with the permission of both religious leaders, each of whom has written a preface for it. The Egyptian-born judge, former counselor and legal advisor to Sheikh Al-Tayyeb and the first Muslim ever to present a papal encyclical (Fratelli Tutti), was not only a witness to but also a key actor in the events surrounding the writing and publication of the text.

“I felt it was important to tell the story of the birth of the human fraternity document not only as a historical record but also as an inspiration for the younger generations,” the judge told America in an interview in Rome on April 9, the day after he had presented a copy to Pope Francis.

This fascinating 280-page book will be required reading for anyone interested in Muslim-Christian relations in the 21st century. It reveals the background to the extraordinary fraternal relationship between Pope Francis and Sheikh Al-Tayyeb, a relationship that is without precedent in the history of the world’s two largest religions.

The author is a married man, a father to three young children and a deeply religious Muslim. He begins the book by presenting himself, his education in Islam and law, and how he was chosen to be the trusted counselor and legal advisor to the grand imam. He summarizes the history of Al-Azhar and of Muslim-Christian relations from the time of the Prophet Mohammed’s first encounter with Christians to the present day.

Judge Abdel Salam provides brief portraits of both leaders that highlight how much they have in common: a simple lifestyle; concern for the poor and young people; the desire to break down barriers between people and nations; the rejection of rigidity, fundamentalism and the use of religion to support violence or terrorism; and the rejection of war and the arms race. Moreover, they deeply respect each other’s faith and view religion as a force for peace in the world.

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Judge Mohamed Abdel Salal presents ‘The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path’ to Pope Francis at the Vatican on April 8. (Photo provided by Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam)

The judge also recalls that since Sheik Ahmad Al-Tayyeb assumed office as grand imam, he has been thinking about “how to promote truth, justice and the moderation of Islam and how to disseminate the culture of dialogue and tolerance in Egypt and among our brothers across the Arab region and our Muslim world, according to the approach of Al-Azhar.” He notes that Francis, too, has promoted a culture of encounter and dialogue.

From Benedict to Francis

[…]

The First Meeting

[…]

A Historic Embrace

[…]

The book tells how before starting lunch, the pope asked the grand imam to pray to God for humanity and peace, and how Sheikh al-Tayyeb, in his turn, asked Francis to pray for the poor, the vulnerable and marginalized. Next, Judge Abdel Salam writes, “the Pope picked up a piece of bread and cut it in two halves. He took one half and gave the other half to the Grand Imam, so each of them ate his share, in a symbolic act of coexistence and human fraternity.”

During that two-and-a-half-hour lunch, the judge proposed that the pope and the grand imam build on the success of the peace conference by writing together a document on human fraternity to provide guidance to all people, especially the younger generations, and to point the path toward tolerance and peace. He proposed they both write and sign it and then together present it to the world. Both leaders liked the idea and gave it their blessing. They entrusted the task of coordinating the project to the judge together with Monsignor Yoannis and insisted that the whole venture be kept confidential until it was completed and ready to be made public.

Drafting the Document

The grand imam started working on a draft text, but he insisted that the judge should not tell the pope that he had written it so that he would feel totally free to change whatever he wished. Judge Abdel Salam gave the draft text to Monsignor Yoannis, who handed it to Francis. The pope revised and amended the text, and the judge took the revised draft to the grand imam, who was truly pleased with the pope’s input. Sheikh al-Tayyeb worked on the second draft, and Francis again gave his input, and so on until the text was finalized. No one outside these four persons knew about the text until it was completed.

While the drafting process was underway, Judge Abdel Salam met Pope Francis again on April 17, 2018, and proposed something that he had already discussed with the grand imam, namely that Francis should visit the Gulf region, starting with the United Arab Emirates, “a country that has chosen the path of tolerance since it was founded” and “has established houses of worship for all the followers of different religions living in the land and supported them without discrimination.”

He explained, moreover, that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi had provided much support for Al-Azhar and the reform and intellectual efforts of the grand imam. He suggested that the pope and the grand imam travel to Abu Dhabi to present to the world the human fraternity document. Francis welcomed the idea but said he needed to consult Vatican officials.

The grand imam came to Italy again in October 2018 to receive an academic award from the University of Bologna and, accompanied by the judge, visited Pope Francis. It was their fourth meeting. They discussed the human fraternity document, which they called “our joint project,” and the possibility of launching it in the U.A.E. in February. Francis told Sheikh al-Tayyeb, “I strongly believe in this project and in its importance for the service of humanity.” He and the grand imam agreed on the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the entire project “to avoid anyone hindering it in any way.”

The Pope in Abu Dhabi

As was widely reported at the time, and as the book tells in detail, Pope Francis and the grand imam made history when they presented the Document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi.

Significantly, in their speeches, they both explicitly thanked Judge Abdel Salam, who played a crucial role in bringing that document to birth but had to watch from afar as the two religious leaders signed it. After the ceremony, as they drove back to the palace where they were staying, and before going to dinner with the crown prince, the pope asked Monsignor Yoannis to phone the judge. Francis and Sheikh al-Tayyeb then spoke to him and thanked the judge for all he had done to make this dream come true. It was their way of standing by him.

The book goes on to recount many things that have happened since the Abu Dhabi ceremony, including the establishment of the Abrahamic Family House, a religious complex in Abu Dhabi that includes a mosque, a church and a synagogue; the creation of The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity of which the judge is the secretary general; and the sixth meeting between the pope and the grand imam at the Vatican in November 2019.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:29 am

+JMJ+

Let’s face it: The modern papacy is an impossible gig [In-Depth, Opinion]
Image
Pope Francis lies down in prayer prior to celebrating Mass for the Passion of Christ, at St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 2, 2021. (Credit: Andreas Solaro/Pool via AP)

[…]

We live in a time of instant opinion, in which perspective is generally the first casualty of war. Nevertheless, here’s a bit of perspective anyone who follows Vatican news and the Catholic scene ought to try to keep in mind: The papacy, as it’s come to be understood, is an impossible gig.

I’m not talking about how the papacy is defined in, say, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or the Code of Canon Law. Those formula are time-honored, immutable, and, honestly, elastic enough to accommodate all manner of concrete applications.

I’m talking about the expectations in the popular mind — in the street, around water coolers, on TV and in newspapers, on social media, and so on.

Consider what we expect — demand, really — modern popes to be:

• Political Chess Masters: From Ukraine to the Middle East, from sub-Saharan Africa to East Asia, if there’s a conflict brewing or unfolding somewhere on the planet, we expect popes not only to talk about it but to do something — take a trip, send an envoy, hold a summit, but something. If a country is a bad actor with respect to human rights, we want the pope to scold them; if a president or prime minister isn’t consistent with Catholic social teaching in some area, we want the pope to express displeasure. If a given pope doesn’t do something, or tries but stumbles, he’s styled a coward or a failure.

• Intellectual Giants: Whether it’s philosophy, the arts, literature, cinema, or whatever, if there’s a trend developing, we expect the pope to engage it. We expect them to publish detailed, virtually book-length documents called “encyclicals” from time to time, and then subject these documents to withering criticism if they’re not completely cogent or persuasive in every detail. If a particular pope turns out not to be a latter-day Thomas Aquinas, we’re disappointed.

• Fortune 500 CEOs: The pope is supposed to act as the CEO of a major multi-national religious corporation, policing financial systems and rooting out corruption and mismanagement. Despite the fact there is no such thing as “Catholicism Inc.”, and that dioceses around the world are legally and financially independent of the Vatican, we hold the pope personally responsible for meltdowns anywhere. Public reaction to the clerical abuse scandals may be the best case in point, but it’s hardly the only one. If St. Anne’s Parish in Dubuque is missing money from the collection plate this week, it won’t be long before someone clamors for the pope to do something.

• Media Superstars: People expect popes now to give interviews, to star in made-for-TV specials, to issue books and CDs, and to travel the world and wow crowds. When Pope Francis visited Brazil in 2013 for World Youth Day, much was made of the fact that when he appeared on Copacabana Beach, he outdrew the Rolling Stones. If those TV specials, books and big events don’t go well, then people start talking about the papacy as a flop.

Oh, and let’s not forget …

• Living Saints: We expect popes to be personal role models of holiness, radiating spirituality and projecting super-human virtue. If a pope ever seems even a touch irritable, or grumpy, or bored, or sad, or haughty, or displays any other emotion inconsistent with a Hallmark movie version of the spiritual life, it somehow seems a chink in his armor.

The truth is that doing any one of those things well is a life’s work, and fairly rare. Rolling them all up into one colossal job description is a prescription for perpetual heartburn.

One could, of course, argue that popes shouldn’t cater to these expectations, that they should just stick to preaching the Gospel and saving souls. The ship on that idea sailed a long time ago, however, and it’s not coming back to port.

This bit of perspective doesn’t mean popes aren’t subject to legitimate criticism.

Maybe St. John Paul II shouldn’t have recognized Slovenia and Croatia so fast after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992, for instance, and perhaps, as Francois Mitterrand once claimed, that haste helped trigger the Balkan War. Perhaps Benedict XVI should have been much quicker to respond to the clerical abuse scandals in Ireland and across Europe in 2009-2010. Perhaps Francis should be more outspoken about China’s religious freedom policies, or more cautious in his support of sweeping new government powers justified by the Covid crisis.

All that’s fair game. What perspective does suggest, however, is leavening such criticism with a hermeneutic of generosity, since the occasional failure or blind spot is pretty much inevitable when you elect someone to do the impossible.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:25 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 134

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News": pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 27 / pg 35
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 11


Is Catholic teaching against the death penalty optional? [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Image: Adobe Stock

Readers of this website are aware that many Catholics who claim to be faithful to the Magisterium are nonetheless brazen in their open support for the death penalty. We’ve discussed Cardinal Raymond Burke’s declaration to an audience that the teaching on the death penalty was simply the pope’s “opinion as a man.” More recently, Adam Rasmussen wrote about the scandal of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast granting its annual Christifideles Laici award to then-US Attorney General William Barr last year in the midst of a spree of federal executions he had ordered.

This dissent against Church teaching on the death penalty predates this papacy and the teaching’s 2018 revision by Francis. The 1997 formulation of the teaching, promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II, was also widely dismissed by prominent Catholics. This widespread dissent, I suspect, may have played a role in Pope Francis’s decision to bring the faithful closer to the mind of the Church by closing all potential loopholes in the teaching.

This is the official current teaching of the Church, following the revision of the Catechism’s paragraph 2267 by Pope Francis on August 2, 2018 (emphasis mine):
Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
This replaces the 1997 formulation of paragraph 2267, promulgated by St. John Paul II, which read:
Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.’
The fundamental change is actually quite narrow in scope. In 1997, if nonlethal means are sufficient to protect the people, then authority will limit itself to such means. The central reason for avoiding the death penalty is the same in 1997 as in 2018—upholding the dignity of the human person—although the 2018 wording is much more direct and assertive.

Additionally, the 1997 formulation left a small bit of leeway in situations where the death penalty might be applied: in cases where “non-lethal means are” not “sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor.” The 1997 teaching concludes by casting doubt on whether such circumstances even exist anymore: “the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.’”

In spite of this — in spite of John Paul’s cries for clemency in death penalty cases and in spite of his and Pope Benedict’s pleas for abolition of the practice — a stalwart group of prominent death penalty advocates fueled Catholic dissent against their teaching and their advocacy. Clicking through the archives of a publication like First Things, one comes across innumerable apologia in defense of the practice, including that of the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote, “It will come as no surprise from what I have said that I do not agree with the encyclical Evangelium Vitae and the new Catholic catechism (or the very latest version of the new Catholic catechism).”

[…]

Giving ammunition to these dissenters was a letter by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, sent to the US bishops in 2004. In his letter, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” the future pope wrote:
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
This statement has been widely interpreted as permission from the Holy See to dissent from the Church’s official teaching on the death penalty, but is it really? Read in context, the statement is distinguishing between actions that are never permissible (abortion and euthanasia) and actions that — at the time — might be permissible if certain conditions were met (the death penalty and war). Because one must discern whether the conditions whereby it is permissible to go to war or to apply capital punishment are met, the Holy Father and an individual Catholic might reach different conclusions in good conscience.

But how do we know what those conditions are? Well, we look to the Magisterium. …

[…]

Now let’s look at what the 2004 letter says: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war.” Because war, although discouraged, is a legitimate option, the decision to go to war is a matter of prudential judgment. That said, the judgment must be applied according to the conditions enumerated in the just war doctrine above. And two people might look at the same situation and come up with different conclusions, including the pope.

What Cardinal Ratzinger was not saying was, “A Catholic can differ from the pope on whether the principles of just war doctrine must be applied.”

Likewise, Ratzinger was not suggesting that the teaching on capital punishment could be disregarded. His letter speaks of a situation where “a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment.” Once again, he is speaking about a matter of prudential judgement about a potentially licit course of action.

At the time the letter was written, the pope and an individual Catholic could look at the same situation and could reach different conclusions about whether the conditions were met. …

[…]

The 2004 letter was not carte blanche to ignore the Catechism. It was not permission to appeal to the theory of “retributive justice” as a justification for capital punishment. It simply meant that because there were circumstances (albeit very limited) under which it was permissible to apply the death penalty, someone might reach a different conclusion than the pope about whether the necessary conditions apply.

Determining whether the conditions are met is a matter of discernment and conscience. But it must be done under the conditions set by the Church. In the example of war, Ratzinger was saying that you might disagree with the pope on whether the conditions for just war are met.

Thanks to the revised 2018 teaching, there is no longer any justification for disagreeing with the pope on the death penalty. The Church now says there are no conditions where it is admissible.

And for that reason, the 2004 letter does not justify dissent from the Catechism’s teaching on the death penalty.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:45 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Seamless Garment/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 130 / pg 130 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 134

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"The Statement on Social Justice": pg 6
"Pro-life Bills/Laws": pg 15
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 9
"Economics": pg 6 / pg 6
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 150 / pg 150 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 153
"The Climate Change Thread": pg 14 / pg 14 / pg 15 / pg 16
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11
"Biden has done a ['X'] job so far": pg 17 / pg 18 / pg 19 / pg 19



Pope Francis proposes ‘popularism’ to counter populism
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Pope Francis meets author Austen Ivereigh at the Vatican in October 2019. (Credit: CNS photo/Vatican Media)

ROME — Pope Francis says to counter the growth of populism around the world it’s necessary for politicians to propose initiatives that are rooted in local communities and their values.

“The true response to the rise of populism is precisely not more individualism but quite the opposite: A politics of fraternity, rooted in the life of the people,” Francis said in a video message released Thursday. “I like to use the term popularism … it is about finding the means to guarantee a life for all people that is worthy of being called human, a life capable of cultivating virtue and forging new bonds.”

The pope’s comments came in a pre-recorded video he sent to the participants in the international conference A politics Rooted In the People, a reflection on Let Us Dream, organized by London’s Centre for Theology & Community in east London, Catholic Campaign for Human Developmen, and six other Catholic institutions in the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Unions.

The conference heard from grassroots Christians — including care workers, teaching assistants and cleaners — alongside academics, community organizers and clergy.

The keynote address was given by Austen Ivereigh — the journalist behind Francis’s interview book Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, published last year.

According to Francis, “now, more than ever,” it’s necessary to “build a future from below, from a politics with the people, rooted in the people.”

The pontiff notes that in Let Us Dream he calls this “politics with capital P,” politics as a service opening new paths for the people to organize and express themselves, meaning that they’re not politics “just for the people, but with the people, rooted in their communities and in their values.”

“When people are cast aside, they are denied not just material wellbeing but the dignity of acting, of being a protagonist of their own destiny and history, of expressing themselves with their values and culture, their creativity and fruitfulness,” Francis said in the video. “That is why it is impossible for the Church to separate the promotion of social justice from the recognition of the culture and values of the people, which include the spiritual values that are the source of their sense of dignity.”

In Christian communities, he added, those values are born from the encounter with Jesus, “who tirelessly seeks out the lost and downhearted, those struggling to live from day to day, to bring them the face and presence of God.”

[…]

“If the Church disowns the poor, she ceases to be the Church of Jesus; she falls back on the old temptation to become a moral or intellectual elite,” he said.

Much like the Church has to be rooted in the poorest communities to recover its missionary strength, a politics that turn its back on the poor is incapable of promoting the common good: “A politics that turns its back on the peripheries will never be able to understand the center, and will confuse the future with a self-projection, as if in a mirror.”

Francis argued that having contempt for the cultural, spiritual and religious values of the people is also turning one’s back on the poor, by either ignoring them or exploiting them for power.

“The contempt for the culture of the people is the beginning of the abuse of power,” the pope said. “In recognizing the importance of spirituality in the lives of the people, we regenerate politics. That is why it is essential that faith communities meet together and fraternize in order to work ‘for and with the people’.”

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sat May 01, 2021 10:30 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church/Alt-Left
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 63 / pg 64 / pg 65 / pg 65 / pg 66 / pg 66 / pg 73 / pg 84 / pg 120 / pg 123 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 127 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Two sides of the same coin?":pg 12 / pg 13
"Mary Alone": pg 18 / pg 20 /pg 20
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 38 / pg 46 / pg 46 / pg 46
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 152 / pg 152 / pg 152
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 10 / pg 10
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 5 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10
"Purely Politics II": pg 13 / pg 14 / pg 28 / pg 28 / pg 44 / pg 52 / pg 61 / pg 71 / pg 79 / pg 108 / pg 108 / pg 108 / pg 109 / pg 109 / pg 109 / pg 109 / pg 109



Francis: A providential father [In-Depth, Interview]
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Image: Pope Francis, © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk. Via Flickr Creative Commons.

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview of Dr. Rodrigo Guerra by Miroslava López originally appeared in Vida Nueva Digital. This is WPI’s translation of the original Spanish. It has been translated and published with permission. —ML

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

As we celebrate the eighth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, we are compelled to try to understand its significance, beyond the media noise.

We interviewed Rodrigo Guerra, Mexican academic and founder of the Center for Advanced Social Research (CISAV), recently appointed as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, to help shed light on some of the lessons that we have learned during this pontificate.

QUESTION: Is it possible to evaluate the pontificate of Pope Francis eight years after his election?

RODRIGO GUERRA: My impression is that taking stock of Francis’s pontificate is usually just pyrotechnics for those of us who give our opinions on questions of Church life, rather than a thoughtful exercise and the fruit of mature reflection. Of course, anyone can give their opinion, but do we distance ourselves enough to be able to take a truthful and fair look at the lights and shadows? Are we able — when sizing up this papacy — to look at Peter’s ministry as primarily supernatural, rather than as a position of power amid a web of worldly interests? I believe caution is necessary. Not long ago, my friend Massimo Faggioli suggested in an article that this pontificate was entering into its decline and would very possibly not provide many new surprises. Then some surprises immediately happened: Fratelli Tutti was released, Francis announced a year dedicated to the family and focusing on Amoris Laetitia, a woman was appointed to a voting position within the Synod of Bishops, he took the trip to Iraq, and many other things. My personal assessment is that, as always, we have a providential Pope for the time in which we live. The Holy Spirit does not assist the Successor of Peter intermittently but constantly. This is a certainty of faith rather than an analytical assessment of his decisions.

Q: Isn’t there a risk of falling into some kind of “papolatry” if it is affirmed that the Spirit constantly sustains the Successor of Peter?

RG: The word “papolatry” etymologically means to give worship of latria to the Roman Pontiff. In a strict sense, that does not apply to what I am saying. The Constitution Lumen Gentium teaches us that the pope is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful. It could not be a “perpetual foundation” if it was not sustained permanently by God himself. Obviously, this does not imply a kind of impeccability or absolute inerrancy. What it means is that God, through the fragility of each Successor of Peter, leads the Church, much to the scandal of those of us who are used to looking at things under the Pharisaic prism — that is, from the perspective of those who are scandalized when Jesus heals on the Sabbath and defends the adulterous woman when she is about to be stoned.

[…]

Q: In the social sphere, what has been Francisco’s greatest contribution so far?

RG: The pope educates us with his teaching and with his example. In the area of teaching, Francis proposed in Fratelli Tutti that we rediscover fraternity as a way to collaborate and build a post-ideological society. Extremism on the right and the left — both secular and ecclesial — tears apart the fragile fabric that allows us to coexist. The only way to correct the ideologization of the mind and the heart is to become a neighbor to the most fragile and needy, to the most wounded and hurt. You might say that the diseases of egalitarianism (on the left) and liberalism (on the right) can only be corrected by the forgotten spirit of fraternity, which unites equality and freedom through a supportive embrace and rebalances their roles.

[…]

Q: Why is it so hard to follow Pope Francis? Many Catholics that once followed and defended him are the ones who sometimes attack and criticize him today. What’s going on?

RG: In previous conversations I have dared to say that weak thinking, irrationality, and nihilism have entered into the Church and that today this particularly inhabits the ultra-conservative sectors of the Church. The radical conservatism of our times has created a pseudo-orthodoxy that is not in communion with the Church and the Pope. This pseudo-orthodoxy is anti-sacramental, that is, it is contrary to sensible concreteness.

It fails to look at the concrete flesh of the real Church, at the People of God who walk in history, the mystery of Christ. It fails to see in the providential Pope Francis the true Universal Pastor, preferring pseudo-prophets — dissident bishops, private revelations without Church approval, or video-preachers who proclaim the apocalypse every third day. There will be a moment when this false orthodoxy breaks down and hits rock bottom.

Q: How will it hit rock bottom?

RG: Normally those who attack Francis take refuge in the pre-conciliar Magisterium. They often believe that the popes of the past are safer, more assertive, and clearer than the pope of the present. It seems that it would be good to remind them that Saint Pius X, referring to himself and his successors, said:
When we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey — that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy, because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope.

    — Pope St. Pius X, Allocution Vi ringrazio to priests on the 50th anniversary of the Apostolic Un𝗂on; quoted here. [emphasis added]
This paragraph does not encompass the entire theology of the Petrine ministry. It is very brief. It might even seem authoritarian. It should be enriched with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. However, these lines do explain something very well: the pope, whoever he is, is the Successor of Peter. If you love the Church, you love the pope. Not the “papacy” in the abstract, but the current pope in particular. Following a pope who is in alignment with my interests is very comfortable. Following a pope who corrects and educates me is more difficult, but it is better. He is the true Vicar of Christ.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon May 03, 2021 12:04 pm

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church/Alt-Left
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 63 / pg 64 / pg 65 / pg 65 / pg 66 / pg 66 / pg 73 / pg 84 / pg 120 / pg 123 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 127 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 134

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Two sides of the same coin?":pg 12 / pg 13
"Mary Alone": pg 18 / pg 20 /pg 20
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 38 / pg 46 / pg 46 / pg 46
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 152 / pg 152 / pg 152
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 10 / pg 10
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 5 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10
"Purely Politics II": pg 13 / pg 14 / pg 28 / pg 28 / pg 44 / pg 52 / pg 61 / pg 71 / pg 79 / pg 108 / pg 108 / pg 108 / pg 109 / pg 109 / pg 109 / pg 109 / pg 109



The perspicuity of Tradition [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Francis’s papacy has sparked a fierce debate about the ability of the Magisterium to authoritatively interpret Tradition. Sadly, arguments about this matter typically end in a deadlock with the papal critics.

Those of us who support Pope Francis often quote from the Catechism which teaches that “the task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him” (CCC 100, emphasis in quotations in this article are mine).

In other words, the Magisterium does not contradict Tradition. Rather, it authoritatively interprets it.

Typically, the critic will assert that it is “obvious” or “self-evident” that a disputed teaching of the Magisterium contradicts Tradition. The critic “knows” this because they used their “God-given intellect”. This terminology bears remarkable similarities to that of other types of dissenters from Church teaching — as well as (if we remove the “God-given”) the New Atheist movement.

Such papal critics argue that we do not need bishops and popes to tell us what Catholic doctrine is. Their view is that one can simply know what Catholic doctrine is, apart from (or even against) the teaching authority of the bishops and pope. They argue that Catholics who accept the magisterial authority of Pope Francis and assent to his official teachings implicitly believe that Tradition does not have “existence in itself.”

Thus the deadlock. Francis critics will say that the pope contradicted Tradition, whereas his supporters will say that he has only contradicted the critic’s personal interpretation of Tradition. Hence, the unresolved disagreement.

This seemingly endless argument between supporters of the pope’s magisterial authority and defenders of the papal critics’ understanding of Tradition shows no signs of abating as views and assumptions become increasingly entrenched.

Today, I will attempt to break this deadlock by appealing to another precedent: Scripture.

Let us again review the Catechism on this matter. The Catechism says that “the task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted … to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter” (CCC 85). This is the Magisterium.

Put succinctly, the Magisterium is the authoritative interpreter of the Word of God. The Church teaches that the Word of God has “two distinct modes of transmission”: Scripture and Tradition. As the Council fathers wrote in Dei Verbum:
There exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. (DV 9)
Of course, there are many Christians today who strongly insist that Scripture “clearly” contradicts many Catholic doctrines, such as the veneration of Mary, saints, or statues. They will argue that the Catholic Church twists itself into pretzels trying to justify these teaching, because a “plain reading” of Scripture says the complete opposite.

Protestants who make these assertions hold that Scripture is “perspicuous” or “sufficient.” For example, one famous expression of this idea says that “those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them” (Westminster Confession of Faith 1.7). In other words, authoritative interpreters of Scripture are not needed.

The Catholic Church disagrees. The Church holds that Scripture does indeed need an authoritative interpreter (see CCC 85 once again). The Catechism also teaches that to “interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words” (CCC 109).

The Catechism goes on to say that “the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current” (CCC 110).

In other words, what many Protestants might describe as “twisting oneself into a pretzel” actually leads to a more accurate interpretation of Scripture, because it takes into account certain contingent variables that influenced the sacred writers. This is why, for example, reading Catholic responses to iconoclasm will give us a broader and more informed perspective on the Old Testament prohibition of carving images. We can actually discover the real reason why idolatry is wrong, and that idolatry can exist in relation to other things besides statues.

Doing so is not about finding farfetched explanations or justifications for the Catholic view, but about deepening our understanding of an issue or question. Rather than contradicting reason, theological insights that consider historical and literary contexts and cultural conditions are much richer and more intellectually edifying than simplistic, and literal interpretations of Scripture.

The same is true regarding interpretation of Catholic Tradition and historical magisterial pronouncements when they do not account for “the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres used, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating.” This also applies to interpretations of Tradition that do not take into account nuance, such as the distinction between Tradition and traditions, or between doctrine and discipline, or between different degrees of magisterial authority.

[…]

If both Scripture and Tradition flow from the same source and require authoritative interpretation from the Magisterium, this would seem to place the papal critic in a conundrum:

If they accept that Scripture is not perspicuous, it logically follows that Tradition cannot be perspicuous. Both Scripture and Tradition require the authentic interpretation of the Magisterium.

But because they believe they can determine when the Magisterium’s official interpretations of doctrine contradict Tradition, this suggests that they understand Tradition to be clear and sufficient (i.e. perspicuous). But then why isn’t Scripture perspicuous?

I can only foresee three possible ways out of this conundrum:

1. They can accept the Protestant teaching of perspicuity of Scripture.

2. They can attempt to explain why Tradition is clear, sufficient, and perspicuous, yet Scripture (the other mode of transmission of the Word of God) is not.

I do not think a papal critic would be satisfied with proposition 1. As for proposition 2, consistency would require the papal critic to substantiate this position by using Tradition itself, without relying on theological arguments or non-authoritative quotes.

Also, since the critic’s argument is supposedly based on reason, this explanation cannot simply be that this is so, but why it is so.

Of course, there is a third way to solve the dilemma, which I wholeheartedly recommend:

3. They can admit that the alleged contradictions between Magisterium and Tradition are only what they perceive as contradictions between the Magisterium and their personal interpretation of Tradition.

No one is privy to an authentic understanding of Catholic Tradition apart from the rest of the Church. I would invite any critic who refuses this third proposition — perhaps due to the belief that “contradictions” between the Magisterium and Tradition are “obvious” — to also consider the many “obvious contradictions” between the Magisterium and a plain reading of Scripture. Hopefully the critic might then come to realize that Tradition — which does indeed exist in itself — does not, and cannot, exist in isolation.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue May 04, 2021 9:21 am

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Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Seamless Garment/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 130 / pg 130 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133 / pg 134 / pg 134

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"The Statement on Social Justice": pg 6
"Pro-life Bills/Laws": pg 15
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 9
"Economics": pg 6 / pg 6
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 150 / pg 150 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 153
"The Climate Change Thread": pg 14 / pg 14 / pg 15 / pg 16
"Biden has done a ['X'] job so far": pg 17 / pg 18 / pg 19 / pg 19
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 12 / pg 12



US Catholics increasingly at odds with Church teaching on immigration [In-Depth]
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Image: Foreground of “Angels Unawares” by Timothy Schmalz. Photo by Itravella – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Immigration has seized the political spotlight again, with a record wave of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border seeking asylum and reunification with family members in the US.

The “surge” is being labeled a humanitarian and political crisis by partisans, and it may imperil the Biden administration’s immigration-reform agenda. But it represents a leadership challenge to Catholic bishops and US pastors, too, since the American faithful, at least those who are native-born, are not saying amen to Church teaching on immigration.

[…]

It’s noteworthy that, as nativism, border closings, and exclusionary policies have ascended around the world, in the face of unprecedented human displacement and migration, the Magisterium of the Church has struck a consistent counter chord. Catholic ministries have remained on the forefront of aiding, educating, and defending migrants. The Jesuit Refugee Service, for instance, assists more than 750,000 forcibly displaced people in 56 countries each year. Domestically in the US, the Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services serves more refugees and migrants than most nation states, resettling nearly a third of all refugees admitted to the US in the past 30 years. Sr. Norma Pimentel, the head of Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley, made Time magazine’s list of most influential people in 2020.

So, American Catholicism can claim as heritage nearly two centuries of pro-immigrant interventions by Church institutions and Church leaders. Almost as historic is the current alignment we are seeing between a sitting US President (who is also a Catholic), the Congress, the Catholic bishops and the pontiff. A rare coalition, indeed, that is demonstrating a shared will to advance immigration reform in the United States. Is this moving the hearts and minds of American Catholics, specifically non-Hispanic whites?

[…]

Although the divide has grown over the last five years, between what those in the pews and those in the chanceries or dicasteries hold to be true about those who cross borders, the disjuncture of opinion has existed for more than a decade.

Some scholars note that Catholics are now less willing than believers in other Christian denominations to heed what their religious leaders are saying about immigration. One prominent Catholic ethicist observes in this reticence a stark departure from the history and norms of Church teaching regarding “welcoming the stranger.” This, despite the demographic fact that the plurality of recent immigrants, documented and undocumented, identify as Catholics.

Is it that white Catholics in the United States — assimilated, educated, affluent — are less willing, because of race or class or ethnicity, to identify with co-religionists who are foreign-born or poor? Do native-born American Catholics no longer understand themselves as heirs or members of an “immigrant” Church? A global Church?

[…]

It’s reasonable to speculate, though, that rising ethno-nationalism evident in other Christian churches — particularly evangelical congregations — is also swaying those dubbed “evangelical Catholics,” religious conservatives, mostly white, whose views tend to track more closely with born-again Protestants than with certain tenets of Catholic social teaching.

[…]

It’s not simply political polarities or party affiliations, however, that explain why the faithful of European descent may be turning a deaf ear to what the Church has to say about immigration. Many also cite an erosion in trust in the bishops, in general. The US Church’s unrelenting sexual abuse crisis, ongoing for almost two decades now, continues to undermine its influence with its own fold. There are fewer people in the pews, and they are less willing to follow the guidance their bishops offer on any matter that might be considered more “prudential” than doctrinal.

We can’t call it the sensus fidei, since there is considerable disunity between white and brown Catholics, laity and Magisterium, foreign and native-born, on this issue. But we can call it a sign of the times — one that suggests the Church in America has migrated quite a long way from its own history and early identity.

In the 1920’s, when the Catholic press and Knights of Columbus and American Bishops fought against restrictions that would have barred Italians and eastern Europeans from legal entry, on the grounds that the laws were “anti-Catholic,” who would have imagined the about-face we are seeing now? A Roman Catholic president with an immigration-reform agenda that is quite consonant with the stances of the USCCB and the Holy See confronts meaningful opposition in the pews, of all places. Biden may find himself preaching, along with the shepherds of the Church, to a Catholic choir that isn’t necessarily listening.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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