Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Inclined to disagree

The U.S. Catholic bishops took another step toward irrelevance yesterday, issuing three documents that are likely to go over like lead balloons among most Catholics.

The first, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," gets dinged from the beginning for not even getting the vocabulary right. I'm waiting for the document that would address the care of persons with a heterosexual "inclination," whatever that is. The bishops get credit for insisting that the children of same-sex couples must be baptized, though this document isn't as strong as the injunction in canon law itself.

Document two, "Married Love and the Gift of Life," will no doubt win the eye-rolls it richly deserves from married couples of childbearing age, only 4 percent of whom practice the Natural Family Planning it endorses. If I were married, though, I'd be more irritated that a group of men who know absolutely nothing about the financial, psychological, and interpersonal demands of childrearing presume to speak so bluntly about a "generous" attitude toward fertility. Add to that the insulting statement that marital sex that uses artificial contraception is merely "casual" and tantamount to lying, and you get a sure winner with the married set.

Finally, and perhaps most sadly, “ 'Happy Are Those Who Are Called To His Supper' ”: On Preparing To Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist" encourages those to whom the first two documents apply to refrain from receiving communion if they can't or won't toe the line on gay sex, contraception, and a host of other issues. All I can say is that the day the bishops issue a document on worthiness to preside at Eucharist (Cardinal Law, anyone?), I'll pay attention to a document about who is "worthy" to receive.

All three of these ill-conceived statements share the same problem: Never did the bishops make any effort to consult those addressed. Heaven forbid that the bishops should hold a public dialogue with gay and lesbian Catholics, much less with married ones. No, armed with their infused knowledge, "the grace of orders," or naked presumption, the bishops have once again treated the people of God as a voiceless mass, fit only to listen, never to speak. The bishops are content, it seems, to stay safely in their own magisterial echo chamber.

6 Comments:

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous anr said...

All I can say is that the day the bishops issue a document on worthiness to preside at Eucharist (Cardinal Law, anyone?), I'll pay attention to a document about who is "worthy" to receive.

Hear hear!

 
At 6:45 AM, Blogger David B. said...

All I can say is that the day the bishops issue a document on worthiness to preside at Eucharist (Cardinal Law, anyone?), I'll pay attention to a document about who is "worthy" to receive.

Are bishops excluded from the rules outlined in these documents? I don't recall reading that. A bishop who has committed a mortal sin is expected to go to confession too.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger CtotheL said...

My point was that bishops are quick to exclude people from communion for anything from murder to missing Mass on Sunday, slow to require similar accountability from bishops and priests.

The saying about "glass houses" applies here, though quite frankly the idea that anyone is "worthy" to receive communion on their own merits is ludicrous. None of us are--but Jesus invites us anyway.

 
At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering the news about priests and there actions with children and young men, I wonder if any priest or bishop is worthy to give or receive communion. The only One who truly knows you is God. I don't think he is talking out loud to anyone.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger David B. said...

Anonymous,

You think *every* priest or bishop has been involved with the sins/scandals you mention? That is a bit much. Besides, any sinner can be forgiven if he is truly penitent.

 
At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Travis said...

I agree, we are not worthy to recieve Jesus, on our own merits, in any way, shape, or form, much less his precious body and blood.

That is exactly why he makes us worthy, through confession.

And in response to the following comment:

If I were married, though, I'd be more irritated that a group of men who know absolutely nothing about the financial, psychological, and interpersonal demands of childrearing presume to speak so bluntly about a "generous" attitude toward fertility. Add to that the insulting statement that marital sex that uses artificial contraception is merely "casual" and tantamount to lying, and you get a sure winner with the married set.

I am married, and take absolutely no offense at NFP, or the fact that a celibate priest who gave up marriage to serve my family would be willing to tell me this.

Statistical evidence proves that the fruits of contraception are divorce and abortion, both of which rise parallel to the rise of contraception.

And can you explain how sex does not become "casual" and a lie, when using contraception. If the spiritual role of sex is to unite man and woman, and the biological role of sex to reproduce, the contraception makes sex a biological lie. How can a man and a woman be "united" in a lie.

In Christ,

Travis

P.S. I know you wrote this over a month ago but just saw it and felt compelled to respond.

 

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