Friday, December 08, 2006

Bishop Mussolini

The Vatican has upheld, not surprisingly, Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz's decision 10 years ago to excommunicate all members of Call to Action within his diocese. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, said the excommunication "was properly taken within your competence as pastor of that diocese," according to Catholic News Service.

"The judgment of the Holy See is that the activities of Call to Action in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic faith due to views and positions held which are unacceptable from a doctrinal and disciplinary standpoint. Thus to be a member of this association or to support it is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic faith."

Of course, the excommunication only applies within the Lincoln diocese, and though Re seems favorable to Bruskewitz's judgment, he has no authority to excommunicate anyone, since he's not even a diocesan bishop. Only the pope can issue an excommunication that applies outside his local church.

The real scandal here is that the church has no real public forum (a court, except for the one Re presides over) for adjudicating these kinds of disputes--of course Re would rule in favor of the bishop! The original draft of the current Code of Canon Law made provision for tribunals that would be able to deal with situations like this, but JPII stripped them before promulgating the code because he didn't think the church was "ready" for them, whatever that means.

The code contains quite a few "rights" of the faithful, including the right to associate freely, participate in the church's ministry, and make one's views known to one's pastors, which Call to Action has been exercising admirably. Of course, rights are worthless when there is no system for defending them.


At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing quite like arrogant, self-righteouse Liberals to demand everyone think the way they do. If you want to be a Catholic, there are certain ethical and moral standards you follow.

Vatican II said the faithful are to be subject to the pope even when he isn't speaking ex cathedra. Call to Action is a heretical organization that should have the decency to admit it isn't Catholic.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger CtotheL said...

I hardly think it was the "arrogant liberals" demanding everyone think as they do. I think it was an arrogant bishop demanding everyone think as he does.

As for "submitting" to the pope, I think you are confusing religious respect ("obsequium") with mind control. Catholics are permitted, even obliged, to use their brains, and participating in dialog, and even disagreeing with church teaching, is no sin.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, but if a group is claiming that Church teaching is wrong, they are heretical. Someone can personally disagree with Church teaching but they are still obliged to submit to it. "Faith seeking understanding, not understanding seeking faith." No bones about it--- Catholicism a is difficult faith to live out, it is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Ctothel, the anonymous poster is right when he states that Vatican II said we are to submit to the pope, even in matters that are not infallible. In fact, it says submission of intellect and will. But we are not so bound to every teaching or statement of a pope, only ones in which his intention is clear that it is binding.

That said, to disagree with Church teaching can mean a lot of things. One can certainly disagree with the private opinions of even the pope (John XXII taught what was later condemned as heresy, and admitted it on his deathbed). But on matters where the Church has called for obedience, no Catholic can disagree.

"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same" (CCC 2089)

The Church, in Canon law, lays down a latae sententiae excommunication for heresy. That means that if one dissents from an article of Faith (say the Assumption of Mary, or the immorality of contraception, or the possibility of women ordination) knowing that the Church teaches otherwise, provided the meets the other conditions in Canon law (such as being over 16), he is automatically excommunicated.

It is as nonsensical for a Catholic to dissent as it is for a member of the Communist party to support Capitalism. Catholicism is not a nationality, it is a religion (from religare-to bind fast). Moreover, it claims to be the divine authority on earth. While of course one has the natural liberty to disagree, when it amounts to disagreeing with an article the Church says is of Faith, the only honest thing to do is to leave, just as a person would leave the communist party if he wanted to support free market.


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