Walk Out Edition! (Your Catholic Week in Review)

Walk Out Edition! (Your Catholic Week in Review)

Michael Hichborn – 4/22/18

You may not be aware of this, but 24 states and the District of Columbia require students to endure sex education classes.  In fact, so stringent are the requirements that California recently made headlines for forcing children to undergo sex education regardless of parental objections for religious reasons.

Since walk-outs seem to be all the rage nowadays, Elizabeth Johnson — also known as the “Activist Mommy” — is helping to co-ordinate a nationwide Sex Ed Sit Out on April 23rd that has not only caught fire, but is spreading to Canada and Australia as well, thus making the effort a truly global phenomenon.

One might think that the Catholic bishops here in the United States would be overjoyed and in full-throated support of such an initiative. Yet newly appointed Cardinal Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark has decidedly different tastes.

At a conference at Jesuit-run Villanova University, Tobin stated that Church teaching on LGBTQ+ (we’ve lost track) was “moving” towards acceptance of same-sex couples, albeit slowly.  Tobin’s comments as reported in America were mixed at best, sharing the quality of being entirely unclear on matters on which the Magisterium is emphatically clear.

Tobin seems to want to focus on fostering a Church that hides behind the word “pastoral” in order to accommodate sinful lives, rather than embrace the reality of a smaller, more faithful Church.

If a fallen Catholic wishes to rejoin in communion with the Catholic faithful, the path is very straightforward — forgiveness with a firm resolution to sin no more in the sacrament of Penance followed by faithful attendance at Sunday Mass.  Simply put, what Tobin and others cannot reconcile is that because many self-declared Catholics do not believe what the Church teaches, what we see today as a vibrancy is but a fever dream.

Truth is, the Catholic Church in the United States is already a smaller, more faithful Church.  Efforts to “build a bridge” between those who want the Church to bend to their own wills and the Magisterium itself are an exercise in compromise, not evangelization.

More and more, the Catholic faithful, who actually believe in the Magisterium, are being asked to believe in the teachings of the Church and stand contra mundi only to watch as the very shepherds chosen to protect us negotiate our decline.  While the Catholic faithful can never hold a “walk out” from the Church, we cannot help but wonder why our bishops continue to choose to walk out on the Magisterium we are instructed and asked to live, believe, and share with others.

Is it really all about a worldly obsession with seats in the pews?  Should we not be more concerned about the spiritual salvation of souls?

The Lepanto Institute was pleased to share an article from David Martindiscussing Pope Francis’ latest apostolic exhortation.  The accolades for this exhortation by the progressives huddled around Pope Francis — Fr. James Martin SJ for a start — should raise red flags.

That the apostolic exhortation raises more questions than offers answers is one thing, but the document is so sweeping in its condemnations against so-called “gnostics” and so-called “pelagians” that it seems like a Swiss Army knife designed to silence critics of the reform of the reform.

I won’t spoil it all — go read Martin’s thoughts on the matter.

Some other headlines you may have missed:

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One comment on “Walk Out Edition! (Your Catholic Week in Review)

  1. Analysis: America’s new heavyweight
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    by Michael Davis – posted Saturday, 21 Apr 2018
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    Cardinal Butch Tobin pumping iron
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    Cardinal Tiny Tim dining: Move over, Your Immensity
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    Is Newark’s archbishop emerging as the leader of the ‘Francis party’?
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    “Right now we are the national champions of Pope Francis.” So Crux’s John Allen quotes the organisers of a conference on the Holy Father at Villanova University last week. Similar events took place under the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They helped to define the theological and political line taken by their supporters in academia, media and the episcopacy. An invitation to address these symposia marks one out as a “champion” of the Vatican agenda, as the organisers put it. And Villanova’s speakers’ list included some of Francis’s most ardent apologists, including Massimo Faggioli and Fr Antonio Spadaro.
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    Then there was Cardinal Joseph Tobin – or “Joe”, as his friends at the gym know him. (He’s an avid weightlifter.) The Archbishop of Newark does not look like a stereotypical intellectual. With his rough features and large frame, he seems more like a pugilist than a prince of the Church. But Tobin is one of the Pope’s strongest and most trusted allies in the American hierarchy.
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    In his speech, the Newark archbishop took aim at those “small enclaves” who “safeguard the treasure of the Christian tradition in its purest form from the corrosive intrusion of a corrupt society”. “Even from ancient times, there have been individuals and movements who have tried to define and delimit what it means to be a Catholic Christian,” Tobin said. “Nevertheless, the Universal Church has always repudiated such attempts. It is only the Lord who ultimately judges who belongs or does not belong.”
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    Here he echoes Francis’s new apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. “It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service,” the Holy Father wrote.
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    But Tobin is also at odds with Pope Benedict XVI, who has speculated that the Church may be reduced to a faithful remnant – a Church “characterised more by the mustard seed,” as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger phrased it in 1997.
    During the question-and-answer session, Tobin addressed another fresh controversy. When asked about the recent sacking of gay teachers from Catholic schools, he admitted that the Church had been “somewhat marginalised” for what non-Catholics viewed as her “preoccupation with sexual ethics”.
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    To his credit, he affirmed that “the Church cannot reverse itself on its sexual ethics”, while stressing that “Pope Francis has shown that there are other issues on which the Church and world can work together”.
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    This is yet another point of division among Catholics, particularly in the United States. Conservatives generally agree with the Catechism in saying that gay people ought to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”. But they fear that many gay outreach ministries ultimately aim to validate homosexual unions. The most common example they use is Fr James Martin SJ, who has refused to condemn same-sex relationships.
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    Tobin walks a fine but essential line between upholding orthodox moral theology and empathising with gay Catholics. But his endorsement of Fr Martin’s book Building a Bridge brought him into conflict with yet another heavyweight prelate: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Last year an article in the New York Times contrasted Tobin’s support for Fr Martin with Dolan’s endorsement of Daniel Mattson’s Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay, which urges Catholics who experience same-sex attraction to reject a “gay identity”.
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    Dolan, who received his first episcopal see from John Paul II, was widely seen as the Vatican’s key American ally during both John Paul and Benedict’s papacies. It is unclear whether any personal acrimony exists between the two. John Allen – who knows both men personally – said their relationship was “deeply respectful”, which is not exactly the warmest descriptor. Indeed, Francis’s decision to place Tobin in Newark, right across the Hudson River from New York, could very well signify his intention to grant him the pontifical favour Dolan has enjoyed since the early 2000s.
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    This may be the reason Francis made Tobin a cardinal in October 2016 and gave him Newark the following month. His sudden, rapid promotion is not unlike that of Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was promoted to Archbishop of Chicago in November 2014 and given the red zucchetto two years later. Cupich is another staunch supporter of Francis’s agenda in the overwhelmingly conservative American hierarchy.
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    Since his elevation, Cupich has been widely perceived as Pope Francis’s de facto spokesman in the United States, but he has made few friends among his fellow prelates. Last year, he was defeated in a bid to succeed Dolan for the coveted chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee – a humiliating blow to the “Francis party” among the bishops.
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    Cupich was conspicuously absent from the Villanova speakers’ list; and Tobin giving the keynote speech suggests he may be the Francis party’s new leader. So far, he has maintained a lower profile than his Chicago counterpart, and is not burdened with nearly as much animosity from traditionalist quarters. The question is whether he can avoid the Cupich’s divisive tone and reluctance to affirm orthodoxy. If his address to the Villanova conference is any indication,
    Tobin is well on his way.

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