On Father Tom Rosica — an appeal for restraint

I deeply regret that Father Tom Rosica sent a legal letter to Toronto blogger David Domet, who blogs at Vox Cantoris, threatening a lawsuit.  I hope he does not follow through and I hope he lets David Domet know he is not going to follow through.

This is not to say that I think David Domet is the most temperate of bloggers.  I think he himself would admit he can be a hothead. Sometimes his posts are over-the-top. He needs to work on toning it down and putting himself in the shoes of those he criticizes before he presses “publish.”

As anyone familiar with social media could expect, there has been a huge negative reaction to the lawsuit threat and against Father Rosica in some of the Catholic blogosphere.

Even though my personal leanings are conservative, orthodox, with great love of traditional liturgy and of Pope Benedict’s Reform of the Reform, I’m saddened by what I am seeing in some blog posts and in comments sections that are calling him a “wolf,” a “heretic,” a “modernist,” and any number of other things.

No, I am not saying that some of his tweets or speeches or comments are not fair game for criticism and for debate, maybe even some good-natured satire here or there or fraternal correction even.  Let us disagree even vehemently without becoming divisive, partisan or spiteful; let us defend the faith without assuming we have special insight into the heart of the individual with whom we disagree or hope to correct.  Most people out there attacking him do not even know him, except for his public persona.

I am seeing Fr. Rosica made into a caricature, so that only his alleged faults are magnified. How would anyone of us like that done to us? We all have flaws, would you like them trumpeted all over social media so that your good points are totally ignored?

We often become inflamed about the faults in others that we ourselves share but may be unconscious us.  Have any of those people harping about the faults of Fr. Rosica thought about whether what they resent so much is not part of their own make up?   Perhaps you think Fr. Rosica is ideological and partisan.  Ask yourself, are you that way too?  I speak for myself that I constantly have to check my own tendency to partisanship, to getting in there with my sharp elbows and I do not think my behavior when I do that contributes to the good of the Church.  I pray to be an agent of reconciliation and unity, not division.

 If those of us who favor traditional liturgy,and claim to hold the Catholic faith in its entirety behave with an absence of the fruits of the Spirit, what kind of message are we sending when we lapse into anger, spite and frustration?  Most people I know who love traditional liturgy and care deeply about holding the Catholic faith are deeply faithful, loving people. They are not like what comes across in some blogs comments sections.   Dear Fellow Bloggers, please realize that you are responsible not only for what you write, but also what your commentators write.  Please moderate your comments, or, as Father Z did, close them on controversial subjects like this.  And as Catholics we have a responsibility to be charitable. Note I said charitable, not “nice.”

Father Rosica and I have had our differences from time to time, but when I started out writing for Catholic papers, probably no one else was more generous in opening doors for me, providing advice, creating opportunities for me and encouraging me.  So, I remember his big-hearted generosity, his passion for the Church and his many gifts as a communicator.  This is a side of Father Rosica that I have experienced as have the many young people whom he has mentored.  He is a gifted communicator and there are good reasons he was chosen under Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy to act as an English language spokesman for the Holy See.

I hope he will not pursue further legal action, because I think he is wrong to do so.  He will experience a backlash that will make the reaction over the last several days look like a warm shower and I do not wish that on him any more than I wish David Domet to be buried under a law suit.

 I am against SLAPP ( Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) on principle.   I am praying for David Domet and Father Rosica for forgiveness and reconciliation to prevail, and unity in Christ that only the Holy Spirit can bring.  Canada’s libel and defamation law needs to be changed, but we do need a law to protect people against vicious, malicious and concerted attacks on peoples’ characters like that in a story I read recently about a woman who was so angry she was outbid on her dream house that she put terrible lies on social media about the couple who did buy the house.     I fail to see how Vox Cantoris’ criticisms rise to this standard of calumny and vicious attack.  Yet, as the Fr. Gravel lawsuit against LifeSiteNews.com that cost them something like $250,000 before it even went to trial proves the process is the punishment. There’s a reason why these kinds of suits are called “lawfare.”

I think Father Rosica would have been so much better off if he had just stopped reading the negative comments about him on Vox Cantoris, which was a very small blog in terms of readership. By making the legal threat, news has spread to blogs with huge readerships.  All the things the priest had his lawyer charge were damaging to his character are now being “shouted from the rooftops.”

It saddens me to see Salt and Light TV called names and derided.  By all means, if you see things that fall short, speak up, but I know the people who work there who are young, faithful Catholics on a journey of ever deeper conversion like the rest of us.  If you don’t think they are well enough formed in their faith, can you point it out in gentleness and respect, or better yet pray for them?

Demonizing people, magnifying their flaws into a caricature is not the way to win hearts to conversion and growth in Christ or to attract people to a more robust Catholicism.   Of course not all bloggers and commentators are doing so, but even a small number contribute to giving us all a bad name as bitter and angry hardliners.

I do not want to minimize the anguish that David Domet has been going through with the threat of a lawsuit that could destroy him financially, to say nothing of the terrible stress of a protracted legal battle.

This fight could end up in the ruination of both men.  I hope and pray this does not escalate further.  Please join me in that prayer.

 Yes, last fall’s synod was an extremely stressful event in the life of the Church and there is rampant confusion and division afoot.  Father Rosica has become a lightning rod.

But remember we war not against flesh and blood and the weapons of our warfare are spiritual not carnal.  As a friend of mine always says, “Let peace be your umpire.”

Perhaps Father Rosica wanted to teach David Domet a lesson with a legal threat.  Now the blogosphere is teaching him a lesson.

Let’s be careful as Catholic bloggers.  I’m reminded of various social media campaigns like the one that forced the Mozilla/Firefox president to resign because it was discovered he had donated to a campaign to save traditional marriage or campaigns that forced the president of Harvard to resign because he said women were not statistically as likely to be brilliant in math. (Which was true, but the feminists did not like it).

What’s the goal of these types of mob media campaigns?  Crushing people into the dust, humiliating them until they are forced to do what the mob wants?  That’s what the totalitarian “progressive” left does.  Do we want to become like what we hate?

Yesterday morning’s readings at Mattins included the Gospel about how the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to seek out the one that is lost.

Oh, had Father Rosica had that attitude towards a blogger who seems angry from time to time, and is perhaps wounded and feeling marginalized in his own church.

 Oh that we bloggers have that attitude toward Father Rosica, who may also feel wounded and threatened by the criticism for reasons we do not understand.  This is a flesh and blood man we are talking about here, a fellow human being, every bit as real as David Domet. Let’s remember that.

This is my dream, that there will be reconciliation and public apologies from both sides, not because anyone has been forced by external pressure and humiliated into doing so, but because the Holy Spirit has convicted hearts, brought those sweet tears of repentance that come from seeing one’s sinfulness at the same time as experiencing the overwhelming love of God in Jesus Christ.   I am not saying David Domet was wrong to criticize certain statements or tweets—but sometimes his word choices are imprecise and inflammatory.

I’d like to see both men free in Christ, aflame with divine love, exercising their supernatural gifts where God has placed them and reconciled with each other as brothers in Christ.   Would there be any need for punishment for anyone then?

Praying for a miracle.

 Join me?

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37 Responses to On Father Tom Rosica — an appeal for restraint

  1. John Walter S. says:

    Meanwhile, Cardinal Wuerl calls Cardinal Burke a “dissenter”! Talk about the dirty pot calling the shiny, reflective kettle “black”!

    And it just seems to be an open season on Cardinal Burke, as the Director of Canadian Basilians Curses Cardinal Burke on Twitter! When exposed, he deleted the post, and then “apologized”! He apologized that he got caught, rather! If he was sorry, he should’ve resigned.

    It’s comical how people who promote dissent object to being called “dissenters” just because they have their man on the Papal Throne. Make no mistake, regardless of Pope Francis’ own views, dissidents consider him their man, and for good reason. Just look at the Pope’s cabinet. Not a single orthodox Catholic among them!

    Now, all hope is not lost; we’ve been through worse papacies. Worse cardinals, and there will be a reckoning one of these days.

    • Foolishness says:

      I think his apology looked pretty genuine to me. I’m not for tarring and feathering people and running them out of town

      • John Walter S. says:

        Well, that priest is now fired from his job as spokesman. Cardinal Burke did not warrant such an attack, and the judgement of the Basilians to fire that priest. Does this make me happy? No, because it dealt with the symptom, not the cause. We all know the sort of resentment people can still have even though they’re rightfully punished for wrongdoings. Besides, there are larger issues at hand, such as the German bishops now declaring themselves as -not- being subsidiaries of Rome, and that they can do whatever they want in how to be “pastoral” on their own.

        Brace yourselves, there may be a schism.

      • John Walter S. says:

        sorry, meant to say The judgement of the Basilians to fire that priest is warranted.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        You wrote: Brace yourselves, there may be a schism.

        There have already been many schisms on both sides — liberal and traditionalist — and there undoubtedly will be more. The true Church, however, will continue to sail under the able leadership of her captain, the Pope.

        It is utterly impossible to be more Catholic than the pope.

        Norm.

      • Foolishness says:

        But that does not mean that everything the Pope says is infallible or beyond criticism

      • John Walter S. says:

        Exactly. If certain clergy can cherry-pick on what they want to obey or observe, then they can’t bring up “But the Pope said” tactic when we rightly observe an obvious error. Even Apostles and Church Fathers disagreed with each other. And, rightly, even if St Paul corrected St. Peter, St. Peter was still Pope.

        Also, Rev, SSPX you say is in schism, but aren’t they only in schism if they refuse to acknowledge the Pope as the head of the Church, the way the Orthodox do? Who determines if a group is in schism? If you call the SSPX schismatic, is that your opinion, or do you have some sort of authority that binds people to believe what you say about them?

        I mean what do you call Orthodox who recognize the authority of the Pope but Eastern Catholic? They certainly aren’t bound by the same laws as the Roman Chruch, but they’re still considered Catholic, and they consider themselves Catholic, even if people are ignorant of their canonical status. So by that same vein, in what way can you prove to me that the SSPX denies the authority of the Pope? From all I can gather, the most they do is criticize the Second Vatican Council, or criticize the contradictory things Pope Francis says, but I have seen no proof of their rejection of that council, nor proof of rejection of Papal authority altogether. Have you spoken to some SSPX priests that have made you come to the conclusion that they’re in schism? In the event that you have, how can you be certain that it is the opinion of the whole organization and not just one misguided priest?

        Also, SSPX aside, what organization from the left can you tell me that is conspicuously dissident? Aren’t there more of those, according to your definition of schism, “Liberal Catholics” than there are of the “traditionalists”? For example, the number of traditionalist groups, you can count on one finger. Whereas you have groups from the left demanding: 1. An end to clerical celibacy. 2. Acknowledgement of homosexual marriage. 3. Allowance of divorce/remarriage. 4. Women priests. 5. Ministerial priesthood of all the faithful. 6. Turning the Church into a democracy. 7. Allowance of contraception/abortion, and many more. These people can have one or more of the following issues as the center of their policies they want the Church to allow, and what makes it difficult to tell the difference is the fact that they are more often than not are closely associated with even diocesan bishops and religious communities “For pastoral reasons” or some other absurd excuse.

        When I compare the SSPX and those liberal dissenters, the latter seem to actually do more to ignore the Magisterial authority by attacking the core of the sacramental life, including the family and the liturgy. Whereas the most SSPX care about is something that hasn’t change since the 50’s and some oddball beliefs which themselves are not as harmful than believing that homosexual relationships are normal.

        How many prelates from the traditionalist schismatics have you heard publicly hurl vulgarities at other Catholic clergy? In fact, I’ve heard the SSPX considered worse than Satanists by a certain hysterical priest who seem to talk like he himself is Pope.

        I bring up the SSPX because they haven’t installed anyone as Pope, but I do see the German Bishops’ Conference pulling a Luther over this divorce/remarriage issue. Don’t tell me they’re not in schism afterwards or something, just because they keep their fancy Cardinals’ robes.

      • Foolishness says:

        I do not want the debate about SSPX to start dominating the comments section.

      • John Walter S. says:

        Sorry. I will stop.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        Per Deborah’s comment, I do not intend this response to start a debate, but you asked a theological question that deserves an explanation so I will attempt to answer it.

        You wrote: Also, Rev, SSPX you say is in schism, but aren’t they only in schism if they refuse to acknowledge the Pope as the head of the Church, the way the Orthodox do?

        A “schism” is more correctly understood as a severance of ecclesial communion — meaning that the two groups no longer share in the same celebrations of the sacraments as a matter of normal course.

        A “schismatic act” is an action that, by its very nature, severs ecclesial communion and thus creates a schism. In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the Codex Juris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) puts episcopal ordination without a papal mandate into this category.

        You asked: Who determines if a group is in schism?

        With respect to the Catholic Church, the magisterium of the Catholic Church makes that determination and the magisterium of the Catholic Church effects reconciliation.

        In the Catholic Church, we understand that each bishop maintains ecclesial communion with the Bishop of Rome, and thus with all other bishops who are in communion with him, and that we all maintain ecclesial communion with our diocesan bishops or equivalent individuals. Thus, an official statement by the pope that a particular bishop or organization is not in ecclesial communion with him is absolutely definitive as of the time of the statement.

        You asked: If you call the SSPX schismatic, is that your opinion, or do you have some sort of authority that binds people to believe what you say about them?

        This is the official determination of the magisterium of the Catholic Church. It was first stated by Pope John Paul II in the motu proprio Ecclesia dei promulgated on 02 July 1998 (the second day after the illicit episcopal ordinations at Econe) and reiterated in numerous subsequent magisterial documents.

        You continued: I mean what do you call Orthodox who recognize the authority of the Pope but Eastern Catholic? They certainly aren’t bound by the same laws as the Roman Chruch, but they’re still considered Catholic, and they consider themselves Catholic, even if people are ignorant of their canonical status.

        This statement reflects a major conceptual error. The sui juris ritual churches of the Byzantine Rite are not Orthodox, as they severed communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch to remain in or to return to the full communion of the Catholic Church. You are correct that they have their own codes of ecclesial law (in fact, that’s precisely the meaning of the term sui juris) and their own hierarchical organization, but their patriarchs or major archbishops, with whom their bishops maintain ecclesial communion directly, maintain full ecclesial communion with the pope. Because we have full ecclesial communion, any Roman Catholic may receive the sacraments in any sui juris ritual church, and vice versa without restriction. By contrast, a member of the Catholic Church can receive the sacraments of reconciliation, communion, and anointing of the sick from a minister of the Orthodox Communion only when physically or morally deprived of access thereto from a Catholic minister.

        You asked: Also, SSPX aside, what organization from the left can you tell me that is conspicuously dissident? Aren’t there more of those, according to your definition of schism, “Liberal Catholics” than there are of the “traditionalists”?

        I don’t have a comprehensive list of all organizations that publicly dissent from various points of doctrine advanced by the magisterium on either side. Many of these organizations are small and local, so it’s typically best to address the matter in the affected diocese(s) rather than on a global scale. On the “traditionalist” side, however, one finds some groups that are even more extreme than the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) — so-called “sedevacantists” who typically hold that the last legitimately elected pope was either Pius XII or John XXIII, for example. I have no idea how many or how few of these groups might exist today.

        You wrote: Whereas you have groups from the left demanding: 1. An end to clerical celibacy. 2. Acknowledgement of homosexual marriage. 3. Allowance of divorce/remarriage. 4. Women priests. 5. Ministerial priesthood of all the faithful. 6. Turning the Church into a democracy. 7. Allowance of contraception/abortion, and many more.

        Be a bit careful here. Clerical celibacy is a matter of discipline that began in Spain in the eighth century and gradually spread throughout western Europe, becoming universal in the Roman Rite in the twelfth century. There is nothing doctrinal that would prevent a return to the earlier practice, which is clearly orthodox. This stands in stark contrast to doctrinal underpinnings of the other issues that you raise.

        But even with respect to some of the other issues in your list, it’s fair to ask if the doctrinal underpinnings might permit a modification of the present pastoral response to a real situation — a more streamlined process for granting decrees of nullity, for example.

        You wrote: I bring up the SSPX because they haven’t installed anyone as Pope, but I do see the German Bishops’ Conference pulling a Luther over this divorce/remarriage issue. Don’t tell me they’re not in schism afterwards or something, just because they keep their fancy Cardinals’ robes.

        I’m not saying that you are wrong about this. It is, however, the responsibility of the magisterium — chiefly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops, in concert with the pope — to address the matter in the public forum. They undoubtedly will do so when they come to a determination if they deem it necessary.

        Norm.

      • Foolishness says:

        Okay, Norm, that’s enough on the SSPX for now. This is not an SSPX blog and these comments are off topic and I will no longer publish any more in this thread.

  2. This is very beautiful, Deborah, thank you. This sort of thing saddens me so much that I have all but stopped reading things about infighting in the church. I will join you in prayer.

  3. John Dunlap says:

    A Gold Star award for your thoughtful article. Yes, will join you in prayer.

  4. Macy says:

    Domet is deeply concerned that serious harm is being done to his Matri Ecclesiae, so by Pope Francis’ standard, he has shown restraint.

  5. Don Richard says:

    Don says:
    You have to be kidding right. [SENTENCE EDITED OUT BY MODERATOR] By granting an interview to the Heretic Gregory Baum on his Salt & Light program, he gave this dissenter legitimacy and you people want him treated with kid gloves. Fr. Rosica is all grown up and if he’s going to spread dissent around like he does than I say he’s fair game. It’s not like he’s some laymen out in the middle of nowhere babbling his descent, he’s an international spokesmen for the Church for God’s sake.

    • Foolishness says:

      One thing you have to remember is that Gregory Baum was a peritus during the Second Vatican Council and one of the drafters of Nostra Aetate, so for historical reasons there can be grounds for interviewing him in Catholic media. That said, I think it was a mistake to let the impression go out that he is in tune with orthodox Catholic teaching. He is not on issues such as women’s ordination. But we do not need to get into a hissy fit about it, just calmly state the facts.

      • plato24 says:

        Fr Rosica also praised Baum as a theologian and the great work he did for the Church. I used to watch Salt and Light. But that and some of the things that he stated as fact in the Vatican II series did it for me. Fr Rosica also tweeted recently about seeing the gifts in a homosexual union. That isn’t exact. It would take me too long to look it up but it was the homosexual union -not the people in the union- that got me. I could have agreed on the people in the union but not the union itself. This is only a few examples. I do see him as someone who supports dissenters. I was upset to learn that he was the English translator for the Vatican.

      • Foolishness says:

        I try not to put the worst possible interpretation on things and while I did not like the midterm relatio at all, what I think those who support it were getting at is this: let’s not narrow down how we look at people to focus only on their sin. What I think Fr. Rosica and others with this view may be trying to say is this: can we not look at some of the elements of friendship —which is a good—that might also exist in a homosexual union. Now, for the sake of my comfort level, I would prefer that the elements of friendship be what is focused on, rather than the homosexual union because it is then implied that it is good because it is homosexual, not good because there might be elements of friendship, because I think the friendship aspects may help give a starting point to accompanying someone who desires to go deeper with the Lord. I try to see in what is happening pastoral call to see whole persons as opposed to merely seeing someone as defined by this or that sin. It’s the same thing on divorce and remarriage. To automatically state someone is an adulterer because they were once married, perhaps civilly or even in the Church, and then divorced, may not describe the reality of the situation, seeing as it is the couple who confer the sacrament on each other. Yes, to protect the Sacraments, those in irregular unions should not approach Holy Communion until they have received an objective finding of nullity by the Church—our subjective feelings on the state of our marriage are not enough—but I think some of the debate concerns how we deal with people. Sadly, however, when the pastoral approach becomes touted and proclaimed by the Pope and various princes of the Church, then it starts to seem that doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage has changed. The Pope needs to proclaim Church teaching and most of us intuitively know when is time to talk about sin, and when it is time to affirm someone in what may have elements of good in their lives, to help draw them deeper into the good, the beautiful and the true.

      • plato24 says:

        I agree with you completely . I am not as good as you are on keeping worse interpretations out of my thinking. I do not attribute your thinking to many of those involved, both speaking for the Church and what those listening to them will hear. And words DO matter…they want to stop using words like sin…I smell some verbal engineering not from those who innocently listen to the idea and agree but from the planners, those who came up with the idea. There were just too many phrases, too many words that can be taken different ways, while at the same time conducive to ‘plausible deniability’ from those coming up with the language…’that is not what we meant.’ knowing all the while that that is what can be heard and inferred.
        Synod fathers on updating church language

        I do agree with your views however, Their sin is no worse than my sin. But I know that my sin is sin …and that is the difference. I am all for a loving pastoral method but it Cannot replace teaching the doctrine. They are both necessary As far as shepherding people into the truth, that is a great idea but when would that happen? We do not even shepherd our adults into an adult faith…Confirmation is the end of formal catechesis and Communion is learned at 6 and 7 yrs old . It is not taught again after that. For the most part the shepherding to the gospel truth would not happen . In practice people would be allowed to believe the way they believed when they started It leaves the door open for everyone to practice the faith the way they choose to see it. It does not clearly state the right and wrong….and this gradual thing is terrible in my opinion. It says that the gospel message is the ideal but it is ok that people are not there. and the idea of sin is removed. One last thing I wanted to add is that not receiving communion while in mortal sin is not just about protecting the Sacraments. It is even more about protecting the sinner…. keeping a person from ‘ eating and drinking condemnation upon himself/herself.’

        I really appreciate your response and you make a lot of sense.I am sorry this response is so late. I forgot my password and I have just gotten back into this account. God Bless You and God Be With You!

      • Rev22:17 says:

        plato24,

        You wrote: Fr Rosica also tweeted recently about seeing the gifts in a homosexual union. That isn’t exact. It would take me too long to look it up but it was the homosexual union -not the people in the union- that got me. I could have agreed on the people in the union but not the union itself. (emphasis added)

        Bear in mind that a “tweet” has a limit of 140 characters — a constraint that often forces shorthand that renders a message imprecise. Thus, it’s tough to be certain that what one can infer from a “tweet” is what the sender really meant.

        But having said that, there are positive elements in any committed relationship — people supporting one another through thick and thin, providing for one another in time of need, walking together in faith, etc. — that can exist in a homosexual “union” as well.

        Norm.

      • Foolishness says:

        I think elements of true friendship can exist in homosexual unions. I think that was probably what Fr. Rosica was getting at. That said, a true friend would not use his or her friend sexually in a sinful way. But the care shown of AIDs patients by their partners, long after sexual activity was impossible and things like that point to the goods.

  6. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    You wrote: What’s the goal of these types of mob media campaigns? Crushing people into the dust, humiliating them until they are forced to do what the mob wants? That’s what the totalitarian “progressive” left does. Do we want to become like what we hate?

    Unfortunately, “traditionalists” of the right are often just as guilty as “progressives” of the left on this score. And the reality is that both extremes, though not in formal schism, do not adhere to the faith of the Catholic Church in its entirety.

    The scriptures tell us quite clearly that Satan is the father of lies and that no lie has anything in common with the Truth. In this regard, a careful reading of the First Letter (Epistle) of John is quite instructive.

    Norm.

    • Foolishness says:

      I think the picture is a bit more complex than the way you paint it as two extremes, Norm. Often the blogs on the “right” are fighting among each other, and there are many differences among them, and I’m not including sedevacantists in this.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Deborah,

        You wrote: I think the picture is a bit more complex than the way you paint it as two extremes, Norm. Often the blogs on the “right” are fighting among each other, and there are many differences among them, and I’m not including sedevacantists in this.

        Yes, and one also finds some infighting among groups on the left with different priorities. I was painting with a fairly broad brush in the interest of not writing fifteen volumes on the subject.

        Norm.

  7. Paul Nicholls ofs says:

    It would be wise if the church appointed a mediator or arbitrator to help resolve the problem between the two men. This situation is also creating divisiveness in the wider church as a result of the reaction from all this. This is all I will say on the matter since I am refraining from commenting on any blogs as a matter of personal policy.

  8. David Murphy says:

    I should like to make just one comment about authority and differing opinions.

    Every two years there is a national gathering of Catholics here in Germany called the “Katholikentag”, and each time a parallel, inoffocial “Katholikentag von unten” (Catholic Conference from below) is organised in the same town, where critical points of view are aired.

    On the occasion of the last Katholikentag the spokesman of the KT von unten was interviewed on the radio. He was asked why they regularly petitioned the Bishops’ Conference on certain issues, for example on sexual morals, and why they didn’t just do their own thing. The spokesman was flabbergasted. He said: “You do realise that we are Catholics. We belong to a Church where the authority lies with the Pope and the hierarchy, as Christ himself decided. There is no way that we could usurp that authority and do our own thing. As responsible and critical Christians we can state our views and try to convince those in authority, but we are always subject to the authority of the Church”.

    I must admit that I was impressed by the vehemence with which this spokesman stated this. Oh that Martin Luther had thought similarly!

    • John the Mad says:

      O’ that Cardinal Marx and the German episcocacy would think similarly today. The stink of Teutonic schism is in the air and while we all might want a reconciliation in the Father Rosica affair, he richly deserves the storm of criticism. They are self-inflicted wounds.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        You wrote: … and while we all might want a reconciliation in the Father Rosica affair, he richly deserves the storm of criticism.

        Criticism, however legitimate, must always be charitable. Venomous assault and character assassination that we often see from both sides of the fence are the work of Satan, never to be confused with the opus dei (work of God) and never to be tolerated from within the community of faith.

        Norm.

  9. John the Mad says:

    Norm:
    “Venomous assault and character assassination that we often see from both sides of the fence are the work of Satan, never to be confused with the opus dei (work of God) and never to be tolerated from within the community of faith.”

    Father Rosica has himself engaged in venomous assault and character assassination. His nasty comments about pro life activists is a case in point. I think Father Rosica reaps what he sows. That is what I meant when I said he richly deserves what he is getting and that he suffers from self-inflicted wounds.

    His fawning, hagiographic, interview with the heretical dissent Gregory Baum was execrable and made a lot of faithful Catholics rightfully angry and revealing of Father Rosica’s theological sympathies. In my view, and the view of many, his lawsuit is not charitable, is unbecoming of a Catholic priest, and (given his own harsh criticisms) smacks of hypocrisy.

    Put me down as a member of the Saint Nicholas school of engagement with heterodox ideas. Sometimes charity comes in the form of a punch in the face at a Church Council, or tables being overturned in a temple, or denunciations of being whited sepulchres being bandied about.

    Of course one may say that Arius was, in fact, a dangerous heretic, the moneychangers were indeed acting sacrilegiously in defiling the temple and the pharisees were clerical hypocrites of the first order and fully deserving of what they got. The saintly pugilist, and the angry, unruly, Messiah with the sharp tongue are exemplars of charity are they not? (And the latter was the living Opus Dei.)

    Finally, I think the suggestion of Paul Nicholls ofs to engage a mediator with the disputants is a very good idea. I’m a negotiator by profession and have experienced positive resolutions from a good mediator when positions seem irresolvable and intractable. Deborah says Father Rosica has a very kind and caring side and David Domet strikes me as being a committed Catholic. Mind you, for mediation to work both men would have to approach it with humility and prayer. This ugly dispute is harming the Body of Christ. Jesus wept and well he might.

    And (finally finally!) notwithstanding what I have written, I’ll pray and reflect about your comments on charity, Norm. You have a point and it’s Lent so I have to pray about something. (As long as Jesus doesn’t try to change my mind, of course.)

    • Rev22:17 says:

      John,

      You wrote: Father Rosica has himself engaged in venomous assault and character assassination. His nasty comments about pro life activists is a case in point. I think Father Rosica reaps what he sows. That is what I meant when I said he richly deserves what he is getting and that he suffers from self-inflicted wounds.

      I have no knowledge of any of this, having never read Fr. Rosica’s blog. But in any case, my earlier comments can cut both ways. If your allegations are correct, they apply to Fr. Rosica as well as to his critics.

      Norm.

  10. EPMS says:

    Well, if the stakes are of the highest order and the questions are fundamental, zeal may be the appropriate response. But in general, what can the Devil enjoy seeing more than Catholics quarrelling among themselves? I wandered onto a website recently where a discussion was going on about whether the twenty-one Coptic Christians murdered by ISIS were going straight to hell as heretics, or maybe had a long shot at redemption. I felt rather sick. Is this the line of conversation that draws seekers into the Church?

    • John Walter S. says:

      You must be referring to those baptists who lament the 21 Copts, but assert they are not real Christians, the same way they accuse Catholics of not being Christians. The irony is that those baptists, along with many protestants, share more commonality with ISIS and Islam than with the Church Jesus Christ established.

      The question, really, is the Christ they cry for, the real Christ? Some believe Jesus to be nothing more than a moral teacher, denying His divinity. These people who call themselves “Christian” even if they cry out for a false Christ at the end of their days violently or otherwise call upon a false Christ, and to entertain the idea that Jesus Christ is merciful enough to allow these who deny His divinity into Heaven is a slap upon His face, because it is a slap upon Truth.

      Now, whether or not these people profess belief in a false Christ or the one and only Jesus Christ can only be known to Him; even if they are in a false and heretical sect, who knows the contents of their hearts? Does not the Holy Spirit heal all that is infirm? Unless they have expressed an outward sign that clearly manifest belief in falsity, we cannot clearly say that they believe in them.

      Yes, we must draw people into the Church, but not at the loss of Truth. If people cannot deal with the discomfort of Truth, then they reject the Truth at their own risk.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        You wrote: You must be referring to those baptists who lament the 21 Copts, but assert they are not real Christians, the same way they accuse Catholics of not being Christians….

        I have encountered a handful of Baptists who fit your description over the years, but they constitute a very small minority of the Baptists that I know. The preponderance of Baptists seek to be formed by the Word of God and have made life-long commitments to serve the Lord. I wish that I could say as much about the preponderance of people who self-identify as Catholic.

        You wrote: The question, really, is the Christ they cry for, the real Christ? Some believe Jesus to be nothing more than a moral teacher, denying His divinity. These people who call themselves “Christian” even if they cry out for a false Christ at the end of their days violently or otherwise call upon a false Christ, and to entertain the idea that Jesus Christ is merciful enough to allow these who deny His divinity into Heaven is a slap upon His face, because it is a slap upon Truth.

        Of the people whom I know who fit this description, the overwhelming preponderance self-identify as Catholic.

        You wrote: Yes, we must draw people into the Church, but not at the loss of Truth. If people cannot deal with the discomfort of Truth, then they reject the Truth at their own risk.

        Again, most Baptists seem not to be so afraid of the Truth as the preponderance of those who self-identify as Catholic.

        Norm.

  11. EPMS says:

    Actually it was Catholic site. But why would anyone, surfing the net in the comfort of their home, no doubt, presume to speculate on the eternal fate of these victims?

    • John Walter S. says:

      If you think being a Catholic excludes having to think about the real possibility of dying tomorrow and facing your maker, you would think that a bearable religion than being in a religion that tells you the Kingdom is at Hand; how have you worked towards your salvation and that of others?

      We easily say “This has nothing to do with daily life” or “This has no practical use.” but that is only the result of having been filled with other things that we deem useful and practical, and even enjoyable; It is like wearing a comfortable suit tailored by the world and its opinions, but you wear a little Catholic lapel pin to remind yourself and show others that you are in fact Catholic. Much like those little American flags put on by certain people who want to show their patriotism while affording to be apathetic and ignorant. They don’t have to think about domestic or foreign policy, they elected people to do the thinking for them. It’s a different story when a man who is perpetually dressed in the American flag rants and raves about everything the American government does, like a walking, talking embodiment of C-SPAN.

      Likewise, we don’t have to think about the eternal fate of the victims of Islam, we have theologians who can do mental gymnastics and contortions about what Scripture or Patristic writings have to say to make everything feel better and so we can go about our business not worrying about anything. We might bring up a thing or two at cocktail parties so that we do not seem ignorant, but when remind people about how much we actually don’t know, we can be quite the life of the party. Then we go to church and be surprised, thanks to the aforementioned theologians and “experts”, by the nonsense the priest says in his homily. Or just be perplexed at how nonsensical and irrelevant it can be. (Maybe it makes sense and is relevant to the giver of the sermon?)

      But here’s the shorter version of my answer: You have to live and breathe in the Catholic Faith, not just dabble, or have a half-hearted attitude towards it. You have to get into the nook and cranny of the faith, and advance your knowledge of the faith- if you think you know everything there is to know about 2,000 years of wisdom, then it is absurd to speculate. But for many of us we need to seek the truth of the matter, and maybe faith will be strengthened.

      Yes, Faith requires trust, and it does not hinge on knowing everything, but ignorance is not a virtue, nor can we be anything useful to God if we say “I don’t know” a lot and generally lack conviction in what we must believe.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        You wrote: You have to live and breathe in the Catholic Faith, not just dabble, or have a half-hearted attitude towards it.

        While I agree completely with your gist here and with most of the rest of your post, I rather hope that what we are living and breathing is a Catholic expression of Christian faith that recognizes even those baptized in other Christian denominations as our brothers and sisters, even though our union in faith be imperfect rather than a faith that is distinctly Catholic and fundamentally different from that of other Christians. This is the clear infallible teaching of the Second Vatican Council in the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium (citations removed).

        15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God. They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.

        In the light of this doctrinal pronouncement, it is clear that any contrary theological position is not authentically Catholic. Indeed, what we share in common is far greater than what separates us!

        In the same paragraph, you wrote: But for many of us we need to seek the truth of the matter, and maybe faith will be strengthened.

        Yes, and indeed “seek[ing] the truth of the matter” together in faith is precisely the heart of authentic ecumenism — and this obviously requires a deepening of our own knowledge and understanding of the sacred mysteries through prayerful study of divine revelation!

        Norm.

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