Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"THAT. That's what we're talking about." Pt.14 (with bonus)

This is the sort of entry which is likely upset some of my Jesuit friends, to say nothing of drawing the ire of our Jesuit non-friends. Commenters like "Anonymous" (if that's really her name) will probably go apoplectic with displeasure.

But!

Before anyone begins to throb at the temples, or starts developing a disconcerting facial tic, consider what this entry actually says and does:

1- Pointing out an instance where a Jesuit is not doing that whole sentire cum Ecclesia thing to the extent one might wish, and the danger this poses to the faithful.

2- Pointing out this instance as being emblematic of the problems about which the laity has been very concerned for the last X years and which the Holy See has mentioned in its communications with the Society.

3- Pointing out this is precisely the sort of thing the Pope would like to see Fr. Nicolás address effectively.

Deconstructed thus, it's hardly incendiary stuff. Definitely not unwarranted, unreasonable or, most importantly, uncharitable. So I don't want to hear anything along these lines.

What am I talking about? A certain Jesuit who has either an inability or an unwillingness to comprehend what the following settled doctrine means:

I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful. --Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994)

This means, bluntly, Case Closed. To use CWN's words in their discussion on the matter "In the canonically decisive sense, the Universal Church already has decided, and her judgment was repeated, and given definitive and binding force[.]" Sounds like "Case Closed" to me.

Therefore if it IS a closed and settled matter, why bring up the matter of "a vote" on this issue? One aspect that is conveniently left on the ground is the matter of the Church safeguarding Revealed Truth. Revealed Truth (or any truth, for that matter) is not a function of popular sentiment. It is what it is. Father is in error (and may lead others likewise) when he asserts this is "a rule." The speed limit is a rule. Gravity, and God's ordained will, are not.

When he mentions the matter of women ordaining each other to the priesthood (incidentally, am I the only one cynical enough to not be able to envision these misguided and spiritually imperiled women sitting for hours in a Confessional?) and how this unfortunate state of affairs could be avoided by having women's ordination, it's pretty much like my saying the best way to avoid people being arrested for drunk-driving is to eliminate all drunk-driving laws. When Father asserts that women ordaining themselves to the priesthood without so much as a by-your-leave is not good for the Church, he seems to be lamenting this on procedural ("Who presides? What bishop, needed for validity, administers* the sacrament?") grounds.

When Father asserts "The Biblical Commission declared over 30 years ago that Scripture raised no obstacles to women's ordination." he ignores that the fullness of Divine Revelation is found in Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition. In doing so, he treads very closely to a Sola Scriptura worldview.

It's one thing to have a discussion on a settled matter (so as to, for example, lead others who disagree with it to understand it better and, one hopes, embrace it) and quite another, as Father's suggestion surely implies, to have a discussion on the reversal of the settled matter under scrutiny. Which, to paraphrase CWN, is a highly illogical thing to say: that a definitively settled matter is open to revision and, by extension, perpetually up for grabs.

Regardless how Father couches his argument, it appears pellucidly clear to me that he is at the very least, tacitly condoning dissent on a matter of Catholic doctrine and at worst, openly dissenting himself. Of course, if I'm misreading Father's position, please correct me. Why a Jesuit would do such a thing I privately speculate, but cannot arrive at a satifactory answer. (I figure Karen will bubble up in picoseconds to explain what this all has to do with Rule 13.)

However, for a clearer understanding of Church teaching on the matter, you'd be well advised to read two other Jesuits who seem to have a far better grasp on this subject, Fr. Jean Galot, SJ and Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, SJ.

Of course, Father keeps on. Go. Read. I'll go make an espresso while you do that.

OK...back? Good.

When you read through all the above, it might have escaped your notice that of all the accolades a certain Jesuit places on Barack Obama, these all seem to be in areas of, er, prudential judgment. (That's why we're here, to help.)

Quiz! Of all the great moral imperatives of our time, which one is curiously absent from Father's litany? (Yes, you're right. Sadly.)

In the time it will take you to read this blog entry, 5-7 unborn children will have (quite painfully, most likely, not that it ultimately matters) been killed by chemical burns, dismemberment and/or suction and their earthly remains dealt with in a manner similar to the detritus of a heavy shift in a restaurant, if that; all while a population conveniently adrift from its Judeo-Christian values looks uncomfortably away and tries to decide whether this is right. In light of this, it's...curious...that Sen. Obama's 100% NARAL rating -- on a non-negotiable issue for a Catholic, thinking or otherwise -- seems to not trouble Father in the least. At least not enough for him to address it, even obliquely, in the column wherein he piles olive wreaths and hosannas on a man celebrating his one year anniversary as a U.S. Senator.

Now. I hear some of you baying...howling, even. So, to ameliorate and assuage, I ask you to ponder this:

How is a Jesuit proclaiming his allegiance to a manifestly ardent supporter of (ahem) "abortion rights"

  1. Not a case of something which "disorients the faithful and leads to relativism without limits"?

  2. Not another occasion of providing "air cover" for a politician to support (cough, cough) "abortion rights"?
  3. Not an example of falling short of "sentire cum Ecclesia"?

and, most importantly (and preemptively) how could mentioning this lamentable situation, of yet another example of a grievance we wish to see redressed, POSSIBLY be considered an instance of "an attack" or "an unfair generalization"?

Stop and let that sink in.

AMDG,

-J.

(Bilocatin' at SWC here and here.)

P.S. InsightScoop also has an excellent take on Father's first article.

* Color me reactionary, but the claim by one such Womanpriest that her ordination is valid because the document establishing her place in the line of apostolic succession is notarized made me laugh hysterically. "The Brooklyn Bridge is MINE! I have the papers and they're even notarized!"

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