Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Response to Terry Nelson Re: Cardinal Dolan

Cardinal Dolan goes into the belly of the beast, giving the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.  As stated on Youtube:  "The major networks skipped the closing prayer of the DNC in Charlotte."
Terry Nelson of Abbey Roads, whom I greatly respect, has left a comment on my blog in regard to Cardinal Dolan.  His entire comment:  "FYI, Cardinal Dolan is the Catholic guy who's following the herd."

Following is my reponse to Terry:

I saw your blog post on this subject, Terry, and I was going to answer it but I decided not to. I am very sad that you and I have such different views on this. I wish instead of such a terse comment to me that you had instead answered my points and shown how I was wrong.

I have shown that Cardinal Dolan does stand up for church teaching. As just one more example, he went to the Democratic Convention and gave a very moving prayer in which he was not afraid to bring up Church teaching and how it is in opposition to everything that was going on there. One part of that prayer:

"Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community"

Terry, the big problem that many are making is that they are looking at the St. Patrick's Day parade as a religious event. It is not. It is a cultural event. The Catholic Church has been a part of this cultural event from the beginning, even though it has always included every part of society which is most certainly not a part of the Church.  

Our society has become so morally degraded that the homosexual lifestyle is now approved. Thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we know that the teaching of the Church will never change on this or any other moral teaching. But that does not mean that we should not change our approach to those with whom we disagree. Cardinal Dolan does not have any say in who participates in the parade, but he can choose how he will react to the different elements in the parade.

Yes, he can make the decision not to include church participation. And that would make you and many others very happy. It might not make Michael Voris too happy because that would give him less reason to call Cardinal Dolan evil and a tool of the devil.

But what about the GBLTQ persons who are marching in the parade? They need us, Terry. They need the message that Cardinal Dolan can give them. These poor lost souls are coming to join an event in which the Catholic Church is already a participant. They are coming to join us. Yes, it is as an adversary. But that is all the more reason why we should stay. We were told by Our Lord to "go out into the world and preach the Gospel." This is the perfect opportunity to do this.

If Cardinal Dolan was to run away from the parade, as you and so many others advocate, he would be letting the militant gays win. He would be capitulating and giving the parade over to them entirely, destroying the presence of anything good. He would also be giving them even more reason to point out how bigoted and hateful the Church is, that we may preach love, but all our actions show is hate. By staying and even leading as Grand Marshal, he is continuing to provide the presence of the Holy Spirit. He will be providing a light in what has become a dark, dark world. As he said in his statement,

"As I do each year, I look forward to celebrating Mass in honor of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and the Patron Saint of this Archdiocese, to begin the feast, and pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity."

Satan is the one who wants to drive Cardinal Dolan and the presence of the Catholic Church completely away from the parade. He wants it to become a "gay" parade. That will not happen as long as Cardinal Dolan is there. And at the same time, it is a golden opportunity to evangelize - just by our presence - to those who are in such great need. I thank God for Cardinal Dolan's courage to go up against those who oppose him, both in and out of the Church.

I know this will not change your mind or anyone else who disagrees, but I'm still putting it out there. Please give it some thought. Think about what our commission as a church is. We need to go out into the world that needs us. Would it really be the work of the Holy Spirit to just run away and give the world over to darkness? Or do we stand strong and instead allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to reach out to others? Our Lord never ran away. He was condemned by the Pharisees because he socialized with known sinners. Far too many Catholics are sounding a lot more like Pharisees than like Jesus Christ.

UPDATE:  The Anchoress did a great post on this subject.  God bless her:

Dolan is Charged to Model Christ, Not the Pharisees

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Msgr. Charles Pope and The Herd Mentality of Catholic Blogging

Credit:  www.christinemonohan.net
Sometimes I think that almost all Catholic blogs are written by just one person because they all sound exactly the same. No one ever seems to have an original thought. An example this past week was the explosion that happened across the Catholic Internet when Cardinal Dolan said he did not have a problem with the organizers of the St. Patrick's Parade in NYC allowing gay activist groups to march in the parade. Every Catholic blog I read had the exact same knee jerk reaction - Dolan has completely fallen off the rails and is out to destroy the church. He must be resisted!

Even the headlines of the posts sound the same. Here are just a few:
Cardinal Dolan and the Shameful NYC St. Patrick's Gay Parade 
A ‘dereliction of duty’? Catholics react to Cardinal Dolan’s role in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Dolan to Catholics: Everybody Into the Ghetto

Cardinal Dolan and His St. Patrick Day Parade Abomination - St. Patrick, Pray for Us…

The Saint Patrick's Day Massacre

Cardinal Dolan: Does His Capitulation To Gays In St Patrick's Parade Constitute Cooperation With Mortal Sin?

Cardinal Dolan's St. Patrick's Day Parade Float: A King Size Mattress He Calls The Church of Pope Francis

Dolan once again proves himself a huge disappointment

What Would St. Patrick Say? (St. Patrick must be spinning in his grave.)

Millstone for Cardinal Dolan -- Again!
BREAKING: NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Goes Gay - Dolan Cheers! (You knew Michael Voris could not resist going after Cardinal Dolan once again)
I did not see even one blogger at least attempt to moderate his or her response by saying something like, "I don't understand this.  It doesn't seem like the best move, but I will show respect for the hierarchy of the church and just step back in prayer and let it play out."  Oh no, all the bloggers went right for Cardinal Dolan's jugular vein in full and complete condemnation.

And the blog posts I read on this subject were almost entirely comprised of opinions.  No one looked to see if or how this could possibly fit into the role of evangelizing those who are so militantly opposed to the Church as the homosexual movement is.  No one looked into Cardinal Dolan's past actions regarding the homosexual movement to see what his true motives might actually be.

As far as I know, I am the only blogger who brought up the fact that Cardinal Dolan is on the Board of Courage, the Catholic ministry that helps LGBT persons come out of the homosexual lifestyle, or that Cardinal Dolan was the first and only bishop of NYC to prohibit St. Francis Xavier Church to carry their church banner in the Gay Pride Parade.

GLAAD protestors at St. Patrick's Cathedral
Credit: Glaad.org
No one seems to remember the incident from May of 2013 when members of GLAAD protested at St. Patrick's Cathedral [HERE] because of a blog post written by Cardinal Dolan in which he stated the following [HERE for the full post]:
The Church loves, welcomes, and respects a woman or man with a same-sex attraction . . . while reminding him or her of our clear teaching that, while the condition of homosexuality is no sin at all, still, God’s teaching is clear that sexual acts are reserved for a man and woman united in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, loving bond of marriage.

. . .

We are part of a Church where, yes, all are welcome, but, no, not a Church of anything goes.
Nope, not one Catholic blogger brought any of this up.  They just wrote scathing, condemning diatribes against this Prince of the Church.

Among those who condemned Cardinal Dolan was a respected Catholic priest. No, I'm not talking about Father Z (although he was just as guilty [HERE]), but about Msgr. Charles Pope, who wrote a post on the website for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. that was pulled shortly after it was posted. That only incensed Catholic bloggers en masse who, almost in one voice, included Cardinal Wuerl in their condemnation of Cardinal Dolan.  Ah, but the traditionalists proudly proclaimed that Cardinal Wuerl did not out think them. This wonderful gem by Msgr. Pope was copied by others and saved for all the world to see.

So what was in this post?

Msgr. Pope started out his post with a truly bewildering statement:  "The time for happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement of our culture may be nearing an end. Sometimes it takes a while to understand that what used to work no longer works."

At what point in Church history did she engage the world in "happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement"?  Well, Msgr. Pope would have us believe that the Al Smith Dinner, held every year in NYC, is just such an example.  

The Al Smith Dinner is held once a year when the Archdiocese brings together political enemies and asks them to put aside their differences to raise money for poor kids. This, of course, reached a crisis stage when Cardinal Dolan invited President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner, and Catholic bloggers came together in herd mentality to condemn His Eminence. When Msgr. Pope condemns the Al Smith dinner, he is passively aggressively condemning Cardinal Dolan. And everyone knows it.

Msgr. Pope tells us that bringing politicians together years ago wasn't a problem, but now with the such issues as abortion and homosexuality, we can no longer be doing such things.  

I wonder if Msgr. Pope has ever read I Corinthians 5, in which St. Paul tells the Corinthian church that yes, they must separate from the sexually immoral.  However, this is in regard only to those who are in the Church (verses 9-13).
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.
Hmm.  "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?"  That has such a familiar ring to it.  

Ah, yes. Cardinal Dolan when asked about Michael Sam's homosexuality: "Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don't think, look, the same bible that tells us that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo.'"

Judging from the reactions of of the Catholic blogosphere to Cardinal Dolan, there can be little doubt how they (and Msgr. Charles Pope) would have treated St. Paul.  

In his post Msgr. Pope next states, "Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it."

The St. Patrick's Parade is "becoming" a parade of disorder, etc. etc.???   That statement would cause the rest of New York City to scratch their heads and wonder what world Msgr. Pope lives in not to know what the real reason for the parade has always been.  [Hint:  It's Party Time!]  

My husband had his 15 minutes of fame back in the 1950's when, as a little boy, my mother-in-law took him to the St. Patrick's parade in NYC. After the parade, they went to a restaurant with a bar. The bartender asked my husband if he had been to the parade.  My husband replied yes, and the bartender said, "Every good Irishman who goes to the parade goes to a saloon on St. Patrick's day."

After that, my mother in law took my husband to the Steve Allen Show which was filmed at NBC studios. My husband was picked as a "cute Irish kid" and interviewed by Steven Allen on the show. Steve asked the "cute Irish kid" what he did on St. Patrick's Day? The answer: "I went to a saloon like every good Irishman." The studio audience roared. Why? Because they knew how true this statement was even in the "innocence" of the 1950's. Just as an aside, Steven Allen liked my husband so much that he was actually on the show a couple of times and he still has a picture personally autographed to him and his mother by Steve Allen.
Here is a news flash for Msgr. Pope:  there has never been a time when drinking and carousing were not a part of the St. Patrick's Day parade, especially here in New York.  

Msgr. Pope then decided that Catholics need to actually make St. Patrick's Day of time of prayer and reparation:
It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.
I would never disagree with anyone's decision to set aside a day for prayer and reparation.  If you want to do it on St. Patrick's Day, all the more power to you.  But as I stated in my previous post, this is also an excellent time to engage with the world when they come to celebrate one of our days.  We cannot go to their events such as the Gay Pride Parade, but we can most certainly invite them to celebrate a non-religious event with us like St. Patrick's Day or the Al Smith Dinner.  We can use these opportunities to show the world what we are made of, to let them know that although we reject their sinful actions, we love and accept them as human beings.  It is, in other words, a perfect time for true evangelization. And there is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly what Our Lord would have done.  

Msgr. Pope and the Catholic blogosphere would have us turn our backs on the world and shut them out while we go into our churches to pray for them.  My reply to this is why can't we both pray for the world and engage them in acts of personal evangelization?  I hope that not one day goes by when Catholics are not in prayer for the world.  But it is also important to follow the example of Our Lord who went out into the world and engaged with sinners without engaging in their sin.  As Pope Francis has told us, we need to get the "smell of the sheep" on us.  And we can't do that if we just hide away.

It is important to note that although Msgr. Pope never actually mentions the name of Cardinal Dolan in his post, there is no doubt as to whom he was directing his comments.  Msgr. Pope was standing in condemnation of a Cardinal of the Church and inciting other Catholics to do the same.  And Msgr. Pope succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.  

In place of the deleted post Msgr. Pope has put the following statement [HERE]:
Many of you have expressed concern about a blog post I wrote on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was removed. I am grateful for your concern about this and all the issues we discuss here. I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense.

I remain concerned about the central point of the article, namely, how we as Catholics can effectively engage a culture that increasingly requires us to affirm what we cannot reasonably affirm. There are many prudential decisions involved in the answer to this question, and my intent is not to directly criticize any bishop or diocese. But this is an issue we must all collectively wrestle with as our culture and our faith reach deeper differences.

I am grateful to the Archdiocese of Washington, which has generously sponsored our conversation on this site for five years. I am also grateful to all of you who read and comment. I ask mutual charity and understanding for all parties involved. The beautiful motto of James Cardinal Hickey, who ordained me, rings just now in my heart: Veritatem in Caritate (the truth in charity).
Msgr. Pope is apologizing for the "strong nature of the language" he used, but he is still standing behind the sentiments in the post.  Even in his retraction here, he is still attacking Cardinal Dolan, albeit in a passive aggressive way.  Notice his statement, "I remain concerned about . . . how we as Catholics can effectively engage a culture that increasingly requires us to affirm what we cannot reasonably affirm."  He is subtly implying that Cardinal Dolan - by agreeing with the decision of the St. Patrick Parade organizers - is affirming homosexuality.  If that is the case, then can we assume that Jesus Christ was affirming the sin of the prostitutes and other sinners He hung around with?

We, as Catholics, need to get out of the herd mentality of those around us and starting trusting Holy Mother Church.  If you identify yourself as Catholic, then you believe that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit.  That does not mean that every action and word of Church hierarchy is inspired.  It certainly doesn't mean that church hierarchy can do no wrong.  But it does mean that we should always, always, always give the benefit of the doubt to those who are in charge of our souls.  If they are wrong, they will answer directly to Our Lord.

We must remember that God almost never works in ways that we expect.  I think of this often when I meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary.  Who would expect a poor young girl from an oppressed people to become the Mother of God?  Who would expect Our Savior to be born in a dirty, vermin-infested cave surrounded by equally dirty animals with only a feeding trough filled with straw as a bed?  Who would think He and His family would have to flee over many hundreds of miles to a strange land to escape being murdered?  Who would think that the God of the Universe would allow Himself to be mercilessly and ruthlessly beaten and killed like a common criminal to save us from our sins?

We must never think that we know the Mind of God. We must never think that He thinks like we do. We must empty ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us. We walk by faith, not by sight. The Holy Spirit knows exactly where He is leading the Church. He knows far better than we can ever know just how to engage with the world.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the Magnificat, which Our Lady recites when she is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth. In part of it, Our Lady tells us:
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
I have not seen a lot of "lowliness" among Catholic bloggers. The Catholic blogosphere has shown itself to be poisoned with pride and self righteousness. They, for the most part, think they have everything they need. They are "rich" in spiritual knowledge and wisdom, They know better than a Cardinal or even the Pope, and they do not hesitate to voice these opinions. However, Our Lady warns us that the "rich He has sent away empty."

I say to the Catholic blogosphere, now is not the time to turn away from the world. The world needs us more than ever. Cardinal Dolan understands this and is bravely going out to face a world that hates everything he represents. He needs us to stand behind him.

The purpose of this post is not to condemn Msgr. Charles Pope in any way. I really don't know anything about him other than this one post, and that is all I have discussed. I have no reason to doubt that Msgr. Pope is a good priest who loves Our Lord and loves the Church. But he was very wrong to write the now deleted post. He had no right as an ordained priest to attack the actions of a Cardinal. His post served to incite the laity against Church hierarchy, and that is never excusable.

To the rest of the Catholic blogosphere, I would urge you to break away from the herd mentality that seems to have taken over. How? All you need to do is be a good faithful Catholic. Trust our Lord. Trust the Holy Spirit that He will always guide the Church and never let us go astray. Realize that it is not your duty to try to set things back on course. We as human beings have very limited vision of the events around us. Our understanding is even more limited. Follow the example of Our Blessed Mother when she said,
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to your word.
Walk by faith, not by sight.
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