I once held Father George Rutler in very high regard. When I came back to the Church after 38 years, I made a deliberate decision to make my confession to him. He also convalidated my marriage. I use to attend Our Savior's Church in Manhattan from time to time just to hear him talk.
I attended Rutler's Good Friday services for several years. Each year he speaks from 12:00 to 3:00 on the seven last words, and it is always standing room only.
When I attended, his talks often contained discussions of politics, and he did not hesitate to take jabs at liberal politicians, However, although it was always done in a very subtle way, Rutler also mocked Church hierarchy with whom he disagreed.
This was back in my days as a radical traditionalist, and I never had a problem with any of Rutler's positions until one year when his sarcasm just did not sit right with me. I felt he was way too political and right wing and far too dismissive of his ecclesiastical superiors. I have not returned to Rutler's parish since then.
Rutler has never tried to hide his allegiance to the right wing traditionalists or his disdain for Pope Francis.
I have posted a couple of articles over the years voicing my concern about his disrespect for Church authority, which you can read HERE and HERE.
|Fr. George Rutler|
My reason for this post is an article written by Father Rutler in which he openly and without a hint of apology blasts Pope Francis, The article on the Crisis Magazine website, is entitled, "The Great Emergency." The article is written using sarcasm and "wit." Yea, right.
I think Father Rutler fancies himself something of a 21st Century G.K. Chesterton, one of history's greatest Catholic writers. However, Chesterton can rest in peace. Father George Rutler will never displace G. K. Chesterton in Catholic literature.
In his Crisis Magazine article, Father Rutler belittles Pope Francis for the Holy Father's comment about plastic in the oceans. As The Independent reported:
To mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Francis issued a statement intended to galvanise the global community into saving the “impressive and marvellous,” God-given gift of the “great waters and all they contain.”Rutler is far from the only one of the Pope's enemies who has criticized this statement. Many people have raked the Holy Father over the coals for this because they feel that discussing such an "unimportant" topic in the midst of the crisis in the Church is the height of denseness and stupidity.
“Sadly, all too often many efforts fail due to the lack of effective regulation and means of control, particularly with regard to the protection of marine areas beyond national confines,” the pope wrote.
“We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic,” Francis said.
“Here, too, our active commitment is needed to confront this emergency.”
Father Rutler and the other critics of Pope Francis are actually the dense ones. We have a very, very grave crisis in the way in which plastic is polluting our environment, and especially our oceans. This is from one article entitled, "Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health":
Over a few decades, humans have managed to dump tons upon tons of garbage into the ocean. Of the most devastating elements of this pollution is that plastics takes thousands of years to decay. As a result, fish and wildlife are becoming intoxicated. Consequently the toxins from the plastics have entered the food chain, threatening human health. In the most polluted places in the ocean, the mass of plastic exceeds the amount of plankton six times over. This is a large piece of evidence that leaves the problem of polluted oceans undeniable. It is upsetting that more of clean up effort is not taking place.There are entire islands in the ocean made up entirely of plastics. Here is a picture of one:
Watch this video of a whale who died because he was filled with plastic:
Plastics are killing our oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 plastics will outweigh fish in our oceans. There is nothing to laugh about here. Human life cannot exist without our oceans and the marine life in them. When they die, we die.
However, according to Fr. Rutler, the death of our oceans is hardly an important topic, and certainly nothing that warrants the Pope's attention.
In the first part of his article, Rutler takes the Holy Father to task for refusing to answer Vigano's allegations. Rutler does this in a very crafty manner, never naming Vigano by name. Rutler also criticizes the Holy Father for not answering allegations from other enemies.
Notice Rutler's use of sarcasm. It should be noted that Rutler has previously blasted the Pope for his positions on climate change and capital punishment:
Recently, Pope Francis told the press: “I will not say a word” referring to some of the most serious allegations of decadence in the Church, and he has long declined to respond to the dubia of four cardinals on the spiritual economy of marriage. Some have thought that such reticence is inconsistent with his dogmatic outspokenness on ambiguous matters such as climate change and capital punishment. Last New Year’s Day, he said: “I would once again like to raise my voice” about immigration, and on Palm Sunday he told young people: “You have it in you to shout” even if “older people and leaders, very often corrupt, keep quiet.” This is why there was an eagerness to hear him when in the course of these most tumultuous months, on the fourth day of World Prayer for the Care of Creation, he finally spoke—but it turned out to be a warning about plastic debris in the world’s waters.
Rutler is amazed that the Holy Father would speak of creation and the ways in which it is being destroyed on the Fourth Day of World Prayer for the Care of Creation? Rutler thinks this would have been an opportune time to discuss sexual abuse in the Church? There is a reason why Rutler will never be Pope or even a bishop.
Rutler now turns the sarcasm up full force. I would quote it all here, but Father Rutler's prose tends to have a problem with a diarrhea of words. Go to the article and read it for yourself, if you can make your way through his dense sentence structure.
Rutler dismisses the problem of plastics in the ocean with this cute little quip:
There are cynics who would try to dismiss the plastic pollution emergency as though it were “not a massive, massive crisis.” However, the issue will not go away. You might say that the problem has been with us since plastic first appeared in 1284, as a naturally made compound of tortoise shell and horn. And, of course, 1284 was the year that the Lüneborg manuscript first recorded the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, whom the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in a lecture in Villanova University in 2013, used as a metaphor for the charism of Pope Francis. He was unaware that 130 children were never seen again after the Piper led them into a cave.Despite the incredible arrogance displayed here, we have to give Rutler credit for finding a way to link Pope Francis with not only the disgraced Theodore McCarrick but even the Pied Piper who led children to their death.
Rutler then gives us anecdotes about plastic, including quotes from the movie, "The Graduate", as if that has anything to do with the fact that plastics are choking our oceans and killing millions of marine life and aquatic animals and birds. from the smallest plankton to the largest whales.
Rutler then find another method to slam the Pope. With his "great wit" and sarcasm, Rutler tries to show how irrelevant the problem of plastics destroying our oceans is to the Gospel of Salvation. I personally don't see this as the least bit funny:
Plastic is not mentioned in Sacred Scripture, not even in the New American Bible. But we may safely assume that Jesus would have had difficulty walking on water if it had been filled with plastic trash. Saint Peter found a gold coin in the mouth of a fish but today he might very well find only a piece of styrofoam. When our Lord fed the five thousand and the four thousand, the leftovers filled twelve and seven kphinoi, or wicker baskets, respectively. These were huge crowds, especially if you add the number of women and children, and more so if 2+2 = 5. But the point is: these baskets were biodegradable, and it would never have occurred to the Master to use plastic trash bags even if such had existed. Eventually the baskets would have decayed and returned to the soil from whence they came. And that is how it should be. Even the parables can be updated for the present emergency: the Good Ecologist, having recycled ninety-nine plastic bottles, still goes out in search of the one polyurethane bottle that is lost.
On the other hand, our Lord does seem to have had a different concept of moral emergencies, to wit: “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters a man from outside can defile him; but the things that come out from within are what defile. From within men, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile” (Mark 7: 15, 20-23). But for many facing the emergency of plastic refuse, that may be a matter for another day.Again, you have to give Rutler credit for finding a way to slam one of the Pope's defenders, Father Spadaro, despite the fact that this has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
Rutler's sarcasm and smug criticism is like a person standing in front of a building burning out of control. Instead of helping to put out the fire, he denies it is even happening. He instead ridicules and dismisses as irrelevant and downright silly those who are trying to stamp out the flames and save the trapped occupants.
Rutler is beyond pompous. Only a person who is just as arrogant and smug as Father Rutler would find this article funny or anything other than just another baseless hit job on Pope Francis.
And that person would be, of course, Father John Zuhlsdorf.
Zuhlsdorf did a post entitled, "What passes for important today" in which he praises Rutler's article. Zuhlsdorf starts out:
Once upon a time, Roman Pontiffs and the Curia they assembled as hired help concerned themselves with the great issues and questions of the day. Minor issues were left to others to deal with.
These days, in the age of the feckless, a reversal of sorts can be noted.Along with Rutler, this is a direct attack against Pope Francis.
Now comes the praise for Rutler:
Head over to Crisis for Fr. Rutler’s tour de force of apposite factoids and dates. You might make some popcorn.Is it just coincidence that both Rutler and Zuhlsdorf are converts? Another convert is Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who recently did a post in which he said it would be a very good thing if the papacy were reduced to a symbol with no power.
|Zuhlsdorf and Longenecker|
Do these converts really understand that the Catholic Church is not a man made institution? Do they understand that although we have men in positions of authority on earth, that the Catholic Church is actually the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ and our real leader is the Holy Spirit?
Do these converts understand that the Papacy is not a man made office but one personally created by Jesus Christ, and that the Holy Father literally has the Keys to the Kingdom? Do they understand that there is authority and power granted to the Papacy not possessed by any other person on earth?
I have now made it a rule to give credence only to those who give their full support to the Papacy. That does not mean agreeing with every word that comes out of the Pope's mouth. But it does mean not attacking the Pope or declaring him a heretic. Never will I follow anyone who feels they have the right to call for the Pope's resignation.
The Rutlers and Zuhlsdorfs of the world can take their smugness and arrogance and decidedly non-Catholic attitudes somewhere else. I am not interested.
But I do pray for their souls. They are definitely on the wrong side of history.