Bishop Blair: LCWR "not in accordance with faith of the church"

Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, who conducted the Vatican's doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, appeared on NPR's "Fresh Air," in the second part of the program's look at the LCWR. Here is the full interview with Terry Gross, in which Bishop Blair stated his belief that the LCWR is "promoting unilaterally new understandings, a new kind of theology, that is not in accordance with the faith of the church." The full interview is here on NPR's site. Other excerpts follow.

On the LCWR not taking a hard-line stance on abortion


"I recall something that Pope John Paul II said: He said that all other human rights are false and illusory. If the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and condition of all personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination ... to relativize or say, well the right to life of an unborn child is a preoccupation with fetuses or [it is] relative in its importance, I cannot agree with that, and I don't think that represents the church's teaching and the focus of our energies in trying to deal with this great moral issue."

On the dialogue that the LCWR would like to have with the Vatican

"If by dialogue, they mean that the doctrines of the church are negotiable, and that the bishops represent one position and the LCWR represents another position and somehow we find a middle ground about basic church teaching on faith and morals, then no, I don't think that's the dialogue the Holy See would envision. But if it's a dialogue about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters appreciate and accept church teaching and to implement it in their discussions, and try to heal some of the questions or concerns they have about these issues, that would be the dialogue."

On the importance of women in the church

"It's very important for me to say that the history of religious women in the United States is absolutely outstanding, and that one of the most disconcerting things about recent reports is to suggest that somehow that the bishops or the Holy See are not grateful or supportive for the work of religious women. They have done tremendous work in our country and throughout the world. If anything, part of our concern is precisely for their diminished numbers and their aging population. ... We hope there would be revitalization of religious life for women."

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Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
That's a helpful clarification Mike. We'll continue our discussion via email. Ciao.
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago
It is easy to pick and choose some teachings and proclaim them Divine Law, or demonstrate their reasonability and goodness. However, one can equally demonstrate that many Church teachings were not. Consider that Usury was endorsed by several Councils and three papal bulls, proclaimed in Scripture as Divine law for centuries, but reformed in the 16th century. Slavery, freedom of religion and the torture of heretics were also proclaimed licit by popes and their writings, but these teachings were reformed as well. In modern times we have certains actions that are proclaimed as "intrinsically evil", meaning that it is immoral under all circumstances and intentions. Deportation is one on them. Yet few people would consider illicit the deportation of an illegal alien who committed a felony.

Contraception is also intrinsicall evil and marial intercouse under these circumstances are said to be merely lustful pleasure, a false, destructive and evil love, causing the tendency to abortion in contraceptive failure. Apart from the lack of any evidence to these unsubstantiated consequentialistic proclamations, there may well be some people who abuse marital sex. However, there is an important moral theological principle at stake here that seems to have been forgotten: abusus non tollit usum: the abuse of a thing does not take away its legitimate use. Examples from daily life abound. The fact that alcohol and other drugs are abused by several millions of people does not mean that their responsible use by the rest of us should be forbidden. 

With respect to the LCWR and the CDF, the issue is authority and the interpretation of the LCWR's actions. The sisters are exercising their rights and judgments to be obedient to the love of Christ and Gospels, based on their prayer reflections and informed consciouses. The CDF has a right to exercise their responsibilities as well. These are the signs of the times.

Some people like to procliam that any disagreement with a Church doctrine and teaching is based on a distorted method of deciding what to accept or reject. Some believe that every Catholic, religious and clergy, must submit their minds and spirits to all Church teachings. It is important not to paint people and their theological and philosophical reasons for disagreement with the broad brush of an erroneous conscience and call this dissent. Disagreement is not dissent and those who disagree for good and just reasons are not unfaithful. We live in a divide Church and in a Crisis in Truth, as JP II asserted. A hermeneutic of disagreement may well have consequences for those in authority as well as for those that provide charitable social, religious, healthcare and other services. 
Vince Killoran
6 years 5 months ago
Your blogging is extensive but your facts are thin. On a recent blog you argued that the HHS guidelines had been made final when, in fact, they had not; on this thread you asserted papal infallibility only to be wrong about that.  I'm sorry if this seems harsh.

 "Sensus fidilum" and freedom of conscience are not a novel ideas.  We are the Church. Condemnation of abortion at one point had to do with fornication not the act of abortion; theologians did not consider the rights of unborn as fully as they do today.

My use of Vaticianites will continue.  I consider them to Catholics who have a narrow, incomplete understanding of the Faith due to their incorrect notions of the role of the Bishop of Rome.
Vince Killoran
6 years 6 months ago
Bishop Blair is pining for the the nuns in the "Bells of St. Mary," i.e., in full habit & asking for permission to be out after dark. It's as if Vatican II never occurred.

As for "maximum determination" I guess he is prescribing a re-criminalization of abortion as the sister's chief activity (under the direction of the clergy & bishops of course).  What a parched and narrow version of our Faith; so long to the formation of conscience.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Michael #29
It would take too long to rebut the historical examples, but I think you value the documents of Vatican II as part of the Magisterial teaching. Here is a quote from Gaudium et Spes (#51):
“Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.”
Vince #30
I'm afraid the facts are not your strong suit. Since you brought it up, even Sr. Keehan of the CHA now (June 15) says:  ''The more we learn, the more it appears that the ... approaches for both insured and self-insured plans would be unduly cumbersome and would be unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other Church ministries.'' And with the Notre Dame and Catholic Charities lawsuit, Obama has lost all serious Catholic allies (Nancy Pelosi is still with him, but she is not serious in any shape or form). The HHS document calls itself final, and later that it might be changed. Hardly clear language.
On papal infallibility, you are in fact wrong according to Pope BXVI, though I suppose you think you outrank him (via the SF). And you haven't been able to show how the ''Sensus fidelium'' would even work in defining new doctrine. Its all so loosey-goosey feel-good subjectivism. Your phrase ''We are the Church'' says it all, as if the Church was a political party.
I suppose the Vaticanites are those who defend Vatican II from the new VD (the progressive Vatican II Deniers).
David Pasinski
6 years 6 months ago
It was more than enraging or disheartening to listen to Bishop Blair. While patronizing in tone,he was ever correcting and totally blind to any historical perspective in development of dogma, women's issues in general, or appreciation of the role of the power of the hierarchy asd anymore than "divine right" traced to Peter! He looks at it all as "divinely appointed" and the priestly role "in persona Christi" as a trump argument. Of course, that is what is claimed I guess. 

He may be right that no dialogue is possible but he didn't help his causel The only way they can "talk toigether"is with a trained objective mediator and a linguist like a Deborah Tannen - and that would even be stretch, so far apart in approach and vocabulary are they.

He had guts to accept the invitation, but if his approach sets the tone, I only see disaster ahead.
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago

I may add that:

Divorce for the reason of adultery was not promoted but it was licit according to Matt. 5:27-32. Today, divorce is virtually forbidden on the grounds of unchastity. 

God in the Old Testament created a convenant with the people of Israel. Even when the Israelites sinned against God, worshipped false idols and became promiscious, God did not abandon them. In the New Testament, Christ created a convenant with the Church. He forgave "all" sinners and welcomed them without reservation at his table. Yet, today the divorsed and married are refused reconciliation and Eucharistic reception.

David Smith
6 years 6 months ago
You can't have an officially recognized Church organization in open conflict with the Vatican.  The LCWR leadership will change their positions, or the LCWR will get new leadership willing to make the corrections the Vatican requires, or the LCWR will be abandoned in favor of a new organization.  

Right and wrong aren't the issue here.  It's a matter of authority.
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
Mike - I think what you wrote in #33 is a mixture of truth and error. If my memory is working well, some of the new exegetical work on the Gospel of St. Matthew has sharpened our understanding of what Our Lord meant.  I don’t have access to my library now so I can’t back-up my statement but I will try to do so later.
Regarding this paragraph, I agree that “God in the Old Testament created a covenant with the people of Israel. Even when the Israelites sinned against God, worshipped false idols and became promiscuous, God did not abandon them. In the New Testament, Christ created a covenant with the Church. He forgave "all" sinners and welcomed them without reservation”… 
However, this part - “at his table.” - is imprecise, IMHO. From what I read it is probably not historically accurate (although none of us will ever know who was actually present since we can’t “go to the tape) but I am certain that the early Church (i.e., the early disciples of Christ) took the idea of sin more seriously than we do today.  After all, they vividly remembered that Christ told the woman caught in adultery that she should “sin no more”.
And this part, “Yet, today the divorced and married are refused reconciliation and Eucharistic reception” seems to suggest that Christ and His Church are not one (not “one” in the sense of identical but in the sense of a man and a woman become “one”) which is certainly not true
Bill Taylor
6 years 6 months ago
I listened to the interview, sick at heart. The good bishop was so slick, with all the perfect answers, carefully side-stepping and not answering some of the questions asked. But it is clear: If he represents the stand of Rome, the Sisters are going to have to disconnect and go out on their own.  Rome will set up a puppet without any real authority, but hey, let that happen. People will know the difference.
Vince Killoran
6 years 5 months ago
Sorry Tim but when I think of the Church I don't think about "rankings." I'm sorry if you find the Vatican II-inspired notion that the faithful are the Church disconcerting or chaotic.

We do disagree about a great many things. It's puzzling that you still misrepresent fairly basic facts.  The HHS guidelines that you provided, for example, clearly read at the top "proposed." I'm not certain why you do this.

In any case, I've exceeded any respectable limits on participation on this thread so I'll settle back and read and benefit from the other good posts.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 6 months ago
David Smith is right as usual. The situation is very clear. It is irrational to have a group formed by the Vatican to not represent Catholic teaching in its fullness. It really comes down to Truth in representation. Imagine an ambassador of a country working against her own country.

Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Vince #39
One more thing on the HHS mandate. The new law that you believe is not final comes into effect in Aug-2012 for companies that do not get an exemption. Yesterday, a Colorado Judge (Carter-appointed) made a ruling that protected the Catholic liberty of a family business, who say they would have gone out of business because of the fines. They are now protected from Aug-2012 until at least 2013. So much for the non-final law. I attach a link to the story.
Tom Maher
6 years 6 months ago
Bishop Blair plain spoken and frim description of the Church's problem with LCWR leadership is very helpful in setting up realistic public expectations of what to expect of the Church's dealing  with the LCWR leadershoip's non-conformity to the Church doctrine.   Blair clearly sets the terms for of any discussion on what the Church and its doctrines are all about and prepares everyone with no uncertain terms of what to expect from the Church.

Plainly,  support for ideas and practices that deviate from authentic Church doctrine are not acceptable.   Abortion in particular is positively condemned by the Church with no apology.  The Church expects all of its religious and lay members to understand, respect and support the Church's strong unambiguous moral objection and opposition to abortion.  

Bishop Blair speaks with conviction.  If you guessed the Church would be a pushover that could be rolled, manipulated, or bullied into accepting alien ideas or revisions to authentic Church doctrine you grossly underestimate the depth of conviction and support for the Church by its members.   Who in the world will realisitcally support a group of disruptive, insurgent nuns contradicting well-founded Church doctrine? 
Vince Killoran
6 years 5 months ago

I did not write that the law as not final. Of course it is. It was passed by Congress & signed by the President in March 2010.  I wrote that the HHS guidelines pertaining to preventative services were not final.

And they are not.  The link to the relevant document is:!documentDetail;D=CMS-2012-0031-0001. As it says at the top, it is a "proposed rule."

As for a Colorado judge and the rest, that is not germaine to this point.

I know I promised to be done with this thread but you persist in repeating misinformation. Maybe you just feel passionately about this issue and run aground of the facts but it cheapens dialogue when this kind of thing occurs time & agan.

Amy Ho-Ohn
6 years 5 months ago
"The LCWR leadership will change their positions, or the LCWR will get new leadership willing to make the corrections the Vatican requires, or the LCWR will be abandoned in favor of a new organization."

Or Müller will take one look at the thing and file it in the trash can. Blair and Sartain will bustle around looking busy for three years, then announce with great fanfare that they have completed their assignment and are sending their report to the CDF. And nobody will ever hear of it again.

In most places on this planet, beating up on a bunch of old women makes you look like a slimeball. Beyond the vulgar, boorish, ignorant confines of the American religious right, all anybody knows about LCWR nuns is that they're a bunch of well-meaning old women who run around bringing people mosquito netting and polio vaccinations. Right now Pope Benedict is talking to his security team about arranging a nice, unobtrusive fall-down-an-elevator-shaft type accident for those crashing embarassments Levada and Law.
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago

Have you ever had the experience where you can see words flying out of your mouth and then wished that you could somehow take them back because you think to yourself “you’re going to regret saying that!”? Well, I am having that experience now.

Nevertheless, I thank you for your warmth and for the opportunity to sketchily clarify what I mean when I say that you might be “dehumanizing some of the people who make comments by reducing them to stereotypes.” Perhaps these juxtapositions from this thread will help clarify what I am seeing and give you the opportunity to let me know if I am mistaken – after all, I need correction too!

Amy, in #7, wrote: “In most places on this planet, beating up on a bunch of old women makes you look like a slime ball.”… Presuming one agrees with her starting point, she makes a good point here. Of course, the priests in the Vatican are not spring chickens either. Plus, I think the image of a bunch of old people beating each other up has a kind of “Monty Pythonesque” (okay, I made up a word) feel …but that’s beside the point.

You responded as follows in #17: “Beating up on a bunch of old men is not exactly a noble thing to be doing, either…” I thought that was a good retort!

But you continued as follows: …but you and others on this post have been doing that for years, using all sorts of personal attacks, insults and downright calumny.

…Some of the “liberal’ voices on this blog have a very loosey-goosey idea of doctrine or the role of the apostles of Christ. This is not the Episcopal Church or a Quaker society of friends. Even if the LCWR became Buddhists or Scientologists, I’m sure the same people would still be saying “what’s wrong with that” and “who’s to decide,” and “can’t we be more inclusive?”

Really? Granted, you may have been reading this blog for a longer period of time than I have but is it really true that Amy has done that? Maybe it’s just me but here’s the image I get: Someone insults me and I blow them away with a .50 caliber gun. Well, that seems just a bit extreme to me.

Then, what does loosey-goosy mean? It’s a good insult but what does it really mean? I personally would like to know.

Regarding this sentence: Even if the LCWR became Buddhists or Scientologists, I’m sure the same people would still be saying “what’s wrong with that” and “who’s to decide,” and “can’t we be more inclusive?” Ok, some might, but my sense is that it’s not as many as you seem to imply. Additionally, perhaps that “diversion” is a mysterious part of a journey to deeper union with Christ. What would really set me off though is if someone became an apologist for apostasy! But getting back on point, why don’t you ask Amy (either on the blog or by email) if that’s what she actually thinks.

Rick in #18 wrote: “It’s always all about authority, nothing more, nothing less. It’s certainly not about gospel values.”

You responded to Rick in #20 as follows: “Such obsessing about ‘authority.’ It’s about fidelity to the Teachings of Jesus.” That was Rick’s first comment on Fr. Jim’s post and so I am not sure it is accurate to say that he is “obsessing”, but perhaps there is a history between both of you that I am not aware of.

Speaking for myself, there were two things in Rick’s comment that piqued my interest. 1) I’d like to understand better why he pits “authority” against “gospel values” and 2) what does he mean by “Cartman Catholicicsm” – I am intrigued by that label.

I now move into the back and forth between you and Vince.

In #22, Vince writes: “Tim at #20: “It has been infallibly declared.” Only two documents qualify as infallible and that one isn’t one of them.” And Vince is clearly referring to your last paragraph.

And you reply in #24: “So, in your view, the only certainty in Catholic teaching are those 2 things (on our Lady)? Everything else is up to individual interpretation? What a narrow way to see the faith! That leads to a mass skepticism and frankly a loss of confidence in the teaching of Jesus. What about the Creed, the Scriptural Canon, Baptism, the Eucharist, the four last things, the Church itself and the whole moral teaching. Must you harbor doubt about so much?” Hold on, how did you make that leap from what he wrote? As you rightly point we are certain of many things that have not been “infallibly declared” so I don’t interpret Vince’s statement to mean: “I am only certain of those things that have been infallibly declared” but you accused him of doing just that.

I guess what I am trying to say can be summed up from something Master Kan says in the pilot of the T.V. series “Kung Fu” (which I watched a few weeks ago): “Avoid, rather than check. Check, rather than hurt. Hurt, rather than maim. Maim, rather than kill. For all life is precious
Alright, I’ll stop here for now and if what I wrote is still unclear, please let me know.
Thomas Farrell
6 years 5 months ago
The basic problems here are that the Polish pope was a religious zealot who made certain debatable views of his into so-called church doctrine, which Bishop Blair now supports because he is another religious zealot and because the Polish pope's views are now considered to be so-called church doctrine.

Under the circumstances, the leaders of the LCWR probably should stop talking with the three Vatican appointees and have the LCWR give up its canonical status.
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago

I checked a few commentaries in my library, and as far as I can tell, there’s no real consensus among Scripture scholars on the precise meaning of the Greek word porneia in Matthew 5:32. According to Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. in his Sacra Pagina commentary “the two most common explanations are (1) sexual misconduct on the woman’s part and (2) illicit marital union within the degrees of kinship proscribed in Lev 18:6-18”; although he believes that the first is more likely. So, in my opinion, what you wrote from this point on: “unchastity seems to me to have been grounds for divorce, although this was not encouraged…” seems to be right.

I say seems because in Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus gives a stunning answer to the question: “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (emphasis mine) Presuming that the Gospel of St. Matthew portrays events in a chronological order (N.B., I am not stating this as a dogmatic fact!) this seems to supersede what was discussed in the Sermon on the Mount – which had a particular pedagogical purpose.

Let’s now look at the meaning of the word divorce. If “divorce” refers to a civil action that settles the civil legal effects of marriage, then, in my opinion, paragraph #2383 from the CCC applies: “The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.” So “there are legitimate reasons for a divorce” and the Church certainly agrees with you. Thus, in this case, which I think Canon Law refers to as separation of bed and board, the person may receive Holy Communion, presuming, of course, that he or she is in the state of grace.

If however, the word “divorce” refers to a civil action that declares that “a ratified and consummated Christian marriage is null and that the parties are now free to remarry”, that’s something entirely different. One of the sources I checked stated it this way:

“The church recognizes that a civil divorce may be a necessary step to determine civil, legal, custodial and financial matters resulting from the civil termination of a marriage. Thus a divorced Catholic is not “excommunicated.” As long as the man or woman has not remarried, they are free to receive the sacraments within the Church. Without having received a declaration of nullity, the Church does not recognize the civil divorce granted by the state, and still considers them married to their spouse – even if they are no longer living with him or her. Consequently, without a canonical declaration of nullity a person is not free to remarry. If they do remarry civilly or outside the Church, they are required to refrain from receiving the sacraments until they get their situation regularized.”

I agree that it is a big pastoral problem – and I believe Pope Benedict XVI made a few statements about this – but I do not think that the Church will ever nullify the Word of God by permitting those that are divorced and remarried while their first wife/husband is still alive to receive Holy Communion because we believe that marriage is a sacramental covenant, not just a contract.

I like your last sentence: “It seems that "murder" as a sin has more flexibility relative to forgiveness, absolution and Eucharistic reception, then being divorced and remarried” but I do not think the situations are analogous. For one thing, murder has a “once and for all” quality about it but serial adultery does not. So, for example, if, while availing myself of the sacrament of reconciliation, I confess to having committed adultery “x” number of times this past week and I know that later tonight I am going home to sleep with my lover because we live together and sleep in the same bed, I would question my “firm purpose of amendment” – wouldn’t you?

The one thing that you did not mention is that a person who cannot receive Holy Communion can “make a spiritual communion” - something I was taught about when studying to become Catholic. Have you heard of that before?
Kevin McDermott
6 years 5 months ago
''Right and wrong aren't the issue here.  It's a matter of authority.''  Reallly?  Good gollly was I mistaken.  Jesus would be so pleased.
Olivia Cook
6 years 5 months ago
Perhaps something here that is worth considering

It should be noted here that the problem of communion for the divorced and remarried is one that has been looked at by the Church on many occasions and I quote here a solution that was put forward a long time ago (1972) and subsequently ignored.

"The requirement that a second marriage have proven itself over a long time as a moral greatness and have been lived in the spirit of faith in fact corresponds to that type of forbearance that is palpable in Basil, where after a long penance Communion is granted to the “Digamus” (= the one living in a second marriage) without terminating the second marriage: in trust in in the mercy of God, who does not leave the penance unanswered. If in the second marriage moral obligations to the children, to the family, and so also to the woman have arisen, and no similar commitments from the first marriage exist, and if thus for moral reasons the abandonment of the second marriage is inadmissible, and on the other hand practically speaking abstinence presents no real possibility (magnorum est, says Gregory II), the opening up of community in Communion after a period of probation appears to be no less than just and to be fully in line with the Church's tradition: The granting of communio cannot here depend on an act that is either immoral or practically speaking impossible."

This comes from the document "On the Question of the Indissolubility of Marriage", which is well worth reading in its entireity.

The author was Bishop (as he was then) Joseph Ratzinger.

Sandi Sinor
6 years 5 months ago
#6 - Who in the world will realisitcally support a group of disruptive, insurgent nuns contradicting well-founded Church doctrine? 

Boy, who wouldn't support women who are actually following what Jesus taught and living the lives that Jesus gave us as an example instead of men who exemplify everything Jesus preached against?  When it comes to a contest between church doctrine and the gospel, is there a choice?  Those who choose doctrine made by men in silken robes, living in palaces and mansions, wearing golden rings (and Prada slippers) best beware - Jesus had a few things to say about them. 
Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Juan #44
Here’s my response to the three main questions you raised regarding my posts:

1. The term “loosey-goosey” means “relaxed” or “casual” about “following rules or instructions,” so I think it fits my meaning and is a reasonable charge in the discussion here, and not insulting, unlike Amy’s (#7) “slimeball, vulgar, boorish, ignorant” or Thomas’s (#8) “religious zealot”, or the frequent use of “homophobic or sexist” in other posts against those defending the faith. I doubt the “Buddhist” reference is too unrealistic (though it would likely be a syncretistic “Catholic Buddhist”, or some such) but I admit the “Scientology” reference is a little excessive, so I am sorry for that. It was hard to resist since the keynote speaker at this year’s LCWR meeting will be Barbara Marx Hubbard and her ideas are not totally dissimilar to the more famous Hubbard. Anyway, Amy is not reticent at responding sharply, and wittily, as she has in the past.

2. Re your comment on authority (Rick #18 “It’s all about authority, nothing more”), as you read the multiple posts on this blog, you will see that the idea of any argument citing authority that is from the Magisterium or Scripture is repeatedly (obsessively?) dismissed (by Rick, Vince, Michael and many others), when in the Jewish or Christian tradition it is of course central to the concept of fidelity, coming directly from God the Father, His prophets, Jesus, the apostles, the bishops and the magisterium. Catholics, following Mt 16, Mt 28, and others from Jesus and the Apostles, and the whole doctrine of the episcopate, the magisterium and infallibility are all best seen when authority is tied directly to fidelity. You also raised this issue in your #23 post.

3. Now as regards infallibility (Vince #22), I think my point is that infallibility goes way beyond the “ex cathedra” pronouncements and Vince thinks this is “creeping infallibility.” Since he didn’t address my first 2 examples, I am not sure where he stands on the certainty (with faith) of the Incarnation or the Real Presence, but Vatican II had a much broader meaning (see also Catechism #888-892 which references Lumen Gentium #25). From VCII’s Lumen Gentium #25, I quote:

“Bishops are “teachers endowed with the authority of Christ…vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.” and “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra…His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.” This clearly covers both the Church's teaching on the inadmissability of women to the priesthood and the central components of Humanae Vitae (in VCII documents, JPII encyclicals, and sheer repetition)

 “And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded.”

''And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals.'' These definitions, of themselves, are “irreformable” and do not need to be accepted to be certainly true “not from the consent of the Church…and therefore they need no approval of others”
David Pasinski
6 years 5 months ago
Besides the other disastrous elements of the "Fortnight..." it is ironic that it was built around St. Thmas More and his own chequered history with "religious liberty." Although he is yet a hero from a "Man for All Seasons," his defense was that he did not oppose the king, mrely maintained his silence about the King's abrogation of his marriage, as I recall.

 Now the hierarchy that celebrates his "courageous stance" is apoplectic because the religious women will not come out more firmly on the issues that they are emphasizing - abortion, women's ordinations, and gay rights. So apparently, silence is no longer a defense even if More championed it.

One final comment... the bishops's citing that the bishops are successors to the apostles and that Judas was an apostle who betrayed Chrsit and that he ponders the mystery of iniquity was strange... so the bishops are successors to Judas as well as Peter? It was a twisted response on the sex abuse crisis that attempting a theologizing that sounded like a framing from some rereat  entrirely removing it from a human context of pain, sin, cover-up, power and responsibility - and truth....
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
Thank you for the clarification Tim - I appreciate it because it allows me to see where you are coming from. Peace.
Tom Maher
6 years 5 months ago
Dave P. # 11

Please do use your full name.  I would like to know there is a real person behind your frequent comments and your comments are not just a graffiti that you would not say publicly or admit to .   Don't dodge the basic question: who are you and what do you really stand for?   Stand behind your comments if you really believe what you are saying, some of which seem lacking of credibility.   
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago
@Olivia Cook and Juan Lino,


Thanks for that 1972 article by Bishop Ratzinger on the Indessolvibility of Marriage. I read the article and Ratzinger clearly puts forth an "exception" principle for divorced and remarried Catholics and allowing them Eucharistic reception.

When I read the article I was filled with hope. However, as CDF prefect and now Pope Benedict XVI, he has not made good on his wise proposal. I know of no theological commission of any kind that is studying this issue.  


The real overarching issue is that we are living in a divided Church and in a crisis about the truth. It is not simply, "the Magisterium speaks the truth" or that the Pope is infallible, or that certain encyclicals are irreformable". Catholics do not owe a complete submission of mind and heart to all Church teachings that are in tension with human experience, reason, their faithful theological education and informed consciouses. People who claim the moral high ground based on the "authority argument" while at the same time ignoring and not addressing the many legitimate counter-arguments, fails in their attempt to to be intelligible and convincing. Nor does does this style of argument move the conversation forward. Respectful disagreement is not deliberately, maliciously and unfaithfully "attacking the Church and its Magisterium".

What is often ignored is the fact that you can disagree for good and just reasons and remain a faithful Catholic. This is what most Catholics are doing, many in consultation with their priestly-confessor-spriitual advisor. Popes have erred in the past and they will err in the future. The issue is whether certain teachings are the complete and irreformable moral truth and Divine Law. To some Catholics, if the pope said so, it is true; for others this may not be what their informed consciouses can completely embrace.

Have a good day my friend. I continue to enjoy and learn from our discourse.
David Pasinski
6 years 5 months ago
I apologize and will use my full name. I do see others in this post with a single name or simply a last initial also. However, I think the policy of a full name is a good one and I am glad to conform.
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
Mike - I also continue to enjoy and learn from our discourse!

I'm a bit confused about your sermonette though so I have two questions:

1) what made you make this leap?  That is, was there something I wrote that moved you in this direction? 

2) do you want me to respond here or by email? Either is fine with me becuause it is, I believe, on point with Fr. Jim's post.

I have to go out soon so I won't be able to reply until tomorrow.  Have a good night mi amigo.
David Pasinski
6 years 5 months ago
Various blogs have cited the Ross Douthat column as a springboard of controversy or to prove a point.

However, although Bishop Blair could not remember his name, he also cited it, but in a way that seemed to be real insult to the Episcopal church. Certainly any column is fair game to use, but I wonder if his use of it in that context seemed unkind or at least inappropriate when the question had nothing to do about the Episcopal church.

Also, while I would not have expected Terry Gross to press him on this, he left out acknowledging that that the Anglican communion, with the essentially same thelogy of priesthood, allows women clergy to act "in persona Chrsiit." Obviously, those orders are seen as invalid and is the principal catalyst for the accomodation by the Holy See in accepting former Anglican clergy in the special prelature, but it is another sacramental expression that cannot be as easily grouped together, as he did with Protestants that regognize "ministers" instead of "priests."

Finally, as others have mentioned, he slid together dimensions of "doctrine" and the teachings of JPII ss if everything that has been promulgated is of equal doctrinal value. 
Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Amy #7
Beating up on a bunch of old men is not exactly a noble thing to be doing, either, but you and others on this post have been doing that for years, using all sorts of personal attacks, insults and downright calumny. Anyway, Bishop Blair was civil and clear, showing only minor frustration that the LCWR wants to dialogue in silence. This problem didn't happen overnight. The crazy talk has been going on for years,. I don’t know where the Bishops get their patience.

The LCWR was created by the Bishops and they have a duty to fix it when it goes off the rails (see what Jesus commanded in Matt 28:20 “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”). Some of the “liberal'' voices on this blog have a very loosey-goosey idea of doctrine or the role of the apostles of Christ. This is not the Episcopal Church or a Quaker society of friends. Even if the LCWR became Buddhists or Scientologists, I’m sure the same people would still be saying “what’s wrong with that” and “who’s to decide,” and “can't we be more inclusive?”

And who exactly in the LCWR is coming near mosquito netting or polio vaccinations in an American hotel – in St. Louis at the annual meeting, the theme is “Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now” (Richard Dawkins would be proud of them), with BM Hubbard the keynote speaker. You, Kevin, Sandi (#9 & 10) seem to be mixing up the LCWR with the sisters in the frontlines who follow Jesus in both word and deed, in faith and practice.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
I am more than happy to accept correction but can you be clearer? Can you direct me to the sentence where You think I was unfair?  (and don't everyone chime in?)
Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Vince #54
I gave three examples of teachings from Ecumenical Councils and was not trying to define your faith but to show you types of doctrine we can hold infallibly. Sorry if you thought I was warping your views. Here is another try on the definition of infallibility.

Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium #25, Canon Law #749 and the Catechism (CCC 891) all give 3 ways a teaching is infallible.
1 - The Pope proclaims by a definitive statement (see below);
2 - The College of Bishops (with the Pope) in an Ecumenical Council proclaim a definitive teaching;
3 - The bishops dispersed around the world but with the Pope and united that a teaching be held definitively.
Teaching by these three ways are “unalterable” and do not require the consent of Christians to be infallibly true. Only the first of the three is connected with the 1870 Vatican I phrase “ex cathedra” (not used the Catechism or Canon Law), which is defined as: “when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church…”

All three documents also deal separately with teaching that, while still deserving of acceptance, is not covered by the charism of infallibility (LG 25, Canon 752, CCC 892). This distinction emphasizes the first 3 ways. So, for your interpretation (sola ex cathedra) to be correct, the Pope, the Catechism, Canon Law, and Vatican II would have to be wrong. This is what I mean by relating the terms fidelity and authority.

Pope JPII made a definitive declaration that fits the Vatican I definition, as such: “''Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) 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.''

I cannot see how this could have been clearer and this would even fit your more narrow definition. Pope Benedict XVII, in statements both a leader of the CDF and as pope wrote that this teaching was infallible.
Rick Fueyo
6 years 5 months ago
It's always all about authority, nothing more, nothing less. It's certainly not about gospel values. 
In a betrayal of the Thomistic, neo-Platonic merger of reason and faith, the CDF has attempted to solemnly define the issue of female ordination for all ages, with no logic whatsoever. This will be an embarrassment and scandal in this and future ages.
Interestingly, Bishop Blair did not play point to dissension from the LCWR in the classic sense, i.e., public disagreement on an element of doctrine. Instead, USCCB, at least under current leadership, seems to view obedience is sharing their secular political priorities, which seems to be the greatest core value of the conference. It's not enough to simply stay silent and try to live the gospel by actually aiding less fortunate. No, the most significant aspect of American Catholicism under this leadership is demonstrating the correct public profile in domestic secular politics.
Its Cartman Catholicism, a use of sheer authority in office in recognition of the fact that their position cannot be logically defended
Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Vince #61
I would urge you and others reading this discussion to go right to the paragraphs of the 3 documents I listed (Canon Law, Catechism, Lumen Gentium). Infallibility is not a formula of words that the Pope (or the Bishops) must say, like some kind of magic spell, but one must listen to the logic and definitive nature of the statement.

You (like the liberal Fr. McBrien in the NCR and others also) are using the last sentence (749.3) in Canon law as some kind of loophole, as if any infallible statement can be held in doubt if it is not subjectively evident to an individual.

The ''fierce debate'' you speak of is among liberals who want to change many teachings and the weakening of the rightful teachers (claiming a palace coup on the left, or a vacant papal chair on the right) is the modus operandi to weaken our certaintly about what is the true faith.

As regards your phrase ''faith in the faithful,'' that is not where I am bound to put my faith (see Luke 18:8). It is the reverse: the faithful are those who bind themselves to the faith that is passed on through the apostles and their successors. And the determination of certainty about the faith in a definitive infallible statement does not depend on it being received or accepted by the people. If that were the case, the Arians (a majority once) or the Protestants would not be seen as cutting themselves off from the true vine.

Kathleen Trossbach
6 years 5 months ago
I feel so sad for Bishop Blair & pray he may be guided by the Holy Spirit to come to a compassionate understanding of the real life struggles of the People of God. I hope he will comprehend unity in diversity Kathy Trossbach
Vince Killoran
6 years 5 months ago
You haven't really addressed my points.  It is clear that there is a significant divide in our Church. It's interesting that Canon Law becomes a "loophole" to you when it suits your claims; that the firms rules and top-down directives become suitably hazy when you wish to apply infaillibility in a blanket manner.

I guess it's important for you to have the last word so I'll watch for it.

Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Rick #18
Such obsessing about ''authority.'' It's about fidelity to the Teachings of Jesus.

There was nothing in what Bishop Blair said that was uncivil or unreasonable. Nothing was contrary to reason, to common sense, or contrary to Thomistic philosophy. There is a great tendency on the liberal side of the spectrum to just make things up and scream outrage while completely missing the damage that would occur to Christ's teaching by the failure to teach.

On the issue of abortion, it is the human rights issue of our time, and a crime against humanity. With the sex-selection abortions, it is the most anti-female crime ever. Yet the liberals are so blasé about this (worried about being excessively “pro-fetus”).

On the issue of marriage between one man and one woman, this is built into our biology, our reason and God’s revelation (even in the words of Jesus). It is not only a deviation from the teaching of the Old and New Testaments but of any rational understanding of biology as well.

On the issue of the priestly role being confined to men (or the small subset with a vocation), that is what the Church (East and West) has taught for 2,000 years. It has been infallibly declared. If the Church has got this wrong, it is the wrong church.
Olivia Cook
6 years 5 months ago
A very wise old Catholic friend once told a Protestant friend of mine the following.

"There has never been any guarantee that Popes will not make mistakes, either in goodwill or ill will.  We have only ever had one promise made to us about the Church - that we will never have a Pope who will destroy it, no matter what he does.  That promise comes straight from the Gospels.  "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  But looking back at our beloved Church's history, the Holy Spirit must have had her work cut out for her on more than one occasion to make sure this promise was kept!"

There is a lovely quote from Pope John XXIII -  "I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible."  Pope Benedict followed this with a similar comment in July 2005 - "The Pope is not an oracle; he is infallible in very rare situations, as we know."

Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Vince #22
So, in your view, the only certainty in Catholic teaching are those 2 things (on our Lady)? Everything else is up to individual interpretation? What a narrow way to see the faith! That leads to a mass skepticism and frankly a loss of confidence in the teaching of Jesus.  What about the Creed, the Scriptural Canon, Baptism, the Eucharist, the four last things, the Church itself and the whole moral teaching. Must you harbor doubt about so much?

No, the Promise of Jesus (Mt 16) covers the whole faith. All the teachings of the Church Councils that have been promulgated by the Popes over the 20 Centuries are certainly true. And when doubt arises about a historical interpretation, we have a living Magisterium to give the faithful interpretation.

Note that the recent controversies discussed above (#20) are attempts to deviate from the long established teaching. And the explicit wording on the male priesthood by Pope JPII followed the ex cathedra formulation, and has been confirmed as such by a subsequent Pope.
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago
Vatican II more than once corrected the non-infallible teachings of recent popes. For example, it did so in matters of religious freedom, salvation outside the church, the historicity of the Scriptures, and so forth (Orsey, Receiving the Council). Vatican II left no doubt that the magisterium of an ecumencial council can abandon, supercede or modify earlier papal teachings which were not ex-cathedra definitions.

Given this, it is interesting that in 1998 JP II instituted Motu Proprio Ad tuendam fidem, a new category of teaching called "definitive" meaning irreformable. This is teaching is widely disputed as a creeping of the definition of infallibility by many canonists. Frankly, I cannot imagine how a teaching that is categorized as definitive and irreformable is much different from infallible. However, in the cover letter accompanying the 1998 Motu Proprio, Cardinal Ratzinger, precept of the CDF, gave examples of teachings that fell into this category. Interestingly, Humanae Vitae was not mentioned, as well as many other disputed teachings.

In a response to a dispute with Professor of Law, Ladislas Orsy, S. J., about the 1998 Motu Propro, Cardinal Ratzinger said it was equivalent to the second objects of infallibilty....that is when all the bishops of the world have taught a teaching with one voice over an extended period of time it is infallible. If that be the case, then it is perplexing and flies in the face of the facts: many teachings were taught by popes and bishops, in one voice, for centuries, but were reformed.

We can quote all the canon law, cathecism, and papal utterances and one's interpretation of what Christ meant when He said "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it"...meaning His Church, not necessarily the pope or his apostles. However, we cannot ignore the solid counter-arguments. Certainly, history has taught us that the Church has survived many "crisis" (as Christ safeguards the Church) while many teachings of popes, bishops and ecumenical councils have been reformed (for good reasons).

This issue is not so much about faith, as it is about reason, human experience, conscience and truth. Those that believe in all Church teachings, non-fallible and so-called definitive as well as so-called infallible, are not ignorant or blind. Neither are those that disagree with certain Church teachings for good and just reasons. They are not "liberals" who want to destroy the Church (a demeaning term); nor are they defined by other denigrating terms such as: dissenters, the invincible ignorant, those with a distorted reason or the unfaithful. Those who believe in all Church teachings are NOT morally superior and wiser than those that disagree. 

When the principle premise invoked in an argument to claim the higher moral ground is "authority", the conversation does not move forward, but stagnates without a resolution.

As for reception, a teaching not received is a dead letter. The Church cannot ignore non-reception. This does not mean that doctrine should be based on "opinion polls", but it does mean that human experience and reason (philosophical, theological, anthropological as well as practical) that underlys non-reception, should be a source for reflection.
Vince Killoran
6 years 5 months ago
Tim (#20 & #24): I think the problem lies in your slighting of the central role of discernment & the formation of conscience & "sensus fidelium."  Your effort to slap every utterance with the infaiilibilty label is what "leads to mass skepticism and frankly a loss of confidence in the teaching of Jesus."

"All the teachings of the Church Councils that have been promulgated by the Popes over the 20 Centuries are certainly true."  ALL of them? Really?!  Even when later popes reject them? "Certainly true"? Is that the same as "infallible" as you claim? 

You tend to make very broad (and inaccurate) claims with very loose language.

Tim O'Leary
6 years 5 months ago
Michael #67
I am not saying that all prior teachings by Popes are infallible or unalterable, but that we can hold with certainty the definitive teachings of Councils that have also been promulgated by the Popes. So, in matters of religious freedom, usury or capital punishment, etc., you would have to give me a definitive statement from a previous Council or one stated like that of Pope JPII on women's ordination for me to see how it compares with what I am claiming, and I am open to correction if I cannot see how it applies. But we must distinguish prudential teachings and local teachings which can change based on circumstances from teachings meant to bind for all time. We are of course speaking about teaching and not practice, as we know that sin pervades humanity and the popes are not free of this curse, although we have been blessed with mostly holy men leading us for the last 200 years or so.

As for reception, the specific definition of infallibility rules that out as a test of validity. It may be a ''dead letter'' politically and juridically but even a small remnant could hold to the truth. Jesus promised that the Church would prevail but he also asked rhetorically in Luke 18:8 ''when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

I go back to the dispute with Arius, as that is still seen by most historians as the greatest challenge to the Church's teaching authority and they appeared to be losing for some time. Yet, the vast majority of Christians have accepted the Minority homoousios view today and the belief in the Incarnation was preserved. Can you tell me why you are certain the Arians were wrong and the orthodox were right?

By the way, authority is a very important part of our knowing the truth, as we all quote Scripture as an authority and as you quote many theological sources (and even past popes and Councils) and would only be doing that if they carried some persuasive authority.

I think it not insignificant that some are arguing that the last two Popes, the Catechism, the Canon Law, and Vatican II have all made a major mistake on sexual ethics and the meaning of gender. And I don't see how one can completely separate the terms fidelity and authority.
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago

You asked for definitive teachings of popes and councils. This is not a full or complete list, but I hope it will answer your request for definitive statements.

1. Usury: The rule on usury was proclaimed by 3 general councils and a dozen popes rested on the belief that by Divine Law (Luke 6, 35) profit on a loan was a mortal sin, and by natural law it was intrinsically unjust to sell money in a loan at a price higher than its face value. There were 3 papal bulls that supported the condemnation of usury because they considered it Divine Law:
> Pius V's 1569 Cum Onus,
> Pius V's 1571 In Eam, and
> Sextus V's 1586 Detestabilis Avaritia. 

2. Slavery: The following papal documents and practices approved of slavery.
> Paul III, Motu Proprio, 1548 
> Urban VIII, 1629; Innocent X, 1645 and Alexander VIII, 1661 were all personally involved in buying Muslim gallery slaves (Curran).
> Holy Office, 1866 "Slavery not at all contrary to the natural and divine law...
> Benedict XIV's, Immensa Patorum, 1741:
This condemned "unjust enslavement" but approved of just enslavement.

3. The Torture of Heretics (Freedom of Religion):
> Innocent IV's 1252 papal bull Ad extirpanda decreed that civil power is bound to force heretics by torture to admit their error and denounce their accomplices.

As for authority, God made us in His image and we are required to think for ourselves. This does not mean obedience to all Church teachings are wrong, nor does it mean that disagreement with certain teachings are erroneous and immoral. It also does not mean we should formuate our own religious beliefs. 

The sources of the truth do not change: Scripture, Tradition, Human Experience and Reason. It is clear to most Catholics and theologians and many bishops and priests that many sexual ethical teachings in the 20th century were based on an exaggerated fear of going against tradition. As I mentioned
Non-reception does not mean that a teaching is wrong, but it does mean that the teaching does not possess any power to change behavior. The Church has been unable to offer an intelligible and convincing moral theory in support of many sexual ethical teachings. The truth is what makes the invisible, visible; it makes the counter-intuitive, intuitive, and the complex, understandable. Unfortunately, when a teaching is "profoundly" not received it fails for these reasons.

You have a right to your opinion, but not to my agreement.
Jim McCrea
6 years 5 months ago
If Blair is representative of the faith of this church, God help this church.
Olivia Cook
6 years 5 months ago
Another interesting comment from Father Joseph Ratzinger in his youth

“Above the pope as an expression of the binding claim of church authority,” writes Ratzinger, “stands one’s own conscience, which has to be obeyed first of all, if need be against the demands of church authority.”

From a commentary on Gaudium et Spes (“The Church in the Modern World”) in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Vorgrimler, Herbert (Ed.), Burns and Oats, 1969, p. 134.
In this writing he appears to be paraphrasing St Thomas Aquinas who said "It is better to die excommunicated than to violate one's conscience. (St. Thomas Aquinas in his Commentary on the Fourth Book of Sentences of Peter Lombard)
I remember thinking when I read it that to be placed in charge of ones own conscience like this was a terrifying thing, it was so much easier to live within a church where following the rules was the path to salvation.  That the degree of research, thought and prayer needed to inform one's conscience sufficiently to be able to act in this manner was something most Catholics would never think they needed to do.  My spiritual adviser of the time (an elderly parish priest) agreed with me and stated that he was of the option that Catholics - I quote - "in general are appallingly bad at growing up and taking responsibility for their own God-given consciences".
I have been unable to find the quote that he gave me which I believe was from Gaudium et Spes, but the gist of it was this.  That a Catholic should not expect a priest, or a bishop, or even the Pope to know everything, and when faced with a crisis, then the following should be observed.  To research deeply what facts are known.  To consider, humbly, what the Church teaches.  To pray for help in forming the decision.  And then to make a decision in good conscience, even if that decision as Aquinas says potentially opposes the Church's current teachings.  And then to wait, in patience, thought and constant prayer for God to make his will known.
It is not an easy way to live.
Vince Killoran
6 years 5 months ago
Tim at #20: "It has been infallibly declared." Only two documents qualify as infallible and that one isn't one of them.

The "creeping infallbility" of recent decades (and the "near-infallible" and "considered infallible") are nothing more than raw self-assertion.
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
Mike - in #71 you wrote: "The sources of the truth do not change: Scripture, Tradition, Human Experience and Reason." (emphasis mine)

This, to me, seems to be an unfounded novelty but I am not certain of that because I need to understand how you are defining certain words.

So, what's your definition of "human experience" and "reason"?

Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
While both Bishop Blair and Sister Pat made good points during their interviews (I listened to both interviews and I read both transcripts earlier the last few days) the question that keeps popping up for me - as I pondered this situation and the comments on this blog - is: Who decides when something in the Catholic Church is reform and not heresy? After all, the witness of the first Christians, in their writings and actions, demonstrate that making sure that the Faith that began with the encounter with Christ was passed on without error was a top priority for them.

Additionally, it’s clear to me that the CDF and the LCWR are not going to get anywhere if they continue to use a hermeneutic of suspicion. So, I pray that once they are out of the public eye that they will use a hermeneutic of trust instead.

Since many commenter’s (and Terry Gross) seem to believe that the CDF has no right doing what it is doing, I decided to see if that belief is true by asking myself: What’s the stated function of the LCWR and what’s the stated function of the CDF? And, after reflecting on what each “group” says about itself, it’s clear to me that that’s an erroneous belief.

Why do I assert this? Because the Holy See website states: “the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence.” And since the LCWR is an organization that’s canonically linked to the Holy See, it is certainly within their “rights” to investigate it.

Regarding the LCWR, I have the impression that they fail to appreciate that they function as an undeclared “catechetical” organization because many perceive them as champions of an alternative Magisterium. (I realize that they do not describe themselves in this manner, but that doesn’t deny the fact that that’s how they are perceived by many.) And so, it might be wise to issue a disclaimer and/or clarification. And since Sister Pat seems to appreciate witty verbal gymnastics (pro-fetus vs. pro-life) I’d like to suggest some wording for their disclaimer. “Despite the appearance to the contrary, the LCWR does not engage in “collar envy” and it is not interested in creating a “Magisterium of nuns”.

And yes, Sr. Pat’s comment really bothered me because I saw it as just another clever way to hide abortion’s true nature and to diminish its seriousness in public opinion. And so, whether she realized it or not, she, in my opinion, has contributed to the vocabulary that the proponents of the culture of death will use going forward – and that’s very sad!

Mike, I haven’t forgotten your questions in the first post. A big hello to Anne!
Juan Lino
6 years 5 months ago
Vince - I am not trying to be cute, I am asking a serious question to understand where Mike is coming from.

For example, when I use the word "truth" I have something specific in mind, and I am sure you do too.  However, what I think it means may not match what you are thinking and if I presume that it does we will never have a conversation.  The same can be said about the word "conversation", "God", "Church", etc., etc.

So, what do I mean by definition.  Well, I don't mean that I go to the OED and then simply regurgitate what it says.  No, that's not what I mean and I hope this example will illustrate what I am trying to say.  When I say, "I have faith that Mike is telling the truth" it means something slightly different that when I say "you gotta have faith." 

If Mike wants to take the discussion offline, that's fine with me.


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