New cardinals signal a shift away from the U.S. culture wars

Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, who headed the Dallas Diocese from 2007 until mid-August, laughs with other bishops at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' building in Washington Sept. 13.

The pope’s decision to make two American archbishops cardinals is a message to other U.S. prelates that the church needs leaders less concerned with culture war issues and who are instead focused on building bridges and making the church a more welcoming place.

In a move that will further shake up how the American hierarchy operates, Pope Francis on Sunday announced the creation of new 17 new cardinals, including three American bishops: Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and Bishop Kevin Farrell, the former bishop of Dallas who was appointed by the pope to lead a new Vatican department on family life earlier this year.

The impact on how the church operates in the United States could be immense.

Archbishop Cupich is a key Francis ally on proposed reforms that supporters say could make the church more welcoming to disaffected Catholics. Archbishop Tobin’s openness toward expanded opportunities for women in the church and his support for resettling Syrian refugees, even over objections from G.O.P. vice presidential hopeful Gov. Mike Pence, put him squarely in line with the pope’s agenda.

Elevating Archbishop Cupich to a cardinal was largely seen as a matter of when, not if.

Pope Francis, after all, handpicked the Chicago archbishop in 2014, passing over the slate of candidates prepared for him by advisors. The pick to lead one of the U.S. church’s most storied and influential archdioceses caught some church leaders off guard. Before taking the helm in Chicago, Archbishop Cupich led the small dioceses of Spokane, Wash., and Rapid City, S.D.

But since his installation, Archbishop Cupich has emerged as a key Francis ally in the United States. He was present in Rome at the second part of the Vatican meeting of bishops about family life, where he urged delegates to consider ways to makes Catholics living in irregular family situations feel more welcome in the church, including the possibility of divorced and remarried Catholics being able to receive communion.

On the domestic front, Archbishop Cupich has publicly urged his brother bishops to spend more time on issues such as immigration reform and workers’ rights. At the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year, for example, the archbishop took to the floor to ask that immigration be included on the body’s list of key priorities that guide their work. His suggestion was rejected.

Whereas Archbishop Cupich’s appointment was expected, the nod to Archbishop Tobin comes as something of a surprise.

Indianapolis is certainly not an archdiocese used to housing a cardinal, but Pope Francis was aware of how Archbishop Tobin managed the controversial oversight of Catholic sisters in the United States ordered by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Prior to his assignment in Indianapolis, the archbishop had served in Rome in the Vatican department overseeing religious life. He angered church hardliners in the United States and Rome for urging greater restraint when it came to investigating U.S. sisters over doctrinal concerns.

The archbishop was later praised by women religious for his sensitivity and compassion in listening to their concerns and he was credited with helping to wrap up the investigation two years earlier than anticipated, with as little fall out as possible for either side.

Just this week, Archbishop Tobin expressed support for the idea of women serving as deacons in the Catholic Church, and with it the possibility that they could preach at Mass.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, the archbishop said he was “hopeful” about the possibility during a question and answer session at a Catholic conference for women.

“I'm praying Pope Francis can make good on his promise to find more incisive and visible roles for women in the church,” Tobin said, according to N.C.R.

On the political front, Archbishop Tobin made headlines late last year when he clashed with Gov. Mike Pence, now Donald Trump’s running mate. Pence had joined many other governors across the nation in announcing that Syrian refugees would not be welcome in his state, citing concerns about terrorism.

The Catholic Charities agency in Indianapolis had been working to resettle a Syrian family for several months at the time of the announcement, and Pence asked that they put plans on hold. After a meeting between the two men, Archbishop Tobin announced that he would direct the agency to move forward with the resettlement regardless.

Bishop Farrell’s elevation to cardinal will have less of an impact on how the church operates in the United States, but the move means he is suddenly the top American working in Rome.

The Irish-born bishop spent much of his career working in Washington, D.C., before being named leader of the church in Dallas in 2007. In recent years, the social media-savvy bishop blogged frequently about the need for greater gun control laws, especially after the violence that erupted this summer in which five police officers were shot dead during otherwise peaceful protests over the killing of unarmed African American men at the hand of police officers.

Just as notable in the pope’s announcement are three omissions: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. The three archdioceses are traditionally led by cardinals, but Francis has shown that geography alone is no longer the most important component when it comes to bestowing the honor.

Archbishop Chaput has resisted some of the pope’s efforts at reform, writing that opening up communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is a no go, despite the pope’s seeming to endorse the possibility. And Archbishop Lori has been vocal on one the nation’s most heated culture war issues, serving on the frontlines of the church’s battles with the Obama administration over contraception as head of the U.S.C.C.B.’s religious liberty committee.

Passing over Archbishop Gomez, who was ordained a priest as a member of Opus Dei, comes as a surprise. He was seen as a possible pick in this round in part because of his Hispanic heritage, the fastest growing demographic the U.S. church, and his frequent appeals for public policy more favorable to undocumented immigrants are in line with the pope.

The omissions mean that three of the nation’s largest archdioceses would not be represented in a papal conclave were one to be held in the near future.

When they are made cardinals at a Vatican ceremony coinciding with the end of the Year of Mercy, Archbishops Cupich and Tobin will become two of the most powerful Catholic voices in the United States. Practically speaking, that means they will be asked to spend more time away from their archdioceses in Rome helping the pope govern the universal church and, when the time comes, electing a new pope.

The main effect at home will be their increased influence. Their words and agendas will carry significantly more weight with their brother bishops and perhaps even with everyday Catholics. When a cardinal speaks, certain Catholics listen. But how they exert that influence will be key to the amount of impact they can have on the church here. American prelates will recognize that they are the kinds of leaders the pope wants.

The picks show Francis wants the church in America to be more focused on issues like immigration, the role of women in the church and the need to bypass traditional centers of power in order to find leaders who smell of the sheep, as the pope has put it.

The moves are further cues to American bishops about how the pope wants the church to be run. The big question now is whether the two new American cardinals will be able to use their papal nod of approval to steer a new course for the U.S. church.

Michael O’Loughlin is the national correspondent for America and author of “The Tweetable Pope: A Spiritual Revolution in 140 Characters.” Follow him on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

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William Nassari
11 months 3 weeks ago
It takes centuries for the Catholic church to reach Francis' papacy. Hope one of Francis' appointees will continue his legacy someday.
Douglas Fang
11 months 2 weeks ago
I see the work of the Holy Spirit here. What more can I say? “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”.
James Stachacz
11 months 2 weeks ago
Not too sure about this. Will wait & see. As long as the commitment to life at its conception remains the highest priority. If there is no religious liberty, how can we be Church?
Bill Mazzella
11 months 2 weeks ago
A message to Chaput and other one issue bishops to get out and be pastors and not hide in unproductive verbiage
William Rydberg
11 months 2 weeks ago
Mr Mazella, Archbishop Chaput is a Master Teacher and also a fine personable man. in Christ,
Bill Mazzella
11 months 2 weeks ago
Mr Rydberg, Only God knows. Let God be the judge. Meanwhile this pope knows Chaput is more political than gospel/like.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
But, you are judging, Bill.
Vince Killoran
11 months 2 weeks ago
Good news! But what do we know about the other new (and voting) cardinals?
Mary Bowen
11 months 2 weeks ago
I bristle at the use of the term "religious liberty" when those who use it seem to be saying that in order for me to have "liberty" I must coerce you into living by the morality dictated by my faith. The response of our dear Pope Francis--"Who am I to judge?" Ought to at least give us a moment of pause before requiring others to live by my standards. The commitment to defend life only makes sense when it includes ALL life, including the marginalized (prisoners, immigrants, the voiceless poor, children, victims of war, etc).
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
Mary - Do you include the unborn in your "All"? Surprised you left them out. Religious liberty is the right to live according to the tenets of one's religion. Those who are against religious liberty want to force people to act against their consciences. That is un-American to its core.
Bill Mazzella
11 months 2 weeks ago
Tim, of course all God's children are included. Just that you and others neglect the rest by your one issue extreme volume while genocide is happening all over the place today.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
Bill - perhaps, you know Mary personally and she agrees? But, I know of a lot of people who are very prominent in the abortion promotion business but who talk a good talk about caring for children (e.g. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama). You say "genocide is happening all over the place today." - I wonder what specific genocide you are speaking about? But, you give no references, no sources but your own opinion. Quod gratis asseritor gratis negatur.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
It might have been nice to have seen Archbishops Gomez of LA (would have been the first US Hispanic cardinal) and Archbishop Chaput (would have been the first Native American cardinal) made cardinal. The Holy Father's choices bring a "kinder gentler" approach to pastoral care and all are doctrinally orthodox. Should be fine. Today, the Holy Father described the Rosary as “the synthesis of the history of God's mercy, which becomes a history of salvation for all who let themselves be shaped by grace.” http://www.asianews.it/index.php?art=38805&l=en
alan macdonald
11 months 2 weeks ago
One's race should never be a determinant in selecting anyone for any position. To do so, even with the best intentions, is racist.
Brian Walsh
11 months 2 weeks ago
The comments from people rejoicing this shift away from the "culture war" (I call it upholding the teachings of the Bible) is unfortunately becoming anachronistic. Science is starting to confirm the truth of church teachings: 3D ultra sounds confirming life (as if it was needed--who would define something that is growing, taking nutrients and developing as not being alive?); a new study showing that use of birth control dramatically increases depression in women; sociological studies all over the place that confirm the disparate outcomes of children raised in a home with their married biological parents compared to children raised in irregular situation; mounting evidence (see the recently published Johns Hopkins study) about how mistaken we are to treat gender dysphoria as anything other than a mental health issue. But here we are reading America Magazine which, not surprisingly, publishes an article cheering on what it views as any development that involves the rejection of biblical teaching and the longstanding interpretation of the Bible inspired by the Holy Spirit and Sacred Tradition. Naturally the comment section is full of people rejoicing as well. I ask America and its readers: what is the Church without its moral teachings? If the Bible isn't the inspired word of God and the means by which we are to live our life AND if you reject Catholic teaching on the Bible, why are you here? For those who do consider themselves Catholic, perhaps even attending mass on a weekly basis, why? There are several organizations out there that you could join that do, ostensibly, good works without any associated morality. The Catholic Church is different from Amnesty International but it seems that some want the Church to transform itself into just such an organization: highly secular and purely relativistic concerned only with works and not words. One cannot imagine why people who feel this way either don't join either Amnesty, spending their Sundays doing its work instead of attending mass, or a Protestant denomination. Good news: Hillary Clinton is evidently a member of a perfect denomination for so many: her church is pro-abortion, anti-freedom of religion (see her comment about forcing religions to comply with sexual revolutionaries by legal pressure if not outright legally), condones open marriages, evidently. Sounds like many on this site would be quite happy in such a religious tradition.
Bill Mazzella
11 months 2 weeks ago
Brian, you give no references, no sources but your own opinion. Quod gratis asseritor gratis negatur. Your presumption that those who do not agree with you is immoral is arrogant and gratuitous.
Michael Barberi
11 months 2 weeks ago
Brian, The reason so many Catholics are rejoicing is how Pope Francis is trying encourage priests and bishops to move away from an exaggerated fixation on abiding by the letter of the law and every moral teachings of the magisterium as a litmus test for faithfulness and being a good Catholic. Pope Francis wants to move the conversation to the love of neighbor because it is loving and serving our neighbor that we love and serve Christ. He wants to emphasize mercy, compassion and going to the periphery of our neighborhoods and to other countries where there is much need. As for your assertions about studies that prove one teaching or another, I will only say that no prominent scientific organization that has studied the increase use of contraception has concluded that it causes the increase in abortion or spousal abuse, etc. There are also many studies by prominent socio-scientific organizations and scientists that have concluded that the well-being of children of gay and lesbian couples are no different than those of heterosexual couples. As for the Bible, many scholarly research today have questioned our long-standing interpretation of many biblical texts, given the context in which they were written and the application to the issues we face today. You may not agree with some of this, but many do for good reasons and this includes clergy. This is why many Catholics pray that some moral teachings of the magisterium should be the subject of a rethinking and responsibly changed. Incidentally, we can disagree and remain faithful Catholics. When we have more bishops and cardinals who think the same way that Pope Francis does, this is a cause for rejoicing.
Hugh McLoughlin
11 months 2 weeks ago
"no prominent scientific organisation that has studied the increase use of contraception has concluded that it causes the increase in abortion or spousal abuse": The latter point I will leave to others, especially to query what is meant by "spousal abuse". However, your assertion, that there has never been any link scientifically identified between an increase in the practice of contraception and an increase in rates of abortion is simply untrue. For example, I might refer you to "Trends in the use of contraceptive methods and voluntary interruption of pregnancy in the Spanish population during 1997-2007 "by García-Enguídanos A, Martínez D, Calle ME, Luna S, Valero de Bernabé J, Domínguez-Rojas V published in CONTRACEPTION: An International Health Journal, Vol 83, Issue 1 (January 2011). This initial survey of about 2,000 Spanish women aged 15 to 49 who were interviewed/examined every two years over the period concerned found that in that time frame the number of women using contraceptives increased from 49.1% to 79.9%. However, they also noted, to their surprise and great puzzlement, that in that same time frame the country’s abortion rate had more than doubled, from 5.52 per 1,000 women to 11.49. The authors noted that these findings were “interesting and paradoxical”. It obviously required further study. By the by, they also noted: “Consumption of oral contraceptives for more than 2 years before pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage.”
Michael Barberi
11 months 2 weeks ago
Hugh, I never said that there was no so-called link or correlation between the increase in contraception and the increase in the ills of secular society. However, a 'link' or 'correlation' is not a 'cause'. You need to go back a study statistics. The increase in abortion is directly related to the increase in unwanted pregnancies. It is a proven fact that it is the lack of contraception and the inconsistent use of contraceptives that cause the overwhelming percent of unintended pregnancies and abortions. See Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States,” August 2011, accessed May 20, 2012 from www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.htm. Also, note that one may claim that there is a so-called 'link' between the increase in spousal abuse and the increase in contraception, but it is quite obvious that the increase in contraception is not the cause of the increase in spousal abuse, but the psychological problems of the abuser. If what you 'claim' is true we would see respected organizations such as the American Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the American Medical Society and the FDA warning the American public that the use of contraceptives will cause a higher risk of abortions, miscarriages, et al. Fortunately, no such 'claim' has been proven true.
Bill Mazzella
11 months 2 weeks ago
Chaput is clearly voting for Trump, He is naturally ashamed to say it publicly because Trump is an absolute narcissist with no morals. Francis did well by stopping Chaput get any further since Chaput is more interested in cultural wars than feeding the hungry and helping refugees. The decibel level is the thing to evaluate Chaput with. Francis has his number and the guy keeps putting his foot in his mouth without fooling rational people.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
Bill - you are way off, (as usual). Archbishop wrote this today "In the meantime, a friend describes the choice facing voters in November this way: A vulgar, boorish lout and disrespecter of women, with a serious impulse control problem; or a scheming, robotic liar with a lifelong appetite for power and an entourage riddled with anti-Catholic bigots. In a nation where “choice” is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small."
Douglas Fang
11 months 2 weeks ago
Tim – I have to disagree with you with regard to Chaput. I have no respect for him and I believe that the Pope passed him for a good reason. Remember that the Pope did come to Philadelphia and was a guest of Chaput for a few days. Probably he recognized the personality of Chaput during this visit and this stopped him from promoting Chaput to the be the prince of the Church.Chaput just stucks to the cultural wars of the past and refuses to see the changing landscape of the world that the Church is facing. Just look at his writing in FirstThings today that you quote. I see 2 flagrant errors: 1. His criticism of DT is too lenient – he is way worse than that, he is also blatantly racist, blatantly xenophobic, blatantly greedy, blatantly ignorant, etc. 2. His criticism of HRC is too harsh and unfounded – she’s not a robotic liar, actually, she’s a lot more honest than both DT and Mike Pence. You can check it for yourself http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/ http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/ http://www.politifact.com/personalities/mike-pence/ Also, what does Chaput mean by “scheming”? Have you ever seen any politician that does not scheme? I see a lot of bishops and cardinals that were scheming too… You know the stories about Vatican bank and the Curia, don’t you?
Bill Mazzella
11 months 2 weeks ago
What is so troubling about Chaput that he is so minimal of refugees and clamoring for the US to help them. While he praises one party and still manages to blast one candidate. Sleaze Trump is clearly the worst ever. Yet many Catholics will still vote for them because they are only partisan not for moral reasons. The "moral" is a disquise.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
Douglas "I have no respect" and Bill "he praises one party"??? This is so sad and judgmental, and such a wrong judgment. As the quotes above clearly show, Pope Francis and the three Cardinal-elects are in full agreement with Archbishop Chaput on the moral and doctrinal issues. Furthermore, Apb Chaput is well-known in Philadelphia for selling the former bishop's residence and living in a downsized situation - well before Pope Francis came on the scene (http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2011/12/in-philadelphia-shake-up-begins-at-home.html). He has also led the way for care of immigrants and the poor. Here is what he said about Trump in 2015, as reported by the phillly voice in Sep 2015: http://www.phillyvoice.com/chaput-scolds-trump-obama-immigration/ "Regarding Trump's controversial remarks and proposals, Chaput said he had turned the debate "ugly with a great deal of belligerent bombast." He denounced the perennial GOP poll leader's call to end birthright citizenship, claiming the policy is a constitutional right. "Some in public life – notably, but not only, Donald Trump — have called for an end to birthright citizenship," Chaput said in the address. "This is a profoundly bad idea. It plays on our worst fears and resentments. And it undermines one of the pillars of the American founding and national identity."
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
Cardinal-elect comments Archbishop Cupich: “This is about our nation and the soul of our nation. ... We want to make sure we send a message that what we do here today has a message beyond the borders of the state, beyond the borders of the city and speaks to the world about the importance of protecting life…The womb should not be their tomb," Cupich said. "Their lives matter. We should make room at the table for them, each and every child. "http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-march-for-life-met-... Bishop Kevin J. Farrell 9/13/16 letter: “Catholics for Choice is not a true Catholic organization. Nor does it adhere to Catholic teaching. Instead, Catholics for Choice is a lobby group based in Washington, D.C., funded by the pro-abortion lobby. Catholic teaching states that every human being has an inherent dignity from conception to natural death. Therefore, all human life must be protected. Catholics and bona fide Catholic organizations know this. All human life is sacred." Archbishop Tobin's statement on HEA 1337: “This new law reflects the love that God has for everyone by affirming that every human life is sacred. This is a decisive step in promoting life, not death, for unborn human life. No baby should lose its life because of a potential disability or its gender or race. Every human life matters.”http://www.archindy.org/archbishop/abortion-2016.html In Statement, signed by Apb Tobin: “the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage, a natural institution established by God. By its very nature, marriage is a permanent partnership between one man and one woman ordered to the good of the couple and the procreation and education of children.” Pope Francis re the Mexican protesters marching against gay marriage: [they protest] “in favor of family and life, which in these times require special pastoral and cultural attention around the world". http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pope-francis-gay-marria...
Michael Barberi
11 months 2 weeks ago
So far, Pope Francis has selected 44 of the 120 Cardinals. If he keeps the limit of 120, there will be another 11 slots to fill by 2018. However, he could raise this limit. As matters stand now, the next vote in the Sistine Chapel will likely be a 50/50 split between the appointees of Pope Francis who agree with his thinking and the future direction of our Church, and those of JP II and Benedict XVI. As for abortion, there continues to be a profound split among moral theologians and the laity on the one hand, and the teaching of the magisterium on the other, regarding the definition of direct abortion and indirect abortion (that is morally permitted). Clearly, abortion at any time for any reason is immoral. However, most Catholics, even prominent traditionalist moral theologian Germain Grisez, believe it should be morally permitted to terminate a pregnancy to save the life of the mother in cases where everything has been done to save the life of the fetus and mother and has failed, but the mother's life can be saved by terminating the pregnancy that is threatening her life. This is a case of indirect abortion. In my opinion and in such a situation, it is immoral to allow the mother and fetus to died when it is possible to save one life. The Phoenix case is just one example of what I am talking about.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 2 weeks ago
Michael - you keep citing the "Phoenix case" and suggesting there are many others (that you never cite). So, I wonder if you accept the Catechism teaching on abortion, or want that changed too? CCC Quote 2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. 2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," "by the very commission of the offense," and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. Pope Francis only appoints pro-life Cardinals. So, any conceivable future conclave will not be any different on this question.
Michael Barberi
11 months 2 weeks ago
Tim, There are many cases like the Phoenix case but this case was famous because the Bishop of Phoenix excommunicated the Catholic Nun in charge of the Ethics Committee of St. Joseph's Hospital and took away their Catholic status as a hospital. Catholic Healthcare West, the Catholic organization overseeing St. Joseph's Hospital, had a moral analysis conducted by Theresa Lysaught, a moral theologian from Marquette University, which was submitted to the Bishop of Phoenix. Her report cited numerous moral theologians, such as Germain Grisez, whose writings on such cases supported the conclusions of her moral analysis, namely that this case was 'indirect abortion". We can respectfully disagree about these things. You keep citing the CCC which is nothing more than the teaching of the magisterium, full stop. Let's be honest, this teaching is profoundly not received by Catholics and terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother is not absolutely direct abortion for solid philosophical and theological reasons. I know you will never agree with any argument if it challenges a moral teaching of the magisterium because you think every moral teaching is protected from error by the Holy Spirit. We continue to disagree about the meaning of what Christ said to Peter, namely, that upon this rock I shall build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In my opinion, this did not mean that every papal bull, encyclical or the decisions of every council are protected from error. Christ said "Church" and this means, popes, bishops, priests, theologians and every faithful Catholic. We know that many teachings have been taught as truth for centuries but were reformed, yet you refuse to believe it. This is why I say that the Holy Spirit leads us to truth in agreement and disagreement because it was disagreement that helped change many past teachings.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 1 week ago
Michael - the Church recognizes that the particulars of indirect abortion determine the prudential judgment in any particular case. So, the Phoenix case is a disagreement about the prudential application of the Church's teaching - NOT a doctrinal dispute - distinguishing indirect and direct abortion, and intention of the medical prodecure or treatment. In any case, in the modern world, the life of the mother is truly at risk in a very small minority of cases. Here is the Catechism on Direct abortion: 2322 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life. Do you agree with the Church that direct abortion is immoral? If so, then why continuously bring up a prudential case and turn it into a doctrinal one - when you know that all this does is give comfort to the enemy of the unborn? Unless, like contraception, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro conception, gay sex, divorce, women priests, etc., your whole purpose in blogging is to encourage doubt in Catholic teaching? Have you ever estimated the number of blog comments you have written in defense of Church teaching in the Catechism vs. in opposition to Church teaching?
Michael Barberi
11 months 1 week ago
Tim, I do not agree with your opinion that my argument is merely the prudential application of the doctrine and not a doctrinal dispute. The Bishop of Phoenix excommunicated the nun in this case for what you call "her prudential application of the doctrine". The teaching (doctrine) clearly defines the termination of the pregnancy in the Phoenix case as direct abortion and immoral, full stop. How else do priests, bishops and Catholics understand doctrine if not by its application? In this case, the application is the rigid, formal, and legal definition of the doctrine. I bring up the Phoenix case, and in the past cases of incest and rape, because they are cases involving doctrine and its application. In my opinion, as well the opinion of many moral theologians and priests, the doctrine or its application should be changed by the CDF or Pope Francis to clearly distinguish between direct and indirect abortion. My point is not a matter about whether the case in question is infrequent or frequent. It goes to the heart of the matter of a teaching of the magisterium. Note that in the Phoenix case the USCCB agreed with the Bishop's decision to excommunicate the nun and take away the Catholic identity of St. Joseph's Hospital. The purpose of my point and argument is NOT to give comfort to the enemy or to encourage doubt in Catholic teaching. That is a rude and demeaning ad hominem assertion that denigrates my good character, motives and intentions. All you want is for every blogger to agree with every teaching of the magisterium, full stop. If any informed and educated Catholic challenges a teaching, regardless of the reasons, you resort to disparaging comments. Shame of you! This is my final comment as our exchanges, once again, have now become unproductive. I am sure you want the last word..again.
Tim O'Leary
11 months 1 week ago
Michael - - so I am to interpret by your second paragraph that you think the direct killing of an unborn human being should be approved by the Church if the child was conceived by incest or rape? But, how does an innocent human being deserve capital punishment for the sins of their father? You say I want every blogger to agree with every teaching of the Magisterium. But, you ONLY blog to oppose the teaching of the Magisterium, starting with contraception, and ending with the direct killing of innocent human beings. It is your blogging motives (possibly subconscious) that I wonder about.

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