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‘Fidelity oaths’ in Catholic dioceses

 

Spurred by controversies over contraception and same-sex marriage, a growing number of Catholic dioceses across America are requiring oaths of fidelity to Church teachings for lay people doing such jobs as volunteer Sunday school instruction.

The Diocese of Baker, Ore., in a lengthy document, lists such teachings to include “the sinfulness of contraception, the evil of extra-marital sexual relationships, the unacceptability of homosexual relationships, the wrongness of co-habitation before marriage.”

The three Catholic dioceses in Washington do not require such pledges.  “Teachers in our system sign no such oaths,” Greg Magnoni, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Seattle, said in an email.

The issue gained national recognition Thursday, as the Washington Post reported that Sunday school teachers had resigned in the Diocese of Arlington (Va.).  They had received an order to submit “of will and intellect” to all teachings of the Church hierarchy.

“The Arlington ‘profession of faith’ asks teachers to commit to ‘believe everything’ the bishops characterize as divinely revealed, and Arlington’s top doctrine official said it would include things like the bishops’ recent campaign against a White House mandate that most employers offer contraception coverage,” the Post reported.

The Catholic Church has seen both dissent among its laity, and many simply ignoring such decrees as the Church’s ban on contraception.

In an interview before the London family planning summit this week, Melinda Gates said:  “It’s going to be women voting with their feet.  In my country, 82 percent of Catholics say contraception is morally acceptable.  So let the women of America decide.  The choice is up to them.”

The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a practicing Catholic educated by Ursuline nuns.

But American nuns have become the target of the Vatican and orthodox bishops, charged in a Vatican report with embracing “radical feminist themes.”  U.S. bishops have begun an investigation of the Girl Scouts to see if they have embraced themes frowned upon by the Church.

Conservative bishops use a familiar metaphor, seeing themselves as “shepherds” of a flock that must not wander or be led astray.

“As chief shepherd of the Church of Eastern Oregon, I need an assurance that those who serve in official capacities hold interior dispositions consistent with Church teachings,” the Most Rev. Robert Vasa, then-Bishop of the Baker diocese, wrote.

Vasa, a canon lawyer, has now taken a new posting as Bishop of Santa Rosa, Calif.  (Outspoken orthodox bishops have recently been named to the dioceses of Baltimore and Philadelphia — where they are likely soon to be cardinals — and Denver.)

In an affirmation of faith used in the Baker diocese, the lay ministers’ oath involved repudiation of abortion and says, “I do not recognize the legitimacy of anyone’s claim to a moral right to form their own conscience on this matter.” [More]

SOURCE

Seattle Pi

 
 
 
 

117 Comments

  1. Choose_Life_Now says:

    Imagine a parent enrolling her little 10 year old girl in a private school. The science teacher explains to the trusting children “I know that the leaders in the scientific community want me to teach you that there is a law of gravity, and that the force of gravity causes things to fall at a specific rate of speed. Well, my conscience will not allow me to tell you this because I do not believe in this law. I do not believe that people should be made to follow laws.” She then proceeds to lead the entire classroom to the roof above the 5th floor and says: “Now little girl, I want to prove that this law of gravity does not exist, walk off the edge of this building and see for yourself”

    How many parents would support this teacher, when she is quoted by a local newspaper describing the schools requirement for teachers to teach sound science as a “shock” and “a slap in the face.” or a former teacher acknowledging the principals’ “authoritative role,” but telling Principal ‘so-an-so’ that only someone “willing to abandon her own reason and judgment” could submit to his/her authority. GIVE ME A BREAK!

    Why is it, for some people, that only when it comes to teaching religious education, that the truth really does not matter? Indeed it is the truths of Faith and Morality that matters the most! Just ask Jesus.

  2. Volunteer says:

    1. I would assume this oath applies to male as well as female volunteers.

    2. Does it apply to sterilization which is also against Church teaching ?

    • Jim says:

      Volunteeer — answer to both of your questions: a resounding “yes!”

    • Anthony says:

      Who can determine what a faithful catholic is? Is it the person who says yes to everything the bishop says?. Or, is it the person who thinks like an adult, questions and then challenges when necessary.

      • Jim says:

        Anthony — A faithful Catholic relies not on himself, and trusts not himself, but rather trusts God, as He speaks to us through the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding …” That, Anthony, is a faithful Catholic.

  3. Mark says:

    The Church has throughout its history has required various forms professions of fidelity and orthodoxy from certain of its ministers. The prime examplar is the creed professed by all the faithful. For those in teaching ministries, additional statements have at times been required, such as the Oath against Modernism required to be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries from 1910-1967.

    I don’t see a problem with catechists being required to make a profession of faith and to swear that they will only teach what the Holy Catholic Church teaches, if that is indeed what the oath in question provides for. As catechists, that is our role and we need to be faithful to the Chruch instead of spreading confusion about what the Church teaches among those still learning their faith.

  4. Tony says:

    Now I have changed it, sorry for the confusion. Mea culpa.

  5. Mary Bethany says:

    Notice that the items mentioned in the fidelity oath are sex related. Very interesting.
    I would like to see if the “loyalty oath” also has statements like ” I support the Church’s stand against capital punishment.”
    Betcha some of those above who think this loyalty oath thing is so wonderful would be happy with statement like that and support of immigrants and health care for all as a right( excluding reproductive issues of course. That is another issue for another day!
    I wonder how many out there REALLY stand behind EVERYTHING the church teaches.

    • Jim says:

      I for one do, Bethany. If the Church says the moon is made of green cheese, and I must believe it, then I believe it. Note, however, that the Church does NOT teach that health care is a “right.” They teach that we as individuals must with love minister to others, but it never teaches the government must provide health care. In fact, the Church teaches the exact opposite: by the principle of subsidiarity, the Church says services always should be funded and provided on the most local level possible — which means NOT at a federal (or even a state) level. Note further that the federal or state governemnt is INCAPABLE of providing health care. All the government can do is pick the pocket of one American and force them to pay for the health care of another American, force them with the threat of incarceration if they do not comply with government taxing authority. When one is forced to do anything, compliance with the mandate never represents love.

      • David says:

        Jim, I haven’t worked out if you are a real person or just an automated response but I’ll ask you this question: are you aware that in standard Catholic Moral theology there is an important distinction between formal and material cooperation? I think that this is at the heart of the moralising crusade of the USCCB over Obamacare and that they have either forgotten their theology or they never learnt it.

        • Jim says:

          David — I’ve never had a course in moral theology, so (and I’m being serious now) bring me up to speed. I await your response. I’ve been looking for a pitcher who I can’t easily hit.

          • Tony says:

            PLEASE TAKE A GOOD COURSE IN MORAL THEOLOGY.
            You have the interest, you have the brains and the skills. With some good theology skills and information, you will have a deeper understanding of the church, and not see everything in black and white.

            • Jim says:

              Tony — all the great saints I’ve read, they don’t waffle about dogma. My sense at this point is that moral theology gives you some specious intellectual handles to disagree with God. I’m not interested in disagreeing with God, or out-smarting Him. “May Your Kingdom come, may Your Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.”

              • Tony says:

                The definition of theology is the study of God. A theologian applies reason to faith and faith to reason. There is an opportunity to go deeper into the understanding of God and things of God. Hardly an attempt to disagree with God but more of an appotunity to allign oneself to God.

                • Jim says:

                  However, Tony, when your theology draws the conclusion that the Church is wrong on some matter of undebatable dogma, then (even if I can’t articulate why) I have smoking-gun evidence that you are wrong. I have no interest in following, or being drawn in by the errors of others.

                • Jim says:

                  Many supposed intellectuals are so off the mark that they make me sick. They are so proud of their degrees that (whether knowing it or not) they act as if they are smarter than God. Look at what you and I have debated, Tony: homosexuality, masturbation, contraception. If your training in theology has led you into your errant positions, then your training is to your great detriment (hopefully not to your eternal detriment).

                  • Tony says:

                    Jim, you seem to be very frightened of God, go to the most orthodox school in the world if you must but please open yourself to a greater understandingof theology.

                    • Jim says:

                      Tony — notice that your post did not in any way respond to my post. All you do is attack me (“you seem to be very frightened”). We cannot have an honest conversation when I raise substantive points, and you respond with ad hominum attacks.

                  • tony says:

                    Jim, one of the prayers of St Theresa of Avila was, Lord save me from sour faced Saints.
                    I hope you have a good spiritual director who can help you appreciate all the goodness and beauty of life….land help you less ridged and more fully integrated in your understandingand relationship with God

                    • Jim says:

                      Again, Tony, another ad hominum attack. And, with regard to the only thing of substance you raised, the comment of Teresa of Avila: I am familiar with that statement of her, and I totally agree. However, I am not sour-faced. I routinely enjoy many things in life — including debating you on this blog (I like winning — it’s addictive). So, if you see me as “sour-faced”, well, since I am not, that must be a projection on your part, or at least a distortion of reality.

                    • Jim says:

                      For example, Tony, I feel incredible at Adoration; I feel incredible after I receive Communion; I feel completely connected to God when I say the Rosary; I thoroughly sexual intimacies with my wife; I love my garden; I love fast cars; I love good food; I love good beer; I love good football games.

                    • Jim says:

                      Not sour-faced at all, Tony. But, here’s how I experience you: you are thoroughly impressed with your theologic training. Unfortunately, it has led you into error. I am not rigid at all, at least not in the sense of the connotation of that word. I am, indeed, unwavering in my adherence to Catholic dogma, and apparently you regard such unwavering adherence as rigidity. Sorry, Tony, you got that one wrong.

                    • Tony says:

                      Please know that I am not trying to attack you in any way. To the contrary. However I am not as skilled in the ways of debate as you are and perhaps I don’t expess myself as I should. I am sorry if I have offended you. Be at peace.

                    • Jim says:

                      Tony — thank you for your comment, and please know that actually, I am not at all offended by the trash that is thrown my way. However, the problem with ad hominum attacks is that they don’t advance the debate. Further, the editors corrected me a few days ago for my attacks on others, so I am just pointing out to them their double standard: they will correct me but will not correct others when they attack me.

                    • Jim says:

                      Folks — my wife is now getting upset by my persistent blogging, so right now I won’t be able to respond as much as I’d like. Please do not take my silence as agreeemnt, or with capitulation to your errant, heretical positions.

          • David says:

            Jim, Catholicism does not teach ignorance, bluster, bullying,blind obedience and general crassness as virtues. Jim, you might start from a good Catholic premise, Fides quaerens intellectum – Faith seeking understanding. Once you get that straight, then read the Gospels Mt 5-7 are great bits to meditate on as they cut through the God -is-reducible-to-legalism-stuff) and then the letters of Paul (Galatians is highly recommended). You might then procure a readers edition of the central theological propositions of St Thomas Aquinas. He is not the patron saint of Bull and arbitrary dismissal – both so obviously prized by you.
            Peace and happy reading. By the way, do presume you are talking to someone who has the foggiest notion of baseball. There are vast oceans on either side of the USA.

            • Jim says:

              David — since I can’t get any liberal Democrats to send me monthly checks, I have to work for a living, and don’t expect I’ll find the time to take you up on your recommendations. But, let me point this out to you: you assume I am into legalism, but I am not at all — in fact, there is Scriptural evidence that Jesus Himself was not into legalism. However, as all the great saints have illustrated, if you follow the rules God has laid down, and follow the rituals He has prescribed through his Church, you obtain more grace. More grace, in the end, perfects us — we do not perfect ourselves, except to the extent that we choose (will) to cooperate with God’s grace. With regard to bluster and bullying: well, isn’t that interesting? Someone earlier today called me a “big whack job” — I have not leveled such names at others (except I have called Michael Joseph Francisconi a terrorist, because in fact that is true — he publicly supports Bill Ayers, signing onto a document of support for him back in 2008). Further, I have isolated at least three instances where a great saint devoted to the Blessed Mother — Louis de Montfort — literally beat up other people because of their immorality. He actually was the protagonist — he was not defending himself. This is documented in a book by Eddie Doherty (1975) called Wisdom’s Fool (Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications)

            • Jim says:

              David — now I am going to propose a little reading assignment to you. Look at probably any of the Synoptic gospels. A day or so before Jesus is crucified, on his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Scripture notes He is hungry. He goes to a fig tree, but finds no fruit. Even though Scripture clearly says the tree wasn’t doing anything wrong — it wasn’t time for it to be producing fruit — Jesus cursed it, and ultimately (you learn later) it withered to the ground. Then, Jesus continues to Jerusalem, where He literally overturned tables of the merchants selling in the temple. I’d call that bluster, wouldn’t you? So, I am just following the lead of my Master. We have so feminized Jesus — we think he actually went up to the merchants and said, “Gentlemen, would you be so kind as to move your business outside the temple? Here, I can even help you move your things.” No, that’s not what Scripture says He did — he busted up their tables, just like St. Louis de Montfort did, as I had mentioned in an earlier post. The Church today is way too feminized, and the clergy (including bishops) often are pusillanimous — they are so afraid of giving offense that they never talk about Hell or Purgatory from the pulpit, and meanwhile we have souls going to Hell FOR AN ETERNITY (read: forever — you can’t ever get out, you can’t die, there are no second chances) becuase most people are too pusillanimous to tell them the truth. Well, I take Ezekiel 33:7-9 seriously: if you don’t speak up to dissuade the wicked from their ways, they will die for their guilt, but God will hold YOU accountable for their death. So, get out of your books, David, and join me and St. Louis in the fight. Frankly, it’s much more invigorating than sitting around having intellectual discussions.

              • Jim says:

                And when we’re done cleaning up the opposition, our ladies can tend to our brusies, make us a good dinner, and — if we’re married to them — take care of our needs for intimacy. Geeze, maybe we can even have a beer or two before we head out again. Now that makes life much more interesting than the antiseptic lives most Catholics lead.

            • Jim says:

              David — this is from page 17 of Wisdom’s Fool, the biography of St. Louis de Montfort: “He decided to preach against the sin of intemperance. During his first sermon, to a handful of people, a group of men mocked him in loud and vulgar shouts and songs. They were carousing in a café close enough to the pulpit to be heard by the congregation. They were enjoying themselves. And some of the flock were snickering as they listened to the preacher and the plastered revelers, It was evident the priest was annoyed. What would he do? Would he stop talking and visit those men? Would he coax them to be quiet and respectful? Would he chide them for their language and the volume of their noise? Would he try to reason with them? That would be worth watching!
              St. Louis finished his sermon, gave the people his blessings, stepped slowly out of the pulpit, then walked swiftly toward the café. This time he didn’t have anything in his hands but holy anger. The drunkards greeted him with friendly derision. He stared at them for a moment. He wasn’t smiling. They peered at him, a tall, emaciated death’s head come to scold them! Some of the boys who had followed him from the church jeered too.
              St. Louis said nothing, except with his fists. For the first time since he came to Roussay, men had a chance to see how big, and to feel how hard, those fists were. He struck them down and let them lie. He overturned tables and chairs. He smashed glasses. He walked over the bodies of stunned and sobered hoodlums, and went slowly back up the street.
              Every time he preached, thereafter, in the awakened town of Roussay, he found a most respectful and attentive congregation. And when he left, walking away, singing in the rain, many men accompanied him for a mile or more. And many of the women cried as though they were at a funeral!”

              • Jim says:

                Notice, David, that St. Louis actually earned the respect of the people in that town. Until people respect you, they don’t listen to you. “The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord.” Talk to anyone who works with street people (including police officers and inner city teachers) and they will tell you that, if you act nice, you have no gravitas. First, you beat people up. Then, now that you have their attention and respect, you can be kind to them. But first you must establish order. You can’t let these rabble-rousers have the upper hand. I have seen meekness defined as a person who can kick butt and take names, and does so as necessary, but doesn’t do so unless he must.

              • David says:

                Jim, most saints are raving neurotics and imitation of them in any way except the rare glimpses of sane holiness should be avoided at all costs, especially those saintly ones who go about belting people.

                • Jim says:

                  I’m sorry you think that way, David. We hold the saints up in large part precisely because they are people to be emulated; and, it is my intention to try (by God’s grace) to emulate them — not just Louis de Montfort, but all of them.

                • Jim says:

                  Here’s what God the Father says to those who do not lead radical lives: “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16) When Louis de Montfort died, Jesus said to him, “Man, you were smoking hot when you were on Earth. The good news: no further need to kick butt. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Welcome into the joys of My Kingdom.”

                  • David says:

                    If you are going to proof text yourself,Jim, just be conscious of the context of the passage you are quoting. The warning is given here to the Church in Laodice and it is specifically directed against the very things you are trumpeting as virtues and marks of the true Catholic: pride, presumption and power. These were the things Jesus faced in the Temptations. He rejected them, Jim.

                    • Jim says:

                      Wow, David, pretty impresswive that this one passage of Scripture only applied to a specific circumstance years ago. I’ve read experts on the book of Revelation who specifically have said that the book, written to encourage late first century Christians in the face of persecution, also is applicable to present circumstances as well as the end times. Further, every verse of Scripture has a historical context, but that doesn’t stop anyone else from applying it to current circumstances. So, your charge against me taking a verse out of context are specious. Point two: a reading of the verses around Revelations 3:16 shows that the context is that the people are financially affluent, and therefore have become (or remain) lax in their faith walk. So, your assertion that “it is specifically directed against the very things you are trumpeting as virtues and marks of the true Catholic: pride, presumption and power” is not the case. If you want to depart from the clear context of that stretch of Scripture, you must provide references of Scritpure scholars who are advancing the position you are advocating.

                    • Jim says:

                      And, dear David, your pride is refined and quite subtle, but it is there — it is precisely why I get irritated with people like you. I may have bluster, but I creditthat to the Holy Spirit’s zeal. But your comportment suggests you are above the fray, as you know too much — and I regard that as a manifestation of pride. If I am wrongly discerning that, please forgive me.

                    • Jim says:

                      David — if you want more bluster, take a look at the opening verses of today’s Gospel http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071612.cfm: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set

                      a man ‘against his father,

                      a daughter against her mother,

                      and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

                      and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’
                      (Matthew 10:34-36). Yep, there’s that feminized, mild Jesus that 21st century, well-educated liberals imagine in their minds. Nope, Jesus was much more like St. Louis de Montfort than the vast majority of Christians imagine. Bluster indeed.

                    • Jim says:

                      to Concerned et al.: How about this from today’s first reading (Isaiah 1:15): “When you spread out your hands,

                      I will close my eyes to you;

                      Though you pray the more,

                      I will not listen.

                      Your hands are full of blood!” Hmmm, that’s not the God that many on this blog imagine. You know, the people who say I can do whatever I want, “as long as I love God” — but in fact they continue to do things directly contrary to His Will as renedered to us through the inerrant Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

                    • Jim says:

                      David — still waiting for your response here. You took Revelation 3:16 out of context — you said the context was about power, but in fact that is not mentioned at all, but rather financial affluence. So, I am requesting you retract your statement. Second, I am requesting you acknowledge that Scripture verses can be generalized to similar circumstances, and that thus God will dislike the lukewarm, regardless of the reasons for their lukewarness.

                  • Jerome says:

                    The idea that Scripture can be allied out of context or as one sees fit is very dangerous. Can you imagine if we read “judas hanged himself.”. And then the injunction, ” go and do likewise.”.
                    David is correct on this ine Jim

                    • Jim says:

                      Jerome, If you give me the verses you are quoting, I’ll look them up, but I’m sure that the sentence “Judas hanged himself” is not immediately followed with the sentence, “Go and do likewise.” In fact, it is David who has pulled Revelation 3:16 out of context. The explicitly clear context is that the people to whom that verse was directed were financially affluent; one can presume pride and power as a result of their affluence, but Scripture does not say that. Further, regardless of why someone is lukewarm is frankly irrelevant: the point that is very clear from Revelation 3:16 is that God hates the lukewarm, regardless of why they are that way. So, my point stands: quit being lukewarm in your faith and your efforts at evangelization.

                    • Jim says:

                      Jerome — a Jesus with bluster, and a St. Louis de Montfort, who had an incredibly strong devotion to the Blessed Mother but who also beat people up as necessary, just flies in the face of your notion of Jesus, does it not? You know, when you read the Scripture section where Jesus turned over the taables of the money changers, what you and many others hear is the following: Jesus walked up to the merchants and said, “Gentlemen, if you please, would you mind taking your business outside? Here, I’ll help you move your tables.” Of course, that would be an exact misreading of Scripture. No, Scripture says Jesus turned over their tables. That wasn’t very nice, was it? It’s not consistent with the feminized version of Jesus we have been taught. Again, look at the opening verses of today’s Gospel if you want to hear that blustery Jesus (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071612.cfm): “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set

                      a man ‘against his father,

                      a daughter against her mother,

                      and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

                      and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

                      (Matthew 10:34-36)

                    • Jerome says:

                      Of all the quotes of sacred scripture and other words of advise, the quote that seems most sensible and applicableis ” Dude, chill.”

                    • Jim says:

                      Jerome — I must have been asleep in Church when that verse was read — where exactly is that verse? Oh, that’s right, just before Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers, he said, “Dudes, chill!” And when He called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers,” He preceded that with, “Hey dudes — you brood of vipers — chill!” :)

                    • Jim says:

                      Jerome — I too like levity, and I believe God Himself has a sense of humor, but salvation is the most serious business. There will be an eternity of time in Heaven for rejoicing.

                    • Jerome says:

                      St Therese of Avilsa often prayed Lord deliver me from sour faced saints. And Scriptre often advises us to to rejoice, be glad, Serve the Lord with gladness or in the vernacular, Dude, chill.

                    • Jim says:

                      Sorry, Jerome, I’m not going to take your advice. I’m following St. Louis de Montfort and the admonitions of my Master. Salvation is the most serious business: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world (chills most of his life), but loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

                    • Jim says:

                      Now, Jerome et al., I have to quit blogging, at least for several hours — I have way too much work to do today. Please do not take my silence as acquiescence or agreement. In other words, do not assume I am “chilling” — I’m busy with other matters. I haven’t yet figured out a way to tap into all the lucrative benefits the Democrats want to give everyone, so I have to work for a living.

        • Jim says:

          David — the following is from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01100a.htm:
          “To formally cooperate in the sin of another is to be associated with him in the performance of a bad deed in so far forth as it is bad, that is, to share in the perverse frame of mind of that other.

          • Jim says:

            On the contrary (I can’t find the word this blog doesn’t like, so I’m going to delete this section — but you get the idea that I now am familiar with the terminology). Okay, not a high level distinction. I don’t see the relevance of you raising the issue, David. This changes nothing. Although I was not familiar with that terminology, I certainly am very familiar with the idea — heck, without exaggerating, I was taught this distinction by my mother when I was a preschooler — the notion that God looks at our intentions, not our actual behavior. St. Augustine also made this distinction: that sin always exists in the will, never in the behavior. So, now, I still don’t see your point. Please be focused and succinct in making your point, and please disagree specifically with something I’ve said, rather than just making rumbling innuendos that somehow my reasoning is flawed, or that I am, as Ann called me earlier today, “a true whack job” (note to the editors: that was an uncharitable comment).

          • David says:

            Good Jim. And now consider this: although you do not formally and consciously will that some of your tax dollars are spent on what you judge to be evil, you are nevertheless still contributing informally or unwillingly to some of your taxes going to the funding of immoral programmes. That’s the kind of give and take citizens have to live with in a liberal democracy. If you don’t want you tax going towards evil, then withold it and bear the consequences. Former Archbishop of Seattle, Hunthausen felt so strongly about nuclear missile submarines in his diocese that he witheld half his taxes. Are you prepared to act similarly on issues you identify as of absolute moral importance? The IRS will be interested in your response, Jim. They sure came after Hunthausen.

            • Jim says:

              David — you have missed the point of the Catholic protest against the HHS mandate. Indeed, as you point out, our tax dollars are used for many things that are morally objectionable. But, objection to the HHS mandate is not about that — it is about religious freedom.

              • David says:

                Then, you are free to withold some or all of your taxes. When does that wonderful Christian virtue called ‘epikeia’ or prudence kick in for you Jim? It sure did boot up in the conscience of Archbishop Hunthausen. It’s called moral courage and it’s the opposite of virtual heroism, burning strawmen, moralistic hand wringing, wailing and venting. It’s great theatrics for the ueberKatholik Church militant types like Voris & Co but it has little in common with Jesus Christ or even the very best of Catholicism.

              • David says:

                You are free to withold your taxes for reasons of conscience but in a liberal democracy, while not be shot, you’ll probably have to show legal cause why you should not be prosecuted.
                The ‘Religious freedom’ mantra is a rather clumsy, inept and disingenuous construct by the USCCB and their evangelical bedfellows. The majority of people have smelled the rat and they have named it for what it is, rancid rodent. The American bishops have allowed themselves to be sucked into a crusade of fundamentalism – which they secretly despise – that will come back to haunt them. Fundamentalism of any kind is the domain of the infantile, the unthinking and the easily led. The god of the fundamentalists,of any persuasion,is a idol of their own construction.

                • Jim says:

                  David — I don’t agree. You know, even the pope warned the USA Catholic bishops of what he called the “grave threat” to religious freedom in the USA. My read is that the pope was more alarmed than the bishops. So, I don’t see how you could at all apply the adjectives you did to this effort by the bishops: “clumsy, inept and disingenuous.” Sorry, those adjectives don’t fit at all. Perhaps you’ve had so much training in theology that you’ve had all devotion to God trained right out of you, replaced by a proud intellectualism. “As for me and my house, we are going to drink a beer with Louie, then, with holy anger, kick butt and take names” — only because we love our lost brothers and sisters who are in danger of an ETERNITY of hell fire. Reflect on eternity for a moment, David: you can’t EVER get out; you can’t die; you can’t get released for good behavior; your time is never served. Makes me shudder, and makes me agree with St. Paul that we are working out our salvation in fear and trembling.

                  • David says:

                    Jim, if you ever read St Paul you would realise that he was dealing with exactly the same kind of spiritualautism you are demonstrating with this narrow, sterile and petulantly adolsecent brand of Christianity. Ultimately, the rage against the ‘other’ is about the self-loathing of those who vent it. It has nothing in common with Jesus Christ. Anger, kicking butt and taking names belong to the brigade of the cowardly.Jesus had to check such tendencies among his own ‘militant’ followers. Apparently the message has been lost on some.

                    • Jim says:

                      > “Jim, if you ever read St Paul you would realise that he was dealing with exactly the same kind of spiritualautism you are demonstrating with this narrow, sterile and petulantly adolsecent brand of Christianity.” Okay, direct me to the book and chapter or chapters. > “Ultimately, the rage against the ‘other’ is about the self-loathing of those who vent it.” Well, now there’s a statement that is complete speculation on your part, and in my particular case I am certain you are wrong. I don’t loathe myself at all. > “Anger, kicking butt and taking names belong to the brigade of the cowardly.” If your statement is true, that makes both Jesus Christ and St. Louis de Montfort cowards, as they both kicked butt. My addition of “take names” was tongue-in-cheek — I didn’t mean that literally. So, you said above that “most saints are raving neurotics.” Coupled with your other statements, that gives your arguments zero credibility with me. With all due respect, I doubt you will be canonized a saint (although I certainly hope you make it to Heaven), and you’re not going to raise yourself from the dead — but a cannoized saint beat people up, and the man Who raised Himself from the dead cursed and killed trees and overturned tables. I listen and take my cue from canonized saints, and especially from people Who raise themselves from the dead.

                    • Jim says:

                      Revelation 3:15-16: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

                    • Jim says:

                      David — I am also waiting for your response here. You state I am self-loathing, but I can assure you I am not. I do recognize at least some of my flaws, but I don’t loathe myself. So, I am requesting a retraction from you, as well as an acknowledgement that you were being judgmental of me, and without any evidence to boot.

            • Jim says:

              The HHS mandate can be very easily modified to except Catholic hospitals, universities, and other entxtxes — but the Obama administration refuses to do that. Kathleen Sibilius probably took some of the same courses you did — and look what it did to her. She very well may think of herself as still a Catholic. Joe Biden thinks he’s Catholic. Nancy Pelosi thinks she’s Catholic. Kathleen Kennedy thinks she’s Catholic. John Kerry once called himself a “devout Catholic” — how in the dark he is about his own status. So, my point is that all the high-falutent theology courses can easliy lead you astray. I am trying (and failing at times) to follow the lead of the saints. People like Terese of Liseux are doctors of the Church — but she had little formal education, and probably never took a course in theology. Let me quote from Thomas ‘A Kempis Imitation of Christ: God walketh with the simple, and revealeth Himself to the humble. He giveth understanding to the little ones, openeth the gate of knowledge to pure minds, and hideth His grace from the curious and proud (Psalm 119:130; Mt 11:25). Human reason is weak, and may be deceived, but true faith cannot be deceived.
              All reason and natural search ought to follow faith, and not to go before it, nor oppose it. … God, who is eternal and incomprehensible, and of infinite power, doth great and inscrutable things in heaven and earth, and there is no searching out His wonderful works. If the works of God were such as might be easily comprehended by human reason, they could not be called wonderful or unspeakable.
              (‘A Kempis, 1982, 456-457)

  6. Florian says:

    The “loyalty oath” is an act of submission to an individual diocesan bishop, who may or may not be in sync with the rest of the church, or with Jesus and his father. The second last thing the RC church needs these days is a subset of personality cults focused on bishops and the monarchical episcopate.

    • Jim says:

      So, Florian, name names — which bishops are “not in sync with the rest of the church, or with Jesus and his father?” My guess, based on your prior posts, is that these are bishops who actually are in complete sync with the Catholic Church, but who do not agree with your errant beliefs.

  7. Francis says:

    Am I alone or does anyone else think Jim needs to get a life – man, he’s going to have a heart attack. Chill, dude. God is in charge. Really!

    • Jim says:

      Francis — Sorry, I don’t know what you are saying. What is a “dude,” and what does “chill” mean?

      • Tony says:

        If I may dude is Sir and chill is wait a minute calm down and take a breath, calm down, don’t make yourself so nuts.

        • Tony says:

          It’s like oh my god I totally can’t believe your freaking out

          • Jim says:

            Oh, okay. I thought “dude” was like that guy on the beer commercial (the most desirable man? — you know, the guy who usually doesn’t drink beer, but when he does, he drinks the brand they are advertising), and that “chill” meant that I was chill — i.e., that I was the most chilled dude on the planet. :-)

  8. Tom says:

    “Knowing one’s faith” does not preclude knowing where questions continue, remain or are unsettled especially in areas of doctrine and moral theology. One does not throw one’s brains out the eindow

  9. almondwoodturner says:

    This sounds to me like the religious freedom of individuals is being limited by some Bishops. If I am asked to sign such a document color me gone.

    • Jim says:

      You’ve already left the Church by your disagreement with its dogmas, almondwoodturner. Unfortunately, everybody today is either too pussilanimous (including clergy) to tell you the truth, or they too are lost like you.

      • Marilyn Bell says:

        As more Americans sense that there is something wrong with our culture, more are attracted to the Holy Boldness of evangical Christianity, and to Traditional religion in general- Catholic Parishes and Orthodox Churches that proclaim the Christian message with the same boldness are experiencing similar success. And for decades now, Orthodox and Conservative Judarism have seen a steady influx of “Baal Teshuvah” or masters of return – formerly Secular Jews who found traditional religion a community and connection to God that they could not find in Secular Society.–This Study found that, liberal churches, like the Prsbyterian Church USA and The United Church of Chist are hemorraging members at the fastest rate. “Points to Ponder”.

        • Jim says:

          Marilyn — about 15 years ago, I was speaking with (I believe) an Episcopalian minister (female) who said she was disturbed that her Church was considering legitimizing homosexuality (or already did). My response to her, directly to her face: come join us Catholics. We’ll welcome you with open arms. The true Church never will legitimize homosexuality.

          • Jim says:

            addendum: I don’t know the outcome — but, this woman’s disturbance illustrates exactly what you were saying in your post. Enough of this liberal, heretical garbage already. Many of the posters on this site, as you well know Marilyn, are in that heretical, liberal camp.

          • Barbara says:

            “The true Church never will legitimize homosexuality.”

            Why? Jim. We no longer observe some of the other laws of Leviticus. We eat pork, don’t stone our children for disobedience, etc. Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality. Most of his teaching was about compassion and not judging others harshly and being satisfied with what we need.

            • Jim says:

              So, Barbara, when they were going to stone the adulterous woman, and He wrote with His finger in the sand and all her persecutors departed, why did He conclude His conversation with her with the warning, “Go and sin no more?” The Bible doesn’t say Jesus told her “Quit screwing around with guys,” but that is the only conclusion that can be drawn. You know, the Bible doesn’t address everything. For example, it never talks about abortion — yet most Christians take it as a given that abortion is wrong. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that, in addition to Scripture, we have the inerrant tradition of the early Church fathers — and they have always been opposed to homosexuality. It’s never going to change, Barbara. You can fight it if you want. And, as a woman, you are disposed to be compassionate at the expense of the truth — this is exactly why women cannot be priests or be in teaching roles in the Church. Women think with their hearts, men with their heads. I’m not trashing you, Barbara — I’m married to a woman, and my mother was a woman, and I like women in my life — but I am a man, and God gave men and women different instruments to play in His orchestra.

              • Ann says:

                Jim you are a true whack job when it comes to women. Instruments indeed. I am a human being.

                • Jim says:

                  Ann — a human being, yes, but a human being created “to know, love, and serve God in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.” So, you are not your own — you were created by God for His purposes, out of love for you. You are free to do God’s Will, or do your own will. A man cannot serve two masters — either he will love the one and hate the other, or hate the one and love the other (Matthew 6:24). BTW, called me a “true whack job” hurt my feelings, and, as the editors of this blog have noted, it is not charitable. I hope they correct you for your lack of charity.

  10. Scott says:

    Jim, I hope your Jesus is more lenient and forgiving and tolerant to you at your judgment as you are to others.

    • Jim says:

      Scott — I appreciate what I perceive to be genuine kindness on your part; but, you misinterpret me. Matthew 5:48, Jesus speaking: “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Before anyone is admitted to Heaven, they must be perfect. It is true that we cannot earn Heaven on our merits — that we are saved by grace — but at the same time you can’t get into the wedding banquet until you have been perfected either here on Earth or, for the vast majority of us, in Purgatory in the hereafter.

      • Barbara says:

        “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
        How is our Father in Heaven perfect? Is it theologically? Obeying the rules we make up? or – as a Scripture Scholar back in the 50′s explained to me: “God is perfect in love, and that’s what we are called to be too”.

        • A Warren says:

          Sounds good to me. I was also told that, and that it also means be fully human, like be all you can be.

        • Jim says:

          Yes, perfect love, Barbara — and perfect love for God. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15) — and He promised to guide the Catholic Church in all of her teachings, so that we would not be left orphans. So, you can fool yourself if you want — e.g., I could easily convince myself to have cam sex with women on line, and justify it by saying I’ll never meet them, and it will never affect my marriage. I might even go further and argue that cam sex will improve my marriage, as it will make me appreciate the charms of women even more. But I don’t trust myself, Barbara, and, with all due respect, you should not trust yourself either. We are all sinners, we are all at least somewhat selfish — and I am convinced all of us (certainly including me) are flawed in ways we don’t even know. So, if you want to love perfectly, you must observe John 14:15. This is an objective yard stick — talk is cheap (including talk to myself about how much I love God) — but you have to put your money where your mouth is: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

  11. Diane O'Donnell says:

    It is basic common sense that those who are entrusted with the very important job of passing on the Catholic Faith to the next generation agree with with all the teachings of our Church. Our young people have the right to learn the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

    • Jim says:

      “Basic common sense” — indeed — but as you can see from many posters on this blog, common sense ain’t so common.

  12. Sister Mary Immaculate says:

    The diocese should invest in a good Adult Formation Program and require that all teachers participate. As it is we have well intentioned warm bodies who do nothing more than baby sit the kids and often only know their faith, one grade level above their students.

  13. Jane says:

    Sounds like rigid mind contol,

  14. Eileen Kovatch says:

    I wonder if the Lutheren and Episcopal churches are accepting new converts? If this is the wave of our Bishops I woudn’t be surprised if there were a mass exodus!

    • Jim says:

      And yet, Eileen, we see the reverse: the influx of Episcopalians and other Protestants into the true Church of Jesus Christ.

      • John Gravelle says:

        Hmmm, You and Marilyn have both stated similar thoughts with out references. “…Across denominations, the net losses were uneven, with Catholics losing the highest proportion of childhood adherents—nearly 8 percent—followed by white mainline Protestant traditions, which lost 5 percent….”
        http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13940&Itemid=53

        • Jim says:

          John — sorry, but I don’t get paid to blog here. I typically offer many references for what I post. I was referring to the fact that many Episcopalians recently entered the Catholic Church because they are approving an openly homosexual bishop. In fact, Cardinal Wuerl is in charge of their entrance into the Church. I don’t dispute that some people leave the Catholic Church. And, according to a book written by a Notre Dame professor (I forget his name off the top of my head), Catholic parents are (on average) less investd in their faith than Protestant parents. And I believe that — because pusillanimous priests and bishops are afraid of speaking the truth for fear of offending anyone — so many Catholics are lost.

          • Jim says:

            So, John, presuming your references are credible, that would simply mean that the impact of the pusillanimity of Catholic clergy is greater than the attraction to the solidity of the Catholic Church’s dogma. That, of course, is a forceful argument for Catholic clergy to quit being so lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). Notice, BTW, how confused and lost many of the posters on this blog are — they believe they can define their own dogma. That is a great testament to the pusillanimity of the clergy. And, since I am not like that, you can see what happens when you’re not: you pay a price — people call you all kinds of names, including judgmental, and wishing Hell for others.

  15. One would hope that the Diocese of Baker Oregon would add the sexual molestation of children to their list. I can think of no more heinous sin within the constricts of the 6th and 9th Commandments. Railroad Jack

  16. Michael Joseph Francisconi says:

    Bring back loyalty oaths, subversive activity control boards, destroying images of Buddha in Afghanistan, do away with any exposure to anything different our fragile minds cannot handle any truth except from a central authority. Thank God for rebels. That is what I like about the Church. While it has its Orthodox defenders look around there is open rebellion within the ranks. In the end integrity is on the side of the rebels, which brings compassion, understanding and acceptance a home for the homeless.

    • Jim says:

      Michael — here’s the error in your thinking: those rebels are NOT members of the Church. By their rebellion, they have excluded themselves from the Church. If you don’t believe what the Church teaches, then quit fooling yourself into believing you are a member in good standing, because you are not. You can’t go to the Giants game and root for the Dodgers and still be a Giants fan.

      • Tony says:

        With all due respect Jim, you have no riight to tell anyone they are or are not truly Catholic.

        • Jim says:

          Tony — all I am doing is stating the logically inescapable conclusion. If you define a Catholic as a person who believes what the Church teaches; and if person A does not believe what the Church teaches; it is logically inescapable that they are not Catholic.

          • Tony says:

            I may define a Catholic as a person who has been baptized in the faith community and is struggling to find meaning and purpose to his or her life in the quest for God. Along the way people struggle and fall rise up and go on, question wonder and guess. No one should be told he is not a Catholic unless that person has publicly renounced the faith.

            • Jim says:

              Tony — if we agree on that definition of Catholic (which I think is specious), then I agree that the people I am saying are not Catholic very well may be. However, again, I don’t think your definition can stand up to scrutiny. What makes a person a member of any organization is that they support and agree with the organization. To the extent that they disagree, to that extent are they not in full communion with the organization. To re-use the same metaphor: if I go to the Giants game, but root for the Dodgers more than the Giants, I in fact am a Dodgers fan, regardless of what I call myself.

              • Tony says:

                But the church is more than approaching God through rules and regulation it is also people seeking God in personal relationship with Jesus and all that goes with a relationship.

                • Jim says:

                  Tony — look at all the great saints — I don’t care who you pick — pick any: Therese of Lisieux, St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, St. Benedict, St. Francis — they all accepted everything the Church taught.

                • Jim says:

                  Tony — also, note the baseball metaphor I used — it makes no reference to rules. A person is where their heart is, what they desire, what they want. A person who does not desire to follow or believe what the Catholic Church teaches does not have his heart in the Church. Note further Matthew 6:24, Jesus speaking: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” Thus, there is no middle ground: either you are all in with the Church, or you are all out.

                  • Tony says:

                    During their lives even the greatest of saits have had to struggle with their faith and with the rulles or the would not have been human. Human life is like that, even marriage has its high points and low points.

                    • Jim says:

                      Not for me, Tony — continuous high points in my marriage! :-) Also, with regard to the struggle — true, but let’s put that in context. St. Augustine, for example, struggled with disbelief, but once he was converted, he was all in. Blessed Mother Teresa had some doubts about her faith, but she never opposed the Church, never said she did not believe its dogmas. I think those saints who go through the “dak night of the soul” simply can’t FEEL their faith, but rationally they never abandon it. I myself (not that I am a saint by any means) was away from the Church for over 20 years, and believed the Catholic Church was lost, until God brought me to my knees, beat me up, and touched me with what Protestants call a “born again” experience.

                • William L McCaughey says:

                  Tony, why don’t you just join a Protestant sect? I am sure you would be much happier! There is such a thing as truth in labeling.

                  • Jim says:

                    William — well, this is a first, but I’m going to come to Tony’s defense. I believe he genuinely loves the Church, but he has been confused by the liberal mumbo-jumbo of the culture, and he very likely has not gotten clear messages from the pulpit, homilies often delivered by pussilanimous priests. I do think it’s good that you are trying to help him see the truth, though — we just need to be gentle with him. Believe me, I have already beaten him over the head numerous times, and, to his credit, he keeps coming back for more sparring, even admitting when he will reconsider certain issues.

                  • Chris says:

                    No I need the Eucharist. I have to tell you there are two Tony’s on here. Me and another guy.

                    • Chris says:

                      Sorry, my wife Chris commented on this site and I didn’t change the name. I am tony

                    • Jim says:

                      Chris / Tony — well, now I am completely confusted. Are you the Tony with whom I’ve had innumerable exchanges over the last month or so?

                    • Jim says:

                      addendum to Chris / Tony: and, are you the Tony who posted in this thread above?

                  • Jim says:

                    So Tony, which Tony are you? Are you the frequent poster here?

  17. A Warren says:

    Oh ok, get a cookie cutter and we can all be peole with the mindset of Jim.
    No thanks.
    I’m willing to think for my self with the brains that God gave me, limited as it may be.
    God made all of us different.

    • Jim says:

      Mr. Warren — I too am thinking for myself. And what I think is the following: the Catholic Church is inerrant in her teachings; her Magisterium is infallible. I think the Church is much smarter than me. Why would I want to disagree with God? I’m always wrong when I do. So note, I continue to do my own thinking, my own deciding — and I continue to think that the Catholic Church is much smarter than me, much more reliable than me — me, a sinner with my own selfish, flawed agenda and untrustworthiness.

      • superstring says:

        Many bishops with equal authority have decided against the oath. Their authority in the Church is the same as those requiring the oath, so God’s will apparently is that there is to be a difference of opinion in this matter.

  18. Jim says:

    Fantastic idea — especially given the comments I see posted here. Obviously, if someone calls themselves Catholic, that by no means guarantees they actually accept all of what the Church teaches. That, of course, should be a given, but in this very fallen world, it is not.

 
 

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