Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Fr. Shaw and the graviora delicta

August 10th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

A few weeks ago the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued some updates to its norms governing how it deals with both delicta (offenses) against the faith and graviora delicta (more serious offenses) against morals and the sacraments.

The document dealt with several forms of delicta and graviora delicta but, since references to the clerical abuse of minors and the attempted ordination of women both appeared in the same document, the anti-Catholic press and numerous like-minded commentators were quick to jump all over the Vatican, claiming that it was simply equating the two.

Fr. Denis Shaw seems to have been no exception:

In another seemingly incredible pronouncement from Pope Benedict last week a document declared that among the grave sins a cleric could commit were sexual abuse of minors (ok, fair enough) and those who would advocate for the ordination of women!

Fr. Shaw appears to have invented a couple of “facts” here.  First, as stated above, “the pronouncement from Pope Benedict” was no such thing.  While the document to which Fr. Shaw refers was approved by His Holiness, it was actually issued by the CDF and is only concerned with the CDF’s internal operating procedures (see here).

In his second invention of fact Fr. Shaw seems (his grammar is somewhat tortured here) to claim that the CDF document condemns clerics who would advocate for the ordination of women.  The document, however, says not a single word about advocacy; rather, it is only concerned with those who actually involve themselves in sham ordination ceremonies.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited with having said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Fr. Shaw would do well to bear this in mind.

Further reading

Anyone interested in a truly Catholic viewpoint on this matter would do well to read Fr. Z.’s fisking of a U.S. Catholic article on the subject.  Another good resource, this one from Fr. Roger Landry, is also available.


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