Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Fr. Richard McBrien’

Full of Hope

September 2nd, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

Here’s some encouragement from the Cardinal Newman Society.  (Which  unfortunately has the same initials as the Catholic News Service.)  Note that this will be easier to read (problem with overlap into the right column) if you click on Comments at the end first, even if there are no comments.

Subject: Vatican crackdown on dissent

“Wow,” I thought. “It’s happening!”  



The Vatican is cracking down on dissent.

Even the leftist National Catholic Reporter is complaining with great alarm: The Vatican aims to “weed out dissenting voices.”

Oh my… this couldn’t be what Pope Benedict meant by “evangelical pruning”?

If so, then we’re quite happy here at The Cardinal Newman Society!

We have worked more than 18 years to expose dissent at many Catholic universities, which are leading thousands of Catholic students astray.

And we are working toward faithful Catholic teaching on Catholic campuses, which depends primarily on strong college leadership but also on vigilant oversight from the Vatican and the U.S. bishops.

And it’s happening!

You may recall that the Vatican quietly ousted Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese — now a rabble-rouser at Georgetown University — from the prominent Jesuit magazine America in 2005.

Now we’ve been able to confirm leaked reports that Rome is challenging heterodox material in the Jesuit journal Theological Studies, published at Marquette University.

The chairman of Boston College’s Theology Department, Fr. Kenneth Himes, co-wrote an article arguing that Church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage should be changed.

And now the champions of dissent are crying foul.  Why?

Because the Vatican has demanded that the journal’s editor, Marquette theology professor Fr. David Schultenover, S.J., publish a rebuttal by Jesuit Father Peter Ryan and Germain Grisez.

Father Ryan and Dr. Grisez are serious Catholic theologians and both recent professors at Mount St. Mary’s University — one of only 20 colleges profiled in our Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College and the new home for our Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education.

The authors confirm that their rebuttal is backed by a “mandate from higher authority” — and they make no apologies for it!

But that’s just the latest news.  The U.S. bishops have been cracking down on bad theology elsewhere.

Indeed, the problems with Theological Studies go back to 2006, when Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha publicly challenged false teaching by Creighton University theologians Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler.

Lawler (now retired) and Salzman (who continues to teach theology at Creighton) claimed that “homosexual couples can engage in sexual acts that are natural, reasonable and therefore moral.”

In 2007 the Cardinal Newman Society complained about Lawler’s leadership of Creighton University’s Center for Marriage and Family, after which Archbishop Curtiss cut ties with the Center.

And last year, the bishops’ doctrine committee publicly condemned The Sexual Person by Salzman and Lawler as “harmful to one’s moral and spiritual life.”!

This is one of a series of public censures of work by wayward theology professors by the Vatican and the U.S. bishops!  They include:

– Daniel Maguire of Marquette University (Wisconsin)

– Fr. Richard McBrien at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana)

Fr. Peter Phan of Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

– Fr. Jon Sobrino, S.J., of the University of Central America

– Fr. Roger Haight, S.J., of the Union Theological Seminary (New York)

– Fr. Joseph Imbach of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Rome)

And just last year, the bishops censured a feminist theologian at Fordham University.

The bishops’ doctrine committee publicly condemned a book by Sr. Elizabeth Johnson — who has referred to God as “She Who Is” — for “misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors” that do “not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.”

This month we learned that the bishops’ top administrative committee unanimously authorized the review of Sr. Johnson’s work.

Why is this important?  Catholic Culture found that Sister Johnson’s book was used in theology courses at no fewer than 13 Catholic colleges and universities!

One solution that would address much of this problem is the mandatum for theology professors, by which the local bishop recognizes a theologian’s commitment to teach authentic Catholic theology.

That’s a requirement of Canon Law, and something The Cardinal Newman Society has advocated many times since Pope John Paul II issued Ex corde Ecclesiae in 1990.  Recently the executive director for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat on Doctrine, Fr. Thomas Weinandy, strongly supported the mandatum.

You who have followed The Cardinal Newman Society’s reports over the last several years know that we have worked hard to expose wayward professors.

And you can understand why we are so encouraged by the latest Vatican effort to rein in the Jesuits’ journal from Marquette!

Faithful families and students have suffered a lot of heartache in recent decades, but today we are living in times very exciting to be Catholic!  We’re so glad that you’re with The Cardinal Newman Society as we work for the renewal of Catholic higher education!

Thank You, our Father in Heaven, for good news.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Patrick J. Reilly

P.S.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and support our work with your contributions!  With the Holy Spirit, all things are possible.

The Cardinal Newman Society
9415 West Street
Manassas, VA 20110


Richard McDissident on Pope John Paul II

October 7th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the National Catholic Pile of Garbage:

“The facts are that John Paul I lived only thirty-three days as Pope and that John Paul II, elected at the relatively young age of 58, served as Bishop of Rome for 26 ½ years. During that time, John Paul II pursued a conscious plan to transform the hierarchy into a rigid, authoritarian body, utterly dependent on the Vatican for rewards and punishments of every kind.

With few exceptions, that plan has succeeded.”

Looks like we have found Fr. Shaw’s inspiration.

Note also how Fr. McBrien calls JP I “Pope” but JPII is only viewed as the “Bishop of Rome” in his eyes. Can’t wait to see this piece printed in the Catholic Courier.

Richard McDissident On Today’s Hierarchy

September 8th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Fr. Richard “the crybaby” McBrien mouths off against the current Roman Catholic hierarchy in the latest edition of his Essays in Theology, published in the Catholic Courier. As you read his pouting below, notice how he contrasts the wonderful Pope Paul VI/John XXIII hierarchy with the super evil arch-conservative (not my opinion, but it appears to be his) hierarchy of today:

Pope Paul VI understood and embraced the principle of sacramentality. It is high time, some 35 years later, that our bishops did as well.

One of the obstacles is that the U.S. hierarchy has changed so much under Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI.

Some readers might recall the claim that was persuasively made, back in the 1940s and 1950s, that most American bishops came from households where the breadwinner was an ordinary workingman.

This meant that the bishops of those years were more likely to view social and political issues from the viewpoint of those on the lower end of the economic ladder. They were more readily disposed to support the rights of workers than the interests of their corporate employers.

Yesterday’s bishops would have gone to bat, so to speak, for the right of workers — many of who were Catholic — to form labor unions. Some assigned priests in their dioceses to run labor schools to instruct Catholic workers on the church’s social teachings and to identify the rights they possess in the marketplace.

Today’s bishops, however, are not only more theologically conservative [orthodox] than their counterparts in the 1940s and 1950s; they are also more politically conservative.

It is no accident that, in recent presidential elections, many bishops (and cardinals) have clearly sided with the Republican candidates over the Democratic candidates. For such bishops the litmus test is the abortion issue [Not to mention gay marriage, stem-cell research, and a host of other moral and ethical issues that liberals fall on the wrong side of]. They are critical of the late Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent-ethic-of-life approach.

This dramatic change in the composition of the U.S. hierarchy may explain, at least in part, why there is now a critical mass of bishops who take refuge behind their lawyers in opposing efforts by their lay employees in schools and hospitals to form labor unions — just as they took refuge behind their lawyers in fighting settlements of sexual-abuse cases brought against the diocese because of the predatory behavior of some of its priests [Completely ignoring the fact that the most of the notorious offender bishops were of the progressive persuasion].

Fr. McBrien, grow up and stop whining about your superiors. You’re still (sadly) a priest of the Catholic Church. Perhaps you should act the part.

Fr. McBrien’s Hall of Fame

June 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

Fr. Richard McBrien has a new column up at the National Catholic Reporter …

US bishops from a better time

The death of Williams Borders, retired archbishop of Baltimore, this past April at age 96 has dramatized the acute change in the composition of the U.S. hierarchy over the past 30 years, that is, since the election of Pope John Paul II in 1978 and the departure of Archbishop Jean Jadot, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, in 1980.

So marked and long-lasting has the change been that many Catholics today, clergy, religious, and laity alike, tend to view many, if not most, bishops as ciphers at best, hopeless reactionaries at worst. To such Catholics, bishops are irrelevant to the life and mission of the church, and to their own lives as well.

This week’s column offers a reminder that this was not always the case.

Taking the various U.S. dioceses in alphabetical order, here is a representative sample of retired or deceased bishops, many of whom have served the church in America with uncommon pastoral zeal and who are fondly and gratefully remembered by many in their dioceses.

Fr. McBrien then goes on to list over 50 retired or deceased bishops and archbishops. While I am not familiar with every name on the list I wasn’t surprised to find several of the more famous members of the progressive camp.

Fr. McBrien then winds up his essay with this Orwellian piece of doublespeak …

If anyone wants to know why there has been so much hemorrhaging from the Catholic church in recent years (the Pew Study of U.S. religions has put the number at 3 in 10) and why there is so much demoralization among those who have thus far remained, we need look no further than the general pattern of appointments to, and promotions within, the U.S. hierarchy over the past three decades

Read the entire column here.

As something of a footnote, DOR’s own Deacon Ray Defendorf posted this comment on Fr. McBrien’s piece …

I’d add to Fr. McBrien’s list of outstanding bishops the late Joseph L. Hogan, 1969 – 78 and our current bishop Matthew H. Clark (1979 – present)of the Diocese of Rochester, NY. These outstanding and very pastoral leaders have made our diocese a refreshing oasis where lay participation at all levels of church administration and pastoral planning are valued and encouraged.

Bishop Clark will retire in a few years and we are praying that the deeply spiritual pastoral leadership and commitment to the values of Vatican II that we have enjoyed for over thirty years will not be retired with him.

May I recommend Bishop Clark’s book Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry, (2009, Ave Maria Press) as a required primer for bishops who truly desire to allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to take root within their diocese.

I can only surmise that the ongoing implosion of the Diocese of Rochester has escaped Deacon Ray’s notice.