Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WANTED: Shepherd to lead flock

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
 – John 10:11-12

The Good Shepherd

I'm confused. Archbishop Timothy Dolan says "abortion, marriage, euthanasia, lying, stealing, artificial contraception, sexual acts outside of marriage, ordination of women" are all Church doctrines.

That's not the part I'm confused about. I get it that these are Church doctrines which cannot be changed.

I am however left a little bit confused by the term "sexual acts outside of marriage" since New York State has now legalized "homosexual marriage". So when His Eminency uses the term "marriage", how are we supposed to interpret that? Is he saying it's OK for a "married" homosexual couple to engage in sex according to Church doctrine?

BTW, I wish that Abp. Dolan didn't try to play politically correct nice-ball by avoiding the term "homosexual". He seems to prefer the use of the word "gay". But isn't that offensive to the rest of the LGBTQ crowd?

This next item has me even more confused. Maybe confused isn't the right term. Maybe I should say 'dumbfounded' instead. No matter how many times I re-read this following statement I can't make sense of it:
"To be clear, yes, the Church does have some 'policies' that can be changed, for instance, abstinence of meat on Friday, fasting from food before Holy Communion, or even priestly celibacy."
"Even priestly celibacy"??? [Insert record scratch sound effect here.] Is that a typo? Is the Archbishop saying this is just a Church "policy" on the same level as the tradition of eating fish on Friday?

Is this something Dolan's been discussing with his fellow American bishops behind closed doors? Does the Vatican know that the head of American bishops thinks that priestly celibacy is optional like eating fish on Friday?

I should stop now, but there is another thing I'm confused about. What exactly does this mean?
"I would wager most bishops, priests, deacons, pastoral leaders, and maybe even the Holy Father himself has, at one time or another wished the Church could alter the teaching of Jesus that marriage is forever, and that one cannot break that sacred bond asunder."
Why would the Holy Father wish that he could change the teaching of the Church on marriage? Excuse me for saying this Archbishop, but I think you've been reading too many Maureen Dowd columns. Or have you picked up the distasteful habit of reading the National Catholic Reporter every morning?

Can't you hear your flock crying out for a shepherd to lead them?


  1. Michael,
    While there's some things here or there I wish Archbishop Dolan would do differently, I don't think he should be the target. I've been mostly impressed with him. I think you're stretching his words. My gripe with him is that he puts too much undeserved praise on his brother bishops, which I believe creates scandal. He is pretty solid on the orthodox scale. Just my opinion.

  2. In the first video with Fr. Michael Rodriguez he talks about a general lack of faith in the church, a result of a lack of formation both in seminaries and Catholic schools. I think it is timely to hear about these things today, the feast of St. John Marie Vianney, patron saint of priests. I won't comment on the current events, but I'd like to recount what the devil said to the Cure of Ars:

    “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom [in France] would be ruined.”

    St. John Marie Vianney, pray for us and obtain for us many holy priests!

  3. Ben. Thanks for your comment. You're right to point out that I have focused on the negatives of Abp. Dolan.

    The thing that got me started writing this post is the idea that priestly celibacy is just a "policy". I could have left the rest of the stuff out since it is distracting and sounds uncharitable.

    But getting back to "priestly celibacy is a policy not a doctrine". Is that true? I don't think it is and I'm shocked to hear the Archbishop say that. I am also perplexed by the fact that no articles have been written to challenge this statement. Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly affirmed the Church's teachings on priestly celibacy.

    It's not a trivial statement given the voices of dissent within the Church calling for married priests and women priests. In reply Dolan is clearly saying that priestly celibacy is negotiable.

    I don't think that the Archbishop has a clear understanding of the nature of the attack that the Church is under. This goes back to a previous article which I wrote in which I mentioned "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky. The methods of "community organizing" are being used to destroy the Church from within.

    First it must be clear that from the point of view of the "community organizers" the purpose of the dissent is to gain control of power within the Church. They view the Church the same way that they view a union or a political party that they have targeted for takeover.

    The"organizers" behind these attacks don't care about priestly celibacy. It is just a way of attacking the Church. They will always come up with new issues until the Church is destroyed.

    The appropriate analogy is Russia under attack by the communists until they finally toppled the government and took control. They were never satisfied by any reforms. They used the issue of the workers as a way to organize dissent. Once they took control they slaughtered the workers and enslaved them. This is the same type of enemy that the Church faces today.

  4. M. I noticed a statue of St. John Marie Vianney in the background in the interview of Father Michael Rodriguez. Thank you for reminding me of the nature of the enemy that we are fighting.

    Until we hear our leaders like Archbishop Dolan publicly warning of the real danger from the diabolical assaults against the Church then we will continue to lose this battle. We are afraid to speak the truth. Why? Jesus clearly spoke of the dangerous presence of the devil and demons. Have we stopped believing in His Word?

    And I don't think that we should just brush off as a joke the dedication by Saul Alinsky of his book "Rules for Radicals" to Lucifer.

    Saint Pio is another priest that was attacked by demonic forces. Padre Pio, pray for us.

  5. Michael, I haven't listened to the video posted yet, but will.

    I am also quite disheartened (down but not out) about Archbishop Dolan. It is entirely possible that an intricate political manuvering is going on, but I can't help think that our Lord would never have spoken in such a way as to confuse the flock and the world. He is, after all, Truth.

    Times like this I think we must stick very close to the Source of all truth -- Jesus Christ. He is our High Priest, after all.

  6. Gretchen. A google search indicates that Archbishop Dolan has always spoken in the past in a definitive way about priestly celibacy. He seems to be indicating a shift in position. I'm surprised that no one else has noticed this.

    One thing that is missing from this discussion is the call of universal chastity. I don't think the call to chastity for a priest is any more difficult than the call to chastity for married Catholics. It's just that we have ignored chastity within marriage for so long that we have forgotten what it means. Otherwise we wouldn't have the whole controversy over the use of contraception within marriage. We have even forgotten that marriage is a sacrament.

    Destroying the sacramental nature of the priesthood is not going to solve the problem. The Church leadership needs to challenge the flock to live a life of sacrifice. We don't have to be Mother Theresa reaching out to the poor and the sick, we can just live out our vocations as the Church teaches. That is a simple and heroic way to show our love of God and of His Church.

    God bless you.

  7. Michael, I agree with you completely. We can engage liberals and secularists in their own language (for example, Dr. Morse's "Non-religious reasons against same sex marriage") but it should never be at the expense of the truth of spiritual reality. This is what I admired from Rev. Thomas Euteneuer when he was head of HLI and made the rounds of talk shows. Of course, I'm not sure what happened to him post-HLI... but that is another issue.

    Yes, the Cure and Padre Pio are very similar. We thank God for giving us these holy priests and pray for many similar laborers to be sent into the harvest.

  8. M. Quite right. We have already lost half the battle when we concede to fight the enemy on their own terms and with their weapons. We can't go into battle with our hands tied behind our backs because we refuse to argue in terms of the spiritual truths that have been revealed to us.

    This war is being fought on two levels -- an earthly political level and a spiritual level. We need to offer our prayers, but this is also an opportunity to convert the culture to Christ. All we need to do is speak the truth with courage.

    The world has not changed in 2000 years, it still longs for the truth of the Gospel. And it still takes men and women willing to be martyrs for the faith in order to spread that truth.

    ¡Viva Cristo Rey!