03 March 2013

On Questionably Catholic Publications

This is a couple days late, but I'm too tired to start reading and writing about Lumen Gentium, so I will offer this instead.  It will surprise no one that I am very much not a fan of the National "Catholic" Reporter (a/k/a the National Schismatic Reporter or the Fishwrap).  It seems that every time I read something published by one of their nitwits (John Allen excluded), I am blown away by how they continually find new ways to peddle their anti-Catholic brand of Catholicism.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given the history of the paper.

Bishop Helmsing of the Diocese of Kansas City (where the Fishwrap's headquarters are located) issued a condemnation of the paper in 1968 and ordered that it remove the label "Catholic" from its title.  Needless to say, given the paper's ongoing blatant disregard for Church authority (especially when used to safeguard the teachings of the Church), it continues to operate under the guise of being a Catholic publication.  Bishop Finn, the current bishop of Kansas City, recently wrote a piece expressing his discontent with the positions taken by the Fishwrap, reminding his flock that the paper was condemned by his predecessor, and warning the faithful under his care regarding the nature of the paper.

Given this history, it is very rare indeed that I actually find something among the Fishwrap's publications that is not horrendously objectionable.  One such piece was published earlier this week by Thomas C. Fox, who appears to be some sort of editor over there.  The piece is worth a read if you're looking for a laugh, but even better is the fisking given to it by Dr. Edward Peters, canon law expert extraordinaire.  Some snippets (the original piece in regular text, Dr. Peters' comments in bold):

With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI [actually it’s taking effect] at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow Rome time his pontificate comes to an end, [most] Roman curial heads resign [they don’t “resign” but they do cease to exercise most duties], and the Vatican shuts down [oh really? no administrative activities, no post office, no liturgies, no museums, no Scavi tours?]. 
We all become adults again [and some will start sniping like pre-adolescents now that the big bad pope won’t spank them—as if he ever did], at least until we have a new “Holy Father.” [charming use of scare quotes; come to think of it, I’d’ve put “adults” in quotes, as Fox’s essay is “adult” only in the technical sense that it was written by someone over 21.] 
But that’s not all.  The old guard, those Vatican prelates who colluded [Fox’s understanding of worked together at the direction of the “Holy Father”] to force [Fox’s word for conduct] an outrageous [Fox’s word for careful] investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and who ordered LCWR into a receivership [Fox’s categories of ecclesial analysis are socio-economic, not ecclesial] until it mends its ways, are out [well, most of them are sort of out, as above.] 
. . . 
Among those required to resign [what is Fox’s obsession with resignation? They don’t resign! There is no one to resign to! Geeze.] will be Cardinal [cardinal? did I miss the memo?] Gerhard Ludwig [Müller], prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who, when he took the appointment last July, inherited the congregation’s sanctions[sanctions? there were sanctions? Canon 1312 was applied? how, pray tell?] against LCWR. 
It was last April that the CDF released its critical doctrinal [well, it is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, right?] assessment [not sanctions?], after years of secret study [ah yes, “secret” study, unlike, say, the policy of the National Catholic Reporter to publish a complete transcript of all their editorial meetings…what's that you say?, they don’t publish all of their in-house discussions?; saints preserve us! a secret meeting!] of LCWR.  Among the findings the congregation identified were a “prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” in LCWR’s programs and “corporate dissent” in the group regarding the church’s sexual teachings. [Yes? So? Is Fox denying that the LCWR is marked by “certain radical feminist themes”? Is he upset that LCWR is marked by such themes? Is he upset that the CDF finds those themes “incompatible with the Catholic faith”? Could we at least be told what Fox is complaining about?]

Mr. Fox's hissing screed about the LCWR continues apace from there -- he is openly gleeful at his "discovery" that the doctrinal investigation into the LCWR cannot continue when there is no pope.  He appears to be laboring under the impression that there is some possibility that the next pope will not continue this much-needed investigation.  I wouldn't hold my breath if I were him.

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