Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Catholic Free Press, Elizabeth Dreyer and gratitude

In this week's Catholic Free Press, in an article entitled "Women's Conference to present diverse program in November," Mary Donovan explains that the "Gather Us In" Conference " co-sponsored by the Bishop of Worcester and the Diocesan Commission for Women" and that this is "the sixth edition of Gather Us In."  Ms. Donovan notes that, "The theme of this year is Gratitude: Acknowledging God's Grace in Our Lives."

This is most ironic since one of the guest speakers at the conference this November will be Elizabeth Dreyer, a radical feminist theologian who has agitated for a long time in support of women's ordination while asserting that, "There's a lot of misogyny and oppression" in the Catholic Church. Ms. Dreyer is one of 16 dissident theologians who signed what is known as The Madeleva Manifesto. This manifesto states:

"In the tradition of Sister Madeleva Wolff, CSC, we sixteen Madeleva lecturers have been invited to speak a message of hope and courage to women in the church. Reflecting the diversity of gifts bestowed on us by the Spirit, we speak from our particular experiences and vocations, yet share in a universal vision that is faithful to our catholic tradition.

• To women in ministry and theological studies we say: re-imagine what it means to be the whole body of Christ. The way things are now is not the design of God.

• To young women looking for models of prophetic leadership, we say: walk with us as we seek to follow the way of Jesus Christ, who inspires our hope and guides our concerns. The Spirit calls us to a gospel feminism that respects the human dignity of all, and who inspires us to be faithful disciples, to stay in the struggle to overcome oppression of all kinds whether based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or class.

• To women who are tempted by the demons of despair and indifference, we say: re-imagine what it means to be a full human being made in the image of God, and to live and speak this truth in our daily lives.

• To women who suffer the cost of discipleship we say: you are not alone. We remember those who have gone before us, who first held up for us the pearl of great price, the richness of Catholic thought and spirituality. We give thanks to those who continue to mentor us.

• To the young women of the church we say: carry forward the cause of gospel feminism. We will be with you along the way, sharing what we have learned about the freedom, joy and power of contemplative intimacy with God. We ask you to join us in a commitment to far-reaching transformation of church and society in non-violent ways. We deplore, and hold ourselves morally bound, to protest and resist, in church and society, all actions, customs, laws and structures that treat women or men as less than fully human. We pledge ourselves to carry forth the heritage of biblical justice which mandates that all persons share in right relationship with each other, with the cosmos, and with the Creator.

We hold ourselves responsible to look for the holy in unexpected places and persons, and pledge ourselves to continued energetic dialogue about issues of freedom and responsibility for women. We invite others of all traditions to join us in imagining the great shalom of God."

April 29, 2000
Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, lay woman, Doctor of the Church
St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind.
See here.

Ms. Dreyer is an angry feminist who believes herself to be wiser than the Lord Jesus who teaches us through His Church's Magisterium.  Not only does she believe that the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood is an open question, she has demanded it, signing a petition which reads, "Break the Silence on Women's Ordination.  Shatter the Stained Glass Ceiling."  See here.

This is not gratitude for received Catholic teaching.  As Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand explains, "He who is truly free knows - with a living knowledge - that everything is an unmerited gift of the merciful goodness of God; that before him we are beggars devoid of any claim whatsoever.  From our very existence, our vocation, and our redemption, to every ray of the sun that enlivens us with its warmth and its luster, and to every drop of water that quenches our thirst - everything is a gratuitous gift of His inexhaustible goodness.  All the truths we are blessed in knowing, all beauty we are allowed to enjoy; every moment of good health and every bit of nourishment we take - all these are undeserved benefits in no wise due to us.  How often do we misuse the gifts of God; with how much ingratitude and indifference do we requite His blessings!" (Transformation in Christ, pp. 293-294).

Isn't this precisely the attitude of Elizabeth Dreyer?  Rather than being grateful to God for His generosity and for all the gifts He has lavished upon her, she shakes her fist angrily at the Good God demanding that which is not possible: women's ordination.

The masthead of The Catholic Free Press cites from John 8:32: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."  And yet, the newspaper has demonstrated a blatant and reckless disregard for truth over the years.  See here and here for example.  Which is probably why the publication will not tell the truth about the Worcester Commission for Women or its "Gather Us In" Conference.

Related reading here.


John Ansley said...

The CFP has become garbage.

ShrewsburyCatholic said...

Margaret Russell came over from the Worcester T & G and isn't intellectually equipped to run a Catholic newspaper. The job should have been given to a Catholic priest who has an understanding of Catholic teaching, especially in the area of sexual morality. Russell is an embarassment. And so is the "Catholic" Free Press.

Ellen Wironken said...

I couldn't agree more SC. Margaret Russell doesn't have what it takes to serve as Executive Editor of a Catholic newspaper. As Anthony Zamarro said, "There are several things that can keep a Catholic ignorant of..truth. One, in my opinion, is reading The Catholic Free Press. In several years of reading this paper, it has become clearer and clearer to me that the editor's mission is not that of making the truths of the Catholic Faith known to the Diocese of Worcester. What their goal is, I am not sure, but they seem to be trapped in fads of theology that are as outdated as pork chop sideburns."

One of these fads is the angry and bitter "feminism" which attempts to portray the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, as "patriarchal" and "oppressive."

It's ironic that this conference should call itself the "gather us in" conference. Because they are not "gathering." They are scattering.

Margaret said...

If you do not embrace radical feminism or the "queer gospel," then you can expect to be marginalized and even totally ostracized. I know you have encountered such hatred and violence in the Worcester Diocese Paul. Elizabeth Dreyer is a dissident religious so the red carpet will be rolled out for her.

The church here in Worcester has a problem tolerating those who are faithful to the Magisterium.

ACatholicinClinton said...

Here in Clinton we are losing Our Lady of Jasna Gora. That's all I've come to expect from our so-called "leadership": closed churches. They've got that down pat. As far as providing us with sound catechesis and homilies and a diocesan newspaper that's truly Catholic in more than just name, our "leadership" has failed us miserably. Hence the church closings. There's always an excuse of course: it's demographics, it's the building ("it would cost more to repair it than raze it"), it's the people. Of course, it's never the lack of sound leadership.

I'm ashamed of our diocese.

Ashley Pelletier said...

The CFP is the same lousy paper which ran the weekly column of Father Richard P. McBrien for years. And when faithful Catholics objected with a letter campaign which you led Mr. Melanson, the paper responded with a three month moratorium. In other words, for three months orthodox Catholics were muzzled while that dissident priest - whose work has since been criticized by the U.S. Bishops - continued to be published by the CFP.

This is what one may expect from the CFP. And it's really very unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you for the link anonymous. But we don't engage in "snarky opinion" here. We promote and defend the Church's authentic teaching and the Church's authentic peace.

I have said it so many times before, but I'll say it again: In our saccharin society, there are very many individuals (and sadly many Catholics among them) who accuse those of us who defend the Magisterial teaching of the Church as being "negative" or of engaging in negativity. But this childish attitude, which is the result of a sham spirituality, is not the Catholic attitude.

It was Pope John XXIII, beloved Pontiff of happy memory, a true man of peace, who said that:

" long as we are journeying in exile over this earth, our peace and happiness will be imperfect. For such peace is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith. This peace combats hatred, fraud, and discord, which can impair and cripple our faith." (Encyclical Letter Ad Petri Cathedram, No. 93).

Without truth there is no authentic peace. Only a false irenicism.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you all for your comments. Margaret, it may interest you to know that I have been routinely censored by Margaret Russell over at The Catholic Free Press. I believe JayG over at Defend the Faith submitted a piece which was not published as well.

I'll bet Elizabeth Dreyer would have no such difficulty. She is welcome. The same woman who attacks Jesus Christ by attacking His Church.

A diocese in crisis!

Athol/OrangeCatholic said...

So Ms. Dreyer believes that woman are "oppressed" and that "The way things are now [with women not being allowed ordination] is not the design of God."

Who made her and her co-signers a substitute magisterium? Dei Verbum is crystal clear on who interprets Sacred Scripture and Tradition, and it's not Elizabeth Dreyer or her radical feminist associates. It's the Magisterium.

That Bishop McManus approves of Dreyer as a speaker at the GUI conference says it all. We are in serious trouble here folks.

Stewart said...

I wonder if anonymous would consider Dreyer's religious opinions (which attack the Church and her teaching) to be "snarky"?

This is just another version of the asinine liberal guilt trip. But that doesn't cut the mustard here. Here we do not feel guilty for defending the faith.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic media that traffic in this sort of incessant "opinion"-driven "discussion" seem to me to have very little, if anything, to do with Christ. Keep your own side of the street clean and pray--pray for us all--is more my idea.

To write some snarky “opinion” doesn’t cost anything. That’s cheap grace. Nothing infuriated or repulsed or grieved Christ more.

The spiritual path doesn’t consist, in other words, in pointing out to others the ways they might be contributing to the suffering of the world, but in searching out the ways I am.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I'll say it again anonymous [why anonymous by the way?], this Blog doesn't engage in "opinion." This Blog promotes and defends the authentic teaching of the Church's Magisterium.

As Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand reminds us: "..the rejection of evil and of sin is a response which is purely positive and morally called for, and it possesses a high moral value. One cannot truly love God, without hating the devil. One cannot really love the truth, without hating error. One cannot find the truth and grasp it clearly as such, without seeing through errors. Knowledge of truth is inseparably linked with knowledge of error, with the unmasking of error. All talk about the superiority of 'yes' over 'no,' about the 'negativity' of rejecting that which should be rejected, is so much idle chatter." (The Cult of the 'Positive').

And it was John Cardinal Newman who said in his Grammar of Assent, "I would maintain that fear of error is simply necessary to the genuine love of truth."

In his Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the Church, says that, "If the declared enemies of God and of the Church ought to be blamed and censured with all possible vigor, charity obliges us to cry wolf when the wolf slips into the midst of the flock and in every way and place we may meet him."

Charity obliges us. Understand?

Stewart said...

I doubt that he/she will understand what you're saying Paul. And most likely doesn't care to. Some people are driven by a false piety which masks itself as "charitable" while really being, at base, a contempt for souls.

These people do not love the Church. They do not really love the Lord. If they did, they would defend His Mystical Body the Church.

No. They hate Jesus.

Michael Cole said...

Those who dissent from Church teaching, like Elizabeth Dreyer, enjoy attacking the Church while proposing silly ideas which have no basis in fact. But when they are challenged in the public forum, suddenly they cry "foul" and begin to preach on the importance of

They know full well that their ideas cannot stand up to scrutiny. They know that their silly theories will melt like a cheap fog when placed under the Lumen Christi - the Light of Christ.

These dissidents would do well to reflect upon the words of Harry Truman (for he had these sort of person in mind when he spoke then): "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

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