Sunday, February 23, 2014

Deacon James Connor on the Fall

Deacon James Connor, who serves at Saint Vincent de Paul Parish in Baldwinville, Massachusetts, would apparently like to "correct" God's Holy Word in Sacred Scripture.  For on two separate occasions, while speaking at Holy Mass, Deacon Jim as he is known throughout the parish, has advanced the idea that Adam failed Eve and that the world would be a much better place if only Adam hadn't failed Eve.

Now it is certainly true that Adam was the head of Eve, his wife, and of the whole human race which was to be generated by him  through his wife.  It is also true that Adam, a primordial priest, rejected God.  As first priest and representative of the entire human family, he brought sin and damnation upon this entire family.

But it is a distorted interpretation of Sacred Scripture to suggest that Adam failed Eve and that Eve had no share in the Fall.  This is exactly what Deacon Jim has implied.  Perhaps Deacon Jim has been unduly influenced by some radical Catholic feminist interpretation of the Scriptures.  Perhaps he attended the "Gather Us In" Conference sponsored by the Diocese of Worcester.

At any rate, as Donna Steichen explains in her excellent book Ungodly Rage, "Cunning, the serpent draws Eve into dialogue.  She knows the limits God has set, but she listens as the deceiving voice lures her with a promise of autonomy - the promise that she can be her own God.  When she yieldsher disobedience separates her from God and from Adam.....Adam chooses to evade the very duties of leadership that Eve covets.  He is not deceived by the serpent, but he eats the forbidden fruit anyway.  Perhaps he cannot bear to be separated from his bride by her sin.  Perhaps he is intimidated by the prospect of confronting her.  In either case, the head of the first family disobeys his Creator and betrays his patriarchal obligations with his eyes open." (Ungodly Rage, pp. 375, 376).

This is a balanced interpretation of the Genesis account of the Fall.  One which recognizes that both Adam and Eve disobeyed their Creator and that Eve was the one who was deceived and became a transgressor: "..Adam was formed, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." (1 Timothy 2: 13, 14).

Steichen notes that, "Contemporary Catholic feminists are part of a vivid, and ruinous, re-enactment of that ancient tragedy.  Their history strikingly recalls Eve's susceptibility to false promises, her rebellion against legitimate authority and her presumptuous ambition to make herself  'as God.'  Women, it seems, are more prone than men to such fraudulent spiritual enthusiasms." (Ungodly Rage, pp. 375, 376).

I'm sure that Deacon Jim's one-sided interpretation of the Fall is most appealing to certain confused types who view the Church as "patriarchal" and "oppressive" and who seek to manipulate and politicize language while deconstructing various Scriptural texts with the aim of re-constructing these according to radical feminist ideology.  Many are those who manipulate Scripture to agitate for women's ordination.  But as Mother Teresa warned, "Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness."

Deacon Jim, it should be mentioned, presides over a Bible Study group at Saint Vincent de Paul Parish.  One has to wonder if those in attendance are receiving the Light of Christ or words which increase the darkness.

For those of you interested in a balanced teaching on the Fall, here's what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on the subject: "Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience.  Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.  They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives." (CCC, 399).  And again: "...By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state." (CCC, 404).  And again: "Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called 'original sin.'" (CCC, 417).

Eve believed the serpent's lie.  And bound humanity through her disbelief. But the New Eve - the Virgin Mary - is the Undoer of Knots (which is the title of a popular devotion by the way): "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.  Comparing her with Eve, they [the Church Fathers] call Mary 'the Mother of the living' and frequently claim: Death through Eve, life through Mary.'" (CCC, 494).

Just yesterday, at the Vigil Mass, Deacon Jim strongly recommended the upcoming Catholic Men's Conference sponsored by the Worcester Diocese.  This is the same event which Robert Spencer was invited to speak at before Bishop Robert McManus rescinded his invitation.  I would stay away.  Especially given the diocese's history of welcoming unsound speakers while barring good people like Mr. Spencer.

Related reading here:

And here:


parishioner said...

I heard deacon Jim myself and thought his comments were strange. Both Adam and Eve disobeyed God. And Eve succumbed first. That's what we were taught in parochial school. So I find his remarks confusing myself.

As for his promotion of the men's conference suggesting that mothers bring their sons there to learn how to be men, I find that too laughable. Our so-called "leaders" in this diocese - "shepherds" - have largely failed us. We have had priests who sexually abused children, participated in homosexual relationships, stole parish funds, taught dissenting views etc.

Our Bishop had a few too many drinks, hit another vehicle and took off. How is this teaching our children responsibility?

Don't trust diocese officials to teach your boys how to be men. They cannot pass along what they don't possess.

Michael Cole said...

Bishop McManus has been unresponsive to the concerns of Catholics who still follow the perennial teachings of the Church and refuse to accept the angry radical feminism and dissent which has plagued this diocese for some thirty years. Many Catholics - and I am one of them - have written the Bishop respectful letters only to have these ignored. How is that manly?

If we had priests and deacons who embodied an authentic masculinity, we wouldn't be having all of the problems which have pretty much decimated this diocese and left many good people disheartened.

If this deacon wants to see young men trained in masculinity, he should start by setting a positive example himself.

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