Thursday, September 03, 2009

Cardinal Sean O'Malley: Unity over truth?

"It is as much a crime to disturb the peace when truth prevails as it is a crime to keep the peace when truth is violated. There is therefore a time in which peace is justified and another time when it is not justifiable. For it is written that there is a time for peace and a time for war and it is the law of truth that distinguishes the two. But at no time is there a time for truth and a time for error, for it is written that God's truth shall abide forever. That is why Christ has said that He has come to bring peace and at the same time He has come to bring the sword. But He does not say that He has come to bring both the truth and the falsehood." - Blaise Pascal.

In an article entitled "O'Malley defends role at Kennedy rites," The Boston Globe says that the Cardinal has refused to join the ranks of those Bishops "who would deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.." In other words, he has refused to act in accordance with Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law which states clearly, "Those who are excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." And this represents a direct challenge to the teaching authority of the Magisterium which tells us (in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1395) that "The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church."

Dismissing the concerns of those who view Senator Edward Kennedy's Catholic funeral (which was televised and therefore very public) as a source of scandal, the Cardinal was quoted as having said that, "If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness it will be doomed to marginalization." But doesn't this represent a judgment aimed at those who oppose genuflecting before the Culture of Death and who viewed the Senator's funeral as a source of scandal? In other words, isn't His Eminence guilty of the very fault he would attribute to others?

And what of anger? Is anger always evil or unholy? His Eminence should know better. Our age has succumbed to a cult of softness. It is fashionable to believe that any display of anger is due to a lack of charity or to some psychological problem. This cult of softness has, in turn, contributed much to an effeminate Christianity which is incapable of opposing the evils of our present epoch.

It is forgotten that sometimes anger is the proper response to value. In the words of Fr. Bede Jarrett, O.P., "Not only may I sin by being angry when I should not, but I may sin by not being angry when I should be. If my reason tells me that it is right to be angry, then I disobey God when I refuse to give place to wrath; for, as the New Testament teaches, it is possible to "be angry and sin not" (Ephesians 4:26). Our Lord Himself, when need arose, roped together a bundle of cords and drove from the Temple those who trafficked in the House of Prayer, and down the front steps He flung the tables of the money-changers. Perhaps for most of us, the fault is not that we are too angry, but that we are not angry enough. Think of the evils that are in the world, that are known to all, admitted to exist by public press and on public platform. Would they have survived thus far, had folk all shown the indignant anger of Christ? Hypocrisy, cant, and the whole blatant injustice that stalks naked and unashamed in national life - may not our own weakness and silence have helped to render impotent all efforts to reduce these terrible things?....I have got to make myself realize that anger is itself neither evil nor good, and that it can be either. Hence I must pledge myself to see how far I allow anger to rule me when it should not, and how far I overrule it when I should give it a free hand." (Classic Catholic Meditations, p. 168, Sophia Institute Press).

All too many Catholics refuse to give vent to a righteous anger which opposes the myriad evils of our time. Has the Cardinal's way worked? Senator Kennedy wrote a letter to our Holy Father in which he sought to justify his pro-abortion stance. His Eminence has forgotten a truth expressed by my dear friend Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand (whom Pope Pius XII referred to as the "20th century Doctor of the Church"): "St. Paul says there always will be heresies and he adds that God permits them to test the faithful. The disunity that is based on the incompatibility of truth and falsehood cannot and should not be avoided...To deplore disunity as such, instead of deploring heresies, instead of condemning these and calling them by their name, implies first of all that one would keep unity even at the cost of truth. But, of course, true unity presupposes unity in truth. Error, falsehood, can never be the basis for true unity. That holy, supernatural unity of which our Lord speaks in the priestly prayer ut unum sint - that all may be one - can come to pass only in the profession of divine truth, in the membership of the Mystical Body of Christ. It is a unity which includes some but, by the same token, excludes others. As Father Werenfried van Straaten [the Bacon priest, my note] reminds us, 'Jesus' prayer that all may be one'...may not be separated from His other words: 'I say unto you that whoever does not enter by the door of the sheepfold is a thief and a robber...I am the door!' The same principle is expressed in the first encyclical of Pope Pius XI: Pax Christi in regno Christi, the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ. Even on the natural level, unity that is not grounded in truth is either a very silly or a very dangerous thing. That shallow comradeship so typical of modern society, for example, in which we approach everyone regardless of his relation to God in a spirit of 'tolerance' - the spirit incarnated in the words of Frederick II of Prussia: 'Let everyone attain beatitude in his own fashion' - that is a foolish pseudo-unity lacking any common principle to truly unite men. Such 'togetherness,' however, can be worse than foolish; it can be a sinister force when it is based not on a lack of principle, but on a common error - on an idol. The togetherness found in Nazism or in Communism is an amazing thing. Devotion to the common idol goes so far that the devotees are ready to die for it. So many young Germans gave their lives in the war while screaming, 'Heil Hitler!' They had given themselves in unity, to the devil." (The Charitable Anathema, pp. 3-4).

I have nothing but love and respect for His Eminence. But it would appear that he does not deplore error and falsehood as much as he deplores disunity. This is a great tragedy and more than likely the result of a lack of the Holy Spirit's gift of Fortitude. Something His Eminence should pray for. But he should refrain from casting aspersions at those of us who understand that authentic unity is based in truth. His Eminence may believe that Catholics who are firm in faith are guilty of "attitudes and practices" which do "irreparable damage to the communion of the Church." But faithful Catholics know that it is a false irenicism which really damages the communion of the Church.
Dissent in the Church leads to polarization and destroys peace within the Church. Faithful Catholics who refuse to accept a dissenting view must resist it for the sake of restoring an authentic peace, a peace which Pope John XXIII taught: "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." (Ad Petri cathedram, AAS 51 (1959) 517, PE, 263.93).

Dear Cardinal O'Malley please meditate carefully on these words from St. Paul, my patron saint, "Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ." (Galatians 1: 10).

Your Eminence, ask yourself the very same question.

You are in my prayers.
Related reading here.


Stewart said...

Would Cardinal O'Malley say that Jesus' anger in the Temple was inappropriate or somehow "uncharitable"? Your post hits the nail on the head!!! Where is the love of truth and the hatred for error and falsehood?

Michelle said...

I think the asnwer is obvious: the Cardinal is more anxious to please men than he is Jesus. The attitude of "Let's not offend anyone." Sometimes we need to offend for the sake of a greater good. Jesus called the Pharisees "hypocrites," "whitened-sepulchres," "a perverse and adulterous generation," etc. Was Jesus being "harsh" or "judgmental"? We are SUPPOSED TO judge actions, words and ideas.

Cardinal O'Malley has bought into the relativistic culture. Into what our beloved Pope has rightly labelled the "Dictatorship of Relativism."

KansasCatholic said...

This Blog post is filled with the courage of the Holy Spirit. You are really telling it like it is. I commend you for having the courage to speak hard truths which many do not want to hear.

God bless you and your apostolate.

Michael Cole said...

I like where Hildebrand says, "What government today would hesitate to remove an ambassador or public official who uttered views that were opposed to its policies? And in the Church something infinitely higher is at stake - the faith of Catholics...If the bishop or superior does not intervene to prevent the spread of corruption, he is fully responsible for any resulting injury to souls."

Cardinal O'Malley is responsible for any such injury to souls. He should consider this.

albizzi said...

There were a number of catholics (myself included)who were ashamed and harshly protested against the negationist views of Bp Williamson.
In the same time, among them a lot were okaying the public stance of Ted K.
That's pure hypocrisy. At least Bp Williamson denied a fact that, thanks God, no longer exists. While those who support the abortion "rights" are joyfully accepting that today, sept 3rd 2009, thousands of babies were murdered and an equal number will be murdered tomorrow sept 4th.
What an inconsistence!
Those poor babies probably are waiting the soul of Ted K. the day he will appear before our ultimate Judge. What will they say him, in all charity?

John Ansley said...

Good for you Paul! Cardinal O'Malley's defense of his role in the Kennedy funeral is, to say the least, insulting to devout, orthodox Catholics.

He should be ashamed of himself.

ACatholicinClinton said...

We are witnessing the total meltdown of the Boston Archdiocese which has succumbed to the zeitgeist. Cardinal O'Malley is not, in my opinion, a faithful shepherd who is concerned for souls.

Ashley Pelletier said...

As Judie Brown said, "If we are led to assume Kennedy was remorseful of his pro-abortion past and repented, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley should make this known to the Catholic faithful clearly - before the media and pro-abortion politicians turn Kennedy's death and Mass honoring his memory into yet another victory...If this remains unclear, what will millions of Catholic Americans be led to believe as Obama canonizes Kennedy's pro-abortion legacy on live television?"

What a travesty.

John Ansley said...

From Father Felix Sarda Y Salvany:

"The good of all good is the divine good, just as God is for all men the neighbor of all neighbors. In consequence the love due to a man inasmuch as he is our neighbor ought always to be subordinated to that which is due to our common Lord. For His love and in His service we must not hesitate to offend men. The degree of our offense towards men can only be measured by the degree of our obligation to him. Charity is primarily the love of God, secondarily the love of our neighbor for God's sake. To sacrifice the first is to abandon the latter. Therefore to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a true act of charity. Not to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a sin.

Modern Liberalism reverses this order. It imposes a false notion of charity; our neighbor first, and, if at all, God afterwards. By its reiterated and trite accusations of intolerance, it has succeeded in disconcerting even some staunch Catholics. But our rule is too plain and to concrete to admit of misconception. It is: Sovereign Catholic inflexibility is sovereign Catholic charity. This charity is practiced in relation to our neighbor when in his own interest, he is crossed, humiliated and chastised. it is practiced in relation to a third party, when he is defended from the unjust aggression of another, as when he is protected from the contagion of error by unmasking its authors and abettors and showing them in their true light as iniquitous and pervert, by holding them up to the contempt, horror and execration of all. It is practiced in relation to God when, for His glory and in His service, it becomes necessary to silence all human considerations, to trample under foot all human respect, to sacrifice all human interests, and even life itself to attain this highest of all ends. All this is Catholic inflexibility and inflexible Catholicity in the practice of that pure love which constitutes sovereign charity. The saints are the types of this unswerving and sovereign fidelity to God, the heroes of charity and religion. Because in our times there are so few true inflexibles in the love of God, so also are there few uncompromisers in the order of charity. Liberal charity is condescending, affectionate, even tender in appearance, but at bottom it is an essential contempt for the true good of men, of the supreme interests of truth and of God. It is human selflove usurping the throne of the Most High and demanding that worship which belongs to God alone."

Cardinal O'Malley has failed to understand this perennial truth. Pray for him.

Anna Rae-Kelly OCDS said...

Dear Paul,
It is very sad indeed that your posted reflection on our Cardinal's statement has led to the comments above. Cardinal Sean is our Shepherd and a Prince of our Church. How dare any of us do anything other than pray daily for him in his ministry as he carries our entire Archdiocese on its pilgrim journey to the Lord. If we truly understand the role of the laity in our Church, we have no right to speak ill of any priest and we sin if we do so. A priest faces a measure of Divine Judgement which none of us will be asked to face. Cardinal Sean deserves nothing less than our full obedience, love and prayers.

Cleghornboy said...

Boston, you wrote: "It is very sad indeed that your posted reflection on our Cardinal's statement has led to the comments above. Cardinal Sean is our Shepherd and a Prince of our Church. How dare any of us do anything other than pray daily for him in his ministry as he carries our entire Archdiocese on its pilgrim journey to the Lord. If we truly understand the role of the laity in our Church, we have no right to speak ill of any priest and we sin if we do so. A priest faces a measure of Divine Judgement which none of us will be asked to face. Cardinal Sean deserves nothing less than our full obedience, love and prayers."

Could you be more specific and point out a comment which you consider to be "inappropriate"? And who has spoken ill of His Eminence. Either you failed to read my post in its entirety or you have a problem with the English language. Which is it? How dare we question the Cardinal or correct him in any way? Since when is truth the private preserve of clerics? Saint Catherine of Siena (a Doctor of the Church) was told by the Lord Jesus that those who refuse correction are as limbs of a body beginning to rot. She corrected many clerics in her time.

Cardinal Silvio Oddi, during an interview with an American journalist in 1983, said: "some bishops have come to believe their own infallibility"...They are wrong, and far from the teaching of God. They are condemned. They are condemned most of all before the Church."

Saint Thomas Aquinas, another Doctor of the Church - in fact THE Doctor of the Church - said that "..if the Faith be in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public."

You imply that someone spoke "ill" of Cardinal O'Malley. Again, kindly be more specific. Fraternal correction has nothing to do with "speaking ill" of another. It is an act of charity. Have you ever read Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law? Such seems rather doubtful. Give it a try anyway.

Cardinal O'Malley deserves nothing less than our full obedience, love and prayers? One again, in my Blog post I expressed my love and esteem for His Eminence and assured him of my prayers. Which demonstrates once again that you have not really read or reflected on what I wrote.

One could easily get the impression that you simply have an agenda and aren't really interested in the facts surrounding Senator Kennedy's funeral. Instead of issuing childish ad hominem attacks or leveling false accusations against myself or those who leave comments at this Blog, why not address the points which I raised?

Michael Cole said...

Isn't it funny how individuals like Bostonjrk were able to tolerate Senator Edward Kennedy's disobedience to the Church and her Pastors but with regard to abortion and homosexuality for years [decades even] but they quickly accuse those who object to a public funeral for the late Senator as "disobedience" to Cardinal O'Malley?

It would be laughable were it not so disturbingly hypocritical. These people didn't mind Kennedy thumbing his nose at the laws of the Church and the Commandments of God but they DO have a problem with those who question a scandalous funeral for a heretical Catholic. Just incredible. Not to mention outrageous.

Bostonjrk is obviously unfamilar with Church teaching regarding the laity as well. He seems to think that the laity have absolutely no voice in the Church [even while respecting the late Senator's right to be heard]. Here is what the Church actually teaches:

"In the context of Church mission, then, the Lord entrusts a great part of the responsibility to the lay faithful, in communion with all other members of the People of God. This fact, fully understood by the Fathers of the Council, recurred with renewed clarity and increased vigor in all the works of the Synod: 'Indeed, pastors know how much the lay faithful contribute to the welfare of the entire Church. They also know that they themselves were not established by Christ to undertake alone the entire saving mission of the Church towards the world, but they understand that it is their exalted office to be shepherds of the lay faithful and also to recognize the latter's services and charisms that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one heart.'" (Christifideles Laici, No. 32 citing Lumen Gentium, No. 30).

For Bostonjrk [is he a cleric?], the laity have no role and are supposed to keep their mouths shut and tolerate every bit of nonsense which comes from a Cardinal or Bishop. Remember the Caritas Christi scandal? The Cardinal dropped the ball there too.

The laity have a right and a duty to make their voices heard for the good of the Church and with due reverence for the Church's Pastors. No one here has disrespected Cardinal O'Malley. For Bostonjrk to suggest or imply otherwise is both sinful and uncharitable.

The truth might upset Bostonjrk. But it is still the truth.

Anonymous said...


If Catholics in the early Church thought like you we'd all be Arians today.

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