Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age

Christ Cleansing the Temple by Giordano

A few weeks ago, a Catholic priest caused quite a stir in one of our local diocesan high schools. He spoke the truth about sex. Pause here to sigh, and to wish that our heresies were more interesting.

Some of the parents and students objected. They did not say, “The priest presented the truth in a way that made it less likely that the audience would accept it. We are worried that the Church’s teachings did not appear in the best light. We need to do some considerable work right now, lest the students go on to reject what they do not understand.” No one said anything of the sort. It was clear that they objected to what the priest had said, rather than how he said it. Not one of the parents crying out for the principal’s head troubled to suggest any way in which the Church’s teachings might be presented with more effective power. They objected not to the strategy, but to the battle. They do not want the Church to win. They want the Church to surrender.

Somehow, I ended up on the mailing list of some of the objectors, and learned that they were worried that the principal was leading the school in a “conservative to orthodox direction.” They were also worried that the principal had recommended texts designed to encourage students not simply to know what the Church teaches, but to be “living crusaders for Christ.” Here was my response:

I don’t know what the word “conservative” means, if we are talking about the teachings of Jesus and of the Church. That’s because those teachings transcend politics, and are always going to be a scandal, no matter what culture encounters them.

For example, there was a time when “honor” was the principle that ordered a man’s life, if he was a soldier or an aristocrat in Spain or France or even early America. Men whose “honor” had been impeached would challenge the supposed offender to a duel. Andrew Jackson fought twenty or so of these duels. They were “consensual,” because you couldn’t force somebody to accept the challenge, but the Church condemned them in no uncertain terms, equating them with murder. For that condemnation, she was accused of having no regard for honor, of not understanding genuine manhood, and of meddling in affairs that were not her business.

I’m not equating the Sexual Revolution with that culture of “honor,” but rather noting the principle that the Church is always going to offend. The Germanic tribes who heard the gospel heard what for them was quite baffling, that they were not supposed to take revenge—their whole culture was based upon loyalty to the clan and blood feuds. The Romans who heard the gospel heard what for them what was quite baffling, that they were not supposed to expose their infant children, or do a whole lot of other things that Roman aristocrats had gotten in the habit of doing, without thinking themselves any the worse for them. Socialists in the nineteenth century were scandalized by the Church’s insistence that the family, and not the State, is primary. Money-worshipers among us are scandalized by the Church’s teaching that, although your wealth is your own, it is meant for others, for the common good. Native men in Africa and in the South Seas were astonished to hear that they could have only one wife.

It’s always something, and for us now, the something is sex. That’s embarrassing; I wish it were something more “admirable,” but it is what it is.

Remember what Jesus says to the people who ask him about divorce. Those people include his own closest disciples. They ask him, essentially, “Under what conditions may a man divorce his wife?” Or, to translate it literally, “When may a man put away his woman?”—because in both Hebrew and Greek, there is no special word for “wife” or “husband.” It’s the same in German today: a woman’s husband is her “man,” and a man’s wife is his “woman.” Now, they are expecting Jesus to raise the bar, as he always did. They thought he would side with the more severe of the two points of view that were current, and they thought he would refer to Moses, the Lawgiver, as an authority.

But Jesus shocks them. He baffles even his disciples. He does not bring in Moses as an authority. Moses allowed divorce, he says, “because of the hardness of your hearts,” but “in the beginning, it was not so.” When he says, “In the beginning,” he is referring to the creative intention of God himself, expressed in the order of creation before the Fall. In the beginning, he says, and the words mean “at the foundation of things,” and not just “at the start,” God made them male and female, “and for this reason a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves unto his wife, and they two become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.” That change, from two to one flesh, does not depend upon the feelings of the people, or upon their intentions. It can’t be, because no human being has the power to sever that one flesh. Jesus says this quite clearly.

He is not talking about “porneia,” or fornication, which is clearly wrong, and not a part of the controversy at hand. Nobody listening to him believed that fornication was all right, least of all Jesus, who said that if a man but looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has already committed adultery with her, or who said that it’s not the things that enter a man that make him unclean, but rather (and think here of the daily needs of the body, that made a Jew ritually unclean, and required washing) the things that come out of him, including lewdness and licentiousness. Everybody agreed about that. What shocks them is that Jesus broadens the scope of the condemnation against adultery. Or, I should say, adultery is what it always was, but even the faithful Jews did not know what it was, and how long they had accepted as a matter of course things that were adulterous. Jesus says that a man who puts away his woman and takes another commits adultery, and the same for the woman. And “therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” The “man” in that sentence includes Moses! He was the great lawgiver; yet not even Moses had the authority or the power to separate what God had joined.

This teaching is clear. For a long time it baffled people—the Romans, the Greeks, even the Jews. Then for many centuries it did not baffle people, not even those Protestant groups that allowed for divorce, since as late as 1900 divorce was still very rare; I have found both Catholic and Protestant Americans at that time crying out against it, because it had dissolved as many as one in ten marriages. Well, now it baffles people all over again, along with the other teachings regarding sex, even the ones that have never baffled anybody.

The Church can’t win a popularity contest. She never will. In one age she is accused of being effeminate for loving peace and condemning war. In another age she is accused of being warlike. In one age she is accused of being too indulgent towards sins of the flesh. In another age she is accused of being puritanical. In one age she’s said to have her head in the clouds because she instills a suspicion of material wealth. In another age she’s accused of being the tool of the rich. It is always something.

I came to this realization many years ago, and it scandalized me too, and forced me to make a decision. I decided I would trust the Church. Another way to put it is this. Jesus demands not most of me, but all of me. If I obey him only in those things that don’t cost me much, what good is it? I can’t say to him or to his Church, “You can have all of me except for my bank account,” or “except for my pistol,” or “except for my lips and tongue,” or “except for these inches down below.” That is to set up another god in place of him. It makes no sense.

The Church’s teachings liberate. I’ve experienced it. The habits of the Sexual Revolution enslave, and bring in their wake a great deal of human misery, and even blood. That may make people unhappy to hear, but it is a fact. To be Catholic now is to be something that the important and clever people outside of the Church will despise. On Good Friday we memorialize what the important and clever people did to Our Lord. Let’s not join them.

Editor’s note: The image above depicts “Christ Cleansing the Temple” painted by Luca Giordano.

Anthony Esolen

By

Professor Esolen teaches Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College. He is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).

  • Just another example of the need of the New Evangelization because our hearts have grown cold to the Lord.

  • jacobhalo

    The problem is that many Catholic high schools and Catholic colleges are not teaching the truths of the Church. That is why the some of the parents and students were startled. This all goes back to Vatican II and ever since, we have been getting mush-mouth sermons from the clergy. We have become the church of nice. I’m all for mercy and love, but what about justice? I haven’t heard any pope or cleric since Vatican II mention justice. Has any pope or cleric quoted the New Testament concerning homosexuality?

    • kentgeordie

      But don’t blame Vatican II. Post hoc does not mean ergo hoc. Blame us.

      • James

        True, many of the “problems of Vatican II” were there right under the surface before the council.

        The problem with Catholic schools is that too many of them they cater to affluent parents and donors instead of teaching the faith.

        • Antonja Cermak

          Well, there is the matter of running the places. Good schools aren’t cheap to operate. And most Catholic schools offer scholarships to the less wealthy, which will require some donors to fund.

          • BHG

            If our schools cannot be Catholic perhaps they ought not be at all.

            • JD

              Here, here!

              • RoodAwakening

                Where, where? 😀

          • JD

            What was it Jesus said about God and mammon?….

          • James

            So, how many compromises should a Catholic school system make to placate the donors?

            Which compromises are acceptable and which go too far? Let’s be specific about this.

            Poor immigrants built cathedrals, wealthy suburbanites build…the kind of bland boxes you see in wealthy suburbs. What you say seems logical, but only backfires.

        • Gail Finke

          Not affluent parents. Parents, period.

          • James

            In most Catholic schools, “affluent parents” is a tautology. That’s a huge part of the problem.

            • Gail Finke

              Not where I live. Schools for the super rich, rich, middle class, and poor. Same problem at all of them. This is a societal problem — many people have no sense that certain things, especially things concerned with sex, are and should be considered sins. The idea that anyone should have to control himself or live up to a moral standard (in matters about sex) is foreign to them AND threatening to whatever it is that they want to do. It also makes them feel like hypocrites because they either do some of those sinful things or would do them (divorce, IVF, living with someone, etc.) if they wanted to. I think that blaming this on affluent parents will keep you from seeing that.

        • jacobhalo

          Affluent parents? How many affluent parents are in the inner cities where there are many catholics schools.

      • jacobhalo

        Blame us? Please explain.

        • kentgeordie

          Many bad things have happened since Vatican II. I would say that rather than blaming the Pope or the bishops or the priests, we should look to ourselves and our lack of faith.
          By and large, we get the Church we deserve.

          • Art Deco

            No sale. I am blaming Bp. Thomas Tobin for crapping out, just like the insipid Bp. Jugis in Charlotte. Our ‘shepherds’ are not worth a pitcher of warm spit.

          • jacobhalo

            There is a lack of faith because there seems to be a lack of faith among the clergy. You have cardinals and bishops not preaching the teachings of the church. We have confused Catholics. Pre-Vatican II Catholics were not confused. The clergy did not mince words in their sermons. Pope Francis’s words have to be interpreted. People get different meanings. He is not clear in what he says.

          • James1

            So, the popes, bishops and priests are not tasked with protecting, nurturing and guiding the sheep?

            From whom/what/where would we then fully develop our faith if not the popes, bishops, priests, the Magisterium?

            No, it is not “lack of faith,” rather it is lack of knowledge of – or even the distortion of – the faith that is at the root. Rarely would one simply acquire the fullness of the faith by osmosis. It must be taught – infallibly – by/from an infallible source. The laity is far from infallible.

      • Howard Kainz

        That should be “post hoc does not mean propter hoc.”

        • kentgeordie

          Well spotted. Thanks.

    • TommyD6of11

      In a church in Manhattan a wonderful Filipino priest spoke out on the over sexualization of our society. Of course, several Lib parishioners immediately complained to the Bishop and Cardinal. Within a month, the priest was gone. Cardinal Dolan seems to love the limelight far more than the light of God’s vision.

      • jacobhalo

        Do you wonder why so many Catholics are confused about the teachings of the church? Vatican II said that no doctrines were changed, but some doctrines are not preached by the clerics. Cardinal Dolan is another mush mouth like most of the bishops and cardinals and all of the post-Vatican popes. I wish that those Catholics that don’t adhere to the teachings of the church, which are the teachings of Jesus, would leave the church and find a denomination or another religion with which they believe.
        I love the Catholic church and I will die a Catholic, but many of these clerics are disgusting! They have become politically correct like the rest of society.
        I refuse to attend the Novus Ordo Missae with priests who don’t tell the congregation what they expect of them. e.g. very few at confession and the whole congregation going to communion-50% of Catholics pro-abortion, many Catholics pro-homosexual marriage. Most of the clergy do not address these issues.

    • Antonja Cermak

      Many people who attend Catholic high school and especially Catholic colleges are only interested in getting a good education.

      I took a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from Loyola, for instance. I never heard anything taught that was different from what the Church preaches, but it was a rare class that brought up something relevant to that. I took 6 theo classes (minored in it), 1 on Church and Sacrament (pretty much from the Catechism); 1 on New Testament (historical/literary criticism just as the Pontifical academy uses); 1 on Judaism (taught by a Rabbi). Then I took 2 Hebrew classes and a Greek class so I could read the Scriptures in their original languages. But other than those theo classes, not much else touched on Catholicism. There is no way to teach Differential Equations or Real Analysis from a Catholic perspective. Same with Physics and Programming courses.

      Perhaps a better approach for the schools would be to do what Loyola did. They offered speakers in the evenings, gave a synopsis of what the speaker would be speaking on and let people choose whether to attend or not.

      Many of the parents who are upset in N.C. (a different case) are upset not as much because of the content, as because they were not informed beforehand that a sensitive topic would be discussed so they might keep their student home. As parents are the prime formers of their children, this doesn’t unreasonable.

      • Art Deco

        Many of the parents who are upset in N.C. (a different case) are upset
        not as much because of the content, as because they were not informed
        beforehand that a sensitive topic would be discussed so they might keep
        their student home.

        No, they offered that as an excuse post hoc. Read the petition circulated against Sister Jane. They disliked the substance of her remarks.

        • Antonja Cermak

          It would still eliminate a lot of the controversy if the talks were scheduled for non-school time and voluntary.

          Also, not everyone who opposed the talk signed onto the petition. Some were legitimately upset over the fact that they were blindsided and had no opportunity to opt out.

          • JD

            Why should they be voluntary? Jesus didn’t shy from controversy, did you actually read Esolen’s article? It’s not supposed to be a popularity contest and it doesn’t matter that some parents aren’t interested in their kids being formed in the Catholic faith. That’s a Catholic school’s purpose! To teach the truth! Furthermore, I wouldn’t advise any Catholic school to follow the lead of Loyola or any Jesuit institution. There’s a reason those schools produce no good fruit.

            • Antonja Cermak

              Then perhaps the Catholic school should make sure to let people know it’s the purpose of that school.

              Most Catholic high schools here in Chicago are prep schools for college. They are inhabited by two groups of people, devout Catholics and secular cultural Catholics. Without both of those groups, the schools will be unable to recruit enough students and pay its bills. So figuring out some way to have a modus operandi between the two groups such that neither side gets ticked off would seem a prudent course of action.

              • South of Reality

                I think the term “Catholic” should have some meaning. If not and it’s mission is to be a prep school with no greater aspirations, then it’s better that it closes or gets a whole lot smaller.

              • JD

                Sigh…Antonja I’m not sure I can be any more clear. There is no reason for Catholic schools to pander to secular cultural Catholics or somehow water down its message in order not to “tick” them off. If the secularists don’t like the teachings of Jesus Christ, that’s their problem, not the schools. It should go without saying that the purpose of any Catholic school is to proclaim the faith. If they can’t survive without those families’ money, then so be it. Better to serve God than mammon.

          • Guest

            It is a Catholic school. Why should there be an opt-out over basic moral theology? They may as well opt-out of religion class too. Absurd and unreasonable.

          • South of Reality

            Informative and inspiring talks about the faith is what a Catholic HS should be all about. You might as well just opt out of the school and go elsewhere if that is your standard of what is and isn’t essential.

        • James

          Having listened to the talk Sr. Jane put online on the same subject (we do not know the content of her Charlotte talk, which I assume was similar) the substance WAS problematic.

          Sr. Jane linked Church teaching to rather dubious and debatable opinions in psychology. She was making assertions about that are not backed by either the psychological community or the teachings of the Catholic Church. While her opinions do not contradict Church teaching, they are not supported by it either. (In the issue of homosexuality, CCC 2357 specifically states “Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained”.)

          What I found problematic about her talk was not the gay issue, but her over reliance on Dr. John (Mars & Venus) Gray and similar sources in her talk about men and women. Such an approach reduces the Theology of the Body to the bad gender stereotypes of pop psychology.

          Bishop Jugis is quite orthodox, as are the Nashville Dominicans. The Peanut Gallery—on both sides—are more interested in fighting a Culture War than in actual Catholic doctrine.

          • Guest

            From what you describe here there is nothing wrong with her talk at all. If it is not contrary to Church teaching it is morally acceptable to hold her position.

            Those that claim offense have no right to be offended. Instead of blaming a holy and intelligent nun they ought to inform their consciences and and seek a deep understanding of the faith.

            • Antonja Cermak

              The Catholic church has no assigned gender roles other than the priesthood (which is about vocation, not gender), so her talk could very well be the thing that makes a Catholic teen leave the church if they have no interest in acting out a gender role that they are not comfortable with. Not all women are nurturing and the Church is OK with that. Not all men are hunters and the Church is OK with that.

              • Guest

                Are you really serious? What are you talking about?

          • Art Deco

            She quoted from a literature review published in the Linacre Quarterly regarding studies on the origins of homosexual attraction. There are two sorts bothered by that: fools and frauds.

          • Art Deco

            Bishop Jugis is quite orthodox

            No, Bp. Jugis is a poltroon, as manifested in his response to the imbroglio. Sr. Jane’s ‘orthodox’ critics do a fine imitation of petty and pluperfect fools, and merit no patience.

    • Mac

      Yes, my pastor talked about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, to outraged response from some parishioners. He then raised it in another homily, referring us to the New Testament copies that are in our pews, asked everyone to open to the page and read out loud the verse concerning homosexuality, adultery etc. He said that it is his obligation to teach the truth, and yes, he is a diocesan priest. Someone I know made a comment how his homily was “controversial”. I appreciate learning what the Church teaches, so that I can live accordingly.

      • jacobhalo

        He is a good man. I am shocked that some parishioners are outraged. Don’t they know the teachings of the church?

        • South of Reality

          Everyone is his or her own pope.

      • TheAbaum

        “Controversial” meaning I don’t like it.

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  • mikidiki

    Does that same Catholic priest ever preach, in church, homilies about sex and its wider implications on society? If he does he is a rare pastor indeed, since the current fashionable leadership policy appears to be “Who am I to judge?”

    • Salvelinus

      He does. It was Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman. He gave a talk on marriage to adults here in Texas awhile back. Hes a good man. Pray for him

      • mikidiki

        If you re-read my question you will note that I stipulated ‘in church’. As far as I can discover, that priest is Executive Director of a radio show who also gives talks to various groups.
        So it appears that the answer to my question is “No, he does not preach in church to parishioners and thereby run the risk of alienating a congregation!”

        • Art Deco

          So what? Is it your contention that he should say nothing because diocesan priests are intimidated by their laity?

          • Vinnie

            No. He should be saying it in church regardless of any perceived or real intimidation.

            • Art Deco

              He is not assigned to a parish and may not be incardinated in a diocese at all. He is a member of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.

          • mikidiki

            I am stating that it is much easier to speak via the airways or give lectures to gathered groups than it would be to challenge the congregation of a NO parish and perhaps thereby antagonise an ecumenical diocesan bishop.

          • ME

            I’m sure with his blunt truthful answers, he occasionally upsets and alienates a caller who is hoping to hear a different response. That is just as “risky” as doing it in church, as pretty much all the funding for the radio stations comes through direct fundraising and donations by listeners.

    • jacobhalo

      I attend the EF of the mass and our pastor gives sermons on homosexuality, abortion, etc. It’s the ole’ time religion.

      • Kate

        So, basically, your EF priest is preaching to the choir. Not much courage needed for that. You all get to pat yourselves on the back after the homily that you’re not like those others.

        • DS

          I guess some people can’t be satisfied. What would you like the so-called “EF priest” to do–preach some heresy? Why do you think you can conclude that anyone attending that particular parish acts like the Pharisee and not the publican because the priest preaches about certain topics?

        • South of Reality

          It takes a special kind of hubris to judge another’s soul; it takes double the hubris to judge those whom you’ve never even met.

        • jacobhalo

          The pastor preaches the teachings of the church, unlike many priests in the Novus Ordo parishes. Our pastor tackles teachings such as homosexuality, abortion, etc. We don’t pat ourselves on our backs, but we do pat the pastor’s back for having backbone, unlike the clerics since Vatican II.

        • jacobhalo

          Our pastor preaches to a congregation with a 95% attendance rate, compared to the 23% attendance rate at the average Novus Ordo Missae.

          • jacobhalo

            P.S. with a ton of young people.

        • Margaret O’Hagan

          No quite right Kate…. Our Faith is a Faith of reason and we need understand and love our Faith and so it is essential for the priest to deliver Christ’s message over and over again and explain the whys and wherefores; thereby the love Christ has for all. For example, how many people understand why we Catholics may not avail ourselves of IVF? How many Catholics know about the fate of substandard embryos?

          • TheAbaum

            “How many Catholics know about the fate of substandard embryos?”

            Human beings are not “substandard”. Wrong word.

            • Margaret O’Hagan

              The whole IVF procedure is contrary to Catholic teaching…. so okay, if you do not like the word ‘substandard ‘, how about those embryos with 2 heads, or three noses, or no legs, or half a brain? My point is that they are scrutinised and examined in every detail before the chosen ones are implanted to achieve a single pregnancy and shall we leave it there to consider the fate of the other embryos…….

              • TheAbaum

                I’m not arguing those points. But standards are human contrivances, and as somebody with a mild physical disability (can’t play guitar, but other wise you’d never know) and conscious of how the Nazis developed standards to determine who was Lebensunwertes Leben.

                • Margaret O’Hagan

                  I agree with you …. the standard is not with me – or you – or the Catholic Church. The reality is that millions of unborn babies are destroyed; in fact many without any ‘fatal development disease’ to achieve pregnancies through the procedure of IVF and we need our priests and bishops to be speaking out on this issue – amongst others.

                  • TheAbaum

                    Good. I’m just urging caution in the use of language. Plasticizing the meaning of words has been the Panzer tank of the culture of death’s blitzkrieg on humanity.

      • ME

        Our non-EF masses have sermons preached about all of the above. We have three excellent priests, and we have a thriving community, and are producing many vocations out of our area. We started an EF mass once a month last fall, but they were preaching on those things before that.

        • jacobhalo

          That is good news!

        • Margaret O’Hagan

          Excuse my ignorance, but what is an ‘EF Mass’?

          • ME

            EF is the Extraordinary Form of the mass or often referred to the Tridentine or Latin mass. A lot of people seem to be under the assumption, that only parishes that have those masses instead of the ordinary form, are the only places the church is alive and well.

            • Margaret O’Hagan

              Thank you ME! I obviously attend the Mass in the vernacular but I DO wish some parishes would do something about the hymns they sing…. they are positively ghastly! The old hymns went a long way in the formation of Catholics, imo, because so there was doctrine and beauty in the words

        • jacobhalo

          Good to hear.

    • E. Murray

      The profane who reject the doctrine of Christ may be right when they say: Who am I to judge? After all: “Know you not that the saints shall judge this world” (1 Cor. 6: 2). Priests who fail to speak the truth for fear of their congregation are no better than them. If people reject Catholic teaching the dogma of the faith says they’re not Catholics so drive them away, they don’t belong.

    • jacobhalo

      I’m not a fan of Pope Francis, but to clarify what he said, ” If someone is looking for God, who am I to judge.” Another words, if a gay is not a practicing gay and is searching for God…

      • mikidiki

        To define oneself as ‘gay’ admits an attraction for people of the same sex, doesn’t it? This cannot be a healthy disposition, whether gay relationships are indulged in or not. If I stated that I felt an attraction for animals but did not activate relationships, would that be okay in your eyes? Just asking ….

  • Guest

    Another great piece. Thank you.

  • Alan Napleton

    Anthony,

    Thanks for the excellent article. It edified me in my faith and helped put our troubled times in perspective. Al

  • Watosh

    There is an excellent book published by Ignatius, “Making Gay Okay: How rationalizing homosexual behavior is changing everything,” by Robert R. Reilly. The author demolishes all the arguments one hears from the homosexual crowd and the modernist secular crowd that controls our press and journalists, and hence our society, including many Catholics. In the blurb it states “At stake in the rationalization of homosexual behavior is the notion that human beings are ordered to a purpose that is given by their Nature. The understanding that things have an in-built purpose is being replaced by the idea that everything is subject to man’s will and power, which is considered to be without limits. This is what the debate over homosexuality is really about–the Nature of reality itself.” His presentation of basic philosophical concepts and theological concepts is clearly explained. Don’t misinterpret the title, as someone who had seen the ad for the book posted in Chronicles Magazine did, and called Ignatius and proceeded to bawl them out for publishing such a book. It is a solid Catholic presentation.

    • Then I am shocked Ignatius Press dared defy the Jesuit gay mafia to print it.

      • Watosh

        Now my disturbed friend, are you implying that this means the existence of homosexuals in the Jesuits doesn’t exist, or that despite the existence of homosexuals in the Jesuit order Ignatius press which has a connection to the Jesuit order, went ahead and published this book in spite of their existence? Your statement might imply either, and it is hard to respond to. I take your comment to be a sarcasm, but I am not sure the target.
        I have heard rumors there were homosexuals in the Jesuits, and given the current milieu that may well be true. I understand the Jesuits seem to have been taken over by modernists. I do know one Jesuit who is a liberal, but in an article regarding the situation in Palestine, he did outline a solid Catholic understanding, and in article on just war, his Catholic understanding was excellent, so I gave him a certain amount of respect, though as I told him I heartily disagree with his other modernist stances. Also he informed me he was a fellow octogenarian. (Now you can use this for more sarcasm, but that is your affair). Of course Catholics who have been captured by the Republican gospel will reject Catholic doctrine on these subjects, much as Catholics captured by the Democrat Party have embraced liberal attitudes will reject Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

        • Art Deco

          The Society of Jesus is well known to be shot through with queers, especially the California province. Fr. Joseph Fessio is the proprietor of Ignatius Press; it is not a subsidiary of the order (and Fessio has been put under the interdict for periods by the rancid crew which run the California province).

          • I did not know that- thank you.

          • Watosh

            Well be that as it may. my original point was to say Robert Reilly’s book is well worth reading, for those interested in pursuing the truth, and it so happens Ignatius publishes it. I haven’t paid much attention to Ignatius’s offerings as there are some authors of their books I don’t trust, but if I find bits of gold in a sand bank I will mine the sand bank.

        • I’m in Oregon, where a Gonzaga trained homosexual Judge is about to throw out the ban against same sex marriage, and several Jesuit priests in recent months have stepped forward in support of same sex marriage.

    • Gail Finke

      I’m reading it right now and second this, it’s fantastic.

  • Charles Ryder

    This was very good. Thanks again.

  • A Jesuit Trained To Be Homosexual Judge in Oregon is about to say that same sex marriage is normal. The “Church of Nice” and the Gay Mafia have won.

    • tamsin

      “My kid went to Santa Clara and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”.

    • Watosh

      Well today that is not surprising. We have good Catholics who engage in torture and support women being assigned to combat, and permit gay pride parades of soldiers on military bases, some Catholics trained in Catholic schools support drone attacks on targets in other countries, it is all part of living in a secular democracy. Even the Supreme Court with, I believe five Catholics on the Court say homosexuals must be recognized as an approved life style. Well they look to our Constitution for guidance not Church teaching in interpreting the laws, a principle made famous by a Catholic candidate for president. As it has been written, it simply shows we can’t serve God and Mammon, and Mammon has many faces.

      • Art Deco

        support drone attacks on targets in other countries,

        Because making your targeting more precise is a mortal sin, or whatever.

        • Watosh

          Well since our government spokesmen tell us that we are making targeting more precise i guess we can rely on what our government tells us. I mean has our government ever lied to us? Has the military ever lied to us? Has our president ever lied to us? Has our news media controlled by six conglomerates who have contracts with the government ever lied to us?

          Oh yes Art’s reply is another data point in my claim that conservative Catholics are under the influence of the Uber-patriotic Right Wing Republicans and parrot the party line that whatever America does is good, but if a country whose government we do not like or that does not do what we tell them to do, does the same thing we call that bad and a violation of international law. It becomes easy to tell good from bad with a simple criteria as that is. I can predict what line they will take because I know it will reflect what the right wing’s response is. It is too bad and it is why Catholics have little success in regard to Catholic issues. Some years ago I joined Gary Potter, a brilliant convert, in his effort to form a Concerned Christians for Political Action (I believe that was its name, but that was quite awhile back and I could have got the title mixed up) but it never went anywhere, the attraction to Catholics posed by the two party monopoly was too strong.

          • TheAbaum

            “that conservative Catholics are under the influence of the Uber-patriotic Right Wing Republicans”

            Right, these are the Catholics cheering on Obummer’s use of drones, and his insistence on subsidizing abortion and….

          • Watosh

            The thing Art Decor apparently is oblivious of is the effect on the populace who live under areas patrolled by drones. They live in terror seeing everyday several drones buzzing overhead and being aware that at any time the drone could send a missile out to blast someone away. They are terrorized. some came to Washington to testify about what it was like to live under this threat, and no one cared here. Hey it wasn’t our life that was being disrupted. As long as something makes us here in our comfortable life “feel” safer we will construct a rationalization to justify the deaths we cause others. This is Catholic?

            Some people are going to be surprised to find that those who support and stoke unnecessary wars inhabit hell along with abortionists. As the most decorated Marine General Smedley Butler at that time said at the end of his career, “War is a Racket.”
            I am no pansy pacifist, I spent nearly eight years on active duty in the Air Force, entering while the Korean war was winding down and when the cold war was in effect.

            Even now our government leaders are leading us into a nuclear confrontation with Russia as we pry Ukraine into our orbit and away from Russia. Senator McCain and our Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, wife of super neocon Robert Kagan, appeared among a faction wanting to overthrow the elected Ukrainian government, which they shortly did placing in power the person Victoria Nuland had said in a conversation with the American Ambassador to the Ukraine a few weeks before the democratically elected government of Ukraine was overthrown that “We” wanted to see be in charge. Then we went on to accuse the Russians with meddling. Then when the Eastern Ukrainians protested against the new Putsch government, we described them as terrorists whereas we had previously labeled those who were raising immense barricades and taking over government buildings and throwing molotov cocktails at the police as peaceful protestors. Like happened in 1914 when no country really wanted to see a World War, but events took over and then they found they could not stop the march to war, we are playing with nuclear fire. This is not Catholic, Catholics should be opposed to launching wars to further our ambitions and line the pockets of the big military contractors. But our Catholics who look for salvation from the right wing conservative Republicans whose are stoned from imbibing the heady drug of American Exceptionalism will sing the party line for war. But we may reap here what we have sown.

            • Art Deco

              The thing Art Decor apparently is oblivious of is the effect on the populace who live under areas patrolled by drones.

              Says the man who fancies everyone should have been oblivious to Saddam Hussein.

              There are people who suffer from irrational risk assessment. Nothing you can do about that.

              • Watosh

                In other words Art, you are telling me we are not our brother’s keeper. Well you are not the first to say that. Now according to the dictionary, a person whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience is considered a sociopath. Your last statement that the poor innocent civilians who inhabit an area patrolled by drones and are terrorized by that “suffer from irrational risk assessment.” is about as callous a comment as I have heard this side of a Nazi concentration camp. This does qualify you as a bona fide tough, rugged individual, who, along with Ayn Rand and other misfits feels showing pity is a character weakness, and who is possessed with a brilliance that sets you above the common herd, like an Ayn Rand hero. It is not a very attractive picture that you paint of yourself Art. Surely, a person like you is not going to claim to be a Catholic. We Catholics have enough people to apologize for already. I can’t get over your calling the plight of poor innocent victims of our ill-advised drone program, whose life is one of terror as “people who suffer from irrational risk assessment.” Surely you don’t mean that and were just trying to give a smart aleck riposte, surely you jest. Oxydol, as Jack Kirkwood used to sign off his old radio show with this.

                • Art Deco

                  In other words Art, you are telling me we are not our brother’s keeper.

                  Once you have completed “Introduction to Reading Comprehension”, you may come to an understanding that my point is that if your worries are occupied by the minimal possibility of being killed collaterally in an American drone strike, your attention is misallocated. Not much any of us can do about that.

        • Watosh

          Like a couple weeks ago our precisely aimed drone incinerated a wedding party. Of course our government claims our drones are very accurate, because if some male over 15 years is among those killed by a drone that automatically makes him a former terrorist.

          But our government tells us that the drones are very precise, and therefore seldom kill innocent civilians. Now has our president ever lied to us? Has our military ever lied to us? Has our Secretary of State ever lied to us? Has our news media controlled by 6 mega-corporations whose other parts are closely tied to defense industries, ever deceived us? I fullysuspect that Art’s answer would be that only Democrat Administrations lie to us. C’mon man.

          Some drone targets come from “intelligence sources, people on the ground will tip us off. They have been known to use this as a method of settling tribal rivalries. Other times drone strikes are made because the drone operator detects something suspicious using guidelines that do not insure the targeted car or house holds terrorists.

          On top of this many analysts of terrorism are convinced that drone strikes have been responsible for many people in the target areas to become terrorists.

          Your sarcasm depends on the assumption that our targeting of terrorists by drones was more precise. How much more precise would you require to justify your flip sarcastic response? Saying the targeting we used is more precise does not provide much information to weigh, I ask more precise than what? Does some slight improvement justify your belittling of the sinfulness involved? There is a lot of expert analysis that indicates the drone strikes are not at all as accurate as has been advertised to the gullible public that wants to believe and the government needs them to believe in order to justify them to continue to support the immense money we spend on defense by our government, now that you want to consider the issue of sin.

  • pja

    Can someone post an audio or transcript of this talk? Without the source documents virtually everything that has been written about this topic is hearsay, speculation, and conjecture.

    • tamsin

      Do you mean the talk that was given in Galilee, or the talk that was given in Providence? 😉

      • pja

        Ideally the one in Providence.

        • tamsin

          Yes, I agree it would be nice to hear the talk itself.

          From the Providence Journal,
          In a lengthy letter to parents and staff, principal David J. Carradini said “Father Hoffman mixed personal opinion and church teaching in a way that offended everyone present, causing great harm … I do not share his opinions. Some of your sons and daughters have told me they felt trapped and used … I am grieved that my actions and inactions caused these feelings and I ask for your forgiveness.”

          On Prout’s Facebook page, one participant, Mary Beth Hanley, said “the Prout School family is reeling from the comments made by Father Francis Hoffman of Opus Dei … Father Hoffman used this forum to belittle gays, tell children of adoption and divorce that their parents really do not love them and other abominations that are not part of the church teachings or the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

          Hanley wrote that Carradini has done “irreparable harm” to the Prout family: “He must go,” she said.

          And sin no more!

          Wow, you’d think Hoffman got busy with underage boys in the locker room showers, and Carradini turned away…

          Carradini, in his statement, said many people questioned why he didn’t stop Father Hoffman when his comments veered into unorthodox territory: “The truth is I do not know why I did not stop him.”

          Well, as Mary Beth Hanley might put it, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

          • Carl

            Better yet go to Mary Beth Hanley’s Facebook site.

            It all starts on her April 10 Post. “We are XXXXX School and WE decided who will lead us”

            Mary Beth Hanley,Attending Physician Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine at Kent Hospital

            • TheAbaum

              It seems odd that somebody with that specialty would be affected by hypoxia.

          • TheAbaum

            Carradini is desperate need of testosterone supplements, assuming he’s not a member of the castrati.

            • pja

              This comment evinces a stunning lack of Christian charity.

              • TheAbaum

                Right. The guy exhibits a complete lack of writes a lachrymose letter of surrender to the forces of relativism, and we should pin a medal for outstanding valor on his chest.

                Defending the pusillanimous is not charity.

                • pja

                  I repeat: without all the facts (i.e., a transcript or audio file) you are dealing with incomplete information. Therefore passing judgement on what transpired – and passing judgement on the actions someone took in response to what transpired – is a exercise in conjecture.

                  I like your big words and clever phrases. However, facts and logic win arguments (and eventually hearts).

                  • TheAbaum

                    You aren’t repeating anything. All you wrote was “This comment evinces a stunning lack of Christian charity.”

                    What “all the facts”.

                    I have a quotation from the man in question.”I am grieved that my actions and inactions caused these feelings and I ask for your forgiveness.”

                    He claims to have great remorse over allowing words that supposedly caused “harm”. Now one of two things are true.

                    1.) The words weren’t really offensive, except to libertine sensibilities, and he’s backpeddling to save his posterior.

                    2.) The words really were offensive to any reasonable person, and he failed to take any action to stop it while it was happening. (The Mike McQueary defense)

                    Either way, there’s a failure of manhood, In addition, the person whose really entitled to a presumption of innocence here is the speaker, and we have somebody else making analogies to Fred Phelps.

                    • pja

                      I agree with your logic regarding the principal; either the lecture wasn’t offensive and his apology amounts to pandering, or the lecture was offensive and he should have stopped the presentation. I commend you for a much more cogent and charitable comment than your earlier one castigating the principal as a possible member of the “castrati” in need of testosterone shots.

                      However, your points 1 and 2 support my position, which is that we don’t know what the priest said. Therefore posters (such as Guest) who are reflexively supporting the priest without knowing what was said have no factual basis for their criticisms of the “agitators”. Yes, the priest has a reputation for holiness and orthodoxy, but that doesn’t mean that in this instance he may have said something a reasonable person would find offensive. We don’t know.

                      I also don’t believe anyone gets a presumption of innocence here. The priest won’t defend himself, we have no audio of the lecture, and as you pointed out in 1 and 2 above the principal’s actions do not inspire confidence.

                      One last comment: why is providing a transcript laughable? It might be a tedious exercise but as far as I know it’s not impossible. Ask anyone who was involved in Watergate (if they’re still alive) and they’ll probably tell you transcripts of taped conversations are definitely not a laughing matter.

                    • Art Deco

                      We can draw a reasonable inference that the priest said nothing problematic. If he had, Carradini would have offered a precis.

                      All he has to do is stonewall and he gets a pass from you, as does Bp. Tobin.

                    • pja

                      If an audio or transcript is available we can draw much more reasonable inferences regarding what the priest said. Don’t you agree?

                    • TheAbaum

                      “I commend you for a much more cogent and charitable comment than your earlier one castigating the principal as a possible member of the “castrati” in need of testosterone shots.”

                      And I lament the fact that I had to spell out the obvious. Let me repeat: he’s in desperate need of testosterone shots, unless his pusillanimity is in fact the result of a prior orchiectomy.

                      “why is providing a transcript laughable?”

                      Because it presumes there is one. We don’t yet live in panoptican police state where everything is recorded.

                    • pja

                      The lecture was taped for broadcast. Take the broadcast tape and make a written transcript. It’s a pretty simple, if tedious, process.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Have at it.

                      It would be a lot easier to make it an mp3, but if you insist…

                    • pja

                      get me the audio and I’ll make a transcript to post here.

                    • TheAbaum

                      It’s your obsession, not mine. I have no better access than you.

                    • pja

                      true. If you get it feel free to send along.

          • Guest

            I do not believe any of the agitprop for one instant.

          • CadaveraVeroInnumero

            Did the priest “belittle” homosexuals or just the act (and condition) of homosexuality?

            If we have come to the point in which the desire (the want, the lust) for anal intercourse (plus all its foreplaying aspects) can never be condemned – for it may offend some “questioning” 7th grader – then we are in a very sorry state, indeed.

            Folks here need to read Fr, Schall’s article posted shorted after this one.

        • Carl

          pja,
          Read no further than the schools Mission Statement:

          “The XXXXXX School is a vibrant Catholic community that prepares the whole person for productive membership in the global community by fostering quality in spiritual, academic, artistic, and athletic pursuits.”
          This is the best these “smart” and expensive elitists at this school can come up with? Really? Is this really a Catholic institution? Global community?

          • pja

            What does the mission statement has to do with the talk itself? Again, what exactly was said at the talk? It would be a lot easier to discuss grievances, etc. if one had the actual information to examine.

            • Carl

              Everything to do with it. And Rev. Francis J. Hoffman is all over the internet and on Relevant Radio. Read and listen up to what he has to say.
              This talk was apparently recorded for the show so I guess you’ll have to wait till its broadcasted.
              Did you notice the accusations are non-specific?!
              Poorly reverenced!

    • Carl

      Why? Do you really need to scandalize that particular H.S.? Just make yourself available to most any Catholic High School in America!

      • pja

        I am not trying to scandalize anyone or anything. However a transcript of would provide objective evidence of what was actually said, as well a clearer view of the context in which the lecture took place.

        • Carl

          Just google search:
          * homosexual teacher catholic high school
          * divorced teacher catholic high school
          * openly gay catholic high school
          And you can read all types of objections, excuses, justifications, wailing and grinding of teeth. It’s all the same. Decenters, scandalizers, heretics.

          • Carl

            Dissenters

          • pja

            Carl – aren’t you a little curious as to exactly what was said and how it was presented? It might be good to compare objections, excuses, justifications, etc. to what was said. Since there apparently is a record of such somewhere, why not release it? There might be good reasons not to release a transcript or audio of the event – in which case it would be good to hear those reasons as well.

            • Guest

              We would be happy to hear it. I doubt the good priest said anything wrong. To read the signs of the times is easy in cases like this. The “gay” propaganda from those who reject Church teaching is obvious.

              • pja

                I too doubt the good priest said anything wrong. But there is an easy way to prove it. By not releasing a transcript or audio file it looks like there is something to hide. Something the Church has been credibly accused of the past ten years, in matters much more serious than this.

                • Guest

                  Why does it matter? They can release it and no matter what is on it the same folks will whine about it. The issue is not content. The issue is a failure to assent to the basic truth.

                  That is why catechesis is not the sole answer. Catechesis is often rejected. The issue is an open mind. Many in this incident have narrow closed minds and are intolerant. They are basically bigots.

                  • pja

                    Release the content and prove to the “whiners” that there is nothing to hide. As Catholics we need to engage people, and engage using all available facts. From those facts we can argue the Truth. But being smug and self-righteous, calling people whom with we disagree “bigots” and “intolerant” with “narrow closed minds” tends not to be effective.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “But being smug and self-righteous…”

                      You mean like this?

                      “This comment evinces a stunning lack of Christian charity.”

                    • pja

                      Yes.

                    • Guest

                      Yes, that is the game played. Complain about everything but the truth of the matter. Claim “offense” or “tone” or whatever one can to deflect the argument.

                      Are the dissenting parents and students suddenly going to drop and say wow now I accept it? If only the nun or priest super duper coated every word with sugar. Then, we would gladly accept it. You know on our terms. Well, no not really. To accept it means to stop doing what we are doing and to tell others their actions are contrary to authentic love.

                    • pja

                      You and TheAbaum are missing the point. What was actually said during the lecture? Maybe, just perhaps, is it possible the good priest said something that wasn’t 100% in line with Catholic teaching? Context matters but is open to interpretation. Content is pretty black and white. That is what I would like to see so I can make my own judgement. You seem to completely discount that possibility. And without a transcript or audio file we just don’t know.

                    • Art Deco

                      You and TheAbaum are missing the point.

                      No, we’re not. You are doing your level best to evade the implications of these events for whatever reasons you have. If Carradini had a distinct, specific, and defensible complaint, he’d have made that clear.

                    • Guest

                      Because we do not fall prey to agitprop. The speakers in question have long records. The words of the agitators are consistent with heterodoxy, jamming, deflection, and relativism. No sale.

                      Do you honestly thing the speaker said adoptive parents do not love their children? Really?

                      What makes more sense is that he spoke of faux parents in a faux relationship subjecting children to “gay” unions. That gets reinterpreted into big ole meany man who does not wrap himself in a rainbow flag and bow to the secular utilitarians.

                    • cajaquarius

                      Considering he was responding to ad hominem with that line, that is hardly being smug and self righteous. Any more than I would be smug and self righteous to call the sky blue.

                    • TheAbaum

                      If you don’t understand the term ad hominem, don’t use it.

                    • cajaquarius

                      “Carradini is desperate need of testosterone supplements, assuming he’s not a member of the castrati.” – Your Quote that PJA responded to.

                      [Ad hominem: A general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.]

                      Your jab at Carradini is ad hominem. It doesn’t address his point and is made merely to insult him and muddy the waters of the debate. You were called on this, and rightly so. To be fair, the very next comment you make did actually bothered to address the issue but, unless you have some peer reviewed evidence to the contrary, Carradini’s testosterone levels or the presence of his testacles have no bearing on how convincing his position is or is not – in other words it is “an irrelevant fact about the author” in question.

                      Hence it is Ad Hominem by definition. Thank you for playing.

                    • TheAbaum

                      No, it’s not. I’m not rejecting his “argument”. I am making an observation about his lack of fortitude in discharging his duties and his lack of “leadership”.

                      As I pointed out, one of two possible things has occurred.

                      Either he is backpeddling to please the crowd (the most likely scenario, based on the florid and vaccuous charges) or he failed to take action to stop a situation that required intervention in a timely manner.

                      In the unlikely event you are ever responsible for rating people’s leadership skills, you’ll find either possibility to be an indicator of a weak and a source of weakness.

                      If I were the man’s supervisor, I might very well tell him to “grow a pair” (privately) after allowing him to explain the actions for which he sees it fit to issue a public apology and this would be a “critical incident” in issuing a below expectations rating for leadership.

                      One of two commentaries would accompany the rating:

                      Unwilling or unable to defend unpopular actions.

                      Unwilling or unable to identify critical situations, or respond appropriately in a timely manner.

                    • Art Deco

                      I think if you did a survey that educational administration attracts and retains people who have no business attempting to function as line administrators. I recall two administrators from my high school years who could command respect. One’s book was limited to physical plant, ancillary services, and athletics. The other was a sober and self-possessed dean; a number of years after I had graduated I ran across one of my old teachers at a book store in town. He tells me a new principal had arrived on the scene and one of her initiatives her first year on the job was an effort to fire that dean (which failed; said principal was given her walking papers).

                    • Guest

                      This case is not about engaging the culture. It is about a Catholic school. Everyone must be on the same page. The whole point of sending children to such a school is to inform their conscience properly.

                      To reject Church teaching is smug and self righteous. It is narrow minded to call truth hate. It is bigoted to use relativism as a cudgel to silence a just nun or priest.

            • TheAbaum

              There might be good reasons not to release a transcript or audio of the event.

              The expectation that there is a transcript is amusing.

              • pja

                If there are good reasons for not releasing a transcript or audio let’s hear them.

                • TheAbaum

                  The first sentence was somebody else’s, I merely pointed out fragile assumption of it’s existence.

                  I have added quotes and an emphatic capitalization.

    • Lisabeth

      I would also need to see a transcript of the talk before forming an opinion. Some parents and children are claiming that the speaker said hurtful things about adoptive children, e.g., that their parents don’t love them. We don’t know whether Francis Hoffman went Fred Phelps on his audience. I agree, pja. Until we know exactly what was said, we can only gossip about this topic.

      • TheAbaum

        “We don’t know whether Francis Hoffman went Fred Phelps on his audience.”

        Having no evidence to entertain, let alone support such an idea, “This comment evinces a stunning lack of Christian charity.”

        • Lisabeth

          TheAbaum, that is the whole point. There is NO evidence to support ANY idea. Until we see a transcript, we can’t know whether Hoffman went Pope Francis, pure CCC, Fred Phelps, or whatever else on his audience. Many people are judging the people who are upset by the speech. We shouldn’t judge anybody, including Hoffman, without further information, and to do so is gossiping.

        • Guest

          It is beyond reasonable. There is no evidence to support such nonsense.

          • TheAbaum

            “Until we see a transcript, we can’t know whether Hoffman went Pope Francis, pure CCC, Fred Phelps, or whatever else on his audience.”

            So you are going to double down on the Phelps speculation?

            Newsflash, the court stenographer wasn’t there tapping away.

            The critics haven’t even offered a quote, it’s all about their feelings.

            • Guest

              No, I was agreeing with you. The Phelps thing is absurd and shameful.

              • TheAbaum

                My mistake. I tagged this on the end of the thread, instead of to the poster who made the quote.

                Thanks.

          • pja

            Guest, the whole point is there is no evidence to support Any position. The evidence (the audio) hasn’t been released. Circumstantial evidence of the type you cite doesn’t cut it in this situation.

            • Art Deco

              Why don’t you review Fr. Hoffman’s other public remarks?

            • Guest

              There is plenty of evidence the speaker is loyal to the Church. There is no evidence the speaker said anything contrary to Church teaching.

              • pja

                Your statement is a half truth. You are correct, there is plenty of evidence the speaker is loyal to the Church. It is also true that there is no evidence the speaker said anything contrary to Church teaching. What you left unstated is that the speaker may have said something contrary to Church teaching. With no evidence regarding this particular situation we just don’t know.

                • Guest

                  No, there is no evidence the speaker said anything contrary to Church teaching. All we have are rebellious folks agitating against orthodox teaching.

      • tamsin

        I can’t imagine any priest in his right mind would, as Hanley says, tell children of adoption and divorce that their parents really do not love them, and so I’m getting mighty suspicious that Fr. Hoffman made clear the ideal of lifelong marriage, and he may have also made clear the ideal of a child being raised by his own mom and dad, rather than two dads or two moms.

        So, I’m forming an opinion on what Hanley said and how she made her accusations, for which we have the transcript.

        • TheAbaum

          “tell children of adoption and divorce that their parents really do not love them”

          I note that’s not offered as a quote, but an accusatory, unexamined and uncontested characterization.

        • ME

          He is always quick to defend the lifelong ideal of marriage, and that marriage is intended to the procreation of children. He is also very accurate to point out that IVF is not acceptable, since it deprives the child the right to their natural father and mother (as long as surrogacy and other means by which homosexual couples use to “obtain” children.)

      • Guest

        Both the priest and the nun in these two incidents are orthodox faithful people. There is no need to think they suddenly went insane. There is good reason to suspect the agitators are heterodox.

        The issue here is not the content of the talks. The issue is the failure of too many to accept the Truth of Churvh teaching.

        • Rita

          It would be rash judgment to form any opinion of either the Opus Dei priest or of the audience without knowing exactly what was said. We don’t know the truth of the situation.

          From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

          2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

          – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

          – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

          – of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

          • Guest

            We have information about those involved on both sides. To draw appropriate conclusions is not rash judgement. Please do not misuse the CCC to make your propaganda points.

          • Art Deco

            We don’t know the truth of the situation.

            No, we do not know every aspect of it, but you and others are determined not to acknowledge what’s there. A priest associated with Opus Dei with a history as a radio commentator gave a talk. The man’s inventory of public remarks was available to the principal and is available to you. The school’s constituency had a neuralgic reaction and the principal issued a public apology without offering any distinct or specific complaint about the substance of the priest’s remarks.

            Get serious, sister.

            • pja

              What you have offered as “what’s there” is circumstantial evidence. Drawing appropriate conclusions without critical evidence is lazy speculation.

              • Art Deco

                The man whose offering contrived vacuity in lieu of sense (“we just don’t know he didn’t perform an Aztec sacrifice there…”) and refuses to review Fr. Hoffman’s public record has the audacity to call other people ‘lazy’.

                Carradini has not offered one phrase which would educate anyone as to the problematic character of the Fr. Hoffman’s remarks. We are entitled to draw the inference that the dog ain’t barking because no burglar is there. The burden of demonstration is on Carradini and his defenders, and on Bp. Tobin.

                • pja

                  So your position is essentially this:
                  1. Fr. Hoffman has a solid record as an orthodox priest.
                  2. Because he is so orthodox he couldn’t possibly said anything wrong in this particular instance.
                  3. Because the principal won’t say what, if anything, Fr. Hoffman said was offensive, Fr. Hoffman must not have said anything offensive.

                  Let me know if I have characterized your logic correctly.

                  • Art Deco

                    No, my position is that

                    1. Carradini had advance knowledge of the balance of topics this priest addresses and to what he adheres to as a matter of course, because the priest’s remarks are publicly distributed.

                    2. Carradini will not delineate what his complaints are with any specificity.

                    That makes no sense unless it’s all shuck and jive.

                    The other person being willfully obscure is Bp. Tobin. Carradini is his subordinate once-removed and has not been compelled to explain himself to lay Catholics in the diocese.

                    • pja

                      In response to your #1: I want to see the remarks made by this priest on this occasion distributed. Past history is a guide to, but no guarantee of, future performance. In this particular instance we are not debating “the balance of topics this priest addresses and to what he adheres to as a matter of course” but what he said in this particular instance.

                      In response to your #2: Why does Carradini have to explain himself and not Fr. Hoffman? Because everyone knows where he stands?

                    • Art Deco

                      Because Fr. Hoffman is not offering complaints and Fr. Hoffman’s public remarks are available. Here’s a talk he gave to a Catholic school in Minneapolis:

                      http://relevantradio.streamguys.us/GAF_Archive/GAF20140307.mp3

                      Carradini is the superindendent of an important Catholic apostolate in Providence. If he cannot explain himself, he needs to find other work.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Well if that’s typical of his talks, oh my, what horrors. Carry a Rosary or Crucifix to help ward off temptation.

                    • pja

                      You are using diversionary tactics. I don’t care about the talk Fr. Hoffman gave in MN, the issue is the one he gave in Providence.

                    • Tony

                      Everybody: Please return to the article I wrote, and to my comments above. The protestors are worried that the principal is trying to take the school in a more “conservative to orthodox” direction — those are their words, not mine; and that he is choosing texts that encourage students to become knights for Christ.
                      They did NOT say, “Oh, the priest was ineffective! If only he had been more effective!” They don’t want a priest who would have been more effective, more persuasive. That’s precisely why they are worried about the new textbooks.

                    • Guest

                      Exactly correct. This is about rejection of the truth.

                    • pja

                      I found it interesting that shortly after this article
                      appeared Austin Ruse’s article regarding a similar situation in Charlotte was also published. Neither article gave much, if any, attention to what may have been legitimate complaints about either the content or other aspects of these lectures, such as the lack of prior notification to the parents in the case of the Charlotte lecture or some possibly distressing comments regarding homosexuals, adoption, and divorce in the case of the Providence lecture.

                      I understand that Crisis is “a voice for the Catholic
                      laity”, and as such it seeks to clarify events and situations for its readership. However, by glossing over or not even acknowledging the existence of aspects of these incidents that reasonable, orthodox Catholics of good will might find disturbing is a disservice and leaves one ill-equipped to discuss such incidents with others, including the “protesting” students and
                      parents, whom we should be trying to convert.

                      The Charlotte and the Providence incidents were
                      tactical failures and hopefully have been privately acknowledged as such so that other more effective means of catechizing students (and apparently their parents/guardians/whatever) can be developed. Mr. Carradini’s introduction of new and more orthodox texts is a great idea. One poster suggested more single sex high schools. A
                      consistent and persistent diocesan-wide message regarding the expectations of students, faculty, and parents involved with Catholic schools beginning in the parish elementary schools would help. So would an article or series of articles in Crisis seriously discussing these and other
                      ideas (apologies if this has already been done). Tony’s original post is an excellent and creative way of transmitting the Church’s truth, even though I suspect it largely fell on deaf ears.
                      But to barely acknowledge that the Providence and Charlotte situations may have contained aspects that reasonable, orthodox people found at least a bit unsettling is tendentious and undermines the many excellent, well-made points in both articles.

                    • Tony

                      But PJA, I wrote my article as an answer to the letter that I accidentally received, not to a letter from some orthodox but unhappy parent that I did not receive. The article was never meant to be about what happened, but about the attitude well represented by the writer of the letter.

                    • Art Deco

                      I am not using any diversionary tactics. The Minnesota talk is a sample of his work and should tell you what this is about, were you at all interested instead of striking attitudes.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Why does Carradini have to explain himself and not Fr. Hoffman?

                      He’s the one whose made a public mea culpa, so he believes he erred.

                    • pja

                      Fr Hoffman could address the specific complaints the agitators have and use it as a teaching moment. Instead he’s letting Carradini take the heat for his remarks. Which as principal he should since he is responsible for what goes on at his school.

                      I sympathize with Fr. Hoffman’s position, since no matter what he says it will be twisted and misinterpreted by both sides to prove their respective points. It is really no win. But it’s also the easy way out.

                      If Fr Hoffman has commented on this specific incident please let me know.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Let the accusers provide an actual charge rather than yelling for his crucifixion.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “If Fr Hoffman has commented on this specific incident please let me know.”

                      I’m not in the business of attending to your desires.

                    • Art Deco

                      Fr Hoffman could address the specific complaints the agitators have and use it as a teaching moment.

                      Carradini offered no specific complaint for Fr. Hoffman to address. As for the sophomores, their essential complaint is that he’s not trading in au courant sentiments. It is likely he ‘addressed’ that before they offered any complaints.

  • Reets46

    I live in the state where this farcical event took place. How dare a Catholic priest speak the truth to Catholic HS students! My state is one of the most secularly orthodox states in America. Oh, and BTW we have the highest unemployment rate in America as well. But that’s another story…
    I’ve tried, on several occasions to speak to priests, adult Catholics, and teenagers in a Catholic HS about the physical, moral and spiritual dangers of contraception and very quickly am confronted by a thick, stone wall. I am most saddened by the teenagers who probably go home and repeat what I’ve told them only to be told by parents, who are using BC, that I’m crazy and ill informed. But the parents have not been educated and catechized by our priests and bishops about this topic that is at the root of the materialist orthodoxy that is overwhelming American culture and contributing to its moral decline.
    But don’t worry folks, our brilliant governor has declared May 1st “Reason” day. But then secular orthodoxy has to have it’s philosophers and I’m quite certain our great governor has read a book once.
    JPII called it the “culture of death”… JPII we love you!

    • fredx2

      Note that May 1 is also the favorite day of communism. Coincidence?

      • droolbritannia

        But don’t forget that May first was ‘stolen’ by the communists in an attempt to undermine the Marian focus of May. The old snake trying to bite The Woman on the heel. But we know the end of the story: the Seed of the Woman crushes the head of the serpent.

        Everyone pray an extra rosary on May first that the people in your state see real reason.

    • Tony

      And our Guv’nor, too, is the dumbest cluck in the chicken coop. Reason Day, indeed.
      Reason tells me that a stud can’t mate with a stud. Unreason tells me I should pretend they can. Reason tells me that policies that destroy families are evil or stupid. Unreason tells me that families aren’t important anyway.

      • Reets46

        Ha ha Tony. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry over this governor…eh?

  • djc

    Just when I think things are trending towards hopeless among Catholic laity I read an article by Anthony Esolen and I immediately feel better; much, much better.

  • Don Campbell

    Same thing in Oregon recently with the high school administrator who was fired because he got married to his gay partner, in violation of his employment contract. And these “protestors” are now getting mixed messages from the Pope. I regularly have both Catholic and non-Catholic friends tell me how wonderful it is that Pope Francis is “walking back” the Church’s stance on gay marriage. Their view seems to be something like “Of course, he can’t change it in one fell swoop but he’s clearly taking us in that direction, and isn’t it wonderful?” Well, it just shows their ignorance. Or maybe the joke is on me?

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  • Fred

    I don’t have anything profound to add except out of compulsion I wanted to share how much Crises resonates in me. I finally came into the church this Easter after years of looking on with mistrust and doubt, and it was the most transformative moment of my life to have the Holy Spirit enter it. It is amazing how fundamental we understand the truths that Jesus taught us to be yet are confounded in how to tell them to others who seek it (whether they know it or not). I think most of us are bound in some way with the earthly burdens of fear of retaliation or ridicule from a society that daily seems to grow more brazen and open in its mocking of Christianity in the name of tolerance. I certainly am not above fear, but I gain my strength reflecting on the lives of the disciples who walked with Jesus yet were also afraid even after his resurrection until the Holy Spirit entered into them during this time before the Pentecost and his ascension into Heaven. I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be put to death for our faith in this country, and I don’t profess a desire for martyrdom, but the love I now feel for Christ has caused me to refocus through the clutter about what is important, the finite nature of our earthly being, and the desire for eternal life with him. My priest gave a homily recently and said that we could very well be only a generation away from losing our religious freedom if we don’t profess our faith and evangelize. I think too for many of us it’s easy to forget Jesus’s message “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” It’s easy to surround ourselves with people of like faith as I imagine I am doing here amongst friends in this Crises community. We must go out into the world and be the light that Christ calls us to be to repel the darkness. The real fear shouldn’t be repercussions, but the of the reality that will be if we don’t. Thank you Professor for yet another excellent article. I too try to look at the challenges of our generation through the prism of the time.

    • Reets46

      Welcome Fred! One can look at the times we are in with despair or with joy. JPII said, “Do not be afraid.” God has placed each of us in these challenging times and we should rejoice in the opportunity to witness to the truth no matter what kind of response we get from the “world”. I have to work on that all the time, and not get discourage when it falls on deaf ears, especially with some of my children.
      I do think we are not far behind Canada when it comes to being prosecuted for “hate speech”. Or maybe, just maybe, America will rise up and be the country that says “No” to that kind of suppression of free speech and freedom of religion. After all, we do have a unique founding and our Declaration of Independence has been inspiring people around the world for many years now and our founding was based on freedom of religion.
      Again, welcome to the church family. I read an article that said apparently there is an increase in catechumenates coming into the Church during the Easter season. The truth will out.

    • TheAbaum

      Welcome home, Fred.

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  • Carl

    One can only wonder what Sister Elizabeth Prout would think today about her name sake school; how her order was founded in England and called for people of faith sturdy in the face of deep anti-Catholic prejudices.
    Sisters of the Cross and Passion dot org

  • JD

    Mr. Esolen, I just want to say, there’s none better in the Catholic blogosphere today. Thanks for what you do!

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  • cestusdei

    Worried that the school would move in the direction of fidelity to the Church? Heaven’s what a disaster that would be!

    That says all we need know about the parents and why the students objected.

  • Aliquantillus

    This is good article, which clearly addresses the current cultural conflict about this subject. Yet it omits an aspect which should be mentioned, which is that what is described here above is partly a self-inflicted wound of the Church. It is the Church which after Vatican II has changed the traditional annulment conditions. Nowadays annulment has become the Catholic manner of divorce. The situation has so worsened that practically all annulments today are completely phony. Church lawyers admit that there is no marriage they cannot get annulled if they proceed persistently.

    And there is the looming danger of a further change by making a de facto divorce a pastoral option, according to the plan of Card. Kasper. It is this pernicious “pastoral approach” to the problems of the day which is in fact the most dangerous. Its consequence is that Church doctrine is practically reduced to an antiquarian fossil which no longer really affects our lives.

    And while all this happens we have a Pope whose greatest concern is to be popular for the modern secular masses and who is constantly downplaying issues like these. A receipt for disaster.

    • TheAbaum

      It is the Church which after Vatican II has changed the traditional annulment conditions.

      Did it ever occur to you to you that the same libertine boll weevil busybodies who object to any restriction on their sexuality are the same ones populating canonical courts that deform marriage?

      • Aliquantillus

        The situation is very bad indeed. Catholicism — by which I mean here the Vatican II institution — is on the brink of a total collapse and on the verge of complete apostasy.

        • TheAbaum

          You missed the point.

        • Objectivetruth

          “And the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it.”

          The Church has been on the brink of total collapse for 2000 years since the night Christ broke bread, blessed it, and shared it with His friends. Here were the newly minted twelve bishops of His Church, and one denied Him, one betrayed Him, and nine others ran and hid in an upper room.

          The Church will always be attacked, and all will seem lost. But for 2000 years Christ has chivalrously protected His Bride, and this will continue.

          This is why we are the Church Militant. Grab your sword, shield, and armor of Christ and get in the fight. If not, He will “vomit you out.”

  • Gail Finke

    People in our diocese are protesting a new contract for teachers that spells out some of the things that are considered immoral — it’s the same morals clause as before, but it gives examples. Same deal… they aren’t upset about it not being “pastoral” or palatable, they are concerned about it existing at all. It’s not a lot of people but they are very vocal. I find it weird that people would object to saying that they would not lead immoral lives. Of course, most of the people objecting aren’t teachers, and a lot of them have nothing to do with schools. They don’twant the church to tell anyone what to do.

  • Robert Curtis

    If you want the bottom-line on this and all the other scandals involving the Church teaching the Truth it is this: the world changes, the Truth does not.

    • jacobhalo

      As one cleric said, there are no gray areas in the church’s teachings. Grey is the favorite color of the devil.

  • Deacon Joe

    If a priest doesn’t talk to kids about sex, who’s going to, if the parents don’t. When I was a kid a then-young priest taught our Wed. evening Catechism class. Boys were separated from the girls, so Fr. Andy could talk freely. One night when he was discussing the problems about teenage masturbation, he used the common term for the act…making sure we knew what he was talking about. One of the nuns who taught the girls down the hall happened to be in the hall and heard what Fr. said. She just suddenly stopped and glared at him. He glared right back, and off she went! He looked back at us and deadpanned and said, “Well, what’s she doing ouit at this hour anyway!” That was in 1959, when that sort of thing was still somewhat of a taboo. There’s no reason why a priest can’t be more explicit nowadays.

  • publiusnj

    The author noted that he has decided to trust the Church. I agree. What should we trust instead? The State? Run by politicians?

    “But what about the sexual abuse crisis?” What about it? Do I trust priests who abuse? Of course not. No more than I trust teachers who abuse and they are appointed by the State and overseen by the State and their indiscretions are hidden by the State a whole lot more effectively than anything the Church has done.

    “But what about the bishops appointed by kings in Europe throughout history?” Answer: kings always look to interfere with anything within their boundaries so as to control it. In much of Europe they flat out defeased the Church of its property and took over the Church as a wholly owned subsidiary of the State (e.g., England, Navarre, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Prussia and the North German states) or of the local lairds (Scotland and the Huguenot territories in France). Elsewherde, the kings tried to exercise as much power over the Church as they could and it got very uncomfortable even in Catholic lands throughout the Eighteenth Century. Because Revolutionary France overplayed its hand in the beginning of the nineteenth Century, Catholicism got a breather, but with the risorgimento and the Kulturkampf as harbingers, the last 150 years have proven to be pretty tough for the Church and some bishops always look for a political solution.

    I nevertheless trust the Church over any crew of politicians because the Church is UNIVERSAL and not subject to control by any single king or national political cabal. All the other churches can be cowed by the local political class, but the Catholic Church has two forms of insulation that the rest of the World doesn’t: 1) that cross-border universality and 2) the fact that our priests do surrender their lives (more or less) to the calling God has given them. They forsake wives and family in a way no other clerisy does (save EO monks and bishops) and as a result are free to speak out against power in a way no other group can.

    Can priests be co-opted? Sure, but who can’t? Judges? Come on. On the other hand, can priests give themselves in a way no other group does? Absolutely and I have seen it in so many of the priests with whom I have been associated. Bottom line? I trust the Catholic Church more than I trust either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

    • JP

      “But what about the bishops appointed by kings in Europe throughout history?”

      Bishops are not appointed; they are ordained by the Pope. Yes, Kings might have lobbied the Vatican, just as local prelates and lay organizations lobby the Vatican today.

      • publiusnj

        Actually in both France and Spain, the say of the King was considerably more than that of a lobbyist. That doesn’t go to the heart of my point, though, anyway. The kings of Europe did try to control the Church, but never were able to do that for long because of the trans-border nature of the Catholic Church alone. That was my point and whatever sway kings had they always wanted a lot more.

  • Tony

    Everybody: Let me be quite clear. I am responding to the letter that appeared in my mailbox, and to what the opponents said about the talk. It may be that the talk was wonderful. It may be that the talk was terrible. Neither possibility is to the point, because the protestors objected not to the manner of the talk, but to its content, as witness the letter I cited. The writer was worried that the principal was going to make the school more “conservative and orthodox.”
    And the ONLY valid objection to the MANNER of a talk about Catholic morality is that the talk failed in its objective, and did more harm than good (the “good,” that is, imparting the Catholic faith and making people more likely to understand it and cherish it).

    • Carl

      The People complaining, appear to be describing the assembly second and/or third hand. It’s amazing that a High School that requires $30,000 a year for admission nobody there can offer an actual quote close to what was actually said. Chief antagonist on Facebook Hanley goes as far as claiming Child Abuse.
      This whole scenario smells of hyperbole and feigned out rage by Adults.
      Pope Francis, as Bishop, is quoted as saying, that children adopted by homosexual parents represents discrimination against children. Will the Pope be banned from this High School too?

      • Carl

        Actually $12,000 an year or $48,000 for 9-12 grade years. Any resident religious at this school??? Now there’s the real scandal!

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  • CharlesOConnell

    Suppose we heard an unknown man spoken of by many men. Suppose we were puzzled to hear that some men said he was too tall and some too short; some objected to his fatness, some lamented his leanness; some thought him too dark, and some too fair. One explanation … would be that he might be an odd shape. But there is another explanation. He might be the right shape. – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908), Chapter 6, “The Paradoxes of Christianity“

  • Katalina

    Sad to say even here in Cincinnati there is a backlash against the brave actions of the Archbishop and the guidelines for Catholic educators. As usual the protesters brought up free speech unfairness and the abuse crisis. I say we cannot cave into the culture because Pope Francis was elected or because other denominations are doing this, I fear must Catholics like Francis because they believe and expect he is going to make major changes not just in discipline but also in Doctrine despite what the head of the CDF has said. I hope they are wrong and I am wrong about this situation.

  • Murrrica

    agree with the article besides the last two sentences. We are those people that think we are clever, and it was us sinners that nailed Jesus to the cross. the entire world took part in it

  • clintoncps

    It takes courage today to speak the truth about Biblical revelation and the Church’s moral teaching, but we really must beg God to give us that courage. So here goes: abortion is pre-natal homicide; fornication, adultery and homosexual acts are gravely sinful; euthanasia is murder. Plain and simple really.

    Many people — including a considerable number of Catholics — may be angry at the above statements of truth, but if they are angry, perhaps they should take their complaint to the Holy Spirit, who has revealed these truths to the world through the Scriptures and Church teaching. Do we really think our indignation at being reminded of our sins against life, family, fatherhood, motherhood, childhood, and even maleness and femaleness itself is going to scare off God? Do we really believe that when we come before the Lord’s judgement seat we will swagger up to Him, waving our fist and demanding our rights?

    Our sins — including our increasingly bizarre and deranged sexual sins — are the very nails driven into the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. So what will the Master do when He gives us all the “examination of conscience” of a lifetime?

    “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

  • Larry

    A great article, as usual from Crisis and Esolen. I was surprised at the gun comment. I was not aware the Church had taken a position on the 2nd Amendment.

    • Art Deco

      The 2d Amendment does not give the participants in duels any immunity from prosecution and the Church’s moral teachings on dueling are irrelevant to any legal immunities for gun owners.

  • Paul

    Brilliant.

  • fRED

    I was inspired by this article until its noble, heroic conclusion to “trust the Church.” Such a choice makes no sense given that the scandal is less about the people protesting orthodoxy than the Church itself apologizing and abandoning its own orthodoxy. If the Church will not support its own positions, than what what is the point in trusting the Church?

    The recent incidents illustrate clearly the chaos in the Church today due to its conflicting positions (e.g., the Pope’s statement on judging). There is frustration because the Church is talking from both sides of its mouth. For example, it abhors abortion and contraception yet courts and supports politicians who go beyond and promote and advocate abortion and contraception (e.g., NY Governor Cuomo, VP Biden, etc.). The People don’t know what the Church REALLY stands for because its actions and statements don’t correspond with its laws and catechism.

    Ohhhhh-there are so many who would love to “trust the Church” but it has let us down time and time again (e.g., birth control, divorce/marriage/annulment, war/peace, materialism/poverty, etc.).

    The Church is adulterous due to its lack of orthodoxy. It is no different from a spouse that claims commitment but on the side is having an affair. The blame on some human parts is a weak defense when so many of those corrupt human parts are bishops and cardinals appointed by the Pope.

    • Tony

      That is why one of the figures who foreshadows the Church, in the Old Testament, is Rahab the whore, who helped Joshua and his men to take down Jericho.
      The Church is black, but she is beautiful. When I say, “I trust the Church,” I do not mean that I trust bishops and priests and the Curia and even the Pope, when he does not speak on doctrinal and moral matters. I mean that I trust the Bride of Christ, whose teachings are set down in the Catechism, in the pronouncements of popes and councils, and in her constant doctrine over the ages. THAT Church. The Church that brought Christ to me, and that brings Christ to me every Sunday in the Eucharist. I am with that Church.
      People will say, “But the Church has altered her teachings on many matters!” I’m sorry, but I know too much history and theology to buy that. It is one thing to say that, in certain cultural conditions, the Church refrained from condemning things that were commonly accepted, while working for their amelioration or elimination. It is another thing to say that the Church once said, “This here is EVIL,” and now says, “This same thing is now GOOD,” or to say that the Church once said, “Jesus did THIS,” and now says, “Jesus DID NOT do this.”
      The single best candidate for real alteration of doctrine is in the matter of usury; but the condemnation of usury still stands. What is different is the definition of usury, and that must depend upon the wholly new conditions under which things are now bought or sold or invested and so forth. But when you think about it, the Church’s teachings on usury are looking wiser and wiser with every passing year …

      • fRED

        The Institutional Church is dead. You can tell by its fruit: rotten and chaotic. It is rotten because it has lost its soul; it has sold out for cash flow and economic survival. In essence, it has lost its faith in God because it is trying to sustain itself through worldly means rather than rely on Providence (God, not RI).

        The current Institutional Church in the US has abandoned the faithful. Sr. Jane and Prout School are recent examples but there are more (e.g., Terri Schiavo, CRS and its questionable alliances, etc.).

        You are barking up the wrong tree if you think you can trust the current Institutional Church. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit…For every tree is known by its fruit.” [Lk 6:43-44]

        This church today is scared, silent and afraid. It hopes that if it keeps quiet, then all this will blow over and it will still be around. Perhaps. But that does little for the souls who are depending on it TODAY. This church is acting like the captain of the recent Korean ferry catastrophe. You can do as your told and stay in your cabin but I am looking for a lifeboat because this ship is going down.

        It sounds to me like you are pinning your hopes on the Spiritual Church. But where is THAT church? (I don’t know). I do know that the local churches are spiritually dead and, thus, dangerous places to be. Where is the Spiritual Church you mention? When they don’t manifest themselves as the Bride of Christ, then they are wolves. Where is our Shepherd??

      • mikidiki

        1RED has exposed that in its current state the Church is in serious, but avoidable, decline. The way things are developing, within a decade or two there will only be groups of refugees hiding in enclaves attempting to keep Faith with pre-Vatican Catholicism. Modern society will only accommodate secular Christians.

  • Charles N. Marrelli

    A Fine article that’s full of truth but what seems to be evaded is what about the Church when it’s not at its best? There are times in our history when we fail to be the fullness of Christ’s Church; that’s why the Reformation. I believe that the Church’s leadership on abortion has been abysmal! Forty one years of slaughtering our own children and not one bishop has been martyred! There is a need to revive the prolife movement and it’s not happening because to many of our Bishops have become Religiously Correct!!!
    Charles N. Marrelli, Writers for Life

    • TheAbaum

      “There are times in our history when we fail to be the fullness of Christ’s Church; that’s why the Reformation.”

      On here, it’s the rebellion or the deformation, it’s not considered as a righteous cause, but a giant error and it’s not afforded capitalization.

      • Objectivetruth

        Luther did some good by pointing out the corruption in the Church in Germany. Where he went off the reservation was when he attacked doctrine and claiming authority over scripture, opening the floodgates for any Tom, Dick or Sherry to interpret Christ’s words anyway they want. I can open up “OT’s Church of the Holy Gospel and Burger Palace Cafe” next to the pet supply place in my local strip mall and teach that my valid interpretation is that it wasn’t actually Christ that rose from the dead, but truly the Easter bunny. And that my own self assigned authority is as valid as the Catholic Church’s.

        • TheAbaum

          “Luther did some good by pointing out the corruption in the Church in Germany.”

          Sort of like Al Capone running soup kitchens in the depression.

        • JP

          Years ago, while reading a long essay by Walter Kauffman on Luther I came across this quote from Luther, “Now every milk maid thinks she is a theologian!” Luther’s complaint was valid. What he failed to recognize is how he opened up the flood gates. It wasn’t long after Luther that other dissidents from the Faith established their own “Faiths”.

          And today, anyone who can read can start his own church. There isn’t just 1 Pope today, but tens of thousands of Popes.

  • Margaret O’Hagan

    In all of this, should we not remember the rejected spouse – who is faithful to his/her marriage vows

  • Objectivetruth

    “The Church can’t win a popularity contest. She never will.”

    Great line, this says it all. The Church’s founder didn’t take three nails and a spear to His side for being Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. On any issue I face in life, my first question is: What does the Church teach?

    Thanks for a great article, Tony!

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  • Michael Bauman

    I came to this realization many years ago, and it scandalized me too, and forced me to make a decision. I decided I would trust the Church. Another way to put it is this. Jesus demands not most of me, but all of me. If I obey him only in those things that don’t cost me much, what good is it? I can’t say to him or to his Church, “You can have all of me except for my bank account,” or “except for my pistol,” or “except for my lips and tongue,” or “except for these inches down below.” That is to set up another god in place of him. It makes no sense.

    Dr. Esolen, thank you. Obedience is a tough thing but a necessary thing for any Christian.

  • Ford Oxaal

    This is killing me — and nobody seems to have asked: what response did you get after making your post?

    • Tony

      No response at all. Silence …

      • Ford Oxaal

        How about that. Well, perhaps the silence gives hope that some were able to look up just long enough to catch a glimpse of light before looking back down into the feedbag of self-indulgence.

  • plc53

    “…the important and clever people outside of the Church will despise. On
    Good Friday we memorialize what the important and clever people did to
    Our Lord. Let’s not join them.”

    I appreciate your articles very much, Mr. Esolen. Thank you!

    One thing I have noticed, along with your sound conclusion about trusting the Church, is how very dangerous and unfortunate it is, has been, and likely will be, that there are so many of the “important and clever people” you make note of, who wield a great deal of power and influence inside of the Church.

    The guidance of the Holy Spirit we have been promised through the magisterium of the Church has perhaps never before been manipulated and mangled so throroughly and by so many clever and important people within the Church itself.

    Even those who present themselves as more orthodox-minded Catholics, may at times have the tendency, even the determination, to twist and turn the truth in order to suit themselves and to gain certain pleasurable benefits that set them outside of Christ’s pure truth and love.

    Humility. Number one virtue necessary to defeat pride, and the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our Lady’s humility. Not the manufactured worldly counterfeits we often see or hear about. For the clever and important people within the Church, this, I have also realized, often becomes a difficult problem.

    The current German problem is just the same problem that we are nursing along here in the Americas. A lot of very clever and important people within the Church do not like, truly, what the Church teaches and has taught, in totality, and are doing there utmost to twist and turn certain truths into something that they feel may suit them better.

  • Ferdinand Velasco

    Excellent article. Interestingly, Pope Francis used “scandal” as the thematic foundation of his homily for the canonization Mass. http://mobile.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/homilies/2014/documents/papa-francesco_20140427_omelia-canonizzazioni.html

  • Reginald Q. Teabag

    Prof. Esolen, could you kindly explain where you are getting your divorce statistics from? Because they just don’t ring true. Between 1867, and 1871, only a brief four year period, they were 53,574 divorces in the United States. Why then, are you claiming that “as late as 1900 divorce was still very rare”? If you compare that to Europe, let’s take Britain as an example, in 181 year period from 1669 to 1850 there were only 229 divorces. From the very beginning, rampant divorce was a characteristic of the United States when compared to the Old World, and, indeed, it was fitting that after overthrowing the natural order of the class system by launching an assault on King George III, America would attempt to overthrow the natural institution of the family. Nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of the liberal American Creed of Perpetual Revolution. Thus it has been since the Founding.

    • Reginald Q. Teabag

      Spiffing observations.

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