Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thomas Merton on Progressed Catholics

Thomas Merton on Progressed Catholics

To flesh out this aphorism, Cardinal-Priest  Alfredo Ottaviani  (1890-1979) was a Secretary of the Holy Office from 1959-1966 and prefect for the reorganized the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith..  During Vatican II, Ottaniani was a conservative voice against the Separation of Church and State and religious tolerance.

The other source Merton cites is about Pierre Tielhard de Chardin,(1881-1955) a Jesuit who was a French philosopher. Tielhard de Chardin's views on convergent evolution in The Phenomenon of Man  (1955) were censored by the Catholic church for the views on original sin. 

Merton's musing about progressed Catholics seems surprising today, as Merton is prized among the progressive faithful for his concerns for pacifism, social justice and outreach to other faiths.  Yet Merton found progressed Catholics to be mean, inarticulate and secular.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Perverted Passion of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood's carefully crafted conceit that it is a non-profit womens' reproductive health provider has been shattered by a series of videos from the Center for Medical Progress.  The first video featured Planned Parenthood Senior Director Dr. Deborah Nucatola casually chatting about harvesting baby parts from late term abortions while she casually sipped on chardonnay at lunch.

This did not present well for Planned Parenthood, which eventually publicly chided this one employee for her improper "tone".   Another abortionist, Dr. Willie Parker, adopted a Southern strategy in Cosmopolitan  to defend Nucatola by invoking a biblical allusion.

The Perveted Passion of Planned Parenthood According to Dr Willie Parker
Granted, many doctors may have a God complex. But it is dubious if an abortionist should be seen as a Savior. Such a scriptural reference frames a perverted Passion of Planned Parenthood.

In this context, an abortion doctor would be perfect to question the Christ: "What is truth? Is mine the same as yours?"

 Perhaps a better allusion would be to quote Dr. Atomic Robert Oppenheimer (quoting the Hindu sacred scripture the Bhagavad Gita): "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

There is a comforting old Portuguese saying: "God writes straight with crooked lines", which serves as a reminder how Divine Providence can make evils like abortion or blasphemous character comparisons into eventual goods.

Aux. Bishop (Elect) Robert Barron on the New Evangelization

Aux Bishop Robert Barron on the New Evangelization

Fr. Robert Barron, the director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Mundelein Seminary and the force behind the successful 10 hour series "Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith" (2011), has been named by Pope Francis as an Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Los Angeles.  In Whispers in the Loggia, veteran Catholic chronicler Rocco Palmo announced this appointment as "Bishop Barron Goes Hollywood."

The Los Angeles Diocese is the largest in the United States ministering to five million Catholics.  Each of the three Los Angeles auxiliary bishops  pastoral areas are responsible for over one million faithful, which is greater than many entire diocese. 

While Archbishop José Gomez tenure as Coadjunctor (with Cardinal Roger Mahoney) as  Archbishop of Los Angeles has been seen to be tending to a diocese that is 70% Hispanic, having a "Hollywood" bishop may serve to invigorate the New Evangelization.

It is expected that Barron's ordination will occur sometime before Pope Francis' visit to America in late September.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Archbishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega on Same Sex Marriage

Archbishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega on Same Sex Marriage

Traditional Marriage is under assault not only in the United States.  Recently, the Mexican Supreme Court has sought to impose Same Sex Marriage.  

Nuevo Lordeo Archbishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega considered this court ruling a call for faithful Catholics to the ramparts.  This is in a country which fought La cristiada, a widespread rebellion against the secularist, anti-Catholic government of President Plutarco Elías Calle to enforce anti-clerical laws in the Mexican Constitution of 1917.  This struggle was depicted in "For Greater Glory" (2012) starring Andy Garcia. 

Sadly, the risk of martyrdom to defend one's Christian faith is no longer a far fetched prospect in America. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pope Francis and the Conundrum of the Communist Crucifix

Pope Francis on the Communist Crucifix

On the second leg of his trip to South America, Pope Francis traveled to Bolivia. The Holy Father made a courtesy visit to  Eso Morales at the Palace of the Government in La Paz.  Pope Francis only made a short four hours visit in La Paz as the 4,000 meter altitude was difficult for him to breath as he has only one lung. 

As is customary when heads of state meet, the President and the Pope exchanged gifts. Pope Francis gave the  Bolivian president a mosaic of the Marian icon of the “Salus Populus Romani". For his part, Bolivian President Eso Morales gave the Holy See  a crucifix based on a hammer and sickle, essentially a communist crucifix.  This was not the only politically charged gift. Morales also gave Pope Francis "The Book of the Sea" a tome bemoaning Bolivia's loss of access to the sea in the 1879-93 War of the Pacific.

As for the gift of religious art, Pope Francis shook his head as the Socialist President gave him this communist styled crucifix and audibly said: “No está bien eso”.  As this exchange was filmed for transmission throughout the world, the Holy Father's embarrassment seemed visible.

Aside from his Socialist politics, Eso Morales gift had some symbolism associated with Catholicism, as this hammer and sickle crucifix was modeled after one carved by Jesuit missionary Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, S.J.. Espinal Camps  was abducted by the paramilitaries loyal to the Bolivian dictatorship, tortured for five hour and shot 17 times in 1980.

Shortly after arriving in Bolivia Pope Francis' motorcade stopped along the highway where Fr. Espinal Camps was abducted.  Pope Francis prayed:

"Remember one of our brothers, a victim of interests that didn't want him to fight for Bolivia's freedom,.  Father Espinal preached the Gospel, the Gospel that bothered them, and because of this they got rid of him."

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, tried to walk back from this diplomatic faux pas by claiming that Pope Francis was unaware that the gift was inspired by Fr. Espinal Camps crucifix and that the Holy Father meant to say: "I didn't know" instead of "This is not right".  That explanation is courteously convenient but seems spurious considering the Pope's actual words and his visible embarrassment over the gift.

For all those  Catholic criticasters who claim that Pope Francis' beatification of Blessed Oscar Romero was an embrace of liberation theology or that the environmental encyclical Laudato Si was a Marxist manifesto, how do they reconcile Pope Francis' exclamation: “No está bien eso”?  

During his remarks to grassroots groups helping the marginalized in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Pope Francis addressed head on the charge that he is a communist. "When I talk about this [Land, Lodging and Labor], some people think the pope is a communist, They don't realize that love for the poor is at the center of the Gospel."

No doubt that Pope Francis believes in a evangelical option for the poor, as do many contemporary Jesuits and that he walks the talk on social justice.  But if Pope Francis were the Red Pope, why would he recoil at a communist crucifix?

Perhaps the Bolivian visit highlights the conundrum of Pope Francis' disposition towards social justice.  Austral University Historian Roberto Bosca noted that Jorge Bergolio (later Pope Francis) opposed liberation theology during the 1970s, but that he accepted the premise of liberation theology (especially the preferential option for the poor) done in a non-ideological fashion.  But as the rhetoric meets reality, as demonstrated by Eso Morales photo op, secular socialists (and communists) may strive to exploit this sympathy for their own atheistic advantage.