Friday, August 24, 2018
Yep! The Wile E. Coyote of American Catholic journalism--a/k/a Michael Winters of the (now-officially-pro-Roe v. Wade) National Catholic Reporter--is back! And he has finally said something absolutely true, to wit (and I quote Wile E.), "Of course, I'm being silly."
And silly he is indeed being.
What's got Wile E. worked up this time is an essay I published at First Things about the Theodore McCarrick scandal and the stomach-turning report of sex abuse by literally hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania.
Here's what I said that caused Wile E. to reach for the stick of dynamite that would inevitably go off in his hand:
"What is the answer? Well, fundamentally the answer to infidelity is fidelity. That is what is needed. As my late friend Fr. Richard John Neuhaus put it, "fidelity, fidelity, fidelity." There is no proper place for unfaithful priests (of any rank) in the Church. If a man does not believe what the Church teaches about God, about the dignity of the human person, about sex and marriage, or about justice, he should not function as a priest or serve as a bishop. If he cannot or will not proclaim those teachings, and certainly if he cannot or will not lead his life consistently in line with those teachings, he should not be ordained (if he is, or proposes to become, a seminarian) or, if he is already ordained, his priestly faculties should be removed. Period."
Wile E. thinks that this demand for fidelity by priests and bishops to the teachings of the Church and to the vows they made to God is outrageous. But even worse--what is, he insists, "really outrageous"--is this sentence of mine:
"There is no proper place for unfaithful priests (of any rank) in the Church."
Them's fightin' words to Wile E.!
Not only does Wile E. evidently think there is a proper place for unfaithful priests and bishops in the Church, he thinks it is nothing short of "really outrageous" that someone would say that there isn't.
Wile E. is indeed "being silly." He is defending the indefensible. His loathing for orthodox Catholicism and for me personally is so consuming that he once again, as he has done so often in the past, blows himself up with the stick of dynamite intended for his prey.
In fact, he is so blinded by malice that at one point he purports to rebut my demand for fidelity from clergy by pointing out the (utterly irrelevant) fact that John Courtney Murray and Henri de Lubac were accused by prelates of being unfaithful to the teaching of the Church." You can't make this stuff up. For most readers, I'm sure, it goes without saying that what I'm against is unfaithful clergy, not clergy who are accused of being unfaithful, whether they are in fact unfaithful or not. Nor am I opposed--quite the contrary--to canonical procedural protections for clergy or others who are formally accused of infidelity. And, as a Catholic, I obviously believe in the development of doctrine (where this concept is understood the way the Church herself understands it, and not as a license to ignore or reject propositions of faith definitively proposed, in any of the ways outlined in Lumen Gentium 25, by the Church's magisterium).
Finally, no mindless rant against me by Wile E. Coyote would be complete without him accusing me of an obsession with sexual sins, and sure enough readers are told: "George's obsession is with sexual sin." This asinine allegation is falsified in the very first paragraph of the essay Wile E. is complaining about where I expressly identify the wrongs at the heart of the scandals as having to do with "not only sexual morality, but also our obligations to love and respect, and not to exploit or abuse, others." It is also falsified by my explicit demand for fidelity by teachers of the faith to the Church's teaching not only about sex and marriage, but also "about God," "about the dignity of the human person," and "about justice." These points were made, curiously, in a paragraph that was quoted by none other than Wile E. himself. So how did he miss them?
Hmmm . . . . Who is it that is supposed to have an "obsession with sex"?