Here are a couple of excerpts:
In the 1930s, the majority of the bishops, priests, and nuns sold their souls to the devil, and they did so with the best of intentions.
In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States – the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity – and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism – the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.
At every turn in American politics since that time, you will find the hierarchy assisting the Democratic Party and promoting the growth of the administrative entitlements state. At no point have its members evidenced any concern for sustaining limited government and protecting the rights of individuals. It did not cross the minds of these prelates that the liberty of conscience which they had grown to cherish is part of a larger package – that the paternalistic state, which recognizes no legitimate limits on its power and scope, that they had embraced would someday turn on the Church and seek to dictate whom it chose to teach its doctrines and how, more generally, it would conduct its affairs.
...the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost much of its moral authority. It has done so largely because it has subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state. In 1973, when the Supreme Court made its decision in Roe v. Wade, had the bishops, priests, and nuns screamed bloody murder and declared war, as they have recently done, the decision would have been reversed. Instead, under the leadership of Joseph Bernadin, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, they asserted that the social teaching of the Church was a “seamless garment,” and they treated abortion as one concern among many. Here is what Cardinal Bernadin said in the Gannon Lecture at Fordham University that he delivered in 1983:
Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker.
Consistency means that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility.
This statement, which came to be taken as authoritative throughout the American Church, proved, as Joseph Sobran observed seven years ago, “to be nothing but a loophole for hypocritical Catholic politicians. If anything,” he added, "it has actually made it easier for them than for non-Catholics to give their effective support to legalized abortion – that is, it has allowed them to be inconsistent and unprincipled about the very issues that Cardinal Bernardin said demand consistency and principle.” In practice, this meant that, insofar as anyone pressed the case against Roe v. Wade, it was the laity.
I was reared a Catholic, wandered out of the Church, and stumbled back in more than thirteen years ago. I have been a regular attendee at mass since that time. I travel a great deal and frequently find myself in a diocese not my own. In these years, I have heard sermons articulating the case against abortion thrice – once in Louisiana at a mass said by the retired Archbishop there; once at the cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and two weeks ago in our parish in Hillsdale, Michigan. The truth is that the priests in the United States are far more likely to push the “social justice” agenda of the Church from the pulpit than to instruct the faithful in the evils of abortion.
And there is more. I have not once in those years heard the argument against contraception articulated from the pulpit, and I have not once heard the argument for chastity articulated. In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion.
I've started a dialogue with my friend Iraneus G. Saintonge:
He has stated:
First: "There is, I would suggest, a connection between the heretical doctrine propagated by Cardinal Bernadin in the Gannon Lecture and the difficulties that the American Church now faces. Those who seek to create heaven on earth and who, to this end, subvert the liberty of others and embrace the administrative entitlements state will sooner or later become its victims."I have responded:
That's the first time I've seen the "seamless garment" mindset called heretical. Do you think that's a fair assessment? I hadn't really given it major though. It's certainly an idea that's accepted to a greater or lesser degree by a huge amount of at least self-described orthodox Catholics.
I think that parts of the seamless garment issue are heretical. Will I go so far as Dr. Rahe? I think that the mindset is a perfect example of aggiornamento. The loopholes which are in it have brought us to the position we are in, because so many Catholics in America have accepted to a greater degree the so-called teaching.
We MUST apply Catholic teaching by assenting our will authentically. We cannot do so in the manner that Bernadin promoted through the seamless garment issue. To free conscience in the manner that His Eminence did, isn't authentically Catholic. It puts the conscience in the hands of the individual. This has never been a tenant of Catholic teaching. The Church always taught that one informs and forms his conscience through the light of the Church, not independently and then applying what he will to the Church. This is ultimately what the seamless garment issue advocates.
Essentially, Bernadin did an end around of Humane Vitae and authentic Church teaching by turning life issues into a checklist. Abortion simply becomes a thing that one can check off while focusing on other life issues. Ultimately, one could be "pro-life" by supporting the welfare state. The Church has never taught this.
I've argued this before, both here and at my blog that since the end of Vatican Council II, bishops have defined their Episcopal careers by two criteria and two criteria only. 1)By being "pro-life" and 2)Embracing any and (in some cases) all social justice issues. These processes would be to the eternal detriment to the other issues which concern Holy Mother Church, such as the sacramental life of the Church; the liturgical life of the Church; and moral life of the Church.
This has borne itself out over time. The Sacramental life of the Church is abused daily (over use of EMHCs, laity making sick calls, abandonment of extreme unction by changing the action to annointing all sick, the abandonment of sacramentals such as holy water during Lent, the disappearance of incense). The liturgical life of the Church is in shambles. I won't go on about that, but we're all aware. And the sex abuse scandal.
These are all symptoms of the larger issue that when the Church abandoned her traditional model of charity and simply turned things into a checklist under an umbrella, then we are left with what we are left with. And it is all justified by "the seamless garment."
Getting back to abortion specifically, the seamless garment issue opened the door to "personal opposition, but support for the welfare state." When abortion became simply another issue to check off, it became something that could NOT be checked off, but one could remain "pro-life" because one was publicly opposed to Euthanasia and the death penalty (a falsehood), or any other "life" issue.
So, ultimately, politicians like Biden, Pelosi, and the like can remain pro-gay, pro-abortion, and anti-death penalty and remain 100% legitimate, because of the seamless garment.
In my opinion, this is the biggest lie of our lifetimes, with regard to the Catholic Church.
He goes on:
Next: "And there is more. I have not once in those years heard the argument against contraception articulated from the pulpit, and I have not once heard the argument for chastity articulated. In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion."
This is sad and true. I haven't travelled as much as the author apparently has, but I've been through my fair share of priests, and until I started attending the FSSP Mass in my city I had never once heard contraception mentioned. If the numbers are true, and something like 80% of Catholics are using birth control regularly, then pastors have a massive and absolutely crucial responsibility to preach against it. It's completely unacceptable for a pastor, who's entrusted with the salvation of all the souls in his parish, to be ignoring something that may very well be leading the vast majority of his congregation into mortal sin. How can they call themselves pastors if they haven't done absolutely everything in their power to save the flock that has been entrusted to them?
Again, I responded:
I've heard it a few more times, but you have to remember, I lived with Fr. Robert Altier for several years. His homilies were very hard hitting. I also had the privilege of being near Fr. Z for a number of years too and I've heard him preach on the evil of abortion several times. But, by and large, this has been ignored.
Because of seamless garment. What else it did was to demonize those who made the distinction. Priests have been disavowed and disowned. Seminarians have been dismissed. The laity have been run out of town. Being anti-abortion is the most important issue that faces the Church today. It has been since the mid-1950s. That's right, 1950s. We can't assume that the abortion issue started in 1973. It had been gaining steam since the end of World War II. And along with the Bugnini liturgical hi-jacking, there was a moral hi-jacking taking place at the very same time. They ultimately came together at Vatican Council II and what were we left with? Aggiornamento.
The problems which manifest themselves have been right in front of us for 40 years and we have been blind to them, because...to be completely honest...we didn't want to see it. It is very easy to be a relativist. It is very hard to remain true to the teachings which guided the Church for 2000 years.
Finally, he says:
Last: "Perhaps, however, Barack Obama has shaken some members of the hierarchy from their dogmatic slumber. Perhaps, a few of them – or among younger priests some of their likely successors – have begun to recognize the logic inherent in the development of the administrative entitlements state."
I'm praying so hard that this is the case. We've been complacent. We let the warfare-welfare state become more and more entrenched in western culture, and now it's finally coming back to bite us. This is simply the beginning of the logical conclusion of the modern development of the state. It's going to get much worse, if we don't learn finally to stand up and oppose it every single time it claims more 'authority' over us, not just when the authority it claims directly threatens us. I've been reminded a lot recently of that famous quote by Martin Niemöller.
"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."
This is exactly what's happened. We haven't opposed the ever-growing, grasping, thieving, murdering State while it's been taking more and more power for itself, and now it's a behemoth that is trying to crush us.
My final response, for now:
It will still get worse. Christ promised us a Church. He never promised a large one. There will be strife. The abuse scandal isn't over. Remember I've said before that I've seen some pretty depraved things in seminary. The gay issue isn't over. Many priests who are my age are gay. Some are chaste. Most are not. The scandal will shift from being child abuse issues to gay issues. There are rumblings about it, but nothing truly huge has broken. Most of the time, it is brushed under the rug. What do I mean...well, when anyone says that the scandal is based in the gay culture, it is immediately dismissed. So much so that the misapplication of terms has become the norm. The issues are not those of pedophilia, but rather the vast, vast majority of issues are of unchaste, gay priests who are attracted to young men who are "confused."
The question becomes this...Society promotes "coming out" at a young age, often times in junior high school and high school. Who do these young gay people turn to? They are encouraged to seek out adults who can help them. Some (not all, but some) turn to their priests and pastors. Think about it...a gay priest is approached by a young gay person, who has been encouraged to come out. What happens next? Well, we've been seeing what has happened. This isn't over. Not by a long shot.
What must happen and it is my fervent prayer, is that those gay priests remain chaste. But that isn't the real issue. The real issue is that society has to stop promoting the gay culture. People are gay. We know that. No one is denying that. But what do we NEVER hear (except when talking to other orthodox Catholics)...that we should be helping them overcome their intrinsically disordered condition, through disinterested friendship.
We MUST accept the homosexual as a person, because they are afforded their right to life, but we cannot condone their actions. The action is disordered. The charitable thing to do is to help them to accept that they must live a chaste life. Just as any other single person.
Oh, and one other thing...it is a lie to say that they are not called to marriage. Gay people can marry. Once they overcome their disordered action and accept self-mastery, there is nothing which says they cannot enter into properly ordered life, marry one of the opposite sex and live a married life. But NOBODY talks about that or very few, because we don't expect them to overcome homosexuality, but just accept their condition and suffer. Self-mastery through the light of the Church opens the door to being able to enter into licit and ordered relationships. If we are to be disinterested friends and provide examples, why don't we show them that the proper way to live a Christian life is to be chaste, either as as single person or as a married person (man and woman). To simply force the gay person to live a life of singleness without the possibility of love (eros) is not charitable. We should be helping them to understand that love (eros) is as attainable as the other forms of love (filial and agape). This is where the Catechism of the Catholic Church falls short.
Those are my thoughts, thus far. There will be more. The conversation will continue. I've brought up issues which are hard to swallow. They are hard for me to bring up. I'm not saying that I'm 100% correct, but I think that there is the possibility to look into it....I welcome your responses in the combox.