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gender-bending & structural change

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 07, 2007

Responding to the clergy sex abuse crisis, Jesuit Father Raymond Schroth calls for structural change in the Roman Catholic Church and lists five "obstacles" to progress, one of which is Catholicism:

[The fourth obstacle to reform] is the church's moral authority as a teacher of sexual morality. We never recovered from the 1968 publication of "Humanae Vitae," the papal encyclical that condemned artificial contraception, soon rejected by theologians and laity alike. Priests simply stopped talking about sex. In many ways, the church's traditional teaching on marriage, fidelity and the relationship between sexuality and love has been one of its treasures; but who will listen to the message when the messenger has been compromised?

Because of celibacy and the ban on women's ordination, women, whose experience and wisdom on these matters are indispensable, have been excluded from leadership in the church. Women will probably not be ordained in this generation. But the pope, with a stroke of the pen, could change canon law and appoint 20 to 40 lay men and women to the College of Cardinals. They would advise the pope, run Vatican congregations and help elect the next pope.

See if I've got this right: the Church's traditional teaching on marriage is a treasure, but the encyclical that reaffirmed that teaching was a disaster. Celibacy excludes women from leadership in the Church. Women's experience and wisdom are indispensable, but cannot be communicated to us unless the women in question are ordained. Clear?

Schroth's glissade from the morality of contraception to the ordination of women may seem baffling, but Prof. Robert George (in a post I mentioned earlier) explains that dissent from Humanae vitae unravels an entire fabric of interconnected doctrines:

When Pope Paul VI dramatically reaffirmed [Christian teaching on contraception] in 1968, clearheaded commentators -- not only supporters of the pope such as the eminent Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, but also astute critics, such as Fr. Charles Curran -- saw that far more than the issue of contraception was at stake. The whole body of Catholic teaching on the nature of the human person, of the one-flesh communion of spouses in marriage, and of the meaning of human embodiment in relation to questions of, for example, homosexual conduct and relationships, monogamy, and marital fidelity and indissolubility was on the line.

Treating sexual endowments as arbitrary and manipulable properties brings about a natural alliance between sterility fans; I suppose we could call their common cause engendering-bending. By the same token it's hardly astonishing that a Jesuit who dissents from Humanae vitae likewise dissents from Catholic doctrine on the ordination of women -- in fact, it would be more surprising to find a man who dissented from one teaching but staunchly upheld the other. I must not have been paying attention when the Society of Jesus transferred her allegiance to the Episcopal Church (on every contested issue mentioned, Fr. Schroth comes to the defense of the Anglican position), but given the nexus of conviction spelled out by Prof. George, that change isn't so surprising either.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 12, 2007 11:42 PM ET USA

    I have read and considered the comments on the "commission" assigned by Pope Paul VI to formulate opinions on artificial birth control. Such groups are designed to assist the pope in making his judgement considering all aspects of deliberation lest he personally overlook a point. The pope after proper review, issued his position as Pope for the established Catholic doctrine. The commission had no other value but that of a straw vote. It might as well have taken place in Iowa. Paul VI was right!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 11, 2007 9:53 AM ET USA

    "History tells us..." Who's "history? Can you cite a credible source? And what about the history of two millennia of Church condemnation of contraception? "Augustine had a single child in 19 years of concubinage" Yes, but he gave up his concubine after his conversion to Christianity. It's hardly fair to imply that he was a hypocrite because he later spoke against his pre-conversion behavior.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 10, 2007 11:14 AM ET USA

    So many comment on the Jesuits' obstreperous behavior that I was stimulated to look for its origin.Surprisingly,it coordinates with the election Fr.General Pedro Arrupe who was a nice enough fellow ,but one who apparently was not much of a leader or administrator. Under his guidance the Jesuits became "social workers" and made many changes in their modus operandi. What followed was no more cassocks, gradual abandonment of common prayer hours,a stress on individual pursuits. Focus became worldly!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2007 2:46 PM ET USA

    Women cannot be ordained, period. End of debate. As for Pope Paul VI, he was right to issue Humanae Vitae and the "Polish Priest" Humpty mentions was the future Pope John Paul II! P6 was tempted to follow the popular culture but, since he was Peter, he could not teach heresy! The Holy Spirit made sure Humanae Vitae was a done deal. "He who hears you, hears Me," said Our Lord.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2007 5:58 AM ET USA

    To Centurion et al: History tells us that Paul VI was open to his Commissions recommendations re the Catholic developed "Pill" [by Dr. Rock] until he was bullied by a Polish Cardinal. Paul VI was so upset by the reaction/rejection of Humanae Vitae that he issued not a single Encyclical subsequent. Incidentially, Augustine had a single child in 19 years of concubinage: his writings are classical "Do as I say, NOT as I did." Coitus Interruptus is not sex, as Clinton & Augustine maintained.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 10:13 PM ET USA

    is it true that JPII seriously considered suppressing the Jesuits back in the mid-1980's? poor St. Ignatius and all the holy Jesuits past & present. May their prayers help to make the SJ's Catholic once more.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 9:48 PM ET USA

    I had the good fortunre to graduate from the Gregorian when it was still orthadox and friom Georgetown when it was still nominally Caholic. Two daughters from Holy Cross after all pretense of being Catholic was lost. No more!~ Difficult enough to correct false teaching but when it comes from a roman collar with an S.J. after the name, the burden is just too great> Better secular than false Catholic, it is easier to correct.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 9:20 PM ET USA

    Nothing more need be said about hUMPTY dUMPTY and his erroneous report, but I would like to congratulate Centurion and his accurate memory. The sad final chapter of which was the meeting with he Archbishop who advised the dissenters (many of whom I knew personally) that he wanted their signotures on one of two documents - their retraction or their resignaion. Unfortunately the other bishops were as gutless then as they were in the ephebefilia mess and little support was given..

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 7:55 PM ET USA

    There is no truth to the rumor that Fr Schroth is under consideration for the Ramses chair in Sexual Ethics.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 3:28 PM ET USA

    Fr. Schroth teaches(?) theology at St. Peter's in Jersey City.How unfortunate for the poor students. He is much like the rebellious attention seeker that we can all remember from classroom days. Outragew the the professor;challenge the status quo;say the unthinkable and be the "hero" of the masses. The problem was that person makes a fool of himself and those who follow him. As a Jesuit friend remarked to me: With the stroke of a pen the Pope could make the Society"history."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 1:55 PM ET USA

    Sorry, hUMPTY, but contraception (like abortion) has been around for millennia, and was explicitly condemned by the church from the very beginning. St. Augustine had quite a bit to say about it in the 5th century, as have countless others since (including Luther, Calvin and Wesley). Until 1930, ALL Christians held that it was a sin. All that was different in 1968 was that the methods were more effective (and available), and that some in the church chose to dissent. Period.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 11:29 AM ET USA

    When my child attended an unnamed Jesuit college in the 1990's, my wife and I were given a copy of information given to all incoming students that contained the addresses of two abortion clinics plus sources of free contraception. The campus was flooded with gay newspapers everywhere we looked.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 9:34 AM ET USA

    A quick internet search shows Schroth mocking Mother Angelica for her literal belief in God, divinity of Christ, and miracles. He goes on to call EWTN "spiritul programming for idiots". Politeness and manners are not one of his strong points. This guy appears to have an intense hatred for the Catholic faith and works for its destruction. There are some good Jesuits out there but the presence of this man in the order (and those like him) say a lot about how low they have fell.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2007 9:10 AM ET USA

    Well, hUMPTY, the "practices" have been explored adequately now and it seems the Pope was right. And I would call the lemming-like rush to practice contraception with all its attendant evils, "spasmodic", not Paul VI's response. His guidance came not from a Commission but from the Holy Spirit; his obedience to that guidance is a blessing for the whole Church.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 9:05 PM ET USA

    Humpty Dumpty misunderstands the purpose of the Papal Commissions when he/she describes them as "designed to give Church leaders guidance". Papal Commissions are designed to advise the Pope, just as Presidential Commissions are designed to advise the President. I might add, in Humpty's defense, that many in the Church and the media misled the faithful about the role of Papal Commissions after Humanae Vitae was issued.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 8:38 PM ET USA

    Some Jesuits seem to think they are "THE CHURCH". They have become pathetic and the Pope should step on them. God help the good Jesuits to take over again!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 7:56 PM ET USA

    Pope Paul VI incurred the wrath of the theologians who promptly placed a full page ad in the NY Times(?) telling all that they disagreed with the Pope and individuals could believe THEM and not worry about it. We still have them among us! Someone forgot to tell them that doctrine is not determined by popular vote. That is called protestantism.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 7:53 PM ET USA

    As I recall, Pope Paul VI established a commission (group) of clergy and laymen( women included) plus I think some non-Catholics, etc. to make a report on the issue of articicail birth control. The liberals made a foregone conclusion that the final report would be in favor of articicial birth control. But the Holy Spirit is not controlled by popular opinion or theologians. Pope Paul issued Humanae Vitae contrary to the wishes of theologians and libertines.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 7:08 PM ET USA

    Di, it is the “HOMOSEXUAL clergy sex abuse crisis.” Got it? HOMOSEXUAL HOMOSEXUAL HOMOSEXUAL eGG pERSON: Humanae Vitae is a solemn proclamation of a Pope. It IS the teaching of the Church. Papal commissions, on the other hand, have absolutely no such teaching authority.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 7:00 PM ET USA

    hUMPTY dUMPTY can't be allowed to get away with that falsehood. Humanae Vitae DID RE-affirm TRADITIONAL Catholic teaching on sexual matters. It was even TRADITIONAL teaching in non-Catholic circles until the early 20th Century.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 6:36 PM ET USA

    The new motto of certain Jesuits seems to be: "I am God's good servant, but Latex's first."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 6:24 PM ET USA

    Just one problem: Humanae Vitae did not affirm traditional Catholic teaching: it extended that non-infallible teaching into terra incognita. The Vatican's response to the Lambeth conference was a spasmodic response to a non-Catholic initiative to practices that had never been explored adequately prior to 1932, Once again, Humanae Vitae was reactive not proactive, and, de facto, was a callous promulgation disregarding the Papal Commission which had been designed to give Church leaders guidance

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 5:02 PM ET USA

    Talk about a twisted world view. I'm glad the Church is run by the Holy Spirit instead of the Jesuits (no offense to all the good Jesuits out there!).

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 5:00 PM ET USA

    I have not heard a homily or sermon on sexual morality since I was in high school and I'm 68 now. The local church, Boston, has been totally silent on these issues for as long as I can remember. Although I have been warned about being homophobic in a couple of sermons. I think the sex abuse crisis means I probably will not be hearing one in the near future. Is it any wonder that the young folks do not listen.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 4:53 PM ET USA

    It appears the Church's moral authority on teaching is challenged not only on teachings regarding sex, but on all teachings. As far as women in leadership positions in the Church, please refer to the article "The Return of the Catholic Man" by Todd M. Aglialoro (Crisis Magazine, July/August 2007, p.44ff; or Women have taken over most ministeries and teaching positions in the Church. Maybe Papal Documents need to be observed rather than criticized and circumvented.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 3:09 PM ET USA

    Those who are concerned about the fate of the Jesuit order have an opportunity to pressure. The Jesuits meet in general congregation in January 2008. They will elect a new General and also have authority to modify its internal law. Postulates are sent by Jesuits to be considered by the GC. It would be interesting if the laity would send postulates demanding a say in the way the Jesuits serve the Church. Mailing address: Curia General, Society of Jesus, / C.P. 6138, / 00195 Roma Prati, Itali

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 12:01 PM ET USA

    Does anyone else appreciate the irony of a Jesuit asking, “who will listen to the message when the messenger has been compromised?” Humanae Vitae didn’t cause pastors to stop preaching on sexual morality. Hindsight being 20/20, I have come to believe that it was their own sinfulness that lead to their rejection of it. Celibacy and women’s ordination are smokescreens. Leo, is it possible that God is using the tumult in the Jesuit order for His own purposes?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 11:56 AM ET USA

    I predict the Jesuits will vote to go out of business at their next general chapter...

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 11:25 AM ET USA

    What these Jesuits lack is a proper and real Catholic education.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 10:16 AM ET USA

    If we pray and fast enough, perhaps God will hear our prayer and redirect the Jesuit order to its founder's goals.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 9:58 AM ET USA

    The Jesuits clearly are in need of a resident exorcist if they don't already have one on call.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 9:00 AM ET USA

    "Priests simply stopped talking about sex." How could they not after 1968? Almost all of society ate, drank, walked, and talked about sex-night 24/7. It became the idee fixe that grew to the point where it consummed a pampered, slothful-thinking world and many Jesuits as well. Fr. Scroth is, as you note, a closet liberal Episcopalian--and we know just how successful that moribund denomination has become--as we watch His Grace, Gene Robinson ride off into the eternal sunset with his partner.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2007 8:59 AM ET USA

    I know of several orthodox Jesuits- but I believe they consider themselves to be missionaries to members of their own order!