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Defining "Difficulty", "Doubt" and "Dissent" in Catholicism.

Reactions to Doctrine(s) presenting difficulty, doubt and dissent among the faithful need examination.

Vic Biorseth, Thursday, October 29, 2015
http://www.CatholicAmericanThinker.com/

This is about a reasoned argument going on regarding a three-way schism theoretically building within the Catholic Church.  The main proponent or possible originator of this building schism theory is a fallen away Priest and dissident Catholic named Daniel McGuire, a theology and religious ethics professor at Marquette University. 

I know; I know; but these days, it is more normal than not that a fallen away priest and dissident Catholic would be the main guy teaching theology and religious ethics at a Catholic Jesuit University.  Times have changed.  That's what the Jesuits have come to, and that's what "Catholic" higher education has come to in America, and perhaps in the world.  Mustn't discriminate; heavens no.  Satan himself should be welcome to teach Christian theology and morality in Catholic teaching institutions.  Who are we to sit in judgment of him

Still, we have the reasoned argument before us, and it is not entirely without merit.  It was written about by Margery Eagan at CruxNow.com/CatholicJudaism and by Rev Dwight Longenecker at CruxNow.com/CatholicBreakup.  The argument stirred thought here because of the whole area of related argumentation among the many Winnowing Pages, in which experience and history reinforce the notion of a "natural" recurring three-way split on human religious/political opinions.  Whether this phenomenon is natural, i.e., of God, or due to the machinations of the Tempter I will leave to the more spiritually attuned to determine.  But it is always observable. 

Professor McGuire, in response to Pope Francis' easing of the Catholic process of Marriage Annulment spoke of how the change of rules was important to only some Catholics, but not all.  He likened the three-way split, already present among the Catholic hierarchy and laity alike, to follow the lines of the three-way split in our parent religion, Judaism.  Today there are Reformed, Conservative and Orthodox divisions within Judaism.  While these are not yet formalized within Catholicism, McGuire seems to be predicting an eventual three-way Great Catholic Schism along similar lines. 

In his view, the annulment rule changes were important to the Orthodox and Conservative Catholic divisions, but not to the Reformed division.  Because the Reformed division had already displaced or discounted the magisterial authority of the Church.  As he puts it, their consciences are their Vatican.  And if that is true, then, obviously, their consciences are not properly formed.  And, we should not expect Catholic consciences to be universally properly formed in any culture in which "Catholic" teachers like McGuire are allowed to help form Catholic consciences. 

In 2006 McGuire published a "Catholic" defense of same sex "marriage", in which he declared, "We have no moral right to declare marriage off limits to people whom God has made gay."  Which tells us that he believes - or perhaps that he wants others to believe - that God makes people homosexual. 

Right.  God did it.  The Tempter had nothing to do with it.  Other homosexuals, acting in the service of the Tempter, had nothing to do with it.  Fallen-away dissident teachers in Catholic teaching institutions had nothing to do with it.  Frankfurt-School educated Cultural-Marxist teachers in public and even Catholic teaching institutions had nothing to do with it.  Gramsci-Marxism had nothing to do with it.  McGuire would have us believe that God makes homosexuals, which is to say that homosexuality is Natural.  Right. 

It just doesn't get any dumber than this.  No one is born this stupid.  You have to be educated into it.  Professor McGuire proves that the education establishment is up to the task. 

Here is how Professor McGuire describes his three-way Catholic schism: 

Catholicism is going the way of its parent, Judaism.  In Judaism there are Reform as well as Conservative and Orthodox communities.  This arrangement is not yet formalized in Catholicism, but the outlines of a similar broadening are in place ….  While conservative and orthodox Catholics welcome this annulment concession by the Vatican, reform Catholics don’t need it.  Their consciences are their Vatican.  Reform Catholics, whose numbers are swelling, are still bonded to the church but not to the Roman curia.

Fr. Longenecker sees these three "tribes" within Catholicism, sure enough, but he identifies them somewhat differently, as follows:

It is certainly possible to discern three tribes within American Catholicism. However, using the Jewish terminology is confusing. “Orthodox,” “Conservative,” and “Reform” do not translate well into American Catholicism. Clearer titles for the three tribes might be “Traditionalist” which correlates with the Jewish “Orthodox.” “Magisterial” because “conservative” Catholics adhere to papal teachings and the magisterium, while “Progressive” reflects the “Reformed” group in Judaism.

Fr. Longenecker sees these groups as semi-permanent divisions within the Church, not future schismatic sects.  Obviously, to be schismatic is to leave the Church, and to relinquish the title "Catholic", at least to relinquish it in all honesty.  He goes on to name quite a long list of schismatic "Catholic" cults in existence today, most of which I was totally unaware of.  But, he points out, they are not Catholic, in the true sense of that word.  And if the Church broke into three, only the one with the Pope in it would remain Catholic; the others would be something else. 

I have long held that there is only one proper name for Western Culture Christians who do not recognize the authority of the Pope, and that proper name is Protestant

Bottom line, there is one Revelation and one Church; the Revelation does not change, and neither does the authority Christ bestowed upon His chosen Apostles and their successors.  It is by His authority after all, and He is Who He is, saying "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." -Matt 12:30; Luke 11:23.  When He commissioned His Apostles and gave them their teaching authority, He said "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me". -Luke 10:16.  You would think that would be clear enough, even for the over-educated.  But it isn't. 

We can all look around ourselves, whatever our station in life, whatever our vocation, and we can see "Catholics" who claim the title, but do not live the life.  Including public figures.  Sean Hannity is a good example.  He does not hesitate to identify as Catholic, and, he does not hesitate to identify Catholic doctrine he willingly disagrees with and violates.  On the radio and/or TV.  So, according to this three-way split, he is one of those whose Magisterium, or whose Vatican, or whose sole Catholic Authority, is his own improperly formed conscience.  He is what used to be called a Cafeteria Catholic, and what Professor McGuire would call a Reformed Catholic.  One who puts his subjective feelings above objective truth.  If he doesn't feel it's a sin, then it isn't really a sin, for him.  See? 

Fr. Longenecker, in his article, pronounced what was for me a stirring, deep, profundity, regarding the three dividing issues of Difficulty, Doubt and Dissent.  To quote:

Discontented progressives and traditionalists should not march off in a huff and join a schism.  Instead, both sides should remember the definitions of difficulties, doubt, and dissent.  A difficulty is when we honestly face a problem with the faith, scratch our heads, and wonder, “How can that be?”  A doubt is when we nurse an attitude of rejection and rebellion, saying, “That can’t be!”  Dissent is when we act on our doubt and openly disagree with, dismiss, and disobey Church teachings without regret or repentance. 

The answer for cafeteria Catholics is not to leave the Church.  Instead, the answer is for those with difficulties to work through them, for those with doubts to develop a curious and affirming attitude to Church teaching, and for those who dissent to pray for a change in their hearts and minds so they might come at last to the place where they can joyfully assent to the fullness of the Catholic faith. 

Revealed Truth ain't up for a vote, and it's not affected in the least by feelings or consciences, however formed.  It remains Revealed Truth.  And the successors of Peter and the Apostles do not simply act on their own; they have an Advocate.  "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." -John 14:26.

Yet we have these Catholic divisions.  If the Church Christ founded does not speak with one, clear voice, and if all the Bishops do not teach the one, clear Truth, from the one, clear Catechism, then, how are we Catholics any different than Protestantism's thousands of denominations?

Truth is inconvenient.  So is Catholicism.  That's the way it is. 

We cannot hope to get American politics right until we get predominant American morality right, and we cannot get American morality right until and unless we get our American faith right.  And if Catholicism does not properly lead the way, and shine the light of Truth on the path, we are all going to go off in the wrong direction(s).  That's called scattering.  Disorder displacing good order. 

That is the real source of my worries for America. 

His will be done. 



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Hover-Link Footnotes:  For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links.  (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" the mouse over a link, without clicking, to just to see the related Acronym appear.)

SLIMC1 Secularist Liberal Intellectual Media Complex
GESGOEAEOT2 Gradually, Ever So Gradually, Over Eons And Eons Of Time
PEWAG3 Punctuated Equilibrium's Wild Assed Guess
TTRSTF4 Them There Real Scientifical Type Fellers
TTRSPTF5 Them There Real Smart Perfesser Type Fellers
TTRSJTF6 Them There Real Smart Journalistical Type Fellers
SNRTACBT7 Surely No Right Thinking Adult Could Believe Today
STNSEACPB8 Surely Today No Serious, Educated Adult Could Possibly Believe
WDN9 We Don't Know
BMDFP10 Baboons, Mongrel Dogs, Filthy Pigs
HBAACOTE11 Human Beings Are A Cancer On The Earth
ACLU12 Anti-Christian Litigation Union
FLORMPORIF13 Flagrant Liar, Or, Mindless Parrot, Or, Innocent Fool
MEJTML14 Marxist Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
IEJTML15 Islamic Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
MPAV16 Marxist Principles And Values
WBESSWG17 Wise, Benign, Elite, Super-Scientific World Governance
TRMITM18 The Reason Man's In This Mess
IYI19 Intellectual Yet Idiotic

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