Friday, May 01, 2009

America's Editors Elucidate the Notre Dame - President Obama Controversy


SECTARIAN CATHOLICISM

America: the National Catholic Weekly Magazine.

The Editors. May 11, 2009

The clouds roll with thunder, the House of the Lord shall be built throughout the earth, and these frogs sit in their marsh and croak—‘We are the only Christians!’” So wrote St. Augustine about the Donatists, a perfectionist North African sect that attempted to keep the church free of contamination by having no truck with Roman officialdom. In the United States today, self-appointed watchdogs of orthodoxy, like Randall Terry and the Cardinal Newman Society, push mightily for a pure church quite unlike the mixed community of saints and sinners—the Catholic Church—that Augustine championed. Like the Circumcellions of old, they thrive on slash-and-burn tactics; and they refuse to allow the church to be contaminated by contact with certain politicians.

For today’s sectarians, it is not adherence to the church’s doctrine on the evil of abortion that counts for orthodoxy, but adherence to a particular political program and fierce opposition to any proposal short of that program. They scorn Augustine’s inclusive, forgiving, big-church Catholics, who will not know which of them belongs to the City of God until God himself separates the tares from the wheat. Their tactics, and their attitudes, threaten the unity of the Catholic Church in the United States, the effectiveness of its mission and the credibility of its pro-life activities.

The sectarians’ targets are frequently Catholic universities and Catholic intellectuals who defend the richer, subtly nuanced, broad-tent Catholic tradition. Their most recent target has been the University of Notre Dame and its president, John Jenkins, C.S.C., who has invited President Barack Obama to offer the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at this year’s graduation. Pope Benedict XVI has modeled a different attitude toward higher education. In 2008, the pope himself was prevented from speaking at Rome’s La Sapienza University by the intense opposition of some doctrinaire scientists. The Vatican later released his speech, in which he argued that “freedom from ecclesiastical and political authorities” is essential to the university’s “special role” in society. He asked, “What does the pope have to do or say to a university?” And he answered, “He certainly should not try to impose in an authoritarian manner his faith on others.”

The divisive effects of the new American sectarians have not escaped the notice of the Vatican. Their highly partisan political edge has become a matter of concern. That they never demonstrate the same high dudgeon at the compromises, unfulfilled promises and policy disagreements with Republican politicians as with Democratic ones is plain for all to see. It is time to call this one-sided denunciation by its proper name: political partisanship.

Pope Benedict XVI has also modeled a different stance toward independent-minded politicians. He has twice reached out to President Obama and offered to build on the common ground of shared values. Even after the partially bungled visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Pope Benedict, Vatican officials worked quickly to repair communication with her. Furthermore, in participating in the international honors accorded New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson in Rome last month for outlawing the death penalty (See Signs of the Times, 5/4), Pope Benedict did not flinch at appearing with a politician who does not agree fully with the church’s policy positions. When challenged about the governor’s imperfect pro-life credentials, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe responded on point, “We were able to help him understand our position on the death penalty.... One thing at a time.” Finally, last March the pro-choice French president Nicolas Sarkozy was made an honorary canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the pope’s own cathedral.

Four steps are necessary for the U.S. church to escape the strengthening riptide of sectarian conflict and re-establish trust between universities and the hierarchy. First, the bishops’ discipline about speakers and awards at Catholic institutions should be narrowed to exclude from platforms and awards only those Catholics who explicitly oppose formal Catholic teaching. Second, in politics we must reaffirm the distinction between the authoritative teaching of moral principles and legitimate prudential differences in applying principles to public life. Third, all sides should return to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI that in politics there are usually several ways to attain the same goals. Finally, church leaders must promote the primacy of charity among Catholics who advocate different political options. For as the council declared, “The bonds which unite the faithful are mightier than anything which divides them” (“Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,” No. 92).

Labels: , , , , ,

10 Comments:

Blogger Sean said...

As expected, those fellows at "America" do a wonderful job of presenting the case for a generous, forgiving, welcoming Church in the face of growing, politically driven (and typically nasty) sectarianism.

Nice post, Father Malloy.

Sean Thomas

Sun May 03, 11:55:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I'm a "Jesuit boy" (Spring Hill College, class of 1969, back in the day when most professors were Jesuit priests), and I've always cherished my experience at Spring Hill. My father went to Jesuit High School in New Orleans, and my sister went to Loyola New Orleans, so we're sort of a Jesuit family, as I guess many are.

Ed Deluzain

Anyway, I just found your blog tonight, and I'll be reading it faithfully henceforth. Check my blog out at xanga.com/ironknee.

Sun May 10, 01:19:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buying viagra viagra 34434 does watermelon have viagra effect herbal viagra viagra substitute how does viagra work cheapest uk supplier viagra viagra lawyers effects of viagra free viagra without prescription viagra without a prescription viagra attorney columbus buy viagra soft online mexico viagra

Mon Nov 09, 11:38:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amiable dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you for your information.

Sun Jan 31, 07:28:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I acquiesce in but I dream the collection should secure more info then it has.

Sat Feb 06, 08:11:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Minko Chen said...

nhl jerseys
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
beats by dre
chanel outlet store
kobe shoes
lebron shoes
nike air max
mbt shoes outlet
hermes birkin bag
hermes belt for sale
mulberry outlet store
juicy couture tracksuit
prada sneakers
canada goose jackets
moncler jackets
the north face outlet
north face outlet
north face outlet
1223minko

Tue Dec 22, 08:30:00 PM 2015  
Blogger oakleyses said...

christian louboutin uk, cheap oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, burberry outlet, tiffany jewelry, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, tiffany and co, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet online, polo outlet, uggs outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet, louis vuitton, louis vuitton outlet, kate spade outlet, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, nike free, prada handbags, burberry handbags, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, louis vuitton outlet, uggs outlet, christian louboutin, oakley sunglasses wholesale, jordan shoes, uggs on sale, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, nike air max, nike outlet, ray ban sunglasses

Sun Mar 20, 10:36:00 PM 2016  
Blogger oakleyses said...

timberland pas cher, north face, nike free run, coach outlet store online, polo lacoste, kate spade, sac vanessa bruno, mulberry uk, hollister uk, nike air max uk, true religion outlet, burberry pas cher, north face uk, polo ralph lauren, lululemon canada, ray ban uk, oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet, hollister pas cher, coach purses, michael kors, nike roshe run uk, sac longchamp pas cher, nike tn, vans pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, michael kors pas cher, converse pas cher, ralph lauren uk, coach outlet, sac hermes, jordan pas cher, nike free uk, replica handbags, michael kors, true religion outlet, guess pas cher, true religion jeans, air max, nike air force, nike air max uk, new balance, nike air max, longchamp pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, true religion outlet, ray ban pas cher, nike roshe, hogan outlet, louboutin pas cher

Sun Mar 20, 10:37:00 PM 2016  
Blogger oakleyses said...

nike air max, s6 case, ralph lauren, instyler, nfl jerseys, vans outlet, soccer shoes, oakley, iphone 6s cases, nike roshe run, iphone 6 plus cases, mont blanc pens, hollister, nike trainers uk, herve leger, iphone 6s plus cases, north face outlet, beats by dre, hollister clothing, chi flat iron, timberland boots, ferragamo shoes, iphone 6 cases, iphone cases, abercrombie and fitch, ghd hair, asics running shoes, valentino shoes, insanity workout, babyliss, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk, celine handbags, iphone 5s cases, mcm handbags, nike huaraches, ipad cases, p90x workout, reebok outlet, bottega veneta, north face outlet, hermes belt, wedding dresses, lululemon, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti outlet, new balance shoes, mac cosmetics, baseball bats, louboutin

Sun Mar 20, 10:38:00 PM 2016  
Blogger oakleyses said...

barbour, converse outlet, swarovski crystal, moncler, canada goose, hollister, louis vuitton, links of london, juicy couture outlet, gucci, moncler, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, pandora jewelry, moncler, canada goose outlet, montre pas cher, supra shoes, ray ban, hollister, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg, pandora uk, moncler outlet, ugg uk, louis vuitton, moncler uk, lancel, converse, moncler outlet, moncler, barbour uk, thomas sabo, ugg pas cher, replica watches, canada goose outlet, canada goose uk, marc jacobs, doudoune moncler, canada goose, nike air max, toms shoes, swarovski, wedding dresses, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, coach outlet, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, vans, karen millen uk, louis vuitton, pandora charms

Sun Mar 20, 10:38:00 PM 2016  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home