All of you who have been slamming Lila Rose and Live Action for lying... we have another serious issue on our hands, and we need your august opinions.
It seems canon lawyer Ed Peters has been saying Gov. Cuomo should not receive the Eucharist.
Albany's bishop was quite wroth:
The bishop in Albany agreed, saying to pass judgment on others, even those in public life, is inappropriate.
"There are norms of the church governing the sacraments which Catholics are expected to observe," said Albany Diocese Bishop Howard J. Hubbard. "However, it is unfair and imprudent to make a pastoral judgment about a particular situation without knowing all the facts. As a matter of pastoral practice, we should not comment publicly on anything which should be addressed privately, regardless if the person is a public figure or a private citizen."
So... Mark Shea, Dawn Eden, William Doino... when are you all going to slam Ed Peters for having sinned by committing rash judgement?
Ironically, the WSJ does what Catholic commentators won't, calling out Ed Peters:
Peters' opinion may conflict with church law.
The Vatican states Catholics may receive Communion if they confess their sins or intend to confess their sins and that "church custom shows that is necessary for each person to examine himself at depth."
In other words, as I'm sure the bishop of Albany would agree, canonist Ed Peters is bringing scandal to the Church by engaging in judgement so rash that even the secularists at the WSJ noticed...
But who will call him out?
(Hint: No one - he's part of the Catholic glitterati, so his sins are forgiven before they are committed.)
And, for the record, I tend to agree with Eddie on this one, but what difference does that make? Why should my opinion, or Ed's opinion, or the opinion of "a large number of unnamed Catholic theologians" (Dr. Janet Smith's oft-invoked bloc) rate as important?
The question I'm asking here goes a little deeper than just pointing out that Ed is engaged in behaviour at least as "reprehensible" as Lila Rose and Live Action. After all, I'm quite, quite certain that no one is going to yell at Ed except Catholic bishops.
I'm trying to point out that the post-Vatican II involvement of the laity is a very mixed bag.
Sure, we get people like Karl Keating, Scott Hahn, etc., teaching Catholic laity what priests won't, but are they really helping anyone?
Let me explain.
Back around the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, preaching had fallen into a terrible state. Priests were often essentially illiterate, barely able to say the Mass, not much knowledge of Scripture, engaged in sexual promiscuity and the chase for wealth. Lay people were scandalized, heresies like Albigensianism spread wildly.
How was the situation rectified?
New religious orders, like the Franciscans and Dominicans, were founded dedicated to preaching and to imitating the life of Christ in daily life. Indeed, this is a constant refrain throughout the life of the Church - whenever She has been in need of reform, a new religious order has been founded to administer the healing balm of reform.
Now, we only remember the orders that survived the tumultuous times, but we must recall that a lot of orders were attempted and didn't survive. For instance, we can recall the Waldensians, founded by Peter Waldo, and dedicated to a very Franciscan-style charism. The Waldensians failed and became heretics precisely because they ultimately refused to place themselves under the rule of the Church.
Many more orders did place themselves under the Church's rule, but foundered and failed because their charism was ultimately a phantasm.
In the post-conciliar era, we have again been faced with a failure of preaching, of good priestly example and a loss of holy understanding.
Unfortunately, in this era, we have not founded any new religious orders, we have founded business models designed to enrich the founders. From Karl Keating to Scott Hahn, from Chris West to Pat Madrid, we have seen men and women work to establish not religious orders, but Protestant-style personality cults.
Sure, they all attempt in some way to place themselves within the body of the Church, but have they succeeded? Can we find, in the whole history of the Church, examples like theirs to show that what is being done is good? Bless me for a fool, but I can't recall a single instance in the whole two millennia of the Church in which the situation we have spawned today has turned out to be good for Catholic spirituality.
Preaching is terrible. We should be founding religious orders.
The liturgy is in terrible shape. We should be founding religious orders.
If Karl, Scott, Chris, Pat, Mark and company really wanted to promote Christ instead of themselves, they would be founding lay religious orders.
Instead, they are founding LLCs and S-Corporations, promoting their opinions via the Wall Street Journal and Twitter. Heck, am I not doing the same thing right now by blogging?
There is no precedent for this. At least, no good precedent.
When we do what the priests are supposed to be doing, we make them co-dependents in exactly the same way that the priests eviscerate and emasculate parents when those same priests try to take over parental roles. We strip priests not only of their power to change, but of the desire to change. Why should they do any work if the parishioners can get the teaching elsewhere?
Just as priests and their employees shouldn't be doing the sacramental prep that is the parents' duty, so lay Catholics and their employees really shouldn't be doing the preaching that priests and bishops are supposed to do.
But, precisely because parents don't do their jobs, the parish tries to take over and makes a hash of it, inadvertently fueling the estrangement of children from their parents.
And precisely because priests and bishops don't do their jobs, lay Catholics try to take over and make a hash of it, inadvertently estranging parishioners from their pastors via the personality cults they have to establish in order to make a living.
Yes, we can point out that pastors aren't doing their jobs. But we should remember that we can't do those jobs either.