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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waiting for Pavone

Some of the more unreflective Catholic bloggers on the Internet are calling for Catholics to sit out the fight between the Bishop of Amarillo and Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life.

"I can't choose sides," says the Catholic, "there aren't enough facts for me to decide who is right. I will show how virtuous I am and simply wait for Rome to rule."

This position is absolutely absurd.

Consider:

The bishop of Amarillo has asked all of his brother bishops in the United States to stop their support for Priests for Life until he gets the situation straightened out.

Father Pavone, on the other hand, has sent no less than three (3) mass e-mails blasting out asking... nay, demanding... that we, the lay faithful, give him money and give it RIGHT NOW.

So, if we sit back and "wait for Rome to respond," then we are refusing Father Pavone's three-fold demand.
If, on the other hand, we send money to Father Pavone, we are refusing to accept the bishop's judgement.

Do you hear the rooster crowing?

It doesn't matter that you don't have as much information as you would like to have.

By sitting idle, you have chosen a position.
By doing something, you have chosen a position.

Everyone in this fight has already chosen a position because the principles in this fight have, through their conflicting demands, forced each one of us into one corner or the other.

I'm not even going to ask that you choose.
You already have.


UPDATE:
Catholic Culture appears to agree with me.



2 comments:

Jordanes551 said...

Since you wrote this post specifically in response to my earlier comment, I suppose I should respond.

Some of the more unreflective Catholic bloggers on the Internet are calling for Catholics to sit out the fight between the Bishop of Amarillo and Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life.

Well, since it's not our fight, we kind of have an obligation to "sit it out," don't we.

Hint: approaching this matter prayerful and choosing to speak respectfully and reservedly, abstaining from extreme rhetoric vitriolic name-calling, does not necessarily equal "siting out the fight."

"I can't choose sides," says the Catholic, "there aren't enough facts for me to decide who is right. I will show how virtuous I am and simply wait for Rome to rule."

Yes, that's right, Steve. Declining to describe a priest as a showboating, narcissistic money-grubbing worm is really all about putting on a show of virtue.

Father Pavone, on the other hand, has sent no less than three (3) mass e-mails blasting out asking... nay, demanding... that we, the lay faithful, give him money and give it RIGHT NOW.

No, he issued no demands, as you know perfectly well. And he has only urged people to send money to Priests For Life, not to him.

So, if we sit back and "wait for Rome to respond," then we are refusing Father Pavone's three-fold demand.

He issued no demand, and as I have explained in the previous comment box, there is no obligation to send PFL money nor to refrain from sending them money.

If, on the other hand, we send money to Father Pavone, we are refusing to accept the bishop's judgement.

Wrong again. The bishop hasn't made any judgment yet. He's reined in Father Pavone because he has serious concerns and needs to investigate so he can make a judgment.

It doesn't matter that you don't have as much information as you would like to have.

On the contrary, it always matters when one doesn't have all the facts you need to make a decision. It also always matters when you try to make a judgment that you do not have the competence or authority to make.

By sitting idle, you have chosen a position.
By doing something, you have chosen a position.


Not necessarily -- or, not necessarily the position that you, Steve, might think he has chosen.

Everyone in this fight has already chosen a position because the principles in this fight have, through their conflicting demands, forced each one of us into one corner or the other.

Neither of us is in this fight, Steve, so it's best that we stay out of the ring and let the Church do its job of refereeing.

I'm not even going to ask that you choose.

That's good, since it's not your place to ask.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Both the bishop and Fr. Pavone have made mutually exclusive demands of the lay faithful, either through the ordinaries who rule us (as the bishop has) or directly to us (as Fr. Pavone has).

Whether we mean to or not, we will necessarily respond in accord with one of the two demands.

If you don't like name-calling, perhaps you should become a Hindu. Jesus and Paul both engaged in it, so there is no particular Scripturally-driven moral reason for us to avoid it.

You might argue a prudential reason. Obviously, good Catholics can disagree on that.

If you think we aren't in this fight, then I think you may want to re-read Mystici Corporis: the Mystical Body of Christ, and all that.