From Joseph Guderian of Claymont (see page 12), we get the following gem:
There’s a tone of wishfulness and a touch of schadenfreude in George Weigel’s vision of “the Anglican Communion … falling apart.” I have to wonder why he’s addressing the subject in the first place, when all he has to do is turn his attention to the Catholic Church in Nebraska, where a bishop has excommunicated a group of faithful Catholics who want nothing more than a say in who leads them, an end to sexual discrimination in the ordination of clergy, and a relaxation of the rule against a married priesthood, all issues supported by a majority of church members in the U.S.
Worst of all, I haven’t heard of a single American bishop (never mind the Vatican’s refusal to intervene) who is standing up to this reckless abuse of office in Nebraska.
The “falling apart” is closer to home.
First, let’s correct something. The Vatican refused to intervene. There were two separate appeals to the Vatican by members of Call to Action (one of about ten groups who the Bishop had said membership in was incompatible with the Catholic faith). The first appeal was denied stating that Bishop Bruskewitz’s decision was within his prerogatives as Bishop of Lincoln Nebraska. The second appeal was denied on the grounds that the Vatican’s “Supreme Court” had no jurisdiction in the matter. So, not only did the Vatican not refuse to intervene, but they upheld the decision of the Bishop.
Next, the Bishop did not single out Call to Action, although he would have been within his rights to do so. First, this was not an immediate excommunication. He gave members of his diocese a month to leave these groups and make things right with the Church before the excommunications were recognized. Those who stayed in these organizations after the deadline excommunicated themselves.
And what were the organizations that were covered by this decree?
Society of St. Pius X (a group that denies the validity of Vatican II)
Call to Action (dissents on many issues like priestly celibacy, election of bishops, male priesthood, etc.)
Hemlock Society(A group that pushed for legalized suicide)
St. Michael the Archangel Chapel (another schismatic group of traditionalist Catholics)
Freemasons (this is in accordance with universal Church law)
Job’s Daughters (also masonic)
DeMolay (Masonic again)
Rainbow Girls (still Masonic)
Catholics for a Free Choice (rabidly pro-abortion)
This was far from a move to single out Call to Action. What’s especially ironic about Mr. Guderian’s complaint about George Weigel’s article and his defense of Call to Action is that he’s defending a group that is trying to make the Catholic Church more like the Episcopalians who are falling apart, even if Mr. Guderian refuses to see it. Taking the Church in that direction would inevitably lead to an Episcopalian type fracture. We only have to look at the Anglican Communion to see it occurring, why does he wish it on our Church?
Excommunication is a last ditch effort by the Church to draw people back into God’s graces; it’s a final statement saying that people have been willfully and stubbornly doing wrong and the have not responded to the Church’s efforts to bring them back into the fold. It’s not done lightly, but only when all other efforts have failed. And remember, this move was upheld by the Vatican so it couldn’t have been done capriciously.
Finally, you often hear arguments like Mr Guderian raises saying “a majority of people believe x, y and z.” To quote our current Pope: “Truth is not determined by majority vote.” Or to quote many people’s mothers: “If everyone else were jumping off a bridge, would you do it also?”
(Again, thanks to Hube for the concept of the “Dopey Letter to the Editor.”)