Tag Archives: Robert Royal

It Matters What You Think

By: George Dunlap, August 26, 2019, The only power we as Christians have over evil is the Power of Truth from God, and that truth comes from rigorous study. Ignorance is not bless. The Aquinas 101 program is another great resource for our continuing search for truth and God’s Blessings.

It Matters What You Think By Robert Royal Monday, August 26, 2019

I wrote here recently about the Thomistic Institutes, an initiative of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington D.C., which organizes lectures and conferences by first-rate, orthodox Catholics at nearly fifty (and growing) of the most prestigious colleges and universities in America. And expansion to parts foreign is on the way. Many readers wrote to express their appreciation of this much-needed network – but also to ask: What to do if nothing of that sort is available nearby? There’s now an answer. Today, August 26, Aquinas 101 – a website created by the same Dominicans – goes live (click here, and prepare yourself for a bracing experience). The series will eventually consist of eighty-six brief lessons, carefully geared for study by anyone of normal capabilities and interest. Did I mention that the course is open to everyone – and free? This is an accessible, well-crafted introduction to the greatest of all Dominican thinkers, St. Thomas Aquinas, which will not only put you in touch with the man who has most shaped Catholic thought for centuries, but will help you see how that body of thought has great relevance to some of the most neuralgic questions we face. For example, a lot of people today, even Christians, even Catholics, have fallen into some basic confusions about the nature of Faith and Reason. As an early lecture in the series explains, this leads – on the one hand – to skepticism (we can’t really know anything about God), but also – on the other hand – to what has been termed “fideism,” that we just believe without knowing what we believe in. Both are natural reactions in a post-truth age, but a searching Catholic will not want to let his or her thinking remain stuck in our current social funk. There are better and “truer” ideas about truth, so to speak, that Aquinas and others provide us. You’ve probably seen the recent survey that shows how few people, even among practicing Catholics, believe in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. Many regard it as a mere “symbol.” Ultimately, the Eucharist is a deep mystery, but holy and gifted men like Aquinas have used the various tools of the tradition and of human reason to offer serious, rational approaches to what ultimately transcends us – and all Creation. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest, recently commented on the survey that he didn’t believe in the terms like substance, accident, matter, and form that Aquinas uses to explain the Eucharist because modern science has discredited them. In fact, science has not done so and cannot do so because the way the Scholastic thinkers use those terms is philosophical. It does not and cannot conflict with science – ancient, modern, postmodern, or anything to come, ever. But you would have to have studied what those terms mean and how Faith and Reason are related to know why.

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Fr. James V. Schall S.J. – Pray for me

By George Dunlap, April 23, 2019 –

April 17, 2019 Fr. James V. Schall S. J. died, my first read of one of Fr. Schall’s books was, Another Sort of Learning, on my quest to a deeper understanding of my Catholic faith and awareness of my lack of a solid Catholic education; I found direction, I looked for answers. During my journey I found many writings by Fr. Schall. I read and re-read Another Sort of Learning and like many others was hooked on Fr. Schall’s teachings. Below are a few of the articles about Fr. Schall, I trust you may find his life enlightening in our Lord Gods love. Pray for me.

Fr. James V. Schall S.J.

(from The Catholic Thing) James V. Schall, S.J. 1928-2019, who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, was one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. Among his many books are The Mind That Is Catholic, The Modern Age, Political Philosophy and Revelation: A Catholic Reading, Reasonable Pleasures, Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught, Catholicism and Intelligence, and, most recently, On Islam: A Chronological Record, 2002-2018.

In Praise of James V. Schall S.J. By The Catholic Thing Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Fr. James Schall on Books and Teaching– April 19, 2019 Roland Millare

In Praise of Father Schall – by George Weigel 7 . 28 . 10

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., has died at the age of 91April 17, 2019 Carl E. Olson

Father James V. Schall, S.J., R.I.P. By Kathryn Jean Lopez

Who Will Convert Us? The Life of James V. Schall, S.J. By Ken Masugi| April 18th, 2019


The Coming Storm

Robert Royal Thursday, February 21, 2019

Many people – even many Catholics – who only follow Church matters vaguely, have been puzzled by the Vatican’s conspicuous lack of a sense of urgency about the sexual abuse crisis. Yes, there’s a “summit” on abuse that starts today, but only after months and with a program that looks very carefully stage-managed to keep the most troubling questions at a distance from the Vatican itself.

And it is strange, given that – as many in Rome are certainly aware – instantaneous communications in our digital world make the slow response look less like the Vatican’s usual leisurely procedures and much more like a desire not to know too much – or how high the problem may reach.

But it’s rapidly becoming impossible to keep the lid on. Just two days ago, for example, The Washington Post carried a story about a case in Argentina (available here) involving the abuse of minors at an institute for deaf children. An Italian priest, Nicola Corradi, was spiritual director there and later at a similar school in Italy, and along with others abused dozens of underage children for decades.

This story is not entirely new – there had been reports about abuse at the Argentinean school for several months. In many ways, it seemed to be just one more case of sexual exploitation of the vulnerable and a lack of Church oversight.

What is new, however, is quite shocking: “The Italian victims’ efforts to sound the alarm to church authorities began in 2008 and included mailing a list of accused priests to Francis in 2014 and physically handing him the list in 2015.” If the accusations are to be believed – and they seem quite credible on the basis of the Post’s investigative reporting – this means that the pope knew of the abuse of minors, at an Italian school under the supervision of the Vatican. And either he or those who, under his direction, should have acted, did essentially nothing.

That story has been widely circulated in America and victims in Argentina and Italy are now demanding justice – one has even begun a hunger strike. But if you think that it has caused much of a reaction in Italy or in Rome, you would be wrong. And that may be one reason why officials in the Vatican seem to continue to believe that they can manage the revelations that have come out and, no doubt, the others that we will see in the next few days. But they can’t.

It may be difficult for most American Catholics to believe, but there’s little interest about the abuse summit in Italy, or most of Europe, at the moment. The New York Times, in its bigoted anti-Catholicism, may run “news” stories intended to discredit the Church almost every day. But in a way, that’s a backhanded tribute to the fact that even the Times believes that the Church means something and is worth the trouble of attacking.

By contrast, you’d have to work hard to find news about the summit or the abuse crisis in Europe’s mainstream media. There’s been a little interest in a related story that just appeared about the Vatican’s rules about how to handle the children of wayward priests – 50,000 of them according to the Vatican itself. But about the global abuse crisis and the lack of response by figures from the pope on down, all but nothing.

[Late addition: Owing to time changes, this couldn’t be included in the original article, but the BBC, which takes an interest in Britain’s former colonies, is reporting that Mumbai’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias also failed to act on allegations about abuse that were brought to him. Furthermore, Gracias is one of the four main organizers of the summit. And as is the case with Pope Francis, this did not happen in some distant past when policies were different but as recently as 2015.]

An Italian journalist who, though a serious Catholic, has worked at the very highest levels of the secular media here, told me the other day that most Italians are virtual “nihilists” (his term) when it comes to corruption in the Church. They believe that it’s always been that way and always will be. They don’t show anything like the anger and outrage – or simple surprise – that is common in places like America and, increasingly, Latin America.

Italian friends who know the Roman landscape well say that the gay lobby in the Vatican – and the Vatican more generally – continue to exercise a very effective, old-school-style control over Church-related news. And not only locally, but in some of the most prestigious news outlets in Italy.

Vatican officials have for some time made it clear that they believe that, by contrast, the  American bishops mishandled the abuse crisis and let things get out of hand in the American press. They even occasionally give the impression that they – and perhaps the pope – think the American bishops are their enemies.

Neither charge is true. In fact, it would be truer to say that the bishops in America have a better – not perfect, but better – grip on the priestly abuse problem now than do bishops in any other country. (Holding bishops accountable, of course, is still unfinished business – and Rome hasn’t much helped with that.)

Their conflicts, such as they are, with Pope Francis mostly stem from the fact that – given constant media exposure, criminal investigations by civil authorities, and demands of justice for victims – they can’t count on media to ignore problems or a largely cynical laity to just go along, as in Europe. They need to act – and be seen to act.

And it’s not only in America that a storm is brewing. Abuse survivors from several continents met yesterday with the organizers of the summit – though not with the pope, a sore point among them. It’s hard to say whether their collective efforts will bring enough pressure to bear on the Vatican that it will break through the logjam. On the whole, you’d have to say: it appears not. But the victims are playing a prominent role now and are not going away.

To really address the problem would mean some painful moments of truth, such as we have experienced in the United States. Corruption this serious would, of course, require that some heads roll (not only McCarrick’s), in the Vatican and elsewhere, and that there be public acts of repentance. But the very general and broad program the organizers have published seems designed to make sure no one in the Vatican will need to lose much sleep.

I’ve been expecting for the last several weeks that there’s going to be some surprise announcement near the end of the summit, some striking move that will dominate news coverage creating the impression that some radical breakthrough has been achieved.

I don’t know exactly what that would be or whether it would be some real step forward or mere window dressing. But just as “synodality” materialized out of nowhere at the end of Synod on Youth, there is probably some plan in place to do something newsworthy to make it appear that the Vatican has turned a corner in dealing with abuse.

It’s had to believe that that will be really so or that it will convince the victims who have now assumed a public role in holding Church officials accountable at the very highest levels. But keep an eye on those victims. They will provide us with the best insights into what, if anything, has changed.

De-homosexualizing the American Church

 

De-homosexualizing the American Church

Note: Professor Carlin makes an argument here about changing discipline on priestly celibacy that is not my own or, it hardly needs saying, that of The Catholic Thing (which takes no official positions). It’s an extreme remedy for what may soon be revealed to be an extreme problem. We publish it as a spur to conversation about the extent of homosexuality among Catholic clergy and what may be necessary to deal with it. – Robert Royal

For years I’ve been opposed to the proposal that the Catholic Church drop its priestly celibacy requirement.  I’ve opposed it for two reasons.  First, it was a proposal put forward by “liberal” Catholics. Since I believe that a drift toward liberalism is gradually ruining the Catholic Church in America, I fear that giving in to any liberal demands – even sensible ones – will further contribute to the ruination of the Church.  Second, I fear that an end to mandatory celibacy will be an awful shock to ordinary Catholic believers who want the Church to maintain its traditions.

The changes introduced by Vatican II were relatively minor, but these minor departures from tradition proved to be a tremendous shock for many Catholics, including many priests and nuns.

But I’ve changed my mind – thanks to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington DC, who was the other day exposed as a homosexual who on at least one occasion, fifty years ago, was guilty of sexually abusing a minor.  The best account of the McCarrick horror story that I have so far read was written by Rod Dreher under the title:Cardinal McCarrick: Everybody Knew.”

According to Dreher’s account, McCarrick’s sexual misbehavior was not limited to one case early in his priestly career.  Far from it.  Very far.  He engaged in homosexual seduction and conduct with young adult men – seminarians and young priests – when he was the bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey.  Dreher doesn’t tell us what happened when McCarrick rose higher in the ecclesiastical world, becoming the archbishop first of Newark and later of Washington.  I assume we’ll be hearing more of the story soon.

I don’t know how many Catholic priests are homosexual.  I doubt that anybody really knows.  I’ve read of estimates ranging from fifteen percent to fifty percent.  Everybody in a position to make an intelligent guess seems to agree that the percentage of gay priests greatly exceeds the percentage of gay adults in the general population (about 2 or 3 percent).  Of course, not every priest with a homosexual orientation is a practicing homosexual.  And since so many of our priests are elderly, it is likely that many who used to engage in homosexual conduct no longer do so.  Either the urge has waned, or they can no longer get a date.

And it’s not just that we have too many gay priests.  It’s that they form networks within the priesthood.  They stick together.  They protect one another.  They help one another advance.  The McCarrick case is a splendid example of this.

It was no secret to insiders that he was a practicing homosexual, yet this did not prevent him from climbing the ecclesiastical ladder, from ordinary priest to bishop of a minor diocese (Metuchen), and then to Archbishop of Newark, and then to Archbishop of Washington, and finally to prince of the Church.  And nobody stopped him along the way.  He was well protected.

A sub-group doesn’t have to represent 51 percent of the whole in order to dominate the entire group.  In big corporations, 10 percent ownership is often enough to win control of the whole corporation.  In the old days, a well-organized gang of fifteen train robbers could rob a thousand passengers.

The Catholic Church in the United States, it is evident, has a homosexual tilt.  If (like me) you had some doubts about this before today, the McCarrick horror story should be enough to remove these doubts.

No wonder it is a rare priest – a very rare priest – who denounces homosexuality or same-sex marriage from the pulpit.  No wonder bishops don’t fight back against the gay movement, even though this movement is every day persuading thousands of young Catholics that their religion is wrong, and has been wrong for 2,000 years, in teaching that sodomy is sinful and unnatural.

And no wonder that the Church in America puts up virtually no resistance to our culture of sexual freedom.  How can a homosexually tainted religion complain about fornication and unmarried cohabitation?  Can it even complain about adultery?

And can anybody be surprised that our Church in America is feeble in its opposition to abortion?  For if you fight against abortion, you will have to fight against sexual freedom; and if you fight against sexual freedom, you will, of course, have to fight against sodomy.  One domino after another.

And will a priest, even one who is quite definitely non-gay, be able to be a good sexual counselor – regardless of whether the person he is counseling is straight or gay – in a Church that has a “soft spot” for homosexuality?

The Church must be de-homosexualized as soon as possible.  The best way of doing this, maybe the only way, is to open the priesthood to married men, the way the priesthood has been open to married men for many centuries in the Orthodox churches.

This is risky.  It will be a shock to many old-fashioned Catholics.  It will encourage liberal Catholics to intensify their demand that the priesthood be open to women.  Ironically, it will encourage liberals to demand that the Church ordain openly homosexual men (and women) to the priesthood provided they sincerely take a vow of celibacy.

But the risk has to be run.  Not to do so would be madness.  Thanks to the exposure of McCarrick, the secret is out.  It will no longer be possible to fool the average parishioner.  We are moving in the direction of becoming a gay-dominated religion.  There are many factors, not just this one, tending to ruin the Catholic Church in America.  But this one is especially lethal.

Let us hope it is not too late.  Let us hope we still have in our midst a critical mass of courageous bishops who are untainted and uncompromised.

 

David Carlin

David Carlin

David Carlin is professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

 

World Over – 06-21-18 – The Papal Posse and the Latest Church News with Raymond Arroyo

The Papal Posse @ ETWN

Immigration  and Cardinal McCarrick topics for discussion and review.

The latest news from Rome, Pope Francis’ criticism of US immigration policy, and the removal of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from public ministry amid sex abuse allegations, with the Papal Posse, ROBERT ROYAL and FR. GERALD MURRAY

RIP Father Matthew Lamb: Pater et Magister

RIP Father Matthew Lamb: Pater et Magister

(The Catholic Thing, 1/13/2018)

Note: Fr. Matthew Lamb was, since its founding in 1999, a member of the Advisory Board of the Faith & Reason Institute, the parent institution of The Catholic Thing. He was a dear friend and his passing is a great loss to America and the Church. – Robert Royal

In his doctoral colloquia on the ancients and the moderns, Fr. Lamb was fond of observing Socrates’ final line from the Apology, “But now it is time to go away, I to die and you to live. Which of us goes to a better thing is unclear to everyone except to the god.” A lifelong lover of Plato and Aristotle, Fr. Lamb never hesitated, however, to affirm the newness of the Gospel and its promise of eternal life. Unlike Socrates, we now know that death has become a dies natalis, a day of birth, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word.

The Book of Sirach says, “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations. . . .men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding. . . .leaders of the people in their deliberations and in understanding of learning for the people, wise in their words of instruction.” Over the course of a priestly vocation and theological career spanning Vatican II and the subsequent fifty years, Fr. Matthew Lamb was indeed among such great men.

He was born in 1937 and entered a Trappist monastery just before his fifteenth birthday. For many years, he lived the Trappist life of prayer and work, silence, and fasting – and of studying the Scripture, the Fathers, Aquinas, as well as contemporary theological scholarship.

During the 1960s, his abbot suggested that he go to Rome to earn advanced degrees in theology. There he encountered Bernard Lonergan, a scholar and teacher who inspired countless Catholic theologians who would go on to impact Catholic theology around the globe. In his later years, he would describe Lonergan’s influence, especially in relation to a deepening of his understanding of the wisdom found in Augustine and Aquinas.

After earning an STL from the Gregorianum in Rome, he went to study at the University of Münster, Germany under Johann Baptist Metz. He completed his Doctorate in Theology (Dr. Theol.) “Summa cum laude” and earned the University Prize for the best dissertation in Catholic Theology in 1974.

From that time forward, he dedicated himself to a singular task: the formation of doctoral students in the Catholic theological tradition. Fr. Lamb’s doctoral instruction would span five decades, first at Marquette, then Boston College, and finally Ave Maria University, where he founded and directed the Patrick F. Taylor Graduate Programs in Theology. Fr. Lamb’s doctoral students now teach across the United States and abroad, in seminaries, colleges, and universities.

Father Lamb

In 1990, he published an epochal essay in America Magazine entitled, “Will There Be Catholic Theology in the United States?” He went public with the beginning of what he would lightheartedly call “Lamb’s Lamentations.” He cautioned against what he termed the “Protestantization” of Catholic theology, combined with the loss of knowledge of Latin and Greek, which left students estranged from the sources of the Catholic theological tradition.

He became increasingly concerned that more and more Catholic theologians “no longer know what they don’t know.” He warned in a 1997 essay that over 90 percent of systematic theologians were doing dissertations focused on recent figures, with the result that real grounding in – as well as well as fidelity to – the dogmatic tradition was no longer being handed on to the next generation.

So he labored many years to pass along to students the intellectual patrimony he had received, culminating in his directing almost fifty dissertations and serving as a reader on almost as many others. He published over a hundred and sixty articles dealing with Augustine, Aquinas, Lonergan, theological method, political theology, modernism, communication theory, and the writings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In 2002, he received an honorary doctorate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in recognition of his contributions to the renewal of Catholic theology.

In 2003, Fr. Lamb delivered the academic convocation address at the newly-founded Ave Maria University. He challenged the young institution to strive to unite the first millennium’s quest for wisdom and holiness within the monastic traditions and the second millennium’s search for science and scholarship within the universities, a unity that he perceived had been severed over time causing great injury to society and the practice of theology.

To issue such a challenge took much understanding of the Church’s theological patrimony and much experience of the Church’s tradition of prayer. What took greater courage, however, was that Fr. Lamb was willing to leave his established position at Boston College and join this small institution with the fixed purpose of establishing and sustaining graduate programs in theology. Fr. Lamb became a champion for an authentic reception of Vatican II as a renewal within tradition.

In Fides et Ratio, Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “It must not be forgotten that reason too needs to be sustained in all its searching by trusting dialogue and sincere friendship. A climate of suspicion and distrust, which can beset speculative research, ignores the teaching of the ancient philosophers who proposed friendship as one of the most appropriate contexts for sound philosophical inquiry.”In Christ, Fr. Lamb fostered such relationships of friendship that sustained authentic inquiry into the realities of the Catholic faith. In addition to being a father and teacher to so many students, young and old, clerical and lay, he also became a friend.

Fr. Lamb passed through the portals of death on January 12, 2018. He died, as was providentially fitting, with two doctoral students praying and keeping vigil at his bedside throughout the night. In the many funeral Masses he had celebrated for others, he would often say that “they now see what we only believe.” He would say this with real joy, however, not with the sighs and half-hopes that one often feels. In his daily life, he felt himself in a living communion with Christ Jesus.

Fr. Lamb passed through the portals of death on January 12, 2018. He died, as was providentially fitting, with two doctoral students praying and keeping vigil at his bedside throughout the night. In the many funeral Masses he had celebrated for others, he would often say that “they now see what we only believe.” He would say this with real joy, however, not with the sighs and half-hopes that one often feels. In his daily life, he felt himself in a living communion with Christ Jesus.

Let us pray that through the abundant divine mercy he is now gazing in that most loving and beatifying vision upon the most holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.