Catholic Controversies

This morning I had prepared to wax eloquent about the recently revealed comments by Pope Francis and the confusion and dismay they are causing with faithful Catholics and the jubilant “hurrays” coming from the  Catholics who would love to Church to fit the modern world.

Remember that GK Chesterton said, “The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

But I couldn’t do better than the excellent article written today in Crisis Magazine online entitled “Where Francis Leads, We Can’t Follow” written brilliantly by Michael Warren Davis. I hope he doesn’t mind I reproduce it here for you all to read and appreciate.

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download“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

That’s a quote from Pope Francis. Pope Francis—the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. And not only has he come out in support of civil unions for same-sex couples: he has also confirmed old rumors that he did so in his native Argentina as early as 2010. For at least a decade, Francis has quietly but actively dissented from Church teaching on human sexuality.

Lest there be any doubt, in 2003 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—then led by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who was appointed by John Paul II—declared:

The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions…. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

That is indeed the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church. And the Pope is now on the record dissenting from that teaching, publicly and unambiguously.

download (2)Up to this point, I’ve tried very hard to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. No longer. The Pope has made it abundantly clear that his mind is not with the mind of the Church. He doesn’t believe in the sacred deposit of the Magisterium. He doesn’t feel bound to the Church’s traditions.

Some readers will accept that implicitly. Others will not. So, let’s be very clear: One of the first principles of Catholic social teaching is that immoral acts must not be given legal sanction. That’s why the Church plainly teaches that abortion (CCC, 2273) and pornography (CCC, 2354) should be prohibited by law. We as Catholics believe that civil authorities must not condone vice, even implicitly.

For the Pope—or any Catholic—to endorse same-sex civil unions is wicked. It follows the exact same logic that Joe Biden uses to justify his support for abortion: “I’m personally opposed to killing babies in the womb, but I wouldn’t impose that view on women who want to kill their babies.” The Pope has just made that exact same argument for male sodomy.

This may be the most significant moment in papal history since Paul VI published Humanae Vitae. In fact, Francis’s comments are a kind of diabolical inversion of Humanae Vitae.

When he ruled that artificial contraception was always and everywhere immoral, Paul VI was addressing a live debate in the Church that had never been definitively resolved. And not only did he go against popular opinion: he contradicted many of his own leading theologians, including many “conservatives.” As for Francis, nobody was expecting him to weigh in on the marriage issue. This was a spontaneous remark, and on a matter that has long been settled by Church authorities. Only a small handful of “mainstream” theologians and bishops have ever signaled their support for civil unions.

download (3)Paul defended the Magisterium against vast legions of Sexual Revolutionaries outside the Vatican walls and their many fifth-columnists within. Francis has raised the white flag to the Sexual Revolution without their firing so much as a peashooter in his direction.

Some Catholics will take this as proof that Francis is consciously working to subvert traditional Church teaching. Others will assume he’s just theologically illiterate and, frankly, not very bright. Still others will conclude that he’s prone to spouting off on topics he neither understands nor really cares to understand. Many think he’s going senile, which might be the most charitable view. But I’ll leave that for the reader to decide.

At some level, it doesn’t matter. Whether the Pope is consciously or accidentally dissenting from the Church, he is dissenting from the Church. There’s no question about that.

Little wonder that progressive Catholics are thrilled by the Pope’s comments. Father James Martin, who has long worked to undermine the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, tweeted: “This is a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBTQ people.” His colleague at the Jesuit-run America Magazine, Michael J. O’Loughlin, likewise wrote: “People downplaying the Pope’s words, on camera, endorsing civil unions for gay couples should ask LGBT Catholics how the remarks make them feel…. I assure you this is big news.” Indeed, it is.

Of course, the Catholic Left will weaponize the Pope’s comments against orthodox believers. Father Daniel Horan, the wayward Franciscan, wonders “what bigoted church leaders who have been firing Catholic school teachers and parish ministers for entering into same-sex unions are thinking right now. Maybe they’re thinking about what their own resignation letters might look like.” No doubt. Progressive bishops and diocesan bureaucrats will use Francis’s endorsement as a cudgel against orthodox Catholics in our schools, colleges, and chanceries.

download (1)What’s astonishing is how many “conservative” Catholics can’t see that. Ryan T. Anderson, who gained prominence as a critic of Big Trans and now teaches at the University of Dallas, also took to Twitter in support of Francis. Dr Anderson noted that he himself had also “proposed something like ‘civil unions’ for non-married people.” Again, one tries to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. But that clearly crosses the line into cognitive dissonance.

Francis may be one of those fifth-columnists that Paul VI opposed. Or maybe he’s one of their useful idiots. But this much is perfectly clear: Pope Francis doesn’t think of himself as pope. Whatever his idea of the papacy is, he’s dead wrong.

The duty of the pope is to safeguard and clarify the Sacred Deposit of the Faith. He’s supposed to think with the mind of the Church and follow the Magisterium; instead, he speaks whatever happens to be on his mind and expects the Magisterium to follow. The papacy hasn’t humbled him, as it did his predecessor. It has emboldened him.

Francis embraces the worst Protestant caricature of his office. He sees himself as a man with universal competence, one given to him directly by God Himself. That competence allows him to opine authoritatively on any matter, sacred or secular, that happens to tickle his fancy. That’s not what a pope is, by any stretch of the Catholic imagination.

But we know that. We also know that, when the Pope flatly contradicts the Magisterium, we may ignore him. Better yet, we can—and we must—contradict him loudly, for the sake of those who might otherwise follow the Holy Father into error. “This isn’t what the Church teaches,” we say. “This isn’t what Catholics believe.”

What a horrible burden this pope has put on the faithful. A good Catholics wants nothing more than to respect, trust, and obey the Successor of Saint Peter. Francis has made that impossible for so many. If he were really as wise and compassionate as he believes himself to be, he would recognize how many of his poor children he’s leading into scandal and disbelief.

Yet sometimes a dutiful son can do nothing but resolve to be a bigger man than his father. And that’s the sad situation we now find ourselves in. Pope Francis is leading our family down a dangerous path, and we can’t “accompany” him on that journey. We have to plant our feet firmly in the Church’s sacred traditions, and encourage our brothers and sisters to do the same.

Pray for our Holy Father, who needs our prayers now more than ever. If you love him, stand your ground. Please God, he’ll turn away from his error someday. Then we, the faithful remnant, may lead him back home.

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download (2)Today I will pre-record a radio show with Fr. McTeigue SJ, on The Stations of the Cross Radio network. The discussion is entitled “In Defense of Single Issue Voting.”

I will make the case that if today one political party held slavery as legal and the other opposed it, that slavery would become a single-issue voting issue. Everything else would pale in comparison.

How can we consider abortion any less of a single voting issue? Human life and dignity and freedom are the bedrock of our Catholic Faith and of our country.

In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled that slavery was legal and that Blacks were no citizens. To rule for Dred Scott’s freedom  would “improperly deprive Scott’s owner of his legal property”.

Some day future historians will look back and compare the Dred Scott case with the Roe vs. Wade case. Shame on us!!

download (1)If our country survives for another hundred years with any semblance of godliness and goodwill, our future citizens will look back at horror at Roe, just as we today all look back with horror at the Dred Scott case allowing slavery.

If we get the human life issue wrong, we get everything else wrong since it all hinges on human dignity and freedom.

If a rocketship sets off a fraction of an inch off its trajectory, it will land a million miles from its destination. Get the human life issue wrong and we will end up enslaved to a godless tyranny. God have mercy on our country.

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Another Good Priest Removed: What a Shame!

by Steve Ray on July 4, 2020

setoncarmel-orgIt seems like the Sadducees and Pharisees of old, the clericalists and religious leaders of their day, are again killing the prophets and silencing the voices in the wilderness.

Bishop Timothy Doherty (765-742-0275) removed Father Ted Rothrock, of Carmel, IN for posting in his bulletin the truth about the social situation today.

For Fr. Ted’s comments, he was forced to apologize and even then still removed from ministry.

Patrick Coffin gives a good critique of the situation and the text of Fr. Ted’s commentary here.

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My Seven Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family & Friends

June 2, 2020

Recently I had the opportunity to do a podcast with Pamela Fernandez about a topic that I am asked about more than any other. What should I do with my family? How do I get them back in the Church? You can also visit Pamela’s website for more info and resources. Hopefully you will enjoy […]

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Two New Zoom Podcasts: Matt Fradd’s “Pints with Aquinas” & “Reason and Theology”

May 26, 2020

On his podcast Pints with Aquinas, Matt Fradd and I discussed the Papacy. Very lively and wide-ranging conversation. Matt is an excellent interviewer. He entitled the show “A Conversation with the “Indiana Jones” of the Catholic Church” I interviewed on Reason & Faith on the Crisis in the Church with William Albrecht, Erick Ybarra and […]

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Debunking 5 Biblical Myths Accepted by Many as True

May 17, 2020

There are three “truths” I have been asked about many times. Often people tell me these as though they’re explaining to me something I’ve never heard before. However, in each case, there is no historical, biblical or actual basis to any three of them. In each case they started being taught in recent times and […]

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Four cardinals join global appeal decrying crackdown on basic freedoms over coronavirus

May 7, 2020

Update: Cardinal Sarah denied having been a signatory. May 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic clergy led by former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinals Robert Sarah, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats have joined an appeal “for the Church and the world” that warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used […]

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More and more Catholics identifying as “born-again”

March 13, 2020

This is an unsettling development in the American Catholic Church. However, we had it coming. With priestly scandals, weak-kneed bishops, liberal and leftist theology and politics — what are serious Catholics to do? The answer is to hunker down, pray and work for revival, but many are looking to the conservative, experiential, emotionally-satisfying Evangelical churches […]

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This is the Faith! Thank you Cardinal Müller!

January 21, 2020

Speaking into the confusion of our modern world, and unfortunately the Vatican. Bravo Cardinal Müller!

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“Francis was never pope? Call me unpersuaded.” By Dr. Ed Peters

January 20, 2020

Article below by Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters: (Steve Ray here: It is amazing how many people today are rejecting the papacy of Pope Francis, claiming that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is really the pope. It comes up on my Twitter and Facebook accounts almost daily. Even though Canon Lawyer Ed Peters wrote his legal […]

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If the Barrage of Bad News from Rome causes Anxiety…

November 24, 2019

If following the problems in Rome is causing you to stumble, be depressed or anxious— just turn it off and live your Catholic life locally and be holy. This is what all Catholics did before the prevalence of the mass media.

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Free Webinar: Keeping Faith in a Hostile World

October 27, 2019

Keeping Faith In A Hostile World – Living as Catholics in a Non-Christian World Join Teresa Tomeo with guests Steve Ray and Al Kresta Free Webcast!  Wednesday, October 30th; 11am-Noon ET The culture has grown hostile to our faith, bombarding us with contradictory messages. With scandals and confusion even seeping into the Catholic Church, it can be hard to stay […]

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My Talk on Pope Francis is now available

October 24, 2019

A few weeks ago I gave a controversial talk entitled “How Does a John Paul 2 Catholic Survive in a Pope Francis World.” The talk was given to a 6-state gathering of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre with a number of bishops in the audience. Al Kresta spoke first with the same topic […]

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Pagan Idols into the Tiber River: It Wasn’t a Stunt

October 22, 2019

Whatever that was, it wasn’t a ‘stunt’ By Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer October 22, 2019 A few days ago men removed some female figurines (centerpieces for several weird ceremonies in Rome the last few weeks) from a church and tossed them into the Tiber River. Vatican spokesman Paolo Ruffini dismissed the act as a “stunt”. […]

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EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo is Under Attack; Pope Says He’s Honored to be Attacked by Americans

September 11, 2019

The post below was from a year ago but certainly still very timely. The blog hit a nerve so I am reposting this. Having been on EWTN a couple of times since this original posting, I must say that EWTN and affiliates are spot on and I support them and their ministry and assessment of the Church all […]

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Pope Says Capital Punishment is Inadmissible, Cardinal Dolan Praises the Decision, Ed Peter’s Challenges Both

June 18, 2019

A comment on a cardinal’s tweet re capital punishment, by Canon Lawyer Ed Peters: June 17, 2019 Earlier today Cdl. Dolan of New York tweeted: “With the clear and cogent clarification of the successor of St. Peter, there now exists no loophole to morally justify capital punishment.” The supposedly clear and cogent clarification that Dolan […]

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