The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Extra, extra! News and views for February 1, 2023

Here are some articles, essays, and editorials that caught our attention this past week or so.*

(Image: Stephen Noble/; modified in Photoshop)

Going Under the Big Tent – “I suggest that prior to any talk about “enlarging the tent,” Catholics and particularly their bishops should strive to realize anew whose “tent” it is, and the doxological end it serves.” A Bodily Faith (First Things)

Progressives, Pope Francis, and Homosexuality – The progressives insist the Pope intended to and is changing Catholic teaching on sex, marriage and sin. What does Pope Francis really think about homosexuality and sin? (Catholic Herald)

Greatest Generation Fading Fast – “Coming less than four months after the equally moving obsequies of Queen Elizabeth II, this funeral was our last farewell to a generation of leaders whose lives had been formed under the impact of the two world wars.” Prophet of Catholic conservatism: The magisterial Benedict XVI has bequeathed a lasting legacy (The Critic)

Participation in the Eucharist – “Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego has penned a lengthy reflection (available hereon how the synodal process might address the exclusion of certain categories of people.” A Road to Nowhere (The Catholic Thing)

Cardinal Spin – “Cardinal McElroy’s recent essay surprised some Catholics, because it seemed to deviate from the position of Pope Francis, and the Catechism, on a central issue of Catholic doctrine.” Cardinal McElroy, Pope Francis and the synod (Pillar)

Strong Words – While recognizing their dignity as image-bearers, Cardinal Ratzinger’s ‘Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons’ underscored official church teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, and same-sex attraction is “intrinsically disordered. Enduring lessons from a courageous manifesto: What Protestants can learn from Benedict’s pastoral letter on homosexuality (World)

Jane’s Revenge – The Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into pro-abortion attacks on churches and pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) accelerated Tuesday from motionless to glacial. Too Little, Too Late: DOJ’s First Jane’s Revenge Indictments Underwhelm (Washington Stand)

Loss of Unity – “One of the world’s leading professors of the natural law has given a robust defense of the infallibility of the Church’s teaching on contraception . . . ” John Finnis to Pontifical Academy for Life: Church’s Infallible Teaching Against Contraception Is ‘Certainly True’ (National Catholic Register)

Sex and Gender – “The word ‘gender’ draws a stark—some might say Platonic—dividing line between ‘sex,’ meaning one’s biological characteristics as male or female, and ‘gender,’ meaning the ways in which one behaves, feels, and is perceived. Soul Dysphoria: Understanding the “trans” phenomenon means recognizing it’s about more than gender (The American Mind)

St. Augustine’s Catechetical Instruction – “I just find the consistency of human experience fascinating – here we have a man writing ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS AGO to another fellow who’s getting a little bored repeating the same lessons over and over and who’s unsure whether or not he’s being heard and really understood.” How to Catechize (Charlotte Was Both)

Religiously-Endorsed Abortion – Abortion lawyers are launching less conventional attacks, including that pro-life laws violate the right to freely exercise religion. Leftist Lawyers Try To Protect Killing The Unborn By Calling It A Religion (The Federalist)

Next Papal Election – “If you are looking forward to the next papal election, you are not alone—but you are overwhelmingly likely to be a Catholic who accepts everything the Church teaches.” The next pope’s dilemma—and ours (Catholic Culture)

Cultural Revolution – A decade ago, Marguerite Peeters identified the content and strategy of Western civilization’s internal saboteurs. Waking Up To The Quiet Revolution (The American Conservative)

(*The posting of any particular news item or essay is not an endorsement of the content and perspective of said news item or essay.)

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  1. Can’t open the link (third from bottom, “Religiously-endorsed Abortion”), but am sure that the article invites the following observation:

    There can be no doubt that in direct violation of the First Amendment, lawyers and the courts have established (!) Secular Humanism as our civil religion. How cleverly sinister is this? The First Amendment innocently provides only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” The need to rein in a rogue United States Supreme Court and an overreaching Administration never occurred to the Founding Fathers (now at least partly corrected by the Dobbs decision).

  2. Second from bottom–“Next Papal Election”: Mirus concludes: “What I am talking about is a fully Catholic man who can actually govern the Church.” Or, maybe a fully Catholic pope aided by a brilliant and fully Catholic right-hand man, both working through restored Congregations and reliable diocesan bishops?

    In any event, the crucial need is that enough of the internationalized Francis cardinals are sufficiently non-Western as to not to be caught up in the Western heresies–such that they can vote with the Holy Spirit to block a two-thirds vote for a cloned “Francis pope.”

    Then, the conclave can settle on a well-qualified and so-called “compromise” selection…one solidly formed and highly equipped to both retrieve the center from ambiguity and reconstruct the capacity for governance. Not a synodal plebiscite, but a radioactive Church which is both contemplative and active. (See some of the nineteen periti profiled in Edward Pentin, editor, “The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates,” Sophia Institute Press, 2020).

  3. @ Progressives, Pope Francis, and Homosexuality. “Two homoerotically affectionate people have kind, generous and perhaps even a charming sexual intimacy”, essayist Gavin Ashendeden Catholic Herald poses the killer question that leaves many in doubt, but more frequently accepting of homoerotic relationships.
    That premise is the prevalent conviction that love is good if it feels good and is mutually fulfilling, pleasant, an example to the oft tendentious straight relationship. Then it must be a contribution to an ordered, peaceful society. Simplistic yet widely held among Catholics most of whom were poorly educated religiously and listened for years to innocuous lengthy sermons.
    Sensualism, the initial good premise that feeling good through sensual activity about what we do from the ordinary good things like good food, a beautiful sunny day in the outdoors is now become sensualism. Anything regardless of traditional barrier must be good if it feels good. Our sense organs rule the mind. As capsulized by Woody Allen in the movie Sleeper, My brain, my second favorite organ!
    We stopped using our intellects beyond its created purpose educated en masse via communications technology smart phones, computers of many kind, telecommunications, constant sexual sensual bombardment on tv screens and of course those mind numbing sermons many priests read from prewritten sheets of paper.
    The world has become our oyster, no longer for a Rockefeller or Diamond Jim Brady, any plebeian can by trading in his or her brain to the media through virtual reality or disordered sexual reality.
    What can save us Lord? If not the Catholic priesthood, which has failed miserably themselves taken by the senses whether materially or pridefully for status. Who then will pay the greater price at Judgment, if not we sentinels who never cried wolf when the wolf was really at the gates.

  4. The 20th Century saw a decline of appreciation for Strong Words, as if it had been discovered that a priori they are defective in compassion and relevance in faith and reason. A certain strain of psychology is mixed up in this.

    Concomitantly in the same stretch of time strong words rose in favour when they were deployed in decrying Catholicism; and many Catholics obliged it, thinking it would be a sound apologetic. Thus going a little further in that logic, strong words then run counter to VATICAN II -or, in the mode of expression of the day, are against its spirit.

    If this is followed what we would have is a consolidation of wrong learning and non-witness of the 20th Century in the name of faith, going forward with a canonization of the so-called spirit of the Council; that together carry for development and updating, many errors and contradictions that took hold and were forcibly disseminated.

    Faith all washed out and whitewashed.

    All that is not VATICAN II and it can not be the 21st Century. For what must suppress them, put them down and replace them, we must beseech God.

    The Church of today must respect and garner what few efforts were made during the last century to extinguish those flames and spread truth. These were not ineffective; however, THEY are part in the truth of the Council and THEY are the necessary features for the further expressions of the faith yet to unfold and the truthful and honest recounting of the history of the world.

    I can simultaneously make the same comment upon Greatest Generation.

  5. @ A Bodily Faith. Fr Robert Imbelli analyzes Card McElroy’s separation of doctrine from inclusion, offering scriptural references especially those of the Apostle Paul that establish discipleship with Christ as a bodily commitment as well as simply spiritual.
    McElroy’s perspective abstracts love from the physical, from what we do. He objectifies love as motivational, in essence sentiment, and that the traditional Christian requisites are detrimental to free expression of love, consequently preventing inclusion.
    The cardinal objectifies love, making it conceptual, absent of specification. By this, he separates Christ from what Christ reveals to us of the Father, whose essence is love [and whose essence is identical with his existence, Aquinas, in continuity with the Apostle John, that God is love].
    This concept, Card McElroy’s anthropocentric perspective for inclusion is antithetical to Christ, and is nothing other than idolatry, the idolization of a sentiment.

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