Cardinal Blase Cupich, not to be outdone (and outshone) by his confrere Cardinal McElroy, has recently penned a short essay criticizing “exclusion”. It asserts that the theology of the now conveniently deceased Pope Benedict XVI supports the view of Cupich that the Church should change her teaching that, prima facie, some sins bar one from Eucharistic communion. Cupich bases this analysis of Benedict on the late pope’s statements in Deus Caritas est about the infinite depths of the divine love and that this love, in a sense, trumps God’s justice.
Cupich therefore concludes that the late pope’s theology comports well with the notion that the Church should not adjudicate certain sins as incompatible with Eucharistic communion. It does not take advanced degrees in theology to see that the class of sins to which Cupich is alluding, in the not-so-coded language of inclusion, are the sexual sins which Cardinal McElroy has already identified as in need of a downgrading to venial status, if indeed still listed as “sins” at all.
Exclusion or confusion?
Of course, as an interpretation of Benedict’s theology this scarcely rises to the level of nonsense. Benedict is not talking about anything even remotely approaching Cupich’s thinly-veiled attempt to baptize the sexual revolution. Benedict, in Deus Caritas est, is instead speaking of the great theo-drama of salvation history wherein the divine freedom is contending with sinful human freedom, and which, via the various covenants, seeks to reconcile that sin with the divine justice without, for all that, dismissing its demands. And this then culminates in Christ and the paschal mystery where sin is transformed and defeated from within, thus opening up a new regime of grace where the Law of God will now be written on our hearts thus opening up for all of us the possibility of sanctification. But this path of sanctification is not an option and salvation must be appropriated in a lived, existential way. That is, after all, what the New Testament calls “being a disciple of Jesus”, and which the earliest Church referred to as “The Way”.
This is, quite simply, the Gospel with its dynamical interplay of sin and grace; redemption and judgment. It is the language, not only of Benedict, but also of St. Paul, the Fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Bonaventure, and of all of the Councils and doctors of the Church. How, therefore, is it possible for Cardinal Cupich suddenly to discover that this grand theo-drama of salvation is a form of “exclusionary” speech at odds with the Gospel’s “inclusive” message of redemption?
According to Cupich, the Church’s traditional approach to moral theology evinces a form of exclusionary speech that seeks pharisaically to exclude whole classes of sinners (and, once again, here it is clear he means sexual sinners) by turning God’s justice against his love. The traditional teaching, by contrast, insists that God’s moral commandments about sex have not been nullified and negated by the grace of Christ, but deepened and given a new orientation toward love as the fulfillment of justice and not its contrary. Therefore, sexual sins are not a violation of certain “prohibitions” rooted in a harsh and heartless justice (as Cupich seems to think), but are rather violations of the demands of charity — a charity which is itself the fulfillment of justice and not its negation via some kind of supercession of love over the just demands of the moral law.
Therefore, in pitting God’s love against his justice—and misleadingly invoking Benedict to justify this move—Cupich is engaging in an implied Marcionism that sees the regime of Christ’s grace in the new covenant as a kind of de facto negation of the demands of the moral law in the old covenant. Pope Benedict never pitted God’s moral truth against God’s loving mercy as Cupich does here. Benedict does say that God’s love trumps his justice, but this is to emphasize the theological priority of the economy of salvation over the economy of perdition. It in no way implies that somehow the Church can now open the communion table to any and all regardless of their moral condition.
In reality, the entire Cupich essay remains on the level of a muddled mess so long as one tries to take it seriously as an actual attempt at theology. In reality, it is nothing of the sort, and I do not believe for one second that Cardinal Cupich really cares if the theology he is attempting to create here out of whole cloth—a theology of open Eucharistic table fellowship for almost all sexual sinners—is coherent. Because this level of sophomoric obtuseness is not an attempt at theology at all. It is a form of political rhetoric meant to make formerly rejected views palatable for the average Catholic via a sophistical word salad borrowed from NPR and other mouthpieces of the dominant cultural ethos.
Capitulation to the political spirit of our age
This bare-knuckled politics of a rather populist sort seeks to use the synodal way as a pretext for changing Church teaching in matters of sexuality to be in line with the sexual mores of secular modernity. This is an attempt at importing into the Church the modern Liberal political project of the imperial therapeutic self and the political cult of identity empowerment in the sexual domain that is, like the Nike swoosh, its iconic signature. To that end, Cupich is now cynically misusing, in the service of that politics, the theology of Pope Benedict for purposes that Benedict clearly opposed during his entire career.
This is big boy hardball politics and if we continue to engage the Cupich’s of the Church as if they are really proposing something theologically coherent then we will be tossing him slow pitches squarely over the middle of the ecclesial plate.
The late Italian philosopher Augusto del Noce wrote that the very essence of totalitarianism is the reduction of culture and religion to politics. This results in the nullification of Transcendence as a check on the totalizing claims of the political realm. Pope Benedict referred to this reality as the “eclipse of God” and that this eclipsing of Transcendence opens up an abyss of meaninglessness that acts as a corrosive acid dissolving every spiritual binding address that makes a claim upon us, and which alone can give us the proper moral teleology of our existence. This constituted for Ratzinger the true “signs of our times,” which is why he resisted the cultural Anschluss wherein the Church’s moral theology would be sublated into the political spirit of our age. Which is why he further repeated, tirelessly and with a strong percussive force, that the faith brings with it a counter-truth to that of the world. And the Church can never abandon said truth in the name of ersatz pastoral exigencies invented for the sole political purpose of undermining that same truth.
The attempt by Cardinal Cupich to bypass this central Ratzingerian insight about the abyss which modernity opens up beneath us represents a profound misrepresentation of the true orientation of his theology. In his marvelous Introduction to Christianity, Joseph Ratzinger speaks at length and with manifest poignancy about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and her temptations to atheism and despair. And all of those temptations came despite the fact her entire life was framed by, and formed within, the matrix of a nurturing Catholic culture and family. Ratzinger states:
In other words, in what is apparently a flawlessly interlocking world someone here suddenly catches a glimpse of the abyss lurking—even for her—under the firm structure of the supporting conventions. In a situation like this, what is in question is not the sort of thing that one perhaps quarrels about otherwise—the dogma of the Assumption, the proper use of confession—all this becomes secondary. What is at stake is the whole structure; it is a question of all or nothing. That is the only remaining alternative; nowhere does there seem anything to cling to in this sudden fall. Wherever one looks, only the bottomless abyss of nothingness can be seen.
Therefore, one must understand the dictatorship of relativism that so concerned Ratzinger as merely a symptom of a much deeper rot. Because nobody is ever really a relativist. Ever. Relativism is always a subspecies of some kind of a deeper rejection, directed at the existing moral and spiritual ordo of a specific culture. And the rot of that culture, the Church’s culture included, with its hypocrisies, corruptions, inconsistencies, and manifest injustices, share deeply in the blame for the emergent “relativism” of those who reject the entire, tired monument of mendacity.
There are, of course, theoretical and philosophical relativists, but they do not seem to understand that if their thesis is “true” then they should stop writing and retire to the faculty lounge for a spirited discussion of linguistic theory, while drinking high-end bourbon out of a crystal glass made in a sweat shop, sitting on furniture made in a sweat shop, and wearing tweed suits made in a sweat shop. Nobody takes such pretentiousness seriously. But what we often call, too superficially, “relativism” in the broader culture, is in reality nothing more than the cri de couer of exhausted souls, living in an exhausted culture, and in search of alternative answers.
Heathenism entrenched in the Church
Nor is this phenomenon something unique to the post-conciliar era of the Church. Already, in 1958, the young Father Ratzinger made the following shocking observation:
The appearance of the church in the modern era shows that in a completely new way it has become a church of heathens, and increasingly so: no longer, as it once was, a church made up of heathens who have become Christians, but a church of heathens, who still call themselves Christian, but have really become heathens. Heathenism is entrenched today in the church itself. That is the mark both of the church of our time and also of the new heathenism. This heathenism is actually in the church and a church in whose heart heathenism lives. Joseph Ratzinger (Hochland, October 1958, quoted in Peter Seewald’s Benedict XVI: A Life, Vol 1, p. 296)
With these incendiary words, in an article refreshing in its unvarnished candor, written during a time when such things were just not said, Ratzinger burst onto the theological scene in Germany. All was not well with the Church, despite outward appearances, and Ratzinger was convinced that the Church was in a deep crisis of faith requiring an equally deep theological response. He goes on to say, with equal force and candor: “Heathenism is entrenched today in the Church itself. … This heathenism is actually in the church and a church in whose heart heathenism lives” (Seewald, 296).
This is a far cry from the misuse of Benedict by Cupich as a theologian open to the notion of a complete reworking of the Church’s moral theology and Eucharistic discipline, in order to make the Church more “inclusive” through the diminution of the importance of sexual sins. In reality, the program of inclusion called for by Cupich and McElroy is a doubling down on the very heathenism decried by Ratzinger in 1958. And it will result in a greater attenuation of our notions of Transcendence, which will lead to an ever greater eclipsing of God in the Church herself. It is a recipe for increasing the abyss of meaninglessness that haunts our time, since it removes the call to repentance and holiness for sinners and replaces it with the thin gruel of a therapeutic gradualism of the Law, eviscerating the latter of any real force.
What is lacking in Cupich and McElroy, in direct contrast to Benedict, is a piercing pastoral analysis of what has brought us to this point in the first place. Why is it that so many Catholics of deep faith have grown weary of the “business as usual” Catholicism of our parishes? And have felt the need to flee to an older iteration of the faith, in both liturgy and in theology, and who do so, not out of nostalgia for a past they never knew, but because they have found something there that rips open their souls with the passion of a lover? We can vent about the audacity of those who dare reject Vatican II, or who dare criticize the Novus Ordo, but it will come to nothing unless we own up to the failure to recognize that the anomic and nihilistic cosmos of post-modernity has laid waste to all of our standard structures of meaning—all of the traditions that embodied and made “real” that meaning, and all of the moral and spiritual weight of everything that came before five minutes ago.
The abyss of the “unreality of God” has seized our culture and also our Church. And it is causing countless Catholics to walk away from its insouciant cultural drivel. We wait in vain for a clarion call from the Church for a revolution of the soul, for a great night of collective repentance, for a great divestment of privilege, for a radical living of the Sermon on the Mount, or for the lifeboats to be dispatched forthwith to collect those adrift and drowning in the abyss of modernity’s rootless nihilism. But there is none of that, and instead we are being treated to an endless series of missives from high-end prelates on the glories of the synodal way as the antidote to the Church’s previous resistance to the sexual revolution and its harsh exclusion of those in “irregular” sexual arrangements from the Eucharistic table.
Ratzinger’s “abyss” is the deep existential reality of our time, and the strength of its rip tide requires an equally strong response from the Church. But the Church’s profound failure to ask the right questions has led to a failure to flip the script of our culture’s lies and deceptions, and Church leaders now seem intent on baptizing those illusions as movements of the Holy Spirit.
In the face of this abyss, we are in desperate need of the bread of the Gospel. But what we are getting are the stones of purely procedural and bureaucratic solutions. And the abyss beneath us deepens and grows wider with every assault on the Church’s moral theology in the name of some superficial “love is love” ideology dressed up, like a secular Infant of Prague, in differing forms of garb to suit the fashions of the moment.
Facing the spiritual crisis
What all of this points to is that the debates and controversies that we now see all around us are not going to go away until we start taking seriously the deep spiritual crisis that is at the core of every single one of them. We are not going to get anywhere so long as we persist in seeking bureaucratic or “structural” solutions to what are at root deeply spiritual problems. All that these so-called solutions will ever do is to deepen the abyss below us in direct proportion to how it hollows out the heavens above us.
The proposal of Cardinal Cupich, by pitting God’s love against his justice in order to justify open table fellowship for those engaged in objectively immoral activities, might seem at first glance as just the sort of non-bureaucratic “lifeboat” the Church needs to send out in order to rescue those drowning in the abyss. After all, mercy can be a deeply healing balm and the Church is in the forgiveness business. But moral antinomianism in matters sexual is not true mercy and is, therefore, not a lifeboat but a mirage that offers a false hope. It is honey laced with arsenic.
Pope Benedict XVI understood this. But there are many today who do not.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!
Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.
Homosexualism is contrary to the Gospel and the lived Tradition and Teaching of the Church. Homosexualism and homosexualists have no place in the Church because sodomitic acts are unnatural and violate the sign of love as expressed in true marriage between one man and one woman united in Holy Matrimony.
It never fails to suprise me when theologians concern themselves with what the lay are doing in their own bedrooms when so many of the clergy have been advised of participating in, or covering up, child sexual abuse. Remove the log from your own eye before attempting to help your brother to remove the speck in his.
Deja vu! Back in the 1980s the bellwether archbishop of Seattle caused quite a ruckus, and one part was his inability to shepherd a rogue Jesuit parish. Upstairs: “Dignity” Masses; downstairs an open-mic “speakeasy.” The Church of tomorrow!
From the Vatican, finally, came a mid-course correction of many heavy parts beginning with a real Visitation (but that’s another story). Now after 40 years, the Seattle stalking horse is viral and pandemic. New corrective action? Instead, from multiple cultures: “a fish rots from the head down.”
Or, is what we have here “simply a failure to communicate”? Vocabulary? McElroy, Cupich & Co. seem to propose that “field hospital” = tent-city inclusion; “synod” = open house; doormat = “welcoming”; successor of the apostles = invertebrate “facilitator,” and “moral theology” = plebiscite open-mic. From clerical sexual abuse to clericalist textual abuse!
Of whatever remains morally “inadmissible”! regarding the Eucharist, are we reminded of the equally diluted Islamic notion of sin, where the full reality of sin against God, and the unknown life of grace also are redefined into something more manageable? Violations against the true God—and the true self!—flatten into more negotiable legal infractions (for Cupich, the rabbit-hole sexual thingy). No abyss. Inclusiveness = hold hands and whistling in the dark.
The “pastoral” dismemberment of the revealed and entire Christian cosmos into a natural religion? Asked what he would do to salvage his realm, even the Chinese emperor answered: “I would restore the meaning of words.”
In support of Chapp’s thesis of Card Cupich’s moral antinomianism, Joseph Fuchs SJ lectured at the Gregorian Pontifical Inst when Cupich studied there and earned his MA Theology 1975. Fuchs’ authored his controversial Natural Law text in which he divides two manifest roles of the Word, that of the Creator and that as Redeemer [the incarnate Word]. The latter conveys a soteriological love that transcends natural law. Fuchs also adopted Karl Rahner’s theological anthropology, in which Rahner argues that persons who possess reason ultimately have the transcendental and categorical freedom to realize who they will become before God. “Rahner conceptualizes such freedom as the ability to effect a fundamental option to accept or reject God’s self‐communication” (Oxford Academic).
Benedict, as Chapp maintains held a similar view of the internalization of belief, although different, as when written here earlier in which internalizing means an interior relationship with Christ, one of love in which the respondent [to grace] doesn’t act as one compelled to obey rules [similar to Paul in Romans and Galatians], rather as one who lives them out of love and conviction.
The difference between Cupich’s internalization [who took to the Jesuit ideology then prevalent at the Gregoriana] and Ratzinger is that the latter never lost his intimate contact with the source of moral truth, Christ Jesus. A love he frequently speaks of in intimate terms. What Benedict internalized is the revealed Word, whereas Cupich, and as indicated in Amoris Laetitia, the pontiff, internalization is instead focused on the relativism of conscientious personal freedom.
Simultaneous authorisations by Pope Francis on 10 Jun 2021 of just after of his accountability and amends in his exercise of an absolute power of his been validly joined in consecrated celibate marriage vowed to man in Christ on the reference point of a consecrated male-female marriage, both these marriages on the reference point of Mary reported at RSV Luke 1:29-45 of what in uncertainty (v. 29, 34) she “believed [v.45] that there would be a fulfilment [v.38: “let it be to me”] of what was spoken to her from the Lord”, were in the cases of his failing to screen his helpers in the Vatican state and the Italian state Parliament for his economic advantage by his tax-exemption embezzlement and lower insurance costs by his fraud achieved by his grooming these helpers with a non-economic false status inducement of association with the falsely purported presumed “higher vocation” of consecrated celibate marriage vowed to man in Christ to consecrated male-female marriage vowed to God.
Advantageous combining of all the activities of helpers of the family within the family results from this exercise of an absolute power of simultaneous authorisations as in this case by Pope Francis.
When God says something is wrong that is the end of the matter. Wolves amongst the flock try to change matters to serve their own evil desires. Some need to be put out of the church. A good number wonder if it should begin at the top levels?
Philippians 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel.
Jude 1:3-4 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
2 Timothy 2:23-25 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Do you suggest that a pope excommunicate himself? Then he would become nothing less than a protestant, a person without a congregation, a person without a pedestal papal pulpit, without the Mystically powerful Body of Christ listening to his every word. No power-loving pope would consider it. But, my Christian friend, we rest assured that the King does know what happens in and outside His Kingdom, and we place the pope in His hands.
As absurd as it sounds, yet if enough pressure is put upon him he may be forced to retire.
Be assured that the Lord wanted Papa in this role. We see the mysteries of God at work, to allow the church to reclaim herself and once again put Jesus Christ as the head of the church.
Some will ask what sort of leadership the incumbent has demonstrated over the past ten years? What has he brought to table in your opinion?
Psalm 18:30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
2 Peter 2:6 If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Thank you, Mr. Chapp, for doing the work that our bishops should be doing. These two cardinals, who are robed in red to declare that they would die for the faith, are shredding it so that they will be accepted and approved by the very people who are bent on destroying the Catholic faith. And, lest we forget, it’s Bergoglio who has empowered them.
“…and have felt the need to flee to an older iteration of the faith, in both liturgy and in theology, and who do so, not out of nostalgia for a past they never knew, but because they have found something there that rips open their souls with the passion of a lover?”
Reading between the lines (if I’m not mistaken), the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus comes to mind. It was of course Pope Benedict XVI, whose creative genius and pastoral imagination gave us the ‘lifeboat’ of the Ordinariates. How ironic that this gift, which was to be a refuge in the Catholic Church for Anglicans, has become a sanctuary for cradle Catholics (and others) who cling to orthodoxy. How wonderfully ironic also that this ‘older iteration of the faith’—abandoned by the Church of England—should be preserved in the Catholic Church. How scandalous, therefore, that support for Pope Benedict’s visionary project is so lukewarm within the Catholic hierarchy. But perhaps he knew this would transpire. If you haven’t tried the Ordinariate, I recommend you do.
Thanks Larry for this piece. Particularly this point that people “ felt the need to flee to an older iteration of the faith, in both liturgy and in theology, and who do so, not out of nostalgia for a past they never knew, but because they have found something there that rips open their souls with the passion of a lover…”
I have met enough people who express those exact thoughts in the last few years to see how as a church we continue to shut our ears to their concerns and the near complete lack of challenge for them. It’s almost as if the church is rejecting her identity as being a counterculture to the world. We have stopped proclaiming Christ, instead choosing to preach a false gospel that is convenient and facile to the ears but doesn’t answer to the aching of the human heart.
Ditto that ripping open of souls with The Passion of The Lover. Ditto that people are leaving the church and returning to the one Church which worships in truth and beauty, which therefore is good. And that ‘they’ attempt to take away. Spare us, O Lord, from the unjust and deceitful who know not Him.
Thank you, dear Larry, for contextualizing the cunning counterfeit of Cupich and Co. Your’s is the quality of analysis that we Catholics have always expected from our leaders.
It has to be added that the edge of the abyss we’re now teetering on is not simply a material chasm. It’s not simply an hiatus caused by antinomian heretics. It doesn’t simply result from the schemes of a clique of hubristic cardinals, etc. It not the sole work of a rather nice pope sadly misguided.
In John 8 the Beloved Apostle teaches us about the missing element: “Jesus said to them . . . you are from your father, the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
In Ephesians 6 Saint Paul illuminates further: “. . stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood & flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
In 1 Peter 5, the First Pope exhorts all the faithful: “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary, the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, STEADFAST IN YOUR FAITH . . .”
The abyss is not passive but spiritually alive with malicious intent towards The Body of Christ, that is The Church. Whilst the devil and those hordes of abyssal stoikheia are no small enemy, they cannot have the final victory (that is Christ’s alone), yet they have in the past and can still wreak terrible damage on the Church, with a cataclysmic loss of souls.
Church leaders irresponsibly underestimate the intent & the works of wickedness.
Pope Francis and the wayward cardinals and archbishops, etc. are currently blind to 1) some ghastly spiritual realities and 2) their primary responsibility, as our leaders, to: “Master the crouching devil” (see Genesis 4:7); and, to obediently follow Christ, who became incarnate: “To destroy the works of the devil” (see 1 John 3:8).
Why are so many clerics off-track? Maybe 1 Corinthians 3:1 has part of the answer – “And so, brothers, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but as men of the flesh, as infants in Christ.”
Pray for our leaders to realize that the Church is not in a psycho/socio/political competition but in a spiritual battle to the death; millions of souls are in hazard.
Take care everyone: “Watch and pray without ceasing!”
Always in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty
Cupich, McElroy and the current pope could all benefit from a course in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Yes, God is merciful, but we reject that mercy when we continue to sin without repentance and a “firm resolve” to change our ways. Presuming on the mercy of God is a sin, too.
For those who like podcasts, Mark Langley is offering Catechism of the Council of Trent in [Less Than] a Year, introduced here:
Or available wherever you get your podcasts. I’m truly appreciating every installment. If this teaching of the faith remains true (and how can it not?) then it’s easier to understand Ratzinger’s comment on the heathenism prevalent in the Church today.
The Gospels report Christ’s statement that He came “not to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34), a military metaphor for dividing between belief and unbelief. To the extreme inclusivists, I say: Include that!
‘Tell them that The Lord needs it ..’ – the colt and its mother …curious and even seemingly redundant words at first glance … yet , ? meant to tell the disciples too that even if in a short while , they too are going to feel not too difft in one sense from those creatures that He tell them He needed , they too are needed – in spite of ..
Mo.Teresa – who took in deep measure of The Spirit , the depth of the words – ‘I thirst ‘ and of many who followed in similar steps ..
On one hand we are told that God does not ‘need ‘ anything or anyone and true .. yet , as Love ,thirsting …and to trust that He thirsts for each with the thirst of a Father’s Heart ..as for the prodigal …who found the strength and trust to return
as by the faint light that spoke of that thirst to his heart too ..
Both the Pope Emer . and Pope Francis has talked about a ‘poor Church ‘..
– poverty, also in the sense of feeling rejected , alienated , unwanted – related to the rampant carnal evils of our times with its user mentality …
‘My Lord needs me ‘ ..that means the whole universe too .. to reflect the goodness and holiness and image of God .. – Lord has told St. Faustina that one soul can make a diffrence for the world ..
The tiny unborn and the parents proclaiming that truth …the sinner ..the old and the lonely .. the addicted …to help see each other too in that light and Truth and its dignity ..
Would it be that the true intent and message of the seemingly dicordant words of some The Fathers/ Bishops is also an echo of same – ‘The Lord needs you ..’ , with the hope and trust that once that light breaks in , the rest would not be that hard ..
Dear J.P.G./M., your very kind heart is evident to all in your comment.
But please read your New Testament & understand the deadly sin of trying to exceed the kindness of God. God is not mocked.
Of course, God wants all souls to be saved into a joyous heavenly eternity. The reason God’s Realm is joyful is because everyone there lovingly obeys King Jesus Christ. The obdurately disobedient & all evil things are necessarily self-excluded from this party.
Whilst in this world we have been given ‘The New Testament’ that trains us in obedience to our King’s rules: the Truth, the Way, the Life Eternal. 2 Thessalonians makes the other alternative especially clear.
“Satan will set to work . . . everything evil that can deceive those bound for destruction because they would not grasp the love of the truth which could have saved them . . . all those who refused to believe in the truth and chose wickedness instead.”
Around the world The Catholic Church has offered repentance and reconciliation to all those who deny Christ’s & The Apostles’ authority to define right & wrong. From among those who have willfully chosen wickedness, some see sense, humble themselves, admit their error, & begin a new life of obedience. The Holy Angels celebrate!
However, many outside the Church (and sadly now some within the Church) defy Christ’s headship, and gaily flout The Holy Spirit-inspired, Apostolic instructions of The New Testament (see, e.g., Romans 1:18-32).
By excluding the unfaithful from communion with the faithful, the Church is confirming the unfaithfuls’ decision to prefer their own way to Christ’s Way.
The Church’s aim is always: “Unity in Christ”; never unity in whatever.
Always in the gracious mercy of The Lamb; love & blessings from marty
This is one of the best things I have read in a long time, not so much in what was stated but rather how it was stated. The alignment of the points here with the Gospel is magnificent! Thank you for this Dr. Chapp!
Thanks Tom. I appreciate that.
“via a sophistical word salad”
This is deeply unfair to actual word salad.
Clapping hand emojis to the Prof. What does the ‘actual’ word salad taste like? It’s Lent; I’m hungry.
I have some word salad of a spiritual and decidedly Catholic apologetic kind I wrote in defense of both you and me (as well as other good Catholics) based on some seriously wrong-headed criticism by an octogenarian who has proudly declared his age and other experiences in a fine display of the fallacy of credentialism.
You will find the aforementioned defense of our Catholic positions addressed primarily to you in the comments section of Carl’s February 18, 2023 solid blast of Cardinal Cupich wherein you, yours truly, and others have risen to the defense of the Catholic Church in light of some serious errors against the Church being pushed by a ‘friendly Protestant mole’ of sorts who has, on the record, actually recommended “for Catholics” the despicable New International Version (NIV) of the bible. In case you do not know this, the NIV has significantly retranslated many parts of the Scriptures to purposely change wording from anything that supports our Catholic beliefs and makes them appear more Protestant, and in many cases the changes are laughably blatant. Nevertheless, our generic Protestant specifically recommends this version “for Catholics” as one that might be of some interest and benefit to Catholics. What does this utterly reprehensible recommendation actually reveal, at least in part, of some of the motivation of Mr. Nice Guy that has also been revealed in other objectionable statements he slips in from time-to-time that go against Catholic Church teaching?
Enjoy our defense and the additional revelations, and thanks for staying alert and ever on-guard.
Brilliant, Doc. Deo gratias. Many thanks to you, Doc, and to Pope Benedict XVI for his writing, giving a foretaste (appetizer) of 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Allow me if you will to add a few more hors d’oeuvres to your Corinthians “appetizer”.
Psalm 31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
“It is a form of political rhetoric meant to make formerly rejected views palatable for the average Catholic via a sophistical word salad borrowed from NPR and other mouthpieces of the dominant cultural ethos.”
A concise summary of Cupich’s true motives, very well said. I find it repulsive that people like this are in leadership positions in the church. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Francis to reaffirm the church’s teaching either.
I am, like the vast majority of Catholics, forced to live with the “New-1970s-Fabricated-Mass.”.
I have lived it since Pope Paul VI forced it in Advent 1970. Before that, I was formed during the years of the EF or so-called TLM Mass, and served as an altar boy in the Mass handed down by the tradition of the Catholic Church (as opposed to the current fabricated committee artifact, which it is clear, stands for the apostasy of the hierarchs of the “Rupture-Church-of-the-Spirit-of-Vatican-II,” which, among its many hideous menu items, earnestly promotes the sanctification of sodomy).
Mr. Chapp expresses what is clearly sincere concern (and I condense his longer words here) that “so many Catholics…have felt the need to flee to an older iteration of the faith, in both liturgy and theology…because they have found something… [that stirs their souls] …with the passion of a lover.”
I would begin by noting that Mr. Chapp himself is sming those “who have fled to an older iteration of the liturgy,” in that he has switched to a parish in the Ordinariate, which is in almost all of its essential form an “English-language” version of the EF or TLM Mass, most notable among the manifestations of its form the ancient Roman Canon as the only Eucharistic Prayer, and the Eucharistic Prayer celebrated by all, priest and people, Ad Orientum.
My observation is this: Mr. Chapp is a degreed theologian (I believe he is a Doctor of Theology?) and he greatly esteems the “Ressourcement” theology of the “non-rupture” faction of the Second Vatican Council era.
I share Mr. Chapp’s esteem for the ressourcement theology, having read deeply and extensively of Ratzinger, and dabbled in a few others, though I have no formal theological education.
My observation is that the only class-time that most Catholic people will ever get is one hour per week in Mass, and that hour is in the fabricated, deformed, all-too-often superficial, and half the time (for the self-proclaimed “left-wing-Church,” for instance Pontiff Francis has declared himself a member of) intentionally subverted New-Order-Mass, a Mass heralded as a sign of the new rejection of Catholic reverence for scripture and tradition.
Our Problem: The problem of “this-our-new-Church” is not the “antinomian-ism” of the Cupich’s et al. This is a categorical mistake, and a serious failure to grasp what is going on and what’s at stake here.
If Antinomian-ism is about “not naming problems for what they are,” then the fault of Antinomian-ism seems to be much more the fault of the faithful, and not the fault of the Cupich’s and Hollerichs et al.
The problem we have is we are not saying to these men what they are: THEY ARE APOSTATES, and in their particular cases these teo men are “false shepherds,” to quote Our Lord, and these men need to be named and shamed until one of these two days: until the day they publicly repent, or they day they die.
That is what is at stake. This is a spiritual war inside the Church, snd these two men, and others like them, are waging war against The Body of Christ, and Christ our Head snd King.
These men must be defeated in battle by us.
It is not our job to preserve “unity” with those opposed to the Commands of Christ, it is our job to defeat them snd csll them to conform to Christ.
Thank you. Many blessings!
Larry Chapp projects “sexual sins” into Cardinal Cupich’s essay/homily; nowhere does the Archbishop of Chicago refer to “sexual sins”; this is all a movie playing in Chapp’s rather overworked imagination, making judgments that are less than generous and quite putting him on the brink of maligning a human person and an authority in the Church: something MORE serious than any of the “sexual sins” that inhabit his mind, something CLOSER to a mortal sin, because it is deliberate distortion, intended to be such, to mislead and to confuse. Shame on you, Larry.
Dear Tony de Castro,
Maybe Larry’s concern is like many of the commentators on his well-argued article: that it’s what Cupich & Co don’t say, promulgating as if ignorant of the truths that every proper Christian leader would always reflect. A few examples:
“I call Heaven & Earth to witness against you today: I set before you life and death, blessing or curse. Chose life then, so that you and your descendants may live in the love of The Lord your God, obeying His Voice, clinging to Him; for in this your life consists.” Deuteronomy 30.
“The reason why God is sending a power to delude them and make them believe what is not true, is to condemn all who refused to believe in the truth and chose wickedness instead.” 2 Thessalonians 2.
“It will be their punishment to be lost eternally, excluded from the Presence of The Lord.” 2 Thessalonians 1.
“If you love Me, you will obey My commandments!” John 14.
“That is why you must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions, why you must not let any part of your body turn into an unholy weapon fighting on the side of sin . .” Romans 6.
“You know perfectly well that people who do wrong will not inherit The Kingdom of God: people of immoral lives, idolators, adulterers, catamites, sodomites, thieves, usurers, drunkards, slanderers & swindlers will never inherit The Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6.
This is not self-righteousness; it’s not bias against a minority; it honestly reflects the ordinances of our Holy God. Christ promises to give us strength to live by these rules.
Of course, when a Catholic leader has ceased to firmly believe in Holy God, in Divine ordinances, in Christ’s Resurrection & return as Judge of All, in the eternal Kingdom of God, then their writings will indeed be as those of Cupich, McElroy, & Co.
Ever in the grace & mercy of King Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty
Dear Dr Marty:
Scripture uplifts and informs us for direction and peace within our hearts.
Thank you for a true compass and that God’s love guides you!
True, the Cardinal does not use the phrase. But so much of the controversy in the Church today revolves around moral teaching on sexual matters that I think his readers would apply his thoughts there, and he would expect them to do so. He writes: “There are voices that insist the church must exclude sinners from fuller participation in the life of the church until they have reformed, out of respect for God’s justice.” He is opposing such voices. Elsewhere he quotes Pope Francis alluding to such people as “gnostics”.
On my reading, most committed Catholics across 2000 years must have been gnostics, beginning with Saint Paul, because in a passage specifically about a man committing a sexual sin, he wrote: “…now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
Antinomian: against (anti) the law (nomos, the Greek word meaning “law”).
What do law-abiding people call people who oppose the law? They call these people outlaws.
Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Hollerich etc etc are outlaws.
The war inside the Church is for keeps.
In the National Catholic Register, an article was published 2-3 weeks ago about the German Church and its Synod, it warned that faithful Catholics in Germany sense that likely outcome is the ominous “dirty schism,” meaning that the apostates openly erase the Law of Christ and kick out those who are re faithful to Christ.
That’s where we are all headed, not just the faithful in Germany…
“Business as usual” Catholism has certainly prevailed since Vatican 11 Council; but they have surely arisen from:
the misinterpretations and distortions of the Council
the rejection of Humanae Vitae
Lack of formation in our schools
The disappearance of the Catechism
The music ministry in the Novus Ordo
The disappearance of the beautiful devotional practices of the Faith like Benediction
The inability of so many of our leaders to stand up and speak out
Cupich obviously miscomprehends Ratzinger/Benedict’s theology. Choosing one sentence from the 30+ page encyclical Deus Caritas Est as support that the Church has erroneously taught sexual immorality as sinful? Cupich is plainly wrong; his cherry-picking harvest consists of one very mishappen and rotten piece of ‘fruit.’
Cupich cannot distill a cherry from a crystalized, prismatic light: Benedict refutes Cupich in: “Many Religions – One Covenant: Israel, the Church and the World.” Page 54 (Ignatius):
“While…the Mosaic covenant is…doomed to collapse [not only because of man’s unfaithfulness but also because of God’s institution of the New Covenant]….Anyone who turns to the Lord will find that the veil is taken away from his heart, and he will see the Law’s inner radiance, its pneumatic light;….
“The image of the removal of the veil indicates a modification of the idea of the Law’s transitory nature: when the veil is removed from the heart, what is substantial and ultimate about the Law comes into focus….the LAW ITSELF BECOMES SPIRIT, IDENTICAL with the new order of life in the Spirit.”
Got that, Cupich? The Law is identical to the Spirit. ~Pope Benedict XVI
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” ~John 14:15. There’s a cherry for Cupich to pick. Does he know or have love enough to pick it?
Dr. Chapp: from your mouth to God’s ear.
I have been arguing with people lately about the Eucharistic revival, which is a bureaucratic/structural solution to the ever-more-steep slope of the abyss. If people are inspired by love for the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, that will be wonderful. But this can’t be called a “revival” until after we see if it actually revives anything. The last several Church-wide programs didn’t. Remember “Dynamic Catholic”? Remember “Renew”? maybe they helped a few people, and praise God if they did. But nothing much changed, except that more and more people have fled. And more people are desperate for the truth.
One other thought: can you imagine Card. Cupich and his ilk going on about God’s inclusive mercy toward unrepentant drug dealers? How — although they do peddle death and destruction, enabling the degradation and disintegration of immortal human souls, and although they have no intention of stopping, and indeed plan to continue because they feel strongly that they must — we should joyfully admit them to receive Jesus and their own condemnation?
Few pieces of prose today actually earn the adjective “muscular,” but this one does it. From your mouth to God’s ear.
Thank you. This is a wonderful and insightful essay.
Came across this quote by the late Cardinal George Pell…”sometimes, what people mean by relevance is that we really should jettison some of our hard teachings and be saying what is politically correct or what is fashionable. And fashions change.”
That Cupich is not only a dissident but also a hypocrite is evinced by his “exclusion” of Catholics in his diocese who prefer to worship at the Latin Mass.
Oh, dear God, what a beautiful work! To the Eucharist we must rally! Through the old Mass if we want to expedite our steps and fill our hearts! May I propose also Dr. Janet Smith’s recent three-fold rebuttal of arguments against the old Mass? Crisis Mag, Feb 6, 13, and 20.