by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
MEN WITH DEEP-SEATED HOMOSEXUAL TENDENCIES SHOULD NOT BE ADMITTED TO SEMINARY FORMATION FOR PRIESTHOOD: A new document from the Vatican on seminaries and priestly formation is very clear. It should also be clear that abbots and bishops should wash out monks and priests in active ministry who are homosexuals, and remove this debilitating presence from the collegial priesthood or monastery life. The abuse of young males throughout the Church was perpetrated by homosexual bishops and priests, and their continued presence in the priesthood and episcopacy is seriously undermining the deepening of a dynamic fraternal priesthood and synodal episcopacy. The patriarchy, filiation, and fraternity needed in the missionary work of the apostles are deeply compromised by men afflicted with a tendency to spiritual incest.
Certainly it is the height of contradiction that many priests involved in the formation of priests are plagued by the impediments which the Church says once again are unacceptable in seminarians.
The document says when it comes to gay men who want to enter the seminary, or discover they have "homosexual tendencies" during the formation years, the Church, "while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’"
It also says that the Church can’t overlook the "negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies."
This reiterates the 2005 document released under the pontificate of Pope Benedict. Many seminary directors and religious order formation directors opposed that ruling and said the prohibition applied only to men actively and presently involved in homosexual relations. Some went so far as to celebrate "the gift of gay celibacy." The huge homosexual lobby in the North American and European Church missed the point then and we can expect they will miss the point now as we hear about the thousands of current faithful "gay celibates" in today’s priesthood. The attempt by European bishops to praise homosexual relations was a scandal thwarted by African, Australian, and Eastern European bishops during the Synod on the Family. That corruption should have led to an inquiry and discipline. But it has been completely overlooked as the fastidious conservative dissenters go after Pope Francis while the 'lavender priest' lobby in New York, San Diego, Chicago and Washington DC goes unreported and unconfronted. Many of us have long said that among the "super orthodox" there is a type of homosexual personality which is the opposite of great-souled magnanimity. That personality, that tendency to rigidness is a problem that strikes at the core of priestly formation. Here is one of the better doctors who writes seriously about homosexuality. We live in an era presenting a unique opportunity for a reconfiguration of the nations in light of the fraternity of global Christianity. But half the Catholic "public intellectuals" are trying to foment discontent against the pope and his pastoral initiative to divorced Catholics. It is pathetic and mindful of how many of the same conservative intellectuals could not relate to Donald Trump as he established civic leadership. The bubble of the "principled elite" is obvious; their inability to understand either Pope Francis or President-elect Trump is in some way related. How to explain that is not so obvious.
POPE FRANCIS ON HELL - NOT A TORTURE CHAMBER: "Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber. That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him. Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God. It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God."
POPE FRANCIS ON THE SYNODAL CHURCH AND THE FOUR TEMPTATIONS OF MEDIA: Excellent article from Crux.
THE UNSEEMLY WAR AGAINST POPE FRANCIS: Part One of a National Catholic Reporter series that is seeing the Catholic "neocon" project quite clearly. The conservative dissenters are creating a kind of media-centric univocal alternate magisterium. Their insular band of experts centered around a shrinking net of conservative Catholic media outlets has a very different spirit than the face-to-face give and take of the last synods under the Holy Father.
POPE FRANCIS AND THE WOMANLY SIDE OF THE YOUNG RIGIDS: I find this a beautiful reflection and his implications about the masculinity of certain Daughters of Trent are right on. An example on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the blog entry of Fr Z was all about his rose vestments with lots of pictures of himself. Self-absorption is what Pope Francis means by priests adopting a "worldliness" that is devastating to the priesthood. From his reflection:
"About rigidity and worldliness, it was some time ago that an elderly monsignor of the Curia came to me, who works, a normal man, a good man, in love with Jesus – and he told me that he had gone to buy a couple of shirts at Euroclero [the clerical clothing store in Rome] and saw a young fellow – he thinks he had not more than 25 years, or a young priest or about to become a priest – before the mirror, with a cape, large, wide, velvet, with a silver chain. He then took the Saturno [wide-brimmed clerical headgear], he put it on and looked himself over. A rigid and worldly one. And that priest – he is wise, that monsignor, very wise – was able to overcome the pain, with a line of healthy humor and added: ‘And it is said that the Church does not allow women priests!’. Thus, does the work that the priest does when he becomes a functionary ends in the ridiculous, always."As an antidote to frilly priests playing the orthodox card let us ponder the Americas and the significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the emerging era of religious nations.
IN VIETNAM, CHRISTMAS WILL BE ABOUT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, AND JOY WILL RESOUND: A church hardened by battle will be a light to the nations. A report on Catholics in Vietnam.
GK CHESTERTON ON THE GREAT AMERICAN POLITICAL IDEA; AND DALE AHLQUIST ON THE ONLY RELIGION THAT CAN SUSTAIN IT: Chesterton and Ahlquist on the Church and the nation we love so dearly.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
EGYPT COPTIC CHURCH BOMBED: President al-Sisi declares three days of mourning. Egypt has the largest Christian population of any Mideast country - about 10% of Egypt’s 82 million people. The Muslim Brotherhood won a clear victory in the national elections of 2012. The winner of that election, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown in a military coup in April of 2013. He is in prison under a death sentence. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi led the coup and won the subsequent election. Just after the coup in August 2013, the Rabaa massacre of 650-1000 Brotherhood protesters solidified the hold of Sisi over the government. Christians largely supported the coup and subsequent election of Sisi. They saw their security eroding under the elected Brotherhood government. Egypt is the prime example in the Arab Spring where democracy did not lead to freedom. There was an institutional Egyptian State that could reassert itself after the election, but obviously the conflict persists. Several times President el-Sisi has called on imams to lead “a religious revolution" to reject the jihadist ideology of the Salafist Sunnis and others.
ALEPPO IS RETAKEN BY GOVERNMENT OF SYRIA - MANY INNOCENTS DIE. WHO REALLY IS TO BLAME?
See our 'Map on Monday' on Syria for geography, communal loyalties and history of the country. At the end is an excellent 10-minute Vox video explaining the Syrian civil war and players since 2011. The US decided after bloody anti-Assad demonstrations to covertly (then openly) support demonstrators turned rebels and seek to overthrow the Syrian government. Our support goaded on by the Saudis has added to the death and destruction that comes with failed rebellions. Arming demonstrators to turn protests into regime change has ended in disaster in Syria. This is a bipartisan failure with Hillary Clinton and John McCain both in the "overthrow Assad club." President Obama fortunately did not deepen our involvement in 2013 over the chemical weapon controversy. The US people were heavily opposed to intervention at the time, though the think tank establishment and Arab Spring politicians wanted a formal attack. President Obama could never, however, fully break with the anti-Assad policy. He left Syrians in the worst of all worlds with enough money and arms to wage war but not enough support to win it. Mr Trump has implied he will significantly change the Republican interventionist policy on Syria.
(An historical aside: many believe the CIA post in Benghazi overrun in September 2012 was facilitating arms flows to the Syrian rebels.)
UN Ambassador Samantha Powers has filled the UN halls with her plaintive lament for the children dying in Aleppo. She blames the evil Russians and the legitimate government of Syria for all the dead bodies. She quizzically shrieks, "How can you kill your own people?" We might evoke President Lincoln to remind her that is always the sad reality in civil wars. You kill your own people because that is who is shooting at you. Her sentimental unhistorical "career" as a tough feminist fighter comes to a close as she neglects to report that the jihadist rebels who opposed President Assad wouldn’t let the women and children Aleppo flee as the battle drew to an end. She made no mention of the disastrous US policy that fomented this bloody no-win rebellion.
MRS. CLINTON, WIKI LEAKS, AND SAUDI FUNDING OF TERRORISM: The connection is undeniable.
IRAN AND THE SHIITE CORRIDOR: A very helpful primer.
SECRETARY OF STATE DESIGNATE DISAGREES WITH THE SAUDIS - SEES NORTH AMERICA AS NEXT SWING PRODUCER. A MAN WITH A GEOLOGICAL MAP IN HIS HEAD: Rex Tillerson and Oil supply Debate.
THE WAR AGAINST THE SHIITES OF YEMEN - WE SHOULD FEAR A JUST GOD FOR THE ROLE WE HAVE PLAYED IN AIDING THIS SAUDI BARBARISM AGAINST THEIR SHIITE ENEMIES. THIS IS NOT ABOUT FIGHTING IRAN: The Yemen disaster.
BORIS JOHNSON AND THE SAUDIS - WHOOPS, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY TELLS THE TRUTH: Don’t criticize the Saudis.
III. A CULTURE OF LIFE IS A CULTURE OF PROTECTION
DEATH PENALTY AND POLICE POWER: California voters were very clear.
FINALLY SHUTTING DOWN THE 'VAGINA MONOLOGUES': Mt Holyoke pulls a defeat from the jaws of victory with its weird, ever weirder, morality play.
NFL FOOTBALL PLAYER TELLS HIGH SCHOOL MALES TO PROTECT WOMEN: That’s when he got in trouble. This disagreement highlights the most fundamental clash in the culture war. Ricardo Lockette, the man and the message is the winning strategy to socialize males as protectors and citizens. This is what feminism has been thwarting for forty years. If the Trump victory means anything culturally it must be that blue collar workers and male athletes are granted their identity as male protectors again. This can start with the NFL throwing away their pink shoes and adopting a "real men are protectors, American brothers and fellow citizens" theme.
TWO BEAUTIFUL WOMEN SAY WHY THEY ARE PRO-TRUMP: One is a daughter of AOA so we have breached our usual impenetrable wall of leaving family in private.
MILO Y INTERVIEWS THE PIZZA OWNERS IN INDIANA AFTER TRUMP ELECTION: Remembering the sexual left terrorism against a small town bakery. Milo Y helps us get the next laugh if not the last one. His own brand of humor should be an epiphenomenon, not the culture of a Christian nation.