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Saturday, April 1, 2023

A Dangerous Relator in Mischief

By:   David L. Vise
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A Dangerous Relator in Mischief

In March 28, 2023, the National Catholic Reporter published an article entitled “Top synod cardinal says church could one day revisit ban on ordaining women”.  In it they inform us of a “newly named top adviser to Pope Francis and leading organizer of the Vatican's ongoing synod process [who] believes that it might one day be possible to revisit Pope John Paul II's prohibition on the ordination of women to the priesthood.” 


This Cardinal is no less than Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Cardinal Hollerich who announced in the interview “that the church's language of describing LGBT persons as "intrinsically disordered" is "dubious."”  Cardinal Hollerich added the following disclaimer “that Francis is not in favor of the ordination of women,” while asserting “that it remains an open conversation among some Catholics and that he would like to see women given greater pastoral responsibilities.” 

Feigning obedience, the Cardinal added that "Pope Francis does not want the ordination of women, and I am completely obedient to that," while also considering himself “a promoter of giving women more pastoral responsibility. And if we achieve that, then we can perhaps see if there still is a desire among women for ordination." 

Basically, he is a not-so-secret betrayer of the perennial Tradition of the Church of ordaining only men. As is typical with these wolves in sheep’s clothing, he wrings his hands stating that "we could never do that if it would jeopardize our fraternity with the Orthodox or if it would polarize the unity of our church, Love is not something abstract; it is the love for our sisters and brothers that prevents us from doing things that would alienate them." So, Tradition be damned, as long as the Orthodox relations remain fraternal.

Has Roma locuta; causa finita est (Rome has spoken, the case is closed) become a thing of the past and a casualty of the Modernist concept of Church teaching “development”?

Had this been a dissident German Prelate, we may have been inclined to dismiss his audacious musings, but since he is the Jesuit cardinal, serving as the relator, or chairperson, of the 2023 and 2024 Synod of Bishops, we must pause and take notice. 

We have seen this maneuver before.  It happened prior to the start of the Second Vatican Council when the agenda and schemata (drafts) were changed and the council went the way of the then up-and-coming Nouvelle Théologie school replete with French and German dissenting theologians. 

This Nouvelle Theologie was centered on what they called ressourcement, for their penchant of returning to original patristic thought, but as the Dominican Garrigou-Lagrange showed, they did not "return to the sources" but abandoned the theological tradition of the Catholic Church and created a "new theology" all its own, Modernism under a new trapping.

And as the article itself tells us, “when asked, however, if a future pope could rule against John Paul II's 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which said that the Catholic Church does not have the authority to ordain women, Hollerich said it was possible and that the church's teaching could be developed.” 

There you have it, the “development” argument that makes what is white, black; what is light, darkness and what is right, wrong.  And using the Modernist’s previous success as a precedent, the article again tells us that he “went on to offer a comparison to Pope Pius IX's 1864 "Syllabus of Errors," which was considered infallible and condemned religious freedom and interfaith dialogue. Such practices, the cardinal said, are now common in the church.” 

Translation, “since we succeeded to control what was written and its interpretation of the Second Vatican Council documents, we will do it again this time with the 2023-2024 Synod of Bishops.”  It all seems well orchestrated, since this very Cardinal earlier this month was added to the nine-member body of cardinals who regularly meet with the pope to advise him.  He could not be more obsequious when he added: "For the moment, if Pope Francis tells me it is not an option, it is not an option."  This is the new norm at the Vatican; forget Tradition, the Curia will bend to the will of the reigning Pontiff who now instead of being the promoter and defender of Tradition has become its nemesis.

You would expect that someone who is to advise the Pope would understand the following words from an October 28, 1995 Dubium that in response to the question: “Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith,” answered: “Affirmative. This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.” 

This is infallible teaching on account of the ordinary and universal Magisterium!

If they can tamper with this infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium, all doctrine is up for grabs and the indefectibility of the Church guaranteed by Christ in Matthew 16:18 that “…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” has ceased to be true. 

Has Roma locuta; causa finita est (Rome has spoken, the case is closed) become a thing of the past and a casualty of the Modernist concept of Church teaching “development”? If they can tamper with this infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium, all doctrine is up for grabs and the indefectibility  of the Church guaranteed by Christ in Matthew 16:18 that “…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” has ceased to be true.  They have reduced Christ to the level of a false prophet.

Not only is this position untenable from the Magisterium perspective but also from the biblical one.  Biblically speaking, the Cardinal’s assertion flies in the face of Christ’s saying regarding the forthcoming priesthood in the order of Melchizedek in Matthew 19:12: “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” 

It does, because only men can become eunuchs, something women are entirely incapable of doing.  Not to mention the explanation that Paul provides in Ephesians 5:22-33 regarding husbands and wives comparing them to Christ and His Church, whereby Christ is espoused to the Church and calls both conditions a mystery.  If a Catholic priest were to be a female, we would end up with the aberration of a lesbian relationship making the mystery a sin, let alone that a woman ontologically can never act in Persona Christi (in the person of Christ), which is what a priest does when he utters the words of consecration.

This Cardinal, not happy with tampering with infallible teachings, must of course jump on the latest bandwagon regarding gay relationships, condemning the Church's use of the phrase in the Catholic Catechism that calls them "intrinsically disordered".  He goes on to say that “to describe LGBTQ persons in those relationships is ‘dubious’,” since gay persons "must feel welcome in our house. Otherwise, they will go away."

He is unfortunately not alone, since, as the article puts it, “in recent months, several U.S. prelates, among them Cardinals Robert McElroy of San Diego and Blase Cupich of Chicago and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, have called for the church to abandon such language.” 

Cardinal Hollerich considers “that the church's only response to LGBT persons cannot be to emphasize celibacy. To reduce homosexuality to sexual relations is a "crude way of understanding a human person. For some of them it is possible to be chaste, but calling others to chastity seems like speaking Egyptian to them." I wonder what the Egyptians would have to say to that… But seriously, here we have a Prince of the Church openly justifying the abomination of homosexuality, in fact a true scandal as defined by the Catholic Church.  This very act was severely condemned by our Lord when in Luke 17:1-2, He stated: “…It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.”

We know the Cardinal is aware of biblical events, as he justifies his acceptance of the gay agenda by comparing it to the conversion of Zacchaeus who went to meet the Lord by climbing on a sycamore tree, for the Cardinal states: "When Jesus meets somebody like Zacchaeus, he does not say: 'You have to change your life, my boy, and then, perhaps, if you do penance, I might consider visiting you.' No; his look on such a person puts them at ease and makes them feel accepted. Then Jesus goes to their house, and only then do they change," he also said. "I do not exclude change, but it comes after meeting Jesus." 

He fails to realize that the Catholic Church is a welcoming Church, but in Christ’s terms, who at the beginning of his ministry said in Matthew 4:17: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And to the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”  For this is the Church from the same God who in Psalm 51:17 would say: “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” 

The Catholic Church cannot accept the terms of those who come in Trojan horses carrying the ill-conceived agendas and seeking to destroy the Church from withinwhich is what this Cardinal, by his own words, is all about.

David L. Vise is a Civil Engineer living in Franklin, MA. A father of five and a husband of one. He attends the TLM at Saint Mary’s on Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island, an FSSP parish.

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Last modified on Saturday, April 1, 2023