• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Police, Pride, and Philando Castile June 24, 2017
      Well, now that Twin Cities Pride has reversed its decision regarding the presence of uniformed police personnel in tomorrow's Pride parade, I appreciate local community leader and businessman Ken Darling's invitation: Imagine this: What if the uniformed officers, whom the Pride Committee just asked to return to the parade, carried signs that said […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • A Visit to Grand Marais June 23, 2017
      This time last week my friend Kathleen and I were in Grand Marais, a town on Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior. It's a beautiful area of the state, and one which I had not visited since 2004. The area is renowned for its alternating rocky cliffs and cobblestone beaches, with forested hills and ridges through which rivers and waterfalls desce […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Christmas at Litmanova December 29, 2016
      The Marian Shrine of Litmanova, Slovakia.Christmas 2017A forest chapel at the Slovakian Marian shrine of Litmanova.Stunning painting of the Sacred Heart inside the forest chapel.
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • Not Our President November 16, 2016
      To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken.Those in st […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Trump's lies: the list June 24, 2017
      From The New York Times: a definitive list of all of Trump's Lies ... Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.What's appalling i […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

The Road to Remonstrance

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

I recently wrote about the need for mainstream and liberal Catholics to offer remonstrance — an earnest presentation of reasons for opposition or grievance against the reactionaries now fomenting schism within the Church. I’d now like to further explain the need for such action.

Why is Catholic remonstrance necessary? Here are a few compelling reasons.

First, remonstrance is a form of dissent. Any institution, whether it be a national government or a religious hierarchy, needs to hear about potential problems before they become major problems. Listening and hearing such dissent is essential to institutional health. Arguably: No dissent, no health.

Dissent also draws attention to vital new ideas even if they were treated with scorn upon arrival. For example, a reconsideration of natural law principles in light of knowledge acquired since St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century offers strong arguments in support of artificial birth control and embryonic stem cell research while establishing homosexuality is not the aberration Church fathers believe it to be. Even the great Aristotelian thinker, St. Thomas Aquinas was treated as a heretic and excommunicated shortly after his death. And yet his ideas came to greatly influence Catholic theology.

Remonstrance also allows more the esoteric economic agendas of the Catholic Right to be exposed.

Reactionaries now control much of the structure of Church governance. For example, Archbishop Raymond Burke is now the current Perfect of Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, roughly the equivalent of a Vatican Supreme Court. Additionally, Pope Benedict XVI is expanding the ranks of conservatism in the Church by reaching out to the anti-modernist, anti-Semitic Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and attempting bring socially conservative Anglicans into the fold.

Although he also recently issued the economically progressive encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he is appointing and elevating economically regressive bishops and cardinals — especially in the United States. The very anti-health care reform Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, as well as Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop R. Walker Nickless, of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa immediately come to mind. Many of these church princes cavort with Catholic neocons whose political agenda for the church has more to do with comforting the wealthy and extending empire than with Jesus’s concern for the oppressed, the marginalized, the vulnerable, and the despised.

Finally, Catholicism risks transformation as an appendage not only of neconic oligarchy but opposition to pluralism as espoused by traditionalists. Some such as Tradition, Family, Property, are downright scornful of modern democracy. To that end, these folks often abuse the Catholic notion of obedience. In their hands it is transformed from the idea of living a life in compliance with God’s will to one of blind obedience to those who abuse their hierarchical authority to violate other key components of natural law such as distributive justice. To people like these, dissent is a dangerous thing.

It is not difficult to see where this goes. If the faithful can be bullied into religious compliance by dint of damnation anxiety, then they can be an effective tool for oligarchs who join with traditionalists in equating dissent with disobedience to God.

That is why mainstream Catholics must now offer remonstrance; and refute the substitution of Caesar for God; both in the pew and in the public square.

Next: Catholics who exemplify remonstrance.

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. It’s good to see this article again.

  2. I think we gotdy need to get out facts straight. St. Thomas Aquinas was certainly not “treated as a heretic and excommunicated shortly after his death.”

    He died, of course, from illness contracted traveling to the second council of Lyon, summoned by Gregory X.

    A few years after his death, a number of propositions arguably his were condemned by the Archbishop of Paris (though they were more likely aimed at the teaching of Siger of Brabant). Within fifty years, of course, Thomas was canonized.

    In dealing with the highly disputacious nature of medieval theology it is always good to keep in mind a distinction made by Meister Eckhart. I don’t recall the exact quote, but what he said in essense was, It is possible that I may teach error, because that is a matter of the intellect, but I cannot be a heretic, because that is a matter of the will.

    I won’t repeat in any detail what I’ve said before here, that I think the articles here tend to exaggerate the menace of more conservative Catholics. I don’t agree with much of their political agenda, but they have the liberty to promote it, as more moderate and liberal Catholics have, as well.

    • Illijane, I wish the articles here were exaggerations as you say, but I have found that to not be the case.

      The article does not focus on Thomas Aquinas, but on an agenda that will essentially destroy the founding of democracy in the USA. Liberty for Christian authoritarians of the medieval mindset need not be silence, but be exposed. That is the purpose of Remonstrance.

  3. Well-written and well said Frank! I too believe that the all the faithful need to stand up, and openly respectfully disagree with the hierarchical leaders of the Church on matters of such importance as these.

    The encroaching cilmate of overtly conservative leadership within the Church is indeed discouraging. But if we all stand up courageously for truth–as you exhorted us all to do in your article–then perhaps the Church may be transformed in an astonishing manner by the grace and renewal of the Holy Spirit!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: