A few months ago, a new editor was named for the Jesuit “Rag-azine” titled “America.” The publication’s title has always seemed rather presumptuous to me, perhaps never more so than now, in its current lack of any meaningful achievement for the Faith in America or for countering the pagan culture onslaught. It is as if “America” has no role but to publish, rather than to teach, evangelize or plant a meaningful theological thesis or spiritual impulse. We should judge by the fruits. What are they? Today, all things Jesuit can easily hide under the Jesuit aura of the Papacy, and perhaps receive more deference than has been deserved in a very long time. But it doesn’t make them fruitful, or faithful. I say that without in any way diminishing the historic contributions of Jesuits, especially their martyrdom to hold the British soil for the Faith.
Nevertheless, I took a quick read through the new editor’s ruminations, and found them somewhat lacking in cohesion and insight, a veritable potpourri of words without apparent direction. For example, the September comments by the new editor, Father Matt Malone, is a transparent pulpit for Cardinal Kasper and his radical, damaging proposals to change Catholic Teaching (just before the Synod) and to permit divorced/remarried Catholics to receive Communion. The buzzword “mercy” can hardly undo the Gospel words of Christ that no one can put asunder what God has joined together.
The August column is a puff piece on the editor’s visit to Cuba and the late July issue, while purporting to offer the two sides of the Hamas-Gaza vs. Israel conflict, in effect showcases far more anti-Israel sentiment than vice versa. The early July column would lead the reader to never suspect there is any such thing as a just-war theory, or that Christ spoke the Truth when He said there would be wars and rumors of wars.
I didn’t go back any further than June in which the editor played the RACE card. Father Malone offers the inflammatory words: “I do know this: the notion that whites—even the most enlightened among us—“don’t see race” is ridiculous. It’s quite obviously the first thing that we see. I don’t forget that someone is black, any more than he or she forgets that I am white. That’s just something white people tell themselves in order to feel a little less complicit in the whole ghastly history of racial prejudice.” Father Malone outrageously continues: “Do we openly acknowledge our history, our complicity, our shame, while not forgetting our triumphs and joys and especially our hopes for healing?” “What we need is plenty of honest conversation, painful conversation about what we have done.” This editor offers not much insight into who “we” is, but it isn’t me or most of the people I know. The new editor is making the classic mistake of asserting that he speaks for all his readers.
The pro-cardinal Dolan article is not surprising, given her long and close working relationship with him when he was President of the USCCB (which she fails to disclose in her article.) Further, it boggles the mind that she could have been the voice of the USCCB to the media when her article in “America” so ignores and misstates the Catholic Church position on same-sex attracted individuals. Perhaps this is at least part of the root of the wider secular media not understanding the Church’s position? She uses the word “gay” without in any way differentiating those who are same-sex attracted from those who choose to live a gay activist life-style, causing great and irreparable damage to the perception of what the Catholic Church really teaches. Here are a few quotes, but please read and comment yourself. It is a short, easy read if you can control your righteous indignation.
-’This [parade] is not a religious rite though some attend it religiously. It’s of course associated with Catholics, especially in New York where the saint is patron of the archdiocese’s (some say the nation’s) premier church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. The Catholic Church does not sponsor the parade, though the marchers go by the cathedral where the grand marshal traditionally greets the archbishop of New York. The parade also is preceded by Mass in the cathedral.” [And this is the argument she makes that the NY Diocese isn't involved or a key influence?]
-”Unfortunately a lot of faithful critics and culture warriors are taking issue with Cardinal Dolan’s tolerance of the parade’s gay and lesbian contingent. They seem to advocate an in-your-face approach to anything gay.’ [Notice the last inflammatory sentence, refusing to differentiate between what is gay and what is gay activist, as if the distinction didn't even exist.]
-”Even the federal government eventually refused to defend the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal benefits in the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed with practically unanimous support and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The government stopped defending the law in court in 2011 and two years later, the Supreme Court found the definition unconstitutional.” [and this is supposed to be an argument for same-sex "marriage"? That "even" the government .... as if the government had some morality? As if 15 years can change something from immoral to moral?]
-”Nevertheless, Cardinal Dolan also has pastoral obligations. Many Catholics are gay, are related to gays, have gay friends.” [Again note the refusal to distinguish the gay lifestyle from the disorder of same-sex attraction.]
- “The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family voted in 1997 on a statement “Always Our Children,” that addressed the relationship between parents and their gay children. It drew fierce opposition from a number of people, but it cleared the air and comforted families who felt torn between what they understood to be church teaching and the natural love of mothers and fathers for children.” [Oh, goodie -- it made people "feel good" about their sins, and the sins of their family members. There was much controversy and the USCCB's position was entirely NON-BINDING on this matter; so Walsh is presenting a skewed view and cherry-picks a few points and ignores many others, but that is not surprising given her prior USCCB involvement, all undisclosed to the reader.]
-”Where to draw the line?” [How about between sin and no sin?]
-”Can a gay couple marry in the church? Since the church does not recognize such a union, this does not seem like something the church can approve of.” [What kind of a question/answer is this? "does not seem like something...?" OBVIOUSLY, Sister Walsh, the answer is NO, and one could wish you had a stronger catechesis. Could you be any weaker?]
-”Cardinal Dolan’s position on the parade is the pastoral one; you don’t reject people for who they are.” [Sin is not "who they are;" but rather is what has hold of them, throttling by the enemy. Clever word-smithing again, and consistently, does not address either Church Teaching on non-repentant sinful life style, or its effect on others. And just how is promoting homosexual sin under a bragging banner "pastoral" to the rest of the Church?]
Finally, and also in my opinion, what Cardinal Dolan is doing is even worse and more significant than what we experienced in prior years in the DoR. His audience is larger, his apparent push for normalizing the gay lifestyle is more aggressive and apt to cause division on a wide and deep scale, and he has greater influence. If this is what he has done in just a few years, what can we expect in the future if he is not removed from office? Moreover, with our experience in Rochester in speaking out for true Catholic Teaching, and in taking the words of Ezekiel seriously, we probably have more experience here and at Cleansing Fire than many groups in other dioceses, and it is easy to argue that to NOT speak out would be a dereliction of our duty. But, as I said, this is all “in my opinion.” What’s yours?