Archive for the ‘Catholic Studies’ Category

Spiritual Rigidity, Too Vague a Concept

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

One of the most common, and commonly misused concepts in discourse about spiritual direction is the concept of “rigidity.”

This concept can mean a legalistic and unmerciful mentality that places the letter of the law over the Spirit, as Pope Francis appears to use the term.

In the US seminaries of the 1950s through the 1990s, rigidity was associated with the psychological concept of the authoritarian personality, a post WWII trope typified by Theodor Adorno’s heavily Freudian work of the same name.

But unfortunately, rigidity is often vaguely defined and subject to the eye of the beholder. The term “rigid” was terribly misused in US seminaries for decades to disqualify men from the priesthood as “rigid” who might have done any of the following–

  • Attended Mass and prayed every day
  • Prayed the Rosary and had a devotion to the Blessed Mother
  • Read Papal Documents and catechisms
  • Once attended a Latin Mass
  • Did not go out and drink alcohol or take drugs with the other guys
  • Were not open to homosexual relationships
  • Were not Democrats or Republicans like a given seminary faculty member

I am sadly familiar with a case from the 1960s in which a priest and seminary faculty member, who himself was later removed from ministry for a credible complaint of abuse, made it his personal business to disqualify seminarians as “rigid” for some of the above reasons. Some corrupt spiritual directors have tragically sought to shape a priesthood that is safe for the likes of themselves. While Pope Francis’ use of the term conveys the priority of mercy, “rigidity,” because of the term’s vagueness, allows for great abuse by a given spiritual director based upon that director’s own theological, sexual, and political preferences. “Rigidity” can be made to mean whatever a given spiritual director wants it to mean.

So whenever I hear the word “rigid” in a religious context, I urge caution. The term is terribly general and vague, without a strongly articulated Biblical and theological history, not to mention a precise psychological definition, having different connotations in different languages and cultures.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Response to Prof. Camosy’s 11/3/16 Crux Article on Catholic Voting

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Per Prof. Charles Camosy’s 11/3/16 Crux article “A Catholic may vote for Clinton, Trump, somebody else, or nobody.”

I just reread the US Bishops’ Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship document, and it does not give Prof. Camosy liberty to definitively state the name of any candidate as being capable of receiving a Catholic vote. Paragraphs 33-38 in the document are key. Prof. Camosy is qualified, like any other Catholic, to state his own voting decision and the basis for it. But he is certainly not qualified to completely define the specific universe of possible moral choices for others. Doing so would be beyond the pay grade even of a bishop, not to mention a professor.

The US Bishops’ statement cannot be used to rule any candidate _in_ to a list such as Prof. Camosy composed.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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More Sad News from Illinois DCFS

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

News reports state that 11 youths died within the care of Illinois DCFS during the two-year period ending 6/30/15.

I recall that the Chicago Sun-Times campaigned against the Catholic child-care institution Maryville in 2002-3 over one suicide, and, with the help of the ACLU, drove the dedicated Fr. John P. Smyth out of child care after four decades of service. Now the Sun-Times reporters and editors should be very proud of themselves, given the catastrophic failure of Illinois DCFS.

As I wrote during the Maryville controversy–

The enduring naive faith of Chicago child welfare reformers in, of all things, Illinois politics to provide stability for poor children is the core dumb idea to which crusading reformers return decade after decade, like the Biblical dog returning to its vomit. . . .

Here is a link with a summary of my correspondence from 2002-3 on this subject.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism CIII

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The smoke of Satan is also a shade of grey.

Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism CI

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Many religious leaders will claim to be middle of the road, and deny being either liberal or conservative, but there is a quick way to discern the difference:

A religious leader shows a liberal tendency when he or she ignores or dismisses numerous complaint letters from conservatives, but jumps sky high over a single complaint letter from a liberal.

A religious leader shows a conservative tendency when he or she ignores or dismisses numerous complaint letters from liberals, but jumps sky high over a single complaint letter from a conservative.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Podcast of 2/10/15 Lecture and Discussion of Pius XI’s Great Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstruction of the Social Order

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Here is posted the podcast of the just-completed edit of the 2/10/15 talk entitled, Pius XI & Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstruction of the Social Order, which was presented as part of the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Chicago.

© Copyright 2015, 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism XCVIII

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Without a belief in God, and a respect for this belief in law and in the public square, the second part of the Great Commandment–to Love one’s neighbor as oneself (Luke 10:25)–degrades as a social reality. Social altruism does not persist and thrive in an atheistic society.

As atheism becomes dominant, the post-Judeo-Christian society fades. Judeo-Christian values respecting one’s neighbor echo temporarily as part of the cultural residue of Judaism and Christianity, and gradually give way to completely unbridled self-interest, and to the Roman law of ownership, utendi et abutendi, ownership’s right both to use and to abuse, the Lex Abutendi.

God is Love (1 John 4:8). Love becomes vapid narcissistic tautology – love is love is love – without God in the equation.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism XCVI

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Sodomy is not a sacrament.

A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.

“The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s1c1a2.htm

Sodomy was not instituted by Christ, and does not give grace or divine life.

Sodomy does not participate in God’s act of creation of new human life. Nor does sodomy engender human life.

Because sodomy is not life-giving, it expresses a substantially lesser intimacy than that sexual intimacy expressed in sacramental, heterosexual matrimony.

Sodomy may only give pleasure to one or both of the participants.

Sodomy will always be an expression, if of love, of a lesser love than in sacramental heterosexual matrimony. Sacramental matrimony joins body, soul, and spirit. Sodomy does not.

No Catholic pope or bishop or clergy can ever make sodomy a sacrament.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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The Wit of St. John Fisher

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

St. John Fisher, 1469-1535, who was executed on this June 22nd date, wrote several documents defending the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. In one, the Licitum fuisse matrimonium Hen: 8: cum Catharina relicta fratris suj Arthurj, probably written in 1529, Fisher displays particular wit. According to the late scholar Edward Surtz SJ, Fisher employed the Latin adage or proverb “quite effectively”:

In striving to discover a basis for the invalidity of Henry and Catherine’s marriage in the Levitical prohibition (Lev. 18:16, 20:21), his adversaries are engaging in an activity as futile as seeking wool on a donkey (“lanam ab asino quaerunt”), or hunting a hare outside its burrow (“Inanis est venatio leporis extra sedem suam”), or shaking a bush from which the bird has already flown (“frustra dumus excutitur, in qua non residet avis”). By failing to reconcile the prohibition in Leviticus with the leviratic precept in Deuteronomy (25:5), they are keeping the two farther apart than treble and bass (lit. than a double octave: longius quam bis diapason). Nevertheless it is plainer than any sun (omni sole clarius) that the wife whose husband has died childless is exempt from the Levitical prohibition against marriage to one’s brother’s wife. Yet Fisher can apply a proverb to himself also. In trespassing on the territory of canon lawyers, he realizes that he must face the criticism: The cobber should not go beyond his last (Ne ultra crepidam sutor).

From: Surtz, E. L. (1967). The works and days of John Fisher; an introduction to the position of St. John Fisher (1469-1535), Bishop of Rochester, in the English Renaissance and the Reformation. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, pg. 352.

For more on St. John Fisher, and why he should be named a Doctor of the Church, please see my previous posts.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Catholic League E-Mailing List and Media Resources Hijacked to Promote Pro-Trump Op-Eds?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

With great disappointment, I report that the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights e-mailing list, on 4/22/16, and on 6/2/16, promoted off-mission pro-Donald Trump Newsmax articles by Catholic League President Dr. William Donohue.   The 6/2/16 Newsmax article was even displayed as a banner as of 9PM CDT 6/2/16 on the Catholic League website.   These articles have nothing to do with the stated mission of the Catholic League to defend the religious and civil rights of Catholics.

Those responsible for this continual violation of the mission of the Catholic League and appropriation of its media resources for political purposes should step down from the organization.   The above actions constitute a stupendous lack of judgment and lack of prudent stewardship of Catholic League social capital.

My father was a student of the late Virgil Blum, SJ, who founded the Catholic League in 1973, and was one of his earliest supporters.   I’m therefore deeply saddened by this inappropriate diversion of Catholic League resources, which threatens the integrity and future of the organization.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

 

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