Friday, September 30, 2005

"The Altar of Arrogance"

The Walter Cuenin Ink-A-Thon continues in Boston.... And I can't say I terribly mind.

A Lector at Our Lady's, Newton, writes in today's Herald
Father Cuenin turns 60 in December. The church is his life, and he has given himself to it unreservedly. He opens the doors of Our Lady's to divorced and remarried Catholics, Protestant and Jewish visitors, gays, estranged and alienated Catholics trying to find their way back, and people searching for faith and inspiration. Doubtless, this – along with his ``disloyalty'' four years ago to the prelates who lied and covered up for abusive priests – were his chief sins, and finding an obscure financial rule he could be accused of violating was the most crass of pretexts.

Father Cuenin's inclusive homilies, his encouragement of the outcast and downtrodden, his invitation to the lay community to participate fully in leadership and pastoral positions rankled the chancery's company men and careerists.
Scathing, but probably true.



Blogger Jeff said...

Our Pope "opens the door" to all those people, too. But he never gives them the idea that they're "just fine the way the are." That's the difference. Cuenin's is the cheap ersatz-charity of wanting to be loved, not wanting to love.

30/9/05 12:33  
Blogger John Hearn said...

You nailed it Jeff!

30/9/05 12:34  
Blogger Worker7 said...


The Pastor's Benefice was something that was eliminated pretty much during Vatican II. This was widely hailed as an essential reform. This is no obscure financial rule.

30/9/05 13:25  
Blogger RightJack said...

Jeff wrote:
"Cuenin's is the cheap ersatz-charity of wanting to be loved, not wanting to love."

Just wondering, Jeff: have you had an opportunity to hear Walter Cuenin preach? or would your slam be based on similar inuendo and carping here in cyberspace?

30/9/05 19:49  
Blogger Todd said...

Jack's right. Too much St Blog's echo chamber on this one. Cuenin may indeed have his own problems, but my best suggestion is to stick to a script he's actually given, not what are presented as his actual words in their actual context.

1/10/05 11:21  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello RightJack,

Fr. Cuenin appears to be a gifted homilist and charismatic pastor. I think we both wish we had more of those.

And yet - as I am sure you agree - these may be necessary qualities for a good pastor but not sufficient ones. Fr. Feeney was a pretty gifted speaker if I'm not mistaken.

Cuenin, to be sure, had some pretty odd notions when it came to Church doctrine, and not just on homosexuality. There is, for example, his essay on baptism, in which he makes it clear several striking positions:

Namely: that Church "doctrine has changed." That "we now teach that God saves all peoples, not only Christians. Everyone is welcome in the kingdom of heaven." That as regards John 3 "We do not see the aforementioned passage from John's Gospel as physically requiring a baptism." The very best we can say of the former statements is that they're extremely infelicitous (and dangerously misleading) in their phrasing; the latter one flatly contradicts Church teaching (i.e. CCC 997). Church doctrine does not change. It can develop - but it cannot contradict its earlier formulations.

At any rate I am glad that Fr. Cuenin seemed able to attract many disaffected people back to the Church. The question is: what did he do with them then? Did he help affect the transforming life in Christ? To turn from sin? To even be able to identify sin? Based on his public comments, I have some skepticism that he did. And if so, he could wel have done more damage to these souls than if they had never come to church.

Certainly, I hope that's not the case. But no amount of charisma, interpersonal skills, personality, or good works can compensate for a willingness to perceive oneself as a Magisterium Of One.

1/10/05 11:36  
Blogger Marco, Trumphalistic Papist said...

A "Magisterium of One." How apt. It's just the way these heterodox troublemakers see themselves. A bunch of politically correct crap. Good ridance.

2/10/05 02:54  

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