Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Some Have... Hatred

(Second in an occasional series....)
326. What is the effect of episcopal Ordination?

Episcopal Ordination confers the fullness of the Sacrament of Orders, making the Bishop the legitimate successor of the Apostles and inserting him into the College of bishops, sharing with the Pope and the other Bishops the solicitude for all the Churches, and granting him the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing.

327. What is the function of the Bishop in the particular Church entrusted to him?

The Bishop to whom a particular Church is entrusted is the visible head and the foundation of the unity of that Church where, as vicar of Christ, he fulfills the pastoral office, aided by its priests and deacons.
The above are translations from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Does anyone wish to quibble?

It seems that, yet again, Karen Hall does. They must've skipped the significance and primacy of the episcopacy in her RCIA, because it seems she was taught that Catholicism was the free-for-all Anglicanism with which she trys to tar those of us who actually study the church.

To her credit, Karen's taught me something of great value -- that if you've been a TV writer for going on 27 years, the profession must really get under your skin and the urge to create salacious, attention-grabbing fiction becomes second nature. Because it seems that she's always chomping at the bit to pull some more material out of thin air for her pilot (picked up by EWTN for a September debut) starring R. Kelly as Cardinal Mahony and Boy George as Tod Tamberg. Or something else so captivatingly ostentatious only a TV writer can envision it.

Karen gripes that there are no liturgies in LA which correspond to the NASCAR schedule. Since when were race cars a valid consideration when it comes to the Eucharist? Karen once had the distaste to surmise that I wrote a piece about Ingrid Stampa because, in her ignorance of how the church works (or, for that matter, who Joseph Ratzinger is), a woman's presence in the Pope's circle immediately means that the Holy Father might just be less than holy.

That's just disgusting beyond words, an insult to my professional integrity and an unfounded, disgraceful insinuation against the character of the Pope.

Well, hey, think of it this way: Ratzi and I are in good company, because she really loves smearing Mahony, too.

Here's a memory meme -- I'll now make up for some catechist in SoCal who lost Karen's attention: It is not kosher, nor is it Catholic, for someone who loves screaming "Magisterium!" to go to extreme, uncharitable, un-Christian lengths to denounce, discredit and deny the mandate (signed, "John Paul II") given a validly ordained and appointed prelate who, according to the traditions of the church Karen accepted by her own assent "is the visible head and foundation of unity" of her community of faith. It is not kosher, nor is it Catholic, to seek to trump up charges and divide the church against its competent authority on unsubstantiated grounds stemming solely from personal distaste.

Yet, because Karen wants to remake the church in no image other than her own, she persists in the obstinate denial of this tenet -- and, unlike her slanted gripes (you might have to miss NASCAR for Mass -- poor baby), she's transgressing an article of faith here.... Well, unless she wants to deny the authority of the Catechism, and she can be my guest at that.

Remember that she had the gall to call me Episcopalian and tell me to "go save the gay whales." Indeed, darlings, anything is possible when you live in a parallel universe -- where the only Magisterium in force is one's arrogant, uninformed whim.

That's not the kind of record you want when claiming the ground of a proper formation and causing scandalous consternation over liturgical "abuses" which aren't. It gives one a perspective as credible as Stevie Wonder chewing out an interior decorator....

And Stevie would never do such a thing because he's always got the love lights on. That's what Christians are called to do.

In a recent comment, Karen wants to ask the Pope why "Mahony gets away with relentless blatant heresy."

Fine, make that charge -- but give us proof. And, more than anything, respect people's intelligence and the church's dignity. For the love of God, if you want to be taken seriously and not as some sort of reject rodeo clown, give us balance, not hysterics. Going overboard and somehow trying to tie Mahony to Gino Burresi says more about you than it does about the man your faith impels you to accept as "vicar of Christ" in the church entrusted to him. And it doesn't say much for the Catholic spirit you say you've got.

Karen said tonight that she wants to send a U-Haul truck to the Roman Catholic Faithful in their investigation of Mahony.

If that's the Catholic thing to do, then your Pope lives in Kansas....

Some authority he's got. But then again, if I've got your thinking right, who's Roger Mahony to say he's a Catholic bishop?



Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

Jeff -- You'll note that I haven't used the term "con" in a good while....

Should I return to my former practice?

26/7/05 23:33  
Blogger Matthew Lickona said...


You're asking Hall for balance; I'll ask you for the same. Is it just possible that she has reason to be upset? Is it just possible that the reason a lot of people don't like Mahony is that he has done things which - in spirit, if not in letter - don't seem in keeping with the workings of a true pastor?

She may go over the line, but why not try to actually bring her back to this side of the line, instead of declaring her anathema and casting her into Kansas? Do you really suppose she's going to be interested in your advice about balance after you've publicly mocked her?

A woman falls in love with Catholicism from outside the Church. She converts, and finds that the Church she loved upon discovery is not quite the same thing as the Church she attends. She is upset. She doesn't understand the discrepancy. To her, it looks like the very man entrusted with shepherding the flock has gone and given the gate-keys to the wolves. I'm not saying that's what Mahony's done. I'm saying that may be how it looks to Hall.

But the most important thing - you suggest that being a TV writer has warped Hall. What would she conclude about the effect of being a journalist on you? Make your argument, but sheathe your claws. Your manners are showing.

27/7/05 11:03  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

Lickona -- I haven't been a journo for 26 years... I haven't been alive for 26 years, and every day is as idealistic and joyous as the first. Pray that I never lose my sense of wonder, and reality....

Just because someone falls in love with Catholicism from outside the church doesn't give 'em the right to get some kind of "cafeteria cushion" and pick and choose which teachings they follow. (It's this same "misguided compassion" which Mahony's hateclub rails at him about!) And it especially doesn't give them the right to plead abject ignorance (or voice revulsion) about the catholicity of a church which has that very term in its name.

I didn't create that standard, but as an observer, I will call out those who claim its authority to judge others with when, in truth, they are giving it lip-service.

27/7/05 11:26  
Blogger Matthew Lickona said...

I wasn't justifying Hall, I was pleading for you to try to understand her, enter into her experience. I never said she had the right to pick and choose.

"As an observer, I will call out those who claim its authority to judge others with when, in truth, they are giving it lip-service."

You may be an observer, and you may be right, but you're still bound to execute your call-outs with charity. You have, I believe, talked about striving for unity, for an end to the infighting. I don't think you want to accomplish that by simply cutting off those you find unworthy. I think you want to reprove them, exhort them, bring them back into the fold. Leave the backbiting to others.

27/7/05 11:47  
Blogger CDE said...


You may want to consider drafting your posts before publishing... or revising them after publishing...

I know I've benefited from this, after learning the hard way.

As it is, you give an impression from time to time that I am sure you don't want to give: that you're nursing a wounded ego. Concerns about "an insult to my professional integrity" seem a bit high-flown for someone recently out of college.

Also, a basic tenet of civil discourse is that you give the person you are challenging the benefit of the doubt, rather than calling into question their motives. Everyone comes out ahead when each party considers it their job to protect, rather than attack, the reputation of the other... as far as the service of the truth demands. Not as far as I would like to protect it, but as far as the truth demands... which is often a good deal farther than I, with my fallen nature, would wish. I think this is what John Paul II may have been referring to in the Gospel of Life when he spoke of God entrusting us to one another.

Another principle of dialogue for a Christian is that if someone makes an unfair statement or attack against me, I am not therefore justified if I respond in kind. As a Christian, I simply don't have the luxury of adopting sinful tactics. Ever. This gives me much to reflect on when praying the sorrowful mysteries, which then become less of "too bad for Jesus" but "Jesus, I am sorry for not imitating your meekness."

Anyway, if it's any consolation, all of the advice I give needs to reach my own ears, I know.

I'm not saying I don't enjoy your blog, and that you don't have a lot of inside information. Just keep in mind that the medium is the message.

27/7/05 12:42  

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