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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Fr. Eberhard Schockenhoff

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The moral theologian Fr. Eberhard Schockenhoff is said to be the mastermind behind the challenge to Church teachings by the German bishops. He is deeply involved with the Synod on the Family. He is on the record as an opponent to Humanae Vitae and the Church’s prohibition against artificial contraception. He is an apologist for gay clergy and wants an overhaul of Catholic sexual ethics. He has argued that the “permanence” and “solidarity” in same-sex relationships is “ethically valuable” as is its growing public acceptance. He would discard or “liberate” Catholic teaching from an association with natural law, emphasizing the subjective experiences of the faithful. He would also openly readmit remarried divorcees to take Holy Communion, adultery or not. How is such a man counted as an expert? What even makes him a Catholic?

Infiltrated Vatican set to accept Same Sex Unions??

4 Responses

  1. A couple months–and a lot of research and reflection–later and I’m checking back in to say I have come around to thinking that I was indeed being “too generous and naive” in my approach to this question.
    I really just did not realize the fervor and depths of dissent present in (or laying claim to presence in) the Church. I couldn’t model the mind that would want to reject Catholicism and yet retain the name “Catholic”. Actually, I still can’t model it but I’m more aware of its actual existence. (It was encountering the so-called “Roman Catholic Womenpriests” [sic] that finally did the trick.)

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned reply, Father Joe. I would counter, however, that even the “hopeful dissenters” against “settled doctrine” can have value in the larger scheme. Times change and, while doctrine in itself ought not change with it, it is useful to rearticulate the truth in the language of the times. Towards that end, however misguided and distorted their personal views, the dissenters do the Church a service. Whether there *should* be confusion or perversion of understanding, the brute fact is that there *is*–and figures such as Schockenhoff & Co. [does anyone remember when the Germans *weren’t* troublemakers?] at the very least draw attention to the direction in which the dangerously wayward are wandering; all the better for us to find them and bring them back into the fold. Perhaps in this I am being to generous or naive but I believe that, at bottom, even dissenters as tragic as Luther have been men of good will.

    FATHER JOE: Again, I disagree with you. Bishops and priests are men of the Church and they above all must not dissent. It gives scandal and leads people astray. I am at a loss as to why these dissenters are not silenced or censured. I do not believe that any good fruits will come of it. As for Luther, I have read his collected works, and while a genius, I am not convinced he was a man of good will. He suffered from a deadly hubris in regards to Scripture interpretation, a hatred of the papacy and an arrogance that would motivate him to use earthly princes to put pressure on the Pope. I will not judge him in hell but neither will I count him as a saint in heaven.

    And I sincerely hope you were making only a dramatic rhetorical flourish in directing the lost to turn towards schism, heresy, and apostasy. I pray every morning for the reunion of all Christians and should like to think you do too.

    FATHER JOE:

    It is unclear to me when I have ever done this. However, we cannot allow Catholic truth to be polluted either. If people want to go into schism or to commit either heresy or apostasy, they have that terrible freedom to do so. I would not keep such people close to the breast as if their views could be tolerated. A pretense at union is no union at all… much as we see in Anglicanism. No quarter can be given to religious indifferentism.

    Is the ultimate goal of ecumenism a reunion of the sects to Holy Mother Church? Or is the most for which we can hope an appreciation of a common love and faith in Jesus that is expressed through civility and efforts that further justice and charity?

  3. How is he an expert and what makes him a Catholic… Excellent questions, Father.

    We’re in such need for severity instead of false mercy from Holy Mother Church. It seems the wolves are allowed to run free among the sheep.

    God bless you Father. I enjoy reading your blog posts.

  4. Isn’t this, at least in part, a case of the problem of “seeing the sausage get made”? Every Council and Synod has had its opposing voices, even (and especially) among those who were not schismatics in the end. Trent for instance, which even the most ‘traditionalist’ Catholics recognize, was far from a model of unified thought and faith. Nevertheless, decisions were reached and the misguided submitted (except the Protestants, of course, but it’s hard to imagine how they could have been folded back in at that point anyway).
    I’m not supporting the meeting’s (rumoured) position but I do see the valuable role dissenting opinions play in the development of doctrine. ‘Wrong’ answers, with their genuine and well-intentioned advocates, are necessary if only to highlight points of ambiguity by bringing arguments to the floor. The only way clarity is increased is by raising new, even scandalous, questions.
    I suggest that the best course is not pre-emptive condemnation but prayer that the Spirit guide the conclusion, and save these souls from carrying their needful burdens too far…

    FATHER JOE: Argument on various topics is useful in certain instances, as in the IVF debate and the desire of some to save embryos through adoption. But in the end the definitive verdict for this new question was negative. The issues being raised in reference to the synod are NOT “open questions.” They are closed topics and even the Pope is not God and cannot reopen them. Doctrine can develop but the dissenters here are arguing for reversal. The whole praxis versus doctrine business is a shell game. Natural law respects the created order. Divine positive law is God’s revealed word on important subjects. Divorce and remarriage, is as our Lord teaches, subject to the sin of adultery. This is a mortal sin. St. Paul and both the Hebrew and Christian tradition condemns homosexual acts. While we can tolerate the disorientation, the acts themselves constitute mortal sin. Contraception violates the meaning of the marital act as a human act and as a renewal of Christ’s covenant. Despite hopeful thinking from dissenters, these are now issues of settled doctrine. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI made sure that the debate about women priests was over once and for all. If one wants change on all these matters then I would suggest moving toward the Episcopalian camp where fad and fashion is given preference to saving immutable truths.

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