Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Please, God, not another one

I could be wrong, and I know these are sensitive and personal matters, and I know God works in mysterious ways, and I know people can change, and I know the Red Sox did in fact win two World Series', and I've heard of video footage that shows pigs flying, but come on.

The conversion of Tony Blair to the Catholic Church is far more likely to be a cause of scandal than the wunnnderful event some want to see it as.

Show of hands: who thinks Mr. Blair's pro-abortion, pro-gay adoption/"gay marriage" stands magically vanished since he recently left office?

If they haven't, he's not ready for full communion. We have enough Kerry/Cuomo/Kennedy/Durbin/Harkin/Pelosi/Schwarzenegger/O'Reilly/Giuliani-style Catholics already, thanks, and quite enough bishops willing to turn the other way.


Anonymous Tony said...

Hmmm... Did St. Peter give you the keys to the kingdom when I wasn't looking?

The Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners. Not a country club for saints. If, after his conversion, he causes public scandal with his stances on life and family issues, it'll be up to his Bishop to correct him, interdict him, or excommunicate him as appropriate.

If he doesn't cause scandal, and it's taking him time to come to grips with some of the thornier life issues, I'm willing to give him his time. I also believe it'll be much easier to convert him when he is in the bosom of the mother Church than outside of her.

10:20 AM

Blogger Patrick said...

Tony, Tony, Tony. Have I been with thee so long and still thous dost not know me? I love your blog, and I am very glad you chimed in, and I hope you keep doing so, but I think you're all wet here.

No, I am not the holder of the keys to the kingdom. (Nice dig.) But Peter and his successors are. And there constant teaching has been that when an adult enters the Church, at the end of the formal Catechumenate or at the close of private instruction, he or she must make a Profession of Faith in ALL that the Church teaches.

I agree with you entirely on the hospital/not country club metaphor. But it presupposes that the sinner agrees that his sin is actually sin. And that's the rub.

I'm all for Tony Blair becoming a Catholic -- on the Church's terms. If he (or anyone else) wishes to do so yet does not agree with the Church's assessment of whether this or that is a sin, then they are not ready to enter. Period. Same with couples approaching the altar for marriage. If they are not prepared to "welcome children and bring them up according to the law of Christ and the Church" then the Sacrament of Marriage is not for them. (Yet.)

No intelligent bishop is going to play some weird game in which he waits for Blair to be received into the Church and then publically announce his continued support for abortion rights -- then then excommunicate him.

Come on, Tony: If I approach you for a job in your organization, which helps poor blacks in the inner city, and you know that I give money to the KKK or constantly use the N word, are you going to roll out the red carpet, hire me, and then wait until my racism shows its ugly face before confronting me?

No, obviously, that's all backwards, right? Back to Mr. Blair. His bishop must assess the Catechumen for readiness, the simplest way being to ask him about his views on abortion. And the rest of the faithful have the *right* to know that his conversion isn't one more sham "wink and nod" version.

The Holy Father has written and spoken repeatedly about the necessity of refusing Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. Obviously, Tony Blair is supposed to receive Holy Communion on the day of his reception. And since his contra-Catholic views are well known, and he has defended them for years, they must be resolved and amended BEFORE he enters the Church and receives his Lord.

You're got the order of events wrong. Conversions to Christ and his teachings are meant to happen to adults *before* the enter, not after. Referring to the Holy Spirit, Bishop Sheen used to say, "You convert 'em, I'll instruct 'em."

I hate to so thoroughly disagree with you my friend, but there is abundant evidence that people *outside* the Church are converted to the "thorny life" doctrines (Simone Weil, Bernard Nathanson, Nat Hentoff, Malcolm Muggeridge, to start a very long list) and, I would say, even more evidence that people *inside* the Church are more difficult to convert. You can begin that list with the Catholic pro-aborts I mention in the post.

There is a distinct "thisness" to Catholicism, a coherent set of doctrines one must accept before signing on, all of which are manifestations of the will of Christ. No, it's not about "abiding by the rules" in some extrinsic, legal way. It's about falling in love, and staying in love, with Jesus Christ and remaining obedient to ALL he reveals to be necessary for salvation.

Your own "hands-off-and-wait-nonjudgmentally" principle leads to untenable conclusions. Another analogy. If my bishop knows I "have a problem" with some of the "thornier life issues" such as, say, the prohibition against rape or prostitution, are you saying he should similarly "give me my time" as I grapple with the true teaching, and meanwhile allow me to receive Jesus at Mass? 1) You don't see a problem with a pro-hooker, pro-rape person being warmly welcomed into the Church before he repents and renounces his dark affections?

2) Isn't advocating the killing of innocent babies worse than advocating rape and prostitution, as truly destructive as they are?

I'm asking these two questions and one other. I'd appreciate knowing a bit more about where you're coming from if you have the time to answer. 3) You use the phrase "some of the thornier life issues." What do you mean by it? I've heard the phrase before, and it sounds to me like an oddly pejorative way to describe the fullness of the Gospel of Life.

Thanks again,


12:18 PM

Anonymous Tom said...

Tony, I think Patrick's point is that to convert to the Catholic Church means to accept her teaching authority on theological and moral matters. The ONLY distinguishing mark of the Catholic Church (other than being the one, true, faith) is the infallibility of the teaching magesterium of Church (every other doctrine or moral teaching is shared with one fellow faith or another). To convert or call oneself Catholic, one MUST accept this, period. There is no waffling on infallibility. As such, to swear allegence to the Church while at the same time holding moral postions contrary to the infallible teaching of the Church you just swore to accept is a lie and is itself a cause of scandal.

This does not mean that he won't come around, and we all that he does, after all, the greatest sinners make the greatest saints.

Not to be too picky, but since when are the bishops the only members of the Church Militant who have to bear witness to the truth? Correcting a fellow brother in Christ is a duty we all have. You could argue that it ought to be done in a kinder, gentler mode, but you and I both have a duty to help our erring sisters and brothers see the full, comprehensive, all-or-nothing, nature of the Catholic Faith.

As to the keys to the kingdom, Patrick and I alternate possession weekly.

12:34 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Hi Tom:

I agree that the bishops aren't the only members of the Church Militant who have to bear witness to the truth. And I know that correcting a fellow brother in Christ is a duty we all have, and that we all have a duty to help our erring sisters and brothers. Never said otherwise.

It's still the unique responsibility of the bishop, not Patrick Coffin, to determine if a given candidate for full reception is in fact properly prepared and dispose to enter.

Gimme back them KEYS!!!

7:36 PM


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