Monday, September 07, 2009

With All Due Respect, Redux [UPDATED]

Quote of the day from Carl Olson, in regard to the pro-life equivalent of battered-wife syndrome (i.e. it's not just the GOP who takes pro-lifers for granted and shows us the back of their hand whenever we speak out of turn):
... Is the attitude described by Bishop Morlino really the prevalent stance among Catholics who are upset or concerned about the funeral? Having read many articles and numerous comments about the topic, I have a hard time believing so. It appears to me that many of those who are confused or even angry are simply wondering why a public funeral Mass—a rather extravagant, widely publicized (and televised), eulogistic, and liturgically problematic Mass—was afforded to a man who worked so long and hard against the Church on essential moral issues, and who never publicly disavowed that work. It's a good question, and they have a right to ask it.

Within a week of Kennedy's funeral, those making offensive and inappropriate statements of his eternal destination are being called on the carpet for their objectively sinful actions. Fair enough. My question is this: how long after Ted Kennedy made it known in the 1970s that he was going to publicly support abortion (and, later, other evils), was he called on the carpet by bishops or priests for his objectively sinful actions? How often throughout his public career was he publicly confronted and chastised for his support of abortion, contraceptives, "same-sex marriage," embryonic stem cell research, and so forth? And why does Bishop Morlino only use the word "sin/sinful" regarding those comments, but never in referring to Kennedy's many public actions and positions? Is it really so hard to call a spade a spade?

Once again, it's interesting how easy it is to chastise pro-life Catholic bloggers for being "vicious" and "bullying" and "sowing seeds of hatred" and being "agents of destruction and violence", but how hard it is to state the facts about Sen. Kennedy's public record. I suppose it was Kennedy's good fortune that he was never a pro-life Catholic blogger, otherwise he might have had to face public criticism from Catholic clergy.

As I asked the other day, I wonder if our shepherds REALLY believe about abortion what they proclaim to be the Church's teaching on the matter. I know that pro-lifers have taken them at their word, and have sacrificed their time, treasure, talent, and reputations - and even, in some cases, voting against our own economic best interests - to work on behalf of the unborn.

And, for that, pro-lifers have been rewarded with scorn. I expect as much from the mainstream media, from the Democrat Party, and even from the Republican Party, which takes the pro-life movement for granted, pretty much only paying attention to our concerns during election years.

But from our Bishops? Again, why do we even bother?

UPDATE (8 September)
From Diogenes:
Good morning, class. Today we're going to see how well you understand what you read.

Please read carefully through the blog post in which Cardinal O'Malley justifies his participation in the canonization funeral of Ted Kennedy. Then answer the following questions in the time provided.

1. Who should be denied a Catholic funeral?

A) Politicians who deny principal tenets of Catholic moral teaching.

B) The faithful who are scandalized by these politicians.

C) People who don't care that Placido Domingo sang at the funeral.

D) Both B and C

2. Enabling the deaths of millions of preborn children is:

A) A grave sin

B) A lost opportunity

(Hat tip: Fr. Z)

Again, for the record, I do not take issue with Sen. Kennedy's having received a Catholic funeral (if only the funeral actually had, indeed, been Catholic instead of the funerally / instant canonization that was allowed to take place), or with Cardinal O'Malley's participation therein.

But I do - again, with all due respect - take issue with the demonization of those who have been scandalized by the whole thing as the chief culprits who are being "divisive" and acting "sinfully", while Sen. Kennedy's outspoken advocacy for and record of working dilligently to ensure expansion of the availability of abortion on demand are dismissed as merely "a lost opportunity".

UPDATE #2 (8 September)
More reactions:

From the man with the black hat: "Rights of Burial".
Sean Cardinal O’Malley, as Archbishop of Boston, may have been obliged to make provision for a Catholic burial, but he was more than obliged to keep the event as unadorned as possible. Any of us riff-raff who, say, married outside the Church, or otherwise lived a public life that was less than exemplary, would never have gotten so much as the parish choir to show up, even if we paid them. And you can just forget about them serving lunch afterwards.

What impression does this give us? That “the Church” has one set of rules for people they’re trying to impress, and another set for the rest of us. We’re the ones who have to mind our P’s and Q’s, mind you, as these poncy cake-eating pontificators wrap themselves in the mantle of orthodoxy, as if it were little more than talking a good game.

And these guys wonder why some people don’t take them seriously. These are the times when I don’t.
From Chris Blosser at Against the Grain: "The problem wasn't the funeral".
... Speaking of the recent funeral of Senator Edward Kennedy, the Archbishop of Boston, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, endeavors to defend his participation in the event -- to which Fr. John Zuhlsdorf provides a helpful fisking. On the Archbishop's own blog there are already 100+ comments from readers -- the first comment by "Grace" will suffice, and indicates my thoughts exactly...
From the Happy Catholic: "Catholic Funerals".
There has been a lot of talk back and forth between those who criticized Ted Kennedy's funeral and those defending it. Up to and including Cardinal O'Malley who had it mostly right. Mostly. He also had it wrong. In which case, he practically handed detractors an argument with both hands. As we shall see.

Notice the specific mention of avoiding a eulogy? That's where Cardinal O'Malley got it wrong. He allowed the funeral to be derailed from the lines that the Catechism outlines by allowing eulogies. And we see where that got him and everyone.
Finally, from The Curt Jester: "Scandal".
... In large part nothing has been done to reduce this scandal and some have promoted the culture of death for decades directly leading to the death of others. No good is done for the person who have not yet repented. In fact harm is done by not offering a medicinal remedy to aid them towards repentance. The history of the Church is full of wonderful stories of repentance as a result of excommunication. The scandal caused is secondary to the caring of the soul of the person who promotes intrinsic evils.

Cardinal O'Malley who expressed "disappointment" with the Senator's record on abortion, had much stronger words for critics of the funeral. Now I certainly agree largely about people making harsh judgement and the problems this causes. If only the Cardinal had managed strong words for the Senator while he was alive and not just to critics of the funeral. Besides the Cardinal fails to mention that there were a whole range of intrinsic evils other than abortion that Sen. Kennedy voted for. Or the fact that the Senator was the leader of dissident Catholics and was involved in shaping Catholic support for abortion. I wish the Cardinal would spend a little time to understand the outrage even when it is put by some in imprudent and harsh language. He could have done a lot in the way of communication before the funeral. It would have been nice if before hand he had written about the numerous evils that the Senator was involved with and then go on to talk about God's mercy and our hope that the Senator had indeed repented of the evils he supported. This would have been quite helpful to reduce scandal and at the same time advance the teachings of the Church. No doubt some would have still objected to the funeral no matter what, but the Cardinal would also have had an opportunity to teach ahead of time instead of responding to the aftermath...
I think the point is that many of our Bishops would rather climb a tree to publicly denounce faithful Catholic pro-lifers as "divisive sinners" whenever pro-lifers react to scandal by becoming overzealous in their rhetoric than they would stand on the ground and admonish dissident Catholic abortion mongers in political life for causing the scandal by their zealous complicity in the ongoing homicide of the least of these.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
With All Due Respect ... [UPDATED]

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