Friday, November 2, 2018

Is ‘Dogma’ an Oppressive Catholic Word? – Steve Ray

“When I was an Evangelical Protestant, I thought dogma was a dirty word. It had bad connotations. It represented unbiblical teaching forced down people’s throats by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. They invented new doctrines not found in the Bible and then called them dogmas and told Christians if they didn’t believe them — well, they would go to hell.

So, is dogma a bad word? Are they teachings and traditions created by men to control people and to force them to believe things not in the Bible? Where did the word come from? What does dogma mean?”

For the full but short article, click here.

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DA589331-A503-4F9B-B526-9940B0252787He has elevated immoral men in order to change the Catholic faith

Just over five years ago, the Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio came out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s as Pope Francis. It is useful to recall the situation of the Church that he inherited.

The sex-abuse scandals that had rocked the Church in America and some European countries at the turn of the millennium were subsiding, or so it seemed. But the dysfunction at the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI had overwhelmed the scholarly pontiff.

Benedict’s chosen reformer for the corrupt Vatican Bank, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, initially had success in turning blood-red deficits toward the black, but he was swiftly undermined and sent packing to be the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States. Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested for stealing and leaking to the media documents revealing the intrigue and backbiting within Vatican City.

Benedict assigned three cardinals to investigate the VatiLeaks scandal. They returned to the pope a long dossier, which was widely reported to contain an account of the financial and sexual misdeeds of senior officials in the Vatican itself. At about this time European banks began squeezing the Vatican Bank, and by the turn of the New Year the Vatican’s own ATMs stopped working. Their function was restored days after Benedict announced that he would resign the papacy, the first papal resignation in five centuries.

Two storylines emerged out of the election of Bergoglio. The first was that the Church had elected a man who had a common touch and would stop the Church from becoming a museum of dead dogmas. The second is that the Church had chosen him because he had shown the energy to reform the dysfunctional curia.

At first, Pope Francis seized the momentum on both fronts. He quickly earned a great deal of positive media for making symbolic breaks with his predecessor. Some of the more traditional vestments were immediately dropped, along with the red shoes. He decided against taking up residence in the papal apartments. Instead he would live in Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican hotel.

And he quickly began making his earthy and endlessly quotable comments to the media. He gave candid interviews to the atheist Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari. Asked to comment on how he would counsel gays, he responded: “Who am I to judge?” Francis also quickly formed a special group of nine cardinal advisers to help him accomplish the work of reforming the Vatican itself.

The Francis pontificate was to be an era of mercy for sinners at the peripheries and accountability for malefactors at the Vatican. Instead, almost the opposite has taken place.

While trying to please the progressives who elected him, Pope Francis has plunged the Church into acrimony and confusion. He has put forward a revision of the Church’s teaching on the sacraments that puts traditional concepts of Christian virtue out of reach for all but the most “heroic” Christians. It is a theological revolution that not only threatens the coherence of the Catholic faith but has the potential to affect all Christians.

As for reform? Forget it. Nearly half of the members of Pope Francis’s reformist team have been pulled into sexual-abuse scandals themselves. Cardinal George Pell has returned to his native Australia to face charges of fondling children. Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga has been accused of protecting churchmen who fostered a culture of sexual predation in the seminaries of Honduras.

The German cardinal Reinhard Marx was revealed to have been negligent in investigating an abusive priest when he was bishop of Trier. American cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, has been exposed as having passed the buck when a priest tried to inform him of the serial sexual predation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick against seminarians.

For the whole article click here.

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