Monday, October 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

Catholics for Equality calls on Catholics and people of good will in New York and throughout the United States to repudiate the anti-gay comments by Carl Paladino, the Catholic Republican gubernatorial candidate of New York. His comments do not represent Catholic social teaching nor the feelings of the majority of faithful American Catholics.

Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie showed that 51 percent of registered voters supported same-sex marriage while 42 percent opposed it. (Dec 3, 2009) More recent polling shows us that American Catholics support LGBT equality, including the freedom to marry, more than any other Christian denomination.

Catholics for Equality hopes that our bishops throughout New York will call to accountability Mr. Paladino for his words which violate the heart of Catholic teaching that gay persons should be treated with respect and dignity.

As the U.S. Catholic bishops stated clearly in 1997, "Our message speaks of accepting yourself, your beliefs and values, your questions, and all you may be struggling with at this moment; accepting and loving your child as a gift of God; and accepting the full truth of God's revelation about the dignity of the human person and the meaning of human sexuality. Within the Catholic moral vision there is no contradiction among these levels of acceptance, for truth and love are not opposed."

– Excerpt from a media release
issued by Catholics for Marriage Equality
October 11, 2010

Recommended Off-site Link:
Carl Paladino Softens Remarks on Homosexuality, but Says Children Can Be "Brainwashed" – David Gibson (, October 11, 2010).


kevin57 said...

In the midst of an all-too-long slew of bad news of gay rights and dignity, the news that public opinion is moving relatively quickly toward recognizing same-sex marriage rights.

The Spirit is at work! She is leading the People of God to incarnate the proclamation of Vatican II of inclusivity and universality. The Curia and hierarchy are trying to stop it, but somehow the Spirit always wins.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Amen, Kevin!

These hopeful statistics were one of the main reasons I decided to share this excerpt from the Catholics for Marriage Equality press release. They need to be publicized far and wide. And, yes, the Spirit is indeed at work within and among the people of God!

Hopefully one day the clerical leadership (or "clerical staff," as one friend refers to them) will eventually catch up.



Hari said...

If he didn't want to have the remark publicized, he should not have distributed it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us up-to-date, Michael. I, too, believe the Spirit is at work in the Church Universal, and the Roman Church institution is at odds with it for various reasons.

Let us be careful though not to create a utopia around Vatican II and its constitutions. There is much to be thankful for regarding this council, but it was not as wonderfully inclusive and all-embracing as some would like to believe. For instance, in "Lumen Gentium" (which deal with the ecclesiology or theology of the church) it clear states in Ch. II that the church cannot be seperated in such a way where one part of the church is distant from the other. Meaning its physical bonds of communion is the profession of faith, sacraments, and hierarchical ecclesial governance. The church is "fully incorporated" according to LG to an extent that the will of the pope, and the bishops in communion with him, should be received and expressed by the laity as being in communion with Christ's will through the Holy Spirit.

Chapter III of LG is most illuminating about the pope and the episcopacy b/c it explicitly states that Vatican II "...follows closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council..." Further, section 25 of Ch. III in LG is, again, a very sobering reality of Vatican II when it declares, "Bishops, teaching in communion, with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that it, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgements made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking."

I have no doubt that Archbishop Neinstedt received an "o.k." from Rome before sending the DVD. Moreover, there is a strong argument to be made that Vatican II upholds much of what's occuring with the teaching of the episcopacy. Right or wrong.

I do not agree with the Roman Church's stance on many things, however, I respect and understand the church's doctrines enough to know that real change can only occur outside the Roman Church.


Bob Caruso

Paula said...

Bob, your comment is intriguing to me. What many of us mean when we use the term "Vatican II" is the Copernican turn that John O'Malley describes as "the substitution of a rhetorical form of speaking for the juridical and
legislative forms of past councils:
from commands to invitations,
from laws to ideals,
from definitions to mystery,
from threats to persuasion,
from coercion to conscience,
from monologue to dialogue,
from ruling to serving,
from withdrawn to integrated,
from vertical to horizontal,
from exclusion to inclusion,
from hostility to friendship,
from rivalry to partnership,
from suspicion to trust,
from static to on-going,
from passive acceptance to active engagement,
from fault finding to appreciation,
from prescriptive to principles,
from behavior modification to inner appropriation."

I guess for those of us who identify as Vatican II Roman Catholic it is a matter of working to actualize a hope we have coming out of it. No Utopia, but a promise of a growing openness. Don't you think change is happening within, without, and all over the place?

Anonymous said...


Change is indeed occuring wherever the Spirit wills it, whether we like it or not. I also acknowledge your citing one of O'Malley's beautiful quotes illuminating Vatican II's teaching on the mystery of the church. O'Malley was one of many theologians that focused on the communion ecclesiology found in "Lumen Gentium," esp. in the constitution on the sacred liturgy of the church "Sacrosanctum Concilium." Some of his beliefs and words, although beautiful and poignant in their own right, moves beyond the actual substance of the Vatican II constitutions.

What I find interesting is how Vatican II expanded its vision of the church proclaimed at Vatican I beyond that of Bellarmine's ecclesiology of the "Societas Perfecta." That is to say, Vatican II did not amend Bellarmine's ecclesiology (his theology on the church was the only ecclesiology for close to 400 years in the Roman Church), but rather perpetuated it in LG sec. 8 -- the controversial section most Protestant/Reformed churches frowned upon -- where it states the Church is established as a society in the world which "subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican II fathers do not stop here (like they did at Vatican I), but rather expands the idea of the church beyond its instiution to being the original "Sacrament of Christ" who is the "First Sacrament" of God. The Church is as much mystery as it is institution constituted in Christ, and thus in the economy of the Holy Trinity.

This is where O'Malley comes into the picture. He is a theologian that's part of what some Catholic theologians label "Romantic ecclesiology." It allows for mytery to enter our ideas about the church, and is really a theology of communion -- something I expand on in my own theology as an Old Catholic studying eucharistic ecclesiology. He would be an advocate for keeping the mystery of the church alive and in tension with the institutional reality of the church catholic -- something Vatican II did indeed achieve.

The spirit of Vatican II and some of its more conciliatory doctrine is truly an evolving process of becoming/discovery -- something that takes a very long time to see in the church; however, I believe this process is not constituted solely in the Roman Church. Moreover, it is clear to me that as a gay man it is imperative I not stay in the Roman Church for my own sanity and psychological well-being. I am also a pragmatic person, and I will no longer live in an illusion that the Roman Catholic Church cares for my well-being; nor will I entertain the illusion of "welcoming" Roman parishes...although their intentions are good, they are setting gay and lesbian persons up for huge hurts and failures b/c the Roman Church and its doctrines are not accepting of them unless they deny part of their God-given nature -- sexuality. This is more a sin against humanity than anything, and I cannot participate in such unholiness -- again, for my own sanity.

This does not mean I am any less Catholic or any less committed to Vatican II. I have found a home in the Old Catholic tradition which imbues much of the conciliatory theology inherent in the Vatican II Constitutions.

Peace, ~Bob Caruso

Anonymous said...

One last thing (and then I will be quiet, ha)...I would like to clarify that although I appreciate the conciliatory efforts of Vatican II, there is a part of me that will never accept its doctrines completely. Mostly b/c Vatican II perpetuates the infallibility doctrine of the pope pronounced at Vatican I.

I find it curiously interesting how Roman Catholic theologians like O'Malley uphold ideas about Vatican II and its ecclesial hopes (i.e. vertical to horizontal) knowing the issue of papel primacy is upheld in its fullness. O'Malley sounds more like an Old Catholic than a Roman Catholic. Meaning, so long as there is primacy and infallibility of the pope, where there is power and hierarchy, there is little room for O'Malley's beautiful ideas. Universal ecclesiology is how the Roman Church understands itself theologically, and the concept of primacy works well in this theological school of thought. Certain ideas O'Malley ponders about the church just will not come to fruition as long as there is papal primacy, infallibility, and universal jurisdictional supremacy in the church. Universal ecclesiology, by its very foundation, presupposes a primacy of power and authority that creates an "ecclesiological vacuum" of hierarchy and submission.

I would argue that most "Vatican II" progressive Roman Catholics today are more Old Catholic than Roman b/c they clearly reject (whether conciously knowing it or not) the very premise universal ecclesiology is built upon. They embrace more of an Old Catholic understanding of the church where the universality of the church is manifested eucharistically -- where unity in diversity can be genuinely fostered. Primacy has no place in eucharistic ecclesiology because its understanding of authority is manifested in authority and love, not power. Here every local Catholic Church is the full manifestation of the Catholic Church b/c Christ resides fully and wholly there in the celebration of Eucharist and the other sacraments of the church. The local Church is fully Catholic only because it relates to other local Churches through shared authority and love manifested in the locally elected episcopacy -- here authority is manifested through conciliatory relationships and not juridical power.

Old Catholics cherish the ancient early church tradition when certain local Church's (like Rome) were looked to as possessing a certain divine gift of priority in helping other local church's in solving questions and controversies among other churches. Here Rome is looked to as possessing a priority in the church to be the servant of the servant churches. This concept is continuely interpreted throughout history and is not a static idea in the least. This, however, is a different concept from primacy b/c priority is not power driven and does not set the Roman Church or the pope apart from the body of the local Churches throughout the world in constituting the one body of Christ.

To read more about eucharistic ecclesiology, please read Russian Orthoddox priest and theologian Nicholas Affanasiev's essay "The Church which Presides in Love." Fr. Nicholas is the one who coined term "eucharistic ecclesiology" and his theology in influential in Old Catholic theology.

Paula said...

Hi, Bob. I understand your point about not being part of the Roman Church as it is today in order to preserve sanity. Each of us has to do what we have to do.

And if I understand your point about many of us Romans being in line with Old Catholic rejection of papal primacy, I see that too. It is a question of what "primacy" means. Isn't the ministry of the pope to be a unifying symbol? He can do a lousy job of it on a spiritual level but the concrete element of symbol is there. We have to acknowledge his failure to manifest Jesus and then we have to continue to try to do that ourselves either within or without the Roman institution. You and John are an inspiration in the way you do that.