None Dare Call It Apostasy
by: Michael Hichborn
On the cross at Calvary, there were two men crucified next to Our Blessed Lord. To His right was St. Dismas, a good thief, who repented of his sins and begged forgiveness. To His left was Gestas, a rebel who mocked Our Lord, challenging Him to reject His cross and save the three of them from their physical sufferings and death. The example of these two men calls to mind the divisions Jesus spoke of when He said that He would separate the wheat from the chaff and the lambs from the goats. On one side is salvation; on the other is death and everlasting fire. Today, this division is becoming abundantly clear.
As the director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith project, I have seen the festering cancer of Modernism, immorality, and disobedience laying waste to communities within the Catholic Church. “Dissenters” put forth ideas suggesting that it is acceptable, and indeed “Catholic,” to disagree with fundamental Church teachings on moral and theological issues such as abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and women’s ordination. Garbage-liners like the National Catholic Reporter, America Magazine, Commonweal, and US Catholic have all published articles attempting to question the Church’s teachings on all these things without openly rebelling against the Church. Funding agencies like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development have seen fit to grant money to organizations that speak at events promoting homosexuality (like the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights), or produce voter guides endorsing same-sex marriage (like Coalition LA). Catholic parishes, like Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco, host a wide variety of openly homosexual events. Pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic, such as John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, or Joe Biden, openly profess their support for abortion, homosexuality, and birth control while maintaining a feigned allegiance to their Catholic faith. The sad truth is this: While these “dissenters” have, in reality, abandoned their faith, very few seem willing to publicly rebuke, chastise, or correct these institutions and individuals. But last week, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) gave us a firm sign of strength and fortitude.
The Leadership Conference on Women Religious, which represents over 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, underwent an investigation that started in 2008. Last week, the CDF published the results of this investigation, along with the 5-year reform that will be imposed on the conference. Immediately after the document’s publication, National Catholic Reporter published a screed, concluding with this call for open rebellionagainst the Catholic Church: “I have just one thought: Resisting injustice is the ultimate act of virtue in our time.”
Earlier this week, NCR broadened this call for rebellion in an article titled, “LCWR: A radical obedience to the voice of God in our time.” At the end of the article, the author clearly draws a line in the sand—and steps on the side that is NOT with the Vatican: “If the sisters are ejected from the church, we must create church around them. If they are evicted from their properties, those with the means must take them in.”
Not to be left out, US Catholic, in an article titled, “It Ain’t Easy Being a Woman Today: LCWR to be ‘Renewed’ by USCCB and CDF,” also calls for open rebellion against the Vatican: “Finally, they can just accept the findings and the remedies and comply. I, for one, hope they do not. And I look forward to hearing from some of the women religious I have been inspired by, the women who, when studying theology, gave me hope for a better and brighter church.”
It isn’t surprising that dissenting publications such as these are so upset about the CDF’s document. The reason is simple. This document indirectly applies to them as well. For instance, this statement is equally applicable to the above-mentioned individuals, publications, and organizations:
While there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception [i.e., an individual’s biological beginning] to death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States. Further, issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.
In his 1995 address to the United Nations, Pope John Paul II said, “The tears of this century have prepared the ground for a new springtime of the human spirit.” Over 40 years of dissent and confusion within our Catholic Church over abortion, birth control, and homosexuality have played a significant role in the creation of those tears, and now, praise God, the new springtime seems to be upon us. As openly dissenting Catholics loudly proclaim their rebellion—or dare I say, apostasy—Our Blessed Lord stands in the middle. On His right are St. Dismas, the good thief; the lambs; and the wheat, while to His left are Gestas, the bad thief; the goats; and the chaff. While both sides suffer equally, only one side has life everlasting.