Monday, December 3, 2018

Comparison of the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching with the USCCB List

I've been blessed to be a part of a study group of Catholic Social Teaching, which has been a passion of mine since being asked to teach it to high school seniors for 2 years right after I was ordained.

The Church has compiled almost 200 years of Catholic teaching on societies into what is known as the "Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching."  It is a lengthy but very important compilation, and many people throw the phrase "according to Catholic Social Teaching" around but don't appear to have any but the faintest of understanding about what the Church actually teaches. 


"Catholic Social Teaching" is a phrase that a person can use and be fairly sure no one will correct you.  It has even become popular over the past several decades among Catholic politicians seeking to justify every policy under the sun.


What I've put together below is something I consider to be a FASCINATING chart of the major chapters of the Compendium of Catholic Social teaching as compared to the points that the US Bishops highlight as the "7 key points of Catholic Social Teaching"



The reasons I share this is that in reading through the Compendium several times now at this point, I don't see anything that merits singling out any item on the left as being "more important" than any other, with the exception of "The Dignity of the Human Person".  The Church does say all over the place that "The Dignity of the Human Person" is the fundamental principle.  But I'm not sure what would allow SOME of the ones on the left to make the cut and not others.


It is interesting to look at what major points of Catholic Social Teaching on the left did NOT make the cut.

1) The Common Good
2) Universal Destination of All Goods
3) Subsidiarity
4) Fundamental Values of Truth, Freedom and Justice
5) The role of business and economy at the service of humanity
6) The Political Community
7) The International Community
8) Peace, war and just war

A few notes:

1) I would also say I personally prefer "marriage" and "family" getting their own topic versus being combined into one, and I think their phrasing by the Compendium is more dramatically appropriate for our time

2) Some of them, as found as chapters in the Compendium, would need to be reworded before describing them as a key point of Catholic Social Teaching.  You wouldn't just say "A key principle to Catholic Social Teaching" is "The political community".  I wouldn't say, as some might suggest, "well, we left it out because it wasn't phrased well."  My response would be - "rephrase them"

3) I do not want to theorize about why the 8 points listed above did not make the cut, but I think it is a good conversation for people to have - "on what criteria were these 8 excluded, and on what criteria were the 6 (besides dignity of the human person, which clearly belongs) chosen?"


Marian Consecration Podcast: Day 29

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Marian Consecration Day 24 (November 28th)

The Root of the "Bishops and Priests Having Sex with Young Adults" Scandal

"Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church.  What better way to conceal one's evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture?  In India, I would suppose that the evil would demonstrate a similar tendency to be "good" Hindus or "good" Moslems.  I do not mean that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious.  I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them"

- Martin Buber in "Good and Evil" -
Footnoted in M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie"



We've all been hearing so much about "clericalism" as the root of the "Bishops/Priests/Cardinals having sex with young adults" scandal.

That notion has been challenged in many places.  I've argued from the moment I heard the "clericalism" defense that it is a convenient thing to blame because we can't even define clericalism.  We've been preaching to seminarians for 50 years "BE LESS CLERICAL" and all we've seen is the sexual crimes by clerics MULTIPLY.  So maybe we need a new strategy besides telling priests and seminarians to be less "clerical"?


In reading all of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and any other accounts I can get my hands on, one thing has become clear to me - the clerics who are sexually assaulting people are the ones that BLEND IN.

The criminals are the ones that get the parents/families to TRUST THEM


Whatever clericalism is, its opposite is being able to blend in with families and be "one with the people"...BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT ALMOST EVERY SEXUALLY ASSAULTING CLERIC DID...THEY BLENDED IN


No one was saying "Let's let our son Johnny go on a camping trip with "Father arrogant" and "Father entitled""


If we are going to lay this scandal at the feet of "clericalism" (which we can't even DEFINE) then the evil wins because it continues to remain hidden



Here's an idea - let's study the actual criminal clerics.  What were the patterns?  Some quick things we might learn scientifically:

1) What percentage of them were praying a daily holy hour?
2) What percentage of them prayed a daily rosary?
3) What percentage of them fasted once a week?
4) What percentage of them prayed their breviary faithfully?
5) What percentage of them took their annual 5 day retreat?
6) What percentage of them were striving for going to confession once a month?


You could ask them these questions in about 30 seconds.  I'm sure there are other questions we could ask them as well.


I GUARANTEE you the percentages for all 6 of those questions above is VERY low.  There may be other data as well. 



But I am completely dismayed that we don't seem to be taking any kind of a psychological nor a scientific approach to this crisis in the priesthood, but are instead blaming some term that can't even be defined.


We are fighting an enemy that WANTS to remain hidden, even hidden from those who are guilty - to root it out is going to involve enforcing external policies that help root it out and make it easier to spot, both by the clerics themselves and by those who supervise them.  As Jesus said: "Some demons can only be exorcised through prayer and fasting"