Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cardinals past (Cushing) and present (O'Malley)

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley preached at an ecumenical service at Sudbury United Methodist Church on Sunday in commemoration of Cardinal Richard Cushing’s historic visit to the same congregation (below) a half-century earlier to discuss the Second Vatican Council’s efforts toward Christian unity.

Our underground correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye, wired us another story five hours ago in which he sayd that he followed our "fishwrap" link to what "they" thought was a more balanced story on O'Malley. He writes:
To some degree, yes.

Catholics used to demonize Protestants. (Traditionalist, I daresay, still often do. They can't make a distinction between a Mormon, a Methodist, or a Massachusetts Episcopalian, and seem to think every Protestant sect has to have an intentional "founder." I laughed when, prior to my conversion, Catholics would think that if they could prove Luther a bad guy, they could persuade me. "How could Luther found a church if...." They did not get that I, like them, thought Jesus founded my church, not Luther, not Wesley, and NOT Henry VIII...).

Today, however, it is another story: Lisa Wangsness, "Cardinal O’Malley, Methodists building ecumenical bridges" (Boston Globe, January 13, 2014).

Is there, after all, or can there be, a balance? (As a Catholic you don't have to deride Protestant sacraments, since they don't even have sacraments in the sense we believe in them. They have rituals. They are wrong on this score, but their error is really one of missing out, not claiming powers they don't have.) When we were in the grip of a much more severe clericalism, Vatican II seemed like healthy loosening. Now that we are in the grip of a theological free-fall, it seems like a license for doctrinal licentiousness. Reading this Globe piece, I wonder. When Cushing visited a Methodist Church, I am certain he seemed like a distinct Other, in demeanor, in garb, in emphasis. O'Malley... really, he dresses JUST like the female Methodist, and seems to have a similar vibe. Catholics used to distrust or disdain Protestants. Yes, I know. I had a best friend next door who could not come to my Protestant church.

But now, looking at, listening to O'Malley, Cushing's modern day successor, can anyone deny that it appears that the new phenomenon is that Catholics want to BE Protestants?

Also, when someone says their heart sings when they hear a sermon about helping the poor, the least among us, as if it is something hardly ever voiced, I wonder, in what church have they been? Maybe that's just me, but its been a reliable refrain for some 40 years!
[Hat tip to JM]


Sheldon said...

It's an interesting dynamic at work in the church these days. One can hardly imagine a prominent public prelate being so solicitously disposed toward, say, Bishop Fellay of the SSPX.

It reminds me, for all the world, of the psychological dynamic at work in some es-Catholics who despise everything redolent of their former Catholic religion and are pathologically incapable of any critical objectivity about their newly adopted digs in, say, a Pentecostal Protestant church.

It doesn't strike me as the least bit healthy.

Anonymous said...

So ridiculous. Shouldn't Cardinal Sean have been busy about other Vatican II "renewal" business like signing paperwork to close down more parishes, schools, and Catholic institutions that are decimated because the faith has collapsed in the last 50 years?

OOPS! I meant: I love the "Francis effect"! I love the Emperor's New Clothes!!!

Anonymous said...

Only heretics want to be Protestant.

A billion other Catholics are proud of their tradition.

Anonymous said...

This pope is practically protestant, if not actually protestant and we have no pope (sede vacante).

Only Catholics who seem like they want to be Catholics in my experience are the traditionalists, of whatever brand - it's the glue that keeps them together and the fuel that pumps up their zeal against evils in the world and deforms of Catholicism which are rampant.

If you had a wife and she went and got kissed by some other guy, wouldn't you think that is cheating? Why, then, isn't there outrage when O'Malley gets anointed by a false religious leader, or when John Paul 2 held the scandalously promiscuous Assisi meetings? It is spiritual adultery, flirtation with false religions and intercourse with them.

Catholicus said...

you guys crack me up. Claiming that O'Malley dresses like and looks like the protestant minister. He's wearing a habit and a skull cap! Are you blind? As for the rest, Jesus told the disciples when they complained that some people were healing in his name but not part of the group - "Whoever is not against me, is with me". Ask yourselves what you're doing to reach out to other Christians. Calling them heretics doesn't count as an answer.

Robert Allen said...

I never thought of it that way BL, but you are right. I feel betrayed when I see our leaders lending credence to false religions, flirting with their leaders in public so all the world can gain the impression that there is something lacking in our relationship.

Michael Ortiz said...


Read your history. We have a Pope. He's not what we would like to see, but he's the Pope.

St. Peter denied Our Lord three times. Was he a baptist?

I am not Spartacus said...

Mr. Peters has a good response here:

Dear Anonymous. When will the sedes decide to elect your own Pope?

As it is the case that y'all think that there hasn't been a Pope since Pius XII, that means there are no legitimate Cardinals to elect a Pope.

So, will it be Fr. Cekada (my favorite for he has a wry and sly sense of humor in addition to being very intelligent) or will it being Bishop Dolan or some member of Novus Ordo Watch?

Mr Drolesky perhaps?

Dark Horse said...

I'm for IANS for Pope!

Sheldon said...

My problem with such gestures has nothing to do with questions such as their canonicity, which, as Dr. Ed Peters reminds us, is not being violated here, since these are only "blessings" and "sacrementals."

No, my problem is what the IMAGE of such gestures communicates in the age of instantaneous electronic media and cyber-spin. Here is a woman dressed in clerical vestments doing something that looks reminiscent of a "priestly" sort of gesture on the forehead of a prince of the Catholic Church, a real priest and a cardinal. And it LOOKS LIKE he's just fine and dandy with that.

No, I don't think such gestures are the least bit prudent, no matter what good will may motivate them. They communicate a watering down and undermining of priestly authority. It's the same thing that happened when they let bevies of women take "man" the altar during Holy Communion and emasculate our parish priests.

JM said...


Have you ever heard of Evangelicals and Catholics Together? That would be ecumenism without selling out. A bit different from whatever O'Malley is doing. You crack me up, pretending we have real fellowship with liberal Methodist actively advocating against basic Catholic moral teaching.