Sunday, July 05, 2015

Defying Church, Fordham prof. 'marries' another man; administration supports

John Burger, "Fordham University Theology Department Chariman 'Marries' Another Man" (aleteia, July 4, 2014):
The New York Times, which up until a few years ago, declined running wedding announcements involving same-sex couples, reported that J. Patrick Hornbeck II “married” Patrick Anthony Bergquist Saturday at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. The ceremony took place June 27, just a day after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage” nationwide. That would not have been necessary legally, since New York State has allowed gay "marriage" since 2011. But the ceremony was conducted before the Episcopal Church in America voted this week to allow same-sex "marriage" rites in its churches.

When asked whether Fordham was concerned about having a professor of theology whose lifestyle choice is in opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church about marriage, a spokesman for the university said Hornbeck has the right to get married.

“While Catholic teachings do not support same-sex marriage, we wish Professor Hornbeck and his spouse a rich life filled with many blessings on the occasion of their wedding in the Episcopal Church,” said Bob Howe, Fordham's senior director of communications. “Professor Hornbeck is a member of the Fordham community, and like all University employees, students and alumni, is entitled to human dignity without regard to race, creed, gender, and sexual orientation."
[Hat tip to M.G. and E.P.]




In FT, R R Reno writes:

"After Vatican II, the intellectual life of the Church was profoundly affected by the Great Disruption. The old scholastic systems were superseded by a wide variety of experimental theologies. I don’t gainsay the need for and value of some of those experiments. But we can’t deny the debilitating consequences. The theological formation of church leaders became eclectic at best, incoherent at worst ...So if we, as Catholics, are to be honest with ourselves, we must allow that we face a difficult season, at least as far as theological cogency is concerned. The men trained in the coherent old theological systems of the ­pre–Vatican II era have passed from the scene. The Church is now led by men who came of age during the Great Disruption. This will have an effect on Church teaching, I’m afraid, and it won’t be in the direction of consistency and clarity."

But just like all the prelates echoing Ratzinger in insisting on the undeniable gifts of Higher Criticism, even Reno won't "gainsay the need for and value of some of those experiments." And thus we are where we are. Unhappy, but unwilling to yet spell it out. The Church remains unprevailed upon by the Gates of Hell, yes, but compromised nonetheless. One small indicator of this will now be the increasing number of gay wedding receptions faculty members of Catholic schools shall attend celebrating colleagues and their partners. Brave New World inside and outside the Church, it seems.



I've just been reading a book that tries to defend the coherence of Pope Francis's messages by lodging his project within the context of John XXIII's distinction "truth" and its variable "formulations" in his opening address at Vatican II.

John XXIII said that "truths contained in our venerable doctrine, are one thin; the fashion in which they are expressed, but with the same meaning and judgment, is another thing."

Vincent of Lerins is quoted as saying: "Therefore, let there be growth and abundant progress in understanding, knowledge, and wisdom ... in all times and in the progress of the ages, but only within the proper limits ...."

That all sounds just dandy in theory. And perhaps there's one or two areas where, if you squint, you might be able to coax the judgment that a person here or there has an improved understanding of some previously-defined dogma. I don't know.

But WHO IN HIS RIGHT MIND can survey the ruins of our Church in its current free fall and say that the yield of Vatican II (and Pope Francis) has been "growth and abundant progress in understanding, knowledge, and wisdom ..."?

Lord, save us from well-meaning but clueless conservative Catholic theologians. They mean well, but it's as if they are either unaware or in complete denial of the ruins outside their windows.