Taking note of those who create dissent

This may come as a shocker but, as a Catholic, I support traditional marriage. As a Catholic, I am also pro-life. And, as a Catholic, I find it deeply offensive that the President of the United States would use the coercive power of the federal government to force Catholic organizations to go against their moral teaching.

Is Christ divided? St Paul once asked

Caroline Kennedy feels differently. Even though she describes herself as a Catholic, Kennedy thinks it’s important to expand access to contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, and that it’s the responsibility of the federal government to do so. How do I know? She said so herself at the Democratic National Convention.

“As a Catholic woman,” Kennedy began, “I take reproductive health seriously. And today it is under attack. This year alone, more than a dozen states have passed more than 40 restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health care. That’s not the kind of future I want for my daughters or your daughters. Now isn’t the time to roll back the rights we were winning when my father was president.”

A couple thoughts:

First, as a Catholic, Kennedy should realize that God already gave her the tools necessary to regulate her reproductive capabilities. It’s called natural family planning. Of course, women are free to purchase their own contraception, but it seems unnecessary given the fact that birth control actually doesn’t cost a thing.

Second, a study recently released by the Heritage Foundation confirms that “a child’s probability of living in poverty is reduced by 82 percent when his parents are married to each other.” If Kennedy is so concerned about other people’s daughters, why doesn’t she talk about the need for strong families? The evidence clearly indicates that when there is a breakdown in the family children suffer the most.

Third, Kennedy seems to have forgotten – like her progressive ally Sr. Simone Campbell – that life begins at conception, and that as a Catholic it’s not above her pay grade to uphold that teaching. She should also be aware that her liberal positions on women’s “reproductive rights” act as a blanket endorsement of what Blessed John Paul II referred to as the culture of death.

The reality is that if Kennedy actually was “a Catholic woman,” she wouldn’t be saying these things. As Ethics and Public Policy Center Fellow Stephen White argues in a recent column: “there are some things [in Catholic teaching] that are always wrong.” And “among such evils is the intentional taking of an innocent human life.”

To be sure, White adds, “many other issues require prudent judgment.” But “all Catholics are expected to work to make the civil law reflect…what the Church teaches [about abortion].”

Although White goes on to claim that “the moral flexibility of Democrats on social issues has driven away millions of Catholic voters over the last few decades,” there seems to be a large, rather confused group of Catholics who, like Kennedy, still support the Democratic Party.

Christina Pesoli, a blogger for the Huffington Post, is one of them.

Pesoli wants to create her own church

Although Pesoli describes herself as a Catholic, she recently admitted that she is “praying for a schism” within the Catholic Church – even though doing so, according to Canon Law 1369, would mean that she is ipso facto excommunicated.

In her column, “Why This Catholic Girl is Praying for a Schism,” Pesoli insists that the Catholic Church has “lost its mind,” and that life as a Catholic is comparable to that of a person who is married to a drug addict.

She says she prayed for decades that the Church would evolve on “it’s backwards and outdated policies relating to women…and equality.” But having just witnessed the Vatican’s recent “crackdown” on women religious, Pesoli is “holding out for a schism.”

Pesoli argues that Catholics like Melinda Gates, Stephen Colbert, the Kennedy’s and John Kerry will be the “Social Justice Catholic Church,” while people like Rick Santorum, Antonin Scalia, Paul Ryan, and Newt Gingrich can be the “Conservative Catholic Church.”

“In the Social Justice Catholic Church,” she writes, “there will be no more of this nonsense over contraception. In the Social Justice Catholic Church, everyone will be treated equally – men, women, gay or straight. Everyone will be allowed to marry, even priests.”

I don’t know how Pesoli’s Social Justice Church would differ from the Episcopal, Anglican or any number of progressive Protestant Churches that are already out there, but it seems abundantly clear that she, like Kennedy, is confused about her own religion, and is spreading falsehoods about what it means to be a Catholic. As Patheos blogger Marc Barnes wrote in reaction to Pesoli’s arguments: “To be a Catholic…is to believe in the teachings of the [one, holy, catholic, apostolic] Church.” If we reject one teaching of the Catholic Church, we simply “reject Catholicism” all together.

Though it’s unlikely Pesoli and Kennedy will stop preaching this false understanding of Catholicism, we can’t just give up on them. In St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we are told that we must reach out to and correct, in a spirit of meekness, someone who has been overtaken by a fault, especially if they have the potential to lead others astray. Furthermore, as it is written in the Book of Revelation, we must not – like the church in Thyatira – merely tolerate those who mislead God’s servants. We have to, as it is written in the Gospel of Mark, shake off the dust from our feet when we leave the house of someone who refuses to hear the word of God. And as St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, we must also be sure to “take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties.” For they “do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple minded.”

Stephen Kokx is an adjunct professor of political science. Follow him on twitter @StephenKokx



18 thoughts on “Taking note of those who create dissent

  1. “Supporting traditional marriage” doesn’t require that you deprive others of the rights to live their lives based on their beliefs. What you actually meant is that you wish to deny legal rights to the families that don’t meet your religious beliefs about what a family is. At least be honest about your desire to discriminate against the families that you don’t like and be honest about how your actions hurt their families, and helps no one.

    1. RylanG says:

      So you would not deny anyone ‘marriage’? Bigamists, child marriage (as
      ‘underage’ is really just another form of discrimination as noted by
      their ability to obtain abortions on their own), in other words you
      would allow anyone to marry anyone (or possibly anything) no questions
      That is actually what you are saying, no?

      1. ifollowHATE says:

        We are talking about law abiding gay couples here Ryan. Let’s not compare them to criminals. It’s disrespectful and hateful.

        1. RylanG says:

          It’s RylanG, you could at least get that fact straight.
          Of course, I’m disrespectful and hateful for having a traditional perspective…yawn.
          Now, on to your ‘point’, if you have one.
          Law abiding? In what areas? How long has it been legal in the places it is and how is it that it came to be legal? Was it by legislative/legal caveat or was it based on some new medical/scientific findings? Canadian Parliament was told by experts not long ago that pedophilia is as much a sexual orientation as homosexuality, so what is to prevent the eventual opening up of that venue as ‘acceptable’…surely one so open minded as yourself does not hate pedophiles simply because they are ‘different’? The definition of ‘child’ is arbitrary depending on the circumstance as I pointed out with regard to parental consent when the topic is abortion (or criminal sentencing or military service for that matter) and depending on the cultural context. Remember, not too long ago it was the homosexuals who were deviant in this country and still are in many countries. Bigamy has a history in many cultures as well as here in America. So who are you to look askance as any of them pursue their own brand of happiness?

          ifollowHate, I think you need to look in the mirror of your own self-righteousness and ask yourself why you hate those who are ‘different’ and outside the narrow set of norms you hold. You see, just because you latch onto the cause of the day doesn’t make you open minded, nor does it make you an absolute kook. It just makes it obvious that you are easily swayed by popular media.

        2. abadilla says:

          “It’s disrespectful and hateful.” As Reagan once said to Carter, “Here we go again!” How do you stop a conversation or a dialogue from taking place? Simple, accuse your opponent of being “hateful!” It won’t work in this forum but thanks for trying!

    2. abadilla says:

      Jamie, You are simply unbelievable! You state, “Supporting traditional marriage” doesn’t require that you deprive others of the rights to live their lives based on their beliefs.” If some people want to believe whatever they want to believe, they are certainly free to do so, but if they are going to be Catholic, is it not reasonable to assume they should support Catholic teaching? You said “their beliefs,” but sorry, “their” beliefs are NOT Catholic beliefs, that simple.
      Look Jamie, people are free to believe whatever they pleased, but they don’t have the right to tell any Church what they must believe. If they think the Church is horrible and discriminatory and insensitive to their needs and aspirations, they are certainly free to become Episcopalians or to have no religion at all.

  2. Harry Suwanto says:

    It behooves me to think why in the entire Catholic hierarchy, only the Pope himself and a few other members of the clergy has taken a firmer stance against Pseudo-Catholic Leftists. The vast majority of the Catholic clergy have gone embarrassingly soft on Leftist dissent against Catholic teachings on priesthood, marriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality. Few bishops boldly exercise their authority to excommunicate Pseudo-Catholics… why? These so-called “Catholics” think they can usurp Papal authority and make their own “magisterium”. Why haven’t they been excommunicated?

    It also pains me to see that so many of the authentic, loyal Catholics are so indecisive regarding these Leftist heretics. Many of them want the problem corrected yet they don’t want the Pseudo-Catholic dissenters to be excommunicated. To those lay Catholics who think Pseudo-Catholic dissenters like Christina Pesoli and Caroline Kennedy shouldn’t be kicked out, I say get over it!!! Face the hard reality. Turning the other cheek to these heretics won’t solve the problem. Going soft on them isn’t going to make them into faithful, Magisterium-obeying Catholics. Giving them an inch is a guarantee that they will take a mile. They did not become Pseudo-Catholics through ignorance or lack of knowledge. They chose to be traitors like Judas did and would’ve gladly crucified Jesus if it furthered their “Social Justice”. Leftist Pseudo-Catholics in the Church are nothing less than parasites, tapeworms and roundworms in the body of the Catholic Church. If they are not expelled immediately, they will continue to eat away at the body until there is nothing left. It’s never enough to deal with these heretics by praying and praying and praying some more. Action is needed, and it’s high time to crack down on Leftist dissenters within the Church with extreme prejudice, with zero tolerance, and boot them out hard. Let them leave and make their own churches. Catholicism may have fewer followers after such an inquisition happens, but at least it will be a loyal following. And to the Leftist “Social Justice” Pseudo-Catholic crowd, it’s simple. Get on board, or get out of the way. There is no cure for a severely gangrenous limb except for amputation. Failure to amputate it will only result in the disease spreading through the body like wildfire.

    Enough is enough. Even Jesus who said “Blessed are the meek” did not go soft when He came up against Satan in the desert and when He exorcised demons out of people. He did not go soft on the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees when He said to them “Woe unto you”. And even Jesus had had enough when He saw what the corrupt moneychangers were doing in the Temple in Jerusalem. He drove them out! Even His twelve Apostles did not escape rebuke. Jesus even said to Saint Peter himself “Get behind Me, Satan!” There is a time to be meek and a time to be firm, and now is the time for the latter regarding Pseudo-Catholics in the Church, those successors of Judas Iscariot.

  3. abadilla says:

    ““I take reproductive health seriously.” which is another way of saying, I take the destruction of the unborn seriously. How this woman and others can call themselves “Catholic” is beyond me!
    As for Pesoli who wants a schism, I’m here to tell her we already have one, it’s just that the Vatican has not made it “official” yet. Her very words attests to a schism and a scandal in our church.

    1. Mara says:

      The scandal in the Catholic Church may very well be the Catholic Church itself. Suppression of women (no female Priests and no female Popes,) The belief that God gave us sexual drives for one reason only; to pro-create.The belief that having sex because it feels good and it helps us relate and connect to each other is a sin. The belief that it’s acceptable to hide the sexual molestation of children as long as you don’t get caught. The belief that society owns the female body as soon as the female is pregnant. The belief that society owns the male sperm by making it a sin to use a contraceptive. The belief that it’s acceptable to preach about the importance of helping the poor while the Catholic Church accumulates billions of dollars in assets and gold and lives in luxury at the Vatican, which by the way, is considered to be the richest country in the world. Shall I go on?

      1. abadilla says:

        Mara, once again you distort the truth! Let me answer point by point your baseless accusations: If we are “supressing” women” because women can’t be priests, take it up with Jesus Christi who founded the Church and chose twelve “male” Apostles only. Look at the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Benedicta of the Cross, St. Therese of Jesus, Blessed Mother Teresa and others, and tell me we don’t care about women. By the way, if you emulate these women, you won’t dare write such lies in this forum! The Orthodox churches hold the same position for the same reason and the Anglican Church changed this position because it was more important for them to embrace the culture of the day, rather than to remain faithful to the Gospel. It is a falsehood to say we only have sex for procreative purposes only because, conveniently, you have forgotten the most important aspect of sex, love, within its proper context, marriage. No Catholic in his or her right man has ever or will ever accept child molestation as being a virtue. Indeed to all of us it is a grave sin and only 1% of our priesthood has engaged on it, so your judgment on the “whole” Church over this matter is completely unjust. Read St. Paul, neither a woman nor a man “owns” his or her body because our bodies were paid at a very high price when Christ died on the cross for us. This is not just Catholic teaching, this is Christian teaching recognized even by Episcopalians.
        Contraceptives attempt against the dignity of the human person because of what they are, “contra” (against) “ceptives,” (conception) against conception, and we follow the God of life, not the God of death.
        No other institution on the entire planet helps the poor as much as we do, and I doubt you do Mara. The assets of the Church are not in liquid or flowing money, but on treasures which are the patrimony of humanity and don’t forget it was Our Lord who said, “the poor you will always have with you.” The nerve you have to attack the institution that most cares for the poor and to do so in a Catholic forum misusing the concept of freedom of speech. Yes, you can go on, but you can only distort what the Church really is because you have no idea of what the true image of the Churh is. Read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and perhaps you won’t be so quick to point the finger at 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide. Shame on you!

        1. Mara says:

          I admire your compassion and thank you for your response. Some points: I don’t hold 1 billion Catholics accountable for the sexual molestation of children cover-up but rather those who covered it up. Jesus chose 12 men and no women because if he had chosen women, no one would have listened to him because women, in the time of Jesus, were considered slaves to men. Jesus knew this. If Jesus were here today, he would no doubt choose women and men. Jesus allowed himself to be murdered not to take ownership of our own bodies away from us but rather to show us that we own our own bodies and as such, we own the right to determine when we will bring children into the world.The remaining points you brought up are based on Catholic doctrine which are not based on the Bible but rather on Catholic doctrine. Simply because the Catholic hierarchy says their doctrines are based on the Bible doesn’t make it so.

          1. abadilla says:

            Mara, well, I’m glad you are not faulting the entire Church for the sins of a few, comparatively speaking.
            I’m as angry as you are when it comes to covering up the crimes of priests. If it were up to me more than one bishop would be in jail today. The crimes of 1% of the hierarchy has stained the entire Church for decades to come. They have done more to damage our moral authorty than any atheist could.
            As for Jesus not naming women to the priesthood, you are giving me the “cultural” argument. Jesus was not afraid to break with His culture in other occasions. He broke with His culture when he ate with sinners. He broke with his culture when he spoke to a Samaritan woman by the well even though Jews did not speak to Samaritans. He broke with His culture when He told a woman that no one was condemning her but to go and sin no more. He broke with His culture when he said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. If he felt ordaining women was the right thing, He surely would have done so. We also believe, as we say in the Creed every Sunday, that he was truly Man and truly God. There is no way that God would have committed an unjustice against women if He felt not ordaining women was indeed lack of justice for them. Indeed the Church is an institution, but it is also the Body of Christ in space and time and it is Christ, today, who teaches us as much as He taught us when he was here on this earth with his physical presence. Even today He remains with us in the Eucharist.
            Your theory about the body is just that, a theory, but not Christian teaching. St. Paul is clear when he states in the Scriptures, “You must know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own. You have been purchased at a great price! So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)
            You stated that my remaining points are not based on the Bible but on Catholic doctrine. For one thousand five hundred and seventeen years, we believed that the Scriptures were the books, if you will, of the Church. It is the Church that canonized them, (72 of them) and it is the Church that tell us they are “God’s Word!” To say the Church does not based its teaching on the Sacred Scriptures is a very strange notion to Catholics. I might add, the whole Revelation of God is to be found both in the and in Sacred Traddition, and the Church preceded the Bible, not the other way around. A proetstnt because of sola scriptura sees the Bible as the sole rukle of faith, but not Catholics who are NOT above the Bible but guard it with reverence because it is God’s word.

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