|Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas|
His column is, as usual, both bizarre and incoherent. Remember, as you read it, that the Catholic Times is sold in the backs of Catholic churches every weekend: this is a newspaper, in other words, with ecclesiastical approval. I transcribe the key section for the record, since the paper has no online presence, even for subscribers.
No-one is more supportive [than Pope Francis] of the rights and paramountcy of all marginalised people, including the unborn - but he is totally opposed to the purportednly pro-life antics of men such as Archbishop Naumann, the recently elected head of the American bishops' 'pro-life committee'.
Single-issue fanatics, whether they are exercised about sex and marriage, about maniples and Communion-on-the-tongue, about celibacy of the clergy, about contraception, or about the right to carry loaded firearms in America while attending Mass, are at heart essentially zealots. Sadly, too, it seems that those who insist on wearing birettas are often selfsame individuals who want to carry Berettas. All these fanatical partisans are by definition biased and prejudiced against any attempt to reason with them in a way that would seek to integrate their sometimes, but not always, rightful concerns within a wider context. Their extremist and sometimes violent propensities make them, in all but name, terrorists.
And sometimes worse. It is said, after all, that one can sometimes reason with a terrorist, but never with a liturgist! The priest who sweeps a child's teddy-bear off the tiny white coffin because it is forbidden by liturgical law, or who excludes females from the role of altar-servers, or refuses to wash their feet on Maundy Thursday, or who turns away from Communion a politician who voted not to criminalise abortion, or a bishop who refuses to back Pope Francis' plea for discernment in the matter of Communion for the divorced and remarried, and for those who live in non-conventional domestic situations, all of them are crypto-terrorists. They are numbered among those whom Paul condemns as ignoring the God's ways of righteousness in favour of their own ill-informed zeal (Romans, 10:3). ...
I hardly think it necessary to point out the contradictions and scandalous assertions in this article. But isn't it funny that he wants to bundle together so many positions he dislikes, in order to discredit them all, and then label people holding them as 'single issue zealots'?
The accusation of terrorism, though not larded with the casual racism which characterised his attack on Cardinal Ranjith ('the Sri Lankan cappa magna fetishist and Tridentine-rite devotee'), and not as theologically fundamental as his denial of the Bodily Resurrection of Our Lord or His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, is in itself the most serious insult of a named prelate that I have read in his columns, and also perhaps the most insane. It seems Loftus, who was a canon lawyer, has forgotten the right of Archbishops, like lesser folk, to their good name (Canon 220).
I detect in this extract the instinctive anti-abortion sentiments common in Catholic liberals of his generation: the hand-wringing refusal to do anything to oppose what they think of as this dreadful, dreadful thing. It makes his attack on Archbishop Naumann all the more morally troubling.
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