Thursday, February 19, 2015

Priest, Don't Teach, Sue

It sounds like a passage from Jeremiah or one of the other prophets: priests who no longer teach the people, but drag them before the judge.

No one likes an embittered blogger (except for you people reading this). But, whether you are talking about Vox Cantoris, Michael Voris, LifeSiteNews, the Heresy Hunter, or what have you, you have serious, earnest Catholics looking for an explanation for things that don't make sense to them. They have a right to an explanation; they have a right to get angry when they see the Faith not being taken seriously, or at least not appearing to be taken seriously.

Priests are teachers of the Gospel. They get the money, the power and the prestige and this is what is required of them in exchange. It is not something they can chose to do or not do. I understand that it's hard being judged, thought badly of, criticized. But what do you expect? When you take on the name 'father,' you are in for it.

I am a father. I have sued none of my children. I punish them for impertinence, but never refuse to teach them what they need to know. When I punish, I do so with their long-term good in mind. I have no other goal in mind, not my reputation, not my financial success.

When I started to teach as a professor, I disliked being called a heretic. I disliked it because I have suffered much for my orthodoxy. I love a debate. I hate power-moves, like telling the department head or the dean on me when you don't like something I have said. To me that is quintessentially pathetic. If you don't like what was said, did you attempt to understand it, did you come to me for an explanation?

Yes, I got mad. Now I don't. Most people are dumb, so why get upset? I am the teacher so I teach. I am not getting paid to be loved.

If you express yourself publicly you must anticipate contradiction. If you find this so terribly difficult, may I suggest solitaire rather than media work?

But a priest is a special kind of teacher. He represents the Church, even God. He is supposed to open up to us the gates of knowledge, not close them done with brute force. If a priest is not prepared to explain himself, then don't speak in the first place.

I have never gone to my pastor about something he has said in a homily. Because he's never made a mistake? No. Rather, I share a former colleague of mine's opinion: if there ain't at least three heresies in a homily, it was over the people's heads. I trust my pastor. He is a man of total good will and firmly committed to the teachings of the Church. He doesn't interpret them to go with the times. He tells us about the evils of contraception, immodesty, divorce, pornography, etc. If he happens to say in a homily some day that Paul denied Christ three times, why would I need to get in his face about it? To make myself feel smart?

And yet, if you have spent any time at all reading this blog you know that I don't look at the Church and her ministers with rose-coloured glasses. If there is one thing that gets me worked up it's bishops who aim to please men rather than God. And I call them on it. If I am right, they should listen to me. If I am wrong, they should show me how I am wrong.

Okay, we are about to have a cardinal of the Church grand-marshal a parade that has allowed in a gay activist float but so far no pro-life float. If this occurs, that cardinal will owe the faithful an explanation for his conduct. It's as simple as that.

It may be Rosica's legal right to sue, but in doing so it would be an abjuration of his priestly obligation. He is not owed a good reputation by the Church. He is owed configuration to Christ. Yes, it sucks and yes it's hard, but that's what you sign on for. And, if he sues Vox Cantoris, he can sue me too for the above sentence. Is that the kind of world we should have? Is this our Catholic tradition? Seriously, who couldn't sue me? Yet I try to be careful, not because I personally agree with Canada's laws regarding defamation, but because I am a Christian. I don't want to tear down. I criticize with the hope of building up.

And if he doesn't come to reason himself, what bishops will challenge him on it? The same ones who challenged Fr. Gravel when he sued LifeSite?

Cricket, cricket.

If you want depressing reading, consult the letter Rosica's lawyers sent to Vox Cantoris. I think it is going to be a bad year for Rosica. That's my prophecy to all of you. Anyone who feels that he must do something like this must be in a bad way. Our Lady, please pray for all of us.

What am I saying, that it should be open-season on priests? In so many words, yes, of course it should be. A priest who leaves us in doubt about the Gospel is not doing a very good job. He needs to be called on it just like a mechanic who can't fix my brakes needs to be called on it. Defamation? How about evangelization?!

I can't see how this could do Salt and Light any good. "Disagree with anything you heard on this program? Well, prepare to be sued."

Lawsuits for defamation are a plague in our society. When this mindset infiltrates the Church, how much more shameful is it. Are people not permitted opinions anymore, not permitted to be annoying? That to me is what makes democracy great, the freedom to be an ass without fear of legal punishment. One person's ass might be another person's prophet.


  1. People are stupid. It's one of the very first life-rules I learned working in retail in my very first grown-up job when I was 19. Very useful to know.

    1. Bearing this in mind help me to keep my ego out of things

  2. Years ago, I received a letter from a lawyer threatening legal action for comments I had made online about a certain company. I did "shut up" for fear of being sued, as well another person got the same letter although she wasn't even involved but the company suspected her since she was a former employee and friend of mine.
    That company was dishonest, as I had written, and eventually went belly up. But not before taking a lot of our tax dollars in the form of government grants. The owner got off scot free and is heading up another duplicitous business. I can only guess she has govt grants once again. Small dishonesty breeds more.
    Father Rosica, if he was magnanimous, would simply ignore what is going on. The fact that he has his feathers all ruffled up only makes one wonder why he is so upset.

    1. It's behavior like this that has slowly turned me more and more libertarian.

  3. So it appears that Fr. Rosica is a bit of dillweed... Gee, there's something we didn't already know! (Well-written piece, Colin.) -DM

  4. I identified with your last comment;)