Thursday, April 21, 2005

Who's the hardliner? In the past week, we've been bombarded with stories about Cardinal Ratzinger the "hardliner" and the Panzerkardinal and so on. Meanwhile, in Connecticut a true hardliner is operating and it's getting almost no coverage.

What's the case against +Ratzinger? He wouldn't let "moral" theologians teach as Roman Catholic teachers? Well they weren't. Did they suffer any hardship as a result? Via Jonah Goldberg, consider this:

As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith (the Holy Office) since 1981, Ratzinger has been treated as a kind of grand inquisitor by the media. This is based on the “persecution” of a handful of theologians, most famously Hans Küng. In reality, this persecution amounted to a change of job title: Küng could no longer call himself a professor of Catholic theology, but continued to teach exactly the same things at the same university.

Similarly, in 1986 Catholic Priest Charles E. Curran was informed that he would no longer be allowed to teach Catholic moral theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Nevertheless, a tenured professor, he remained on at CU until 1991, when he was hired by SMU, where he still teaches. (It is surprising the number of news stories out there which claim he was fired. See for example, Newsday ["...Charles Curran was fired from his job at Catholic University..."]. In fact, as I stated, he remained on staff. He did bring a lawsuit against CU because he wanted to be a Pontifical scholar, but he lost at the lower court level and did not appeal.) He has never been defrocked.

[If you think about it, CU actually needed to take this action -- having Curran teach there, being held out as teaching Roman Catholic theology is a deceptive trade practice.]

On the other hand, in Connecticut, there is a real hard liner operating. Episcopal Bishop Andrew D. Smith has threatened six Connecticut pastors with "inhibition" a process which could lead to their removal from holy orders -- a defrocking -- if they don't submit to his total authority. The six are in agreement that they need to be under the authority of a bishop and have asked Smith for Episcopal oversight from an orthodox bishop. This is the rub. You see, Smith not only voted to elevate a non-celibate homosexual to a bishopric, he actually was one of the consecrators. Accordingly, Smith has turned his back on his own vows as a bishop. Smith's notion of a compromise is to delegate his "authority" over these six pastors to another heretical bishop. For Smith, it's his way or the highway...

So why is the media silent on this? Well, actually they are not. The NY Times has reported this story as a conspiracy by the six to trap Smith (Headline: "Dissident Episcopal Priests Are Called Part of a Strategy").

Ask yourself, would you rather be working for Ratzinger or Smith? Would you rather be in Curran's shoes or the shoes of the six pastors?

More on the six here (and at TitusOneNine, as always).

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