Fr. McBrien: Liberal Catholics are Unfaithful

Fr. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame is slipping. He used to couch his anti-Church statements with question marks so he could just claim he was asking a question or he'd make simply say something heretical but start it with "Many say..." or "Some believe...". It's a clever rhetorical flourish to avoid serious hot water.

But it looks like Fr. McBrien messed up this time. He said what he actually meant. Uh-oh. Fr. McBrien wrote in The Tidings:
Religious communities of women have been responsible for many of the good things that the Catholic Church in the United States has achieved, both before and after the Second Vatican Council.

It is all the more distressing, therefore, that two Vatican agencies --- the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) --- have targeted these communities and their principal leadership organization for a "visitation" and "doctrinal assessment" respectively.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the "visitation" is the requirement that each of the visitors will be required to make a public profession of faith and an oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See.

This requirement will discourage a number of potential visitors from volunteering their services in this study, and thereby skew the visitation teams in a particular ideological direction.
Did you get that? An oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See skews you in a particular ideological direction, ie conservative.

Fr. McBrien, it's called being faithful. It's not ideological.

But using logic would lead one to an inescapable conclusion. If being a conservative Catholic is defined as being faithful to the Apostolic See, then how must a liberal Catholic be defined?

Tsk Tsk Fr. McBrien. The first rule of Heresy club is you don't talk about Heresy club. And you never ever say what you really mean.


  1. HA! You're right- the wiley and elusive McBrien must be losing his liberal touch...

  2. After all, the Church didn't really get started until Americans started having dialogues.

  3. Well put, William! I would have said the same thing myself.

  4. Tsk tsk Fr, McBrien ... what about obedience??? ;)

  5. Those in authority and who are ultimately responsible make their calls. It may be disturbing to some but this is how the Church operates in 2009. It is not like it is selling indulgences or teaching false dogma. Perhaps in 2015, the attitude will be different. This is the way it goes for now. Remember how Tielhard de Chardin was smacked down and was later vindicated. Fr. Tielhard though ahead of his time obeyed those placed over him - just as the Lord obeyed Pilate. Great people are humble.

  6. We do have our own words for the divide that McBrien is illustrating need to fall back on terms borrowed from politics (which, I think, lends toward an unacceptable skewing of the ideas involved). They are orthodox and heretical/heterodox.

  7. The Church is too sophisticated to be liberal or conservative. For example, yes, the Church is pro-life and yes, conservatives are pro-life too; however, the church is above political labels and images...especially images of Joe the plumber or Joe six pack...whatever they're supposed to mean. The Church does not embrace a brand of conservatism that consists of a bunch of bear-belly burping boy bullies like Rush Limbaugh and the likes.

  8. He's darn right that the requirement of a profession of faith will discourage new members. When young women see the old pantsuits denying the faith left and right, they'll rush off to good habit-wearing communities. Who wants to dedicate their life to being a bitter, heretical, polyester-wearing woman?

  9. The Church does not embrace a brand of conservatism that consists of a bunch of bear-belly burping boy bullies like Rush Limbaugh and the likes.

    Nor should it embrace the "I'm okay, your okay" liberalism that consists of the likes of Oprah Winfrey and the ladies of "The View"...

    I'd be more likely to trust my religious freedom to Rush Limbaugh than Joy Behar...

  10. I'd be more likely to trust the teachings from Benedict XVI than Hannity and Limbaugh.

  11. I'm Catholic first and American second, but after the Death Penalty, I don't see what we have to appreciate from Liberals. We've gained better racial tolerance, and at least more sexual respect, but otherwise...?

    And for serious, I'd love to here more perspective on this.

  12. All you can do at this stage of degeneration is smile benignly at the insipid stupidity of his position.

  13. Anon 6:46,
    You forgot a component. In addition to a bunch of beer-belly burping bully boys,country music is a must. It draws attention away from the fact that they're rich and makes them look patriotic. While they're in favor of sending YOUR children to fight and die on foreign soils, they're here waving the American flag with their patriotic-speak and America-first-speak when all they really care about is keeping their big bank accounts while everyday average middle class Americans are carrying the tax burden. And speaking of false patriots, has Bill O'Reilly or any of his children fought on foreign soil? They play the military card on a regular basis when they themselves never even served a day in the military.

  14. Rick,

    Teilhard de Chardin has never been "vindicated".

    The 1962 monitum of the Holy See was confirmed in 1981 and remains in place.

    Those in authority and who are ultimately responsible make their calls

    Umm...that's how it's been for 2000 years, on the authority of Our Lord Himself. The Church is not a democracy and never can be. Congregationalism is a heresy. Fidelity and obedience to the Petrine See is and always has been vital.

    Remember "And Jesus answering said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

  15. David:

    My point was how Fr. Tielhard stood down unlike other lesser theologians who insist on their way even after Rome has spoken.

    I agree re: the point of formal vindication. What I meant was how some of his writings started to find favor in the Church as noted in Wiki: "
    As time passed, it seemed that the works of Teilhard were gradually returning to favor in the church. For example, on June 10, 1981, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli wrote on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, l'Osservatore Romano:
    "What our contemporaries will undoubtedly remember, beyond the difficulties of conception and deficiencies of expression in this audacious attempt to reach a synthesis, is the testimomy of the coherent life of a man possessed by Christ in the depths of his soul. He was concerned with honoring both faith and reason, and anticipated the response to John Paul II's appeal: 'Be not afraid, open, open wide to Christ the doors of the immense domains of culture, civilization, and progress."

    And Peter's position is truly authoritative. But Peter judges depending of the lights available to him at the time. Church history and the evolution of dogma testifies to this. So, for those who are ahead of their times or think their ahead of their times, they need to be in lock step with Peter. Where Peter is, there the Church is, there God is.

  16. Rick,

    Teilhard de Chardin was himself a "lesser theologian." He was a heretic who denied the Catholic dogma of Original Sin and who preached a pantheistic Christ. I'd suggest reading Dietrich Von Hildebrand's Trojan Horse in the City of God, especially the appendix in which he explains why Teilhard de Chardin's theology is incompatible with Divine Revelation.

    An excerpt: "In his [Teilhard's] basic conception of the world, which does not provide for original sin in the sense the Church gives to this term, there is no place for the Jesus Christ of the Gospels; for if there is no original sin, then the redemption of man through Christ loses its inner meaning."

  17. Teilhard de Chardin was a heretic when he was alive and now with the advancement of science, a laughing stock. It turns out he couldn't even make it as a scientist.

    The only thing that amazes me about Fr. McBrien is that he isn't dead yet.

  18. 1. Teilhard complied with the Church's discipline & stopped teaching his heretical ideas. He was mistaken but he is not a heretic.

    2. Lesser is relative. Hans Kung and Fr. McBrien are lesser than Teilhard - IMHO.

    3. And yes, Congregationalism is a heresy. Who brought it up anyways? ;)

    4. St. Therese stated, "He who makes no mistakes, makes nothing."


  19. hmmm... William,
    we've gained more racial tolerance, but I would argue that came from conservatives, not liberals. "conservatives," tend to view people as people...period. Liberals tend to see race first, and that degenerates to a reverse racism.

    As for sexual equality... NO WAY. I am delighted women can work in the work force, but is that all due to liberals? I doubt it. And the price we pay under "liberal license" is too much. We are to supress our fertility, make ourselves sexually available to men 24/7, dress like 20 year olds to "compete" for men, (have you seen divorcee's lately?), be made to feel isolated if you stay home with your children, and I could go on...

    nope. I'm a woman who benefitted from some of the women's rights movement, but am not impressed with the liberal "advances."

    I lay the blame at original sin, for these opressions, but I definitely wouldn't give big credit to the liberal-leaning for advancing women's rights.

    Maybe to the moderates.


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