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I’m not stunned – ‘theologian’ Gaillardetz endorsed major dissenting views at LCWR conference August 16, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, scandals.

<sigh>….So, I’ve posted a bit about the goings on at the annual conference of the Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious (LCWR), held in Dallas last week.  LCWR represents about 80% of the women religious in the US, and is frequently associated with views that contradict the Magisterial teachings of the Church – many are pro-abort, pro-women’s ordination, pro-socialism, pro-gay marriage, etc.  The LCWR leadership provided the critical cover needed by Obama during the final stages in the debate over Obamacare, swinging “pro-life democrats” over to vote for the bill.  I’ve also posted in the past about Dr. Rick Gaillardetz, a theologian who spoke at St. Mark in Plano earlier this year, and who has also espoused a number of views that contradict the clear doctrine of the Church.  Dr. Gaillardetz spoke at the LCWR conference last week, which really tells you all you need to know, but since he came to this site and repeatedly claimed that I was very wrong, that he is completely faithful to the Magisterium, etc, I thought I would go through some of his comments:

“The people of God are watching you, looking for a way forward in their own ecclesial difficulties. As I am sure you know, you are not the only ones experiencing the pain of ecclesial tensions. There are other faithful Catholics who struggle with abuses in ecclesiastical authority on many fronts. They know well of certain bishops who chose the protection of abusing priests over the protection of victims.

Fair enough.  Some bishops did do this.  But is Dr. Gaillardetz pointing towards justifying schismatic views?   Let’s move on:

They see young clerics who emerge from the seminary more preoccupied with their own ontological uniqueness, clerical garb and proper title than with the genuine pastoral needs of God’s people.

Alright, this is nothing more than a cheap shot, and one that cannot possibly be supported by any kind of evidence.  How does one assess whether a young cleric is more concerned about his wearing a cassock or his title, than with the “pastoral needs of the Church?”  And what are the pastoral needs of the Church, in Dr. Gaillardetz (Dr. G) opinion?  Given the crowd, which is very unfriendly towards orthodoxy and anything that smacks of pre-Vatican II, this is nothing more than a put down on the desire of these priests to be faithful to the Magisterial teachings of the Church and to connect with historic, orthodox practices of priests.  I should add here that Dr. G does not feel that the magisterium consists of Scripture, Tradition, and the long held views of the Pope and bishops in communion with him, but theologians, like himself. 

They suffer under an enforced Eucharistic fast necessitated by a decision to place the weight of longstanding practice above the sacramental needs of the people of God.

More code for the crowd – Dr. G is intimating his support for an end to celibacy in the priesthood and for women’s “ordination.”  This is what he means by “Eucharistic fast” and placing the emphasis on “longstanding practice” as opposed to the needs of the people.  This is odd, because no matter what a bishop does or says to a woman, those miraculous gifts conferred on priests will not be transferred to a woman.  It simply cannot occur, and I’d like Dr. G to find one bit of Scripture, or one bit of Tradition, that supports his supposition that women can be priestesses in the New Covenant. Sorry, I can’t give birth.  Women can’t be priests.  Live with it.

They find themselves ashamed when one of their most precious convictions, the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death, is effaced by church actions that suggest that the rights of the unborn eclipse the rights of the already born.

Here, Dr. G conflates support with Obamacare with being pro-life.  In his mind, apparently, being opposed to Obamacare because it demonstrably (as we have seen in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, etc)  expanded federal funding for abortion (see the expansion of Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide) is the same as being opposed to life.  Even though Obamacare only marginally expands medical coverage at truly devastating cost, violates the principle of subsidiarity, and does intend to massively expand funding for abortion, Dr. G and this crowd rabidly support it.  More worringly, is Dr. G’s assertion towards the end of the article (not quoted in this post) that really, the Bishops (USCCB) and the LCWR sisters were really only separated by a bit of tricky wording in the bill.  This is completley false. The USCCB and the LCWR sisters were separated by a radically different vision of what it means to be Catholic and the absolute sacredness of human life in the womb, which made supporting Obamacare impossible, for whatever good it could have done.  Essentially, Dr. G is arguing in favor of trading care for those who are allowed to be born, for care for the unborn.  When he states that those who supported pro-abort Obamacare were protecting unborn life, he is being especially fallacious, but he is repeating an argument that has been tried again and again by those on the left. 

  in the current situation it is getting very difficult to avoid the impression that we are now veering dangerously close to an instance of ecclesial dysfunction. If this is the case, then it suggests that the ecclesial tensions you are experiencing in the present moment may have a significance that goes well beyond your own circumstances.

I find it difficult not to see Dr. G foreseeing schism (ecclesial dysfunction), and almost advocating for it.  He seems to be implying that, if the Church does not conform to the vision of those in attendance at the LCWR conference, the conferees could be in the vanguard of a “new Church,” the formation of which many women religious from the LCWR have been discussing lately with regards to women’s ordination.

Vatican II taught that professed religious do not belong to the church hierarchy, he said. “This means that the unique contributions of professed religious cannot be subsumed under the magisterium’s own responsibility to make fidelity to the apostolic heritage its singular concern.”

To clear up the obfuscatory language, Dr. G is stating that religious should be free to advocate “dissenting” ideas and function outside the Magisterial doctrine of the Faith.  I’d like to know where Vatican II stated this?  Why would the bishops of the Council decide that religious women are somehow free to operate outside the Magisterial doctrine of the Church?  This coincides with Dr. G’s view of theologians, stating that they are free to redefine the Faith in essentially any way they see fit, regardless of the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church.  This must be based on a massive misreading of Dignitatus Humanae, the document on religious liberty produced by Vatican II.  This view is unfortunately consistent with other views Dr. G has expressed in the past.  In a book on marriage once endorsed by the USCCB, before Dr. G’s problematic ideas were found out, he advocates that couples can “discern” whether or not use of artificial contraception is acceptable for them.  This is contrary to the Doctrine of the Faith.  But, you see, Dr. G can argue that it is not, because he takes the entirely unique (and, frankly, heretical view) that only those subjects explicitly defined by a Pope in Ex Cathedra statements are hard articles of Faith that must be adhered to by all Catholics.  Because very few Ex Cathedra statements have ever been made, this means that articles of Faith like the Real Presence, the Divinity of Christ, even the Resurrection, are up for grabs.  When Dr. G commented on my site months ago, he could not formulate an adequate response on any of these issues.   When it comes to this kind of foundational re-definition on what constitutes ‘Truth’ in the Church, I would imagine that St. Cyril, St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, and many others are collectively slapping their heads.  Gaillardetz views are a rebuke of everything those great Doctors of the Church fought and suffered for.

There is much, much more, but this post is getting long.  The more I read of Dr. Gaillardetz, the more I get concerned that he has repeatedly been brought in as a speaker at this diocese, and used to teach at St. Mary’s seminary down in Houston.  Maybe he’ll come by and comment again.  This blog’s getting way more traffic than it did when I first posted on him, so I’m interested in hearing more opinions on his work.

UPDATE: This may be a hard post for alot of folks to digest.  Dr. G does not deal in trifling matters, he advocates views of the Faith that cut to the core on issues of Authority and Truth, and he is a huge proponent of what Pope Benedict XVI describes as the ‘hermeneutic of rupture,’ or a view of the Church and its doctrines after Vatican II that is radically cut off from what came before.  I think his comments on the young priests and their horrid clerical garb are most revealing.  You have to understand what being “pastoral” means to a ‘theologian’ like Dr. G – it means essentially accepting any belief any Catholic wants to come up with and trying to somehow justify that in the light of Faith.  It means not challenging someone to live strictly by the light of revealed Truth, but to bend that truth to suit the whims of the people.  Many young, orthodox priests are unwilling to do that – they believe in the One Truth revealed by Christ through His Church.  And so, they are “unpastoral,” and “unresponsive.”  There is a fear and loathing in Dr. G’s comments that I think are very apparent.  He does not like these “unyielding” young priests, and so they must be marginalized, they must be reduced to impotence.  He sees the radical sisters of the LCWR as the true representatives of the Faith, not these great priests, some of whom I have had the priviledge to meet. 

But the sisters are rapidly aging and attracting almost no new vocations.  Their day is almost done.  The young men in, and coming out of, seminaries are the future of the Church.  The Obama advising Dr. G will have to learn to live with them.


1. Teresa - August 16, 2010

Excellent analysis and break down of the facts. Dr. G obviously believes that an unborn child and a born child are not equals. He is violating the Magisterium, causing and spreading scandal, and must be called out for his dissent and scandalous actions.

tantamergo - August 17, 2010

Your new blog is great. I shall link it shortly.

2. thewhitelilyblog - August 18, 2010

You put so much work into this post, in the level of detail toward your conclusions. But that’s probably how much work needs to go into exposing each and every violation of the traditional teaching of the Church.If only every diocese had someone vetting the speakers invited to the various sites, someone looking into the therapists calling themselves Catholic but advocating everything but, from abortion to homosexuality to divorce, someone checking the catechism in the local parishes, someone examining the sex ed in Catholic schools. I wish Catholics would wake up and do this work. But we’re often really busy doing a priest’s job, like taking communion to the sick, in our parishes instead of getting active in the secular world. Thanks for putting so much into this exposure–it’s sure a good example of involvement at the local level, and I hope to imitate it more.

tantamergo - August 18, 2010

Thank you! When my wife and I were having some troubles several years ago, she went to talk to the “family and adult” ministry person at a local parish. My wife just wanted some advice, but within 20 minutes of meeting my wife, this “counselor” is telling her she needed to leave. My wife did not take that advice, praise God. The instant recourses tend to be toward secular recommendations of divorce, contraception, etc. – not defending the Faith.

3. Perhaps you think I’m too rude, crude, and judgemental? « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - August 20, 2010

[…] I wonder what St. Bernard of Clairvaux would have had to say about Dr. G’s talk at the LCWR conference last week?  Would good St. Bernard take apart Dr. G’s ‘theology’ as he did Peter Abelard, […]

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