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What Did The Cardinals Know?

The Washington Post writes about its retired hometown cardinal, Uncle Teddy McCarrick. [1]

Once a globe-trotting representative of the Catholic Church worldwide and one of the architects of the church’s policy on sexual abuse, McCarrick’s precipitous fall over the past month has shocked Catholics, especially in Washington, where he was a popular archbishop from 2001 to 2006.

McCarrick’s future now rests with Pope Francis, who as pontiff oversees the cardinals. Many church-watchers think this is a make-or-break moment for Francis because of McCarrick’s stature and the fact that Catholic clerical sex-abuse crises are exploding in Chile and Honduras.

It is, or ought to be. McCarrick has long been said to be close to Francis. As I wrote the other day, McCarrick’s longtime friend and protege, Bishop Kevin Farrell, was made a cardinal by Francis and made head of the Vatican’s office in charge of family policy for the worldwide church. Farrell has endorsed Father James Martin’s book advocating affirmation of LGBTs in the Catholic Church, and is overseeing next month’s world family meeting in Dublin, where Father Martin will give a keynote speech.

However innocent he may be of wrongdoing — and nobody has accused him of anything wrong — Cardinal Farrell cannot escape the shadow cast by the black McCarrick cloud. Here is Cardinal Farrell’s coat of arms:

Cardinal Kevin Farrell’s coat of arms

Catholic bishops traditionally have a coat of arms designed for themselves. According to the Catholic Scouting site in Dallas [2], which posted this when Farrell was moved from an auxiliary role in the Archdiocese of Washington to run the Diocese of Dallas, here’s the explanation of the symbolism of Farrell’s coat of arms (the jargon here is terminology specific to heraldry):

 The lion rampant honors Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop emeritus of Washington, and the Irish sept of O’Farrell. In the upper portion of the shield, gold (yellow) and the lion (red) are derived from the Arms of Cardinal McCarrick, whom Bishop Farrell assisted as Auxiliary Bishop of Washington. [Emphasis mine — RD].

What did Cardinal Farrell know about Cardinal McCarrick’s past? Was he as shocked as everybody else to learn all this about his mentor and patron? I can’t see how Cardinal Farrell, given his closeness to McCarrick and his key role directing the family policy office for the Vatican, can avoid addressing these questions directly.

change_me

And what about Cardinal Tobin? As I wrote the other day, McCarrick’s influence with Francis is believed to have been behind the swift rise of Archbishop Joseph Tobin on Indianapolis, who was created a cardinal by Francis, then moved to Newark, McCarrick’s old see. Veteran Catholic journalist Rocco Palmo, who is not a partisan, wrote after Tobin’s move to Newark: [3]

As reported at the top, multiple signs point to Newark’s fourth archbishop [McCarrick] as the lead architect behind the choice of his second successor. Having maintained an enduring devotion for and among the Jersey church since his transfer to the capital in 2000, McCarrick – who Francis is said to revere as “a hero” of his – made a direct appeal over recent weeks for Tobin to be named to Newark, according to two sources familiar with the cardinal’s thinking.

In the Post story, a church spokeswoman said:

Friedlander said the current Newark archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, “has expressed his intention to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests and deacons for all adults. We can confirm that the highest level of the Holy See is investigating a number of points raised in the ongoing questioning.”

You know what Cardinal Tobin is not saying? What, if anything, he knew about McCarrick before he took over in Newark. He surely knew about the 2004 and 2007 settlements made within his archdiocese. Why is Cardinal Tobin not demanding to seek justice for all those who have been abused by McCarrick? It’s repulsive that all he can talk about is jabbering with other bishops about “articulat[ing] standards that will assure high standards,” yadda yadda. Given the horror of what McCarrick did, this kind of bureaucratic rot is intolerable.

This came into my e-mail box tonight from a reader:

I am so repulsed by this entire situation.  I have known about this for well over 20 years.  Many years ago I had an acquaintance (the friend of a now-deceased friend) who was a seminarian at Seton Hall in the mid-late 90s.  By the time I knew him, he had already left the seminary and moved on to other opportunities.  But he was so deeply disturbed by the things that he had witnessed in seminary that he discussed them fairly openly.  While I believed he was telling the truth, I didn’t know what I could do with such information.  He felt the same way.  He knew all about “Uncle Teddy’s Funhouse”, the shared beds, the trips to the shore house, the unwanted touching, inappropriate comments, etc.  He himself had been invited to the shore house on a couple of occasions, although he didn’t actually sleep with McCarrick.  He told me that it was well known among the seminarians, and that you knew there was a reason you were even invited to the house.  Even so, none of them felt that he could refuse the invitation.

This young man told me stories both in person and in emails.  Unfortunately, the emails were sent to an old account of mine which has been deleted, and to which I no longer have access.  I haven’t spoken to the former seminarian since our mutual friend died some 18 years ago.

Even so, his words have stuck with me, and there have been many times when I’ve wondered if I should have spoken out.  I always opted not to because I had no proof and my acquaintance hadn’t been willing to speak on record.  But that’s just it–if someone like me has known about these abuses for 20 years, there have to be MANY people (both laity and in positions of authority) who have also known.

Readers, I heard that same kind of story many times about Cardinal McCarrick back in 2002, when I was working in New York and writing about it. People knew. One of my sources telling these stories was New Jersey priest Father Boniface Ramsey, whom I couldn’t persuade at the time to go public. He did go public in an interview with The New York Times a couple of weeks ago, and he also spoke to the Post for its story:

In March 2015,  Ramsey said he ran into McCarrick at the funeral of Cardinal Edward Egan of New York City and became upset that the cardinal was still out and about, he said. He wrote a letter a few months later to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, one of Francis’s key advisers on preventing clerical abuse, saying the issue was about “a form of sexual abuse/harassment/intimidation or maybe simply high-jinks as practiced by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick with his seminarians and perhaps other young men” when ­McCarrick was in New Jersey.

Within a few days, Ramsey received a note back from the ­Rev. Robert Kickham, O’Malley’s secretary. O’Malley, Kickham clarified, as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of ­Minors, is responsible for “evaluating child protection policies and procedures . . . and to offer recommendations to improve” those policies. Commission members don’t review individual cases that fall under local authorities, he wrote. “Please know of our appreciation for your care and concern for the good of the Church and the people of God.”

Ramsey provided copies of his letter to O’Malley and Kickham’s response to The Post. O’Malley and his spokesman declined to comment.

Unbelievable! Father Ramsey took the risk of telling a Cardinal — not just a cardinal, but the cardinal who is one of Pope Francis’s inner circle of advisers, and the chief cardinal in charge of protecting minors from sexual abuse — that Cardinal McCarrick is a rampant sexual abuser of seminarians and priests. And what is Cardinal O’Malley’s response? To say it’s not his responsibility.

These bureaucrats, I swear. Father Ramsey took a big risk to try to handle this within the Church, but the best he could get from Cardinal O’Malley is the clerical version of, “Sorry, that’s not my table.”

No wonder Father Ramsey got fed up with these red-hatted men, covering up for each other, and contacted the Times. God bless him.

Three cardinals — Farrell, Tobin, and O’Malley — have some explaining to do.

UPDATE: I took out a paragraph in the original post. It was a little too raw. I swear, nothing gets to me like this stuff. These men — these cardinals, these bishops — are supposed to be fathers, not butt-covering bureaucrats who care only about seeming to be something than actually being it. And the lives and fates, and the faith, of ordinary people — children, their families, seminarians, priests — get chewed up in the gears of the system. From today’s Washington Post story, [4] these words from James, whose abuse at McCarrick’s hands started when he was 11 years old:

“What he did to me was he ruined my entire life. I couldn’t break the hold. I couldn’t live up to my ability — to stay employed, married, have children. I lost all those opportunities because of him,” James said. Breaking into tears, he said, “I try to be a really good kid every day.”

James is 60 years old. He’s still trying to be a good little boy — the boy he was before Father Theodore McCarrick stole his innocence.

UPDATE.2: Reader Augustinus writes:

Farrell, Tobin, and one more big one. Cupich. McCarrick is a main reason Cupich is in Chicago. The last three American cardinals all owe something to the patronage or intervention of McCarrick.

Reader Fiestamom:

Compare Cardinal Tobin’s milquetoast comment about McCarrick to his comments in June about illegal immigration.

“The latest developments are consistent with the sort of cardiosclerosis that has begun in our country, and it concerns across-the-board life issues,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, who from the floor raised the idea of a bishop delegation to the border “as a sign of our pastoral concern and protest against this hardening of the American heart.”

And here’s O’Malley’s statement about the border:(there was a bishop’ s meeting in June)
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, though not attending the conference, issued a statement saying that “the moral challenge of immigration is mounting for the United States.”

“On too many occasions our government has taken a posture and established policy which is in principle and in practice hostile to children and families who are fleeing violence, gangs, and poverty,” he said, adding “The United States is now openly before the world using children as pawns to enforce a hostile immigration policy. This strategy is morally unacceptable and denies the clear danger weighing upon those seeking our assistance.”

O’Malley celebrated Mass on the Mexican border in 2014 with other bishops, and had this to say. “This is not just a political or economic problem,’’ O’Malley said Tuesday. ‘‘This is a moral problem.’’

If only O’Malley thought child rape was a moral problem worth making a statement about!

I reworded Cardinal Tobin’s initial statement using the current “tragedy”.**

144 Comments (Open | Close)

144 Comments To "What Did The Cardinals Know?"

#1 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 24, 2018 @ 1:35 pm

If the Son of God had physical progeny, it would not have been a good thing, given the divine nature to be passed on.

There is no record that he had progeny, so that’s a moot point. But there is also no reason to presume that a divine nature would be “passed on” to babies conceived in the usual way.

#2 Comment By The Man with a Name On July 24, 2018 @ 1:50 pm

@Elijah:

@ Man With a Name – despite your protestations, you seem quite pissy and defensive that anyone would dare discuss the Catholic problem without offering a concrete A-Z solution which, of course, can’t be done without the assent of the responsible people, i.e. the Church leaders, who are obviously the people from whom the problem stems.

First off, this is a controversial subject – any discussion of it is going to be “pissy”. Second, complaining about an issue without offering a solution has no basis in logic. Third, I agree that no one other than those guilty of scandal are responsible for the problem at hand, but by suggesting solutions, some people may read them and the idea will disseminate like others would.

I will not engage in any more back-and-forth except to point out this whopper:

“Making generalizations when controversial subjects are being discussed is not a good idea. I also don’t see much difference between “diocesan officials” and clergy in general, since all clergy work within a diocese.”

In what way was the statement I made a “whopper”? I wrote it as a reasonable statement, and it still strikes me as one.

(a) Making generalizations IS helpful, and we do it all the time when it comes to politicians, business leaders, historical movements, etc. Clergy aren’t any different.

Making generalizations is not something that I would ever do in good conscience. I may forget myself sometimes, but I try to avoid it. Generalizations are never a good thing to use in the course of arguing something serious; they consist of inaccurate, and sometimes spurious, claims about groups.

(b) “Diocesan officials” includes all manner of people from clergy to accountants. I said diocesan officials because I meant diocesan officials.

How, exactly, is a “diocesan” member of the clergy different from a non-“diocesan” one?

When the people responsible for the problem don’t show any desire or willingness to either acknowledge its full extent or do anything constructive about it, there isn’t much point in waiting for them to talk about it.

Who said anything about simply waiting for those responsible to talk about it? See above about suggesting solutions and the potential dissemination of ideas. And again, you’re generalizing.

And tiring for who? You?

Yes, and probably some people who read this blog but don’t comment.

Why are you here reading about it then?

For the same reason anybody else does.

Sometimes [Mr. Dreher] posts about subjects I already hear too much about. I don’t comment telling him (or others) to be quiet and stop talking about a problem, such as Trump, they can do nothing about. I just move on.

Then why are you replying to this? Also, as far as I know, Mr. Dreher doesn’t devote multiple blog posts over the course of a week (or more?) to any of the various random current events involving the current POTUS or some whatever current event is discussed on this blog.

#3 Comment By Steve Shea On July 24, 2018 @ 2:17 pm

It will be the same old story, from Rome. “We are shocked, hurt, and angry.” “We have implemented new rules.” And three bags of “So Sorry”, for each victim. “Please, know the pain the Poor Holy Father feels.”

But, not one step, by our Poor Holy Father, to defrock this monster’s enablers. Cardinal Tobin, and a half dozen other bishops / cardinals, who clearly knew about it. And shielded him.

Just like an identical story. Of Archbishop Nienstedt, in Minnesota. Three years ago. The Pope and his minions, will whitewash it.

#4 Comment By Jules Baumer On July 24, 2018 @ 2:41 pm

The history of the Catholic Church over the last two millennia is full of betrayals, both personal and corporate, of Jesus Christ. It is also full of heroic, courageous, and unrelenting faith in the same Jesus Christ, even to the point of torture and death. Scandal, I would think, begins, after Judas, with the first bishop of Rome, who publicly declared “I know not the man!”. So, what’s new? The constant renewal of His self-sacrificing love in each succeeding generation in each of His followers. Despite the human disgust and shock we feel over our shepherds’ failings, it then becomes our failure to think there is nothing anyone can do about it. Don’t we remember Our Lord’s telling us of the need to pray with faith, and the seemingly immovable mountain can be cast into the sea? Our love certainly leads us to pray for the victims; why not also for the scoundrels? Our Lord died for them too.

#5 Comment By Arthur McGowan On July 24, 2018 @ 2:46 pm

“Siarlys Jenkins says:
July 23, 2018 at 9:57 pm
I’m not saying he was married. I’m saying there is no historical, physical, or theological reason why he couldn’t have married.”

There are many reasons, the most fundamental one being that Jesus is not a human person.

#6 Comment By Margaret M Saindon On July 24, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

May God have mercy on these perverted shepherds. I cannot.

#7 Comment By The Man with a Name On July 24, 2018 @ 4:46 pm

@Steve Shea:

What makes you think it would make a difference if the Vatican did? What’s to stop the replacement from just doing the same thing? The reasonable solution is to restructure the hierarchy so as to allow for greater representation from the laity.

#8 Comment By The Man with a Name On July 24, 2018 @ 5:29 pm

@Steve Shea:

To clarify: in a more perfect world, Tobin, et. al. would be defrocked, I agree, but I doubt it would do much in the long run.

#9 Comment By Jack Gordon On July 24, 2018 @ 5:31 pm

The most intriguing revelation here concerns O’Malley. He should be confronted with this information and asked why he shouldn’t resign. I was a teacher for 30 years. If I’d learned something like this about a colleague and done nothing about it, I would have faced not only unemployment but quite possibly time in prison, and rightly so. This is disgusting and indicates the Church in America is just as sick as it was back in the heyday of Bernie Law and company.

#10 Comment By PATRICIA KOENIG On July 24, 2018 @ 5:32 pm

“Cardinal McCarrick should be defrocked and expelled from the priesthood. He should NOT get a pension. However, we know from experience that he will not be defrocked and he will get a generous pension. The Catholics in the pews are the ones who pay the settlements to victims. The perpetrators are not punished as they should be.

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 24, 2018 @ 5:47 pm

There are many reasons, the most fundamental one being that Jesus is not a human person.

Arthur McGowan, that smacks of the Monophysite heresy. The orthodox position is that he was WHOLLY man and WHOLLY God. As well as holy.

#12 Comment By Elijah On July 24, 2018 @ 6:20 pm

“Why are you here reading about it then?

For the same reason anybody else does.”

And what, pray, is that? So you can tell us all what we should and shouldn’t talk about here?

“Also, as far as I know, Mr. Dreher doesn’t devote multiple blog posts over the course of a week (or more?) to any of the various random current events involving the current POTUS or some whatever current event is discussed on this blog.”

Clearly you have not been here very long. Occasionally there will be multiple posts on Trump, society, religion, higher ed, art, etc. It’s one of the pleasures of reading this blog, in that Rod will frequently post on a subject, think about it more, and then post again.

You seem a very angry person.

“First off, this is a controversial subject – any discussion of it is going to be “pissy”. ”

It doesn’t have to be. You’re making it so.

#13 Comment By kathy On July 24, 2018 @ 8:07 pm

How’s this for a standard to articulate, Cardinal Tobin: Obey sixth commandment.??

#14 Comment By Steve Shea On July 24, 2018 @ 9:26 pm

Cardinal O’Malley, who quietly shielded this evil behavior, when it was reported to him. And had the chance to stop it. But did nothing. Kept it quiet, and betrayed Fr Ramsey.

He is now reported to be “Bravely, Stepping Forward, Demanding Changes”. The spin, from the Catholic Media, is that he is fighting, to rid the Church of this evil. To establish a means of dealing with this problem.

What a Sham !

#15 Comment By Stanislaus J. Dundon Ph.D On July 24, 2018 @ 9:28 pm

If Church leaders had paid attention to Paul’s 1st Letter to Timothy (I Tim 5: 19-21) when he had been selecting clergy for 20 years they would have noted: 1.People inclined to sin will seek clerical jobs.
2. Accused deserve due-process.
3. The Church leaders will not all be sinless.
4. Exposure of serious sinners is more important than “reputation”
5.The deterrent effect of exposure is to be chosen over a pretended sinlessness.

#16 Comment By Andy, Bad Person On July 24, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

I will say this in defense of Cardinal Tobin:

While McCarrick may have had a hand in his elevation, Tobin wanted no part of it. He HATED the elevation and move to Newark. He wanted to stay in Indianapolis.

#17 Comment By Mia On July 24, 2018 @ 10:33 pm

“Let’s just go back and see if that’s really what was required for the Sacraments in the beginning. Or is it just how things developed, so certain people would be in control, and others, not.”

Let me see if I remember my church history. The sacrament of confession I think in the very early years was done publicly and only once in a person’s lifetime. Gradually people decided they didn’t like that and picked out any person they felt was holy enough to confess to privately. Gradually that was shifted from just any person the laity respected for their holiness to the priesthood. Correct me if I’m wrong.

#18 Comment By DJR On July 25, 2018 @ 12:48 am

There are many reasons, the most fundamental one being that Jesus is not a human person.

Siarlys Jenkins says: Arthur McGowan, that smacks of the Monophysite heresy. The orthodox position is that he was WHOLLY man and WHOLLY God. As well as holy.

I know this is off topic, but what Arthur McGowan stated is the orthodox teaching.

Jesus is not a human person. He is a divine person with a human nature. That’s Catholic Teaching 101 and what the Hypostatic Union is all about.

The Monophysite heresy concerns how many natures Christ has, not what type of person He is.

Christ is one person (divine, not human) with two natures: God and man. That’s the teaching of the Catholic Church.

#19 Comment By JonF On July 25, 2018 @ 9:11 am

Re: Jesus is not a human person. He is a divine person with a human nature.

No. Jesus is both a human person and a divine person in whom human and divine natures are united and mingled (though distinct) without conflict or paradox. Now it’s very easy to go off the rails when we talk about this stuff and we need to be very careful here. But what the first poster stated (that Jesus could not marry because he was not human) is definitely wrong. That Jesus did not marry is a fact insofar as we know, but there is no existential, physical or metaphysical reason why he could not marry– and procreate too for that matter.

#20 Comment By The Man with a Name On July 25, 2018 @ 10:08 am

And what, pray, is that? So you can tell us all what we should and shouldn’t talk about here?

Please don’t try to make this into a free speech issue, which is the vibe I got from that statement. I just don’t see the point in harping on an issue that isn’t going to going to be made any better by simply grieving over it.

Clearly you have not been here very long. Occasionally there will be multiple posts on Trump, society, religion, higher ed, art, etc. It’s one of the pleasures of reading this blog, in that [Mr. Dreher] will frequently post on a subject, think about it more, and then post again.

I don’t recall it ever happening for multiple blog posts over the course of what seems to be more than a week at this point.

You seem a very angry person.

Again, this is a political discussion. I don’t feel any angrier than anyone else seems to be when doing so, so I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing (if that was intended to imply a negative trait).

It doesn’t have to be. You’re making it so.

You’ve never discussed politics, have you?

@Steve Shea:

Please provide links.

#21 Comment By The Man with a Name On July 25, 2018 @ 10:47 am

@Steve Shea:

Nevermind, I found the article I assume you were talking about.

#22 Comment By Steve Brown On July 25, 2018 @ 10:52 am

I’m going to sound un-christian, but, how can I and many others not. I started in earnest reading and learning about the Catholic Church in the summer of 2001. We all remember what bomb exploded in early 2002. For almost 6 months there was a major daily story in the MSM about the scandal. Why does it seem the sodomites are still everywhere? It is because the priests and the bishops don’t believe in, teach, and enforce Church teaching, largely because Bergoglio has given them permission. So much is so wrong that every effeminate priest and bishop in the Church should be run out. We shouldn’t have to worry. Get rid of them all. All others with same-sex attraction should volunteer to leave the Church. All bishops should certify to the above.

[NFR: Jesus Christ also died for those who live with same-sex attraction. The Church can and should help them live in holiness and fidelity. They are our brothers and sisters too. — RD]

#23 Comment By DJR On July 25, 2018 @ 11:56 am

JonF says: “No. Jesus is both a human person and a divine person in whom human and divine natures are united and mingled (though distinct) without conflict or paradox.”

Wrong.

That is not the teaching of the Catholic Church and has been addressed centuries ago.

The Word (Jesus) is only one Person, not two, and He has always existed… as a divine Person.

1913 Catholic Encyclopedia:

“This creed of the catechumens gives even the divinity of the totality, i.e., the fact that the individual Person of Jesus is a Divine and not a human Person.”

Again: “The Divine Logos identified with Divine nature (Hypostatic Union) means then that the Divine Hypostasis (or Person, or Word, or Logos) appropriates to Itself human nature and takes in every respect the place of the human person. In this way, the human nature of Christ, though not a human person, loses nothing of the perfection of the perfect man, for the Divine Person supplies the place of the human.”

Fundamentals of Catholicism, written by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., editor-in-chief of Homiletic and Pastoral Review,(p. 217):

“For Jesus is not a human person; He is a divine Person who has taken Himself a human nature.”

#24 Comment By JonF On July 25, 2018 @ 2:22 pm

Re: The Word (Jesus) is only one Person,

Yes, but the Person has BOTH a human AND a divine nature. Else you are verging on monophysitism.

Re: “For Jesus is not a human person; He is a divine Person who has taken Himself a human nature.”

Maybe the problem is the language here: possibly Greek could capture this better. But the above sentence in English, at least, cannot be reconciled with Chalcedonian Orthodoxy, which again affirms a dual Nature for Christ.

#25 Comment By The Man with a Name On July 25, 2018 @ 4:54 pm

@RFB:

Almost every ethical “truth” is going to end up being political, to some degree. And do you honestly think that James Martin, et. al. don’t think of themselves as being inspired by the Bible? I imagine that they would disagree with you. Whether or not they are right is another argument.

@Windswept House:

Let me clarify my earlier response. I’m absolutely certain that pederasty is not something Jesus would approve of, but do you really think that such a thing needs stating? For that matter, do you think that scandals of this sort are entirely avoidable in the long run? Of course, everything should be done to minimize its occurrence, but that’s clearly not entirely implementable here without a change in hierarchical structure to allow for a more objective policing of alleged pederasts. I also maintain that bringing up the Crucifixion in a discussion where it has no direct relevance makes for a bad argument, unless you’re suggesting that all priests undergo a ritual crucifixion themselves.

#26 Comment By William Tighe On July 25, 2018 @ 8:38 pm

Here is the Christological definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451):

“Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.”

Please note, in particular, “…the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis …” This is perfectly incompatible with JonF’s statement “Jesus is both a human person and a divine person in whom human and divine natures are united and mingled (though distinct) without conflict or paradox,” unless, of course, he is a Nestorian.

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 25, 2018 @ 8:46 pm

Its interesting that both JonF and William Tighe cite the Council of Chalcedon. This in my seldom humble opinion highlights why obsession with doctrine is silly. We don’t know the True Nature of God, and over time, even those who adhere to something akin to orthodoxy can’t even agree on what the doctrinal statements actually mean.

Well, when we are reduced to arguing about persons vs. natures, no wonder.

#28 Comment By Elaine On July 26, 2018 @ 3:39 pm

This is not a shock to those who don’t have their head in the sand.

What do you think is going to happen when you have apostates, Christ-haters, Modernist heretics running the show? They are no different than our atheist, materialist, naturalists who have run every country in Christendom into the army of Satan.

Wake up people before its too late. This fake church invented in Vatican II was the culmination of every moment since the Fall that Satan has convinced more people not to serve God. The true Catholic Church, faithful Catholics would never, ever be such a filthy, degraded, blasphemous, sacrilegeous institution serving Satan.

#29 Comment By DJR On July 26, 2018 @ 8:53 pm

JonF says: Re: The Word (Jesus) is only one Person, “Yes, but the Person has BOTH a human AND a divine nature. Else you are verging on monophysitism.”

Well, of course Christ has two natures. That’s what was stated above, several times.

But you stated that Christ is a human person. That’s heretical. Christ is not a human person. He is a divine Person (and thus has a divine nature) who also has a human nature. Catholics call that the hypostatic union.

He is not a human person, and for that reason, it is not possible for Christ to have progeny.

Here is the reason: A divine Person can only beget another divine Person. That’s what the Holy Trinity is all about. It’s not possible for a divine Person to beget a human person.

“… the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, light from light, true God from true God…”

Thus, if it were possible for Christ to beget offspring, the offspring would necessarily have to be divine also, which is not possible, as it would contradict the essence of the Holy Trinity.

Arthur McGowan was correct on both issues.

#30 Comment By JonF On July 27, 2018 @ 8:19 am

Re: Please note, in particular, “…the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis …” This is perfectly incompatible with JonF’s statement “Jesus is both a human person and a divine person in whom human and divine natures are united and mingled (though distinct) without conflict or paradox,” unless, of course, he is a Nestorian.

Once again, Jesus is both human and divine by Nature. That is the Chalcedonian orthodoxy. And by dragging in the Nestorian charge you are repeating the work of the Monophysites who charged that the Council of Chalcedon was in fact endorsing Nestorianism.
Again, I suggest that the problem may be that the English language is not a good vehicle for making these distinctions, just as Aramaic and Coptic were not in antiquity.

#31 Comment By JonF On July 27, 2018 @ 8:21 am

Re: . Christ is not a human person.

Christ is a Person, period. We can’t talk about “human” or “divine” unless we are talking about natures to which those adjectives apply. Christ is a Person with both human and divine nature. Why is this so hard to affirm? I still think, from the original post to which I (and others) objected to, some people are trying to deny Christ’s humanity.

#32 Comment By JonF On July 27, 2018 @ 8:28 am

Re: He is not a human person, and for that reason, it is not possible for Christ to have progeny.

This makes absolutely zero sense. Christ was a human being in a human body. Unless you wish to affirm the ancient Gnostic notion that Christ was not a material being at all, just a phantom that only appeared to be material. But no: Jesus Christ was a man in all the ways I am a man (except in sin): he had cells full of organelles and protoplasm, DNA organized in genes and genes in chromosomes. He had a beating heart, respiring lungs, he digested food, his kidneys cleansed his blood of toxins, his brain formed thoughts and controlled his body. And yes, he had sex organs, specifically testes with sperm in them. He could have procreated and produced human children as much so as as man could. That Jesus was also the Second Person of the Trinity did not deprive him of any essential attribute of humanity (sin is not an essential attribute– it is a later add-on), and the ability to procreate is one of those. You are flirting with Gnosticism if you deny this. (And good grief, saying something is “not possible” for God is pretty dubious too.)

#33 Comment By JonF On July 27, 2018 @ 8:31 am

Re: Thus, if it were possible for Christ to beget offspring, the offspring would necessarily have to be divine also

Nope. That would only be true if the Holy Spirit came upon the children’s Mother and repeated the work of the Incarnation. Unless that happened, the children would just be human children. Jesus is not God because of his genes, which are simply human genes: he is God because of the miracle of the Incarnation.

#34 Comment By Paul McLaughlin On July 27, 2018 @ 10:49 am

The idea of trying to implicate Francis in anyway is disgusting. “Teddy” is JP2 and Benedict man. Look at the record.

Teddy is a smooth and charming Irish pol, who knew how to play the game. He said all the right things at the right places and times. He understood it was good ole boys network and mastered it.

The Nuncio is really to blame. He received countless complaints and may or may not have passed them on to Rome.

We can’t forget the culture protected by JP2. He didn’t want to act and finally did something after Benedict beat him over the head.

I have no doubt Francis knew and liked Teddy – but to implicate – directly or indirectly – him is stupid and without any factual basis.

#35 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 27, 2018 @ 11:46 am

A divine Person can only beget another divine Person.

And you know this, how?

All the Christian suppositions and doctrines about the Triune God and the Three Persons and how Three Persons could be One God and the Divine Nature and the Human Nature and whether the Person was Divine only and all the rest took centuries to develop. They are, in short, the product of human reasoning. Like all human reasoning about the transcendent, they MAY be true. Or not.

This fine tuning about “persons” and “natures” strikes me as concocting distinctions without differences to hold onto a premise regardless of all contrary propositions. Its not much better than discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

#36 Comment By Wilber On July 28, 2018 @ 1:39 am

Pope Francis has done much to help us heal from the abuse of our children at the hands of our church’s leaders. All men are sinners and no man alive is worthy of our obedience. We must follow Christ instead. Francis is helping us see the difference between Catholic leaders who do follow Christ and those who only pretend.

#37 Comment By DJR On July 28, 2018 @ 9:42 am

“JonF says: Christ is a Person, period.”

Correct. But He is a Divine Person, not a human person, as you stated above.

Christ has two natures but one personhood.

The orthodox teaching promulgated by the Catholic Church is that Christ is a Divine Person with two natures (divine and human). That’s the hypostatic union.

Anything contrary to that is heresy, and the statement above, that Christ is a human person, is heresy.

No one is denying Christ’s humanity, but His humanity is a nature, not His personhood.

You’re conflating those two things, and they are separate concepts.

To help you understand this, think of the Holy Trinity. There are three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Those Persons are Divine Persons with divine natures. They are not human persons.

One of those Persons took on a human nature and became man, thus giving Him two natures (God and man), but His Personhood remains the same: divine.

And He is only one Person, not two, and that Person is a divine Person.

Again, the above statements in no way deny the humanity of Christ.

#38 Comment By DJR On July 28, 2018 @ 10:04 am

JonF says: Nope. That would only be true if the Holy Spirit came upon the children’s Mother and repeated the work of the Incarnation. Unless that happened, the children would just be human children. Jesus is not God because of his genes, which are simply human genes: he is God because of the miracle of the Incarnation.

Of course, this is wrong on several fronts.

Jesus is not God because of the miracle of the Incarnation. He is man because of the miracle of the incarnation.

Jesus, as “the Word,” pre-existed the incarnation and was, is, and always will be God.

That’s number 1.

Number 2, the Incarnation deals with the Virgin Birth. If the Holy Ghost repeated the work of the Incarnation, then Christ would not be the father of the resulting child. In the Incarnation, there is no human father.

Again, you are conflating two separate concepts: personhood and nature.

A divine Person can only beget another divine Person. The existence of the Holy Trinity is proof of this.

The Father begets the Son. Both are divine Persons. At the Incarnation, the Holy Ghost overshadows the Blessed Virgin, and she gives birth to a Divine Person with two natures: God and man.

Christ has a human mother, but that is what makes Him a man. But His Personhood is divine, and He is begotten from the Father before all ages.

#39 Comment By Padre On July 28, 2018 @ 11:10 am

JonF: Jesus is not “God because of the miracle of the Incarnation”…. rather as God He brought forth the miracle of the Incarnation of His Triune GodHead Incarnate in the One Divine Person, who is Jesus Christ”…the miracle did not make Him so… I know this is what you intended, but the words unintentionally missed the Truth of It all…
Blessings of Our Lady in Our Lord GOD…

#40 Comment By Padre On July 28, 2018 @ 11:26 am

A good, simple start is from the CCC:

[5]

If Christ was like us in all things and His sacred human nature was full and perfect, one, could His tear ducts not cry, two, His sperm ducts not sperm, three, his blood vessels not bleed??

Why is it that we try to say that for 1 & 3 [and everything else], yes, but 2, no? Was Christ like us in all things except sin and reproductive system? Does the Holy Spirit’s Gospel Word needed an addition

#41 Comment By Padre On July 28, 2018 @ 11:44 am

Siarlys Jengins – how do we know??

Blessings, A divine Person can only bring forth a Divine Person – this is the mystery of the Living Triune God Himself – it is a Divinely Revealed and Saving Truth, as well as right reason, or logic.

But we also know this from God the Holy Spirit’s Teaching of this throughout Salvation History.

The passage of time did not give us human reasons for understanding of these and all the Mysteries of God – as Jesus says to us – ‘it is not flesh or blood who reveals the Truth to You, but the Father…and the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father and I send You to Teach you all the Truth and recall to you all the Truth that I have given you’…

Or Saint Luke also: Whoever hears you (the Holy Father and Bishops in union with him [and the union of flock with him] Hears Me and the Father who sent Me, whoever does not hear you, rejects Me and the Father who sent Me

It is not the product of human reasoning.

Please take a look at what the Holy Spirit has Taught, in smattering but good witness in His CCC:

[5]

Blessings in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

#42 Comment By JonF On July 29, 2018 @ 8:01 am

Re: Jesus is not “God because of the miracle of the Incarnation”

This makes no sense. The Incarnation was a miracle, and (probably) a unique one, at least as far as the Earth is concerned. Also “Jesus” is/was a being in Time and like all of us he did not exist before his conception. The Second person of the trinity existed if course, but not Jesus.

Re: Jesus is not God because of the miracle of the Incarnation. He is man because of the miracle of the incarnation.

See above. You are once again verging on the monophysite heresy.

Re: Again, you are conflating two separate concepts: personhood and nature.

Persons have natures. The adjectives we apply, sloppily, to persons (and other objects) actually apply to their natures. So all we can really comment on are the properties of a nature. This is related to the essence/energy distinction: we can know the latter certainly because it manifests in time-space where it does things that allow it to be known. We cannot know essences which are forever beyond this world.

Re: No one is denying Christ’s humanity, but His humanity is a nature

Ditto Christ’s divinity: that too apples to his Nature. Hence the dual nature of Christ.

Re: A divine Person can only beget another divine Person.

This is just nonsense, and it ignores biology entirely. “Persons” do not procreate: biological organisms do. Jesus had a human genome and as such would produce a human child had he had one. Divinity is not hereditary, unless one wishes to go back to Homer and old pagan myths. And again: do you really want to say God could not…” when we are talking about an omnipotent being?

#43 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 29, 2018 @ 9:59 pm

But we also know this from God the Holy Spirit’s Teaching of this throughout Salvation History.

You have yet to offer one word from the Holy Spirit that substantiates your hopeful premise.

Jesus is not God because of the miracle of the Incarnation. He is man because of the miracle of the incarnation.

Good point.

#44 Comment By Elleblue On July 31, 2018 @ 6:52 pm

What are Bishops Conferences around the world waiting for?????????? They could draft policies to deal with sexual abuse/harassment and submit these to Rome. Don’t wait for Rome to move and do something. Lives have been and are being destroyed while we all sit around and fret.