Pro-religious freedom like the Apostles?

Pro-religious freedom like the Apostles?

At the Remnant Chris Jackson makes a logical yet counter-cultural point:

As reported:

Dozens of Christian protesters gathered in Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday to denounce the unveiling of a bronze nine-foot, one-ton goat-headed statue of Satan called the Baphomet monument.

The statue was presented by the Satanic Temple, an organization “dedicated to Satanic practice and the promotion of Satanic rights,” at an undisclosed location in the city as a security measure. The Satanic Temple kept the site of the unveiling of the huge statue secret, e-mailing the information only to members of the group and others who were previously given tickets to witness the occasion, according to Raw Story.

Different Neo-Catholic commentators have decried this event, most notably Michael Voris of Yet these same Neo-Catholics fully support the “religious freedom” championed by Vatican II, and also support the ecumenical initiatives of the post-Conciliar popes. Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae,states:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others within due limits.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

…the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.

So why then aren’t the Neo-Catholics obeying Vatican II? Instead of protesting the Satanists, they should instead be celebrating their right to religious liberty! For Vatican II declares that Satanists have a right “to be immune from coercion on the part individuals, or of social groups, and of any human power” (including Neo-Catholic protestors) so that they are not forced to act in public a manner contrary to their own beliefs. Why instead are the Neo-Catholics trying to coerce these poor Satanists into repudiating their beliefs and shut down the public expression of their religion? As for a “just public order” being observed, the Satanists are breaking no civil laws, they are simply unveiling their satanic goat statue in private. The Satanists are not causing wars or riots. In fact, the only thing close to disrupting of the public order is the media event caused in large part by the protest of Neo-Catholics and Protestants.

Further, it was none other than Pope Benedict XVI who, in a December 2005 address given to the Roman Curia, stated:

The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith – a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God’s grace in freedom of conscience.

So why are the Neo-Catholics opposed to these Satanists professing their faith when the martyrs of the early Church died so that they may do so? Are they in opposition to Vatican II AND Pope Benedict? After all, seeing how zealously Neo-Catholics cite Pope Benedict’s side-note that the SSPX clergy possess “no legitimate ministry” as near infallible doctrine, you would think they would pay even more respect to this pontiff’s solemn expounding on the text of an Ecumenical Council.

It’s amazing that this very simple idea is so unpopular today.  I don’t think it’s true that the Apostles died for freedom of conscience.  They died because Jesus was the Messiah.  Their faith was THE faith.  It was the Jewish faith itself.   They didn’t say to themselves, “If I die then it will be good.”  They proclaimed the Gospel and someone else decided it would be good for them to die.  It’s good to be free to preach the true Gospel of Christ.  It’s not good to be free to teach lies about God.

Laws against heresy have been in force everywhere for all time except in the modern era.  If religious freedom was the cry of the Apostles, why did the Church support laws against heresy for two millennia? Where would Our Faith be today if they hadn’t?  If heresy had been put down, the English nobility would never have been able to steal the Faith from the people and raid the Churches.  To defend the Faith against men like Martin Luther is always to protect the innocent against the unjust.

If you don’t rule over the heretic, the heretic rules you because Evil also has its kingdom.  There’s no ‘gray area’ meadow of life in which to stroll and learn, plucking different flowers, dialoguing, sharing, and practicing gradualism.  Have you seen what happens to pro-life Democrats, and now pro-marriage Aussie leftists?  The enemy is lined up and in formation while we lie down and giggle, pretending this pleases God.

No. Religious freedom in effect just means the spread of heresy and that is more destructive than any other crime there can be.  Worship of Satan is a religion – an evil one, but in the end is it really much less evil than any religion outside the Church?  The Faith is a living unified whole, a person.  You can’t just break pieces off here and there.  You can’t defy the order of Heaven and still be part of it.  So where does that leave the heretic in the long run?  It leaves him in the same evil place as the Satanist.

Religious freedom is only good when it’s the freedom to worship the true God in His Church.  Other than that it’s just morbid.  Witness its proud fruit all around you and learn.

Further, in a 1985 address to the Leaders and Representatives of the Islamic and Hindu Communities in Kenya, Pope John Paul II stated:

The close bonds linking our respective religions – our worship of God and the spiritual values we hold in esteem – motivate us to become fraternal allies in service to the human family…

…We are all children of the same God, members of the great family of man. And our religions have a special role to fulfil in curbing these evils and in forging bonds of trust and fellowship. God’s will is that those who worship him, even if not united in the same worship, would nevertheless be united in brotherhood and in common service for the good of all.

Thus even the worship of the abstract Hindu notion of “God” found among multiple deities and strange pagan practices is considered by Vatican II and Pope John Paul II to be worshipping the true God.

So, couldn’t the same be said for those Satanists who consider Satan a deity? For, the Neo-Catholic argument goes, there is objectively only one true God. Therefore, all who believe in a Supreme Being and worship Him, are, objectively worshipping the one true God. Thus Satanists, even if they subjectively get a lot of things wrong about God, like the Muslims and Hindus, really worship the true God, whether they know it or not. Thus, in the words of Pope John Paul II, neo-catholics should “be united in brotherhood” with Satanists and “in common service for the good of all.”

So Vishnu is god. Allah is god, but not Satan?  Everything but Satan is god?  Do you think perhaps that the real God may take some issue with that extremely low standard and level of honor? Are we circling a drain here?




No time for trouble

No time for trouble

Is Catholic Answers an ideal resource? Its founder Karl Keating has taken a few hits in recent years over money and orthodoxy, and the site doesn’t have same reputation it had.  Why then yesterday, other than in the spirit of gracious appreciation, did Keating publish a lengthy thank you to his early sup

orter, notorious Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony?

As my first book was going through the publishing process at Ignatius Press, the editors sought endorsements from prominent Catholics. Among those who were asked for a blurb was Roger Mahony, then Archbishop of Los Angeles, a see to which he was appointed in 1985. (Six years later he was named a cardinal.)

Three weeks after receiving the manuscript of my book, Mahony replied to Ignatius Press with a letter dated January 28, 1988:

“I am very enthusiastic about the new book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating, and I hasten to offer my support and endorsement for this book.

“The book is a fine defense of the Catholic Faith in the context of Fundamentalism’s widely accepted claims against the Roman Catholic Church as a ‘cult,’ a ‘perverted form of Christianity,’ and ‘one of the cruelest institutions in the history of Western civilization.’ It is also a fine exposition of the false assumptions—historical and doctrinal—which underlie Fundamentalism’s claims against the Church.

“Furthermore, this new book takes the main claims of Fundamentalism—its own doctrines as well as its anti-Catholic positions—and refutes them with convincing argumentation. The book also discourses well on the scriptural basis of Catholic doctrine and offers the reader a means of responding to Fundamentalism’s anti-Catholicism.”

The publisher considered this a fine and generous endorsement, and so did I, but there was more, something not even asked for:

“Not only do I endorse this book with enthusiasm,” wrote Mahony, “but I am also pleased to grant both the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur, should you find that helpful.”

It was found helpful, and Mahony’s imprimatur was used, even though doing so constituted a bit of an irregularity. Under canon law, the imprimatur may be granted by the bishop of the diocese where the author lives (I reside in San Diego) or the bishop of the diocese where the publisher is located (Ignatius Press is in San Francisco).

I suppose it was a bit of a stretch to have the Archbishop of Los Angeles grant the imprimatur, but perhaps use was made of the fact that Los Angeles is the metropolitan diocese in Southern California—that is, that Los Angeles has a certain pre-eminence over the other dioceses of the area, even if it doesn’t quite have jurisdiction over them.

When I later had a chance to meet Mahony, he told me that, once he had received the manuscript, he read it straight through. He made other kind remarks about the book, and I was grateful that a prominent prelate thought the book to be useful.

That was not the only kindness Mahony displayed toward me. In September 1988, entirely at his own initiative and not in response to any request from me, he wrote to all of the priests of the archdiocese:

“I am very pleased to recommend to you an organization called Catholic Answers.

“The attached sheet indicates their background and activities, and I cannot recommend Mr. Karl Keating and his group more highly to you. They give an excellent presentation on the real meaning of Fundamentalism and the various sects which operate so widely here in Southern California.

“Several of our parishes have already had Mr. Keating speak and give workshops, and I would recommend that you consider him for your ongoing adult education effort.”

This endorsement was sent just eight months after I went into full-time apologetics work. Over the next few years my colleagues and I gave many parish seminars in the Los Angeles area. I’m sure we would not have had so many had it not been for Mahony’s encouragement.

In those early years, we drove up from San Diego in the late afternoon, after preparing our materials at the office (we took much literature, very little of which, at that time, was produced by us). Usually it was three of us and lots of boxes crammed into a van.

At the parish, we arranged our tables, gave the presentation, and then answered questions for as long as anyone was interested in sticking around. The seminar itself might conclude by 9:00, but often we found ourselves going one-on-one in the parking lot far past midnight. It wasn’t uncommon for us to get back to the office around 2:00 a.m.

At best, on the way up, we’d have a chance to stop for a snack, so by the time everything was over, we were famished. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much open in the wee hours other than Denny’s. We got to know its menu all too well.

Some weeks we had multiple engagements in the Los Angeles area. We’d drive up for parish A on Tuesday, parish B on Thursday, parish C on Friday, and parish D on Saturday. We put lots of miles on the van and lots of miles on ourselves. One week I kept a tally of how long I worked: 101 hours. After that, I no longer kept a record.

As tiring as those trips were, they laid the foundation for Catholic Answers’ public presentations. They allowed us to refine our talks, hone our arguments, and polish our styles. After a while, we discovered that we could handle whatever a questioner might ask. We didn’t flail, as we sometimes did when we first went on the road. It was a wonderful, educative experience, even if exhausting.

It would have been different if Roger Mahony hadn’t endorsed my book and endorsed my organization. In 1990 he celebrated Mass at the very first Catholic Answers national conference, which was held in Long Beach. After that, we more or less lost touch. He became a cardinal the next year, and not only did his duties change in important ways, but so too did his interests and, perhaps, some of his opinions.

Eventually he came to be considered the dean of the liberal wing of the Church in America. It may be that his views changed about the kind of work and the kind of approach that Catholic Answers has engaged in. I don’t know.

I do know that for the next twenty years, until his retirement, he was the frequent object of complaints by orthodox Catholics. For many, he was their bete noire. At the end, he was embroiled in the abuse scandal and had his administrative wings clipped by his successor. He ended in semi-disgrace.

In all those years I never wrote anything against him. There wasn’t much need to. Plenty of others were eager enough to take him to task; there was justification for that. There was no good reason for me to pile on. I had nothing to say that hadn’t been said by many others.

That was part of the reason I didn’t go after him, but the main reason was that I remember when someone does me an unexpected kindness—or, as in his case, more than one. I honor that because, I think, it’s the honorable thing to do.

So Cardinal Mahony was nice to Karl Keating and his organization, yet so often not nice otherwise.  Is it honorable to look the other way out of gratitude?  Isn’t that the kind of thing that keeps trouble circulating among cronies?  Is it possible that the Cardinal was perhaps eager to get Keating in his debt early on, particularly since he was so frustrated by EWTN’s Mother Angelica at the time?

St. Paul’s admonition to bring correction privately first, then publicly if you have to is sound and honorable.  So was Mother’s reply when the Cardinal was using all his weight to intimidate her into yielding control of her network, “I’ll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it.”




I don't know what in the world he's talking about but I must submit my mind to it.

I don’t know what in the world he’s talking about, but I will nevertheless submit my mind.

The UK Catholic Herald has a sad piece today telling faithful Catholics to stop up their ears and close their eyes.  We aren’t supposed to think, just obey the hierarchy, yes?  Makes sense.  They’re all so nice.

But, huh, society being what it is, people will be people.

Authority is something Western society has a problem with. We like to make our own minds up, and even in Britain, once famed for its deference, everyone is their own expert.

In terms of religion, this is a very Protestant attitude. You go to the Bible, you find your proof text and you cite it, usually to support a position you have already taken up. This is not the Catholic attitude. We know what Scripture is because it was canonised by the Church, which also possesses the authority to expound it correctly, situating the texts within its traditions.

If your bishop is actually a Protestant, does that make you a Catholic to be a Protestant?  What if it’s your pope?

The Magisterium has a teaching authority, which is expressed in many ways, including encyclicals. But, as reaction to the most recent papal encyclical, Laudato Si’, showed, even Catholics have a tendency to think that such teaching is something they can take or leave. Indeed, as with so much of the reaction in some quarters to Pope Francis’s comments, there was a tendency for commentators to assume they were more Catholic than the Pope – something which seems to happen a great deal with Francis.

Why?  Why does it happen so much with Francis?  Don’t tell me.  It’s because he’s so wonderful and prophetic our hard hearts can’t hear it.  We’re just too challenged by his holy correction.  We don’t feel guilty enough about money.  We’re not afraid of the weather. We’ve been bribed by an oil company, and fooled by all the papers.

What do these writers suppose Heaven will make of their spin someday?

Popes are neither impeccable nor infallible in all they say, but it should be borne in mind that a papal encyclical is part of the ordinary magisterium, to which, as the Vatican II text Lumen Gentium reminds us, “religious submission of mind and will must be shown … in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence.” That means acknowledging the authority of the Magisterium, and, even when we disagree with some of what is said (acknowledging that on politics, economics and science, there is no question of infallibility applying), we should do so in a manner which shows respect.

Respect for a mountain of destructive lies?  Maybe that’s part of your faith, Mr. Charmley.