Depending on how one looks at things, this Friday morning brings either the most courageously bold -- or stunningly brazen -- American appointment in the seven-year reign of Pope Benedict XVI.
For the better part of the last four months,the machinery of the archdiocese that -- at least, under normal circumstances -- many US bishops consider the nation's most daunting episcopal assignment has quietly prepared its 450,000 members for a transition at the top. Yet while the pontiff's selection of the ninth archbishop of San Francisco had almost universally been expected by late June, an apparent delay was explained by credible reports of a backroom Roman "fight" over the state and direction of the famously progressive local church.
Now, finally, the dust has cleared... and even for a city well-accustomed to seismic activity, the ecclesial Richter Scale both by the Bay and well beyond is about to record a right whopper.
After a half-century of occupants accused by conservatives of soft-pedaling church teaching in favor of a more conciliatory approach toward constituencies ranging from gays and lesbians toNancy Pelosi -- a group of prelates among which even therecently-retired lead guardian of church doctrine, CardinalWilliam Levada, was not exempt from stinging criticism -- the move delivers the long-desired "Holy Grail" of the American Catholic Right firmly into the faction's hands, in the form of a prelate already known widely both for his forcefulness and a stringent doctrinal cred almost unequaled among his confreres on the national bench.
For liberal Catholics, meanwhile, the appointment is likely to be received as something akin to the city's Great Earthquake of 1906, or even more apocalyptic events. In a nutshell, an appointment of this dramatic, potentially explosive nature is enough to make even last year's blockbuster move in the States -- likewise a final US move of the Curia's annual work-cycle -- appear almost mild by comparison.
I want to juxtapose that news with this coming from Catholic News:
There can be no “middle ground” on matters of faith and morals, the bishop who conducted the Vatican-ordered doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said in an interview that aired July 25 on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” program.
Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, one of two U.S. bishops assisting Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle in providing “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work” of LCWR, was responding to a call for dialogue by Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, LCWR president, on the same program July 17.
“If by dialogue they mean that the doctrines of the church are negotiable and the bishops represent one position and the LCWR presents another position, and somehow we find a middle ground about basic church teaching on faith and morals, then no,” he said. “I don’t think that is the kind of dialogue that the Holy See would envision.
“But if it’s a dialogue about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters to appreciate and accept church teaching and to implement it in their discussions and try to hear some of the questions or concerns they have about these issues, then that would be the dialogue,” he added.
You know, you just know, that leftist and feminist and progressive and liberal Catholics, and their non-Catholic co-ideologues, are busting neck veins over this.
Stand by for more Catholic hatred.
The prevailing culture can't stand people or organizations or communities that actually stand for something.
There will be hell to pay.
Count on it.