Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Reese Affair Contd.

CNS has a follow up story on the Reese forced resignation. CNS is reporting that it was a voluntary resignation, etc, etc. But it really isn't anything we didn't already know, in fact it is worse. Worse in the sense that the inquisition/censor atmosphere still exists:

Father de Vera said that in conversations with Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Jesuit superior general, Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had expressed concern about America's articles on several occasions.

So it is acknowledged that pressure was put on the top Jesuit.

"The policy of (Father Reese) was to present both sides of the discussion. ... He wanted to present both sides within the Catholic community. But that did not sit well with Vatican authorities," Father de Vera said.

Father de Vera said that because the articles touched on doctrinal issues the Vatican wanted the Jesuits to write articles "defending whatever position the church has manifested, even if it is not infallible."

Like, wow! They want America magazine and the Jesuits to be Vatican mouthpieces. And then the grand finale:

Some church sources said Cardinal Ratzinger's office was believed to have sent a letter in March requesting Father Reese's dismissal. Father de Vera said he was unaware of such a letter and could neither confirm nor deny its existence.

Father de Vera said that after Father Reese discussed the situation with Father Kolvenbach in April he voluntarily decided to resign for the good of the order.

"He knew the situation. He didn't want to embarrass the society, and he didn't want to fight the pope, so he resigned," Father de Vera said.

The Jesuit spokesman characterized the decision as "very prudent, very wise and very generous" on the part of Father Reese. Considering his improvements at the magazine, Father de Vera said, "he resigns in a moment of glory, so to speak."


This is not a case of Fr Reese feeling like it was time for a well deserved retirement, this is the case of the use or abuse of power.


Blogger Talmida said...

Ono, I sense some inconsistency here.

Priests are a branch (so to speak) of the Vatican. If you want them disciplined from Rome for sexual abuse, don't you have to tolerate them being disciplined from Rome for breaking other rules? (even if they're rules we actually want broken?)

The Jebs are pretty powerful,and respected from an academic point of view. If they make a point of publicly saying the VAtican is wrong, it lowers the Church in the eyes of the world. And wasn't it Ratzinger's old job to prevent that?

I think sometimes we want the Church to be Church (loving, serving, living the Gospel) when in fact it is a big bureaucracy like any other Government. Let's just be glad they don't execute for treason.


I certainly see this as an exercise in power, but not an abuse. He's the boss. The Jesuits know that.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

Okay, I'll take back the "abuse of power" which I still think it is. But it could be debated and we'll both agree that priests are extensions of Bishops and are subject to them. It still is a very negative development: inquisitorial, self-serving, borg-like, unChristian, etc.

One of my issues with all this is this. Remember, there was a time that the Catholic Church put people to death for unorthodoxy. It didn't matter if you were the most loving, generous, kind, Christ-like person, if you did not accept the doctrinal view of the Chruch, you were worthy of death. That's deep stuff.

This is the Inquisition mindset, which elevates creedal adherence above everything else including "the fruit of the Spirit." You are "evil" or a bad person if you do not accept X or Y. OTOH, adultery or whatever else, "say three Hail Mary's, go and sin no more."

It was hoped that we were moving away from that view of things, i.e, Protestants/heretics are bad people becuse they don't believe X, Y, Z. But its back with a vengeance.

1:44 PM  
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