A double standard for discipline

A double standard for discipline

One can argue (and many of you are) whether the method of protest by the St. Mary by the Sea parishioners in the Diocese of Orange was prudent or charitable. Even setting aside whether Bishop Tod Brown was right to cast these parishioners out of their parish and the diocese, the greater question for me is whether Brown is being consistent.

Time and again, we hear stories of priests and laypeople alike who openly dissent from the Church’s teachings, including those that are to be definitively held by all the faithful. They openly advocate for homosexuality, for ordination of women, and for all kinds of heterodox beliefs. I’ve spent the last four and a half years documenting them on this web site. But I don’t think I can recall a single time when such people are ever treated like people who openly yearn for a more traditional form of their faith. (And by that I mean tradition more generically. I don’t mean just those who prefer the Tridentine Mass, but also those who are fine with the Novus Ordo and simply want to continue to kneel at the consecration or receive on the tongue or receive from a priest and so on.)

Father Robert Altier in Minneapolis-St. Paul was silenced under obedience, apparently for speaking out against the “safe environment sex education” programs. Altier accepts the silencing, so fine. But when did Archbishop Harry Flynn silence Fr. George Wertin, former pastor of St. Joan parish, who openly defied the Church’s teaching on homosexuality? There appears to be a double standard in the Church in the US.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
9 comments
  • On a positive note, I hadn’t heard of Fr. Altier until Archbishop Flynn brought him to my attention.  Even though his own website has been shut down, his homilies are still available on the web, or were yesterday.  You just have to do a little digging.  I’d be willing to bet that we haven’t heard the last of Fr. Altier.  Not by a long shot!  And we can thank Flynn for spreading his fame.  All things work together for good, and all that.

  • What I’m wondering is whether Archbishop Flynn has this figured out?  And if he does, what we are to make of that?

  • There is no “double standard” in the Church.

    The double standard is the production of the leadership—-bishops and priests—-:

    In my view, the “double standard” flourishes because we have not yet a “Peter” who is willing to wield his supreme authority and throw overboard from “Peter’s bark” the dissenting bishops and priests (and religious orders too!)

    However, there is a gleam of hope in this direction—- Benedict XVI might be our hope.  He is prepared to accept the consquences—- “a smaller Church?.

  • Blanchard,

    The status of the average diocese in the West is the same as the status of most of the Universal Church in the West,  if you push too hard you invite a large scale schism. Not that I think this can be avoided in the long run, but it seems like our Holy Fathers as of late want to try to keep as many within the Church as possible.  Thats their decision, not ours. 

    A smaller church may be inevitable, but Benedict seems unwilling to write people off, and that seems very Pastoral.  I believe, however, that as he gently continues to correct our wayward bishops more and more people will leave because they are attached to their sins.

  • RPF,

    You make a very excellent point if view and I tend to go along with it.
      However, not to “surgically cut away” the cancer of dissent, leaving it to “eat away” at the body of the Church, is this truly the wise thing to allow?

  • While the last pope and this one may be trying to avoid alienating heretical Catholics, the just announced decision to abandon the Western Patriarchate, seems to set in stone the decision not to govern. 

    Not to govern is to allow chaos, and chaos is what we have.  To what purpose?  My sense of abandonment, that arose when that announcement was made, persists.  We are in the midst of spiritual warfare, and the intensity is escalating.  Leadership is vital.  For the life of me I can’t determine whose side Benedict fights for.  One moment he looks and sounds so loyal.  But then he appoints Levada and Levada’s replacement; he reconnects with Kung; and he abandons the Western Patriarchate.  And he promotes ecumenism and interreligious dialogue which is contrary to the teaching of previous popes.

  • Benedict is very orthodox in his theology and very lattitudinarian in his definition of the boundaries of Catholicism. He will continue to appoint problematic bishops until better ones rise up through the ranks. It’s time to forget about some Pope laying down the law and driving the heretics from the Church. The renewal of the Church will have to be done by the laity, working around official structures if necessary.

  • Carrie,

    What is or are the reasons for Pope Benedict dropping the title—-Patriach of the West??

    Kindly show how (“true”) ecumenism and interreligous dialogue is contrary to
    Church teaching?

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