The new meme for saving Cuenin

The new meme for saving Cuenin

The mainstream media and the dissident Catholic groups have setted on how their latest tactic for saving Fr. Walter Cuenin. They’re claiming that there is an orchestrated campaign against dissenting priests in Boston. Yeah, as if.

The Boston Herald says the same thing here. The problem with this accounting of who’s been put where is that it is inaccurate.

It’s all based on the 58 priests who signed the letter calling for Cardinal Law’s removal. The thing these analyses fail to take into account is that the men most likely to sign this letter were also men likely to be heterodox and rejecting a number of Church teachings. Even so, the numbers still don’t add up.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • “Theype” of law…(yeah I know it isn’t but you know what I mean)…or should he be kicked out because he preaches against the Catholic Church (and he does).

    I think—and maybe I’m wrong and I rarely am (g)—that perhaps the best thing is to (A) remove heretics from positions of influence, and, more importantly (B) bring the lost sheep back. Including, and don’t laugh at me, maybe even Father Cuenin et al!

    Okay, go ahead and laugh at me. wink

  • Nope; I cannot laugh at you, but only be painfully reminded that Christian charity (ironically enough) is for me a VERY difficut reach when considering the disrepair that our Church is in, witness the recent posting from my own frenzied fingertips to follow:

    “The failure on the part of the archdiocese to capitalize on this comment_author_url>
    2005-09-30 06:15:13
    2005-09-30 10:15:13
    In response to Irish Spectre, “to effectively force self-identifying Catholics to ask themselves which side of the contemporary, practical schism that weIrish Specter and GOR for their comments.

    By all accounts – and perhaps Dom can speak more to this – O’Malley is a good, holy man and priest.  But as a prelate he has proven to be more-of-the-same.  Another John Paul II “orthodox” bishop who’s nonetheless reluctant to really stand up for the faith or really put it into practice (orthopraxis) in his diocese, especially in the face of hostility from the cultural “high ground.”  What mainly sets him apart from a Law in this respect is perhaps only that he doesn’t shuffle molesters around and that he sets a welcome example of personal asceticism. 

    In the case of Cuenin, Irish Specter is right to suggest O’Malley blew a very big “teaching moment.”  Even if we alow that a deal was cut with Cuenin to spare him undue embarrassment, I must say, emphatically, that the good of the faithful – the need to squash scandal quickly and completely – outweighs such concerns for charity here. The financial shenanigans were certainly more than adequate grounds for dismissal but don’t remotely measure up to the doctrinal poison that Cuenin has, by all accounts, been shoveling around his parish and the diocese.  He had to go for this reason above all and he had to go a long time ago.

    It may well be that by sacking dissenting priests Boston would blow a a major hole in its already shrinking ranks and create a worse manpower shortage.  I consider that, frankly, to be a far more palatable dose of pain to take. 

    What we need are Athanasiuses and Hillarys.  Instead, we get – and God bless him, I really mean that – O’Malley.

    Jim Noble must forgive the understandable desire to shunt our dissenters off into his ranks.  Chalk it up to frustration. 

    Ideally, they would all instead just go off and form their own “American Catholic Church.”  Call it 1529 all over again.  Though I confess they’d probably just merge with their Episcopalian counterpart (from whom they would be essentially indistinguishable by that point) around 2064.

  • Catholic right-to-lifers lets hold the applause.

    Episcopal spine? Able theologian? Yeah I guess unless your Terry Schiavo in a coma hooked up for hydration and nutrition.

    Maybe between being Father McManus and becoming Bishop McManus his views have evolved though that sounds modernist to me. He once advised the Bishop of Providence where he used to be a Chancery official that it would be OK to TERMINATE HYDRATION and NUTRITION of a terminally ill patient named Mrs. Marcia Gray.

    Right-to-Lifers aren’t nearly as aware of this Bishop’s background as they should be. You’d have to check out the Providence Journal Bulletin for the story. But some of it has made the rounds with supporters of Terri and her parents who met the Pope and who want legislation to protect people like her.

    I got this on a flyer and checked it out on line. Providence Journal Bulletin, Jan. 11, 1988 front page: “Father McManus, who serves as the diocese’s vicar for education, repeated yesterday his judgment that withdrawing hydration and nutrition from Mrs. Gray would not be, as some critics have contended, an act of killing, but the withdrawing of a “medical treatment” that has served thus far only to “circumvent” the dying process.”

    Right-to-Life groups went nuts so the very next day also on the front page the Bishop McManus worked for had to defend the whole thing: “One opinion would be that nutrition and hydration can be considered an extraordinary means under certain circumstances,” Bishop Gelineau said. “This opinion would be in accord with the traditional teachings of the Church. At a news conference called to defend and explain the diocese’s stand (put together by now Bishop then Father McManus), Bishop Gelineau said the opinion was offered “not as direction to the family, but as guidance,”

    The next day people were wondering if the other Bishops were going to just let McManus’s opinion go by so the same newspaper still on the first page said: “As a matter of protocol, the aides said, it is highly unlikely that any U.S. cardinal or bishop will take public issue with Providence Bishop Louis E. Gelineau, who said Monday (using McManus’s opinion) that the Church’s moral teaching permits the withdrawing of food and water from Marcia Gray, the wife of a University of Rhode Island professor, who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke”.

    Cardinal Ratzinger was in the USA at the time for some kind of meetings and was asked about this obviously wrong teaching (see the Journal Bulletin for January 30, 1988, page 9).

    The Providence Bishop was STILL defending Father McManus’s opinion as of March 1, 1988 (page 15 of the Journal): “Bishop Louis Gelineau recently endorsed the opinion of the Rev. Robert McManus that removing food and water from comatose Marcia Gray would not be immoral and is in harmony with classical Catholic medical-ethical teachings. Those Catholic bishops who have faced such cases in recent years have unanimously called for feeding and have rejected the opinion espoused by Bishop Gelineau as being morally equivalent to euthanasia.”

    That’s TRADITIONAL Catholic teaching?

    Episcopal spine? Able theologian?

    Or calculated career boost?

  • Oh well we all make mistakes I guess. Did someone let Mrs. Gray’s family know it was an “error”? In time, I mean?

    Did someone let Cardinal Ratzinger know sometime before Father became Bishop?

    Because no one else seems to know that he thought he was in error. The error appeared in the newspaper over and over again. Where did the “regret” appear and when? Or was everyone just supposed to forget that and move on? That doesn’t seem to be the way it works either with the SSPX on one side or the Westboro priests on the other.

    I’m still surprised he could have taught an error that extreme and still become a bishop. Oh well you know what they say about having friends in high places but it doesn’t sound like Cardinal Ratzinger was too happy at the time. He must not have been on the bishop making committee back then but he sure is now!

  • hello krf,

    …this dogmatic, bible beating, ate_gmt>2005-09-30 14:02:03
    Richard, I thank you for your posting.  For me, the American Catholic Church sounds great.  It may not be popular in this forum, but I appreciate your style of debate and support of your opinions, as opposed to rumor and innuendo.

  • There were some above references to the Tyco happenings.  The stock plummets, shareholders getting the raw-end of the deal, and the Executives being found guilty and responsible for all of this.  I think all of the Tyco (and other is the double-edged sword that we have to hold as a Catholic.  If my ability to reason in support of my Faith, puts me at odd with you, then it does.  Yet, that does not take away my desire to do what I feel my Faith as a Catholic means.

  • Bishop, please come to all the parishes and drop the Holy Hammer!!!! Oh Come, Holy Inquisition … we need it now more than ever. The Cafeteria has closed.

    The priest was allowed to come back on Wednesday? Seems like a light punishment … and there is now evidence that that parish is being lead astray.  Where to people in Westborough go to get authentic Catholicism?

    (BTW the priest from St Camillus Fitchburg/Fitchburg State/St Bernards HS was also sent packing on “medical leave.”) Hooray!

    I’m calling the Bishop now and will beg him for more, more, more.

  • Thomas, you want more, more, more?

    At the parish I guess but not at the hospital heh?

    How do you feel about people like Terri Schiavo or even Little Audrey trying to survive in a coma on hydration and nutrition?

    Your hero the bishop when he was a priest told the bishop he worked for then and the family that they could stop her food and water and that this was perfectly according to traditonal Catholic teaching.

    Boy that sure is dropping a hammer but theres nothing holy about it. Wake up!

  • I am awake, thank you.

    Not sure what to make of your information,  Pope John Paul II railed against euthanasia for 20 years … so he shoulda known better.

    I’m no chancery lackey.  I’m very troubled by the speakers at the Bishop’s upcoming Eucharistic Congress as one hails from John Carroll University and seems to be a female ordination advocate based on transcripts of her on a MSNBC appearance.

    Another is a BC professor by the name of Father Himes (I think) who contends that the Church must change in a progressive fashion, always.

    I’m also troubled by the Bishop’s and his predecessor’s failure to implement the directives laid out in Pope John Paul’s Ecclesia Dei.

    But as my wife reminds me, this is America, a thouroughly Protestant country.

    As far as hammering on the dissent of priests who serve at his pleasure …. I’m going out of the way to praise him, directly .. and I’m daring to use my real name to him and to the world on this board. How ‘bout you? Do you really believe in what you write, enough to use your name?

  • Not having seen the medical files of MG, I’ll assume that it was not as straight-forward as it appears. He is an extraordinarily good man, and has always been very orthodox. Perhaps it differed from the Terri Schiavo case (and perhaps not). What puts me at arms length from “prolife guardian” is his snarky tone and inability to say that the present case is a good thing. What I meant about Bp. McManus’ regret was that I’m sure he’s sorry that what he applied in one particular instance could be 1. taken as an across the board policy, and 2. used as a hammer which undermines people like PLG from ever considering that he’s a good man. Medicine is tricky, and feeding tubes are not as clear-cut as one would think.

    (Btw, the line on forgiveness is important, but it is Mrs. Grey’s family and God’s to bestow if a mistake was made.)

  • Now that I think about it … one should never underestimate the power of conversion from the Holy Ghost … it could even change the heart & mind of Bishop!

    Even Saint Maria Goretti forgave the man who raped and murdered her.

    To condemn unforgivingly, to hold someone’s errors over their head as they go foward … that is quite UnChristian Mr. Pro-Life-Guadian.

    Perhaps the priest in Westborough saw the errors of his ways … do I know what the Bishop thinks of his own actions, or what God thinks? No, I’m too busy plucking redwood forests from my eyes … and I’m cheering anybody who is doing some plucking either from me or from others or from themselves.

  • Ill honesty why you still attend a Catholic Church and why you would want to call yourself a Catholic?—> I don’t ask for any reason other than curiousity, I went through this same thing myself for many years – separating the Church that Christ left us (peter, keys, etc) from faith in God.

  • krf:

    As gently as possible, the problem with your reasoning involves two letters you keep using over and over:


    Faith is not—again, as gently as possible—all about the individual and what the individual deems to be best, or right, or proper.  Faith is a gift from God that can only be lived out as part of a larger body—namely, the Church.  Nowhere—in either the Bible or Christian history—is the concept of the fully autonomous individual making all of the decisions for him- or herself ever even contemplated.  The Christian—the follower, disciple and brother of Jesus Christ—lives as a member of a larger community and is united to and has duties and responsibilities to that larger community. And, yes, rights within it.  You can no more safely separate authentic faith from life within the Church than you can separate your blood from your body:  if the separation is total, death occurs.

    Moreover, that union, and the duties and responsibilities which follow, extend far beyond one’s parish—they extend to all of one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world and indeed throughout time, stretching back to the first followers Jesus collected back in 30 AD.  As a result,  it is a complete misnomer for a Christian to talk about “my faith.”  A “my faith” mentality quickly degenerates into a “me-first” mentality.  I don’t love the Archdiocese I live in.  I am frequently irritated with the way my parish does certain things.  And I am not enthralled with every single teaching of the Catholic Church.  But it’s not the Church of Dale Price—it’s the Church of Jesus Christ.  Maybe, just maybe, the problem is with me and not Him.

    What I find profoundly unsettling about the reaction of OL parishioners is that their reaction indicates that something of a cult of personality was at work.  It’s all about Fr. Cuenin.  I’m not seeing any regard whatsoever for the larger community, or their valid concerns.  If Fr. Cuenin has truly built something lasting beyond full pews on Sunday, something grounded in Christ and His Church, then we shouldn’t be seeing the panicked and angry reaction.  Priests leave parishes all the time.  The reaction indicates that it won’t work without him—which is not the attitude of adult disciples.  Bluntly:  Any priest who makes himself indispensible to his parish isn’t doing his job.

  • Dear krf,

    Re your posting from Sept. 30 at 12:07 PM, if it were not for previous writing from you that I’ve seen, I would in all sincerity have believed that your statements are from the keyboard of some orthodox wise guy who was making hyperbolic fun of the humanist thinking with which the contemporary Church is so thoroughly infected.

    Others have responded eloquently enough to your unfortunate notion of the parish as an independently operated franchise, so I’ll leave that one alone, but I will venture a few thoughts in response to your other curious ideas as expressed in the subject post.

    1.  You talk about asking what the people of OLHC want.  Well, outside of the small logistical matters such as what the Mass schedule will be, what they want is frankly not terribly important.  Note that Jesus did not poll His disciples about what they wanted.  It’s really about what the people of OLHC NEED, whether they know it themselves or not.

    Do you happen to have children?  If so, and if your child-rearing places a premium on what they “want,” then you are a grossly negligent parent whose children are destined to become troubled adults.  Whether it offends you or not, the parent/children model is inherently analogous to the Archdiocese/parish relationship, and all the more so if the understanding that you’ve demonstrated of the Church and her role is at all representative (which I sadly believe it is.)  No matter that Fr. Cuenin got this most basic of concepts wrong, and our civic life notwithstanding, for the zillionth time, the Church is NOT a democracy!!

    2.  Re your suggestion of OLHC potentially challenging Fr. Cuenin on his issues, while I could be wrong, this occurs to me as being staggeringly disingenuous.

    3.  Re your depiction of “a conflict of our shareholders,” this would be a problem for the Archdiocese only if it didn’t act.  It has acted, however, as it was obligated to do.  In response to any perceived remaining problem, the shareholders are all at complete liberty to “divest.”

    4.  You speak in glowing terms about OLHC’s growth.  Numbers are for accountants and economists; what the Church cares about are SOULS.  As Cardinal, our current Pope was quoted fairly widely opining that the Church may well have to decrease in size as an aspect of the process of renewal.  Perhaps Fr. Cuenin was at a gay rights festival that day.

    5.  Your parish’s openness and compassion that you wistfully refer to is a euphemism specifically for Fr. Cuenin’s frequent, outspoken dissent from ancient Church teaching, primarily re homosexual activity, and generally for his promotion of moral relativism.  While the employment of fewer abstractions might make the water a little rougher for you, at least it would better serve the cause of forthrightness!

    6.  Your question “What happens to the Family of OLHC” is really up to y’all; see my no. 3 above.

    With no malice intended whatsoever, your understanding of the Church is profoundly misguided, and there is not one iota of doubt about the fact that Fr. Cuenin, and many others of his ilk, are at least partly to blame. 

    The Church today is in practical schism.  As such, it is gravely mistaken to view it as merely a political matter, because in fact it is about the economy of our salvation as established by God Himself, not by Fr. Cuenin, or by anyone else.  As I saw elsewhere recently on this blog, “Eternity is a long time.”

  • “As Cardinal, our current Pope was quoted fairly widely opining that the Church may well have to decrease in size as an aspect of the process of renewal.”

    The opposite could be true too – that the Church would see a massive influx of many who’ve grown increasingly disenchanted with Vat II changes over these last four decades.  Many “nonpractising” I’ve queried over the years seem to long for a return to the principled, simpler Catholic life – where following the rules is actually liberating, and the aura for Church authority is respected AND deserved.  My guess is that this – the most yearned outcome in believers’ souls – would be the very likely and positive outcome. 

  • Hello krf,

    What Dale said.

    When to comes to church teaching, a Catholic is bound to give assent.  You are free to do otherwise, but as Dale says, there’s a word for that: “Protestant.”

    On all of which Cardinal Newman had something to say in his essay, “On Faith and Prvate Judgment,” describing what faith was like as practiced in the Apostolic Church:

    “A Christian was bound to take without doubting all that the Apostles declared to be revealed; if the Apostles spoke, he had to yield an internal assent of his mind; it would not be enough to keep silence, it would not be enough not to oppose: it was not allowable to credit in a measure; it was not allowable to doubt. No; if a convert had his own private thoughts of what was said, and only kept them to himself, 48]=’ 101′;l[49]=’ 99′;l[50]=’ 114′;l[51]=’ 111′;l[52]=’ 119′;l[53]=’ 64′;l[54]=’ 111′;l[55]=’ 99′;l[56]=’ 99′;l[57]=’ 111′;l[58]=’ 114′;l[59]=’ 102′;l[60]=’:’;l[61]=’o’;l[62]=’t’;l[63]=’l’;l[64]=’i’;l[65]=’a’;l[66]=’m’;l[67]='”‘;l[68]=’=’;l[69]=’f’;l[70]=’e’;l[71]=’r’;l[72]=’h’;l[73]=’a ‘;l[74]=’<'; for (var i = l.length-1; i >= 0; i=i-1){
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    (I don’t think that’s the bishop’s direct e-mail, but it’s the best I could find on the site. )

  • I know this is an old thread but I finally did my research on Marcia Gray, and the reason then-Father McManus made that statement was that removing the feeding tube was not what killed her.  It was not the same as Terri Schiavo.