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Confusion? What confusion?

December 7, 2017
Robert Boguski

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, in his valedictory letter to Pope Francis, claims “a chronic confusion” characterizes the present pontificate (Nov. 9). Are you confused by the work product of two synods’ collaboration on the state of the modern family; i.e. “Amoris Laetitia”? Are you confused that some of our bishops – Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, to name one prominent example – at last recognize the spiritual and theological adulthood of the laity for what it is and long has been, long before Francis, rather than the infantilized version preferred and encouraged under the prior two papacies?

Speak for yourself, father. I, for one, am relieved, and gratified. It is not a stretch to also suggest I’m hardly alone in my relief and gratitude.

Perhaps “confusion” is code, a derogatory term advanced by devotees of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to describe thoughts and actions they don’t like, in a new world where they don’t get to tell the rest of us what to do; where it is assumed we all get to behave like adults, until proven otherwise. Losing one’s inquisitorial purpose in life is confusing indeed.

More confusing is the statement by Cardinal DiNardo, then USCCB president, following upon Father Weinandy’s resignation as bishops’ doctrinal consultant, faintly praising the longstanding tradition of dialogue within Catholic theological circles. Dialogue? Really? Tell that to Sister Elizabeth Johnson.

Zealots like Father Weinandy remain trapped in a world they don’t understand, won’t understand, and – scandalously! – can’t influence. The old habits of 35 years’ dictating terms of behavior die hard. They seem to be counting the days to (what they hope will be) a pontificate more to their ideological liking, when the unbending rules, and the fear, and the judgment, will return like the incoming tide. Good luck with that. We know the Gospels. And the toothpaste is already out of the tube.

The writer is a member of St. Agnes Parish, San Francisco.

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