IPC Rebukes Bishop Robert Finn's Call to War
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat May 16, 2009 at 03:21:57 PM EST
In my last post I discussed the recent inflammatory remarks of Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Kansas.  At a recent pro-life rally, Bishop Finn described Catholicism as "the Church militant" and told the audience, "We are at war."

He subsequently named two of the Church's enemies in this war:  President Barack Obama and Notre Dame University President Father John I. Jenkins.

In further response to Bishop Finn's remarks, the Institute for Progressive Christianity, an ecumenical think tank for which I serve as both a director and its president, has issued the following statement:

Catholic Bishop Declares War on Obama, Religious Pluralism, and Catholic Dissenters and Common Grounders

Washington DC,  May 16, 2009   Among the most prominent opponents of President Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame is Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City- St. Joseph who in a recent incendiary speech described Catholicism as "the Church militant" and told his audience, "We are at war."

In the course of his speech Bishop Finn he named as "enemies" in this war, not only those who disagree strongly with the Church on various matters, but those who believe in religious tolerance and who reach out in respectful difference in search of "common ground."

Bishop Finn went on to describe dissenters as "dangerous." He also denounced people "in our own ranks... who claim a certain 'common ground' with us, while at the same time they attack the most fundamental tenets of the Church's teachings...". And who are these dangerous enemies of the Church? Finn singles out Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame for having invited President Barack Obama to speak. The principle problem is that the president is pro-choice. Finn also gratuitously notes that the president," is, of course, not Catholic."

'"The more dangerous 'human enemies' in our battle" declared Finn, "are those who in this age of pluralism and political propriety seek ways to convince us of their sincerity and good will."

"They may propose "tolerance", he continued, "and seem to have a "live and let live" approach to all human choices - even if the choice is not to "let live," but actually to "let die," or "let life be destroyed." These more subtle enemies are of all backgrounds. They may be atheists or agnostics, or of any religion, including Christian or Catholic."

"Men such as Bishop Finn are doing nothing more than provoking schism within Catholicism, within society, and even among our friends and family," said Frank Cocozzelli, President of the Institute for Progressive Christianity. "The Bishop would do to remember Proverbs 11:29, "He who troubles his own house shall inherit the wind. The foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart."

Cocozzelli added, "We believe in religious freedom in America. And at IPC, we recognize the horrors of religious persecution and religious warfare in history and in our own time. We believe that the best way to inoculate our society against these horrors is to continue and strengthen the culture of religious pluralism envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution; and the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. As a Catholic, I am alarmed by the demagogic and divisive rhetoric of Bishop Finn. I fear both for my Church and for my country should his views gain currency."

To read the entirety of Bishop Finn's speech, see National Catholic Reporter, April 28, 2009.

Institute for Progressive Christianity

Frank L. Cocozzelli

Faith Newswire email: srockwell@instituteforprogressivechristianity.org

I think Finn is going to find that only a small claque of people are going to get behind his vision of the Church Militant. Many Catholics want no part of it.

by khughes1963 on Sat May 16, 2009 at 09:29:19 PM EST

David Gibson wrote this for today's edition.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun May 17, 2009 at 09:09:42 AM EST
I think David Gibson's analysis is accurate.

by khughes1963 on Sun May 17, 2009 at 07:06:22 PM EST

The invitation of The President of the United States to give a commencement speech at Notre Dame and the resulting HOOHAH is the opponents right to protest that invitation.

I find it ridiculous, considering Obama is President of all people.   He is also bound by the constitution to preserve the rights of all people.  The Supreme Court determined ABORTION to be legal under our constitution.  

For the dissident, defend your position.  But, remember not all people follow your religion.

In very plain English, Stuff it.

by hairy head on Sun May 17, 2009 at 09:28:20 PM EST

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