The Road to Remonstrance
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:43:33 PM EST
I recently wrote about the need for mainstream and liberal Catholics to offer remonstrance -- an earnest presentation of reasons for opposition or grievance against the reactionaries now fomenting schism within the Church.   I'd now like to further explain the need for such action.


Why is Catholic remonstrance necessary? Here are a few compelling reasons.

First, remonstrance is a form of dissent. Any institution, whether it be a national government or a religious hierarchy, needs to hear about potential problems before they become major problems. Listening and hearing such dissent is essential to institutional health. Arguably: No dissent, no health.

Dissent also draws attention to vital new ideas even if they were treated with scorn upon arrival. For example, a reconsideration of natural law principles in light of knowledge acquired since St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century offers strong arguments in support of artificial birth control and embryonic stem cell research while establishing homosexuality is not the aberration Church fathers believe it to be.  Even the great Aristotelian thinker, St. Thomas Aquinas was treated as a heretic and excommunicated shortly after his death. And yet his ideas came to greatly influence Catholic theology.

Remonstrance also allows more the esoteric economic agendas of the Catholic Right to be exposed.

Reactionaries now control much of the structure of Church governance.  For example, Archbishop Raymond Burke is now the current Perfect of Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, roughly the equivalent of a Vatican Supreme Court.  Additionally, Pope Benedict XVI is expanding the ranks of conservatism in the Church by reaching out to the anti-modernist, anti-Semitic Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and attempting to bring socially conservative Anglicans into the fold.  

Although he also recently issued the economically progressive encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he is appointing and elevating economically regressive bishops and cardinals --  especially in the United States.  The very anti-health care reform Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, as well as Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop R. Walker Nickless, of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa immediately come to mind. Many of these church princes cavort with Catholic neocons whose political agenda for the church has more to do with comforting the wealthy and extending empire than with Jesus's concern for the oppressed, the marginalized, the vulnerable,  and the despised.

Finally, Catholicism risks transformation as an appendage not only of neconic  oligarchy but opposition to pluralism as espoused by traditionalists.  Some such as Tradition, Family, Property, are downright scornful of modern democracy. To that end, these folks often abuse the Catholic notion of obedience. In their hands it is transformed from the idea of living a life in compliance with God's will to one of blind obedience to those who abuse their hierarchical authority to violate other key components of natural law such as distributive justice. To people like these,  dissent is a dangerous thing.

It is not difficult to see where this goes. If the faithful can be bullied into religious compliance by dint of damnation anxiety, then they can be an effective tool for oligarchs who join with traditionalists in equating dissent with disobedience to God.

That is why mainstream Catholics must now offer remonstrance; and refute the substitution of Caesar for God; both in the pew and in the public square.

Next:  Catholics who exemplify remonstrance.


The Vatican, with nation-state status, has world-wide influence. If we want that influence to better the average person instead of neocon oligarchs, then there is no choice but to offer remonstrance.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 01:53:03 PM EST

Frank, though I am not a Catholic, I enjoy your thoughtful pieces here regarding the struggle amongst Catholics for control of their Church.  I did have a small (admittedly somewhat) off-topic) question regarding your comment above.  Should the Vatican be a "nation-state," with all the rights and privileges that guarantees?  Should the US have an ambassador to the Vatican, who always seems to be a conservative Catholic?  Indulge me with your thoughts if you have the time.

"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:18:44 PM EST
As always, Ms. Hughes provided some very good historical background -- bravo Kathy!

As for me, I am not so concerned as whether or not the Vatican has nation-state status or not; I just want Catholics to be vigilant so as not to let that influence fall into the wrong hands -- Catholic neocons who I suspect are far more of the mindset of a Irving Kristol, than as that of a religious person -- seeing the Church as a mere political tool, or at least to reshape it into an institution that seemingly blesses laissez-faire economics, nationalism and empire.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:00:11 PM EST

Frank-good posting as always. I will defer to you on the question of whether the Vatican should be a city state, but wanted to detail briefly why it is one. The Vatican's current status as a city-state is a result of the Vatican's concordat with the Italian state in 1929, when Benito Mussolini was dictator of Italy. Before 1870, the Papacy had governed a sizable amount of territory in what is now Central Italy, including Rome and the regions surrounding it. Pius IX was miffed when the newly created Kingdom of Italy incorporated the Papal states into its territory, and until 1929, various popes refused to acknowledge the incorporation of the Papal States into Italy or to recognize the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. This was the origin of the phrase that the popes from 1870 to 1929 were said to have "sulked in the Vatican." Mussolini's concordat with the Vatican recognized it as a city-state, recognized the Papacy's rights to certain religious and diplomatic privileges, and in return, the Vatican acknowledged the existence of the unified state of Italy.

David I. Kertzer has written some good books about the history of the papacy and its (poor) relations with the Jewish community of Rome in the 19th century. Kertzer notes that the residents of the Papal States almost universally welcomed the unification of the Papal States into Italy. The only ones who didn't like it were the Pope and his government, and the papal nobility, known as the Neri.

by khughes1963 on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 01:06:50 PM EST

I have a question and I wonder if anyone can answer for me.

I understand in a general way the idea that the traditional tridentine mass is making a comeback. I've read up a bit about it to try to understand exactly what its about. It still includes, as I understand it, a prayer to convert the Jews. It used to include the word 'perfidious' to describe the Jews. So the mass is back. Has that word been restored? Is there such a thing as the 'official' text in english of the tridentine mass that one can find somewhere and read?


by marktypos on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 01:30:54 PM EST

I have not looked for one, but I am certain there is a version with translation available online. Sometimes you can also find copies of pre-Vatican II missals at thrift stores. One of the controversies now is that bishops in both English and non-English-speaking countries are being pressed to adopt Mass translations that change the language we have used for the last 45 years and make it more slavishly resemble the original Latin. The bishops in South Africa adopted the translation early and it didn't go over well among lay Catholics. I don't like what I've heard of it, but the American bishops will probably adopt it despite pushback from some bishops and priests.

by khughes1963 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 06:55:08 AM EST

Latin Masses are offered in every diocese, although these tend to be limited to one or few parishes. In some areas, like Cincinnati, they also compete with Latin Masses offered by breakaway churches run by groups like the Societies of St. Pius X and St. Pius V. The prayer Benedict XVI drafted doesn't use the word "perfidious," which was last used in 1959, but it is controversial because it prays for Jews' conversion to Christianity. Personally, I don't care for that mindset. The original prayer was removed from the liturgy in 1959 after John XXIII ordered it. Would that we had another John XXIII today!

by khughes1963 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:01:32 AM EST

I have been a Catholic for the last 53 of my 55 years.
For the last 2 years,  I have seriously questioned my support of the Catholic church.
I cannot support the conservative branch that I feel is destroying the Church.
It started with the cover up of all the sexual abuse the intolerance of gays.
It continues with the intolerance of woman playing any advance role in the Church.

I'm told by my friends to stay in the church and fight the good fight, but I  am not comfortable with a church that does not value women. And is a very comfortable with the religious right. I have taken a break from being Catholic.

by mgardener on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 08:22:27 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (374 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (195 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (109 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (101 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (113 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (144 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (126 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (117 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (250 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (63 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (160 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (176 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (59 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (65 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (218 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (253 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (107 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (211 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (163 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (163 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (168 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (156 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (129 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (315 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (148 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (90 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (212 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.