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Friday, April 22, 2005

Mr. Hand...turning...into Mr.....Fist....

Bill Cork unearthed this bit of yawping about the new Pope from Fr. John Pawlikowski:

Consequently [in the wake of the issuance of Dominus Iesus--which is Latin for "The Lord Jesus," not "The Dominion of Jesus," as the article mistakenly claims], Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, president of the International Council of Christians and Jews, called on Ratzinger and the Vatican to clarify whether it believed Jews could attain salvation through Judaism, and whether the Church has completely abandoned its doctrine of proselytizing to Jews.

"We still have among major Church leaders... strong assertions that all salvation has to be said as coming through Christ," Pawlikowski said, adding, "I don't think we can make the affirmation 'There is no mission to the Jews,' unless we really confront some of these realities head on — otherwise our Jewish friends will hear almost conflicting messages."

"'All are welcome,'" meet 'Door Not Hitting A**'. 'A**', meet 'All.'"

This is precisely the problem that has to be remedied, pronto. As Bill correctly notes, Fr. Pawlikowski is a universalist. He does not believe that Jesus is, in fact, Lord. He has no business attempting to present "the Catholic position" in ecumenical/interfaith dialogue because it is clear he has utter contempt for that position. Instead, he prefers to offer up his own theological freelancing. Not only is he doing a disservice to the Church he draws a paycheck from, he is doing a disservice to the non-Catholics he speaks to. He needs to be fired. Now.

I don't suggest holding your breath, though.

It is precisely this sort of mixed messaging--the eagerness of Catholics in positions of authority to substitute their own views for official teaching that lies at the heart of the mess we are in today. It's not always this obvious. Often it's more subtle--an accurate presentation of authoritative statements followed up by a description of them as "the opinion of the Magisterium," or "But other scholars say..." And, yes, I know--it's not an exclusive flaw of progressives--conservatives can do the same, subtly shelving pretty clear teaching on the death penalty, just war and economic issues with sludgy rhetoric. Yes, yes--I know--not all of the settled issues are on the same moral plane or involve the same calculations. But the rhetoric is still suspiciously familiar, not to mention convenient.

Either way, this is the problem that has to be addressed, and soon. And it doesn't matter how many toes get stepped on or egos get bruised in the process. We can't have the Fr. Pawlikowskis of the world constantly rewriting the weather bulletins about hurricane warnings just because they find the forecasts to be "too negative."

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