♦ The Roman Catholic World
May 19, 2010
REMAKING CATHOLICISM IN AMERICA: The New Meaning of “Pro-Life” and “Orthodoxy”
by Marielena Montesino de Stuart
In the far eastern reaches of Portugal’s border with Spain, there are outwardly unremarkable churches– but once inside, they stand as powerful and moving tributes to Christ. These churches, built by the humble hands of countless saints and martyrs, represent hundreds of years of a Roman Catholic heritage– a heritage which is the heart of a peninsula, that we sons and daughters proudly call Iberia.
During Benedict XVI’s recent trip to Portugal he spoke about evangelization in an increasingly secularized society, and asked Portugal’s Catholic majority to assert their faith and moral values. Benedict XVI, speaking before a crowd of 200,000 in the city of Oporto, also said that those awaiting the message of the Gospel are “not only non-Christian populations and distant lands.” Nowhere could this message have been better received and understood than in the land of Saint Anthony of Lisbon (Padua).
Benedict XVI’s bold assertion of evangelization took place in a region of people known for being unafraid to conquer and evangelize– with not much more than a crucifix in their hands; however, the Benedict XVI emphasized that this “new evangelization” is not an attempt to establish Catholicism as a state religion.
Benedict XVI’s message comes in anticipation of the establishment of a “Pontifical Council for New Evangelization” (frankly, this “new evangelization” is a bad socialist idea, based on political correctness). Benedict XVI repeatedly spoke about the role of Catholics as missionaries in a secular world—and made it very clear that “pruning back” is not the Church’s objective in the mission to evangelize.
Personally, I would “prune back” by getting rid of the socialists in the Vatican and immediately crack down on the pederasts, who have propagated inside the Church like a virus.
But millionaire Tom Monaghan, self-proclaimed remaker of American Catholicism, seems to disagree with Benedict XVI, as is evident in an interview with Canada’s Catholic Register / PDF (an interview unrelated to the pope’s visit to Portugal). Mr. Monaghan suggests that liberal Catholics should embrace conservative principles or leave the Church entirely, then goes on to issue proclamations about “orthodoxy.” There is just one problem. Mr. Monaghan does not appear to know what “orthodoxy” is. He is a very wealthy businessman who likes to talk about “his” form of Catholicism– which is centered around his personality and his idiosyncrasies.
Monaghan’s comments appear to be in conflict with the latest controversy in his Ave Maria, Florida real estate venture.
Monaghan measures his projected achievements, with the conviction that “founding and funding” his educational projects will bring about change, in addition to the influence that he claims Ave Maria University can have on what he refers to– as the other “so-called Catholic” institutions.
Monaghan’s projected achievements include incredible calculations of how many priests, nuns, theologians, etc., AMU will produce by the year 2077. This– from a university that has not even received Catholic recognition from the local Bishop, pursuant to Canon Law.
Even the least discriminating connoisseur of American Catholic issues, has noticed by now that the “unorthodox” Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley was the guest of honor and celebrant at this year’s Ave Maria University’s baccalaureate mass, and recipient of an honorary doctorate. Cardinal O’Malley scandalized Catholics who respect the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life, when he presided over a public funeral for Senator Ted Kennedy—a passionate public advocate of abortion.
LifeSite News described the situation as follows:
“Pro-life Catholic leaders say that, since Kennedy may have disavowed his abortion advocacy before his death, a private Catholic funeral would be appropriate. However, they argue, in the absence of Kennedy’s public repentance, a public Catholic funeral would heap scandal upon the Catholic Church and its pro-life teachings.”
During the planning of Kennedy’s funeral, Cardinal O’Malley rebuked the pleas of those who stand in defense of the sanctity of life; sadly, the good things His Eminence may have done during his religious life, have been cast into the shade of his actions during the Ted Kennedy public Catholic funeral.
Is honoring Cardinal O’Malley what Mr. Monaghan considers “orthodox”? Or, could this be an ongoing display of ignorance about what orthodoxy is all about?
In Ave Maria one can also see the redefinition and erosion of the meaning of “pro-life” –with Monaghan’s honoring of billionaire / politician Tom Golisano—who has given breathtaking financial support to a long list of pro-abortion, NARAL-endorsed politicians, including Barack Obama.
Monaghan has also raised eyebrows in pro-life circles with his recent “Go ahead with it”– regarding The Jackson Lab– a company that may move to Ave Maria. The Jackson Lab holds Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research workshops at its facility, and provides resources for Human ES Cell Research.
The waters of Catholicism in America are turbulent indeed, but much like mid-16th Century Portuguese missionaries were able to accomplish conversions with hardly a cent in their pocket — Catholics will have to reaffirm the Church’s sacred tenets, a work that will depend on countless saints and martyrs.
These saints and martyrs will emerge from pews filled with humble wretched sinners— that is, Catholics in America who will refuse to acquiesce to unsolicited millionaires, billionaires and fellow travelers , who consider wealth a means of effecting change in the Church.
About 280 miles east of Oporto, in the Spanish town of Ávila, Santa Teresa de Jesús can attest to that.
© Marielena Montesino de Stuart
You may also read Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s commentaries through: RenewAmerica, USAToday, The Dallas Morning News, U.S. Politics Today (an EIN Service for Political Professionals-*) Poynter Online, Spero News, Daily Estimate, The New Liturgical Movement-Poland, The Naples Daily News, Les Femmes-The Truth, Culture War Notes, ProLife Blogs, The Wanderer, etc.
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TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION: Ave Maria University + The Jackson Laboratory + Resources for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research + Eugenics + + Tom Monaghan + Nicholas J. Healy Jr., President of Ave Maria University + Barron Collier Companies + Benedict XVI + Roman Catholicism in Portugal + Orthodoxy +