The smackdown beginsWhen Benedict XVI was elected to the Chair of Peter, I remember telling Father Chris Rohmiller, my former pastor, that I believed the election signalled that the Church was ready to deal seriously with schismatics, heretics, and those who openly oppose the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Father Chris told me that I ought to reserve judgement until we got a more clear indication of what Benedict's papacy might yield. Early indications would seem to show that my initial observations were correct.
Multiple sources are reporting this afternoon that Father Thomas Reese, SJ, the now-former editor of America magazine, has been forced from that post due to pressure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Apparently, the Sacred Congregation has been inquiring into the activities of Reese and America for some five years, which means that the investigation into the notoriously liberal outfit began under the tenure of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.
America had become famous for allowing open dissent against the teachings of the Church to appear within its pages. These dissenting pieces often went well beyond mere differences of opinion about some minor point. Instead, they openly questioned and in many cases contradicted fundamental doctrines of the Faith. Some of the writings in question have included:
-An essay exploring moral arguments for the approval of condoms in the context of HIV/AIDS;
-Several critical analyses of the doctrinal congregation's September 2000 document Dominus Iesus, on religious pluralism(Note to non-Catholics:The CDF is not a Church body that anyone who calls themselves Catholic wants to mess with...bad idea.);
-An editorial criticizing what America called a lack of due process in the congregation's procedures for the investigation of theologians(Somebody forgot to remind America that the Church is not a democracy, thank God.);
-An essay about homosexual priests;
And perhaps most notoriously...
-A guest essay from U.S. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, challenging suggestions that the church should refuse Communion to Catholic politicians who do not vote as a number of bishops believe they should vote.
Well, the CDF looked at this and has finally said "enough, out with the Dissent." It's about time.
The Great Smackdown to rid the Church of the Unfaithful seems to have begun.
Thanks to Michael S. Rose and his blog, the Papa Ratzi Post, for the lead on this developing story in the Church.