Image: Lot Flees from Sodom
Judging by a recent article (San Francisco Catholic Students Slam Morality Clauses In Latest Protest, Say Archbishop Is Out Of Step « CBS San Francisco), it’s a good indication that somewhere along the line there was a failure. Whether the parents failed to be the primary teachers of the faith (See the Vatican II document Gravissimum Educationis #3), whether teachers fed them poisonous ideas or whether the parishes in San Francisco failed in the past, somebody dropped the ball and students in San Francisco have been deceived into thinking relativism is true and affirming moral absolutes is “intolerant."
The attitudes expressed shows an incredible ignorance of Catholic teaching and the purpose of the Church. For example:
“It’s just ridiculous how he’s trying to represent the Catholic Church in a city of tolerance and a city of acceptance,” Archbishop Riordan alumnus Erick Orantes told KPIX 5.
The mindset of a city has no bearing on whether the teaching is wrong or right. If the Catholic teaching is right, then the fact that Archbishop Cordileone is making these changes in San Francisco is irrelevant. The Catholic Church, being universal, teaches what is binding on all the faithful, regardless of where they come from.
Another student showed a similarly depressing attitude:
“I think a lot of my favorite teachers will lose their jobs, or just leave because this is against their beliefs,” said Gina Wielsch, a student at Marin Catholic.
If one is so morally opposed to the teachings of the Church that they want to oppose her teachings publicly, working for a Catholic school is the wrong choice for them. The point of a Catholic school is to educate the student in a way that guides them to be good Catholics. A teacher who is opposed to that mission should not work at a school who professes to follow that mission. A teacher who tries to cut it both ways should expect to face repercussions. If, for example, I were to work for a Jewish or a Muslim school, I would expect to be fired if I publicly taught contrary to the professed beliefs of that school. Therefore I would not work for such a school if I believed that I could not teach their beliefs in good conscience.
The article also shows the false propaganda over the last two years grossly misrepresenting the Pope’s teaching has been effective. Orantes is quoted again (kind of interesting as to how there are few quoted and those, only of one side), misrepresenting the Pope’s teaching:
“The bishop is going backwards when the Pope is going forwards with these types of issues. In recent years, the Pope has been an enormous progressive leader of the church when it came to very delicate issues that weren’t even talked about. And now, when there is promise, this archbishop is just setting us back,” Orantes said.
By now, two years later, the claim that the Church is changing teaching under Pope Francis has been thoroughly debunked. The infamous “Who am I to judge?” line was taken grossly out of context by media groups determined to ignore the fact that in the same interview, he identified with the Catholic teachings, calling himself “a son of the Church.”:
Speaking on behalf of the Brazilians: society has changed, young people have changed, and in Brazil we have seen a great many young people. You did not speak about abortion, about same-sex marriage. In Brazil a law has been approved which widens the right to abortion and permits marriage between people of the same sex. Why did you not speak about this?
The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on which the Church has a clear teaching!
But the young are interested in this ...
Yes, though it wasn’t necessary to speak of it, but rather of the positive things that open up the path to young people. Isn’t that right! Besides, young people know perfectly well what the Church’s position is.
What is Your Holiness’ position, if we may ask?
The position of the Church. I am a son of the Church.
The students and alumni qua activists leading them have staked out a position on sand (see Matthew 7:26-27). They believe in a Church that does not exist except in the minds of those who are disobedient to her—a hopeless quest which has them hoping for something that can never be. By fighting the Church, they end up fighting God (Acts 5:39).
The truth is, the Catholic Church professes to be the Church established by Christ with the authority to bind and loose (see Matthew 16:18-19). But that authority cannot undo the commandments of God. So the Church cannot change her moral teachings any more than she can change the belief that Jesus is God into something that denies He is God. A person has free will to reject the teachings of the Church, but they cannot call their rejection authentic Catholicism. They can either recognize their rejection of God and repent or they can deny it and try to invent their own Church. But if they choose the latter, they will need to remember Jesus’ words:
"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16).
It may happen that people may need to flee San Francisco as Lot fled Sodom. But Archbishop Cordileone seems determined to ensure that the students entrusted to his care are taught the truth, behaving as the Sentinel in the book of Ezekiel:
The Prophet as Sentinel. 17 Son of man, I have appointed you a sentinel for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me.
18 If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die—and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives—then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. 19 If, however, you warn the wicked and they still do not turn from their wickedness and evil conduct, they shall die for their sin, but you shall save your life.
20 But if the just turn away from their right conduct and do evil when I place a stumbling block before them, then they shall die. Even if you warned them about their sin, they shall still die, and the just deeds that they performed will not be remembered on their behalf. I will, however, hold you responsible for their blood. 21 If, on the other hand, you warn the just to avoid sin, and they do not sin, they will surely live because of the warning, and you in turn shall save your own life. (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
Archbishop Cordileone has issued the warning. Will the people of San Francisco listen?