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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

And they have no shame

I probably shouldn't respond to this editorial but there is just too much in it to ignore. Arthur Jones of the National Catholic Reporter has issued a end-of-career report about his tour as editor not so creatively called "The Roman Imposition" which lets you know right off where he is heading.

I will pass over the usual hand-wringing of the NCR about how bad things have gone since the election of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. But there are a few things which should be noted because they are wrong [and in at least one case, indeed scandalous].

Jones tries to bring up the tired St. Francis analogy - i.e. that the Church would be so much better if everyone were like St. Francis. Well, as a Franciscan, I can tell you that Francis is not how they attempt to portray him. Francis sought to follow the life of the Gospels in obedience to the priests and to the "Lord Pope". He did not set out to make the world Franciscan but to live a model of how one could follow the example of Christ. Francis is one model of holiness - not the model of holiness. Indeed, he didn't preach to the people that they were to live in poverty or to even become like him - he preached repentance. He preached that people should continue to listen to their priests even when they behaved poorly because it was at their hands that the bread and wine became the body and blood of Christ. He believed in the real presence. He believed that everything he did should be approved by Rome. In sum, he was and is not the man that Jones and others try to make him out to be.

But the section of the editorial that causes me the most anger, though there is a lot to reject in this piece] is the following:

I was editor when Pope John Paul II made his first U.S. visit. With all bases covered, I told one photographer -- he was Jewish, I believe -- where he’d be in the best position to get the up-close facial I needed of the pope.

The photog called in when he’d developed his shots. “I got it, Arthur!” he shouted into the phone. “I got it. I had to go to Communion five times, but I got it.”

So he sent a non-Catholic to receive Communion just so that he could get a picture of the pope" And when he receives Communion five times, Jones doesn't find anything wrong? This is why his movement fails - if you have no devotion to the Eucharist how can you be Church?


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