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Dissident Catholics

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has said that dissident Catholics are more worrisome than atheists. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's comments were published in the December 7, 2006 edition of L'Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference.

Italian journalist Gianni Cardinale, asked Cardinal Bertone about atheists who may support the Pope on certain issues such as his stance on Islam. "If I can put it in a sound-bite," Bertone said as translated by Vatican reporter John Allen, "the church doesn't really worry about atheists, however devout, because they're out of her spiritual jurisdiction, so to speak. Much more worrisome are those inside the church who work to distort its faith and moral principles, or who oppose the pope and his design for renewal of the church."

The new Secretary of State is, with these sentiments, very much in line with Pope Benedict. The Pope has paid special attention to Catholics who work to distort the faith and moral principles. Time and time again in meetings with bishops, especially those from the West, the Holy Father has insisted that they pay special attention to Catholic politicians who violate Church teaching on matters of life and family.

The Holy Father clearly understands the predominant errors of this present age. These errors were a large part of the "dictatorship of relativism" he mentioned in his speech before the conclave that ended with his election as Pope.

"We are moving," he declared, toward "a dictatorship of relativism . . . that recognizes nothing definite and leaves only one's own ego and one's own desires as the final measure."

Cardinal Bertone's words reflect the recognition that this dictatorship is attacking the faith not just from without, but also from within, as has been evidenced by Catholic conferences endorsed by Catholic laity, priests, religious, bishops, and even Cardinals where speakers who openly dissent from Church teaching on matters of faith an morals, particularly in the areas of sexual morality and the "ordination" of women. Groups such as Call to Action, known for their open dissent against Church teaching on these issues have been supported by dissenting priests and bishops for years. At the 1995 Call to Action conference, the controversial Bishop of Partenia, Jacques Gaillot, the auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Thomas Gumbleton, and theologian Hans Küng, who was rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology, were among the featured speakers. Others who have supported Call to Action include: Bishop Raymond Lucker of New Ulm, Minnesota (deceased), Fr. Leonardo do Boff, Fr. Charles Curran, Sr. Ivone Gebara, Sr. Joan Chittister, Sr. Jeannine Gramick (of "New Ways Ministries"), Sr. Helen Prejean (of "Dead Man Walking"), Fr. Robert Nugent (of "New Ways Ministries"), Fr. Matthew Fox (of "Creation Spirituality"), Fr. Michael Crosby, Fr. Richard McBrien (of Notre Dame University), Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga, Bishop Raymond Hunthausen, Bishop Jacques Gaillot, Bishop Albert Ottenweller (retired) of Steubenville, Ohio, Bishop William Hughes (retired) of Covington, Kentucky, Edwina Gateley, and many, many more Catholic dissidents.

 

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