Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. On "Public Concubinage", "Spiritual Telescopes" And "State Of Grace"

Mario and Andrew Cuomo with Sandra Lee
“This kind of thing has to be left to the man's pastor's [sic] and to the person's bishop," said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "The presumption is that people are coming [to Communion] in good will and with good motives to receive the grace of the sacrament." Peters would have been fine to discuss Canon 915 in general terms on his blog, but his singling out of Cuomo was "totally inappropriate," Reese said. "This guy sitting in Detroit doesn't have some kind of spiritual telescope to look into the soul of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and decide whether he's in a state of grace or not," [Reese] said.”
Link (here) to read the full story at Buffalo News 

Dr. Edward Peters a Canon Lawyer responds to Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. (here)
An excerpt. 
Fr. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Father Reese can hardly be ignorant of the differences between Canons 915 and 916, so I can only take his derisive comments that
I must have “some kind of spiritual telescope to look into the soul of Gov. Andrew Cuomo” as a deliberate obfuscation of my position. For Reese to imply that I have ever held the operation of canon law in general, or of Canon 915 in particular, to rest on an ability to read souls and decide whether they are in the state of grace, is simply false. 
I look forward to his prompt withdrawal of this imputation. In the meantime, I invite interested readers to examine my many writings in this area and verify for themselves that I hold no such views.
Link (here) again to Dr. Edward Peters blog entitled, In Light of the Law.
The article at Cybercast News that started the whole conversation. (here)
An excerpt.
Dr. Edward Peters
“the divorced son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who was once chastised by Catholic leaders for his support of abortion rights, calmly received Holy Communion. Lee walked in line for Communion with him.” As noted, Canon Law 915 states that persons “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.” In addition, the Catechism, section 2390, states that 
“in a so-called free union, a man and a woman refuse to give juridical and public form to a liaison involving sexual intimacy. … The expression covers a number of different situations: concubinage, rejection of marriage as such, or inability to make long-term commitments. All these situations offend against the dignity of marriage; they destroy the very idea of the family; they weaken the sense of fidelity. They are contrary to the moral law. The s@xual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion.”  
Writing about the Cuomo-Lee relationship on his canon lawyer’s blog on Jan. 4, Dr. Peters wrote, “Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, and Sandra Lee, a television celebrity, live in what is known technically as public concubinage. The fact that both Cuomo and Lee are divorced renders the concubinage adulterous on both sides as well.” The lifestyle adopted by Cuomo and Lee, Peters continued, has serious consequences under Canon 915 for the reception of holy communion.
Link (here) to read the full article.


TonyD said...

Fr. Reese has an appropriate humility when he says that we can't look into a person's soul.

We underestimate the humility required by God. I would suggest that the humility displayed by Fr. Reese is insignificant compared to the degree of humility expected.

Our standards, both for the Church and for the church-members, are much too low.

Anonymous said...

Jesus already had a lot of problems with holier than thous.

It seems that people haven't changed much.

Tancred said...

Wow, Reese has the gall to take Peters to task for being charitable when he's been pretending to be a Catholic priest for about half a century?

Is there some way we can eject these frauds without damaging the princely nature of the Church?
Is there a rail he can be put on?

Stewart said...

Fr. Reese is in a biblical classical sense a fool. His long association with Voice of the Faithful is a discredit to the Society.

St. Ignatius, pray for us.

TonyD said...

I don’t know of anyone who can recognize good motives. If someone were able to hear God’s advice, I would say that he might have heard God advising the total destruction of Falluja in Iraq. Some other recommendations would have been: It is not worth losing captive crews to stop pirates and those captured by pirates should obey and fear their new masters. We should use military force to help free Libya. The protestors in Wisconsin should use violence. All immigration should be illegal (don’t ignore “love your neighbor” if you are in a community that wants immigration to be legal).

These are all examples of judgments aligned with God’s values. Most would think that this advice is inconsistent, but those who say "God wouldn't tell someone to do that" don't generally know God's values. The notable value is “free will” that contributes to perfection of the soul (with associated judgment about the degree of free will). Free will is required in order to enable lessons – and the suffering we endure is justified by those lessons.

Wisconsin is about much more than unions. And it is not about inequality. It is about fighting the growing oppression of government. The public is being deceived, and the small group that controls the wealth and information should be stopped before more free will is constrained. Democracies can be oppressive when wealth and deception are used to persuade them and influence their representatives.

Libya is another oppressive government. Falluja also has those who would oppress.

Pirates don’t particularly constrain free will. And God doesn’t mind that crews are taken. Crews are foreign to that area, and pirates are appropriately using their free will to constrain those foreigners. Captive crews should obey and fear the pirates.

God doesn’t like immigration – foreigners come from communities with different values and different lessons. Slavery discourages foreigners. It’s OK to take slaves from another continent. (In the same way that we are effectively “slaves” used for God’s purposes, although our “slavery” is well hidden.) And communities using captivity are judged in their use of it. God’s values really aren’t our values.

As God’s “creation” we are essentially His property. This should not be a surprise to anyone. We are here to fulfill the will of God. Just because it is well hidden does not mean that we are not chattel. Our experience of this “slavery” contributes to the further perfection of God. Our own free will is very constrained but that truth is well hidden. As chattel, we can use our free will to be “good slaves” and this contributes to lessons.

It may seem contradictory that “as slaves, Christians should obey and fear” and that “Christians should promote free will”, but both are true because they enable lessons

Anonymous said...

Fr. Reese is correct. Peters is modern-day witch hunter.