Papal Golf

The president of Catholic University of America seems to have taken too many meals at Outback — no rules, just right (no hell, just purgatory?):

What I really love about Pope Francis and the message that he’s trying to get across is that we’re Catholics, we belong to the Church, and we believe what the Church teaches because Jesus came to redeem us and show us His mercy.

The message to others isn’t, “Gosh, you ought to be Catholic because you should follow this or that set of rules.” The message is, “Good news: you’re redeemed. Here’s what a life lived in response to that truth looks like.”

Imagine you’re speaking to someone from Finland who has grown up north of the Arctic Circle, and had never seen a golf course and had no idea what golf was. You’re trying to explain to this person why you love golf and how important it is.

One way of doing it is saying while you’re in the tee box, you don’t want to hit it outside the white stakes because that’s out of bounds and the penalty is a stroke and distance, and you don’t want to go past the red stakes because those are lateral hazards and there’s a stroke penalty. And you don’t want to get in the sand trap because, while that doesn’t cost you a stroke, it’s hard to get out of.

You’d rather say, “Here’s the deal: you see that hole down there-we’re going down this short grass here and we’re putting it in the hole in the least number of strokes, and we’re going to have a nice visit while we do it.”

It’s not that there aren’t rules for golf-no out of bounds, no lateral hazards, no sand traps-it’s that focusing on avoiding sin is not the message that brings people to love Jesus.
Pope Francis is exactly right-the bull’s-eye of the Catholic message of the gospel is, “Jesus loves you.” Your life is messed up? We’ve got some good news for you. That’s what I love about Francis. There is nothing in any of that that doesn’t appeal to all of us. . . .

That’s not to say there aren’t out of bounds or rules or anything, which he’s stipulated, but because he’s so inviting, people are willing to take a first listen. Some in the media on the left would like to take from that the lesson that the Catholic Church has abandoned all the rules about lateral hazards and sand traps, and some on the right take the same mistaken view. And of course Pope Francis makes clear that’s not what he’s saying.

But when it comes to discerning a difference between the church and the world, no problem. The U.S. bishops are doing nothing different from the ACLU (I kid not):

When we invite someone to be a commencement speaker, the university is saying something. That’s why the American Catholic bishops say that Catholic universities shouldn’t give honors, platforms, and awards to people whose view is at odds with the views of the Catholic Church.

What they are saying literally is that universities like us shouldn’t endorse people like that. We should not say “Yay, Barack Obama, you support enshrining the ‘right’ to kill the unborn.” We shouldn’t give him honorary degrees or hold him up to our students as our example.

On the other hand, I would be perfectly happy to invite President Obama to Catholic University, even to talk about abortion if he wanted to. What better place than to have a conversation with the President about an issue that is important to Catholics and others? We’re just not going to give him a prize for taking a position that we condemn.

So, this notion isn’t at all inconsistent with notions of academic freedom on campus. It follows the standard kind of distinction that other universities follow.

Here’s a parallel example. Every year we see the ACLU bashing, say Montana State, for inviting some preacher to say an invocation before the commencement. The First Amendment rule about that is that public universities should not endorse religious positions, therefore, the preacher is welcome to come on campus to talk or to say prayers but they can’t make him the commencement speaker.

The ACLU doesn’t come in behind the bishops on their position, but they are saying the same thing.

Speechless.

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3 thoughts on “Papal Golf

  1. The Pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties, except those which he has imposed by his own authority, or by that of the canons. 6

    God never remits any man’s guilt, without at the same time subjecting him, humbled in all things, to the authority of his representative the priest.

    The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and no burden ought to be imposed on the dying,

    Those priests act wrongly who, reserve the canonical penances for purgatory.

    Formerly the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition. 13

    The imperfect soundness or charity of a dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the less it is, the greater the fear it brings. This fear and horror is sufficient by itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the pains of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

    Hell, purgatory, and heaven appear to differ as despair, almost despair, and peace of mind differ.

    http://religionnews.com/2016/01/15/pope-francis-indulgent-indulgences/

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  2. A friend was playing golf with his pastor last year, he’s not a big fan of the pastor.

    Pastor chipped within two feet of the hole and friend five feet back on his line. Pastor refused to mark his ball, vehemently, claiming rules that suited him.

    Friend thought “okay buddy”…

    Next hole the pastor teed off into the water, then did it again. He asked my friend “what should I do now?” Friend gladly said “whatever but you are hitting your fifth shot off the tee when you do, and I have the scorecard and will mark it accordingly.”

    For a 12…

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  3. Martin Luther, the Heidelberg Disputations
    The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.

    Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.Although the works of God always seem unattractive and appear evil, they are nevertheless really for good and God’s glory.

    The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they are not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.

    To say that works without Christ are dead, but not mortal, appears to constitute a perilous surrender of the fear of God. Indeed, it is very difficult to see how a work can be dead and at the same time not a harmful and mortal sin.

    Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.

    Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does WHAT IT IS ABLE TO DO, it commits a mortal sin

    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/luther/againstexecrablebull.html

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