Dissenters Press Releases Speakers Bureau

Political Reformers of the Faith

 by The Orlando Truth

     Call to Action (CTA) is the leading organization of liberal, dissenting, Modernist Catholics in the United States. It has also become the umbrella organization for other leftist groups seeking to undermine the Church, such as Voice of the Faithful, WomenChurch and Future Church. Ironically, it was given birth by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops itself at a convention held in Detroit in 1976, a decade after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. Its goal was established by its host, Cardinal Dearden, and his successor, Cardinal Bernardin, to be the involvement of the American Catholic Community in the economic, political, and cultural growth of the nation.  

     The Detroit meeting was an opportunity to develop a truly Catholic conscience on peace and social justice. More than 100 bishops were among the 2,800 delegates and observers in attendance. After 3 contentious days of discussion and debate, the assembly resolved that the church must stand up to chronic racism, sexism, militarism and poverty in modern society. Surprisingly, without good reason, it also declared that to do so in a credible way the church must reevaluate its positions on issues like celibacy for priests, the male-only clergy, homosexuality, birth control, sexual morality and the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried individuals. Moreover, final decisions in these areas were all to be made by democratic vote of the laity within the church. The New York Times (January 16,1977) appropriately declared that the Call to Action Convention had been “captured by liberal extremists”.

Shift from Church to Private Organization 

     This unholy alliance between political and religious issues troubled the Bishops Conference, which had sponsored the event. The bishops soon recognized that they had allowed the meeting to get away from them on doctrinal matters and that political operatives had hijacked the conference for their own ends. As a result, the United States Bishops Conference gradually distanced itself from CTA and its agenda. However, flushed with its successes at the 1976 convention, several groups of dissident priests, nuns, Catholic schoolteachers and laity re-launched CTA as a private local organization headquartered in Chicago. During the 1980s, CTA focused largely on societal rather than Church issues -  involving Catholics in the nuclear disarmament movement, criticism of the capitalist economic system, the campaign against U.S. policy in Latin America, and environmental issues. 

     Then in 1990, CTA retrained its guns on the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. To promote its cause, it recruited the theologian, Hans Kung, who had been censured by the Vatican on February 15, 1975, and removed from his position as Professor of the Catholic Faith at the prestigious University of Tubingen, Germany.  At the CTA 1990 Convention, Fr. Kung presented and endorsed their 1990 Manifesto and Declaration of the motives and goals of the progressive church envisioned by these reformers. This document was printed as a full-page ad in the New York Times on Ash Wednesday that year. Within a few months, the document had 25,000 signers, catapulting CTA to national prominence. 

Flawed Philosophy and Selected Theology 

     The CTA goal is to create a less doctrinal and more humanistic church. However, a new understanding of God is essential to their rebellion, because as long as the Trinity is adored and Revelation accepted as God’s inspired word, the Gnostic New Faith of the rebels cannot come to power. Therefore, it recognized a need for new philosophical and theological insights to underpin its cause:  

·      Flawed philosophy - Because reason leads us to the acceptance of God’s Revelation beyond a reasonable doubt and because our orthodox Faith as taught by the Magisterium of the Church is logically consistent, it was necessary to dethrone the primacy of rationality as the source of   discovering truth in order for the CTA agenda to prevail.  To accomplish this, it relied on major modern existentialist philosophers, such as Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and their Jesuit disciple, Bernard Lonergan. These men claimed that reason alone can never attain ultimate truth, since all knowledge comes to us solely through the human senses, including feelings, emotions and personal experience. These philosophers stressed that actual knowledge occurred by a “leap of faith” over an  “unknown chasm” from the sensory data to the internal conclusion, which they perceived to be an act of the will, not of the mind. Therefore, they argued that this “jump” was never justified by reason alone.  

      However, unlike St. Thomas Aquinas, they failed to recognize the errors in this perspective. Because the “pull of the will” over the unknown chasm is irrational, it does create only subjective truth. However, this is not what happens. It is rather the rational “push by the mind” that forces the intellect to accept objective truth. Thus 2 + 2 always equals 4, regardless of what other total one might will it to be. By dethroning reason (a function of spirit and the soul) in favor of human sensory knowledge, they developed a flawed theory that accented God’s humanity rather than His divinity, and His immanence (in this world) rather than transcendence (out-there in heaven), leading to  pantheism and the hegemony of the environment. This worship of sensory knowledge rather than reason reached a climax last summer in Tralee, Ireland. There, the Town Council established a permanent tourist exhibit containing individual sculptures of each of the 5 senses in its Rose Garden Park in lieu of a more appropriate Marian Shrine at the site. 

·      Selected theology Hans Kung, CTA’s leading and popular publicist, is a disciple of the above existentialist philosophers. According to Kung (On Being a Christian, 1974), Christ was God’s special friend and advocate but nothing more. He dismisses all miracles that cannot be given a natural explanation. The empty tomb in the purported resurrection leads us nowhere. Jesus did not found a Church or priesthood. The Last Supper was just that. It was the last in a series of meals that Christ had with his apostles. He also questions Mary’s virginity, papal primacy and the moral law. Service to man takes precedence over service to God. Christianity is a human invention so that there is real doubt about anything supernatural. 

      What are the sources of Kung’s essence of belief? He is remarkable in his selectivity. He starts with the New Testament and the teaching of the first ecumenical councils between the fourth and eighth centuries, but before long he criticizes what he alleges those councils added to the Christian essence. He ignores the Magisterium of the Church thereafter, including subsequent ecumenical councils and Vatican II. He minimizes the New Testament content.  He claims the Gospels of Luke, John, the Acts of the Apostles and most of Paul’s epistles are not valid sources for a genuine image of Christ. Serious problems arise from the partiality of his scholarship, leading Scriptural experts to not value his work very highly. 

Major Advocates of CTA Agenda 

     The major advocates of the CTA agenda are universally in agreement about their perceived evils of the orthodox Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, they are intellectually dishonest. Here are representative comments from some of their leading spokesmen:

·    James Carroll (ex-priest) -- His recent book, Constantine’s Sword, is a fierce diatribe against Catholicism, accusing it of vicious anti-Semitism. He argues that Christian theology is founded upon anti-Semitism, and that one cannot be a good Catholic without teaching such doctrines. Virtually all scholars believe he is over-presenting his case in order to justify a reform agenda that amounts to a blueprint for the annihilation of the Catholic Church. Much of Carroll’s book is devoted to his agenda for a proposed Third Vatican Council, which would cure the Catholic Church of the dreadful faults that have made it, in his eyes, a failed and sinful Church. 

·    Sr. Elizabeth Johnson (nun) — was quoted in Time magazine that the Blessed Mother Mary “has no class and no sass.” This slap was intended to emphasize that Mary is thus a poor role model for active feminists in the Church.

·    Garry Wills (ex-seminarian) author of the book Papal Sins/Structures of Deceit about the evils of the hierarchical Church and specifically the Papacy.  Equally vehement is Will’s denunciation in another book Why I Am a Catholic, which summarizes the history of the papacy between 1815 and 1962 in two overheated chapters titled “War on Democracy” and “Reign of Terror”. In his view, the Second Vatican Council represented one brief shining moment of liberal enlightenment, but hellish darkness descended once more in the form of John Paul II, whom Wills depicts as a credulous megalomaniac. The New York Times book review opined that the reader might be so bludgeoned by the book’s exhaustive recital of a millennium and a half of papal horrors as to wonder why Wills claims to remain a Catholic. 

·     Fr. Richard McBrien — a Jesuit priest teaching theology at Notre Dame University, forcefully argues against papal sovereignty saying that the world’s bishops will not be errand boys for the Vatican, with their every decision subject to veto power from abroad. He claims the view that the church is primarily a “legal institution based on papal power” and established by one verse in the Bible (“Thou art Peter and upon this rock”) may persist in the minds of many Catholics, but it is wrong and has always been wrong. 

·     Sr. Theresa Kane — became an icon for the women’s movement in the Church by publicly confronting Pope John Paul II during his first U.S. tour in 1979 on the issue of women’s ordination. Now she even more urgently demands opening all Church ministries to women. 

·     Eugene Kennedy (ex-priest and columnist for the Boston Globe newspaper) — argues that sexuality is the Church’s unhealed wound. He demands a married priesthood, the ordination of women and an end to its perceived hostility to homosexuals. 

·     Roger Haight — a Jesuit theologian and former President of the Catholic Theological Society of America, authored a book, Jesus Symbol of God, in which he argues that Christ  is a revealer of God and a symbol for an encounter with God, but fails to affirm that Christ is God’s only begotten Son and the one Savior of creation. For this reason, when it comes to calling Jesus a symbol of God, many Christians worry: Is that all? Merely a symbol? The Vatican has banned him from further teaching.  

Hypocritical Emphasis on Love and Compassion 

      In view of the fierce condemnations of the Pope and orthodox Catholicism by the above spokespersons, it is interesting that Fr. Rolheiser, the guru of Modernist theologians, stresses the use of pastoral sensibilities of love and compassion when offering criticism to those of opposing religious perspectives.  He relates the following anecdote (Florida Catholic, February 5, 2004 issue):

       When he was the acting dean at a theological college, he received a phone call from the local parish priest, who chided him about his students, saying, “Your students are a pain! They take some courses, come over here and terrorize our parish with their knowledge. Nothing is ever right for them. They roll their eyes at everything: how we do liturgy, my preaching, and our ecclesiology in general. I don’t doubt they’re right most of the time, but that’s not the point. It’s their arrogance that’s destructive. Don’t you teach them any compassion?” Fr. Rolheiser concludes that, without love and compassion, being right will only lead to more divisiveness inside the community and lots of personal bitterness. 

       But he, and his leftist Modernist colleagues at CTA, do not practice what they preach. They constantly ridicule orthodox Roman Catholics about following the Pope, the Magisterium and Church laws, emphasizing their gospel of “love, love, love” (James Carroll above claims “Love is the greatest good”) while flagrantly disobeying the directives of the Vatican. Thus they continually create the divisiveness that they so hypocritically abhor. If these pompous blowhards would remain faithful to the 2,000-year heritage of our Church, rather than congratulating themselves on their false and prideful epiphany of wisdom, our Church would be much better off.  

     Unlike them, we of the orthodox persuasion at the Orlando Truth are not hypocrites. We preach the consistent eternal truths of faith and morals, and accept the necessary divisiveness resulting from those who refuse to accept it. Even God accepts the loss of those who refuse to follow His commandments and are     consigned to Hell. 

Deathbed Conversions 

     Many people, including CTA members, have embraced such false philosophy and its resulting liberal Modernism for a time. However, many ultimately renounce it, because they long for a view of life more satisfying and fulfilling, like the authentic Catholic Faith. Modernists generally do not seem concerned about Who or What God may be. Some believe in a personal God but others only in a life force permeating the universe. 

      Jean-Paul Sartre, on his deathbed, disavowed his entire secular philosophical system, proclaiming: “I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here. And this idea of a creating hand refers to God.” (National Review, June 11, 1982). In this brief comment, Sartre disavowed his entire atheistic system at the end of his life. 

        Similarly Albert Camus, the existentialist author of The Stranger, was killed in an auto accident on his way to seek Baptism. Voltaire, the French philosopher, converted on his deathbed. Oscar Wilde, the famous literary gadfly who lived an actively gay lifestyle, called for the priest to hear his confession and administer the last rites during his final illness. Many may preach a liberal lifestyle but when the final reckoning approaches, they return to the well-established eternal truths. 

CTA Tentacles in Orlando 

     No one can deny the heterodox agenda of the CTA.  This organization is opposed to the two millennia heritage of our Roman Catholic Church at every level: structurally, doctrinally and pastorally.  No doubt they are completely frustrated by their lack of success in reforming our Church in their almost 30 years of existence. The same ex-priests with their wives, disobedient nuns, gays and lesbians are the nucleus of every meeting. By their fruits, you shall know them. 

     What is disturbing is that our shepherds, our pastors and bishops, extend the hospitality of their parishes to this group to enable it to continue to promote its nefarious agenda.  Consider that Bishop Fabian Bruskewicz of Lincoln, Nebraska had the courage to excommunicate each and every member of his Diocese that joined this dissident organization. Would that our own shepherds would similarly guard and protect our unwary parishioners from its tentacles. However, they consistently fail us in this regard. Just look at the invitations extended to the CTA in Florida:

·     Robert McClory, ex-priest who writes for the leftist National Catholic Reporter, is touring Florida January/February (2004) to convey his message of dissent from orthodox Church teachings. He has been welcomed to several parishes in Naples, Ft. Myers, Miami and Winter Park. 

·    In Winter Park, Sr. Elizabeth Demirgian, O.P. [same order as Dr. Lucy Vazquez, Orlando’s Chancelloress] arranged the January 24th, 2004, CTA meeting at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church with the approval of Fr. Richard Walsh, Pastor, for the usual assortment of ex-religious, gays, lesbians and dissenting laity, along with several nuns working in Orlando Diocesan parishes. It speaks volumes that Sr. Demirgian is the Vocation Counselor at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Clermont while hosting this gay-friendly convocation. The meeting’s importance was underscored by the attendance of Robert Heineman, the CTA Resource Director from their Chicago Headquarters.  Sr. Helen Hayes, O.P., who supervises marriage preparation and annulments at the gay friendly St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs, opined that “I do not need nor have any use for the institutional Church whatsoever. My church is the people around me”. Well, right she was. Surprisingly, her pastor, Fr. Charlie Mitchell, was not in attendance with his close friend, Fr. Paige Blakely of St. Anne’s Parish in Deltona. After all, birds of a feather usually do flock together. 

      By immediate contrast, only 3 days later Bishop Wenski was the featured speaker at this same St. Margaret Mary Church for its DESSERT AND DOCTRINE program. Our shepherds are talking out of both sides of their mouth, when they should be teaching us only the authentic heritage of our Roman Catholic Church. It is the responsibility of our pastors and bishops to safeguard our Faith.  Hopefully, Bishop Wenski will prove to be the man for the job.


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