A Call to Arms, by Matthew Schmitz

Unappreciated Crime Costs, by Walter E. Williams
January 15, 2020
Sisters of Life Mark 100th Birthday of Founder, Cardinal O’Connor, by Kevin Jones
January 15, 2020

By Matthew Schmitz, First Things, 1 . 13 . 20

As soon as it was announced that Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah had published a book defending priestly celibacy, they were accused of attacking Pope Francis. On its face, it was a strange charge. Pope Francis has himself defended the norm of celibacy, while wondering whether widened exceptions are possible. And far from criticizing Francis, Benedict and Sarah write “in a spirit of filial obedience, to Pope Francis.”

But in today’s Church, any clear affirmation of orthodoxy is interpreted as a challenge to the authority of Pope Francis. This is a sobering fact, of which Benedict and Sarah are well aware. “We want to remain aloof from everything that could harm the unity of the Church,” they write in the introduction to From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis in the Catholic Church (galleys of the English edition were obtained by First Things). “Personal quarrels, political maneuvering, power plays, ideological manipulations and critiques full of bitterness play the game of the devil—the divider, the father of lies.”

Even as they signal their obedience, both Benedict and Sarah suggest that this extraordinary moment calls for an extraordinary response from the laity. Sarah notes with approval the example of St. Catherine of Siena. “Formerly, speech was freer than it is today,” he writes. “It is good to recollect, by way of example, the admonition sent by Catherine of Siena to Gregory XI. … What bishop, what Pope would let himself be challenged today so vehemently? Today, voices eager for polemics would immediately describe Catherine of Siena as an enemy of the Pope or as a leader of his opponents.”  ….

Read more here   https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/01/a-call-to-arms