By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
November 10, 2014
CHICAGO, IL (TPF) — At the beginning of the October 1014 Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, Pope Francis instructed the bishops to “Speak frankly. Let no one say, ‘This can’t be said.’” As excited as U.S. Catholics were to hear this from the Pope, a TPF News Service poll shows that most progressives are not yet willing to fully exercise such an invitation to frank speech. According to the TPF News Service, only 5% of those who are ordained or hold an office in the Church are willing to freely speak their mind.
“It’s all well and good for the Pope to say ‘Speak frankly,’” said one priest, who requested anonymity. “But Canon Law hasn’t changed, and Canon Law required me to make an extended profession of faith and an oath of fidelity when I was ordained, and made me subject to sanctions. If someone decides to go after me, I can be silenced, investigated, sucked up in some so-called ‘visitation,’ or worse. And let’s not kid ourselves. Calling the Church’s judicial procedures medieval is an insult to the medievals.”
Likewise, only 15% of those who teach in a Catholic university are willing to move past self-censorship to speak out on urgent yet controversial topics. “Let’s face it,” said a faculty member. “That John Paul II constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae is still in effect. All professors of theology are still required to have a mandate to teach granted by the local bishop who presumably can yank that sucker anytime he wants. This frank speech stuff doesn’t change that reality. I, for one, won’t be sticking my neck out. I don’t want to lose my job. I’ll stay happily self-censored for a while yet, until I see how this all plays out. Hey, the Jesuits put up with being suppressed for decades.”
“You have to understand,” commented a third. “Conservatives in the U.S. can say anything they want. Like good party apparatchiks in the old days, they just spout the party line. But despite how Pope Francis acts, the Church is still an absolute divine right monarchy. Bishops and pastors still reign supreme. They exercise complete legislative, executive, and judicial power. If you get on their wrong side, watch out.”
“We might want to stick with a blighted intellectual life for a while yet,” said another, also requesting anonymity. “Let the lay people speak up; they have less to lose. I’ll start speaking up when I see the end of the ‘visitation’ of the LCWR, when I see the USCCB un-reprimand Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, and when I see the Vatican un-denounce Sr. Margaret Farley. And that Irish priest, Fr. Tony Flannery, who speaks out on women’s ordination, contraception, and gays? He got stripped of his ministry by the Vatican and threatened with excommunication for heresy. Thanks but no thanks,” he continued. “It’s one thing to say, ‘speak frankly,’ and it’s another thing to actually protect those who do. When the Pope starts repudiating these intellectual smack-downs and standing up for people who speak honestly about the crucial issues facing the Church today, then I’ll start paying attention.”