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A Leaven In The World… Butker, Dogma, And The Pope

May 23, 2024 Frontpage No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

May has been a month of conviction and consternation, conflicts, contrasts, and criticism.

In the matter of conviction, the award goes to Harrison Butker.

Benedictine College is a place where the college president leads the student body in the prayer of the holy rosary on his knees. It’s a place of Eucharistic revival, you might say. That’s because it’s a place of authentic Catholic faith.

Small surprise, then, that Traditional Latin Mass altar boy and champion Super Bowl kicker Harrison Butker was invited this spring to deliver the commencement address at the college.

In his remarks he dared to criticize the feminist dogma that women can always have marriage, children, and career and always be happy “having it all.” Sounds exhausting. Though some women actually choose it.

His mistake, it appears, was in praising his wife’s decision to be a homemaker exclusively.

He didn’t, however, dogmatically suggest that any woman who pursues employment outside the home is doing something wrong. Some women have very loudly disagreed with his praise of his wife’s choice to exclude paid employment outside the home. And that’s okay. What doesn’t sit right is the violent attack upon Butker and his family, which included doxing by someone in the Kansas City government. There is something diabolic at work here in addition to the rather worn trope of women choosing to part-time parent.

People think their homes are important. A home is for the typical family the biggest investment they will ever make. Families expend much time, money, and effort in making their homes beautiful, as a worthy place to spend their free time. What’s wrong with spending more time enjoying one’s family, home-schooling, and doing it in the most important place for any family: At home?

Being a homemaker is difficult. Raising children and managing a home is just as demanding and rewarding as any other task. Perhaps more so: one cannot stage-manage the special moments that just naturally occur in the development of a child. Time and attention are necessary.

The reaction of consternation on the part of so many was odd. Was it perhaps a case of “Methinks thou dost protest too much”? Was it perhaps guilt?

It is children who are asked to make a sacrifice, of time with their parents, when both adults work. Time which cannot be grabbed back once children are grown. Women do not typically express regret about the choice of sacrificing something else, frankly less important, in order to be more present in the sacredness of the home and with their children.

Is there anything children need more than their parents? Especially when parents are charged with handing on the Faith?

This is also a month of contrasts.

In the U.S. this month the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage kicked off. Four processions from four points of continental extremity will converge in a few weeks at Indianapolis where the main events for the revival hosted by the USCCB will take place.

Archbishop Cordileone was joined by eight young adult “perpetual pilgrims” who will make the entire walk to Indianapolis from the west coast on one pilgrimage of witness to Christ’s Eucharistic Presence through the traditional means of a procession. This while at the same time in Europe, the Paris-Chartres pilgrimage saw a capacity crowd of 20k or more, mostly young people, again this year. These thousands, among them many Americans, sought out the hardship of a three-day walk, after traveling thousands of miles from all over the world, not escorted or invited by a bishop but, rather, as a spontaneous expression of youthful and vital faith. And they’ll be back next year. No “Eucharistic revival” needed there. The San Francisco procession across the Golden Gate swelled to 4,000 people.

Then there was criticism: the 60 Minutes interview with Pope Francis. Specifically intended for the U.S. audience as it was, some of us were bracing for more blows. This given the Pope’s track record of beating up on Catholics while going out of his way to accommodate enemies of the faith. And we were not disappointed. Well, actually we were.

According to MSN, the Pope said the U.S. bishops and others who criticize him are defined as “conservative,” meaning “one who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that. It is a suicidal attitude. Because one thing is to take tradition into account, to consider situations from the past, but quite another is to be closed up inside a dogmatic box.”

When it comes to Eucharistic revival we’re talking ultimately about a faith revival. Among churchgoing Catholics, those who practice their faith rather than merely speak of it, Eucharistic faith is also strong. It is Christ in the Eucharist who “draws them to Himself.”

The Pope’s 60 Minutes interview comes at a time when the U.S. bishops are grappling precisely with a dogma problem: The Church teaches the “dogma” of the true and Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because it’s true. The crisis the bishops face, and which spawned the whole effort of the Eucharistic Revival in the first place, is precisely because so many, seven out of ten Catholics, reject the dogma of the Real Presence.

Young Catholics like Butker find the truths of dogma freeing. They know that they please and love God by putting Him in first place, along with their vocation as parents. Butker emphasized the way in which His wife keeps him grounded by reminding him football is not first. Truth brings happiness now as a foretaste of future glory.

No, Holy Father, dogma is not a “box.” It is rather a helpful crystallization of truths handed down through Scripture and Tradition from Christ Himself. Anyone who has truth problem, has a Jesus problem. Dogma enshrines the truths to which we must assent for the sake of salvation. The truth frees; it doesn’t restrict. Bad choice of metaphor.

The 60 Minutes interview also comes during presidential election season. One candidate is a bad Catholic and the other a bad Protestant. One of the two, however, the Democrat is totally in the pocket of Planned Parenthood and an enthusiastic and unapologetic cheerleader for abortion at any time, for any reason.

Catholics in the pews have a problem with this Democrat’s reception of the Eucharist at Holy Mass, a public scandal. And rightly so. His ferocious advocacy for legal child murder and his regular public desecration of the Eucharist are two sides of the same coin: the truth of the sacredness of human life and the truth of Christ’s Presence Eucharistically are dogmas. By ignoring them Biden disserves his own life by risking eternal damnation. He needs to be a little clingier with the truth, not less. ZeroHedge.com published commentary on the issue:

“To locate Joe Biden’s electoral problem, you need only to look on Sunday morning. Polling shows the Mass-attending Catholic president trails Donald Trump by 10 points among those who attend religious services a few times a year or more. The score is reversed with voters who report they seldom or never attend church, with Biden leading by 10.”

Biden is a dogma-free Catholic. He believes whatever he wants like there is no such thing as truth. He does whatever he wants to chase the political wind. Doesn’t sound to me like a poster boy for the Catholic Faith. But that, it seems, is what Pope Francis wants, according to his comments on 60 Minutes.

Dogma is not a “box,” Holy Father. It is the truth which frees us for acting now with eternal life in view. Dogma is ultimate freedom, for obedience to the truths it espouses frees us from bondage to sin and for eternal happiness.

It doesn’t like we have a dogma problem to me. It sounds like the opposite: not enough.

Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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