Friday 20th May 2022

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Seitz Syndrome

August 19, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

The Wanderer reported last week that Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso treats pro-abortion Catholic politicians with kid gloves even as he harshly condemns pro-life officials who oppose Obama’s amnesty for illegal aliens. Within days of our report, the bishop doubled down, insisting that, since Jesus agrees with him, anyone who opposes amnesty “cannot call himself or herself Catholic” because they don’t express “the compassion of Jesus.”
On the other hand, seen through the complex lens of the Seitz Syndrome, the bishop’s congressman, state senator, and state representative can call themselves Catholic, even though they are 100 percent pro-abortion “rights.”
In Bishop Seitz’s alternate reality, supporters of abortion “express the compassion of Jesus,” but opponents of amnesty defy the love of our Lord and have no place in His Church.
Bishop Seitz has made his position clear. But does the Catholic Church agree?
When we asked, Bishop Seitz told us that he will no longer speak to The Wanderer. Nonetheless, our questions, based on Church teaching, canon law, Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church, the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship directive, the Catholic Catechism, and the Ten Commandments are too important to put back on the shelf awaiting his change of heart.
Each of the fundamental Catholic teachings addressed in our questions merits consideration in its own right. After all, we have learned with chagrin that, while precious few bishops are brave enough to teach those elements of the faith, most prelates seem to treat them like a well-kept secret.
In coming weeks The Wanderer will address these fundamental questions, and, in doing so, shed light on the kaleidoscope meanderings of the Seitz Syndrome, a malady that has infected dioceses far beyond his own.
We begin with a simple question the bishop refused to address:
“In his May 18, 2011 letter to Cong. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.,), Archbishop Timothy Dolan, then-USCCB president, writes that ‘we bishops are very conscious that we are pastors, never politicians. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, it is the lay faithful who have the specific charism of political leadership and decision (Lumen Gentium, n. 31; Apostolicam Actuositatem, n. 13).’
“Your Excellency: regarding your advocacy of President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program: Are the faithful ‘bound to adhere; to your view with the same ‘religious submission of mind’ as we required to adhere to the teaching of Humanae Vitae (viz. canon 753)?
“Or is your advocacy merely a personal opinion with which the laity have not only the right but often the duty to disagree (viz. Lumen Gentium, especially nn. 31-37)?”
Bishop Seitz’s lips are sealed, but his condemnations ring like a clanging cymbal.
They call to mind the words of Fr. George Rutler, prolific author, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York City, and possibly the most eloquent member of America’s Catholic clergy:
“In the margin of a public speaker’s manuscript was the notation: ‘Weak point. Shout’.”
Fr. Rutler intended his observation to be humorous. But the pseudo-biblical blast of Bishop Seitz is no joke. Like me, he grew up on Simon and Garfunkel: “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” (The Boxer).
And there’s a lot of the “rest” that the bishop disregards.
Consider the fundamental distinction between magisterial truth and prudential opinion. Must Catholics support amnesty or leave the Church?
Addressing this point some time back, Fr. Rutler quietly pops the Border bishop’s balloon:
“Such is the rhetoric of those who place emotion over logic and make policy through gangs rather than parliaments. In Athens 2,400 years ago, Aristophanes described the demagogue as having ‘a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, cross-grained nature and the language of the marketplace.’ That marketplace today includes the biased media and the universities that have become daycare centers.
“The recent action of our government’s executive branch to protect our borders and enforce national security is based on Constitutional obligations (Art. 1 section 10 and Art. 4 section 4),” Fr. Rutler continues.
“It is a practical protection of the tranquility of order explained by St. Augustine when he saw the tranquillitas ordinis of Roman civilization threatened. St. Thomas Aquinas sanctioned border control (S. Th. I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3).
“These are facts ignored by demagogues who speak of tears running down the face of the Statue of Liberty. At issue is not immigration, but illegal immigration. It is certainly manipulative of reason to justify uncontrolled immigration by citing previous generations of immigrants to our shores, all of whom went through the legal process, mostly in the halls of Ellis Island. And it is close to blasphemy to invoke the Holy Family as antinomian refugees, for they went to Bethlehem in obedience to a civil decree requiring tax registration, and they violated no statutes when they sought protection in Egypt.”
In the narrative according to Bishop Seitz, we see tears running down the face of illegals — all of whom are quite legal in their home countries, by the way. And so are their extended families. In fact, candidates running for president of Mexico routinely campaign in the U.S. because all those of Mexican descent — even if they are U.S. citizens eligible to vote here — are also eligible to vote in Mexican elections. That’s Mexico’s law, not ours.
But these facts are elements of prudential analysis and argument, leading to a variety of conclusions on which good Catholics can, and often do, disagree. Cardinal Dolan did not opine on the merits of Cong. Ryan’s legislation. He acknowledged that such issues belonged in the realm of the laity. Good Catholics could agree with Ryan, and good Catholics could disagree.
Nor does Fr. Rutler insist that his position is the only Catholic one. He quietly acknowledges that good Catholics — even good bishops — can disagree. While their evasion of his arguments is not admirable, it is certainly permissible.
In fact, the last thing opponents of amnesty should wish for is that Bishop Seitz support them. Such an intrusion into the realm of the responsible laity would be most unwelcome and untoward.
But that’s an unlikely prospect. Bishop Seitz will not acknowledge that Catholics — or anyone of good will, for that matter — can disagree with him on amnesty and still be moral.
So we might ask: When he becomes aware of the above heresy propounded by Fr. Rutler, will the bishop demand that the good pastor cease calling himself a Catholic?
Will he even have the temerity to obey his own logic and condemn Cardinal Dolan as he condemned the pro-life Catholic state officials?
These questions address vital fundamentals of the faith, truths which Bishop Seitz does not convey, either to his flock or to the public at large. He admits that he was “angry.” But his studied intemperance, combined with his decision to remain silent, could well leave Hispanics with the unlovely notion that Americans who oppose unlimited illegal immigration “don’t love Jesus” and “can’t call themselves Catholic.”
After all, El Paso boasts countless legal Hispanic residents whose families have lived there for several generations. Should those among them who dare to oppose DACA head for the booming Bible megachurches because their bishop says they “can’t call themselves Catholic”?
And do these harsh, judgmental words befit a shepherd whom USCCB President Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, archbishop of Houston, has called on to join with his brother bishops to “work for unity and harmony in our country and in our Church”?
The Wanderer will continue to explore these questions, in the case of the bishop of El Paso and beyond.

+ + +

(Christopher Manion, Ph.D., writes from the Shenandoah Valley. He is a member of the Order of Malta and can be followed on Twitter @realchrismanion.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Justice Clarence Thomas Defends Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade, Tells Abortion Activists We Won’t be “Bullied”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a message for the radical abortion activists who think they can bully the Supreme Court into revising its draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade: You can’t bully us. Abortion activists plan to “raise hell” at churches across the country on Mother’s Day with protests and, some fear, violence as outrage grows in response to a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade. But Justice Thomas…Continue Reading

Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO. The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

China expert: Dead bodies from Shanghai lockdown will far outnumber COVID casualties

China expert Steve Mosher warned Wednesday that the deadly toll of Shanghai’s ongoing lockdowns will be “much greater” than any potential lives lost due to COVID-19. “I don’t know how many lives they’re going to save from coronavirus in Shanghai, but I guarantee when they finally go into some of these apartments where people have been locked up for three or four weeks, they’re going to find dead bodies of people who’ve starved to death,…Continue Reading

Colorado legalizes abortion until the moment of birth

DENVER (LifeSiteNews) — Democrat Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado signed a bill into law on Monday that allows babies to be killed in the womb up until the moment of birth. “No matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, people in Colorado will be able to choose when and if they have children,” Polis said at the signing ceremony in downtown Denver, referencing the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks.

Emails Show Cardinal Cupich Complicit In Mayor’s Draconian Lockdown Policies for Chicago Churches

In May 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was drawing considerable flak over her stance against churches and other places of worship reopening for services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But she found a behind-the-scenes ally to help her face the backlash from faith communities: Cardinal Blase Cupich, the top Catholic cleric in the Chicago region. Newly obtained emails between Cupich and Lightfoot show the cardinal advised the mayor on May 13, 2020, about how to craft a…Continue Reading

Justice Clarence Thomas Defends Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade

By STEVEN ERTELT WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a message for the radical abortion activists who think they can bully the Supreme Court into revising its draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade: You can’t bully us.Abortion activists “raised hell” at some churches across the country on Mother’s Day with protests.…Continue Reading

Deicide: The Ultimate Fraud

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER “Since these people did not see fit to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their depraved way of thinking and to all types of vile behavior” (Romans 1:28). + + With broken hearts and with more than a little anger, we survey the Church’s wreckage and chaos, and we ask,…Continue Reading

Ignores Brutality Of Abortion…. Joe Biden Slams “Brutality” Of Draft To Overturn Roe

By STEVEN ERTELT CHICAGO (LifeNews) — During a fundraising speech to top Democrat donors on May 11, Joe Biden slammed the “brutality” of the Supreme Court’s draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade but ignored the brutality of how babies are dismembered in abortions.Biden spoke at a Democratic National Committee Fundraiser that Wednesday night at the…Continue Reading

U.S. Trade Deficit With Communist China Is Climbing

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY At the White House press briefing last December 6, press secretary Jen Psaki made it clear that President Joe Biden wanted the People’s Republic of China to pay a price for its human rights abuses.He would do so by declining to send any U.S. government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics,…Continue Reading

The Narrow Gate

By DONALD DeMARCO In Matt. 7:13-14, Christ tells us something we need to know but are reluctant to accept: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, tt leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Liturgy Unites, Gaslighting Divides

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Guns don’t kill people, people do. People are the source of division, not the things they use to bring about violence. The voice is one of the most beautiful gifts given to men, and yet men use their voices all too frequently in sinful ways to divide and to hate. This is not the fault…Continue Reading

Do You Fear The Right Thing? A Meditation On The Story Of Chicken Little

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this article on May 9, 2022 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In the wake of the COVID-19 explosion of fear, we do well to begin reflecting on fear. Fear is a complex passion. On the one hand, there are things that we ought to fear such…Continue Reading

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixth Sunday Of Easter (YR C) Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29Rev. 21:10-14, 22-23John 14:23-29 In the Gospel reading today, our Lord tells us that He leaves us with peace, but not just any peace, rather, “My peace I give to you.” He makes the distinction between the peace He gives and the peace the world gives, then…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on Apologetics is based on the book Catholicism & Reason. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. You can send them either to the postal mailing address or to the email address below, and we will interrupt this series…Continue Reading

Liturgical And Cultural Diversity

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The same Church leaders calling for cultural diversity are proposing to injure it through a plan to eliminate the liturgical diversity which underlies it.Cultural diversity is a current touchstone in the Church. The Archdiocese of Washington has planned a high visibility meeting about the matter this month. Each parish in the archdiocese has been tasked…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By DEB PIROCH St. Joseph, born in 1603, experienced his first ecstatic vision when he was only elementary school age and, his jaw dropping in astonishment, he was in utter amazement at what was shown him. Classmates not surprisingly bestowed on him the name of “bocca aperta,” or “open mouthed.” The only son of Felix and Frances Desa, he was…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Agnes

By DEB PIROCH “What threats the executioner used to make her fear him, what allurements to persuade her, how many desired that she would come to them in marriage! But she answered: ‘It would be an injury to my spouse to look on any one as likely to please me. He who chose me first for Himself shall receive me. Why…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)