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Reaching for the Panic Button

Fr. George Rutler, a former Anglican turned Catholic priest, summed up Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution that creates a new canonical structure for Anglican converts thus: “It is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism.” In a sense, the Pope’s bold stroke can also be seen as a slap-down of liberal Catholicism, with its overweening desire for the ordination of women and homosexual marriage, and its attendant neglect of Catholic doctrine.

One need only observe the flailing, panic-stricken reaction among liberal Catholics to the news of the Pope’s magnanimous gesture toward those Anglicans who are seeking full communion with Rome to draw such a conclusion. A case in point is an outrageous article in the National Catholic Reporter, the increasingly shrill mouthpiece for all things liberally Catholic, posted online the day of the Vatican’s big announcement. One can almost visualize its wild-eyed author, Jamie L. Manson, a member of the national board of the Women’s Ordination Conference, pulling her hair out with one hand while the other races over her keyboard shooting out such lines as: “Married Anglican priests and seminarians are provided with their own sacred structures, called ‘personal ordinariates,’ to enhance their spiritual care and guidance. They earned this special privilege by being vociferously misogynist and homophobic.” Yikes! Anybody care for some sour grapes?

So the Pope has “rewarded” traditional Anglicans for adhering to biblical teaching. What does that make him? Well, a misogynist and a homophobe, obviously. Yes, Ms. Manson eventually does foam over about “misogynist and homophobic church authorities” — by which she can only mean Pope Benedict XVI and his right-hand man, William Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the two most high-profile prelates involved in the Anglican intervention. Ms. Manson’s “homophobia” charge would certainly cause Cardinal Levada to do a double take — more often than not he took a white-glove approach to homosexual controversies while archbishop of the “gay mecca” that is San Francisco.

Ms. Manson attempts to hastily apply yet another thick layer of smear on the Pope and his curia by claiming that this is all just “further evidence of church authorities’ conflicts over their own sexual desires and activities.” So let’s get this straight: The Pope and other Church leaders are vigorous misogynists and homophobes, but allowing misogynistic and homophobic Anglicans into the Catholic fold proves that they’re somehow conflicted about it? Does this make any sense? Manson is unraveling before our eyes.

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