Les Femmes


Dear Readers,

I’ve been reflecting on fruits lately. (I know what you’re thinking and I’m not talking about that.) Jesus said we would know men by their fruits, i.e., the results of their words and actions. So let’s look once again at The Continuing Christian Development Institute (CCDI), a project of Fr. Tuck Grinnell and Dr. William Tobin. Last August the bishop authorized Fr. Paul deLadurantaye, head of the catechetical office, to warn the priests of the diocese not to support the institute. “Mr. Tobin,” Father wrote, “does not have the endorsement or sponsorship of the Diocese of Arlington for this initiative, and any promotional literature he might generate is not to carry the words, ‘Sponsored by parish communities of the Diocese of Arlington.’ Additionally, Bishop Loverde does not give permission for Mr. Tobin to approach pastors for solicitation of parish funds, and he wanted me to let you know that parish funds are not to be used for Mr. Tobin’s proposed initiative.” Fine words implying that the bishop opposes it or at least expects it to be a private effort not to be entangled with the diocese. But what actions followed? The institute is meeting in parishes and runs regular ads in The Arlington Catholic Herald. Not long ago The Herald even ran a “special” where we learned the institute has “educated,” i.e. scandalized, 104 students. So does the bishop support CCDI? Sure looks like it.

I’ve sent half a dozen letters to the bishop outlining problems with two teachers: Anthony Tambasco and Berard Marthaler. Tambasco is an outright heretic. Some of you may not like the H word, but it’s accurate. By definition, a heretic is a person who denies one or more doctrines of the Church. Eminent Catholic layman and scholar, James Likoudis, lists Tambasco’s errors on his webpage. They include denying the need for the crucifixion and physical resurrection, casting doubt on Mary’s perpetual virginity, and calling the virginal conception of Jesus “an open question.” Tambasco believes Jesus’ miracles were fabricated by the apostles and the early Church made up His prophecies. Furthermore, Jesus didn’t know he was God until after the resurrection. Since Tambasco doesn’t believe in the physical resurrection that one is puzzling; but never expect a heretic to be consistent in his disbelief.

Tambasco is a popular speaker and frequently participates in the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associate Program. The listing for their spring session on the great religions describes his talk like this: “Jesus may or may not have intended to found a new religion, but as one developed after his death, Christians saw him in ways that are unique and distinct among founders of religious traditions.” Jesus – just another guru! Does the bishop consider the man who promulgates such nonsense an appropriate “teacher” for his flock?

Then there is Berard Marthaler, well known as an architect of the “new catechetics” that destroyed the faith of two generations of Catholics. Fr. Marthaler was editor of Living Light, catechetical journal of the U.S. bishops’ Department of Education, from 1972 – 2002. From that position he inculcated the idea that catechesis is all about making kids feel good about religion. Doctrine and memorization were out; “experiential” learning was in. The “horizontal” aspects of faith lived in community were emphasized while the “vertical” aspects of man’s duty to God disappeared.

I remember the books very well since I was teaching CCD during those years. They followed the coloring book approach: shiny mirror paper so the children could admire their own godliness, word-finds and puzzles, marshmallow mush-love. I taught doctrine in the classroom and assigned the book for homework.

In 1997 the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism headed by Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, identified serious deficiencies in all the catechetical texts in use over two decades. Ten areas were listed including teachings on the Trinity, Original Sin, the Divinity of Christ, grace and the sacraments, the requirements of a Christian moral life, etc.

Marthaler, is one of the “educators” most to blame. Villanova Professor, Fayette Veverka, calls him the “single most influential religious educator shaping ‘official’ religious education policies and practices in the post Vatican II church.” No doubt she meant it as a compliment; but, in view of the devastating bishops’ report, it’s a strong indictment of a priest who is also one of the original dissenters to Humanae Vitae. Marthaler also tried to prevent publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and, failing that, undermined it, a strategy discussed in Msgr. Wrenn and Kenneth Whitehead’s book, Flawed Expectations.

So why does the bishop continue to allow this heretical institute to use parish property and get free advertising in The Herald? Why don’t you ask him? I did; but nobody at the chancery will answer the question.

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