Holy smokes. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse in the Canadian Church, disappointment abounds.
Fresh off his star appearance at the Den of Dissent conference here in Ottawa, Gregory Baum took the time to skip off to Toronto for a one-on-one interview with his pal from St. Michael’s College days, Fr. Tom Rosica!
But before doing that, here is an account of Baum’s performance at the conference…
…the only place where there was outright dissent was in the panel by Gregory Baum, +Remi de Roo and others. Most of the panel was pretty good and even + de Roo said some stuff that I was surprised to find I agreed with. But Gregory Baum said something about how he was surprised this day and age to see no women around the altar in this era of women’s equality. Only a distant paraphrase of his exact words, but you get my drift. There was applause if I recall correctly. (Source)
Now, let’s not forget, folks, to remember who Gregory Baum is. Here is the bio from my post on the Den of Dissent Conference:
Gregory Baum, a former priest who married a divorced former nun (and then proceeded to divorce her), is Canada’s most notorious, defrocked, and dissenting ex-priest. He was one of the leading dissenters of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical condemning contraceptive acts, and became a catalyst in the adoption of the disastrous Winnipeg Statement. Gregory Baum, remember, is Fr. Rosica’s pal from Fr. Rosica’s days at the Newman Centre. Baum was (and is) arguably Canada’s staunchest and most influential opponent of Humane Vitae, and who even openly advocated for same-sex “marriage“. Baum’s 1974 article on homosexuality in the U.S. Catholic weekly Commonweal (February 15) was used as a handout by homosexual activists throughout North America for almost two decades. In it he argued, first, the theme developed earlier by others that the biblical references condemning sodomy were really references to lack of hospitality; and, secondly, that Catholic teaching would change and endorse homosexuality within a few years. Father Baum was excommunicated automatically under the existing (1917) Code of Canon Law for sinning grievously by abandoning his vocation and “attempting” to get married while still a functioning priest. (Source).
As I pointed out above, Baum, the most notorious Church dissenter in Canadian history, is Fr. Rosica’s pal from the days at the Newman Centre.
Toronto– On May 6, 1996, at Toronto University’s Catholic Newman Centre, Gregory Baum, 74, Catholic dissenter of nineteen sixties and seventies fame, delivered a lecture on his experience during the Second Vatican Council that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms before a small audience of older people. Well before the event people wrote or telphoned the Centre questioning why this man had been invited. Much to the astonishment and annoyance of Newman’s director, Father Tom Rosica, on the day of the lecture a group of two dozen protesters appeared, handing out flyers which documented how Professor Baum, an excommunicated priest, had done the Church much harm in the past. Their point: he should never have been invited to speak at a Catholic institution. “That’s pure madness in those flyers,” Toronto’s Catholic Register (May 27) reported Fr. Rosica as saying. The director called the police, ostensibly to “restrain” the picketers, but when the former showed up in strength in response to the alarm call they found the protesters perfectly peaceful and left them to their business. (Source)
Anyhow, they don’t seem to miss a beat in reminising about the good old days of Vatican II. Here are some highlights:
- [On Pope Benedict] – “He wasn’t really known to be a person who encourages and who has hope…” (12:18-12:30)
- [On "Positive Orthodoxy"]: “I mean I will have to think of this much longer. I’ve never heard of this positive orthodoxy.” (17.27-17.54)
- [On Unity of Belief]: “I don’t think we need this enormous unanimity in the Church….If you go into the parishes to find out what people really believe, you’ll find that there is a great variety of beliefs….This kind of unanimity regarding elements, doctrines are quite removed from the Scriptures. I don’t think this is such a good formula. (18:35-19:09)
It’s sad for many other reasons too. It’s sad that Baum still does not get it. He has apparently no intention of repenting. How does an excommunicated priest get on Canada’s Station of “Hope” to be referred to as an authority on Vatican II? Can someone please explain that to me? Why does Fr. Rosica claim, “you remain a faithful, deeply devoted Catholic” (24:45), given Baum’s unrepentant scandalous past and present? We have never heard of any renouncement of Baum’s scandal either by him or any Church official. Baum’s views on sexual ethics continue to this day and preceded him when he was a superstar theologian in the 1970s:
The sharpest establishment critique came from Gerald Emmett Carter, a Council Father who, in a sermon in the late 1970s at St. Peter’s Cathedral in London, Ontario, denounced the alleged disobedience rampant in various Catholic circles, singling out for reprimand New York’s Jesuit advocate for gay rights, John MacNeil, and Toronto’s own Gregory Baum. “What I say, I say without apology,” Carter thundered; “it is the teaching of the church.” Roma locuta est!
Baum’s public dissent from the Vatican’s 1976 “Declaration on Sexual Ethics,” with its strictures against homosexuality, Toronto’s Archbishop Philip Pocock announced that “Fr. Baum’s published reactions are contrary to official Catholic doctrine and may not be followed as either the teaching or the practice of the Catholic Church.” (Source)
It’s also sad because Fr. Rosica is giving the most notorious Canadian dissenter a platform to espouse his views and become better known among his viewers without challenging him on his dissident positions – shades of Rosica’s lollipop interview of Dalton McGuinty. The first comment on the You Tube video captures the problem with Fr. Rosica’s prudence and wisdom in hosting such a person:
I’m not sure it’s appropriate to laud an excommunicated (last time I checked) ex-priest on your show and have him give his spin on Vatican II just before the Year of Faith.
The interview was largely a puff piece on Baum’s participation in the Second Vatican Council but it sure did reveal much about both men, just the same. Please pray for both of these men – Baum because he is soon to face His Maker and for Fr. Rosica because the Church is simply not going in his direction. I predict an identity crisis for him in the coming years.