Here is a copy of an email I sent to fellow students at the San Jose Institute for Leadership in Ministry.
Date: July 17, 2005 8:21:38 AM PDT
To my brothers and sisters from the ILM,
I think it is time that I tell you all why I didn't take the last year of classes and graduate with you all. Last Fall, I received a letter from [ILM director] Anne Grycz telling me that I could not return to the ILM. That's why .
It happened this way. Someone pointed out to Anne a blog (web log) that I had online. In that blog, which I wrote in Feb 2004 when we were studying "moral theology" with Father Bretzke, I was trying to figure out how a priest like he is could be telling us that we would be morally infantile if we trusted the Pope and the Magisterium on moral issues such as birth control. I used some wording that was unfortunately open to misinterpretation when I wondered whether Father Bretzke's dislike of official Church moral teachings was related to the Jesuit tolerance for homosexual behavior among their ranks (as was evidenced by scandals in the past 15 years). My word choice was injudicious. My only excuse is that I was racking my brains trying to figure out where his position came from. I have since removed the offending words, but you can see the edited blog.
Last September, Anne sent me a letter saying I could not be a leader because leaders have to be very careful what they say in public, and I was out of the ILM. She wrote that it was not because I "struggled" with the teachings at the ILM.
I actually heaved a sigh of relief, because it has been a strain to be continually subject to the teachings of instructors who are out of sympathy with the teachings of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church. When I wrote papers that showed I understood the points they were trying to make, the instructors loved them. When I wrote papers that tried to show where official Church teachings disagreed with the points they were trying to make, they treated me as if I was psychologically immature and unable to accept new ideas or maybe just not very bright.
As I go through my notes from the classes I have begun to realize that the theories taught at ILM are based on close reading of theologians who in many cases have been reprimanded by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for "dangerous" teachings contradicting Church doctrine. Because they are out of sympathy with Rome (remember that Father Bretzke teaches that it would be morally infantile to follow the Pope and the Magisterium), the CDF condemnations don't have an effect on what is taught in the diocese. Over and over again we were taught theological positions as if they were accepted Church doctrine. Please be aware that what you learned about how things have supposedly changed since Vatican II in most cases does not match what our beloved Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have taught in Magisterial documents.
And think about this: If the Church was teaching the truth for nearly 2000 years, how can the new teachings be true if they contradict the previous teachings? And how could the Church be the true source of doctrine if it was wrong until the modern thinkers came along?
Some repudiated theological positions we were exposed to are: the Vatican II teachings on the role of the laity in the Church means that lay people can and should be able to lead parishes [the ILM is based on that position], the Eucharist forgives mortal sin [Bishop McGrath], lay people will be able to consecrate the Eucharist [Sister Gertrude Marie Rohan], that since Vatican II authority and doctrine comes from below in the local churches [Father Pettingill and many instructors], that morality has to change [Frederick Parellla], and so forth.
With your consent, I'm going to be sending all of you in this alias copies of some articles I've written about the ILM teachings that diverge from the official Magisterium. I''ll send you the original articles in PDF form (so you need the Acrobat reader). Let me know if you would prefer Word format or simple text format instead.
The articles have been edited and published (sometimes under a nom de plume) in San Francisco Faith newspaper. You can find them online at http://www.sffaith.com [now a dead link].
I would be interested in your comments.
Please let me know if you don't want to get the rest of my articles on the topic. If you disagree with me, fine. Please do not hate me for it. I would just like to ask you to consider what I have to say. Be charitable, if you can.
The first article (attached) is about Father Bretzke's moral theology. It was published in December 2004 and you can read the edited version in this PDF.
I am continuing to write articles from my notes and from the course books comparing what the ILM instructors have been teaching to the official teachings of the ordinary Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, of which I am proud to be a member. One I am working on right now is on how Bishop McGrath taught us that the Eucharist forgives mortal sins.
So that's why I can't be a leader . . . in the Diocese of San Jose as it is constituted now. My personal limitations probably do mean I'm not cut out for a leadership role, but I do think it's important to challenge false ideas when they are being taught to the faithful and to those who will be leading the
In love with Him and with you my brothers and sisters
in the Body of Christ,