TUCSON, ARIZONA – In a move long called for by religious conservatives, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered Jesus of Nazareth, titular founder of Christianity and Son of God, to reform his statutes, programs and affiliations to conform more closely to “the teachings and discipline of the Church.”
The Vatican reported Wednesday it had appointed Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to oversee the trenchant Galilean prophet, who has been the subject of a “doctrinal assessment” by the Vatican congregation since 2009, and has given the Archbishop power to review and revise the Son of Man’s policies.
According to the document from the congregation, Sartain is to be given authority over the group in five areas, including:
Revising Jesus of Nazareth (JoN)’s statutes;
Reviewing JoN’s plans and programs;
Creating new programs for JoN;
Reviewing JoN’s affiliations with other organizations and groups, including tax collectors, homosexuals, prostitutes, and others interested in either nonprocreative sex or social justice.
According to the letter, Sartain’s mandate runs for “up to five years, as deemed necessary.” Sartain is also expected to set up an advisory team including clergy and women religious, to “work collaboratively” with JoN and to “report on the progress of this work to the Holy See.” “We’re hoping to see some real progress here,” a Vatican source was quoted as saying. “JoN has given the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith trouble for quite a while now.”
Sartain was a surprise choice for the appointment. The Seattle Archbishop has also recently been assigned to rein in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), America’s largest association of Catholic nuns. The nuns had been cited in a Vatican report for focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice while staying “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage. “It may seem Sartain has a lot on his plate right now,” the same anonymous Vatican source said, “but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that there were similarities between the nuns’ position and the position of Jesus of Nazareth, and so the decision was made to tackle both at the same time.”
The source was also quoted as saying: “Jesus of Nazareth literally preached for years, and no reference has ever been found in any of his preaching to the two teachings of the Catholic Church: the intrinsic evil of all nonprocreative sex acts, including homosexuality and contraception, and the civil criminalization of abortion in all instances, including to save the life of the mother. It really was time to rein him in. It’s a sign of the Vatican’s tolerance that they waited this long, really. The Church has only two teachings it talks about and Jesus has never publicly embraced either one. Conservatives have been calling for this move for decades.”
Jesus of Nazareth could not be immediately reached for comment. A source who described himself as a “friend” said, “Jesus of Nazareth is gonna love this one.”
A spokesman for Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted for his bonhomie, explained that the Church hierarchy, which has recently been proclaiming the importance of religious freedom, was not taking away Jesus’s right to free speech. “We’re not saying Jesus has to shut up,” the spokesman said. “We’re just saying that if he does not accept the Magisterium of the Bishops and embrace the Bishops’ social agenda with religious submission of intellect and will, he can no longer be publicly associated with the Catholic Church.
“That will be his choice ultimately.”
[Original article: http://ncronline.org/news/women-religious/vatican-orders-lcwr-be-closer-teachings-and-discipline-church]