The administrator at the Catholic Answers Forums tells me that she sometimes fantasizes about banning the subject of women's clothing as a topic of conversation on the forums because there are few topics more likely to start flame wars.It seems to me that the issue is not whether to breast feed during mass, but whether the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is any sort of authority on the subject. Clearly Mrs Gyapong and Mr Schaetzel feel they are -- and I know from experience that the moderators at the Society's blogs allow only comments they approve of, so the one comment on the post, from Mr Schaetzel, is clearly endorsed by the powers that be.
Let's look at the Society's position on Catholics and sin:
There are some Catholics who take avoiding a “near occasion of sin” to such extremes that they create a whole new set of rules to put a hedge around such occasions, and then act as if violating one of the “preventive” rules is also somehow sinful.Well, let's take a look at what "some Catholics" believe about near (or proximate) occasions of sin. Per the Catholic Encyclopedia,
Theologians distinguish between the proximate and the remote occasion. They are not altogether at one as to the precise value to be attributed to the terms. De Lugo defines proximate occasion (De poenit. disp. 14, n. 149) as one in which men of like calibre for the most part fall into mortal sin, or one in which experience points to the same result from the special weakness of a particular person. The remote occasion lacks these elements. All theologians are agreed that there is no obligation to avoid the remote occasions of sin both because this would, practically speaking, be impossible and because they do not involve serious danger of sin.What we're seeing here is that, while circumstances and individual proclivities may differ, yeah, if you're drawn to sin by near occasions that you can avoid, then you're sinning, and if you keep doing it when you're able to avoid it, the confessor must deny absolution. Neither Mrs Gyapong nor Mr Schaetzel is especially precise here, but clearly Mrs Gyapong disdains the idea of putting "a hedge around" near occasions of sin, when it seems to me that a good confessor would urge just that. The typical example of avoiding near occasions of sin is for a person who has a problem with alcohol to avoid walking into a bar. Awfully good advice, as far as I can see, but Mrs Gyapong says, on behalf of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society,
As to the proximate occasion, it may be of the sort that is described as necessary, that is, such as a person cannot abandon or get rid of. Whether this impossibility be physical or moral does not matter for the determination of the principles hereinafter to be laid down. Or it may be voluntary, that is within the competency of one to remove. Moralists distinguish between a proximate occasion which is continuous and one which, whilst it is unquestionably proximate, yet confronts a person only at intervals. It is certain that one who is in the presence of a proximate occasion at once voluntary and continuous is bound to remove it.
I am going to pronounce right now that this kind of thing is not part of our English Catholic/Anglican Patrimony going forward.This is a problem I've seen with Anglo-Catholicism from the time I first asked Fr David Miller about it in TEC confirmation class and got his reply: Anglo-Catholics want to have the prestige of calling themselves Catholic without paying the dues Catholics have to pay. Certainly we can dispute whether it's a good idea to breast feed during mass, though I would ask why we almost never see it, at least at the half dozen or so parishes where I've gone, and whether the same people who advocate it would also advocate changing diapers in the pew.
But the point here is that, notwithstanding specifics about modesty and decorum, Mrs Gyapong is making statements about faith and morals. As my regular correspondent puts it,
Leaving aside the fact that her experience of Anglicanism was confined to mid-life membership in a small "continuing" denomination for a decade or so, she displays an eclectic range of "pick and mix" liturgical enthusiasms, combined with a conservative political outlook, which are of course no crimes unless you are purporting to edit a blog which is a semi-official organ of a society dedicated to "promoting the Anglican Heritage and Common Identity within the Catholic Church" in which case the lack of rigour is rather unsettling.On Mr Schaetzel, my correspondent earlier noted,
I personally don't regard Mr Schaetzel as having an Anglican bone in his body. He is a right-wing evangelical, now Catholic, a very common profile. Passing briefly through TEC, which gave him a taste for traditional liturgy. But he is far more animated about his family-values, "subsidiarity" agenda and similar concerns than he is about Anglican Patrimony, about which his ideas are entirely superficial and romantic.Yet these folks, with fairly minimal exposure to Anglicanism and as far as I can tell, even less to Catholicism, presume to tell us what part of Catholicism we Anglo-Catholics can follow and what we shouldn't.
Fr Bergman, as I understand it, you're a member of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society. Do you feel you have any duty to correct any of this? Does Bp Lopes?