Nice Anne Rice 2?

It seems my post on Anne Rice has got a link on some fan page of hers. I thought the post on Anne was rather charitable considering some of the stuff she’s been hurling at the Catholic Church, but if you want to read some irrational comments from angry folks tootle on over to the combox for the Anne Rice post and scroll down.

I was going to delete the more vituperative ones, but on second thought its better to let them stand. They speak for themselves. If you want to witness the irrational fury of those who hate Christ’s Church, you’ll find some examples in the combox.

Of course, none of the commenters take the time and trouble to actually address the content of my post. None of them offer rational debate. Instead we get all the usual shallow anti-Catholic foot stomping and door slamming about ‘homophobia’, ‘corruption’, ‘lies’, etc. Just more raging accusations of ‘being judgmental’. Honestly, how old are these people? 13? They sound like seventh grade girls saying, “I’m more mature than you are!!”

  • Gail F

    I thought your post was so kind and charitable. People in comboxes make me sick.

  • Anna

    So you get more visitors; people get to read another way of seeing things. Hope they keep coming to read more.Thank you for your time and good words.

  • Mari

    People are only defending their beloved author. I am sure you would do the same for the bible's authors. Also to be perfectly fair, Anne has always invite the positive posts with the negative posts. I do need to ask, what did you think would happen when you posted your opinion? I am in no way bashing you for what you wrote. I am merely asking what you hoped to accomplish.


    You're criticism of Anne Rice wasn't very substantial either, Father. Most of your post was simply dismissive. You accuse her of lacking humility and stamina, being prideful and that she is simply 'one of those people who doesn't think rationally because she's driven by motherly instinct.' Wow, did they teach you that making an argument and hurling ad hominems is the same thing at seminary? Also, while I do agree that the sex abuse scandal doesn't directly challenge any of the churches doctrinal and moral claims, it's possible for it to challenge them indirectly. If the Hierarchs of the Church, the ones responsible not only for teaching, but for interpreting that teaching's content for a given time and place, are shown to be grossly untrustworthy and capable of systematically covering up the truth(or even simply incompetent), it makes them seem less credible overall. If we can't trust them about matters in which we can check the facts, it's harder to trust them about matters where it's not possible to check the facts. Appealing to the Holy Spirit preserving the Church from error doesn't work here, because again, it's the Hierarchy that says that the Holy Spirit will preserve them from ever teaching error, but if the hierarchy shows itself as capable of systematic deceptions… Oh and by the way, the whole separating the faults of the church and its members, can't be used here either. Once you have situations in which people who says negative things about the church is 'committing a sin', is under 'the yoke of Satan', 'persecuting the church', just like for example, people who were trying to tell the truth about Father Maciel were called for decades, and then it turning out that those slogans were actually used to hide evil works, it makes it harder to trust again, or to believe that the the church deserves that level of trust. The hierarchy of the church isn’t asking just for cool rational assent, they’re asking for trust, and once someone betrays you, it's very hard to redevelop that sense of trust. Fool me once…

  • Steven Riddle

    Dear Father Longenecker, I liked your previous post. I agree with much of it. I see there respect for Anne's choices and a certain regret that she allowed elements of the church to drive her from it. I have to say that if I paid more attention to members of the Church, I probably wouldn't belong. People waiting for roses from St. Therese and burying statues upside down just speaks of sympathetic magic and superstition. But the Church is more than the people in it. And even those people whose view may alienate me are deserving of love and respect. I may not respect their thought–but I must respect them.I go on–but I did think you were generous, thoughtful, and kind with respect to Ms. Rice. I regret that she felt compelled to leave the Church, but the Holy Spirit leads and if Ms. Rice is listening, He will guide her home–heaven knows she has the prayers of enough people. And surely they will prevailshalom,Steven

  • Fr John Abberton

    My brief comment about Anne Rice which seemed to upset a few people comes from eleven years experience of working with people who have been caught up (at some level) in the occult. My concern was not to condemn her but to suggest that she perhaps needed help. This is not "patronizing" and I don't know if she does need that kind of help. Knowing what I know I think she might. I could say more, but obviously some people are not ready to believe in the kind of evil I often encounter. Sadly, it is a reality, and the doors that are opened to this kind of thing (yes I mean demons etc)may look like harmless fun to some people, but can lead to obsessive behaviour and the kind of hyper-criticism we have seen in some places. I wish Anne Rice well, and I sincerly mean that in the best way I can.

  • Dave

    Some of them probably REALLY are 12 years old (or even less) emotionally. Trauma at am early age can cause one to become emotionally stuck. I say this from experience as I have two teenagers whose Mom died when they were toddlers, and they are basically emotionally stuck at that age. Yes! We are trying to get them healed!

  • JeanetteVictoria

    Fr AbbertonThank you for posting this. I too have seen what I think is demonic influence. Which is why I posted that she is doing Satans work.Satan's greatest weapon is the fact that people don't believe in him. Ms Rice needs our prayers.

  • cestusdei

    I think when Ms. Rice rejoined the Church we did not do her any favors by not requiring that she actually profess the faith. I thought, and I am sure others did, that she would work through the issues and come around eventually. That didn't happen. She came back out of a sense of nostalgia and an honest search. We should have helped her more during the search and not jumped the gun. She returned the sacraments, but not the faith they express. I see no problem with clearly stating to her what we believe and why. Also I see no problem correcting her when she is in error or makes anti-Catholic statements. That is not uncharitable. Let us pray that she returns home again and this time for good.

  • Paolo

    Samson,you have to choose: either the sex abuse scandal does directly challenge any of the churches doctrinal and moral claims, or it does not.It is certainly very easy to understand disbelief and anger towards unfaithful priests or bishops, since it's a real scandal; even criticism directed at clerical 'secretive' policies are often appropriate – but not always: every civilized legal system has a clause protecting the accused until not proven guilty.Nevertheless, the indirect (indeed, direct) challenge you propose does not work so well, for a series of reason: first, no one is a real Christian because every bishop or priest is a pure model, but because the model is true; second, you are trying to depict the church as fundamentally flawed and duplicitous: this move could work if your main or only source is the NYT or similia, not if you have any actual experience in real churches and with the real poor self.Third, and more to the point, you apparently don't understand what the hierarchy is in the Catholic church and, furthermore, you are quite confused in your reasoning. Just to begin, there's no teaching error here, so I don't know what you're talking about with "systematic" deception: the Spirit is still happily preserving the Church from error, since no one has advanced the thesis that pedophilia is a good thing. Rather, it is the secular culture so appreciated by Mrs. which often has been and is tempted to whitewash this and other sins (links available, if you want). If Fr. Maciel has been unjustly protected, those responsible are guilty under the very moral and theological system publicly taught by the Church for 2000 years. The human trust will undoubtedly suffer, but the faith should not: and one of the principal reason why it's not the case is because the Church precisely tells you to use your reason when you perform the act of faith.Ciao, Paolo Pagliaro (Italy)


    Paolo,“you have to choose: either the sex abuse scandal does directly challenge any of the churches doctrinal and moral claims, or it does not.”I said that it doesn’t, look again at my post. “Every civilized legal system has a clause protecting the accused until not proven guilty.”This doesn’t apply because in this case the accused were guilty, and the church still didn’t do anything.“You are trying to depict the church as fundamentally flawed and duplicitous: this move could work if your main or only source is the NYT or similiar, not if you have any actual experience in real churches and with the real poor self.”So, Cardinal Schonborn, Cardinal Sodano, Carindal Hoyos and friends, they’re all working for the New York Times?Furthermore, the influence of Father Maciel in the Roman Curia isn’t being denied by anyone. “no one has advanced the thesis that pedophilia is a good thing. Rather, it is the secular culture so appreciated by Mrs. which often has been and is tempted to whitewash this and other sins “Anne Rice is in favor of pedophilia? “If Fr. Maciel has been unjustly protected, those responsible are guilty under the very moral and theological system publicly taught by the Church for 2000 years. The human trust will undoubtedly suffer, but the faith should not: and one of the principal reason why it's not the case is because the Church precisely tells you to use your reason when you perform the act of faith.”Here is how I see the issue:1. In many cases those who were working to find out the truth, and expose these issues were accused by members of the hierarchy, and of the clergy as being sinful, guided by satan, etc. 2. As a result of 1, members of the hierarchy, by using this sort of language, were using some part of the authority of their position.3. However you want to construe it theologically, the concrete reality is that the faithful are dependent upon the hierarchy for explicating the faith and applying it to new circumstances. E.g. The pope once had his own executioner, now the pope is a huge enemy of the death penalty, this is explained as not being a change in moral teaching, but rather as an application of the churches teaching to a new set of circumstances. The faith isn’t just a set of abstract principles, but something that is handed down through history, and in practice it is the hierarchy that is responsible for this. (E.g. illiterate women in a Mexican village in the 19th century had nothing to do with the declarations of the First Vatican Council) 4. As a result of 3, there must be some sort of relation of trust between the lay people and the hierarchy. (E.g. there is no official forum for lay faithful to criticize, or scrutinize the actions of the hierarchy, so what you’re left with is trust.)5. Now if the hierarchy of the church, at its very top, can be shown to have a lack of moral sensitivity to fundamental problems, and to even use the rhetoric of faith to cover up evil, it damages the sort of trust outlined in 4, and may cause some faithful to view the institution of the church with incredulity. (E.g. What is else is being hidden? Has the hierarchy ever used the sort of language in other contexts that those used to attack those who wanted to expose Maciel? If a Prefect in the Roman Curia, can be bribed to approve the constitution of a religious order, what other acts of the roman curia have been swayed by bribery? Etc.)

  • Melinda

    Anne Rice has done what many women have done which is to feminize their relationship to God. Somehow Anne has decided that she is better able to "save" her son than to give him up to the true Savior.When Moses was slow to circumcise his son and thereby anger God, was not the son's mother against obedience to the Father?

  • GulagPisatel

    You want judgmental? I'm not a priest, but I am a purveyor of fiction, and as such I can emphatically state that Anne Rice is guilty of the most grievous sin of all in my book: bad art.

  • murmurs37

    Maybe I'm being too harsh, but when I 1st saw an interview of her after her "conversion" I had my suspicions about her right from the get go. My gut feeling told me that she never intended to revert back, she intended to influence from the inside, but that could be my suspicious nature as I work with the worst of the worst inside the walls of prison.

  • Achilles

    Dearest Samson,How does one judge an institution? Your confusion is vast so I will give you some help here. You can only judge an institution first by the validity of the tenants of its creed. If you wish to measure it by its members, which is tricky business, especially by the intellectually inferior with a superiority complex, you must do your best to use the members that live the creed most closely. In the case of Mother Church, that would be the Saints. You may safely use the Saints to judge the validity of its tenants. Otherwise my friend, Mother Church is a hospital for sinners, big sinners. Christ told us he didn’t come for the righteous. Someone who is well does not need a physician. We Catholics are the worst sinners in the world, that is one reason we need Holy Mother Church. We are called to hate sin, but love sinners. You will find no other institutions in the world that is so intellectually sound and superior, the prerequisite for true understanding is humility. Please pray for me, Achilles


    Achilles,Thank you for your help, but your post does not address my argument. I'm not talking about making moral judgments about the church as a whole, rather, I am arguing the following: 1. In certain circumstances it's possible for the actions of those with teaching authority in the church to, through their actions undermine the trustworthiness of their institution. 2. The sex abuse scandal is one such circumstance. The appeal to canonised saints makes no difference to my argument, since again, what is in question is precisely the trustworthiness of the hierarchy and it is the hierarchy that has control over both the criteria for canonisation, and the process itself. E.g. The fact that hierarchy is more than willing to lie and hide embarrasing facts related to child molesting priets in order to protect the public image of the church makes it more conceivable than before that the hierarchy would also lie and cover up facts that would put into question the sanctity of someone who has already been canonised. I'm not saying that the sex abuse scandal necessarily discredits the church, I am just saying that it's possible for the sex abuse scandal to motivate well founded doubts about the teaching authority of the church. Take the following example:A wife finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. As a result, certain claims that her husband has made, such as 'going on business trips, working late, fishing with the guys, etc.' have become more difficult to believe. Now, the fact that the husband was being unfaithful doesn't mean that he was lying every time that he said those things, but the fact that he was being unfaithful makes it harder to believe them than before(and justifiably so). I'm saying that something similar may be the case with the sex abuse scandal and certain Catholics who find their faith shaken as a result.

  • Achilles

    Dear Samson, Our ability to self deceive outstrips our ability to perceive by about 1000 to 1 except in those rare individuals who are able to self transcend through humility. 1. I would agree with you if we were considering appearances, but in reality the bad actions of those in the teaching authority do not have a real impact, not if you have things in their proper order. Try to conceive of this, the responsibility for the ordering of your soul is solely yours, the institutional Church is there to help you to converge with the Body of Christ, even if at times there are negative experiences that do not conform to Christ’s Truth, enacted by people who claim to work for Mother Church. These are false teachers and false workers in the vineyard of the Lord and though they do damage to individuals and do harm souls, it is through this weakness that God’s strength and grace prevails. We know it to be the way of the cross. Are you perhaps too entrenched in modernist rights thinking? If so, your confusion is very understandable. If you choose to blame a person who has behaved badly or even evilly for your misunderstanding of the body of Christ or Mother Church, then the burden for choosing your misunderstanding over the truth is still on you. So as to your point number 1 you are completely incorrect, it is utter nonsense. 2 You seem to have a penchant for appearances and statistics, I do not share that proclivity for apparent evidence. Are you aware of how many priests are faithful to their vows? Do you have any real idea of the root causes of the priestly abuse scandals? The sex abuse scandal is horrific but your read on it is in grave error. The appeal to the Saints makes no difference in your argument probably because you are far more interested in confirming your feelings than you are in finding the Truth. I will try to make this easy for you. The Hierarchy is not in question if you are a Roman Catholic, what is in question is your intuition, your reason and your will. If you put first things first, all else falls into place, put second things first and you lose both first and second. Your trust should be in the Trinity, not in yourself. You can trust in Christ’s words, but don’t be so naive as to put your trust in the things of this world.Samson, you are so very far off base. The hierarchy did not decide the criteria for sanctity, we discovered it with the help of the Holy Spirit, through arduous reason, contemplation and through the revelation of Christ and those who followed him by picking up their cross. I would suggest that you try to recognize your investment in disbelief in Truth and your belief in yourself, a very poor investment that will yield a disastrous return. There is no doubt that what many priests and bishops did was beyond horrific, but it doesn’t speak to the hierarchy of Christ’s Church, it speaks of grave evil and the nature of man and especially to the terrible character formation of the men who perpetrated these crimes. It is foolish and an act of hubris to conflate the two. Your mistake is glaring in your example. The cheating husband has given up his credibility and should no longer be trusted until he confesses and repents and builds an appropriate relationship on the rock of Truth with his wife. Where you err is mistaking that man’s infidelity with the institution of marriage. His infidelity doesn’t speak about the institution of marriage in any meaningful way, but it does speak of fallen man, human nature and in particular the lack of character by the cheater. That the wife is gravely injured is not in question, but if she is soured on marriage, which we would all also understand, she would be in grave error about reality.I am sorry that we have such a wide chasm between us, I hope I have not made matters worse, please pray for me. Achilles


    Achilles,It's precisely the sort of attitude that you display that pushes me farther away from the Catholic Church. The way you construe things, by asking questions and having doubts, and reaching conclusions that you don't agree with, I'm self-absorbed, arrogant, and depraved. The fact that you're willing to write me off so easily, and to make those judgments based on two or three posts of mine, says more about you than it does about me…. Either way, what you're doing is trying to change the topic from the issue at hand, to the issue of my moral character. Funny how you write so much about Truth, yet you can't tell the difference between an ad hominem accusation and an argument. The rest of your response has two points:1. A reassertion of what the church teaches about itself.2. A misunderstanding of what I am saying.In response to 1: I am aware of what the church teaches about itself, its indefectability, its structure, etc. Those dogmas are not at issue here, what is at issue is whether or not it's possible for the actions of the hierarchy to jusifiably motivate someone to doubt in the teachings of the church, and to reconsider her involvement in the church. I realise that the church teaches this to be impossible. And I agree that in most cases this is not possible. If it comes to the argument that: There are immoral priests, immoral bishops, cardinals, popes, etc. therefore the church is wrong about the immaculate conception/birth control/transubstantiation, etc. I agree that that is a bad argument, but it is not the argument that I am making. In response to 2: You misunderstood the point that I was making precisely about the married couple. I'm not saying anything about the women doubting the instution of marriage, just her husband.I did not say that the hierarchy sets the criteria for sanctity, but rather the criteria according to which the canonization process functions. (E.g. Pope John Paul II changed the process, getting rid of, the devil's advocate position.)Just as the husband's infidelity makes the wife doubt what he said about other things, that Father Maciel was able to bribe the Cardinal Prefect of one congregation to approve the constitution of his order(along with the religious vows), could justifiably raise other questions such as, 'what if Opus Dei had bribed the Cardinal Prefect of another congregation to overlook certain facts about Jose Maria Escriva', etc. If the people who control these sorts of processes in the church demonstrate the ability to lie in order to protect embarrasing facts about the church, it does call into question their credibility and it makes it harder to take them seriously. Lastly, the fact that you seem to be more interested in making moral judgments about me, than actually responding to what I am arguing, is precisely the attitude that has damaged the credibility of the church. Once you pound it into people's heads that by the very fact that you don't agree with you, or doubt their claims, makes them a bad person, and hell-bound, then you can get away with all sorts of horrible things. Father Maciel is a great example of that, so is Fr. Duran of Miles Jesu.

  • Achilles

    My dear Samson, I know the difference between an ad hominem and an argument, and though I speak far too pointedly and insultingly to be a good advocate for Mother Church, I do speak of what I see as flawed positions put forward by you. I don’t believe anything at all about your moral character, but I do believe that intellectually you have been poisoned, as most of us have, by modernity. If you are Catholic, you must agree that modern errors are all the heresies wrapped into one. Please let me try again.1. No, I am interested in what the Church is.2. It is very possible that I misunderstand what you say, let’s see.1. It is clear that we are on the hook, hierarchy or not, for how we either attract people to the Church or repel them from it. If I have repelled you, I deeply regret it, but if you speak error, it is out of caritas that I try to help you see the error. If I am in error on this may you and God both forgive me. On your point, Gabrielle Amorth has said that “the anti-christ” is in the Vatican, much less all the evil that has infiltrated the Church, you mention maciel and others. There is no doubt that many evil men have infiltrated the hierarchy and that is a tragedy. Still, is it not our duty to do the best we can to discern and even battle this evil? What worthy question does this bring up about the hierarchy? I don’t think this evil justifies anyone believing lies about the teachings of the Church. Maybe I just don’t see the connection. If you reconsider your involvement in the Church, you do so at peril to your immortal soul, everyone is free to do so. It sounds to me like you are saying it there is a bully at the baseball fields you should quit playing baseball. I believe there is never justification to allow the evil we see in and out of the Church to allow us to doubt Truth and ultimate reality, to do so is only our weakness or pride. We as Catholics know we are called to the cross, not to Disneyland. 2. I suggest you have a look at John Henry Cardinal Newman’s The Development of Christian Doctrine and keep in mind Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutics of continuity” as you discern how Pope John Paul II’s issue with the devil’s advocate position was justified as development or a discontinuity. I was trying to tell you that the institution of marriage was analogous to the institutional Church in your metaphor. W know there is much evil in the Church. Have you heard of Aa-1025? God know all and I think you and I would be using our time better if we did our best to become saints. Christ said “the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.” Despite appearances, we will have to take our Lord at his word and believe. My dear Samson, I don’t know anything about you except that I think your thinking is in error. I would never suggest that you are hellbound or evil or anything like that I just wouldn’t know. Further I would never dream of doing anything to you like maciel would, that is beyond repugnant. I am not interested in making moral judgments, but I would love to respond to your arguments. I hope I am free to disagree with you without driving you further from Mother Church, that is an awful lot of power to give little ol me. I think you go down a dangerous road if you obsess about the credibility of evil people, read the Bible, the Doctors of the Church, the Saints. To be on the safe side, read the old Saints. I wish light on you Samson, please pray for me.


    Achilles,Yes, I am familiar with Aa-1025, and it's interesting that you should mention communist infiltration of the church since there are traditionalists that would use that as an explanation for the Second Vatican Council and the reforms that followed it, as well as a justification for rejecting it. As for the marriage analogy. I agree that just because a woman has found her husband to be untrustworthy, does not mean that anyone else's husband is untrustworthy, or that marriage as an institution is flawed. However the situation with the church is different in that there is no college of husbands, as there is a college of bishops and a college of cardinals. Individual husbands are autonomous, and do not have unchecked autocratic authority over wives, in the way that bishops have over lay people. We know now for a fact that there was a mentality of coverup, propogated by Rome(by at least Cardinal Hoyos and Cardinal Sodano), one that extended to the world's bishops. The bishops insist that they have a divinly instituted autocratic authority that is not open to the scrutiny of lay people, and if this authority is such that it is consistently open to being abused by people for not just their selfish needs, but also out of a well-intentioned desire to protect the church, then that structure of authority may be brought to doubt. If loyalty to the church means being silent as injustices occur, for the 'good of the church', then I want no part in it.

  • Achilles

    I am orthodox, not traditionalist. I quite like the Vatican II documents, however dispise the "spirit of vatican II" perversions and the liturgical holocaust. I take it that you are are a liberal feminist and if you look to human nature to reinforce your complaints you will find no shortage of evidence. The beautiful thing about free will is that you are free to have no part in it, but don't blame me or percieved acts of evil by a heirarchy you see through glasses darkly, it is 100% your choice to put things in order as you see it. My reccomendation would be to submit your will to the will of the Father and let the Holy Spirit guide your discernment while contemplating daily on the revealed words of Christ. If you choose not to and to put your will above all, the results will always be the same, it has been the same story since Genesis.God bless you Samson, I wish you Christ's peace, Achilles