The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is Terence Clarke, who contributed a vapid and vitriolic piece over at the Huffington Post entitled “Women vs. the Drowned Hulk”. It is incredible how poorly catechized Clarke is (or was before he left the Church). His article is very repetitive and serves no other purpose than to bash the Church, yet conveys his ignorance of the topic he writes about, namely the Catholic Church. (Clarke’s comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

Seventy-seven percent of the Irish population is in favor of allowing women to become priests. Democratic ideals, though, are not quite what the Church has in mind in its dealings with its flock. Indeed, the flock has no authority at all. So those Irish will just have to live with the continuing top-down male rigidity with which Catholics world-wide have had to contend for the last 2,000 years.

Like so many liberals, Clarke seems to think that truth is contingent upon the approval of the majority. He is right to recognize that “what the Church has in mind” is not a democracy. He is missing the actual objective of the Church, which is the salvation of souls. Confusing the teaching of the Church’s shepherds, who are speaking the truth taught by Christ Himself for “male rigidity”, he exposes both his ignorance of the Catholic faith and his malicious objective with this hit piece on Catholicism.

Archbishop Brown, who is an American, is no doubt aware of a similar upsurge in support for women in the priesthood in his own country. He is, one would imagine, as recalcitrant on the matter on the Lower East Side, where he was born, as he is in Dublin.

I’m not sure where he finds the “upsurge in support for women in the priesthood” in the United States. There were a handful of nuns riding around on a bus with an abundance of empty seats campaigning for Obama and a couple of women who simulated ordinations in the same manner that children simulate playing pirates or cops and robbers. Pretending to be a priest doesn’t make you one, and pretending to know what is best for the Church doesn’t make it so. Clarke pretends to understand the needs of the Church better than Christ and the successors to the apostles.

Traditions change, and faith changes, as has been made abundantly clear over the many centuries of The Church's history. The priesthood may not approve, but large social changes and important thinking have brought about tectonic shifts over the centuries, which the Church has resisted at almost every turn. Galileo, for example. Christopher Columbus. Science. Voltaire. Non-religious art (and in some case, religious art that, for whatever reason, the Church thinks comes from the devil in disguise). The French Revolution. Democratically elected governments. The Pill. Just to name a few. In response, an undemocratic bureaucracy elected by no one, with no accountability to the vast majority of the members of the organization, renders iron-clad restrictions that are based on centuries-old received wisdom and unexamined assumptions about what tradition calls for and faith would require.

Clarke apparently was reading the comment section on any one of the other articles at Huffington Post about the Catholic faith in order to find material for this poor excuse for an article. If he holds up the French Revolution as a positive movement, he will have an uphill go of it. He apparently is in favor of the looting of Churches, the forcible stripping of God from society, and the execution of priests. Nice guy, this Clarke. Don’t worry; he doesn’t give any explanation for his madness.

I will spare you the tedious whining of the rest of his hit piece, but I assure you that it is equally as bad as his drivel that I have dissected here. Clarke at least had the honesty to leave the Church that he so disagrees with. The problem is that that Church he left is not the Catholic Church. He left the Church of his imagination. His lack of understanding of the basic teachings of the Church is a clear sign that he didn’t take the time to actually learn the faith. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen famously said,

There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church. Which is, of course, quite a different thing.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, November 20, 2012 to Terence Clarke.