General Discussion (13)

conversation If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you.

However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.

Readers, all too often, go straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you!   Your “news” may simply be a different angle to a subject already under discussion, so do, please check before posting your comment here.         

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions.Whatever.   Enjoy! 

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.

(1) click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
(6) click here  (7) click here (8) click here  (9) click here (10) click here
(11) click here (12) click here   

Is Doubting The Faith No Longer A Sin?

quote-about-faith-st-elizabeth-ann-seton

VATICAN CITY – Everyone experiences doubts about the faith at times – “I have” many times, Pope Francis said – but such doubts can be “a sign that we want to know God better and more deeply.”

“We do not need to be afraid of questions and doubts because they are the beginning of a path of knowledge and going deeper; one who does not ask questions cannot progress either in knowledge or in faith,” the pope said Nov. 23 at his weekly general audience.

Pope Francis said that although the Year of Mercy has concluded, he still wanted to continue his general audience reflections on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

With fewer than 10,000 pilgrims and visitors present and with rain forecast, the Vatican moved the audience indoors to the Vatican audience hall.  Click here to read more

Comment:

Am I alone is not having experienced “doubts” about the Faith? Maybe I was taught, too thoroughly, that wilful doubt is one of the chief sins against the Faith (Scottish Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Chapter XXVIII, The First Commandment – Section 1: the Worship of God, # 541)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), # 2088 teaches that the first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness. End of extract from CCC

I was taught that God cannot deceive, and thus, we are obliged to accept, in the spirit of Faith, what He has revealed. Obviously, such Faith is accepted in the context of learning about the nature of Church, that the authority of the Catholic Church comes from God, and that, thus, there is no need for “doubts”. Of course we should continue to study and read about the Church, but not in a spirit of asking God to prove Himself to us.  It has become a fashion to doubt, the implication being that unless we entertain doubts we are somehow less intelligent that those who do. The opposite is, in fact, true. It is entirely against the nature of true Faith to entertain doubts. The legitimate questions which arise, and to which we seek answers, are not “doubts” so it is a pity that Pope Francis is using the word and encouraging the idea that it is a good thing to doubt. 

Personally, I think that Pope Francis is confusing the duty to keep ourselves educated in the Faith through study and prayer, with doubting, which is, as indicated above, one of the chief sins against the Faith.  What do you think? 

Church Crisis: Educating The Masses…

alberteinsteineducation-quote

We often receive emails asking questions about the state of the Church and how to deal with it. I’m afraid that I sometimes feel impatience with certain enquirers, especially if they are members of the older generation, when we were all taught very clearly that our Catholic Faith could never contradict Reason. Therefore, it seems to me, any (older) person of average intelligence should know, through their Catholic sense, that everything, from the introduction of a new Mass right up to and including Amoris Laetita, cannot be from God.  In any event, I replied to the most recent enquirer  – who is a younger Catholic, really seeking answers to questions others have asked – by sending some suggested reading. I think, however, that these latest questions might spark some very knowledgeable and interesting responses from our bloggers, so I recommended that our enquirer wait while greater minds than mine go to work…

Catholic Truth Question Time

(1)   Were there things in the Church that were needing ‘fixed’ at the time the Second Vatican Council was called?

(2)   Was the Mass in Latin alienating to people and preventing them from becoming close to Our Lord? Note:  I would like to know where to find evidence to back up my opinion that this was not the case – apart from statistics which show that the Church was thriving in the 1960s

(3)   Where did the initiative to change the Mass come from….did the faithful want it? And if it did come from an infiltration of  Freemasons in the Church how can we prove this e.g. I have heard that Bugnini was a Freemason but where is the evidence?

Well, folks?  To work!  

Is Naming & Shaming UnChristian?

collarpriestcroppedSome three years or so ago, Catholic Truth was given information by concerned parishioners in a Scottish parish, when their new priest arrived and moved into the presbytery with his housekeeper. A divorcee with children (who often stayed at the presbytery),  this woman – parishioners claimed – acts more like the lady of the house than the priest’s housekeeper.  

Now, we know that priests’ housekeepers, like doctors’ receptionists, can, indeed, get above themselves, so we didn’t pay too much attention to that particular perception.  Perhaps in order to allay fears of a possible scandal, the then new housekeeper  informed some locals that the local Ordinary (bishop) knew about “the situation”.   Anyway, we sympathised, explained that we didn’t feel able to publicise their concerns at that time, and went on our merry way, if not exactly rejoicing, wondering precisely how many other such “situations” are “out there”.  Please note, though, that if YOU know of any such situation, do not name anyone here. Instead, if you think it is important, please email the editor privately with details. 

Recently, we have been approached again about the same priest, this time by a different source. There are indicators that “Father” is living a normal family life in his comfortable presbytery, although we are not prepared to say  much more than that right now, for the following reasons.  

Firstly, before we publish any scandal, we always give the subject of any reports the opportunity to respond and to end the scandal.  We have not yet approached this priest, and so we are not naming him in this piece.  We know that his Ordinary – according to the housekeeper – knows about his domestic arrangements and approves.  We will send him the link to this thread to make sure that is the case. 

Secondly, since there is some time now before our next edition is due for publication (January, 2017, to be precise) we thought we would raise the issue of “naming and shaming” here, because, were we to publish the facts in our newsletter, there would be critics who would disapprove.  For some reason, our critics don’t mind naming and shaming priests if they are possibly endangering children, but not causing any other scandal (even though no child is ever going to end up in Hell because he/she was abused by a priest).  They do not seem to realise that, in admitting the principle of “naming and shaming”, it becomes a matter of personal judgment. And remember, we are not naming and shaming individuals at random. If Joe Bloggs is pinching from next door’s apple-tree, he’ll never make the front page of Catholic Truth. We are dealing only with public figures, such as priests and bishops who are living double lives.  It seems a tragedy in its own right that some readers consider saving the reputation of a duplicitous priest to be more important than saving his soul. 

So, we wish to ask bloggers to consider whether, if there were a scandal like this in YOUR parish, would you want to know?  Would you want to know who pays the housekeeper’s wages? Who pays when she  travels abroad with “Father”?  Who is paying for her family members when they stay at the presbytery?   Or would you prefer not to know?  

In the absence of a promise from this priest to end the scandal, SHOULD we publish the full facts in our January newsletter – or would that be unChristian?

Comments invited… 

Cardinals Join Battle With Pope Francis

Cardinal Burke on Amoris Laetitia Dubia: ‘Tremendous Division’ Warrants Action

Posted by Edward Pentin on Tuesday Nov 15th, 2016 at 11:25 AM
In an exclusive Register interview, [Cardinal Burke] elaborates about why four cardinals were impelled to seek clarity about the papal exhortation’s controversial elements.

Four cardinals asked Pope Francis five dubia questions, or “doubts,” about the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in a bid to clear up ambiguities and confusion surrounding the text. On Nov. 14, they went public with their request, after they learned that the Holy Father had decided not to respond to their questions.

Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Burke

In this exclusive interview with the Register, Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, explains in more detail the cardinals’ aims; why the publication of their letter should be seen as an act of charity, unity and pastoral concern, rather than as a political action; and what the next steps will be, if the Holy Father continues to refuse to respond.

Your Eminence, what do you aim to achieve by this initiative?

The initiative is aimed at one thing only, namely the good of the Church, which, right now, is suffering from a tremendous confusion on at least these five points. There are a number of other questions as well, but these five critical points have to do with irreformable moral principles. So we, as cardinals, judged it our responsibility to request a clarification with regard to these questions, in order to put an end to this spread of confusion that is actually leading people into error.


Are you hearing this concern about confusion a lot?

Everywhere I go I hear it. Priests are divided from one another, priests from bishops, bishops among themselves. There’s a tremendous division that has set in in the Church, and that is not the way of the Church. That is why we settle on these fundamental moral questions which unify us.

Why is Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia of such particular concern?

Because it has been the font of all of these confused discussions. Even diocesan directives are confused and in error. We have one set of directives in one diocese; for instance, saying that priests are free in the confessional, if they judge it necessary, to permit a person who is living in an adulterous union and continues to do so to have access to the sacraments — whereas, in another diocese, in accord with what the Church’s practice has always been, a priest is able to grant such permission to those who make the firm purpose of amendment to live chastely within a marriage, namely as brother and sister, and to only receive the sacraments in a place where there would be no question of scandal. This really has to be addressed. But then there are the further questions in the dubia apart from that particular question of the divorced and remarried, which deal with the term “instrinsic evil,” with the state of sin and with the correct notion of conscience.

Without the clarification you are seeking, are you saying, therefore, that this and other teaching in Amoris Laetitia go against the law of non-contradiction (which states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time when dealing with the same context)?

Of course, because, for instance, if you take the marriage issue, the Church teaches that marriage is indissoluble, in accord with the word of Christ, “He who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Therefore, if you are divorced, you may not enter a marital relationship with another person unless the indissoluble bond to which you are bound is declared to be null, to be nonexistent. But if we say, well, in certain cases, a person living in an irregular marriage union can receive holy Communion, then one of two things has to be the case: Either marriage really is not indissoluble — as for instance, in the kind of “enlightenment theory” of Cardinal [Walter] Kasper, who holds that marriage is an ideal to which we cannot realistically hold people. In such a case, we have lost the sense of the grace of the sacrament, which enables the married to live the truth of their marriage covenant — or holy Communion is not communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. Of course, neither of those two is possible. They contradict the constant teachings of the Church from the beginning and, therefore, cannot be true.

Some will see this initiative through a political lens and criticize it as a “conservative vs. liberal” move, something you and the other signatories reject. What is your response to such an accusation?

Our response is simply this: We are not taking some kind of position within the Church, like a political decision, for instance. The Pharisees accused Jesus of coming down on one side of a debate between the experts in Jewish Law, but Jesus did not do that at all. He appealed to the order that God placed in nature from the moment of creation. He said Moses let you divorce because of your hardness of heart, but it was not this way from the beginning. So we are simply setting forth what the Church has always taught and practiced in asking these five questions that address the Church’s constant teaching and practice. The answers to these questions provide an essential interpretative tool for Amoris Laetitia. They have to be set forth publicly because so many people are saying: “We’re confused, and we don’t understand why the cardinals or someone in authority doesn’t speak up and help us.”

It’s a pastoral duty?

That’s right, and I can assure you that I know all of the cardinals involved, and this has been something we’ve undertaken with the greatest sense of our responsibility as bishops and cardinals. But it has also been undertaken with the greatest respect for the Petrine Office, because if the Petrine Office does not uphold these fundamental principles of doctrine and discipline, then, practically speaking, division has entered into the Church, which is contrary to our very nature.

And the Petrine ministry, too, whose primary purpose is unity?

Yes, as the Second Vatican Council says, the Pope is the foundation of the unity of the bishops and of all the faithful. This idea, for instance, that the Pope should be some kind of innovator, who is leading a revolution in the Church or something similar, is completely foreign to the Office of Peter. The Pope is a great servant of the truths of the faith, as they’ve been handed down in an unbroken line from the time of the apostles.

Is this why you emphasize that what you are doing is an act of charity and justice?

Absolutely. We have this responsibility before the people for whom we are bishops, and an even greater responsibility as cardinals, who are the chief advisers to the Pope. For us to remain silent about these fundamental doubts, which have arisen as a result of the text of Amoris Laetitia, would, on our part, be a grave lack of charity toward the Pope and a grave lack in fulfilling the duties of our own office in the Church.

Some might argue that you are only four cardinals, among whom you’re the only one who is not retired, and this is not very representative of the entire Church. In that case, they might ask: Why should the Pope listen and respond to you?

Well, numbers aren’t the issue. The issue is the truth. In the trial of St. Thomas More, someone told him that most of the English bishops had accepted the king’s order, but he said that may be true, but the saints in heaven did not accept it. That’s the point here. I would think that even though other cardinals did not sign this, they would share the same concern. But that doesn’t bother me. Even if we were one, two or three, if it’s a question of something that’s true and is essential to the salvation of souls, then it needs to be said.

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.

In a conflict between ecclesial authority and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which one is binding on the believer and who has the authority to determine this?

What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition. I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if “even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”

If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?

It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.

Comment:

Some commentators may argue that the Cardinals’ action will have little to no effect, that things will continue apace.  But IS this an historic moment in the life of the Church? Might this conscientious challenge by the four Cardinals, mark a turning point in the current, worsening crisis?  What about the papolatrists? How do they reconcile their false belief that the pope – any pope – is beyond criticism, with the impending public correction of Pope Francis by a number of  Princes of the Church?  How do they square that circle? Maybe we should ask Michael Voris! 

Scotland Preparing For Lay-Led Funerals

tombstoneripGalloway prepares for funerals without priests.

Galloway Diocese is training up laity to carry out funeral services without a priest.

Last week the first lay Catholics attended funeral training at St Brides in West Kilbride in Ayrshire.

The scheme is similar to one adopted by Liverpool Archdiocese in 2012.

The family of the deceased would still be offered a requiem Mass (right) with a priest but a ‘funeral service,’ which could be carried out by a lay person and would not involve the sacrament of Communion, would also be an option.

In a recent parish bulletin, St Bride’s parish priest Fr Joe Boland said: “All over the world, lay men and women have been conducting funerals for years. Obviously they cannot say Mass, but not every funeral involves Mass, and in that case there is nothing a priest can do that a lay person cannot do.

“This will sound strange to many of you, but as the number of parishes covered by one priest grows, it will become more and more necessary,” he went on. “This is not the case here in West Kilbride at the moment, but the current situation will not last forever. There will inevitably be resistance to the idea of lay people exercising this ministry, but that is to be expected. It will work itself out”

Maureen Knight, who is responsible for pastoral care at Liverpool Archdiocese, told the SCO a similar scheme there had been a great success.

“We’ve had 120 people go through the training programme,” she said. ”The negativity around it has been minimal.

“We find that there are people coming to funerals that have very little connection with the church so this is an easier way,” she said. “Rather than the requiem Mass we would want, this is another option.”

She also said the change had helped ‘care of the bereaved become the responsibility of the whole community.’

“The lay funeral minister, they can be with the family beforehand, talk about things they might be afraid to talk to a priest about,” she said. “And they can visit them afterwards, look after them a bit more.”

A 1997 Vatican document on the laity fulfilling priestly duties says ‘the non-ordained faithful may lead the ecclesiastical obsequies provided that there is a true absence of sacred ministers and that they adhere to the prescribed liturgical norms.’

It also states that ‘in the present circumstances of growing de-christianization and of abandonment of religious practice, death and the time of obsequies can be one of the most opportune pastoral moments in which the ordained minister can meet with the non-practising members of the faithful,’ so ‘it is thus desirable that priests and deacons, even at some sacrifice to themselves, should preside personally at funeral rites in accordance with local custom, so as to pray for the dead and be close to their families, thus availing of an opportunity for appropriate evangelization.’

At present there are no plans for similar programmes in the other seven Scottish dioceses  Source – Scottish Catholic Observer

Comment:  

It’s that “at present” that is the worry. How long before all the usual parish busy-bodies are organising funerals across Scotland? Conducting YOUR funeral?  I say “your funeral” because none of them will ever organise mine. Be assured. Over my dead body, as they say, so to speak.  You’ll get my drift. Does this resignation to the lack of vocations suggest to you, as it does to me, a total loss of divine and Catholic Faith?  

Is the Church finished? Without priests, remember, there IS no Church, so why is the hierarchy concentrating on creating a lay-led Church instead of concentrating on restoring the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Faith and Liturgy? If they did that, the vocations would come – no doubt about it. So, what’s going on? Who, on this earth, really wants a lay person conducting his/her funeral?      cartoonimagefunerals