Vatican: Irish Priest Dissenter Loves Church (so that’s all right then)

ImagePope Francis is believed to have intervened directly with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to have all sanctions on silenced Irish priest Fr Sean Fagan (86) lifted.

It was confirmed to The Irish Times in Rome last night that Marist priest Fr Fagan, who has been subject to sanction by the Vatican for six years, is no longer so.

The superior general of the Marist congregation in Rome, Fr John Hannan, said last night that Fr Fagan is now “a priest in good standing” where the church is concerned.

It has also emerged that the change in Fr Fagan’s circumstances may have involved direct intervention by both Pope Francis and the former President of Ireland Mary McAleese.

The Irish Times has learned that Mrs McAleese, who is away from Rome at the moment, wrote to Pope Francis last December requesting that he directly intervene where Fr Fagan’s case was concerned. Receipt of the letter was acknowledged by the Pope’s secretary. It is understood that the Marist congregation was informed of Fr Fagan’s changed situation at Easter.

Others understood to have been approached to intervene with the Vatican on Fr Fagan’s behalf include his own congregation, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and the former head of the Dominicans Fr Timothy Radcliffe.

For many years Fr Fagan, who has suffered ill health for some time, had been critical of rigid stances by the Vatican on issues to do with conscience and sexual morality notably in letters to this newspaper. In 2003 he published the book Does Morality Change? And in 2008 Whatever Happened to Sin?

In 2010 he was informed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he would be laicised should be write for publication any material it considered contrary to Church teaching and should he disclose this to media.

Remaining copies of his book were bought up by the Marist congregation whose website last night still carried a statement first posted in February of last year which reads that “the writings of Fr. Sean Fagan in the book What Happened to Sin do not have the approval of or represent the views of the Society of Mary.

It was reported at the weekend that the CDF’s change of stance towards Fr Fagan was because “he loves the Church in spite of all its weaknesses: that he accepted his censure and observed his restrictions; and to his advanced age.”

Welcoming the news the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) said in a statement yesterday that “it has been a source of great unease to our members and of continuing shame and embarrassment to our Church that a priest and theologian who has made such a huge contribution to Gospel and to Church over very many years would not be regarded as a priest ‘in good standing’.”

It said that “statements welcoming the lifting of restrictions on Fr Fagan by the Marist Order, the CDF and the Irish Catholic bishops are the least that might be expected.”

It also noted “that the decision of the CDF, according to reports, was influenced by pressure brought to bear through the efforts of friends.” It believed “that a concerted effort by the orders and congregations, supported by the Irish bishops, could lead to the lifting of similar restrictions on other members of the ACP colleagues of Fr Fagan, and from the Marist congregation.”

This was a reference to those other priests silenced by the Vatican, including Fr Tony Flannnery, Fr Gerard Moloney, Fr Brian D’Arcy, and Fr Owen O’SullivanSource

Comment

It’s getting more and more difficult to express surprise, amazement, consternation, horror, you name it – the scandals are coming thick and fast in this pontificate. If Pope John Paul is to be granted the title “The Great” (and anything’s possible now) then we have to acknowledge His Holiness, Pope Francis The Absolutely Fantastic.

There’s just so much that could be said about the rehabilitation of one of Ireland’s most notorious dissenters, a priest who doesn’t have a Catholic thought in his head. However, the following is one question I’d like everyone to address, especially the neo-Catholics among us:  If  Fr Fagan has been rewarded for his dissent and heresy by being restored to the category of “priest in good standing” because “he loves the Church in spite of all its weaknesses” where does that leave Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Fellay and all the bishops and priests of the Society of St Pius X who love the Church deeply because it is the perfect and spotless Bride of Christ and whose only “heresy” is to faithfully preserve the Catholic religion and liturgy as it has been handed down to us?

The “disobedience” mantra won’t work any more, you see, because Fr Fagan is disobedient – big time. Defiant and disobedient. So, answers please. Why is the Vatican not lifting all penalties from the priests and bishops of the Society of St Pius X?

Canonisations? What Canonisations?

canonisation popesThe “Canonisations” of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II took place in Rome, today,  27th April, 2014.  Here’s an extract from one newspaper report…

“We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church” said Francis in the official proclamation at about 10.15 am.

Later, in his homily, the Argentinian pontiff paid tribute to “two men of courage” who he said had “co-operated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church”. “They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them,” he said. Source 

Comment

Since popes have no authority to “renew and update” the Church, but must defend, guard, protect and proclaim it to the world, and since these popes, between them have all but closed down Catholicism in our times, preferring, instead, to create an ecumenical and inter-religious “Church”, these “canonisations” are problematic, to say the least.  Having informed ourselves of all the relevant issues, and having considered the matter from every angle, the Catholic Truth Team is agreed that no conscientious Catholic could possibly recognise these “canonisations.”  We urge our readers to pray for the souls of these two pontiffs in the traditional way, presuming that they enjoy the great grace of salvation but may still be in Purgatory, in need of our prayers.  Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us…

Is The Divine Mercy Devotion Catholic?

ImageAs we approach Divine Mercy Sunday, it might be a good idea to reflect on this relatively new devotion and Feast Day in the Church.   Personally, I’ve never been attracted to it at all. I dislike the image which compares very unfavourably, in my view, to the traditional image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I’m taken aback by some of the things Our Lord allegedly said to Sister Faustina.  However, I realise a lot of faithful Catholics do like the image and pray the Divine Mercy devotions sincerely. This thread is not, in any way, intended to be a criticism of them. 

Two articles are offered here to encourage discussion. The first is  a very honest enquiry on an American blog, entitled Criticisms and Responses to the Divine Mercy Devotion  and the second is the article below, by Fr Peter Scott, a priest of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX)  which is thought provoking.  After reading the articles, please feel free to share your thoughts on the topic proposed for discussion: Is the Divine Mercy Devotion Catholic?


What are we to think of the Divine Mercy devotion?

Many people have certainly received graces from the devotion to Divine Mercy propagated by St. Faustina, and her personal piety was certainly most exemplary. However, this does not necessarily mean that this devotion is from God. It is true that Pope John Paul II promoted this devotion, that it was through his efforts that the prohibition was lifted on April 15, 1978, and that he even introduced a feast of Divine Mercy into the Novus Ordo. However, the fact that good and pious people receive graces and that Sister Faustina was pious do not necessarily means that it is from heaven. In fact, it was not only not approved before Vatican II. It was condemned, and this despite the fact that the prayers themselves of the chaplet of Divine Mercy are orthodox.

Condemned by the Holy Office

There were two decrees from Rome on this question, both of the time of Pope John XXIII. The Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, in a plenary meeting held on November 19, 1958, made the following decisions:

The supernatural nature of the revelations made to Sister Faustina is not evident.

No feast of Divine Mercy is to be instituted.

It is forbidden to divulge images and writings that propagate this devotion under the form received by Sister Faustina.

The second decree of the Holy Office was on March 6, 1959, in which the following was established:

The diffusion of images and writings promoting the devotion to Divine Mercy under the form proposed by the same Sister Faustina was forbidden.

The prudence of the bishops is to judge as to the removal of the aforesaid images that are already displayed for public honor.

What was it about this devotion that prevented the Holy Office from acknowledging its divine origin? The decrees do not say, but it seems that the reason lies in the fact that there is so much emphasis on God’s mercy as to exclude His justice. Our sins and the gravity of the offense that they inflict on God is pushed aside as being of little consequence. That is why the aspect of reparation for sin is omitted or obscured.

The true image of God’s mercy is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, crowned with thorns, dripping precious blood. The Sacred Heart calls for a devotion of reparation, as the popes have always requested. However, this is not the case with the Divine Mercy devotion. The image has no heart. It is a Sacred Heart without a heart, without reparation, without the price of our sins being clearly evident. It is this that makes the devotion very incomplete and makes us suspicious of its supernatural origin, regardless of Sister Faustina’s own good intentions and personal holiness. This absence of the need for reparation for sins is manifest in the strange promise of freedom from all the temporal punishment due to sin for those who observe the 3:00 p.m. Low Sunday devotions. How could such a devotion be more powerful and better than a plenary indulgence, applying the extraordinary treasury of the merits of the saints? How could it not require as a condition that we perform a penitential work of our own? How could it not require the detachment from even venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence?

Presumption in the Writings of Sister Faustina

The published Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalski (Marian Press, Stockbridge, MA, 2007) also indicates several reasons to seriously question the supernatural origin of the more than 640 pages of voluminous and repeated apparitions and messages. The characteristic of any true mystic who has received supernatural graces is always a profound humility, sense of unworthiness, awareness and profession of the gravity of his sins. Yet this humility is strangely lacking in Sister Faustina’s diary. On October 2, 1936, for example, she states that the “Lord Jesus” spoke these words to her: “Now I know that it is not for the graces or gifts that you love me, but because My will is dearer to you than life. That is why I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.” (§707, p. 288). This gives every appearance of being a claim of being more united to Jesus than anybody else, even the Blessed Virgin Mary, and certainly more than all the other saints. What pride, to believe such an affirmation, let alone to assert that it came from heaven!

In April 1938, Sister Faustina read the canonization of St. Andrew Bobola and was filled with longing and tears that her congregation might have its own saint. Then she affirms the following: “And the Lord Jesus said to me, Don’t cry. You are that saint.” (§1650, p. 583). These are words that most certainly no true saint would affirm, but rather his sinfulness and unworthiness of his congregation. This presumption in her writings is not isolated. She praises herself on several occasions through the words supposedly uttered by Jesus. Listen to this interior locution, for example: “Beloved pearl of My Heart, I see your love so pure, purer than that of the angels, and all the more so because you keep fighting. For your sake I bless the world.” (§1061, p. 400). On May 23, 1937 she describes a vision of the Holy Trinity, after which she heard a voice saying: “Tell the Superior General to count on you as the most faithful daughter in the Order” (§1130, p. 417). It is consequently hardly surprising that Sister Faustina claimed to be exempt from the Particular and General Judgments. On February 4, 1935, she already claimed to hear this voice in her soul: “From today on, do not fear God’s judgment, for you will not be judged” (§374, p. 168). Add to this the preposterous affirmation that the host three times over jumped out of the tabernacle and placed itself in her hands (§44, p. 23), so that she had to open up the tabernacle herself and place it back in there, tells the story of a presumption on God’s grace which goes beyond all reason, let alone as the action of a person supposedly favored with innumerable and repeated mystical and supernatural graces.

It is perhaps not accidental that Pope John Paul II promoted this devotion, for it is very much in line with his encyclical Dives in Misericordia. In fact, the Paschal Mystery theology that he taught pushed aside all consideration of the gravity of sin and the need for penance, for satisfaction to divine justice, and hence of the Mass as being an expiatory sacrifice, and likewise the need to gain indulgences and to do works of penance. Since God is infinitely merciful and does not count our sins, all this is considered of no consequence. This is not the Catholic spirit. We must make reparation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world, as the Sacred Heart repeatedly asked at Paray-Le-Monial. It is the renewal of our consecration to the Sacred Heart and frequent holy hours of reparation that is going to bring about the conversion of sinners. It is in this way that we can cooperate in bringing about His Kingdom of Merciful Love, because it is the perfect recognition of the infinite holiness of the Divine Majesty and complete submission to His rightful demands. Mercy only means something when we understand the price of our Redemption. Source 

Did Paul VI Condemn Vatican II?

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Religious Liberty, Collegial Equality, Ecumenical Fraternity

How does it happen that the gates of hell are now causing us so much trouble? The Church has always been disturbed by persecution and heresies, by conflicts with temporal powers, sometimes by immoral conduct of the clergy, sometimes even of popes. But this time the crisis seems to go much deeper, since it affects the Faith itself.  The Modernism we face is not a heresy like the others: it is the main drain of all heresies. Persecution now comes not only from outside but from within the Church. The scandal of dissolute living, or just giving up, has become endemic among the clergy, while the mercenaries who abandon the sheep to the wolves are encouraged and honoured.

I am sometimes accused of painting too black a picture of the situation, of viewing it too disapprovingly, of taking pleasure at being disgruntled over changes which are perfectly logical and necessary.  Yet the same Pope who was the heart and soul of Vatican II commented several times on the decomposition on which I have commented so sadly. On December 7, 1969 Paul VI said, “The Church finds herself in a period of anxiety, of self-criticism, one could say of self-destruction. It is like an internal upheaval, serious and complex–as if the Church were flagellating herself.”

The following year he added, “In many areas the Council has not so far given us peace but rather stirred up troubles and problems that in no way serve to strengthen the the Kingdom of God within the Church or within its souls.” Then, going on to raise a cry of alarm, on June 29, 1972 (Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul), “The smoke of Satan has entered by some crack into the temple of God; doubt, uncertainty, problems, restlessness, dissatisfaction and confrontation  have come to the surface… doubt has entered our consciences.”

Where is the crack? We can pinpoint the time with precision…

Click here to read the rest of this chapter from Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics.

Comment

Religious liberty, collegial equality and ecumenical fraternity are concepts so commonplace in modern society that most contemporary Catholics are puzzled at the very idea that there could be anything wrong with them.  How can this collective error be corrected?  

And is Pope Paul VI less culpable than his successors in the Petrine Office with regard to the crisis in the Church post-Vatican II? After all, he did, it seems, try to raise the alarm… didn’t he?  He did, in fact, condemn the Council… didn’t he?

Should Catholic Newspapers Employ Lapsed Journalists?

Confessions of a part-time Mass-goer    newmass

It’s the time of year when the experience of Jesus is most profound and vivid, even for non-regular Mass attenders, says KEVIN McKenna

My name is Kevin McKenna and I don’t go to Mass every week. If there was a self-help group for Catholic back-sliders like me I’d probably be getting the hugs and back-rubbing treatment right now. “Amen brother, just let it out,” someone would say, gently. “We’ve all been there,” another would whisper. There could be tears. Afterwards someone might quote Luke 15:7. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” It is one of the favourite Biblical verses of recusants everywhere. Along with ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’ and ‘judge ye not, lest ye be judged.’ All three of these verses, taken together, offer a wee exegesis of redemption for those of us who have become, ahem, somewhat neglectful of our Catholic duties.

I can’t quite recall when the rot first set in. And it certainly wasn’t due to any theological or philosophical quarrel I had with Rome, or the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I might be a haphazard Catholic but I still believe in the whole package, even those bits of it that I cheerfully choose to ignore in the trade winds of everyday secular life. I remain within the ambit of the magisterium, as they say. Nor is it because of the recent waves of scandal that have broken on our shores. I may have been vociferous in my criticism of our leadership over some of these issues but, in the midst of it all, I acknowledge that these are only mere human beings and as prone to error as the rest of us.

The Faith is eternal, sacred and divine… and unshakeable—except on some Sundays where I’ve lamentably found other things to do.

To read more, click here

Comment

Now, it would take too long to highlight all the questionable statements in Kevin McKenna’s article. He has, for example, made his views on “gay rights” abundantly clear over time,  notably at the time of the same-sex marriage debate, so to claim that he “believes the whole package” is stretching it a bit, to put it mildly.

McKenna was once Deputy Editor of The (notoriously anti-Catholic) Herald, which position he abused by instructing the then Letters Editor to send anything from Catholic Truth “upstairs” (to him) and so it came to pass that our letters, which once graced the letters page of The Herald with reasonable frequency, were seen no more and this state of affairs continues at the present time. 

Kevin McKenna, then, is not a man of integrity.  That’s a given.  This latest revelation – that he’s a lapsed Catholic, employed to write for Scotland’s only national Catholic (in inverted commas) newspaper – is but one more piece of evidence in that regard. 

Don’t fall for all that pseudo-humility dressed in selective biblical quotes, wrongly interpreted. For example, he blithely quotes the verse about there being “more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents…” without mentioning the fact that he has shown no sign of repenting of his deliberate choice of lapsation – which is, contrary to his personal opinion, a mortal sin.

What kind of journalist – and what kind of editor – would imagine that practising, regular Mass-going Catholics are remotely interested in reading the ramblings of a man who cannot even get the basics right in his own life? What has he got to say that is of any interest to any Catholic? A man who doesn’t even know the teaching of the Church, that to miss Mass on Sundays without good cause is very much a mortal sin. Who, in other words, does Kevin McKenna think he is, to mislead readers as he does – shamelessly… Or maybe you think it’s no big deal that a lapsed journalist should be employed to write for the Scottish Catholic Observer? After all, they handed a column to the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge not so long ago.

Come to think of it, maybe I’m making much ado about nothing… what do you think? 

Catholic Convert – Congratulations!

Catholic Convert - Congratulations!

A Happy Easter to all our readers, with special congratulations to our blogger, Catholic Convert, who was received into the Church during the Easter Vigil.

Welcome, Catholic Convert!  God bless you!

This thread is chiefly for Easter greetings and congratulations.  However, the following story got me wondering about something…

After Easter Sunday Mass the priest hurried after a parishioner and pulled him aside.  “You need to join the Army of the Lord” he said.  The parishioner replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Father.”  The priest questioned, “Then, how come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?”  He whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”

If anyone has any ideas about why some folk attend Mass only at Christmas and Easter, feel free to share them here, especially if you can suggest a way of solving the problem of bi-annual Catholicism. 

Easter greetings, then, congratulations & welcome  to Catholic Convert, and opinions – all welcome on this thread.  Happy Easter, one and all…

Vatican Latest: Our New History…

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Lutherans and Catholics have many reasons to retell their history in new ways. They have been brought closer together through family relations, through their service to the larger world mission, and through their common resistance to tyrannies in many places. These deepened contacts have changed mutual perceptions, bringing new urgency for ecumenical dialogue and further research. The ecumenical movement has altered the orientation of the churches’ perceptions of the Reformation: ecumenical theologians have decided not to pursue their confessional self-assertions at the expense of their dialogue partners but rather to search for that which is common within the differences, even within the oppositions, and thus work toward overcoming church-dividing differences.  Source

Comment

Well, we’ve had a new Mass, new Rosary, new Catechism, new Evangelisation – so, what’s the big deal about a new history? (After all, check the source again) it’s the Vatican speaking.

And what better way – after 100 years of diabolical disorientation – to celebrate the Fatima Apparitions?