If The Church Sins, It Cannot Be Divine

A reader in the Diocese of Galloway texted me, as follows, this afternoon: 

“[I was shocked] when I saw the following announcement in a local parish bulletin today, advertising a penitential service: 

The theme of the service is… A Church seeking forgiveness… This will be a non-sacramental service during which God will be asked for his mercy on the Church for the ways in which it has hurt, wounded and offended its members and the wider society.  End of bulletin notice.

Words fail me. What a disgrace this Ayrshire deanery is.”   End of text message.  OneHolyetc banner

Yes, words always fail me, too, when I read this heresy being perpetrated at all levels in the Church.   The above advertisement appeared in the bulletin of St John Ogilvie’s parish, Irvine, while the same advert, almost word for word, appeared in this bulletin  as well. 

It is, in fact, an article of Faith that “The Church” cannot sin.  That the Church of Christ is holy, is one of the four marks by which we recognise the true Church: it is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.   Yet, they’re not teaching and preaching that in Galloway. They’re teaching the opposite. Parishioners in at least two parishes — St John Ogilvie’s, Irvine and St Bride’s, West Kilbride – are being taught that,  contrary to essential Catholic teaching, “The Church” is NOT the Spotless Bride of Christ, but is blameworthy, guilty of sin.  That is disgraceful. 

St Francis de Sales has written brilliantly on this subject in The Catholic Controversy, so if you haven’t already obtained a copy, buy one now. Below is a taster…

“Was [it] not the true Church which S. Paul called the pillar and ground of truth and the house of the living God (I Tim 3:15)? Certainly; for to be a pillar of truth cannot pertain to an erring and straying Church. Now the Apostle witnesses of this true Church, the house of God, that there are in it vessels unto honour and unto dishonour (2 Tim. 2:20), that is, good and bad.”   Source

Yes, of course there are good and bad within the Church.  The members sin, but not Christ’s Church. The distinction is crucial, for if The Church, the Bride of Christ, is guilty of sin, then she cannot be “the pillar and ground of all truth” – she cannot be divine. Click on the image above to read the Catholic Encyclopaedia distinctions if you are not sure about the difference between the sins of individual members of the Church, and  the holiness of “The Church” itself which is holy by virtue of its unique relation to Christ who is the Head of the Mystical Body – His Church. 

Comment: 

Can it be that so many bishops and priests (and even Pope Francis) do not know that the holiness of the Church is an article of Faith, that is, in fact, a belief that is binding on the faithful?  Or is there something mischievous going on here?  Why would the hierarchy and clergy want the faithful to believe that the Church is guilty of sin?  Why is this heresy being peddled all over the place, without challenge?  Is it just that the clergy and hierarchy don’t know how to answer the legitimate criticisms from the media, atheists et al,  of those members of the Church who have caused such scandal in recent years? Is that it? 

78 responses

  1. I am completely shocked by this! Sadly members of the Church have offended, hurt, damaged others but that is not and never can be said of the Church herself. I don’t understand how this so called penitential service could have been proposed, unless it stems from a misconstruction of the “We are Church” mantra which has never sat well with me. A penitential service should concentrate on giving people the opportunity for an examination of conscience, reflection and then individual confession. I hope some of the parishioners are well educated enough in their faith to challenge this disgraceful advertisement!

  2. Editor

    You ask a good question in your blue comment addition at the end of the introductory words to this thread.

    The truth is that many of the clergy, and even Pope Francis, are lost to the true definition of the Church.

    For Traditional Catholics the Church is a divine institution endowed with a sacred priesthood and charged with a universal mission to preach and to sanctify. To this end she is clothed with the infinite graces of the Holy Mass and the Sacraments, as well as the merits of he saints, which she dispenses to souls. Those who hear the Church, hear Christ and form one body in Faith, the Catholic Faith, with Jesus Christ at the head. This is called the Mystical Body.

    As long as the priesthood and the Mass exist the Church will exist, and that as we know will be to the end of time. The Church, to give an extreme example, could survive without laity but not without the priesthood, because, being divine, it is not laity dependent for its existence.

    For modern liberals, however, this is a concept of the Church they either don’t know about or simply reject. It is not unusual, for instance, to hear Pope Francis say “we are church”, a common misnomer heard many times since Vatican II. So here we have an inversion of the truth; the Church is no longer a divine institution, infallible and immutable, but rather a gathering of like-minded human beings into a loose body of believers who call themselves Christians.

    Once this perverse notion has taken hold on the mind and soul it follows that the Church, no longer divine, must be guilty of the sins of its human members, since “we are church”. This also explains why dogma and doctrine are subjected to evolutionary principles, relativism, as they call it, because they are viewed no longer as divine revelation but merely as the product of human knowledge always subject to improvement.

    The following prophetic words of Pope Gregory XVI (Encyclical Mirari Vos) sum it up perfectly:

    “To use the words of the Fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church “was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain “restoration and regeneration” for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a “foundation may be laid of a new human institution,” and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing “may become a human Church…”

  3. “I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul…. I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past. …A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. – Cardinal Pacelli

    But why must the Church, according to the new religion which obscures her, feel remorse for her past? Two related reasons, I think: 1. To emphasize that before Vii, the Church was “triumphalistic,” and that this “exclusionary” approach created all manner of “hurtful” doctrines. 2. To help reduce the Church to its new indifferentist status as just another denomination among many, and just as flawed as the rest.

    • On November 30th 2015, in Central Africa,The Pope said:

      “We are all called to be, each of us, these messengers whom our brothers and sisters of every ethnic group, religion and culture, await, often without knowing it. For how can our brothers and sisters believe in Christ – Saint Paul asks – if the Word is neither proclaimed nor heard?”

      Strange even today The Church is saying that we have a Mission to proclaim Christ to people of every” ethnic group, religion, and culture”!!!

      Now about your grasp of Church Teaching…..

      • Fr Arthur,

        A tad confusing that from the same Pope who said “proselytism is solemn nonsense”. As you keep saying, misquoting or partial quoting or quoting out of context is not the right thing to do… We have to take the entirety of the Pope’s message and the world loves him so the entirety of his message cannot possibly be that we must proclaim Christ to every ethnic group, religion and culture; that is certainly not is his dominant theme.

        However, you fail to address the topic which is that of the repeated claims by both Pope and clergy, that “The Church sins”.

        • On the contrary, there is a difference between targeting, a specific individual, or group – which would be proselytising – and witnessing to all your faith Jesus, and His Church, through your words and actions.

          The Church, as a whole cannot err or sin, but individuals within it can, and, often, in the popular mind, that is The Church. Likewise parts of the Institutional Church, rather than The Teaching/Prophetic Church, have erred. For example over child abuse. Thus in her teaching, and in her Sacraments, The Church is untainted, and as a whole, she remains the sinless Bride of Christ, but individuals Church, and therefore in a very limited sense, The Church has.

          I think some recent occupants of The See have asked forgiveness for some acts of the institutional Church.

          • Fr Arthur,

            “The Church, as a whole cannot err or sin, but individuals within it can, and, often, in the popular mind, that is The Church.”

            That is exactly why the Pope and priests should not be talking about the Church sinning. That is exactly the reason, because in the minds of the public, the members ARE the Church and in the minds of many ignorant Catholics, that is their belief also. All the more reason for the Pope and priests to take the trouble of explaining that the Church cannot sin, and cannot take the blame for the members who do sin.

          • Fr Arthur,

            You cannot talk about the “institutional Church” as if it’s different from the Church. There is the Church Triumphant in Heaven, the Church Militant on Earth and the Church Suffering in Purgatory, and there is the Church, human (members who sin) and divine – the Mystical Body of Christ, with Jesus, sinless, at the head.

            The use of “institutional Church” is a Modernist ruse to blame the Church for all sorts, without seeming to do so.

          • Fr Arthur,

            So we don’t have a duty to preach the faith to individuals? I’ve always thought the opposite.

            Are you saying then that when Jesus said to go out into the whole world, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that he meant convert whole nations somehow, without speaking to the individuals?

            That makes no sense whatsoever. I find the liberal/modernist mindset too confused for words. I just can’t make out what it is that you believe and don’t believe.

        • RCA Victor,

          Thanks for that link which contains another example of Pope Francis using his imagination to make the Gospel means what he wants it to mean. I copied this piece from the article:

          …. And we can imagine this now: we can imagine how they kept passing the loaves and fishes from hand to hand until the food reached those who were farthest away. Jesus managed to generate a current among his followers: they all went on sharing what was their own, turning it into a gift for the others; and that is how they all got to eat their fill. Incredibly, food was left over: they collected it in seven baskets….

          [Jesus] takes a little bread and some fishes, he blesses them, breaks them and gives them to his disciples to share with the others. And this is the way the miracle proceeds. It is certainly not magic or idolatry. By means of these three actions [taking, blessing and giving], Jesus succeeds in turning a “throw-away” mindset into a mindset of communion, a mindset of community ….

      • Fr Arthur,

        Since the Pope doesn’t mention Christ when he is in the presence of ethnic groups, I think he ought to practise what he sometimes preaches!

  4. We dont have to look far to see where this heresy came from ” Pope Francis Asks for Forgiveness from Other Churches”
    I cannot remember which Bishop it was who said ” They (modernists) are not only creating a “New” Church, but a new religion as well”

    “Francis is adding more fuel to that fire. Taking his message of peace to the Central Africa Republic, Pope Francis declared what some end-time watchers are calling a step toward a “one world religion.” “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace,” Reuters reports the pontiff as saying.

    • The dishonesty of quoting partially The Pope from a Reuters report cannot be overstated. You are assisting the Devil of you take things out of context, and don’t listen to all he said. A house divided falls!

      Yes, Reuters, and countless anti- Catholic blogs taking their lead from them, quote him thus: ““Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace,”

      But on that same Pastoral Journey he said to priests, religious, and seminarians on 26th November 2015:

      “There are people who don’t know why God calls them, but they know that he has. Don’t worry: God will make you understand why he called you. Others want to follow the Lord for some benefit. We remember the mother of James and John, who said: ‘Lord, I beg you, when you cut the cake, give the biggest slice to my sons… Let one of them sit at your right and the other at your left’. We can be tempted to follow Jesus for ambition: ambition for money or power. All of us can say: ‘When I first followed Jesus, I was not like that’. But it happened to other people, and little by little, they sowed it in our heart like weeds.

      In our life as disciples of Jesus, there must be no room for personal ambition, for money, for worldly importance. We follow Jesus to the very last step of his earthly life: the cross. He will make sure you rise again, but you have to keep following him to the end. I tell you this in all seriousness, because the Church is not a business or an NGO. The Church is a mystery: the mystery of Jesus, who looks at each of us and says ‘Follow me’.

      So let this be clear: Jesus is the one who calls. We have to enter by the door when he calls, not by the window; and we have to follow in his footsteps.”

      And to Young People on 27th November:

      ” ‘How can I see the hand of God in one of life’s tragedies?’ There is only one answer: no, there is no answer. There is only a way: to look to the Son of God. God delivered his Son to save us all. God let himself get hurt. God let himself be destroyed on the cross. So when the moment comes when you don’t understand, when you’re in despair and the world is tumbling down all around you, look to the cross! There we see the failure of God; there we see the destruction of God. But there we also see a challenge to our faith: the challenge of hope. Because that story didn’t end in failure. There was the resurrection, which made all things new.”

      And a fuller quote from November 30th as opposed to your Reuters version:

      “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such. We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good. Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, God salam.”

      And at Holy Mass the same day. Please note the last sentence, but the whole section shows that you are knowingly distorting his message for your own ends:

      “We know that our Christian communities, called to holiness, still have a long way to go. Certainly we need to beg the Lord’s forgiveness for our all too frequent reluctance and hesitation in bearing witness to the Gospel. May the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which has just begun in your country, be an occasion to do so. Dear Central Africans, may you look to the future and, strengthened by the distance you have already come, resolutely determine to begin a new chapter in the Christian history of your country, to set out towards new horizons, to put out into the deep. The Apostle Andrew, with his brother Peter, did not hesitate to leave everything at Christ’s call: “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mt 4:20). Once again, we are amazed at the great enthusiasm of the Apostles. Christ drew them so closely to himself, that they felt able to do everything and to risk everything with him.

      Each of us, in his or her heart, can ask the crucial question of where we stand with Jesus, asking what we have already accepted – or refused to accept – in responding to his call to follow him more closely. The cry of “those who bring good news” resounds all the more in our ears, precisely when times are difficult; that cry which “goes out through all the earth… to the ends of the earth” (Rom 10:18; cf. Ps 19:4). And it resounds here, today, in this land of Central Africa. It resounds in our hearts, our families, our parishes, wherever we live. It invites us to persevere in enthusiasm for mission, for that mission which needs new “bearers of good news”, ever more numerous, generous, joyful and holy. We are all called to be, each of us, these messengers whom our brothers and sisters of every ethnic group, religion and culture, await, often without knowing it. For how can our brothers and sisters believe in Christ – Saint Paul asks – if the Word is neither proclaimed nor heard?”

      • Fr Arthur,

        Here’s an extract from a report about Pope Francis, with link to entire report, so you can check for yourself to discover that this extract stands alone:

        “…One participant of the discussion with the pope agrees in this matter of mercy and empathy, saying that ‘in Islam, God is defined by Mercy.’ Pope Francis immediately picks up on this point, having himself just visited Central Africa: ‘We are working much on the dialogue between Christians and Muslims. In Central Africa, there once was harmony. There is now a group which is, by the way, not Muslim but which started the war. The transitional president, herself a practising Catholic, was once loved and respected by the Muslims. I went to a mosque. I asked the Imam whether I may pray. I took off my shoes and I went to pray. Each religion has its extremists. The ideological degenerations of the religion are at the root of war.’ [emphasis added]. Click here to read the entire report.

        In precisely what way was the Pope “proclaiming the Word of God” in that mosque?

        Yet, he has the temerity to announce that “we need to beg the Lord’s forgiveness for our all too frequent reluctance and hesitation in bearing witness to the Gospel”.

        Well, he’d better get begging without delay for he faces a terrible judgment for the scandal caused by his contradictory words and actions on a daily, if not hourly basis.

        Now, back to the topic: does “the Church sin”?

        • I note it is a report of a private meeting, and is based on more than one source. That alone raises red flags.

          Most religions have extremists and they have been known to maim and kill.

          In seeking to encounter people where they are at we are “proclaiming The Word of God”. St Paul at the Areopagus turned the accepted understanding he encountered there to talk about Jesus.

          The evidence The Pope gives, on the record, is that we must preach The Gospel, and risk suffering like Jesus, and for that you can see all the quotes I have posted on this thread alone, but to repeat on 30th November, having visited Mosques, he said:

          “We are all called to be, each of us, these messengers whom our brothers and sisters of every ethnic group, religion and culture, await, often without knowing it. For how can our brothers and sisters believe in Christ – Saint Paul asks – if the Word is neither proclaimed nor heard?”

      • Do not talk rubbish in order to cover up your lack of faith. I have never heard such hyporisy even from an modernist. You are in a class of your own.

  5. “If The Church Sins, It Cannot Be Divine”
    Indeed, the Church cannot sin; only people into the Church can sin. Alas! we experience it every day and this is why many things are going wrong into the Church…

  6. Athanasius, in that excellent post you said “The truth is that many of the clergy, and even Pope Francis, are lost to the true definition of the Church”, and it occurred to me that I had heard no teaching on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ from any source, even SSPX, since my schooldays, when the good sisters taught the doctrine very thoroughly, Pope Pius XII’s encyclical “Mystici Corporis” having been promulgated a few years earlier.

    The following is a report of one of Pope Francis’s talks in St. Peter’s Square from the Catholic Herald 2nd October, 2013. He says clearly that the Church is ‘not without sin’, so it seems that these two Scottish churches are only following his lead. I’d be interested to know what you think of the fourth paragraph and its explanation of why the Church is holy, compared with Pope Pius XII’s clear statement of the doctrine of the Mystical Body. Pretty please! It strikes me that the ignoring of defined doctrine and searching for answers only in scripture is pure protestantism like so much else in the modernist Church.

    “Pope Francis urged thousands of pilgrims gathered on St Peter’s Square this morning to recognise that we are a Church of sinners but that we must not be afraid of holiness.

    “Do not be afraid to aim for holiness and turn yourselves over to the love of God. Holiness does not mean performing extraordinary things but carrying out daily things in an extraordinary way – that is, with love, joy and faith,” the Pope said.

    Pope Francis asked in what sense could the Church be holy if we look at its 2,000 year history and its trials, problems and moments of darkness. “But how can a Church made up of human beings, of sinners, be holy?”

    Referring to St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5: 25-26), he said that it is Christ’s love for the Church and his sacrifice that renders the Church holy. The reasons, he continues, are three-fold: firstly, the Church is faithful to God, who does not abandon it to the “powers of death and evil”; secondly, because it is “united in an everlasting way to Jesus Christ”; and thirdly because it is led by the Holy Spirit “who purifies, transforms and renews it”. “We do not make the Church holy,” he said. “God, the Holy Spirit, does.”

    The Church is not without sin because it is made up of sinners. Priests, sisters, bishops, cardinals and even Popes are sinners. Pope Francis warned us not to believe the misconception that the Church is filled only with the “pure” and that all others are to be “removed”. “This is not true!” he exclaimed. “This is heresy!”

    He concluded by recalling the parable of the prodigal son, reminding us that God waits for us with open arms and celebrates when we return. God wants us to be a part of a Church that opens its doors to everyone so they may find God’s tender mercy and forgiveness. “Every Christian is called to holiness.”

    Link to ‘Mystici Corporis’:
    http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_29061943_mystici-corporis-christi.html

    • May I refer you to my answer above, at 7.23, in which The Pope, on one Pastoral Journey alone, seeks to encourage people to be Christian missionaries proclaiming Christ crucified?

      Further see:

      1 Peter 2:9
      But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

      Romans 12:5
      So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

      There is a difference between saying The Church is made up of sinners, and that The Church, per se, has sinned. Christ, for example, is The Head of The Church, but clearly it members/body has sinned.

      It is sad when people selectively quote, or deliberately misquote, or even partially quote, what anyone says. Morally it raises questions, and certainly it raises question about the motivation of the person.

      • Fr Arthur,

        The topic is about the frequent attacks made by the Pope and other clergy on the second mark of the Church – that the Church is HOLY and, therefore, cannot sin.

        Do you accept this binding teaching and if so, can you explain why the Pope and other members of the hierarchy and clergy do not appear to accept it, by their frequent insistence that the Church is guilty of sin and needs to beg for forgiveness from God for its sins. Please address this question, as it is the topic of this thread.

        It is not good enough for YOU to repeat the doctrine – we all know it, it has been explained in the introduction. The question is WHY DOES THE POPE (AND SO MANY PRIESTS) KEEP ASKING FOR PRAYERS THAT GOD WILL FORGIVE THE CHURCH’S SINS?

        Please stick to the topic.

        • I am confused you accuse me of being a Modernist who does recount The Doctrine, and then you tell me not to keep repeat, and you say The Pope contradicts himself.

          If I can put it simply, The Crusades, and the institutional handling of child abuse, are not marks of The One, Holy, Catholic Church but they are. at some level, the actions of The Church. For them we must ask forgiveness.

          • Fr. Arthur,

            “but they are. at some level, the actions of The Church. For them we must ask forgiveness.”

            That’s it! Iv’e had enough of you mate – you have become for me an “occassion of sin” to be avoided at all costs. I will no longer read anything you post here.

            • The International Theological Commission, which advises on these matters said, in December 1999, that:

              “From a theological point of view, Vatican II distinguishes between the indefectible fidelity of the Church and the weaknesses of her members, clergy or laity, yesterday and today, and therefore, between the Bride of Christ ‘with neither blemish nor wrinkle…holy and immaculate’ (cf. Eph 5:27), and her children, pardoned sinners, called to permanent metanoia, to renewal in the Holy Spirit. ‘The Church, embracing sinners in her bosom, is at the same time holy and always in need of purification and incessantly pursues the path of penance and renewal.'”

              You are in conflict was an august learned Body, and not just me.

              • Fr Arthur,

                That “august learned Body” you quote, has absolutely no authority to teach whatsoever.

                The teaching of the Church is clear, and you obviously do not accept it as neither does that “august Body”.

                The Church is both human and divine. The human members sin, the divine – Christ – does not. Christ and the Church are one, that is why it is a heresy to say that the Church is in need of purification. Only the members are in need of purification. The double-speak of the Theology commission you quote is typical modernism. I repeat, that “august Body” has no authority and it contradicting the defined teaching of the Church on the holiness of the Church.

          • The Crusades were not sinful. You need to gen up on those because you seem to be accepting the Protestant and Muslim propaganda.

            The child abuse scandals are caused by the failure of humans in the Church, the negligent popes we’ve had, bishops and priests. They are not “at some level the actions of the Church” but the actions of sinners within the Church. That does not affect the dogma of the holiness of Christ and his Church.

          • Les croisades ont été ordonnées et encouragées par les Papes.
            Si elles n’avaient pas eu lieu, NOUS SERIONS TOUS MUSULMANS.
            Sorry for telling it in French, but it is easier for me.

              • Fr Arthur,

                That you have chosen to reduce the history of the Crusades to the typically Protestant sound bite, is lamentable, but not surprising. Why not do some research to uncover the truth, rather than just drink in the propaganda?

                • I haven’t reduced anything based on Protestant propaganda. You published a fundamentalist protestant video earlier on and seem to believe them attacking The Pope gives credence to the false notion he said Jesus sinned. He didn’t, but a Pope did express regret for The Crusades.

                  Ed: yes, and the same Pope apologised for just about everything under the sun. “The Church” was to blamed for everything from Galileo to child sex abuse. Shocking ignorance. I notice you don’t name the pope. Neither will I, but readers can rest assured that it was no pre-Vatican II pontiff, but one of the recent modernists, guilty of having all but destroyed the Church, humanly speaking. He apologised for everything but his part in promoting the errors of Vatican II. Oops, not quite; he did admit that he had not governed the Church firmly enough – close to an apology, I suppose, but not quite good enough.

                  As I explained when I posted the Protestant video, its purpose was to demonstrate the damage the Pope is doing by his daft imaginings of what Jesus might have said, might have thought, blah blah. His lack of respect for the integrity of the Gospel shocks Protestants and that is worth noting. You are utterly dishonest in the way you ignore such explanations and repeat your original comment. Utterly dishonest. I don’t have the time to keep repeating explanations so something is going to have to be done about this, since you are continuing on your merry way, despite having this, and your other tendencies to disrupt, pointed out to you.

  7. Christina

    As usual, Pope Francis gives a proximate idea of what constitutes the holiness of the Church, but without clarification. I was also a little disturbed by his talk of the Holy Spirit “who purifies, transforms and renews” the Church. That description of the operation of the Holy Spirit is properly related to the individual members of the Church, not the Church per se. In this regard, read again these words of Gregory XVI:

    “To use the words of the Fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church “was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain “restoration and regeneration” for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune.

    As for paragraph four, I think Pius XII says it much clearer:

    And if at times there appears in the Church something that indicates the weakness of our human nature, it should not be attributed to her juridical constitution, but rather to that regrettable inclination to evil found in each individual, which its Divine Founder permits even at times in the most exalted members of His Mystical Body, for the purpose of testing the virtue of the Shepherds no less than of the flocks, and that all may increase the merit of their Christian faith. For, as We said above, Christ did not wish to exclude sinners from His Church; hence if some of her members are suffering from spiritual maladies, that is no reason why we should lessen our love for the Church, but rather a reason why we should increase our devotion to her members. Certainly the loving Mother is spotless in the Sacraments by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary grace through which with inexhaustible fecundity she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors. But it cannot be laid to her charge if some members fall, weak or wounded. In their name she prays to God daily: “Forgive us our trespasses;” and with the brave heart of a mother she applies herself at once to the work of nursing them back to spiritual health. When, therefore, we call the Body of Jesus Christ “mystical,” the very meaning of the word conveys a solemn warning. It is a warning that echoes in these words of St. Leo: “Recognize, O Christian, your dignity, and being made a sharer of the divine nature go not back to your former worthlessness along the way of unseemly conduct. Keep in mind of what Head and of what Body you are a member.”

    • Thank you Athanasius, but I regret that your answer has become so far separated from my question. I had not picked up on the reference to the Holy Spirit – that is interesting, but perhaps less likely to cause confusion in the minds of ordinary Catholics than that of the ‘sins of the Church’ which leads to the coonfusion and error in those two parishes. Although, as you have pointed out, Pope Francis has given a ‘proximate idea of what constitutes the holiness of the Church’, his words “The Church is not without sin because it is made up of sinners” is liable to be misinterpreted in spite of the ‘because clause’.

      Gerontius, snap! During a distracted Mass of Passion Sunday yesterday I came to exactly the same conclusion as you have regarding occasion of sin. Your resolution to ignore certain posts might work for you – and the best of luck with that – but, as for me, there is only one option, and this will be my last post here for now. The reality for me is that all the current threads on this blog have become unpleasantly difficult to follow because of the daily disruptions which separate linked posts, and cause other bloggers to go off at a tangent and invariably off-topic. I also find this early-morning sweep and selection of all the recent listed posts for disruptive comment (obviously, as the posts are not at the ends of threads, but are invariably insertions) to be rather ‘creepy’. Many of these distractions have introduced real nastiness into the blog, abusive remarks aimed at individuals being disingenuously claimed to be ‘generalisations’, while accusations of malicious intent, calumny, need for Confession, etc., are unique in my experience on this blog.

      • Christina,

        I’ve not been able to keep up with all the comments, as they are coming thick and fast, but if anyone has been nasty to you with abusive remarks, that is not usual on this blog and Editor doesn’t usually allow it, so whoever is responsible will be consigned to moderation when she gets wind of it, I’m sure.

        It is definitely out of order to tell anyone they need to go to Confession, or are guilty of malicious intent so that is awful. Are you sure it wasn’t just a general remark (aimed at the lot of us! LOL!)

        I really hope you don’t abandon the blog. Why should you? I recommend you just ignore whoever you feel is insulting you and communicate with the rest of us.

      • Christina,

        Please don’t give up the blog – I’ve been reading through all your comments and the replies from Fr Arthur and you have kept your dignity throughout and you have said nothing to warrant the things he has said in his replies.

        I haven’t found a single comment from him anywhere, where he is agreeing with the rest of the bloggers, his comments are overwhelmingly hostile to this blog.

        I wonder if he is actually trying to drive people away from this blog – that was my uppermost thought as I was reading through the comments from others and then his replies.

        I don’t blog that often, but I won’t let him drive me away. I know people who read around the blogs and say this one is the best on the internet. Maybe that’s why he is so determined to destroy it?

  8. Do these people never say the Nicene Creed at Mass? I quote “…I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church…” Clearly they have just recited the words and never really looked at what they have just said. It is quite clear that we believe that the Church is Holy. It is what we solemny declare when we say that Creed. The real trouble is that many of those around us blame the whole Church for the sins of the few. The media peddle the idea constantly. We, here in Australia, have just had to suffer the public trial of Cardinal Pell on TV and the commentators on the TV and the papers have not let go yet. Cardinal Pell is guilty of all the sins committed by several pedophiles and only yesterday (Sunday 13th March) there was a programme on the ABC which was devoted to the sins of the Catholic Church and, of course, Cardinal Pell in particular and there were howls that he should resign when he in fact was the very first Archbishop who did something about the prosecution of the pedophiles and the compensation paid to their victims!

    • JohnR

      You are absolutely correct about the Creed. It seems also that they have never heard the Church described as “The Spotless Bride of Christ”.

      As regards Cardinal Pell, this trial by TV and Press is happening everywhere in the world with regard to clerical abuse, but only with the Catholic Church. It is clearly a global agenda to paint the Church and her hierarchy in the worst possible light. We never hear of the vast numbers of abuse cases involving Protestants, Jews, Muslims, etc. And note the movie that just won an Oscar for raking up all the old wounds of Catholic abuse in Boston.

      This has never been about justice for victims of abuse, it’s about using whatever scandal bad Catholics have given to crucify the Catholic Church.

    • John R,

      You are spot on. I’ve been appalled at the reports I’ve seen on the treatment of Cardinal Pell. The media just love this, giving the impression that every priest is a paedophile (priests in Ireland who wear the collar frequently face shouts of “paedophile” in the streets – yet try doing that if you pass a BBC employee or celebrity on the street!)

      All the more reason why the clergy, like those (insert adjective) priests in Galloway should do as you suggest and think about the words they are praying in the Creed. Not take their lead from an ignorant and anti-Catholic media.

  9. If my memory serves me aright, didn’t Pope Francis declare that Jesus himself had sinned?! I think that it was in one of his many off-the-cuff remarks made a couple of weeks ago. Now isn’t the attribution of sin to God one of those “Sins against the Holy Spirit” which cannot be forgiven? Or am I wrong there?

    • JohnR,

      I do seem to recall some off-the-cuff remarks made by Pope Francis to the effect that Our Lord had sinned, but I can’t swear on it.

      Anyway, if the Pope did suggest such a thing it would be blasphemy, a very grave sin indeed. But it would not constitute a sin against the Holy Spirit that cannot be forgiven.

      • Yes, the pope said something to the effect that Jesus sinned by worrying his parents when he was missing for 3 days and found in the temple .

    • It is unlikely he said it, and, like many other “quotes”, if you do find it anywhere, it was probably written by someone who writes quotes for others.

      If he did say it, to this day, and every day, it would be worldwide international news. So please do source it as soon as possible. Honesty requires it of you!

      • Easy to find on the internet, scores of articles and translations..”Jesus “probably” had to ask forgiveness from his parents for the worry he gave them when he went to the temple and was “missing”…..the Pope said..scriptures did not say he he asked for forgiveness…”BUT WE CAN PRESUME THAT”….these are the words of Pope Francis, translated from Spanish.

        • Editor will know that I don’t reply to everyone, but I feel obliged to reply to this strange post.

          Firstly we read in Luke “His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”. In other words Jesus had caused his parents to worry.

          Two, in dealing with children I hope they are taught the difference between a wilful act, and an accident. Thus to deliberately smash a siblings toy, would be sinful, and at two levels it would be necessary to say “sorry” and ask forgiveness, For wrong done, and hurt caused. However, if the child accidentally broke a vase – which is not a sinful – they may, rightly, ask forgiveness for a careless/unthinking act. (Why play in a room unsuited for the activity?)

          Likewise, if a person is late for a date/meeting mostly likely they will ask forgiveness, but the actual act is not sinful.

          Therefore to presume Jesus asked forgiveness is not unreasonable, as presumably he was courteous, and caring, and honoured his parents, but the thing he is asking forgiveness for, or apologising for, is not a sin.

          Central to our faith is that Jesus did not sin.

          However, I don’t know if you are a parent but a parent who misunderstood such basic, simple, core, things would mostly screw up their child, and lead them to scrupulosity, and then…..

          • Fr Arthur,

            Firstly, the Pope has no darned right to presume anything about the Scriptures. That is not his job. To date, just about everything he has said in relation to Scripture has been his imaginings and presumptions, his embellishments and utter nonsense. No intelligent person would dream of trying to excuse his abuse of Scripture.

            To ask for forgiveness implies sin. If Jesus asked for forgiveness from his parents, then he was admitting sin.

            I wouldn’t normally post anything from a Protestant source but I think the video below shows the immense damage which this Pope is doing. The topic of the video is, precisely, the Pope’s homily in which he speaks of the Gospel report of the finding of Jesus… Pope Francis is handing Protestants, sticks galore with which to beat the Catholic Church. He is a terrible pope, so please stop defending his scandalous utterances.
            Note: we must beware of the fact that there are points in the film when the expected Protestant errors are stated (such as literal interpretation of Scripture, Our Lady etc.) I know our bloggers will not be misled by these errors, but the film is useful in that we can hear first-hand, from a Protestant, how scandalised they are by Pope Francis’s embellishment of Scripture. We do not literally interpret every passage of Scripture, but neither do we change the text or add layers of meaning to it from our imaginations. Nobody has the authority to do that, not even a pope.

            • Editor

              Not every act for which we ask forgiveness is a sin.

              Was The B.V.M. lying when she said her, and Joseph, was worried for three days?

              Would not any parent, even the parents, of Jesus be hurt by such an event, and would not a sinless child – who later as an adult anticipated peoples needs and read their hearts – not say sorry for momentarily hurting them?

              That is not digging, dear Editor, that is common-sense.

              Further you cannot dismiss Protestants when it suit you, and quote them when you need them. Your normal argument is that they, and others, are wilfully blind, and heretics. It is illogical to look both ways at once.

              That is not to say that people haven’t been confused by some Papal statements, but that is because they are often partially quoted, and used out of context, and also as, sometimes, the idea – which in its substance is true – has often been badly expressed.

              • Christ did NOT say sorry! That is the point.

                You bang on about us giving sources and being accurate in every word we write here but you don’t mind the Pope making up Scripture quotes.

                Dear Lord, give me STRENGTH!

                PS you’ve still not answered the question, why is the Pope and priests perpetrating the lie that the Church is blameworthy due to having sinned.

                PPS I have explained the use of the Protestant source, which is to underline the damage the Pope is doing. I have warned against the errors there, on the off-chance that they are not recognised by readers/visitors – I know that our bloggers are well educated in such matters so have no concerns about them.

                • The child Jesus is not recorded as saying anything much directly. Are you claiming The Gospels accurately report everything he said to his parents. Or that he did thank his hosts for the meals we know he eat? Or that a man who was moved to raise the son of the Widow at Nain, but not be moved by the troubled looks, and words, of his Mother?

                  • You cannot justify the Pope’s assertion that Christ would have apologised to his mother, indicating sin at whatever level, given that He was sinless. If Christ was guilty of sin, then the priests in Galloway are quite correct to say that the Church has sinned and needs God’s mercy and forgiveness. Christ and His Church are one. Cardinal Newman: “The Catholic Church IS the Christian dispensation.”

                    The LGBT “community”, in fact, beat you to it. They believe that it is acceptable/possible to presume Christ’s words and beliefs even though they are not recorded in Scripture, they believe that Christ would be quite at ease with their sin, that as long as everyone loves everyone else, sexual behaviour is irrelevant. Do you think the LGBT community have a point?

                    You can’t pick and choose your presumptions. If we can presume Jesus said one thing in Scripture when there is nothing recorded, then we can presume anything we choose. And so can the LGBT “community”.

                    • Have you read anything I have said in any previous posts? I have said more than once an hurtful action may not be a sinful act. Therefore, humanly speaking it likely even Jesus would apologise for making his parents feel worried. You may know too, that The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, are based on entering, as best you can, in the story.

                • As we all know except “Fr. Arthur” the Keys of the Kingdom were give to Peter and his successor’s. The Fathers of the Church have made it clear that if you are not with Peter you are not with Christ.

                  • Why then would a loyal Catholic misquote The Pope, and ignore what he actually said? That is what you are doing!

                    • The point is I quote The Pope, and others don’t even accurately paraphrase what he says, and wilfully distort what he says.

                    • Fr Arthur,

                      It’s you who is ignoring what the Pope actually says.

                      Read this report about his denial of Hell and he said the worst evils were youth unemployment and loneliness. It’s in this article which I’ve read but didn’t remember to post until now.
                      https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/about-that-pope-francis-interview-where-he-denied-the-existence-of-hell

                      These comments are never binding, of course, we know that, but they are damaging because people who don’t know better think that this is Church teaching.

                    • The report you linked to says within it that the “interview” is not based “on written records”. You are really clutching at straws to attack The Successor of St Peter!

              • No confusion over the Papal statement on Belgian Nuns in Congo as this was later explained and amplified by Fr Federico Lombardi….this was to “remove confusion” in that Francis quotes the examples in 1960’s.Then we get the Kosovo/Bosnia example If it was a MYTH then why use such an example with respect to Zika virus, as it is Lombardi said it was true….No Father Arthur, your explanatory notes do not defend the indefensible.

            • Editor,

              I viewed that video and it is really startling how much damage Pope Francis is doing to the faith. It’s terrible to see a pope having to be corrected by a Protestant !

        • Margaret Mary

          If you forget to send someone a Birthday Card is it a sin? Would you apologise/say sorry to them later?

          The homily contains 816 words and not one reference to sin. Not one, neither implicitly or explicitly.

          You are right the link shows the importance of this discussion. Some here will use any self manufactured stick to beat The Pope.

          • Fr Arthur,

            The Pope said Jesus probably caused his mother “great distress” – not most people’s reaction to a missing birthday card LOL!

            “We know what Jesus did on that occasion. Instead of returning home with his family, he stayed in Jerusalem, in the Temple, causing great distress to Mary and Joseph who were unable to find him. For this little “escapade”, Jesus probably had to beg forgiveness of his parents. The Gospel doesn’t say this, but I believe that we can presume it. Mary’s question, moreover, contains a certain reproach, revealing the concern and anguish which she and Joseph felt.”

            http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/homilies/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20151227_omelia-santa-famiglia.html

          • Fr Arthur,

            Of course it’s not a sin to forget to send a birthday card but I guess it is a sin to publicly read meanings into the Gospel which come out of someone’s imagination. The Pope has suggested that Jesus was not the obedient child of the Gospel but a child who caused his parents “great distress”.

            • No he has said a child going missing for three days would upset his parents. It doesn’t take imagination to work that one out. Mary being the same parent who didn’t fully understand what her adult son was doing, and tried to take him home. (Mark 3:21)

              Editor: “And when His friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him. For they said: He is become mad.” (Mark 3:21)
              No mention of Our Lady there at all.

            • The Gospel says clearly after the incident in The Temple he went back and was obedient to them. Luke 2:51-52

              The reference to his obedience comes after the incident in which he caused distress to his parents,

              We also learn years later when he began his adult ministry his family came to take charge of him because they thought he was out of his mind. Mark 3:21

              The Pope isn’t making things up but showing his knowledge of Christ and Holy Scripture, and in a homily of 816 words he doesn’t mention sin once.

              • It’s no surprise that the Pope doesn’t mention sin. He only uses it when attacking traditional faithful.

                • Actually he mention the sin, and the devil, frequently and The Year of Mercy, and the “Missionaries”, are precisely to emphasis the need to acknowledge sin, and the need for repentance and forgiveness. When you have removed the plank from your own eye…..

  10. It is sadly not surprising that these Ayrshire Churches are actually directly teaching against the faith.

    The Church is in a directionless, moribund state across Scotland, but seems to be in an advanced state of decay in Ayrshire (as confirmed via a recent conversation with a priest).

    These so-called parishes are often just empty shells now, going through what are no doubt their final years.

    I clicked on the link provided to St Brides, and the latest newsletter (13 March) includes the following, in addiiton to the advertisement for a service which is contrary to the Catholic faith:

    – lenten reflections from a men’s ecumenical group
    – an ongoing “reformation course” given by a lady deacon from the church of scotland; the next class is about John Calvin, apparently, and the parish priest can barely contain his excitement about learning about him.

    Given the only results of the Reformation have been the large-scale de-Christianisation of Scotland, and the fracturing of Scottish society, it seems strange that a Catholic parish might identify it as a source of useful learning.

    I also noted an advert for “messy church” which is essentially an arts and crafts session for kids. That jumped out because I had been in ayrshire on saturday and saw an advert for “messy church” outside a different Catholic parish.

    This is essentially a protestant idea which labours under the false notion that kids will be interested in Church if allowed to play there. It is sad to see this protestant venture spreading among Catholic Churches in ayrshire, because it represents the begining of the transformation from church to social club.

    If you look at a Catholic parish bulletin, even a modern parish, (with the exception of the ones linked in this article) it will often have things like novenas, rosary group, adoration, confession times etc scheduled.

    Compare with (eg) a Church of Scotland newsletter, which will advertise things like Weight Watchers, rambling club, boys brigade etc.

    The difference is obvious – and it is concerning the Ayrshire Churches seem to becoming more like the latter, than the former.

    • Gabriel

      If you ever wish to have your hair curled, or pulled out even, a read of the bulletins of the Cathedral of lhe Galloway Diocese is a must. You`d need
      a magnifying glass, or a magnifying brain even, to find anything remotely
      Catholic in them.

      As for trying to do the (modern) Stations of The Cross. A visit to to the Chapel House would be required first to find out where to start and in what direction to go after that. That`s providing you go there when it is actually open.

      The word joke comes to mind when I see their bulletins.

      .

  11. The Church exists at two levels.

    As Mystery – as Jesus Christ – it is, of course, sinless.

    As institution, it can be dragged into sin by Catholics, clerical or lay.

    • Tony Buck,

      That’s the heresy that is being discussed here. The “institution” of the Church cannot sin. You are playing with words in your attempt to deny the doctrine with seeming to do so.

      Individual Catholics within the Church sin. Not the Church itself.

      Why are you reluctant to say that?

  12. Editor,

    “Or is there something mischievous going on here? Why would the hierarchy and clergy want the faithful to believe that the Church is guilty of sin?”

    Certainly not ALL of them, but for the rest it’s likely to be the result of the pernicious, modernistic fruit of Vatican 2. “Liberty” (religious freedom) ” Equality” ( ecumenism, collegiality – healthy decentralisation – woman priests etc) and of course “Fraternity” ( wer’e all Gods children)

    OH NO WE AINT!

    ” I will put enmities (plural) between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed ” Gen 3:15
    and
    The Children of the Devil
    42Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me: 43Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. 44You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. 45But if I say the truth, you believe me not. 46Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? 47He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. John 8:44

    This was in my inbox this morning:
    https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=166

    • Spot on Gerontius. As for the Children of the Devil “and you shall lie in wait for her heel”

  13. Having direct experience of the Galloway Diocese, under Emeritus +Taylor – including dining with him, I consider the Diocese to be a ‘Devastated Vineyard’. His theology, combined with the fact of his seminary staff position at Cardross and the rectorship at Valladolid could only result in likeminded clergy emerging. I know that parish clergy, other than the most senior, deferred to +Taylor and heaven help them if they demonstrated contrary views. One had to hide copies of Michael Davies booklets, loaned to him, as if it had been of pornographic nature. +Taylor was content to close a church and share with a CofS, where the minister was an ex Catholic. He gave preference to an ex CofS minister to be head of a Deanery, where he could disseminate his Protestant ideas, indeed Knoxian ideology – only to have to leave in disgrace. An hopeless situation – missionary land indeed.

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