Is Pope Encouraging Inter-Communion?

On the plane ride back from his trip to Romania, Pope Francis told reporters that since “there is already Christian unity,” there is no need for the faithful to “wait for the theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.” Some progressive Catholics have considered this to be evidence that the pope may be open to granting full Eucharistic communion to non-Catholics. If that is indeed what Francis meant — what else could he have meant? — then he is forcing the Church to address a series of rather difficult and uncomfortable questions.

Not least among them: What is the Eucharist? Is it a tool to be used to facilitate a “Christian unity” that the pope insists “already” exists? Or is it an expression of full communion with the Catholic Church? If the Church reverses herself and contradicts her unbroken Magisterium on the admission of schismatics and dissenters to the sacraments, what happens to her dogmatic integrity on other settled questions of faith and morals? Is the entire canon perpetually subject to the modish preferences of the current and future occupants of the Petrine chair? Most astounding, why is she unwilling to “wait for the theologians to come to agreement” before making a change of such gravity?

Theology, in St. Anselm’s classic formula, is fides quaerens intellectum — faith seeking understanding. If the pope’s goal is to formulate a discipline wherein faith is joined to right reason, there is nothing to fear in allowing rightly disposed “theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.” If his goal is to unshackle the Church from her bimillennial moorings, that is another project altogether, one that might not be aided by waiting for a consensus of theological opinion.   Click here to read the rest of this [worrying] report…

Comment:

The author of the above National Review report is manifestly correct in pointing out that: Popes throughout the centuries were undivided in their opinion on the subject. Particularly before the Second Vatican Council, popes were stark in their indiscriminate opposition to intercommunion, considering it a profanation and an abject evil to be avoided. Pope Pius IX put it rather precisely in his encyclical Amantissimus (1862), where he proclaimed that “whoever eats of the Lamb and is not a member of the Church has profaned.” 
Such precision is of little import to the “innovators” that Pope Pius XII warned the faithful about. Give the “innovators” of the post-conciliar Church enough time and they will wiggle their way out of even the Church’s most unambiguous statements of antiquity [emphasis added]. 

It’s getting to the stage where we are all going to have to check with our priests/bishops every time the Pope is quoted in the media, to ask if we are going to see this or that change (in this case inter-communion) in our own local churches, as we did when we learned that he had ordered a change to the words of the Our Father.  Outrageous. 

We must obviously re-double our prayers and use all the means available to us to bring about the spirit of faith that would lead to the Consecration of Russia – see www.fatima.org – and thus an end to this scandalous papacy. 

That’s what we – the humble laity – can do.  What about the clergy, the bishops, though.  Aren’t ANY of the UK bishops and priests remotely concerned, do any of them have a sense of duty that might lead them to DO something about this pope?  Interesting that the National Review report concludes with a quote from Pope St Pius X  – To echo the lament of Pope Pius X, “Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!” Yet, modern priests have embraced novelty.  Why is that?  By speaking out to warn against this Pope’s errors, priests may, of course, lose their position, their parish, their office – but they won’t lose their heads, as did our great martyrs of old.  Come on, there must SURELY be someone in the ordained class who will speak out to warn the faithful about this dreadful pontiff.  Or am I about to wake up in the “real world” again? And what, if anything, in practical terms, can we do if inter-communion is introduced in our parish? 

Pope Francis Attacks Tradition Again 

Aboard the papal flight from Romania — Pope Francis has criticized traditionalist Catholics who seek to “safeguard the ashes” of the past, saying the global church’s centuries of tradition are not akin to a container for preserved objects but instead like roots to be drawn on for future growth.

In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after his three-day visit to Romania, he singled out Catholic “fundamentalists,” who he said have a nostalgia for “returning to the ashes.”
Ed:  reflect for a moment on the fact that here, Pope Francis is, yet again, rubbishing Catholic Tradition.  Unsurprisingly, he departs from the teachings of the truly great popes, including saints and martyrs, the Fathers of the Church who went before him.  Here’s a couple of examples…

St. Irenaeus of Lyons  “Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?” 

Pope Stephen I, to St. Cyrpian of Carthage  “Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.” 

Francis continues…

“Tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the container of the ashes,” said Francis. “Tradition is like roots [of a tree], which give us nutrition to grow,” he explained. “You will not become like the roots. You will flower, grow, give fruit. And the seeds become roots for other people.”
Ed: what a load of… Talk about never saying two words when twenty will suffice.

“The tradition of the church is always in movement,” he said. “The tradition does not safeguard the ashes.”
Ed: by “ashes” we take it that he means the teaching of the Church, God’s revelation of dogma and the moral law…

St. Augustine  “The customs of God’s people and the institutions of our ancestors are to be considered as laws. And those who throw contempt on the customs of the Church ought to be punished as those who disobey the law of God.” 

The report continues…

Francis did not specify in his remarks whom he had in mind while speaking of Catholic traditionalists. But the pontiff has come under criticism during his six-year papacy from a vocal minority of Catholics, including some cardinals, who have expressed concern that he has not been clear in enunciating some of the church’s teachings.
Ed: don’t you just love the understatement?  “Expressed concern”? We’ve got Catholics questioning whether or not he really IS a pope! Priceless.  He’s widely considered the first Protestant Pope!  It’s a tad more than a bit of concern. Trust me on this.

Francis spoke about the church’s tradition after being asked about his relationship with retired Pope Benedict XVI.
Ed:  remember him? [pictured right].  He who asked us to pray that he “would not flee for fear of the wolves” and then did a runner?

Francis repeated his frequent characterization that having Benedict live in retirement at the Vatican is for him like having a grandfather at home. Francis said that going to speak with his predecessor always gives him strength.
Ed:  hardly surprising – they’re both modernists.  Only difference, Benedict at least looked the part, Francis… well… 

“I feel the nutrition coming up through the roots, and it helps me go forward,” said Francis.
Ed:  Oh, please…

St. Vincent of Lerins   “I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.”

The report continues…

Among other issues he spoke about in the half-hour press conference, the pope also made an impassioned plea for Catholics to pray for the future of the European Union, which he said has “aged” and is in danger of being “overcome by pessimism.”
Ed: it’s in danger of falling apart, and all because it was a very bad idea in the first place…

In his first remarks about the 28-member block since European parliamentary elections last week resulted in gains for populist parties across the continent, the pope lamented the appearance of what he called “new borders” across the EU and said the organization “has lost the goal of working together.”
Ed:  er…no… we just want to control our own borders and find new ways of working together. 

“Europe is not being attacked by cannons or bombs in this moment but by ideologies, ideologies that are not European, that come either from outside or that stem from small groups,” he said.
Ed:  by “small groups” he means, presumably the nation states like the UK who wish to make our own decisions, even our own laws!  Cheek of us!

After referring to the tragedy of the two World Wars, he pleaded: “Please, let’s not return to this. Let’s learn from history. Let’s not fall in the same hole.”

“I would say to believers, ‘Pray for Europe … for unity, that the Lord will give us this grace,’ ” the pope added later.

Francis had been in Romania May 31-June 2 for a visit that focused both on encouraging the country’s minority Catholic population and reaching out to the 16-million-member Romanian Orthodox Church.

Asked about his May 31 meeting with Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel, Francis called him “a man of great heart, and a great scholar.”

“He is also a man of prayer,” said the pope. “It is easy to get close to Daniel because I felt that he was a brother.”
Ed: well, yeah, he’s sure to be a “brother” – he’s a non-Catholic religious leader, for goodness sake!  It’s only those pesky “traditional Catholics” who are not brothers or sisters, remember? 

Francis said that ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox are built by walking together, and by jointly serving those in need. “There is already Christian unity,” he said. “Let’s not wait for the theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.”
Ed: Excuse me?  Is this a call to even more liturgical chaos “creativity”?

“The Eucharist is celebrated everyday with prayer, with remembrance of the blood of our martyrs, with the works of charity, and also wanting each other to be well,” he added.
Ed: “our martyrs”?  Are there schismatic “martyrs” in Heaven? 

Francis also addressed the prayer service he and Daniel hosted together, in which the two leaders both recited the Our Father prayer in each other’s presence, but separately — the pope going first in Latin, followed by the patriarch in Romanian.
Ed:  Latin?  Latin, Holy Father… Latin? You serious? You are in our [vernacular] prayers…  Worry not; you may still save your soul if you repent asap… Latin?  Whatever next! 

Some right-wing Orthodox consider it inappropriate for believers to pray with Catholics. The pope revealed that while the patriarch said the prayer in Romanian, Francis had said it again quietly in Italian. He said that from what he could see, “the majority” of the crowd gathered for the event at Bucharest’s new Orthodox Cathedral had prayed both times.
Ed:  well, there you go.  Not a wasted trip after all… Some folk said the Our Father twice! WOW!

“The people went beyond us leaders,” said Francis. “We leaders must have diplomatic balance, to ensure that we are going forward together. There are diplomatic rules that are good to safeguard, so as not to ruin the thing. But the people pray together.”
Ed:  I’m running out of sarcasm.  Help!

Making his first reference in the press conference to Catholic “fundamentalists,” the pontiff said that even some Catholics are “closed” on the issue of praying with Orthodox, thinking them schismatics.
Ed:  and you – of all the popes in history – are here to tell us we’re wrong? 

“There are Catholic groups who are a bit fundamentalist,” said the pope. “We must tolerate it, praying for them, so that the Lord and the Holy Spirit soften their hearts a bit.”
Ed: shucks thanks, Papa Francis.  I now know why the blogger who emailed me this article wrote only one word in his message – “unbelievable”!  Let me add with bells and ribbons on! 

Comments invited – needn’t be terribly polite – just printable 😀  

Pope Francis The Heretic – Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church… 

From LifeSiteNews…

Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter

April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Prominent clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy. They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime.

The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.

“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” the authors state.  Click here to read more, including list of signatories to date

Comment: 

The big question now is whether this latest approach to deal with this problem pope will meet the same fate as previous attempts, notably the Filial Correction and the Dubia.  Ignored.  If this Open Letter is ignored, what next?  And what will it tell us about the response – or lack of response – of the bishops around the world.  Is it likely, she said tongue in cheek, that the Scottish hierarchy will respond helpfully to this initiative – or, indeed, the bishops of the wider UK?   Am I right/wrong to be a  tad cynical?  Without betraying anyone’s trust or sources, or anything, she said coyly, but there IS concern about Papa Francis within the hierarchy of the UK – I won’t narrow it down any further – so what would you say to any wavering priest if you could speak to him privately in order to encourage him to sign?  This is your chance! Go for it!  

Here’s my private message to any priest with a conscience who knows perfectly well the damage being inflicted on the Church by this dreadful pope:  Father  X, you MUST sign this Open Letter.  No excuses.  Do you really want to be confronted at your judgement with the blank space where your signature should have been?  Of course not.  Unpopularity, disapproval, wagging fingers from brother priests who choose to remain complicit in this scandal, all will pass.  Your responsibility before God must trump all such fears.  Email your willingness to sign to openlettertobishops@gmail.com 

Australia: Parishioners Enraged, Assault Priest For Being Too Catholic…

Complaints from annoyed parishioners about a priest’s “brand” of religion have forced the Catholic church to move on a recent appointee from northern Tasmania.

Father Nicholas Rynne, ordained in 2013 and formerly based in Sydney, ceased working in Tasmania’s Meander Valley Parish after “recent disturbances” and a subsequent investigation, the Archdiocese of Hobart announced on Wednesday.

“We pray that a process of healing and restoration of unity may be achieved in the parish and among all affected,” Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous said in a statement, noting there was no allegation of sexual abuse among the complaints.
[Ed: it’s worth noting that other reports reveal that the same parishioners who persecuted Fr Rynne, also detest the archbishop. He’s weakly caved in to their demands instead of sending them off to attend an equality and diversity course  in order to learn all about inclusion…]

The archdiocese launched an investigation headed by retired Melbourne Bishop Peter Elliot, who last week interviewed 86 people in the community.

The parish takes in the centres of Westbury and Deloraine, west of Launceston.

“In the light of Bishop Elliot’s recommendations and following discussion with diocesan consultors and the council of priests, Fr Nicholas Rynne has ceased his role,” Archbishop Porteous said, noting the father is taking leave.
[Ed: utterly disgraceful.  Everyone involved should be hanging their muddled and apostate heads in shame.]

In a publicly-available letter addressed to Fr Rynne, Maureen Bennett wrote that she and fellow parishioners felt hostility towards the priest.
[Ed: that’s putting it mildly.  These nuts physically assaulted this priest and an elderly female supporter – click here to read more. ]

“If people other than our Archbishop do not agree with your brand of religion you should expect it and stop putting forward a sob story about how badly done by you are,” she penned.
[Ed:  this would be the “brand” of religion that has given us countless saints and martyrs for 2000 years, of course.  Numpty.]

“You accused us of being apostates when it is you who is setting up a sect within our religion and trying to indoctrinate everyone that yours is the only true religion.”
[Ed: the traditional Catholic Church & Faith the only true religion?  Where on earth did Fr Rynne get that idea?]

She slammed as “ridiculous” his decision to wear a cassock and collar and hit out at the priest’s attitude towards women on the altar.
[Ed:  I think she means “in the sanctuary” – women would look even more out of place on the actual altar. This one really is a numpty.]

“We have no love for clerical dress and have embraced those priests and nuns who have shown us that by dressing in the same way as the rest of us they are human beings,” the letter continued.
[Ed:  Maureen Bennett thinks she’s (only) a human being?  Now, that really IS humble  Since she clearly lords it over the archbishop and just about everyone in Australia, I’m not so sure there’s not some… er… supernatural activity going on here, a certain “spirit” shall we say, enveloping this self-appointed guardian of her own brand of  religion… But this much is clear:  she’s anything but human to treat her priest in this disgraceful way.]

Her criticism was broad.

“Your attitude to women on the altar, depriving of us of positions we have humbly held in the past and the jerky manner in which you now turn to the people and the way you pray the consecration are all very annoying,” she said.
[Ed:  Well, we can see that the humility is just oozing out of this one, can’t we?] 

The controversial priest had also introduced a Latin mass to the Westbury church in addition to the standard mass.
[Ed:  Phew!  So that’s it?  Phew! Here’s me thinking he must surely have been selling drugs or dealing in human trafficking to excite such anger and opposition…]   
Source – The Australian 3/4/19

Please click here to  sign the petition which has been organised by supporting parishioners 

Comments invited…

But first,  please pray for this poor priest, victimised by a bunch of nasty parishioners, and hung out to dry by his weak archbishop.  

Priest: Celtic V Rangers V Mass. Oops! 

Pseudonymous Father Justin Thyme, a Glasgow priest, responsible for two parishes in Glasgow,  found himself in a bit of a bind when he realised that the kick-off for the Celtic Vs Rangers game on 31 March, 2019 was at 12 noon. Mass in one of his parishes is at 9 a.m. on Sundays, but in the other… well, that’s at 11 a.m.

You see the problem? Either miss the kick-off, arrive late at the game, or

And that turned out to be the solution. That “or” – Father Thyme  simply arranged for a supply priest to celebrate the Mass for the 4th Sunday in Lent while he, Father Justin, made the supreme sacrifice and toddled off to the Celtic game instead.

But, is it easy to preach the primacy of the Sunday Mass obligation if the priest is able to justify attending a football match instead? Even if, as the defence will go, he’s celebrated either the vigil Mass, or the 9 a.m. Mass, tell that to the parishioners of the 11.a.m. Mass in “parish number 2”.

Not a good look, as they say these days – or as we used to say in the bad old days “doesn’t look good…”

“I’m sure that” – Father Thyme was heard saying solemnly to a friend en route to the game – “Pope Francis would approve.”

There’s no arguing with that, unfortunately…

Scots boy presents Pope Francis with Celtic top.  Click on photo to read more…

Scottish Bishops Punish Faithful With Annual Reminder of Abuse Scandals

From the Scottish Catholic Observer…

Church establishes yearly Day of Prayer for victims of abuse

The Bishops of Scotland [pictured above] have established A Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse, to be marked on the Friday following Ash Wednesday.

The Church issued resources to every parish in Scotland to be used this Friday, March 8, during a ‘holy hour style Service of Acknowledgment, Prayer and Reflection,’ or during Mass.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “The Bishops of Scotland have established A Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse to be marked each year on the Friday following Ash Wednesday.

“This allows the Church to renew its apology to anyone who has suffered and to stress its commitment to the essential work of safeguarding across our parish communities.”

In February, Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen Diocese, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, attended a Vatican meeting of Episcopal Conference Presidents from across the world in Rome to discuss the Protection of Minors.

The format of the day of prayer on Friday—after the SCO went to press—included prayers for victims of abuse of all kinds and a penitential rite to seek forgiveness for abuse committed by Church personnel.

The Church has proposed that during Mass on Friday the intercessions provided could be used either as intercessory prayers or as an extended Penitential Rite.

An opening hymn reads: “We cannot measure how you heal, Christ be beside me, Christ be our light, Be thou my vision.”

In Dundee, the service took place at 7pm in St Andrew’s Cathedral.

In Motherwell Diocese St Columbkille’s Church in Rutherglen held a ‘Day of Prayer’ for those who have suffered abuse.

A spokesperson for the parish said: “Our parish community will acknowledge and pray for all those who were the innocent victims of some in the Church whom they trusted to protect them.

“We shall pray that survivors of abuse will experience healing, justice and renewal in their lives.

“We shall also pray that the Church, which has been scarred by the grave sin of abuse, will, through repentance and reparation, resolve always to protect the young and the vulnerable.”

The Divine Mercy Novena at 3pm in Rutherglen’s St Columbkille’s would help provide a ‘focus for acknowledgement, prayer and reflection.’   END.

Comment:

Read the current edition of Catholic Truth, which you can download on the Newsletter page of our website here, to uncover the years and years of neglect on the part of the Scottish Hierarchy, where dissident and sexually deviant priests have been (and continue to be) allowed to live as they please, without suffering so much as a  rebuke. Not even discipline-lite.   All, of course, except Father Matthew Despard who had the temerity to write a book exposing the level of homosexual clergy within the Church in Scotland 5 years ago and remains suspended from priestly ministry for his trouble.   

Yet now, we find these same Bishops subjecting faithful priests and laity to an annual reminder of the abuse scandals – as if the clergy don’t feel tainted enough – whereas, what the Bishops should be announcing is that they will be making a Lenten retreat of repentance for their own negligence in so many ways, such as allowing dissidents platforms to spread their poison, and failing to discipline priests who have been promoting the LGBT+ agenda, and in certain cases continue to do so at the present time. 

They’re good at superficiality, the Scottish Bishops – that’s for sure. And this is just one more example of it. Makes a change, I suppose from the annual “Lentfest” – where the faithful in the Archdiocese of Glasgow were encouraged to use the six weeks of Lent, not to do penance for our sins but to get better acquainted with the arts and to, well, enjoy ourselves.  That seems to have fallen by the wayside – or at least, I didn’t find any mention of it just now on a quick visit to the archdiocesan website.  So, hopefully, the penny has dropped that having fun isn’t really true to the spirit of the, er, penitential period of Lent.   I heard a priest tell a really comic-tragic story about this Lenten “fun” mentality just last week during his sermon, when he mentioned a young woman who had decided to throw a party on Ash Wednesday to mark the start of Lent and the main dish was some kind of fancy Ham dish.  Truly, it was impossible to keep a straight face. Father didn’t bother to try. 

This annual service to remember clergy abuse is pointless.  It is but one more way to scandalise the faithful and to belittle Christ’s Spotless Bride, the Church, which has not, and cannot sin.  Only the members of the Church can sin, and we make up for those sins through prayer and penance, certainly, but not in a manner which suggests that “the Church” is to blame.  Churchmen certainly are to blame – priest abusers and their negligent bishops – but  not “the Church”.   Such priests should always be removed from active ministry and again, this would be the case if only the Bishops would invoke Canon Law.  Unless the Bishops add a prayer acknowledging that they are refusing to use their authority to rid the Church of these deviant priests, then such a “Day of Prayer” is nothing but a pretence.  Indeed, this annual reminder service is  not only misleading – it is, in and of itself, a cause of scandal. 

Or maybe you disagree?  Let’s hear it!  

Archbishop of Glasgow On “Low Level of Catholic Formation” … So What? 

Below, the text of the Pastoral Letter sent from the Archbishop of Glasgow to be read in all parishes tomorrow, Sunday, 3rd March, 2019.  Underneath the Pastoral Letter, is the text of the ad clerum – that is his letter to priests – on the same subject.  Compare the two – and weep!

ARCHDIOCESE OF GLASGOW
Curial Offices, 196 Clyde Street Glasgow, G1 4JY
E-mail: archbishop@rcag.org.uk / http://www.rcag.org.uk          

Pastoral Letter for Sunday 3rd March 2019

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are approaching the time when, each year, young Catholics make First Confession and receive First Holy Communion.

It is incumbent upon the whole community to pray for these children, to support them in their journey of faith and to show them good example of Catholic faith, practice and discipline in the celebration and reception of the Sacraments.

I call especially upon the parents and guardians of these young Catholics to be mindful of the promises they made when they presented their child for baptism. The Church considers you as “the first and best teachers of your children in the ways of faith”. There is no doubt that the influence of parents, siblings and family is central to the faith formation of children. So, please, pray with your children, accompany them to Sunday Mass and be a good example to them of practising Catholics. Please cooperate with your Parish Priest, with our teachers in Catholic schools, with Parish Catechists and with all who are currently preparing your children.

The Sacraments are Sacraments of Christ, of the Church and of faith. Our faith teaches us that the Sacraments confer grace when they are received with the right disposition. When we go to Confession, our sins are truly forgiven through the grace of Jesus Christ. When we receive Holy Communion, we are nourished by the true Body and Blood of Christ. When we receive the Sacraments, the Lord deepens our belonging to his Church.

Please help your children to receive the Sacraments with faith, devotion and reverence. Let your families and friends rejoice with you. Let your enjoyment always be worthy of the “holy things” that you and your children have received.

I hope and pray that this Season of the Sacraments for your children will bring us all an increase of faith and of the immense joy of profound encounter with Jesus Christ our Lord. May Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for children and families, and bring them to Jesus.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

Most Reverend Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow

18th February 2019

Dear Monsignor, Canon, Father,
Dear Rev. Deacon

Ad Clerum Letter on Preparation for the Sacraments

As you know, I have written a short Pastoral Letter on the Season of First Confession and First Holy Communion addressed to parish communities and especially to the parents and guardians of the boys and girls they have presented for these Sacraments. My letter to them encouraged them to prepare their children as well as possible for the Sacraments, to give them good example of Catholic faith and practice and to cooperate with Parish and School in the programmes and initiatives designed to prepare the children for the Sacraments. Finally, I wished them and their family holy joy in this Season of the Sacraments.

With this Ad Clerum letter, I wish to address a few words to you. I want to express my support for you in your attempts to prepare the children and their families for the Sacraments. We all know that in this time of apathy, indifference and superficiality, good preparation for the Sacraments is both rather challenging and very necessary. It is such a joy and such a consolation for priests and deacons when children and their families respond to our promptings with sincere faith and regular practice.

At the same time, my dear brothers, you know as well as I do that the faith of many families is weak and that, for them, the celebration of the Sacraments is alarmingly superficial. Much to our frustration, their personal circumstances andometimes mean that they cannot or will not cooperate with the preparation initiatives that we would like them to engage in.

I ask you to have compassion for these families and not to be too demanding with them. The whole weight of contemporary culture is against them. They are the ones who above all need the love and encouragement of their Priest and Shepherd.

I have always taken the following as a pastoral rule of thumb in discerning the threshold for the reception of the Sacraments. If the child is baptised, is a pupil at a Catholic school, if the parents request the Sacraments for their child, and if the child sincerely wants to receive the Sacraments, I believe that the minimum threshold for reception of the Sacraments has been reached. This minimum threshold is not to place an obstacle to the grace of the Sacraments (cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacraments in General, Can 6).

Of course, we want more, and that is why we invite parents and candidates to engage in various initiatives. The Sacraments are Sacraments of faith (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Liturgy, 59), and we want as much faith as possible to welcome the encounter with Christ, which is the core of the sacramental event.

These are our neediest brothers and sisters. Jesus died for them. He loves them. He reaches out to them through you. I do not wish to supplant your pastoral judgment. You are there on the spot and you know your people as the Good Shepherd does. Please consider carefully what you are asking them to do. Please do not place unnecessary obstacles or hurdles in their way. Please give the child and the grace of the Sacrament the benefit of the doubt, for Jesus Christ alone is the Saviour, and we are the priests and servants of his mysteries of grace.

With the greatest respect and esteem for your priestly and diaconal service,

Yours always in Christ,

Most Rev. Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow

Comment: 

Well, doesn’t that take the proverbial biscuit?  In essence, Archbishop Tartaglia tells parents to practise the Faith, show good example to their children as they prepare for First Confession and First Holy Communion,  only to tell his priests not to expect too much, and by too much, he means ignore the fact that they’re lapsed. Just let the children receive the Sacraments and get back to your golf.  Honestly, it really does take the biscuit. But don’t take my word for it – let’s examine what, precisely, the Archbishop of Glasgow is saying to his priests in the above ad clerum…  

In paragraph one, he mentions his Pastoral Letter acknowledging that he is encouraging parents to do what he later (in his ad clerum) admits they just cannot do, which is to “prepare their children as well as possible for the Sacraments, to give them good example of Catholic faith and practice and to cooperate with Parish and School in the programmes and initiatives designed to prepare the children for the Sacraments… ” [para 1]

He describes “this time of apathy, indifference and superficiality” [para 2] without mentioning the part he and his priests have played in creating and perpetuating this apathy, indifference and superficiality. Think, for example, of the many dissenters given platforms in Glasgow – even to the point of having a female Anglican vicar speak in the Jesuit church, St Aloysius College only a few weeks ago. 

The entirety of paragraph three is a damning indictment of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Archdiocese of Glasgow in particular: “…you know as well as I do that the faith of many families is weak and that, for them, the celebration of the Sacraments is alarmingly superficial. Much to our frustration, their personal circumstances and low level of Catholic formation sometimes mean that they cannot or will not cooperate with the preparation initiatives that we would like them to engage in. ” [para 3 – emphasis added].  Who, pray, is to blame for the fact that children are now coming forward for the Sacraments, from homes where the parent(s) have not, themselves, been adequately taught the Faith? As he laments this scandal, the same Archbishop is allowing the Scottish Catholic Education Department to push homosexual/transgender propaganda in Catholic schools.  Is the Archbishop really that incapable of joining up the dots?

In paragraph four,  the blindness becomes even more apparent: “I ask you to have compassion for these families and not to be too demanding with them. The whole weight of contemporary culture is against them.”   Talk about missing the point!  The whole reason why these families are faithless is because of negligent priests in pulpits and teachers in schools – overseen by “liberal” bishops; it is precisely because nobody has been remotely demanding with them.  Can he really not see that?  And as for this nonsense about contemporary culture – Muslims, Jews and Hindus live, move and have their being in the very same contemporary culture and they can be picked out on any street as they, literally, wear their religion for all the world to see. So, don’t gimme “contemporary culture” – gimme instead, an open admission of negligent hierarchy, clergy and allegedly Catholic teachers.  

The rest of the Archbishop’s letter to priests can be summed up thus:  don’t bother your heads if the parents are not practising; don’t put obstacles in their way – if they want their child to dress up in a pretty Communion dress, kilt or nice suit, and have their “special day”, don’t go and be a spoil-sport by talking about off-putting things like Commandments (to keep holy the Sabbath) or Church laws (like regular Confession, Sunday Mass etc)  

Left unsaid in the ad clerum:  do you really want to have to say you had no First Communicants this year?  Think of the field day Catholic Truth would have with that little nugget… 

 

Consider:  what SHOULD priests do when presented with non-practising families;  child is baptised and attends Catholic school – should they be permitted to make First Confession, Communion and, later, Confirmation?  Does it make sense to be confirmed in a Faith you know little to nothing about and don’t actually practise – except when weddings and funerals come around?  Let’s hear it…