Should Catholics Be Concerned About The New Forms Of The Sacraments?

Yesterday, I found myself in conversation with a reader  (we’ll call her Jo, because that’s not her name but it’s short and sweet) who has started attending the SSPX Masses in Glasgow.  We were discussing the hostility which I have personally witnessed at a number of Fatima meetings recently, when novus-attending Catholics became furiously hostile, especially at the very idea that the traditional Latin Mass needs to be restored as soon as possible. Even put a million times more tactfully than that, hostility spilled out like fresh cream in a gorgeous Dairy Sponge cake. Except there was nothing “gorgeous” about it.  Anyway,  when I asked Jo if, after attending the Society Masses for several weeks now she planned to continue, she replied, without a second’s hesitation: “yes”, because she just could not return to the novus-ordo – especially after reading the Open Letter to Confused Catholics, penned by Archbishop Lefebvre.   Got me thinking that, although we have discussed various chapters from that excellent book from time to time, we’ve never examined the chapter on the new forms of the Sacraments, so let’s check the Archbishop’s writings on that topic: do we need new forms of the sacraments? If so, why?  Or, should Catholics be concerned about these new forms of the Sacraments?

Archbishop Lefebvre writes….

The Catholic, whether he be regularly practising or one who goes to church for the great moments of life, finds himself asking such basic questions as, “What is baptism?”

It is a new phenomenon, for not so long ago anyone could answer that, and anyway, nobody asked the question. The first effect of baptism is the redemption from original sin; that was known from father to son and mother to daughter.

But now nobody any longer talks about it anywhere. The simplified ceremony which takes place in the church speaks of sin in a context which seems to refer to that which the person being baptized will commit during his or her life, and not the original fault that we are all born with.

Baptism from then on simply appears as a sacrament which unites us to God, or rather makes us members of the community. This is the explanation of the “rite of welcome” that is imposed in some places as an initial step, in a first ceremony. It is not due to any private initiative since we discover plenty of variations upon baptism by stages in the leaflets of the National Center of Pastoral Liturgy. It is called “deferred baptism.” After the welcome comes the “progression,” the “seeking.” The sacrament will be administered, or not administered, when the child is able, according to the terms used, to choose freely, which may occur at quite an advanced age, eighteen years or more. A professor of dogmatic theology, highly esteemed in the new Church, has established a distinction between those Christians whose faith and religious culture he is confident he can verify, and the others–more than three-quarters of the total–to whom he attributes only a supposed faith when they request baptism for their children. These Christians “of the popular religion” are detected during the preparatory meetings and dissuaded from proceeding any farther than the “ceremony of welcome.” This method of going on is “more appropriate to the cultural situation of our civilization.”

Recently a parish priest in the Somme department who had to enroll two children for their First Communion asked for their baptismal certificates, which were sent to him from the family’s parish of origin. He then found that one of the children had been baptized but not the other, contrary to what the parents believed.  This is the sort of situation that results from such practices. What they give is in effect only a semblance of baptism which those present take in good faith to be the true sacrament.

That you should find this disconcerting is quite understandable. You have also to face up to a specious argument which even appears in parish bulletins, generally in the way of suggestions or testimonies signed with Christian names, that is to say anonymously. We read in one of them that Alan and Evelyn state, “Baptism is not a magic rite which will efface by miracle any original sin. We believe that salvation is total, free, and for all: God has elected all men in His love, on any condition, or rather without condition. For us, to be baptized is to decide to change our life, it is a personal commitment that no one can make for you. It is a conscious decision which implies preliminary instruction, etc.” What frightful errors are contained in those few lines! They lead to the justifying of another method; the suppression of infant baptism. It is another alignment with the Protestants, in defiance of the teachings of the Church right from its beginnings, as St. Augustine wrote in the fourth century: “The custom of baptizing children is not a recent innovation but the faithful repetition of apostolic tradition. This custom by itself alone and without any written document, constitutes the certain rule of truth.” The Council of Carthage, in the year 251, prescribed that baptism should be conferred on infants “even before they are eight days old,” and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a reminder of the obligation in its Instruction Pastoralis actio, on November 21, 1980, basing it upon “a norm of immemorial tradition.”

That is a thing you should know so as to be able to insist upon a sacred right when someone attempts to refuse your newborn children their share in the life of grace. Parents do not wait until their child is eighteen years old before deciding for him his diet, or to have a necessary surgical operation. Within the supernatural order their duty is even greater, and the faith which presides at the sacrament when the child is not capable of taking on for himself a personal engagement is the responsibility you would have in depriving your child of eternal life in Paradise. Our Lord Himself has said in a most clear manner, “No one, unless he be born again of water and the Holy Ghost can enter into the Kingdom of God.”

The results of this peculiar pastoral practice were quick to appear.  In the diocese of Paris, whereas one child out of two was baptized in 1965, only one child in four was baptized in 1976.  The clergy of one suburban parish observed, without appearing concerned about it, that there were 450 baptisms in 1965 and 150 in 1976. From the whole of France, the fall continues. From 1970 to 1981, the overall figure dropped from 596,673 to 530,385, while the population increased by more than three million during the same period.

All this is the outcome of having falsified the definition of baptism. As soon as they stopped saying that baptism wipes out original sin, people have been asking, “What is baptism?” and straightaway after, “What is the good of baptism?” If they have not got as far as that, they have at least thought about the arguments that have been put to them and accepted that there was no urgency, and after all, at the age of adolescence the child could decide for himself and join the Christian community in the same way as joining a political party or a union.

The question is raised in the same way regarding marriage.  Marriage has always been defined by its first aim which is procreation and its secondary aim which is married love. Now, at the Council they sought to alter this definition and say there was no longer a primary aim, but that  the two aims of which I speak were equivalent. It was Cardinal Suenens who proposed this change and I still remem- ber Cardinal Brown, the Master General of the Dominicans, getting up to say, “Caveatis! Caveatis!–Beware! Beware! If we accept this definition we go against all the tradition of the Church and we pervert the meaning of marriage. We do not have the right to modify the Church’s traditional definitions.”

He quoted texts in support of his warning and there was great agitation in the nave of St. Peter’s. Cardinal Suenens was pressed by the Holy Father to moderate the terms he had used and even to change them. The Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, contains nevertheless an ambiguous passage, where emphasis is laid on procreation “without nevertheless minimizing the other aims of marriage.” The Latin verb, post habere, permits the translation “without putting in second place the other aims of marriage,” which would mean “to place them all on the same level.” This is what is wanted nowadays; all that is said about marriage comes back to the false idea expressed by Cardinal Suenens, that conjugal love–which was soon termed quite simply and much more crudely “sexuality”–comes at the head of the purposes of marriage. Consequently, under the heading of sexuality, everything is permitted–contraception, family planning and finally, abortion.

One bad definition, and we are plunged into total disorder.  The Church, in her traditional liturgy, has the priest say, “Lord, in Thy goodness, assist the institutions Thou hast established for the propagation of the human race…” She has chosen the passage from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, which points out the duties of the married couple, making of their joint relationship an image of the   relationship uniting Christ and His Church.  Very often the couple to be married are nowadays invited to make up their own Mass without even having to choose the Epistle from Holy Scripture, replacing it by a profane text, and taking a reading from the Gospel that has no connection with the sacrament to be received. The priest in his exhortation takes good care not to mention the demands to which they will have to submit, for fear of giving a forbidding impression of the Church or even of offending any divorced people present among the congregation.

Just as for baptism, experiments have been made for marriages by stages, or non-sacramental marriage, which scandalize Catholics. These experiments, tolerated by the episcopate, take place following lines laid down by the official organizations and are encouraged by diocesan officials. A form put out by the Jean Bart Center shows some of the ways of going about it. Here is one:

A reading from the text: “The essential is invisible to the eyes” (Epistle of St. Peter). There is no exchange of vows but a liturgy of the hands,  symbol of labor and workers’ solidarity.  Exchange of rings (without the blessing), in silence. Reference to Robert’s work:  welding,  soldering (he is a plumber).  The kiss.  The Our Father by all the believers in the congregation. Hail Mary. The newlyweds lay a bouquet of flowers at the statue of Mary.

Why would Our Lord have instituted the sacraments if they were to be replaced by this kind of ceremony devoid of everything supernatural, excepting the two prayers at the end? A few years ago, we heard a lot about liturgy in the department of Saône-et-Loire.  To justify this “Liturgy of Welcome,” it was said that they wished to give young couples the desire to come back later and get married for good.  Out of something like two hundred pseudo-marriages, two years later not a single couple had returned to regularize their position. Even if they had, the fact would remain that the priest of this parish had actually recognized officially, if not actually blessed, over a period of two years, something none other than concubinage. An official Church survey has revealed that in Paris, 23% of the parishes had already held  non-sacramental weddings for couples, one of whom if not both were non-believers, for the purpose of gratifying the families, or the couples themselves, often out of concern for social conformity.

It goes without saying that a Catholic does not have the right to attend such goings-on.  As for the so-called married couple, they can always say they have been to church and doubtless they will end up by believing their situation to be  regular by dint of seeing their friends follow the same path. Misguided Catholics will wonder if it is not better than nothing. Indifference takes over; they become willing to accept any arrangement, from a simple registry-office wedding to juvenile cohabitation (in respect of which so many parents want to show themselves to be “understanding”), and finally through to free unions. Total de-christianization lies ahead; the couples each lack the graces which come from the sacrament of marriage in order to bring up their children, if at least they agree to have any. The breakdowns in these unsanctified households have increased to such an extent as to worry the Council of Economic and Social Affairs, of which a recent report shows that even a secular society is aware that it is heading for ruin as a result of the instability of these families or pseudo-families.

Then there is the sacrament of Extreme Unction. This is no longer the sacrament of the sick or the feeble. It has become the sacrament of the old: some priests administer it to persons of pensionable age who show no particular sign of approaching death. It is no longer the sacrament that prepares one for the last moment, which wipes out the sins before death and disposes the soul to final union with God. I have in front of me a notice distributed to all the faithful in a Paris church to warn them of the date of the next Extreme Unction:  “For those who are still active, the sacrament of the sick is celebrated in the presence of the whole Christian community during the Eucharistic celebration. Date: Sunday, at the 11 o’clock Mass.” These anointings are invalid.

The same collectivist mentality has provoked the vogue of penitential celebrations. The sacrament of penance can only be of an individual nature.
By definition and in conformity with its essence, it is, as I have previously pointed out, a judicial act, a judgment.  A judgment cannot be made without having examined a cause; each one’s case has to be heard in order to judge it and then to remit or to retain the sins. His Holiness John Paul II has insisted several times on this point, notably to the French bishops on April 1, 1982 telling them that personal confession followed by  individual absolution is “a requirement of the dogmatic order.” It is consequently impossible to justify these ceremonies of reconciliation by explaining that ecclesiastical discipline has become more relaxed, that it has adapted itself to the needs of the modern world. It is not a question of discipline. There was formerly one exception: general absolution given in a case of shipwreck, war, etc.; an absolution whose value is debated by learned writers. It is not permissible to make a rule out of the exception. If we consult the Acts of the Apostolic See we find the following expressions uttered both by Paul VI and John Paul II on various occasions: “the exceptional character of collective absolution,” “in case of grave necessity,” “in extraordinary situations of grave necessity,” “quite exceptional character,” “exceptional circumstances.”

Celebrations of this type have, however,  become habitual though without becoming frequent in any one parish, due to the scarcity of faithful who are disposed to put themselves right with God more than two or three times a year.  They no longer feel the need, as was quite foreseeable since the idea of sin has been wiped out of their minds.  How many priests still remind people of the need for the sacrament of penance? One member of the faithful has told me that in going to confession in one or another of several Paris churches where he knows he will be able to find a “priest on duty” he often receives the congratulations or thanks of the priest, surprised to have a penitent.

These celebrations subjected to the creativity of the “animators” include singing, or else a record is played.  Then comes the turn of the Liturgy of the Word, followed by a litany type of prayer to which the assembly responds, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner,” or else by a sort of general examination of conscience. The “I confess to Almighty God” precedes the absolution given once and for all to the whole congregation, which only leaves one problem: would a person present who did not want absolution receive it just the same? I see on a duplicated sheet distributed to those taking part in these ceremonies at Lourdes that the organizer has asked himself this question: “If we wish to receive absolution, let us dip our hands in the water and make the sign of the cross upon ourselves,” and at the end, “Upon those who are marked by the sign of the cross with the water of the spring the priest lays his hands. Let us unite ourselves to his prayer and accept pardon from God.”

The British Catholic paper, The Universe, a few years ago lent its support to a movement launched by two bishops which consisted of bringing back to the Church those of the faithful who had long since given up the practice of religion.  The appeal made by the bishops resembled the public notices put out by families of runaway adolescents: “Little X, please come home. No one will grumble at you.” It was then said to the future prodigal sons, “Your bishops invite you during this Lent to rejoice and celebrate. The Church offers to all her children, in the imitation of Christ, pardon for their sins, freely and without restriction, without their meriting it, and without their requesting it. She urges them to accept and begs them to return home. There are many who wish to return to the Church after years of separation but are unable to make up their minds to go to confession.  At any rate, not straightaway…”

They could then accept the following offer: “At the Mission Mass which will be attended by the bishop in your deanery (here is given the time and the date) all those who are present are invited to accept the pardon of all their past sins. It is not necessary for them to go to confession at that moment. It will be sufficient for them to repent their sins and desire to return to God, and to confess their sins later, after having been again welcomed into the fold. Meanwhile they have only to let Our Father in heaven take them into His arms and embrace them tenderly. Subject to a generous act of repentance the bishop will grant to all those present and desiring it pardon for their sins. They may then immediately receive holy communion…”

The Journal  of the Grotto,  the bi-monthly magazine from Lourdes, reproducing this curious pastoral letter under the heading “General Absolution: Communion now, confession later,” made the following comment: “Our readers will be fully aware of the deeply evangelical spirit which has inspired it, likewise the pastoral understanding of people’s actual situation.”

I do not know what results were obtained, but that is not the issue. Can pastoral needs take precedence over doctrine to the point of undertaking to give Communion in the Body of Christ indiscriminately to people who are probably in many cases in a state of mortal sin, after so many years without the practice of religion? Certainly not. How can we so lightly consider paying for the conversion with a sacrilege, and how much chance has this conversion of being followed by perseverance? We can observe, in any case, that before the council and before this “welcoming” pastoral method there were between fourteen and fifteen thousand conversions annually in England.  They have dropped off to about five thousand. We recognize the tree by its fruit.

Catholics are just as confused in Great Britain as in France. If a sinner or an apostate, following his bishop’s advice, presents himself for collective absolution and at the holy table in these conditions, does he not risk losing his confidence in the validity of sacraments so lightly accorded, when he has every reason to consider himself unworthy of them?  What is going to happen if later on he neglects to “regularize” himself by going to confession? An unsuccessful return to the house of the Father will only make more difficult a final conversion.

That is what dogmatic laxity leads to. In the penitential ceremonies which take place, in a less extravagant manner, in our parishes, what certainty has the Catholic of being truly pardoned? He is given over to the same anxieties as Protestants, to interior torments provoked by doubt.  He has certainly gained nothing by the change.

If it is a bad thing from the point of view of validity, it is also bad psychologically.

For instance, how absurd to give collective absolution with the reservation that people with grave sins have to confess them personally immediately afterwards! People are not going to draw attention to themselves by showing that they have grave sins on their consciences, that is obvious!  It is as though the secret of the confessional were violated.

We should add that the faithful who communicate after collective absolution will no longer see the need to present themselves before the judgment of penance, and that one can understand. The ceremonies of reconciliation are not complementary to auricular confession, they eliminate and supplant it. We are proceeding towards the disappearance of the Sacrament of Penance, established like the six others by Our Lord Himself. No pastoral concern can justify this.

For a sacrament to be valid, the matter, the form and the intention are all needed.  The Pope himself cannot change that.  The matter is of divine institution; the Pope cannot say “tomorrow we will use alcohol for the baptism of infants, or milk.” Neither can he change the essential of the form. There are essential words. For example, one cannot say, “I baptize thee in the name of God,” because God Himself has settled this form:  “Thou shalt baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

The Sacrament of Confirmation has been equally maltreated. One formula current today is, “I sign thee with the Cross, and receive the Holy Spirit.” But the minister does not then specify what is the special grace of the sacrament by which the Holy Ghost gives Himself, and the sacrament is invalid.

That is why I always respond to the requests of parents who have doubts regarding the validity of the confirmation received by their children or who fear it will be administered invalidly, seeing what goes on around them.  The cardinals to whom I had to explain myself in 1975 reproached me on this and since then similar reproaches are repeated through the press on all my journeys. I explained why I carried on in this way.  I meet the wishes of the faithful who ask me for valid confirmation, even if it is not licit, because we are in a period when divine law, natural and supernatural, has precedence over positive ecclesiastical law when the latter opposes the former instead of being a channel to transmit it. We are passing through an extraordinary crisis and there need be no surprise if I sometimes adopt an attitude that is out of the ordinary.

The third condition of a valid sacrament is a right intention.  The bishop or priest must have the intention of doing what the Church wills to be done. Not even the Pope can change that.

The priest’s faith is not among the necessary elements.  A priest or bishop may no longer have the faith;  another may have it less; and another a faith that is not quite complete.  That has no direct effect on the validity of the sacraments they administer, but may have an indirect one. One remembers Pope Leo XIII’s decision that Anglican ordinations are invalid through a defect in the intention. Now it was because they had lost the faith, which is not only faith in God, but in all the truths contained in the Creed, including, “I believe in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church,” that the Anglicans have not been able to do what the Church wills.

Are not priests who lose the faith in the same case? There are already priests who no longer wish to confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist according to the Council of Trent’s definition. “No,” they say, “the Council of Trent was a long time ago.  Since then we have had Vatican II.  Now it’s trans-signification, or trans-finalization.  Transubstantiation? The Real Presence of the Son of God under the appearances of bread and wine? Not in these days!”

When a priest talks like this, he makes no valid consecration. There is no Mass or Communion. For Christians are obliged to believe what the Council of Trent has defined about the Eucharist until the end of time.  One can make the terms of a dogma clearer, but not change them; that is impossible. Vatican II did not add anything or retract anything; and it could not have done so. Anyone who declares that he does not accept transubstantiation is, in the terms of the Council of Trent, anathema, that is, cut off from the Church.

This is why Catholics in this latter part of the twentieth century have a duty to be more vigilant than their fathers were. They must not let just any idea be imposed upon them, in the name of the new theology or the new religion: for what this new religion wants is not what the Church wills. [Emphases added]
Source – The New Forms of Sacraments Baptism, Marriage, Penance & Extreme Unction

Comment:

Should Catholics be concerned about the new forms of the Sacraments? 

Jacob Rees-Mogg – A Catholic Hero?

Comment:

Apart from making it crystal clear that it is not possible for a fully believing Catholic to play a leading role in UK politics, let alone achieve Leader of a Party and become Prime Minister – even one as “liberal” (“who am I to judge”) as Jacob Rees-Mogg – what else do we learn from this interview?  Any chance that it stiffened a few backbones, and makes us more determined than ever to act as true Confirmed  Soldiers of Jesus Christ when we are presented with opportunities to defend the moral law?

Is Jacob Rees-Mogg a “Catholic hero” as a result of his responses in the above TV interview, aired on ITV this morning?   Was he demonstrating Christian prudence with one eye on possibly entering a future leadership contest – or was this a golden opportunity missed?  

Pope’s Sinister Suggestion: Are ‘Rigid’ People Guilty of Living Double-Life?

How many times will I have to say "don't be rigid"?!**!

How many times will I have to say “don’t be rigid”? There are still Catholics who want to keep the Commandments! For Goodness sake!

Don’t be too rigid.      

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis warned against this natural tendency, and reminded how God wishes for us to be good and merciful, during his homily today during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.

The Holy Father drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading according to St. Matthew, which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and in doing so, ignited the anger of the righteous.

“It is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s Law,” Francis noted.

Jesus’ action, the Jesuit Pontiff pointed out, provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was “indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath” because Jesus violated God’s Law by doing so on the Sabbath day which is set aside for rest and worship. Francis also recalled how Jesus called the synagogue leaders ‘hypocrites,’ and how Jesus often referred to those who followed the Law too rigidly by this name.

To Make Us God’s Children

“The Law,” the Pope said, “was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children.”

“Behind an attitude of rigidity, there is always something else in the life of a person,” the Holy Father said. “Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!”

Often, Francis added, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life, or it can have to do with something pathological.

Francis also commented on how those who are both rigid and sincere often are afflicted with difficulties and suffering, which is because they lack the freedom of God’s children.

“They do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law,” the Pope said, adding, “They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!”

Prodigal Son

Recalling the parable of the Prodigal Son in which the eldest son, who always behaved well, was indignant with his father because he rejoiced when the youngest son, after having led a life of debauchery, returns home repentant.

This attitude, the Pope explained, shows what is behind a certain type of goodness: “the pride of believing in one’s righteousness.”

“The elder son,” the Pontiff said, “was rigid and conducted his life following the Law, but saw his father only as a master. The other put rules aside, returned to his father in a time of darkness, and asked for forgiveness.”

Difficult Balance

“It is not easy to walk within the Law of the Lord without falling into rigidity,” he underscored.

Pope Francis concluded, praying for all those who think that by becoming rigid they are following the path of the Lord.

“May the Lord make them feel that He is our Father and that He loves mercy, tenderness, goodness, meekness, humility. And may He teach us all to walk in the path of the Lord with these attitudes.”   Click here to read the original Zenit report

Comment:

There surely has to be a path somewhere between “rigidity” and “false mercy”…  In any case, seems to me that the Pope doesn’t understand the difference between being “rigid” about man-made or secondary rules, and adhering faithfully to God’s essential, natural moral law.  And what about his narrow (if predictable) interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?  Poor elder brother gets it in the neck again. No mercy for him!  Nor is the Pope’s list complete of what “the Lord” loves:  missing is fidelity, yet God loves fidelity – and, indeed, Christ teaches this in His Parable of the Prodigal Son… through the relationship of the elder son and the Father!  Pope Francis missed that bit! Over to you – what does the Pope mean by not being too “rigid” – do we interpret the fasting laws more liberally (I mean, where to go with a “fast” that is only an hour long anyway?) or is he talking about one or other – or all – of the Ten Commandments?

And what’s this about “rigid” people possibly living a double life?  Correct me if I’m wrong, folks, but, to date, all the scandalous reports of double living within the Church have involved “liberal” types,  who could not be described, in a million years, as being “rigid” about keeping God’s moral law.  I, for one, object to be characterised as a hypocrite, and suspected of living a double life,  on the grounds that I believe the Ten Commandments are binding on us all.  What about you?

UN Establishes Post of LGBT Enforcer

International institutions exist to impose their radical vision on the whole world.
Just a few days ago in Geneva disaster struck. Click here 

C-Fam Centre For family and human rights logo

Radical delegations from Europe have established the position of UN-LGBT Enforcer.

This UN-LGBT Enforcer will travel the world imposing the sexual revolution on peoples and churches and countries who do not want it.

It will be under the guise of protecting LGBT people from discrimination. But that is a lie.

The purpose will be aimed at anyone who believes in traditional sexual morality and to stamp out that belief.

The New United Nations LGBT Enforcer will determine, without a doubt, that your religious beliefs are nothing more than hate.

The new UN-LGBT Enforcer will come with the might and muscle of the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States and with the power to enforce this radical new belief.

C-Fam and other pro-family NGOs worked tirelessly to block this new position. Alas, under threat of losing international aid and other unethical threats, the new position was instituted by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

C-Fam and our allies around the world will be on the watch for the inevitable abuses that will come from this individual and the powerful forces behind him.

We cannot do this alone; we cannot do this without your prayers; we cannot do this without your financial support.

We are up against the most powerful people and institutions on the earth. They have unlimited funds and the power of governments behind them.

We pledge never to give up in defending religious people against the new sexual ideology. But we cannot do it without your help.

Austin Ruse
President – C-Fam

Comment:

Will the hierarchy please end their deafening – if not cowardly – silence on the relentless spread of LGBT influence?  

With a Pope who is falling over himself to appease and apologise to them all over the place, it can’t be easy, I agree, but it is the duty of everyone in the Church, ordained and lay, to expose and fight public sin. Nobody can claim to be working for Social Justice, that is, the reign of Christ the King, Who must be at the head of every nation under Heaven, while tolerating and even accepting, as a good in its own right, the diabolical spread of homosexuality. And now we have this acceptance moving to enforcement.  

Do we have anything to fear from the creation of this LGBT Enforcer post? Will we find ourselves being criminalised simply for openly discussing our concerns – e.g. in the blogosphere?  Or do I exaggerate?  Over to you… 

Archbishop Tartaglia: Catholic schools have never been more successful…

Archbishop Tartaglia

Archbishop Tartaglia

In his June 2016 end of term message to Catholic educators in Glasgow, Archbishop Tartaglia writes: 

“I am pleased to be offered this opportunity to address a few words to those who teach in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Glasgow and, through them, to all who have a stake in Catholic Education, not least parents and parishioners, and the young people themselves who are pupils.

As we approach the end of School Year 2015-16, I want to thank you all for your participation in the great project which is Catholic Education. With the person of Jesus Christ at the centre, Catholic Education attempts to offer children and young people, as well as educators themselves, an opportunity to grow into people who can fulfil God’s purposes for them and who can help to make our society and our communities better.  Catholic schools have never been more successful and more appreciated by the Catholic community – and by others – as they are now. The need for Catholic Education is there for all to see.  It is important that we make Catholic schools all the more ready to meet that challenge and that need by offering an authentic Catholic Education to our children and young people. Thank you for all your work. And may God bless you.”

+Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow  

 

Catholic schools should be producing saints... or at least practising Catholics!

Catholic schools should be producing saints… or at least practising Catholics!


Now, bad enough that the Archbishop’s 4-page glossy publication for teachers contains the blatant falsehood that “Catholic schools have never been more successful…” right there on page 1 – I mean, talk about delusion on a grand scale. That’s bad enough.  But turn to page 2, ‘Upcoming Events’ and note the ‘academic retreat’ scheduled for 2nd December 2016 or 25th March, 2017 (9.30am – 3pm both days) on the subject of – wait for this… brace yourself: Amoris Laetitia – Teaching the Joy of Love.

Instead of sticking this Exhortation (to sin) on a shelf somewhere in the hope that it goes away, here we have the Archdiocese of Glasgow, via its Religious Education Department, actually preparing staff to “teach it”.  How? And to which age group?  Are the teachers going to be told to emphasise the “mercy” of God, under the new definition of “mercy” as being “let nothing keep you from Holy Communion. No matter what the sin, it’s not bad enough to keep you from being in a state of grace”  – is that what the teachers are going to be told to teach?  After all, there can be no need for a special “academic retreat” merely to repeat, in season and out of season, the Church’s well known and unchangeable teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the gravity of sexual intimacy in any context whatsoever, outside of marriage.  Is there?

Is it a fond hope that some alarmed parent somewhere in the Archdiocese of Glasgow will have the intelligence to demand sight of the lesson plans in order to see how this “useless palaver” (p.16 Catholic Truth, Issue No. 95, June 2016 edition) is going to be taught in classrooms? 

Comments invited…  

The Application of Amoris Laetitia …

In a bulletin from St. Anne Chicoutimi parish in Canada this past April we can see the real effects of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The Celebration of Fidelity, which up to now celebrated the silver and gold anniversaries of couples in this formerly Catholic parish in Quebec, was replaced by a “Celebration of Love” announced as follows: “We now wish to welcome all couples who want to celebrate their love and renew their commitment to each other, regardless of the type of their commitment (Catholic marriage, civil marriage, common-law or same-sex partners) and regardless of how many years (1 year, 8 years, 25 years, 57 years, 62 years). We consider any couple’s commitment important.”

 

I'm delighted to learn of the Canadian celebration of love. That's the spirit! The God of Surprises strikes again! Well done, Canada!

I’m delighted to learn of the Canadian Celebration of Love. That’s the spirit! The God of Surprises strikes again! Well done, Canada!


Let’s be clear: this is not a celebration of love, but rather the egalitarian celebration of sacramental marriage, legal cohabitation, free unions and homosexual relationships. All couples are put on the same level, all presumably having the same exemplary value.

This is not a celebration of love, it is the love of celebration in itself and for its own sake, devoid of all objective content. All that matters is personal commitment, subjective feeling, and sincerity liberated from the Gospel truth of marriage.

This is how the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is put into practice in real life. No longer “The Joy of Love”, but the love of joy, emancipated from the Gospel truth of marriage. A sad joy.

Father Alain Lorans: Amoris Laetitia in Real Life  –  Source

Comments invited – especially from those who argue that AL didn’t change a thing…

Amoris Laetitia Must Be Withdrawn

ChrisFerrara

Christopher Ferrara

Below, an Open Letter to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, written by The Remnant columnist Christopher Ferrara  He concludes: “Is it enough to call, as you do, for “an authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See” that would reaffirm Familiaris consortio 84 and the bi-millennial sacramental discipline it defends? Is it not perfectly clear that such an authentic interpretation is precisely what AL was devised to preclude, and that therefore it will never be forthcoming during this pontificate (barring a miraculous turn of events)? And, finally, is it not also perfectly clear that the problems with AL go far beyond the ecclesial status of the divorced and “remarried” to an attack on the very foundations of the objective moral order, rhetorically reduced to a set of rules from which an actor may be excused in “certain cases”?  End of extract.

Amen to that Christopher. It seems to me that it is not enough for Pope Francis to provide some sort of “clarification” of Amoris Laetitia. It should be scrapped. Withdrawn. Immediately if not sooner.  Note, too, Mr Ferrara’s criticism of the rest of the hierarchy who have largely remained silent in the wake of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation.  Is he right – should more bishops follow the example of Bishop Schneider in be speaking out? Remember, we know that our very own Archbishop Philip Tartaglia expressed disquiet after the Synod “Part One” when he indicated that he may not BE archbishop if the 2015 synod continued in the same vein. Yet, he has remained silent following the publication of the post-synodal Exhortation, which, by any Catholic measure, is deeply flawed, to say the least.  Anyway, read the Open Letter below and then share your thoughts… 

Open Letter to Bishop Athanasius Schneider…

Your Excellency:

To your everlasting credit, but to the Church’s everlasting shame, you alone among the entire Catholic episcopacy have protested publicly and forthrightly against the many statements in Amoris Laetitia (AL), particularly in Chapter 8, which appear to derogate from the negative precepts of the natural law, including those against divorce, adultery and fornication. By the divine will, these precepts, as Your Excellency writes, “are universally valid… oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance” and “forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception” because they concern “kinds of behaviour which can never, in any situation, be a proper response.”

 Yet there is no question that AL was written ambiguously, but with relentless consistency, precisely to create the impression of “exceptions” to absolute moral precepts which the document tendentiously describes throughout its text as merely “general rules (2, 300, 304)”, a “general principle,” “rules (3, 35, 288)”, “a set of rules” (49, 201, 305)”, “a rule (300, 301, 304)”, “the rule (301 & note 348)”, “a general rule (301)” and “a general law or rule (301).”

Bishop Schneider

Bishop Schneider

As Your Excellency has doubtless discerned, AL’s reduction of the moral law to a “general rule” is the rhetorical device by which “exceptions” to the rule are introduced in “certain cases” involving what AL euphemistically describes as an “irregular union” or “irregular situations” (78, 298, 301, 305 & note 351)—meaning, of course, those who “are divorced and remarried, or simply living together (297)” in a state of continuing public adultery or simple fornication.

At the same time it reduces the moral law to a “set of rules” to which there can be practical exceptions—as with any mere rule—AL also demotes the indissolubility of marriage from its divinely ordained status as the universally binding, exceptionless moral foundation for conjugal relations to merely an “ideal (36), “a demanding ideal (38),” “the ideal (298, 303)”, “this ideal (292)”, “the ideal of growing old together (39),” “the Christian ideal (119, 297)”, “a struggle to achieve an ideal (148)”, “the ideal of marriage (157)”, “the high ideal (200)”, “the beautiful ideal (230)”, “the full ideal (307)”, “the fuller ideal (307)”, and “the evangelical ideal (308).”

Having reduced marriage to a mere ideal, AL dares to suggest that certain sexually immoral unions can “realize it in at least a partial and analogous way” and that they possess “constructive elements (298).” AL even goes so far as to declare that a “second union”—meaning a relationship Our Lord Himself condemned as adultery—can exhibit “proven fidelity, generous self giving, [and] Christian commitment… (298).” AL thus obscures, indeed seeks to eliminate, the sense of divine moral reprobation of the adulterous character of nonexistent “second marriages.”

Even the teaching of the very Pope that Francis canonized is subjected to a devious reductionism. In line with all of Tradition, John Paul II affirmed in Familiaris consortio that the divorced and “remarried” cannot be admitted to the sacraments without a commitment to abstain from further adulterous relations: “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, 84). 

Yet, as Your Excellency rightly objects, AL systematically omits any reference to John Paul’s affirmation of the Church’s constant teaching in this regard. Rather, AL relegates it to a footnote wherein an absolute moral imperative is falsely presented as the mere “possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers.” In the same footnote even this gross misrepresentation of the authentic Magisterium is undermined by the suggestion (based in turn on a flagrantly misleading quotation of Gaudium et spes) that “In such situations, many people… point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers.’” As if “intimacy” were morally required to ensure “faithfulness” to a partner in adultery!

Finally, in a summary statement that should alone suffice to cover this tragic document with opprobrium until the end of time, AL declares that even those who know full well “the rule” and “the ideal” can nonetheless be justified in their deliberate decision not to conform their actions to the moral law, and that God Himself would approve of this disobedience to His Commandments in “the concrete complexity” of one’s situation:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response that can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. (303)

This statement, reflecting the entire tenor of the document, is obviously nothing less than a license for the “pastoral” exoneration of habitual public adultery or cohabitation based on the subjective self-assessment of objective mortal sinners. These people would then be admitted to the sacraments, without a prior amendment of life, in “certain cases,” following a local priest’s “pastoral discernment filled with merciful love, which is ever ready to understand, forgive, accompany, hope, and above all integrate (312)” people living in immoral sexual unions. (Cf. 305 & note 351).

Your Excellency notes with due alarm that in the wake of AL’s promulgation “There are bishops and priests who publicly and openly declare that AL represents a very clear opening-up to communion for the divorced and remarried, without requiring them to practice continence.” And, as you rightly observe: “It must be admitted that certain statements in AL could be used to justify an abusive practice that has already been going on for some time in various places and circumstances in the life of the Church.”

Indeed, Your Excellency’s conclusion is inescapable. Also inescapable are the consequences, which you yourself enumerate and we summarize here:

– the Sixth Commandment would no longer be universally binding; 

– the very words of Christ would not apply to everyone in every situation; 

– one could be allowed to receive Holy Communion with every intention of continuing to violate the Commandments; 

– observance of the Commandments would become merely theoretical, with people piously professing belief in the “theory” as they violate God’s law in practice; 

– all other forms of permanent and public disobedience to the Commandments could likewise be justified on account of “mitigating circumstances”; 

– the infallible moral teaching of the Magisterium would no longer be universally valid; 

– observance of the Sixth Commandment in Christian marriage would become a mere ideal attainable only by “a kind of elite”; 

– the very words of Christ enjoining an uncompromising obedience to the commandments of God—that is, the carrying of the Cross in this life— “would no longer be valid as absolute truth.”

Yet your fellow prelates now observe an all but universal silence in the face of this “catastrophe.” Only Your Excellency courageously declares before the world that “Admitting couples living in ‘irregular unions’ to Holy Communion and allowing them to practice acts that are reserved for spouses in a valid marriage would be tantamount to the usurpation of a power that does not belong to any human authority, because to do so would be a pretension to correct the Word of God himself.”

Among more than 5,000 bishops and more than 200 cardinals, Your Excellency stands alone in protesting publicly the unthinkable abuses to which this disgraceful document—utterly without precedent in the bi-millennial history of the papacy—undeniably lends itself. Even the few among your fellow prelates who have addressed the crisis AL has provoked have tried to deny its clear intendment, so evident in Chapter 8. They propose emasculating “interpretations” in “continuity with the Magisterium” amounting to virtually the opposite of what AL’s most problematic passages assert repeatedly in different ways.

But as the eminent French theologian Father Claude Barthe observedimmediately after AL’s publication: “I honestly do not see how one could interpret Chapter 8 of the Exhortation in the sense of traditional doctrine. It would do violence to the text and wouldn’t respect the intention of the compilers…” Likewise, the renowned Catholic philosopher Robert Spaemann, an advisor to John Paul II and a friend of Benedict XVI, replied thuswhen asked if AL represents a breach with prior teaching: “That it is an issue of a breach emerges doubtlessly for every thinking person, who knows the respective texts.”

Others among your brethren, unwilling to deny the obvious, have seriously proposed that Francis has promulgated nothing more than inconsequential “personal reflections” he does not expect anyone to heed. But even this objection focuses on formalities such as tone and style, rather than admitting openly that AL cannot belong to the Magisterium for the simple reason that its assertions, given the meaning of words according to their ordinary signification, cannot be reconciled with the Church’s authentic teaching on marriage and sexual morality.

None of these timid objectors among the hierarchy seem willing to recognize the almost apocalyptic aspect of a papal document wherein the moral law is depicted as a “general rule,” Holy Matrimony is reduced to “an ideal,” and the sacred pastors of the Church are told that “a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives (305).” This is not the language of Our Lord and His Gospel, but rather a kind of demagogic incantation that seems to fulfill Saint Paul’s prophecy of a time when the people “will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables (2 Tim 4: 3-5).”

Aside from Your Excellency and a few courageous priests, only the laity have exhibited anything approaching the vigorous opposition which this scandalous “apostolic exhortation” demands from every member of the Church. In this regard, Your Excellency remarks on the parallel between our situation and the Arian crisis of the 4th century, when “almost the entire episcopate had become Arian or Semi-Arian.” Pope Liberius excommunicated your namesake St. Athanasius, and the Pope himself “signed one of the ambiguous formulations of Sirmium, in which the term ‘homoousios’ [of one substance] was eliminated.” You also note that “St. Hilary of Poitiers was the only bishop who dared to rebuke Pope Liberius severely for these ambiguous acts.”

The parallel with your own courageous witness against the “ambiguous formulations” of AL is lost on no one who has any sense of Catholic history. As you write: “Arguably, in our time, confusion is already spreading with regard to the sacramental discipline for divorced and remarried couples.” Hence, you conclude, the teaching of John Paul II in Familiaris consortio 84—totally suppressed in AL’s 256 pages, as it was throughout the years-long “synodal journey”— “may be seen, to some extent, as the ‘homoousios’ of our days’.”

In light of these considerations, however, we must in candor raise these questions for Your Excellency’s consideration: Is it enough to call, as you do, for “an authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See” that would reaffirm Familiaris consortio 84 and the bi-millennial sacramental discipline it defends? Is it not perfectly clear that such an authentic interpretation is precisely what AL was devised to preclude, and that therefore it will never be forthcoming during this pontificate (barring a miraculous turn of events)? And, finally, is it not also perfectly clear that the problems with AL go far beyond the ecclesial status of the divorced and “remarried” to an attack on the very foundations of the objective moral order, rhetorically reduced to a set of rules from which an actor may be excused in “certain cases”?

For all these reasons, we implore Your Excellency to do everything in his power to persuade his brethren in the episcopacy—above all the cardinals, who are bound by oath to lay down their lives for defense of the Faith—to mount concerted and decisive public opposition to the destructive novelties of Amoris laetitia, explicitly identifying them as such, warning the faithful against them, and respectfully petitioning the Pope for their immediate correction or the total withdrawal of the catastrophic text.

As Prof. Spaemann has said: “Every cardinal, but also every bishop and priest, is called to defend, in their own field of expertise, the Catholic sacramental system and to profess it publicly. If the Pope is not willing to introduce corrections, it will be up to the next pontificate to put things back in place officially.” Meanwhile, however, we humbly submit to Your Excellency that this shameful silence of the hierarchs must end for the good of the Church and the welfare of souls. For as Sister Lucia of Fatima warned Cardinal Caffarra, one of the few staunch opponents of the progressive faction (and thus Francis himself) during the Synod: “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

The final battle is surely underway. And woe to the shepherds who leave the sheep to defend themselves in its midst.
In Christo Rege,

Christopher A. Ferrara  Source – The Remnant Newspaper 

NOT a Catholic Truth discussion - no way!

NOT a Catholic Truth discussion – no way!