Scots Priest Challenges Bishops’ Response To Lockdown & Covid-19 Restrictions

On this, the Feast of St Michael, The Archangel, Defender of the Church & The Faithful, a priest of the Archdiocese of Glasgow – Father Stephen Dunn – speaks out against the closure of churches during lockdown, and the ongoing government restrictions being enforced in Catholic churches…

                        St Michael, Archangel,                           defend us in the day of battle…

An Open Letter…

Dear Members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in Scotland,

“Then he said, Son of man, remember everything I say to you, listen closely, and go to your  exiled country men and talk to them.  Tell them, ‘The Lord says this whether they listen or not.’”   – Eziekiel, 2, 10-11. (Office of Readings, Monday, week 24)

“This is My Son the Beloved with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!’ – Mathew, Mark & Luke’s gospel.

This morning I was deeply saddened and angered when I saw people having to be denied entry to one of our Catholic churches in our Archdiocese of Glasgow because there were 50 people already in, and in obedience to Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, and the guidelines issued by the Archdiocese and the Bishops Conference of Scotland, this procedure had to be carried out.  I was subsequently told that a man, his wife and his child, having travelled 15 miles were turned away a couple of weeks ago, again because 50 were already in.

ENOUGH  of  this  suppression, intimidation!  

This is disgraceful, shocking.  “Could you not spend one hour with me?”  No you can’t,  because Philip Tartaglia and the Scottish Bishops conference says no – only 50 are allowed in;  we are going to be obedient to government guidelines and not allow any more than 50 people in.

Obedient to a Government which advocates  Adultery, Abortion, Sodomy, and Transgenderism?  Please tell me one of those that is pleasing to God? 

Why are the Bishops of Scotland being obedient to such law makers? Being obedient to laws/directives made by a fascist, Communist government which drove fear into people and makes them act in fear, a government which you are obeying!  Our Lady warned at Fatima, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.  I am aware that is not unique to Scotland, but as a priest ordained 26 years ago for Glasgow in Scotland I am going to focus my criticism/argument  there.

One of these persecutions of the Church is happening now.   The government, in its freedom removal and fear laws, said churches were to be shut, God’s people were not to gather at His house and celebrate/receive  the Sacraments, the primary means of the Salvation of their souls.  Bishop,  are you of God or of the world?

This  intimidation is happening before your very eyes and you happily go along with it.  Is this good shepherding?

Never  in the history of  Mother Church, has she been subject to the laws of the State.   The Church is not and never has been subject to the State; this is clear in all Encyclicals regarding the relationship between Church and State issued by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is frightening that Bishops have compromised this clear teaching by their obedience to the State,  to the point where Sacraments, the primary means of  salvation, are being denied even to the dying. Shocking.

And  do not dare tell me that this is because of Covid 19, a disease which has a recovery rate of 99.79%! Yes a fatality rate of 1 in 500.  A disease, which 42 studies showed  by 39 – 3, that if treated promptly  and with the correct and proper dosage,  of  hydroxychloroquine, full  recovery increases by 33 – 50% ! 

See the facts  for yourselves! – this is not a study but a review of 42 studies!

For the purpose of the points/criticisms I make, I shall quote Truth given by Our Lord in the 4 gospels, showing how these present actions are against His will, contradict His will. I will also refer to other Scripture quotes and the lives of the saints.

From the start our Bishops closed our churches, the dwelling place of Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Water was removed from our fonts with which we bless ourselves on entering Jesus’ house, reminding ourselves of the covenant God made with us at Baptism – “Unless you are born of water and the Holy Spirit you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” – John 3. 

Is God going to use Holy Water to pass disease to faithful followers of His son who remind themselves of His covenant?

The weekend before we entered national lockdown on Monday 23rd March the Bishops closed our churches, denying access. “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me,  for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls!”-  Matt 11.

When the sheep were frightened and scared of the Covid wolf, you shepherds denied them entry to be with their Master, He through whom they were created, their Saviour, in His Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Sorry to say it, but I say directly, this is Shocking, Disgraceful.

Consider the prayer taught by the Angel to the little children at Fatima –

My God I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not Adore, do not hope and do not love you. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore you profoundly and I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, truly present in all the Tabernacles of the World in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through His Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners. Amen

You, Bishops of Scotland, you denied adoration, you are the ones who presently cause the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended, by denying the sheep time in the Real Presence of Jesus.  And at a time when they need it most.

You may reply:  But they might have had Covid,  brought it  and passed it resulting in an outbreak which would have resulted  through their coming to Church!

Is the Father going to allow His Son’s house to be the centre of disease and the passing of disease when the sheep come to His Son to find peace for their souls!  No. 

 When the Son of Man comes will He find any faith on earth?”  – Luke 18.  With such chief shepherds as we have, sorry Lord Jesus, it looks very unlikely.

What guidance and example do the saints give us, actions  that  will please the Father?

 St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of our Holy Catholic Church,  says regarding shepherds i.e., Bishops and we priests who have advocated and followed the above practices; said on Monday, week 24, Office of Readings:

“So let us see how the Word of God, that flatters no one, addresses the shepherds who are feeding themselves not the sheep. ‘You take the milk, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed my sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought; any strong one you have killed; and my sheep are scattered because there is no shepherd.” 

Not only did you close churches and stop people from spending time in the Real Presence, you stopped funerals denying the grieving time at the Lord’s  altar,  to pray for their loved ones:  “All I ask of you is that you remember me at the Altar of God” – St Monica.

In hospitals where people were dying,  they were denied access to priests, and so to the Sacraments, the primary means of the salvation of their souls,  the Forgiveness of Sin, Absolution for their Souls, which would have placed their souls in a state of Grace,  so helping them to remove the fear of death, helping them to find peace in Jesus’ mercy… 

As the Compendium Catechism of the Catholic Church, written by Pope Benedict XVI,  says:

How are sins remitted? (#200)

The first and chief sacrament for the forgiveness of sins is Baptism.  For those sins committed after Baptism, Christ instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance through which a baptised person is reconciled with God and with the Church.

Why does the Church have the power to forgive sins? (#201)

The Church has the mission and the power to forgive sins because Christ Himself has conferred it upon her: “Receive the Holy Ghost, if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” – John 20

This mission of yours, this duty as shepherds, you neglected, by not making sure a priest was available to the dying in a time of great fear.

“But he could have caught Covid and might have died!”  I hear you reply.

Will the Father  allow disease to pass to a Priest/s, with whom Jesus has shared His priesthood, as he tries to worthily celebrate the Sacraments, the primary  means of Salvation, to sick and dying souls?   Have you any faith, trust in Jesus who has shared His priesthood with you? He whom St Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians: “If our life in Christ means anything to you” (it should be the centre of our priesthood) “if love can persuade you at all, or the Holy Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and mind.” 

That common purpose and mind must be to follow the actions and teaching of Christ – was He scared to touch the lepers?  In the Gospel Jesus tells us of the son who said “yes”, he would go to his father’s vineyard and work but never went. On being installed Bishops, you promised to go and look after the Lord’s flock, but you have gone to the world instead, listened to its instructions and imposed them on the people, failing to implement Jesus’ teaching and ways.

Lives/example of the saints –

St Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, feast 17th Sept,- During the time of great disease, at the time of the Reformation, the plague which ravaged Europe, he went about cleansing  and dressing the wounds of those infected by the plague;  what hand sanitizer was he using? Please tell me if you know – I better get some!

St Mother Teresa served the poor looking after them, dressing their wounds, helping them in their illness. What age did she live to?  87!  How many followed her, joined her order, she who trusted herself completely to the service of God and her neighbour. “By its fruits shall you know the tree.”  

If we are truly trying to be shepherds through the priesthood Christ has shared with us, these are the examples we should look to, copy and so trust in the power of Christ, as we try to do the will of the Father through the prompting of the Holy Ghost,  and without fear.

And finally to the Mass and how it has been changed by you Bishops.

Mass, the celebration of Christ’s offering on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins, the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, where we hear the Word of God to help us guide our actions to show our belief in Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

You shut our churches, denying people the Mass, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ: “I tell you most solemnly, if  you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you will not have life within you.” – John 6:53.

You stopped the sheep from receiving the Lord in Holy Communion at the time when they needed Him most.  Instead of doing what Christ instructed you did what the Government instructed: 

Do not get close to each other. Priests, keep people apart, distancing them from each other, no singing, the liturgy must be celebrated in a very basic way. You must make the faithful wear masks,  despite the  fact that the WHO admitted to the BBC that its June 2020 mask policy update was due not to new evidence, but “political lobbying”. – D Cohen, BBC Medical Correspondent     Yet, the people are  hindered in their ability to speak, to enter God’s Presence, showing their facial individuality, how God created them.  Disgraceful.

On 3rd September, in the Tridentine calendar, we celebrated the feast of St Pius X, great pastor of the flock, who realised the full value of the liturgy as the prayer of the Church that is pleasing to the Father.  You hinder such celebration in your clear obedience to the world.  Why?

One cannot help but think that if the Lord Jesus came into such churches, He would tear down your tape, cast aside your sanitizer bottles and masks and say My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a worldly den  which follows practices of the world and the flesh! Be gone!  – Matt,  21.

Priests have to sanitize hands before giving out communion – as Philip Tartaglia said to me in a letter instructing me to follow guidelines, or else!  People should leave the church after receiving Holy Communion; they should not remain/return to benches. People are to be denied time in the Real Presence of their  Saviour, He who sacrificed Himself for the forgiveness of their sins, their Lord and Master.  This directly contravenes the example of the saints of the Church who in their lives show the importance of spending time in the presence of Jesus, having  just received Him.

“The Bishops of Scotland have agreed to suspend the choice of distributing and receiving Holy Communion on the tongue during the current pandemic for reasons of infection control. This is not an attempt to change liturgical laws. It is a reasonable temporary measure to adopt in this pandemic.” – letter  sent by email to me from Philip Tartaglia, 20th August 2020.

You Bishops have no right, no such power  to remove people’s choice to receive Holy Communion on the tongue!

It is for people to choose, not you to dictate things contrary to the teaching and rules of Mother Church.

Is Jesus, who is using the priest, with whom He has shared His priesthood, going to pass disease through their giving of Holy Communion? Again I quote, When the Son of Man comes will He find any faith on earth?” 

According to Scripture in the Office of Readings of the last few weeks, the Lord asks of His shepherds, on numerous occasions, through the Prophets, and very precisely here: “When the upright man renounces his integrity to do evil and I set a trap for him, he too shall die for his sin and the integrity he practised will no longer be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death.” –  Ezekiel  2:20

By publishing this letter, as a priest who is struggling in the present situation, I truly believe I am acting in obedience to God’s will, pleasing the Father and following the prompting of the Holy Ghost by giving clarity through Christ’s words, not mine. I believe that by my quotes from the Gospels, I have declared myself for Jesus in the presence of men as Jesus commands and, I believe, a true shepherd should.  (Matt, 10:32)

To you, the people of the Body of Christ in Scotland, the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church I ask your prayers, especially before the altar of God. I am a sinner with faults and failings, some say many faults and failings.  Many will assure you “that you definitely won’t see a halo over  Dunn’s head!”  However, even with such weakness and faults,  I believe that I have a duty  to make this letter available to you, in obedience to God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to address grave failings and incorrect directives from our Scottish Bishops.

To those whom I accuse, I say reflect, realise what Christ wishes of we Shepherds, and like the Prodigal Son, come back to the Father – remembering that Christ tells us, ”There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than ninety-nine good men who are in no need of repentance.” – Luke, 15.

And as individuals,  let  none of us forget:  “Remember dear Christian:   You have but one soul to save, One God to love and to serve, one Eternity to expect, Death will come soon, Judgement will follow, And then, Heaven or Hell for all Eternity!”  (St Teresa of Avila).

Yes, we priests have many souls to save, and because more has been entrusted to us in priesthood, the greater our Judgement!

God Bless you all, and may we all be united in Christ Jesus to carry out His will.

Christ’s brother in priesthood,

Fr Stephen Dunn
Priest of 26 years of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.
stephen.dunn@rcag.org.uk 

Comment:

Father Stephen Dunn has honoured Catholic Truth by permitting us to publish the above letter.  We thank him for this, and I have already assured him that our readers and bloggers will be praying for him.  It takes courage for any priest to speak out in this way. 

Father Dunn regularly offers the Traditional Latin Mass.  He learned the Mass on publication of Summorum Pontificum, and at that time his main reason for wanting to learn the old Mass was because his father, Dr John Dunn RIP, a supporter of Catholic Truth from the beginning of our publication, had stipulated that his funeral Mass must be offered in the Traditional rite.  Father has come to fully appreciate the old rite, especially in its reverence, and he now offers it as often as possible.

Please express your support for Father in the comments below, and remember to pray for him because, as we know, while dissenting priests are protected and promoted in the Church at this time of apostasy, loyal priests who preach and defend the Faith are, sadly, more often than not punished at some level – we have all been following such cases, most notably, recently, the case of the American priest, Father James Altman.  

Archbishop of Glasgow: Most Catholics Faithless, But No Return To Tradition…

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Glasgow

A Lent challenge: Do I really believe? (From March 2020 edition of Flourish)

I believe in miracles … do you? That’s the powerful question asked by Archbishop Tartaglia this month as Lent begins in earnest. In a powerful interview with Flourish, Glasgow’s Archbishop calls for a new effort at fostering devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a renewed sense of the sacred.
Editor:  Why’s that, then?  Why the need for “a new effort… devotion… Real Presence… sense of the sacred…”?  Whatever happened to the “old” devotion and sense of the sacred? Could it be that the “success” of the ecumenical and inter-faith focus of the Church has led to practical indifferentism among the faithful who now believe that one religion / denomination is as good as another, that we’re all going to Heaven, no need to be “dogmatic” about anything? Jesus loves us and we don’t need “organised religion” any more.  Just a thought.

The Archbishop spoke after a recent survey in the US showed only 30 per cent of Catholics fully accepted the doctrine of transubstantiation, namely the bread and wine offered at Mass truly become the body and blood of Christ at the moment of consecration.
Editor:  Which means that 70% do NOT believe in transubstantiation… How did that happen, then?

Archbishop Tartaglia speaks frankly in the interview about the liturgical and catechetical mistakes which followed Vatican II and acknowledges that “the Church has gone through testing times in the post-conciliar period, much of it self-inflicted. There has been bad catechesis and bad theology around the Eucharist, with the result that many people cannot articulate the Church’s faith in the Eucharist even in simple terms.”
Editor:  well, Glory Hallelujah! That is some admission. Every word a jewel.  At long last, Archbishop. Still, a wee apology after the spirit of the age would be good. It’s called “taking responsibility”.  And then let’s see some action! Sacking the entire staff at the Scottish Catholic Education Service  plus reinstating Thomism in seminaries would be a start:  producing theologically literate priests and teachers can only help…

He adds starkly: “Many supportive elements of our practice, like fasting and genuflection and kneeling, and devotional prayers and practices, have been neglected. None of this has helped to nourish the faith of the People of God in the Most Holy Eucharist.”
Editor:  “genuflection and kneeling” don’t come naturally to those who think of Our Lord as merely their “brother” and who –  as the Archbishop now acknowledges  – lack belief in His Real Presence.  Who, after all, ordered the tabernacles to be placed out of sight (and thus out of mind, as the saying goes), along with the removal of altar rails and kneelers, because it is that person who bears massive responsibility before God for causing and maintaining the apostasy which Pope John Paul II once described as “silent”, but which is now screaming from the rooftops. 

But the Archbishop is clear that the answer is not a return to the past or a rejection of the liturgical changes of Vatican II.
Editor: WRONG!  How on earth does the Archbishop think we got to the stage where the vast majority of Catholics, by his own admission, do not believe in a central dogma of the Faith – the Real Presence – if not as a result of  “the liturgical changes of Vatican II”?   This has to be a rhetorical question because the answer is so painfully obvious. 
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He says: “The Novus Ordo, the ‘new’ Mass, is not a defective form of the Mass. Its structure is based soundly on the great liturgical tradition. Its theology is orthodox. Like any other form of the Mass, when celebrated well, it more fully achieves God’s purpose. When celebrated poorly, it obscures God’s purpose.”
Editor:  So the poor faithful are to be left at the mercy of the priest, hoping he does not “obscure God’s purpose”… What?!  The new Mass is definitely defective.  Its structure is totally contradictory to “the great liturgical tradition”: for example, never before in the entire history of the Church has the priest faced the congregation at Mass throughout. This is but one, highly distracting, innovation, one departure from Catholic Tradition which totally “obscures  God’s purpose” in the Mass and turns it into an entertainment platform, and in some cases, a circus.  So seriously did certain Cardinals regard this novel Mass, recognising that it was truly defective, that they wrote to Pope Paul VI, arguing that “…the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.” To read the entire letter/critique, click here

And he reminds readers that the teaching of the Church has been clear and unchanging in recent decades: “There has been good and faithful catechesis and teaching on the Eucharist during the post-Vatican II era, starting from Pope St Paul VI. His successors Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI taught firmly and beautifully on the Mass and on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Editor:  So, how come the majority of Catholics have lost the Faith – a fact which the Archbishop acknowledges?

“Pope Francis summed up the Church’s teaching simply and powerfully last year on the feast of Corpus Christi: ‘Whenever we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our ‘amen’ to the Body of Christ… It is Jesus, it is Jesus who saved me, it is Jesus who comes to give me the strength to live. It is Jesus alive.’”
Editor:  is that it?  Hardly an explanation, let alone a ringing endorsement, of transubstantiation – but merely a vague pious statement to which any Protestant could subscribe.  Protestants who believe that they receive Christ “spiritually” in their bread and wine, could pray those words.

And he ended his interview with a cry of hope … “There is no pastoral plan that can fix this situation without insisting upon a renewed and profound faithfulness to Christ and to his Gospel. The answer will depend on much more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels which will lay out for the faithful the truth, beauty and wonder of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist so that they may receive him in Holy Communion with faith and devotion for the salvation of their souls.
Editor:  can’t argue with that – but how is this “more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels…”  to be achieved? There’s plenty of piously “hopeful” rhetoric coming from the Archbishop in this interview, but precious little in the way of concrete planning to put right the indiscipline, errors, liturgical and catechetical abuses of the past 50 plus years. And the check list below, really doesn’t offer any of that pious “hope”.  Apparently this “more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels” will be achieved as follows:

• It will be expressed in more obedient and authentic liturgy.
Editor:  that can only mean the traditional Latin Mass, offered in every parish in the archdiocese – a solution rejected by the Archbishop. 

• It will be accompanied by a much greater response to Vatican II’s universal call to holiness from all sectors of the Church.
Editor:  if “Vatican II’s universal call to holiness” is different from the perennial call to holiness of the Church since apostolic times, let’s hear it. It is, in fact, this heresy – that the Church only really began at Vatican II, with the arrival of the Holy Ghost at the Council – that has led to the current decline.

• It will demand a true conversion to the moral and social teaching of the Church.
Editor:  true.  Which will require priests and bishops to openly preach true morals, deny pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion and refuse to permit scandalous funerals, such as the very public funerals of partnered homosexuals which have taken place in Glasgow in recent years.  And in terms of the social teaching of the Church – that means priests and bishops preaching that, at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the belief that Christ must be at the head of every nation under Heaven. The Church is not an arm of the Social Work Department. She cannot support immoral national laws, in the name of Catholic Social Teaching.

• It will be based on a much more frequent and respectful practice around Mass, the Sacraments and an increased sensitivity to the sphere of the sacred.
Editor: that brings us full circle back to the need to restore that which has been lost – the traditional Latin Mass, and, in the meantime, an end to the various liturgical abuses now normalised – such as Communion in the hand, drinking from the Chalice and lay people playing at being priests.  We want rid of Extraordinay Ministers of Holy Communion:  when do we want it? NOW! 

• It will be supported by much more prayer, devotion and penance.
Editor:  once the traditional liturgy has been restored, “all these other things will be given to you”, to (kinda) quote the Gospel.

Its source and outcome will be a greater faith, hope and charity. It may well take a miracle of grace and conversion to restore our Eucharistic faith … but thankfully, I believe in miracles.”
Editor: yes, it will take a miracle, which is why we, at Catholic Truth, never lose sight of the need for the Pope and all the Bishops of the world to unite in consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as Our Lady requested.  Until then, as we can see from the above interview (notwithstanding his honest admission of the dire state of the Church on his watch)  Archbishop Tartaglia is still in denial as to the only way to put matters right, which is the restoration of all things in Christ; in other words, he must give us back what modernist churchmen have taken from us in the past half-century – our Catholic heritage.  The spiritual blindness which we are witnessing in the post-Vatican II churchmen from the top down, continues to display itself in interviews such as this, where the Archbishop just cannot see that it is only when the Traditional Faith in its theological and liturgical purity is restored, that his “miracle” will be achieved. Source – March 2020 edition of Flourishofficial publication of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

Comments invited…

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

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…     

Interfaith… or Interference with God’s Plan of Salvation: does Church matter?

Below, extract from Archbishop stresses unity during visit to synagogue

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Glasgow

Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow said: “I think it’s important to remember no matter what religion we are loyal to it’s ultimately God that directs and nourishes us in our daily lives and on different perspectives of certain issues, God is talking and guiding us all in our daily lives.

“Ultimately, that is the truth of the matter and it is therefore up to our Churches, Synagogues and Kirk to take that message of a ‘common good’ to the doorsteps of those who don’t believe.

“In a world that has so much devastation we each believe our religion has the truth to finding peace and happiness, but our differences are not the cause of conflict and dispute.

“Here today we are gathered as that witness of a desire for men and women of different religions to promote harmony, especially during Interfaith Week.
“Our role within civic society can help expose people of every class and denomination to a platform in which they can be informed of God’s message of hope and the common good which is a powerful force to unite people.
“As we sit together this morning discussing our Faiths we are grateful for the things we have in common and can be thankful for positive relationships which now exist between different religions and denominations.”  Source – Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO)

Comment: 

Ecumenical and interfaith events such as that described in the SCO report above, make it increasingly difficult to see the point of individual religions.  Are they really nothing more than a group of “peace” movements, at their best when working together to achieve peace, locally, nationally, globally?  Is that what “religion” is all about.   It’s not what I was taught, that’s for sure. I was taught that God has a plan of salvation, and that this plan of salvation is – in accordance with His will – achieved through His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  Surely, if that is true, the Archbishop has a duty to say so and not make statements to the effect that God is pleased with every religion as long as they are looking after “the common good”, whatever that might be at any point in time.  Share your thoughts…  

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…  

New Auxiliary For Glasgow – But Why Doesn’t Archbishop Tartaglia Resign?

Archbishop TartagliaPope Francis has agreed to appoint an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Glasgow. The new bishop will assist Archbishop Tartaglia who turns 65 in January. The Archbishop asked the Pope for an auxiliary following his health scare earlier this year… Source

Comment:

If the Archbishop of Glasgow is not able to fulfil his office, due to poor health – for which our sympathy – then, surely the right thing to do is to resign? Having an auxiliary running the show can’t be good for the Archdiocese.  The clergy already feel they are neglected, with sources telling Catholic Truth that priests feel dissatisfied with the current situation,  so the way forward, it seems to us amateurs, is to allow a “new brush” to “sweep [the archdiocese] clean”.  Well?  What do YOU think?