Irish Bishop: “I am not the slightest bit concerned about making the Church strong again.” Apostasy Writ Large…

Ireland: Homily of Bishop Donal McKeown [pictured right] for Vocations Sunday Mass broadcast by RTÉ
Good Shepherd Sunday 12 May 2019

Every year in Derry Diocese, we have Mass in the local football stadium for all the children who have been confirmed during the course of the year. Last June we had a stand packed with 2,700 children and their teachers – complete with banners, hats, painted T-shirts and lots of music. For my homily, I asked whether they all remembered what the bishop had said. Not surprisingly, the answer was a resounding ‘no’! And then I told them what I remembered from all the Confirmation ceremonies – of all the children who had been photographed with me at their local Confirmation ceremonies, only one had held my hand and then given me a hug afterward. In some ways, she was the smartest child of all of them because she had a big heart and knew how to show it. This, I suggested, is what the Holy Spirit desires for each of us. And then I pointed out that this girl had Down’s Syndrome. Of course, since she was the smartest child there, we invited her down to the front – and the whole crowd stood to cheer her.

There is much discussion about the future of organized Christianity in Ireland. My own take on that is simple. I am not the slightest bit concerned about making the Church strong again. I am interested only in whether we are fit for purpose in bringing Good News to the vast numbers who are in need of mercy and healing. Jesus did not set up the Church to look after itself. The People of God exist only to seek out the lost and to offer them love and healing in Jesus’ name. Jesus was not interested in setting up groups of self-referential followers who would be concerned mainly with providing services for their own dwindling numbers. Pentecost put an end to that notion. Faith means encouraging people to have big hearts and knowing how to show it.

And there is a huge need for big hearts.

It seems increasingly clear that, in such a cultural context, Christ’s disciples are called by the Good Shepherd, not to catch up with everybody else, but to seek out the thousands who pay the price for the fragmentation, uncertainty, suicide and loneliness that seems to benefit some – but infects many with ‘an epidemic of loneliness’[1]. In his own day, Jesus’ eye fell on those who were harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Anything less than that is a betrayal of the mission that Jesus gave his disciples. That needs big hearts.

And how is Church expected to carry out that ministry? It seems to me that there are three areas.

Firstly, Jesus was concerned with building relationships, bridges not walls. One core ministry of God’s people is to build welcoming communities. The Gospels are clear that Jesus went out to lepers, gentiles and public sinners. He told them that the Father loved them where they were – but loved them too much to leave them where they were. Pope Francis calls us to be a Church that is going out from itself and to build up our unity within the Body of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ can never prioritize lifting the drawbridge to keep people away from encountering the Good Shepherd. That needs big hearts.

Secondly, Jesus was also known as the Teacher. He spoke to His followers by proclaiming their dignity and the mercy of the Father. He spoke about sin and forgiveness, right and wrong – and our shared call to be holy as God the Father is holy. Because He was so clear in his teaching, many hated Him. The Church is called to be a place where individuals and groups can grow in uncomfortable faith together, as disciples of the Rabbi from Nazareth. That needs big hearts.

Thirdly, Jesus wanted to make the Father known and loved. One of the Gospels tells us that Jesus gathered disciples to be with Him and to go out (Mk 3:14). The first emphasis was not merely on teaching laws, though Jesus was also clear that, if anyone keeps His words, the Father and Jesus will make their home in that person (Jn 14:23). Those who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd follow His ways and not merely their own. The Gospel not only comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comfortable. That needs big hearts.

In a changing Irish Church, some people imagine that lay involvement means laity doing more ‘to help poor Father do all his jobs’. I prefer to see the Good Shepherd model of Church as one where those in leadership roles (be they ordained, consecrated or lay like the great Jean Vanier) – by proclaiming the Word, by the liturgical celebration of the mystery of faith and a prophetic way of life – form the whole people of God for their mission of bringing Good News to every hurting corner of their parish and of the world. That calls for heroism and generosity to a fault. But Jesus’ example called for nothing else. Any changes in Church structure must serve that mission and nothing else.

We face many challenges in making organized Irish Christianity fit for purpose. But on this Sunday, the big-hearted Good Shepherd who has sought us out sends us out. If we expect something different for the Church, perhaps we haven’t really heard today’s Gospel.  [emphases added]  Source

Comment: 

It’s a while since I’ve heard/read this reference to “organised Christianity” – it was a popular euphemism during my days as a student teacher when, clearly, it was a means of diminishing the  importance of Christ’s Church. After all, “organised Christianity” might refer to every group of Christians – from the Salvation Army to the Church of England – working in the field, so to speak.  The “field” of glorified social work, that is, posing as Christianity.  To be honest, I am lost for words to describe my thoughts about this apostate bishop who has no clue as to the nature and purpose of Christ’s Church.  I will close, then, quoting Bishop Schneider [pictured below] who warned those “shepherds of the Church” referring to the fire at Notre Dame, who are, in fact, “spiritual arsonists”. 

“God will not indefinitely and shamelessly be mocked by so many Shepherds of the Church today, through their betrayal of the Faith, their sycophantic serving of the world and their neo-pagan worship of temporal and earthly realities.  To them are addressed these words of Christ, ‘I tell you, unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ (Lk 13:5)  Source

Well?  Which of these two “shepherds of the Church” is speaking the truth, thinkest thou?  Can’t be both of them, as one couldn’t care less about the Church and the other warns of hell-fire for those bishops who couldn’t care less about the Church…   

Ed:  I will send the link to this thread to Bishop McKeown, not that it will make a blind bit of difference – “blind” being the operative word (“..they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14)…   

2018: The Year of Formal Schism?

THE REMNANT UNDERGROUND: Headed up by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two other Archbishops from Kazakhstan, a total of 6 bishops and 1 cardinal have now signed a statement of opposition to the pope-approved interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that non-repentant public adulterers can return to the sacramental life of the Church. This is revolution and counterrevolution in a Catholic Church in total crisis. Plus, looking ahead to October’s Synod of Young People in Rome—will the Church deep six Humanae Vitae? Will the Vatican give the green light to so-called ‘gay unions’? Finally, an old Jimmy Stewart movie, “Call Northside 777”, includes a sobering reminder of what it used to mean to be Catholic–something Pope Francis would do well to consider.

Comments invited… 

Bishop on Unbelievers in Hierarchy

LAST WEEK, Rorate Caeli interviewed His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, one of the most visible prelates working on the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass and faith, on numerous topics.

In this wide-ranging interview, His Excellency thoughtfully expounded on issues critical to the Church in this great time of crisis. Read the entire interview so you don’t miss His Excellency’s thoughts on the current status of the SSPX, women’s participation in the Mass and the washing of women’s feet, whether Russia was ever truly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Summorum Pontificum and anti-pastoral bishops and much, much more. 

For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of 'pope-centrism' or a kind of 'papolatria' which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.

For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of ‘pope-centrism’ or a kind of ‘papolatria’ which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.


POST-SYNOD CHURCH & UNBELIEVERS IN THE HIERARCHY

Rorate Caeli: In the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?

H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: ‘Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism’ (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c).

The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope.

The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.

Rorate Caeli: Speaking of typical Catholics, what will the typical parish priest face now that he didn’t face before the Synod began? What pressures, such as the washing of women’s feet on Maundy Thursday after the example of Francis, will burden the parish priest even more than he is burdened today?

H.E. Schneider: A typical Catholic parish priest should know well the perennial sense of the Catholic faith, the perennial sense as well of the laws of the Catholic liturgy and, knowing this, he should have an interior sureness and firmness. He should always remember the Catholic principle of discernment: ‘Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus’, i.e. ‘What has been always, everywhere and from all’ believed and practiced.

The categories ‘always, everywhere, all’ are not to be understood in an arithmetical, but in a moral sense. A concrete criterion for discernment is this: ‘Does this change in a doctrinal affirmation, in a pastoral or in a liturgical practice constitute a rupture with the centuries-old, or even with the millennial past? And does this innovation really make the faith shine clearer and brighter? Does this liturgical innovation bring to us closer the sanctity of God, or manifest deeper and more beautiful the Divine mysteries? Does this disciplinary innovation really increase a greater zeal for the holiness of life?’

As concretely to the innovation of washing the feet of women during the Holy Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday: This Holy Mass celebrates the commemoration of the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Therefore, the foot washing of women along with the men not only distracts from the main focus on Eucharist and on Priesthood, but generates confusion regarding the historical symbolism of the ‘twelve’ and of the apostles being of male sex. The universal tradition of the Church never allowed the foot washing during the Holy Mass, but instead outside of Mass, in a special ceremony.

By the way: the public washing and usually also kissing of the feet of women on the part of a man, in our case, of a priest or a bishop, is considered by every person of common sense in all cultures as being improper and even indecent. Thanks be to God no priest or bishop is obliged to wash publicly the feet of women on Holy Thursday, for there is no binding norm for it, and the foot washing itself is only facultative. 

PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF ST. PIUS X (SSPX)

Rorate Caeli: A non-typical situation in the church is the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Why does Your Excellency think that so many Catholics are afraid of the SSPX or anxious about any association with it? From what Your Excellency has seen, what gifts do you think the SSPX can bring to the mainstream Church?

H.E. Schneider: When someone or something is unimportant and weak, nobody has fear of it. Those who have fear of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X ultimately have fear of the perennial Catholic truths and of its demands in the moral and the liturgical domain.

When the SSPX tries to believe, to worship and to live morally the way our fore-fathers and the best-known Saints did during a millennial period, then one has to consider the life and the work of these Catholic priests and faithful of the SSPX as a gift for the Church in our days – even as one of the several instruments which the Divine Providence uses to remedy the enormity of the current general crisis of the faith, of the morals and of the liturgy inside the Church.

In some sectors of the SSPX there are, however, as it is the case in every human society some eccentric personalities. They have a method and a mindset which lack justice and charity and consequently the true ‘sentire cum ecclesia,’ and there is the danger of an ecclesial autocephaly and to be the last judicial instance in the Church. However, to my knowledge, the healthier part corresponds to the major part of the SSPX and I consider their General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. There is some hope for a canonical recognition of the SPPX.  To read the entire, very outspoken interview click  here

 

I consider [the SSPX] General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, [pictured] as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. (Bishop Schneider) (Bishop Schneider)

I consider [the SSPX] General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, [pictured] as an exemplarily and
true Catholic bishop.
(Bishop Schneider)

 

Comment:

Bishop Schneider is to be commended for speaking out. Will any UK Bishops follow suit?  If not, why not?