Friday, March 29, 2013

Does Father Leo-LeBlanc consider Saint Faustina to be confused?

In a previous post, see here, I noted how Father Leo-Paul LeBlanc, the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Winchendon, Massachusetts, dismissed the very idea that God sends punishments (or chastisements) and that these often take the form of natural disasters or storms.  Katrina should not be interpreted as a punishment or chastisement, according to Fr. LeBlanc, because "God doesn't work that way."

A couple of ugly comments have been left at this Blog asserting that I am a "religious nut" for believing that storms and other natural disasters are often (not always, but often) sent our way as chastisement for straying from God's Commandments and precepts.  Indeed, Fr. LeBlanc asserted that such belief represents "a confused theology."

Apparently Fr. LeBlanc and others would have us believe that Saint Faustina Kowalska was also "confused" or somehow a "religious nut."  Saint Faustina, known as the 'Apostle of The Divine Mercy," is considered by theologians to be among the outstanding mystics of the Church.  In her Diary (Divine Mercy in My Soul), Saint Faustina makes it crystal clear that sometimes there is a supernatural explanation for storms and other natural disasters and that they are sometimes sent to punish.  We read in Notebook VI, paragraph 1791: "When a great storm was approaching, I began to say the chaplet.  Suddenly I heard the voice of an angel: 'I cannot approach in this storm, because the light which comes from her mouth drives back both me and the storm.'  Such was the angel's complaint to God.  I then recognized how much havoc he was to have made through this storm; but I also recognized that this prayer was pleasing to God, and that this chaplet was most powerful."

Saint Faustina tells us here that the angel of God was to have created havoc through the storm and that it was prayer (specifically the Mercy Chaplet in this case) which powerfully drove back the angel of God and the havoc he intended to bring from God.

On many occasions I have offered either a Rosary or a Mercy Chaplet - and sometimes both - to pray away a predicted storm.  Back in February, my area was supposed to be slammed by a blizzard.  I prayed a Rosary asking Saint Michael to drive this storm away from my town.  A foot of snow was predicted.  But we didn't get any.  Only some light rain.  The storm veered south and dumped almost a foot on towns such as Taunton, Massachusetts.

God created nature.  And He can certainly act in and through His creation.  Lukewarm Catholics who have largely lost their supernatural faith may have difficulty believing this. They may believe that God doesn't send punishments through His creation.  But Saint Faustina assures us that such thinking is confused.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Justice Elena Kagan: Not as clever as she thinks on same-sex "marriage"

Surpreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, responding to Charles Cooper, the lawyer defending Proposition 8, the California "gay marriage" ban, after he insisted that the primary purpose of marriage is procreation, responded sarcastically, "..if the couple - I can assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage."  See here.

Yes, it's entirely true that people marry for a variety of motives: for love, for companionship, for money or economic considerations, for position.  And the idea of having children may be very secondary and perhaps only tolerated rather than desired, in the minds of couples marrying.  The idea of having children need not be uppermost in their minds.  But there is no doubt that within marriage, procreation is primary in nature's design.  We eat mostly for the pleasure we obtain from eating and we rarely think of its necessity for sustaining life.  Nevertheless, the latter is the primary purpose of eating.  The same is true for the sexual act.  It may be done for pleasure, but its primary purpose is to sustain the race - procreation.

Marriage must conform to the natural law which is promulgated by God and is the objective order established by Him.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that, "The 'divine and natural' law shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end." (CCC, 1955).  And again: "The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men.  It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties." (CCC, 1956).

The eternal law is in God.  When applied to creatures, this eternal law is called the natural law.  In nature we see that all things are bound by constant and uniform inclinations to attain definite ends.  For example, it is natural for the sun to rise and light and heat the earth, for flowers to grow and bloom, for fish to swim and birds to fly, and for man to think thoughts and to share them with others.  In each case, these things are simply obeying the law which is stamped on their natures by their Creator.  This temporal effect of the eternal law which shows itself in creatures is what we mean by the natural law.  It is called natural law because it is grounded in nature itself and manifests itself through nature, or essence or the constitution of things.

Now, getting back to Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.  Her response to attorney Charles Cooper was not amusing and betrays her ignorance of the natural law, which is the basis for all civil law.  The primary purpose of marriage is procreation.  Besides this primary purpose, marriage has secondary ends, the mutual material and spiritual assistance to the married parties and protection from the abuse of sex life.  But the primary purpose of marriage is essential for its validity to the extent that the right to marital commerce may never be excluded.  The marriage contract is valid even when it is certain that there is no possibility of having children (some couples are unable to have children), provided that the primary purpose of marriage, which is procreation, is not excluded.  But two people of the same sex are not able to have children.  In a homosexual union, procreation is excluded.  As we read in the Catechism, homosexual acts are, "..contrary to the natural law.  They close the sexual act to the gift of life." (CCC, 2357).

Justice Kagan's response to attorney Cooper does not invalidate his argument.  It only serves to highlight her paucity of intellect.  But then, this is the same Elena Kagan who issued a Socialist call to action to change America and to defeat the "entrenched foe."  Presumably, this entrenched foe is the Judeo-Christian foundation upon which America was built.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The gravity of liturgical abuse and the Diocese of Worcester

Many Catholics today, priests and laity as well as consecrated religious, possess a lust for innovation which they use to assault the stability of sacred rites.  Referring to these liturgical terrorists who seek to violently replace divine forms with their own reckless innovations, John Henry Cardinal Newman warned that, "No one can really respect religion and insult its forms.  Granted that forms are not immediately from God, still long use has made them divine to us; for the spirit of religion has so penetrated and quickened them, that to destroy them is, in respect to the multitude of men, to unsettle and dislodge the religious principle itself.  In most minds usage has so identified them with the notion of religion, that one cannot be extirpated without the other.  Their faith will not bear transplanting...Precious doctrines are strung like jewels upon slender threads." (John Henry Cardinal Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. II, Christian Classics Inc, pp. 75-76).

Those who are bent on making their own unauthorized changes to the liturgy often fail to appreciate how such an endeavor can constitute grave sin.  I know this because some have accused me of making a mountain out of a molehill for my opposition to various liturgical abuses.  Dr. Germain Grisez explains: "There are many reasons why it is wrong for priests intentionally to make unauthorized liturgical changes.  Two are especially important.  First, such changes sometimes embody or imply deviations from Catholic faith; even when they do not, they often omit (see here for example) or obscure something of the liturgy's expression of faith.  Thus, the Church teaches: 'The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays.  Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition' (cf. DV 8).  For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the communityEven the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy.' (CCC, 1124-1125).

Dr. Grisez continues, " the Eucharist, a priest acts in the person of Christ, who joins humankind to the Father; but in making unauthorized changes, a priest obscures Jesus' action, focuses attention on himself, and becomes an obstacle to the relationship between God and His People that priests are ordained to serve...Priests are agents ordained to deliver God's gifts to His People.  If they deliver some substitute for what Jesus has entrusted to them, they interpose themselves between - and defraud - both God and His People...

There are five additional reasons why unauthorized changes should not be made in the liturgy.  First, the liturgy is the worship of the Church as a body, and those who are ordained act as Church officials in performing liturgical roles.  So, insofar as a priest makes unauthorized changes, he misrepresents as the Church's what is in fact only his or some limited group's.  Even if this misrepresentation deceives no one and is intended for some good end, it is at odds with the reverence necessary for true worship.  Second, this essential irreverence and the obvious arbitrariness of intentional unauthorized changes strongly suggest that the Eucharist is not sacred, and this suggestion tends to undermine not only faith in Jesus' bodily presence in the consecrated elements, but faith that the Eucharist is Jesus' sacrifice made present for the faithful to share in.  Third, a priest who makes intentional, unauthorized changes acts with deplorable clericalism by imposing his personal preferences on the laity and violating the rights of those who quite reasonably wish only to participate in the Church's worship.  Fourth, intentionally making unauthorized changes sets a bad example of serious disobedience to the Church's norms, and this bad example is likely to encourage some people to think and do as they please not only in liturgical and canonical matters, but in matters of faith and morals.  Fifth...unauthorized liturgical changes often become a needless, divisive issue for the faithful, thus impeding the charity that the Eucharist should express and foster."

Still think that liturgical abuse is a small matter of little significance?  If so, this reflects on your own immaturity and not the objective truth that liturgical abuse constitutes grave matter.  How grave?  Again, Dr. Grisez:

"The reasons why priests should not make unauthorized liturgical changes also make it clear..that a priest's intentionally doing so is of itself matter of grave sin.  Of course, many changes are in themselves very minor, and a few perhaps even are real improvements.  But though this kind of sin admits  parvity, such small changes also are scandalous, not only because they give the faithful a bad example of disobedience but because they contribute to a clerical culture in which liturgical abuse is widely tolerated and sometimes even expected, so that some are encouraged to engage in far graver abuses.  Now, even a sin venial in itself becomes grave scandal when one foresees that it is likely to lead others to commit grave sin; thus, the element of scandal makes grave matter of even minor liturgical abuses likely to encourage more serious abuses by other priests.  Due to widespread confusion and negligence of some bishops, many priests undoubtedly lack sufficient reflection regarding this sin."

Serious matter this.  But how many priests within our own Diocese of Worcester routinely make unauthorized liturgical changes and think nothing of it?  Only recently I had to address the fact that several area priests were omitting the Creed from the liturgy.  At one parish where I often attend Holy Mass, a woman who serves as an Office Manager for the parish called me an idiot and indicated that if I don't care for the liturgical abuses, I should stay away.

But is this really the answer?  Insulting Catholics who want to participate in a faithful liturgy? 

Liturgical abuse is most serious.  But thus far, Bishop Robert McManus has not dealt in any meaningful way with this ongoing problem.  Read Michael Poulin's comment at my post dealing with our new Pope Francis.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The New York Times gets it wrong again

Miguel Woites, a confidant of Pope Francis while he served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is denying that the Holy Father ever endorsed homosexual civil unions as an alternative to same-sex "marriage."  Such was the claim of The New York Times.  See here.

Even those who produce The New York Times should know better than that.  But then the newspaper hasn't exactly been a bastion of journalistic integrity.  Pope Francis would never have endorsed "gay" civil unions.  For the acceptance of such unions would essentially redefine the concept of marriage in total disregard for its true nature. If such unions are endorsed, law loses its foundation in the natural order and right reason and thus its legitimacy. As St. Augustine says: 'that which is not just seems to be no law at all' (De Lib. Arb. i,5).

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its document titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," had this to say: "The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties." (No. 8).

his Encyclical Letter Libertas Humana, Pope Leo XIII explained that: "It is manifest that the eternal law of God is the sole standard and rule of human liberty, not only in each individual man, but also in the community and civil society which men constitute when united. Therefore, the true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he please, for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the state; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law . . . the binding force of the human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as applications of the eternal law, and incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle of all law . . . where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest while obeying man we become disobedient to God."

Human laws are "incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law." This is crystal clear Catholic teaching. There is no room for doubt. All other "laws" are unjust and are, therefore, not laws at all. And Catholics are not bound to obey them. In fact, Catholics have a duty to resist them. As I mentioned in a previous post, "Any law supportive of same-sex 'marriage' is no law at all. This because any law which is promulgated must correspond to the divine law. No human authority can declare what is morally evil to be morally good. Laws permitting slavery, abortion, euthanasia, divorce and "marriages" between persons of the same gender are immoral, and therefore unjust (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 96, a.5)."

Many homosexuals are now play-acting at getting married, much as a young boy might play at being a priest. We don't say that the child's play at being a priest really makes him a priest. Likewise, homosexuals might play at being married, but this doesn't make it so. We are sane when our minds conform to reality. I might tell people that I am Napoleon. But my saying so doesn't make me Napoleon. And if I really believe that I am Napoleon, I am not sane.

Men might actually believe that they have the right to change the definition of marriage, but this is merely symptomatic of an illusion which is rooted in pride. As such, it represents a form of insanity. Men are not free to change God's eternal law to suit their own pleasures. Recall the teaching of Pope Pius XI in his famous Encyclical "On Christian Marriage":"First of all, let this remain the unchanged and unshakable foundation: Matrimony was neither established nor restored by man but by God. It has been protected, strengthened, and elevated not by the laws of men, but by those of God, the author of human nature, and of Christ who restored that same nature. Consequently, these laws cannot be changed according to men's pleasure, nor by any agreement of the spouses themselves that is contrary to these laws. This is the teaching of Sacred Scripture (see Gen 1:27; 2:22f.; Mt 19:3ff.; Eph 5:23ff.); this is the constant, universal tradition of the Church; this is the solemn definition of the holy Council of Trent, which in the words of Sacred Scripture teaches and reasserts that the permanent and indissoluble bond of matrimony, its unity and strength, have their origin in God."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 1603-1605, explain marriage in the order of creation: "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage." The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. "The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life."

God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "And God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'"

Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."

Again, we may choose to reject these truths. But in so doing, we lose our grip on sanity as it were. In the words of the late (great) F.J. Sheed: "..if we see anything - ourself or some other man, or the Universe as a whole or any part of it - without at the same time seeing God holding it there, then we are seeing it all wrong. If we saw a coat hanging on a wall and did not realize that it was held there by a hook, we should not be living in the real world at all, but in some fantastic world of our own in which coats defied the law of gravity and hung on walls by their own power. Similarly if we see things in existence and do not in the same act see that they are held in existence by God, then equally we are living in a fantastic world, not the real world. Seeing God everywhere and all things upheld by Him [such as marriage, my note] is not a matter of sanctity; but of plain sanity, because God is everywhere and all things are upheld by Him...To overlook God's presence is not simply to be irreligious; it is a kind of insanity, like overlooking anything else that is actually there." (Theology and Sanity, p.6).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Regarding Father Joseph Jurgelonis, liturgical and doctrinal dissent

The Code of Canon Law states clearly that, "The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon.  The extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is an acolyte or other member of the Christian faithful deputed in accord with Can. 230.3"

No lay person who distributes Holy Communion should ever be referred to as a "eucharistic minister."  But some within the Church insist upon doing so because they wish to blur the line between the ministry of the ordained and that of the non-ordained.

At Saint Martin's Parish in Otter River, the Church's teaching is plainly rejected.  The laity who give Communion are referred to as eucharistic ministers.  One of these individuals is a woman who frequently goes to the tabernacle both before and during Holy Mass.  This is most unfortunate.  The use of extraordinary ministers should be just that - extraordinary.  Moreover, the ministry should rest on a secure foundation of doctrine and spirituality.  No lay person should be going to the tabernacle.  In Appendix V of the Roman Missal, we find the rite of commissioning of an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.  There we read, "when the priest has himself received Communion in the usual way, he gives Communion to the minister of the Eucharist.  Then he gives him/her the paten or other vessel with the hosts.  They then go to give Communion to the people."

This procedure, unlike the distorted procedure of having extraordinary ministers go to the tabernacle, is consistent at the sign level, with the theological truth that extraordinary ministers operate by way of delegation and not by right.  Monsignor Peter J. Elliott, in "Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite: A Manual for Clergy and All Involved in Liturgical Ministries," stresses this point.  He writes, "It seems appropriate that the celebrant then hand each of them [the extraordinary ministers] the eucharistic vessel rather than that they take it directly from the altar or from the tabernacle.  Again the ceremonial signs truthfully define their ministry as 'extraordinary' and hence dependent on the celebrant." (pp. 289-290).

But there's plenty of bad theology at Saint Martin's Parish.  There is a deacon attached to the parish who should be distributing Holy Communion and going to the tabernacle rather than the non-ordained faithful.  This same deacon, sadly, has promoted the "social gospel" and the writings of Father Andrew Greeley.  The pastor, and I use this term loosely here,  is Father Joseph Jurgelonis.  Fr. Jurgelonis has found the time to promote Sister Joyce Rupp, a New Age advocate who dissents from Church teaching and who has railed against the Vatican.  Fr. Jurgelonis even found the time to sign a letter of support for serial child abuser Father Robert E. Kelley.  What he could never find the time to do is to answer my serious and charitably expressed concerns over dissent and liturgical issues within the parish.

Although I volunteered to serve in various ministries at the parish (acolyte, lector, extraordinary minister bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound), no one ever got back to me.  Meanwhile the same woman who may be seen floating around the altar and going to the tabernacle serves in numerous other ministries at the parish: as a lector, leading the recitation of the Rosary and writing/producing the parish bulletin.  Why do I mention this?  Because the message it sends is clear: that orthodox Catholic laymen who follow the Magisterium and abide by authoritative liturgical rubrics are not welcome.

So much so that when I finally had enough of the nonsense at Saint Martin's, I informed Fr. Jurgelonis in a voicemail that I wanted my name removed from the parish registry.  His response?  Three guesses - That's right, none whatsoever.

Fr. Jurgelonis lacks charity.  This is shown in his disobedience to Church teaching and in his refusal to welcome those Catholics who do abide by that teaching.  If we are serious about promoting vocations to the priesthood, why are priests like Fr. Jurgelonis excluding orthodox laymen from parish ministries?

What do you think?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sentinel & Enterprise: Will Pope Francis be another John Paul XXIII?

You have to hand it to Charles St. Amand, the editor of the Sentinel & Enterprise, a local newspaper serving the Leominster-Fitchburg area as well as seven other cities and towns.  The man is most consistent.  When it comes to articles and editorials which touch upon the Catholic Church in particular and Catholicism in general,  Mr. St. Amand never troubles himself with getting the facts straight.  See here for example.

Take yesterday's editorial entitled, "Francis: Whose shoes will he fill?"  We read: "With the election of a new pope, Catholics around the world must be wondering what the latest successor to St. Peter has in mind for the Mother Church...He has shown himself to be socially conservative in Argentina by his stance against gay marriage and his backing of the traditional role of women in the Church, but he has also scolded some of his priests there for their refusal to baptize children born out of wedlock."

Actually, the terms "liberal" and "conservative" should never be applied to the Church.  As Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand explains, "These terms, facilely applied to many natural realms, can be extremely misleading when applied to the Church.  It is of the very nature of Catholic Christian faith to adhere to an unchanging divine revelation, to acknowledge that there is something in the Church that is above the ups and downs of cultures and the rhythm of history.  Divine revelation and the Mystical Body of Christ differ completely from all natural entities.  To be conservative, to be a traditionalist, is in this case an essential element of the response due to the unique phenomenon of the Church.  Even a man in no way conservative in temperament and in many other respects progressive must be conservative in his relation to the infallible magisterium of the Church, if he is to remain an orthodox Catholic.  One can be progressive and simultaneously a Catholic, but one cannot be a progressive in one's Catholic faith.  The idea of a 'progressive Catholic' in this sense is an oxymoron, a contradictio in adjecto...With the labels conservative and progressive they [the intellectually dishonest with an anti-Catholic agenda] are in fact requiring the faithful to choose between opposition to any renewal, opposition even to the elimination of things that have crept into the Church because of human frailty (e.g., legalism, abstractionism, external pressure in questions of conscience, grave abuses of authority in monasteries) and a change, a 'progress' in the Catholic faith which can only mean its abandonment.  These are false alternatives.  For there is a third choice, which welcomes the official decisions of the Vatican Council (Vatican II) but at the same time emphatically rejects the secularizing interpretations given them by many so-called progressive theologians and laymen.  This thirs choice is based on unshakable faith in Christ and in the infallible magisterium of His Holy Church.  It takes it for granted that there is no room for change in the divinely revealed doctrine of the Church." (Trojan Horse in the City of God, pp. 10-11).

So it's not a question of Pope Francis being "conservative" or "progressive."  The Holy Father opposes so-called same-sex "marriage" and the ordination of women to the priesthood because divinely revealed doctrine cannot change. 

The Sentinel & Enterprise editorial refers to Pope Francis' predecessor on the Chair of Peter, the same Pontiff who called for Vatican II, as "Pope John Paul XXIII": "Will he [Pope Francis] maintain his life of simplicity and pursuit of social justice, or will he be the next John Paul XXIII?"  Obviously, the writer of this confused editorial was thinking of Pope John XXIII who was elected Pontiff on October 28, 1958 and installed on November 4th of that same year.  Pope John reigned as Vicar of Christ until June 3, 1963.

This is the sort of coverage of Catholicism that Catholics have come to expect from the Sentinel & Enterprise.  But they deserve better.

Related reading here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Praise be to Jesus Christ: We have Pope Francis

Praise be to Jesus, we have a new Pope.  And he has chosen the name Francis.  Whether he chose this name because of Francis Xavier or after St. Francis of Assisi, the choice is most significant.  For the Jesuit Order was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola and based largely upon the revolutionary spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi.

And so, at a time when the Church finds herself in crisis (and she has weathered other storms through the centuries), and when many within the Church have shown that they prefer the darkness to the light, I offer these passages from St. Francis of Assisi, the Mirror of Christ:

"Those who do not wish 'to taste and see how sweet the Lord is' and who 'love the darkness more than the light' by refusing to obey the commandments of God are damned: of them it has been said by the mouth of the prophet, 'Cursed are those who fall from your precepts.'  But how blessed and favored are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord says in the Gospel: 'Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself.'....

We must hate our own body with its sin and vice, for the Lord has said in the Gospel all sins and vices 'come from the heart,' and 'we should love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.'  We must observe the precepts and counsels of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We must also deny ourselves and put our body under the yoke of discipline and holy obedience, as everyone has promised the Lord." (A Letter to All the Faithful," probably written in 1215).

Notice what St. Francis says here?  We "must" [this is the solemn obligation of everyone who professes to be Christian] put our body under the yoke of discipline and holy obedience.

In this same letter, St. Francis insists that, 'We ought not be wise and prudent 'according to the flesh,' but rather we should be simple, pure, and humble.  We should hold our bodies in low esteem for, through our fault, we are wretched, broken, like worms....All those who live in this way and persevere to the end will have the spirit of the Lord dwelling in them as in a home.  They will be sons of the Heavenly Father and the spouse, brother, and mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.."

Contrast this with the pride of life we have witnessed in many corners of the Church.  Many have preferred darkness and the "wisdom of the flesh."  Obedience to Christ who teaches us through His Church has been replaced by many with self-assertion and self-affirmation.  Such have preferred their own opinions or those of dissenting theologians, Bishops, priests and religious to the authoritative teaching of Jesus Christ, made known to us through the Magisterium.

The Lord willing, we will now have renewal.  The Lord willing, we have begun a new day.  We are a Resurrection People.  If we haven't been already, let's start acting like it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Diocese of Worcester's "Partners in Charity" fund

Partners in charity or partners in sin?

"If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting; for he who greets him shares his wicked work." (2 John 10, 11).

The Navarre Bible (which I highly recommend) provides some excellent commentary on this scriptural passage: "In the Middle East, hospitality and greetings were not mere marks of courtesy or good manners: they involved a real sense of solidarity and close affinity.  Hence the warning that reception of these people could imply complicity in their evil deeds and the risk of giving scandal to other members of the Church."

If reception of such people can imply complicity in their evil deeds, how much more so actually providing them with financial and other material assistance?  Such assistance regularly occurs within the Worcester, Massachusetts Diocese.  For example, although Fr. Andre Gariepy has promoted Situation Ethics, which was condemned by Pope Pius XII in 1952, the retired priest still receives assistance from the diocese's "Partners in Charity" fund (See "Retired pastors but not retired priests," The Catholic Free Press, March 8, 2013 edition, pp. 1, 7).

Situation Ethics, a moral system which rejects moral norms and considers only the circumstances (or situation) and the agent's intention when determining the morality of a human act, is a very destructive belief.  This because it leads to distrust of God.  Pope John Paul II warned in his Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor that, " is no longer convinced that only in the truth can he find salvation.  The saving power of the truth is contested, and freedom alone, uprooted from any objectivity, is left to decide by itself what is good and what is evil.  This relativism becomes, in the field of theology, a lack of trust in the wisdom of God, who guides man with the moral law.  Concrete situations are unfavorably contrasted with the precepts of the moral law, nor is it any longer maintained that, when all is said and done, the law of God is always the one true good of men." (No. 84).

And so, the Diocese of Worcester directs some of the monies from its "Partners in Charity" fund to assist a heretic - a priest who has publically rejected immutable moral norms and who has set himself against the teaching of the Church.  It apparently does not bother Bishop McManus, or anyone in a leadership position in the Worcester Diocese, that this priest has perpetrated spiritual violence against the lay faithful entrusted to his care (the people who have a right to Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity - see Veritatis Splendor, 113), by asserting that moral norms such as, "You shall not kill" (Exodus 20: 13) or "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20: 14) are only general "guidelines" and not exceptionless moral truths.

Fr. Gariepy has also promoted Marxist "Liberation Theology," which was condemned in no uncertain terms, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's "Instruction on Certain Aspects of the 'Theology of Liberation.'"

Fr. Gariepy has never publically recanted his views which are in opposition to the Magisterial teaching of the Church.

Another priest who receives assistance from monies collected for the "Partners in Charity" fund is Fr. Robert E. Kelley, a serial child abuser who, by his own admission, probably sexually assaulted some 200 girls.  See here for some background on this priest who served time in prison for his crimes.

Should faithful Catholics contribute to "Partners in Charity"?  Or should they ensure that their financial support to the Church is not squandered on priests who abuse the people entrusted to their care either spiritually or physically?

How do we define good stewardship?  Whatever happened to the charitable anathema?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Two priests of the Worcester Diocese: Fr. Leo-Paul LeBlanc and Fr. Andre Gariepy

On November 5, 1977, in a locution to Father Stefano Gobbi, Our Lady, referring to the purification to come (and which we're beginning to live through now), said, "Do not stop to consider the ever thickening darkness, the sin which has been set up as the norm of human action, the suffering which is mounting to its peak and the chastisement which this humanity is preparing with its own hands."

Father Leo-Paul LeBlanc, the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Winchendon, like many of his contemporaries within the Diocese of Worcester and beyond, disagrees with Our Lady.  In fact, in a homily given during the 9:30 a.m. Mass yesterday, Fr. LeBlanc asserted that it is a "confused theology" which advances the idea that God sends punishments (or chastisements).  God, insisted this proud cleric, "doesn't work that way."

How then does Fr. LeBlanc explain the Flood which destroyed the known world in Noah's time?  How does he explain the five cities of the plain - Sodom and Gomorrah - which were wiped out because of the grave sins [primarily homosexual acts] which were being committed there?  It was the holy angels who told Lot, "We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the Lord against those in the city is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." (Genesis 19: 13).

Only a foolish man would attempt to "correct" God's Holy Word.  And that Holy Word is most clear, for those who haven't lost their supernatural faith while succumbing to a radical secularism.  We read: "I will punish them for their sin" (Exodus 32: 34); "he does not leave the guilty unpunished" (Exodus 34: 7); "I will punish you for your sins seven times over" (Leviticus 26: 18); "I will choose their punishments" (Isaiah 66: 4); "on the wicked he will rain coals and sulphur" (Psalm 11: 6); "I will punish their sin with the rod" (Psalm 89: 32); "the wicked will not go unpunished" (Proverbs 11: 21); "God knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment" (2 Peter 2: 9); "the Lord will punish the powers in heaven and the kings on earth" (Isaiah 24: 21); "the Lord is coming to punish the people of the earth for their sins" (Isaiah 26: 21); "the Lord will punish men for all such sins" (1 Thessalonians 4: 6).

God doesn't send punishments?  The Scriptures tells us otherwise.

Father LeBlanc implied in his homily that there is really no difference between mortal and venial sin, asserting that faithful Catholics who view AIDS as a punishment for grave or mortal sin should look at their own sins and not see the disease as resulting from sin.  In doing so, Fr. LeBlanc employed the word "gay" to refer to homosexuals or sodomites, which itself is evidence that he has succumbed - on some level - to radical homosexual agitprop.  To begin with, yes we are all sinners.  But as the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear: "Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity.  The distinction between mortal and venial sin (which apparently is lost on Fr. LeBlanc), already evident in Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church.  It is corroborated by human experience...Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.  Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends or wounds it." (CCC, 1854, 1855).

Some sins are so vile that they cry to heaven for vengeance.  The Catechism lists among these "the sin of the Sodomites" (See CCC, 1867). 

Having succumbed on some level to homosexual ideology, Fr. LeBlanc rejects the idea that AIDS is a punishment for homosexual acts and a culture which has largely embraced homosexuality.  Saint Paul, however, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that those who exchange natural relations for unnatural receive "in their own persons the due penalty for their error." (Romans 1: 27). 

Whether Fr. LeBlanc cares to acknowledge it or not, God does send chastisements.  In fact, Scripture assures us that He chastises the son he favors.  As Father Albert J. Hebert, S.M., has explained, "The chastisement actually involves a complexity of severe trials and tribulations for the human race: natural disasters of all types like floods and tidal waves, storms, quakes, eruptions, economic disasters, famines, plagues, diseases which will include incurable ones, revolutionary activities, indiscriminate terrorist bombings, civil, racial and religious strife; wars, persecutions...Many of these sufferings will be either from nature or from one's own fellowman.  The demons will urge them on in this mutual self-destruction and there will be much destruction by the demons themselves.  A sort of petic justice and retribution!  Man, along with Satan, makes his own hell, even on earth."

And aren't we beginning to see these things take place?

Also yesterday, Fr. Andre Gariepy, a retired priest of the Worcester Diocese who currently resides in Fitchburg, celebrated Mass for Fr. Joseph Jurgelonis at Saint Martin's Parish in Otter River.  It is most unfortunate that this parish should call upon Fr. Gariepy to fill in for Fr. Jurgelonis while he is away.  For Fr. Gariepy has asserted that, "There are no absolutes, the Ten Commandments are only guidelines."

Only guidelines?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, referring to the Decalogue (The Ten Commandments - see Exodus 20), explains that, "Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations.  They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere.  No one can dispense from them.  The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart." (CCC, 2072). 

Fr. Gariepy is opposing the Magisterial teaching of the Church.

Pope John Paul II also emphasizes the immutability of the Ten Commandments while explaining that they are the path to life: "In acknowledging these commandments, Christian hearts and our pastoral charity listen to the call of the One who 'first loved us' (1 Jn 4: 19).  God asks us to be holy as he is holy (cf. Lv 19: 2), to be - in Christ - perfect as he is perfect (cf. Mt 5: 48).  The unwavering demands of that commandment are based upon God's infinitely merciful love (cf. Lk 6: 36), and the purpose of that commandment is to lead us, by the grace of Christ, on the path of that fullness of life proper to the children of God." (Veritatis Splendor, No. 115).

Advocates of the emerging New Age religion, the humanitarian religion of the Antichrist, insist that the Ten Commandments are essentially obsolete (see here) and that Christianity is a barbaric religion which is not fit for modern man.  It must, therefore, be purged of its fundamental dogmas and eventually reinterpreted.  For such people, the religion of the future must be man-centered.  Everything is relative.  Morals are not absolute.  Traditional values are outdated and meaningless and are advanced by ignorant men.  They must be discarded.  A watered-down social gospel (such as that promoted by Deacon Richard Tatro of Saint Martin's parish) is okay, but any serious talk about conversion, heaven and hell is "backward" and "obsolete."
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