Catholic Doctors, More Bishops Insist: Catholic Teaching Incompatible with ObamaCare
By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, DC, March 19, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Several more U.S. Catholic bishops, as well as a national association of Catholic medical doctors, have stepped up to rescue the Catholic name from organizations claiming the abortion-laden Senate health care bill is compatible with Church teaching.
The Catholic Medical Association (CMA), a national association of Catholic physicians, has thrown their weight behind the statement of Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said that groups supporting the Senate bill “have done a grave disservice to the American Catholic community by undermining the leadership of the nation’s Catholic bishops, sowing confusion among faithful Catholics, and misleading legislators through their support of the Senate bill.”
“Should this political ploy prove successful in persuading some legislators to vote for this flawed bill, these individuals and groups will have done a grave disservice to human dignity and to the common good of this nation,” wrote CMA.
“Given this evidence above, it is difficult to understand how some Catholics could lobby in favor of such legislation,” stated the group. “Given the significance of the issues at stake, and the consistent, compelling policy guidance provided by the U.S. bishops on these matters, publicly opposing and/or undermining the U.S. bishops at this time is imprudent and uncharitable.”
The U.S. Catholic bishops have found themselves at the center of a media frenzy this week, as they have stepped up efforts to fend off dissident Catholic groups endorsing a bill that has been unequivocally condemned by leading pro-life analysts as the worst expansion of abortion in America since Roe v. Wade. The White House has openly admitted that the support of such groups has been “very important” in swaying crucial votes in favor of the bill as the clock ticks down to a final vote scheduled for Sunday.
In a significant display of episcopal muscle, at present count, at least 30 U.S. bishops have specifically condemned the Senate health care bill since its final form was published. Expressing solidarity with the USCCB, many issued letters to lawmakers, and statements to their flock clarifying the position of the Church.
“Make no mistake,” wrote Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo. “If the House passes the Senate version of health care reform, it will be a dark day in the history of the United States of America.”
“We’re not the obstructionists here, since all we’re insisting upon is that the understanding that tax money not pay for abortions, in place since 1975, remains,” emphasized New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who explained his opposition to the Senate health care bill on his website. “It is instead those who have radically altered the debate to open a loophole to eliminate the Hyde Amendment who are risking the very fate of this legislation.”
So far, one prelate has come out in favor of the bill: retired Bishop John E. McCarthy of Austin, Tex., told the Associated Press Wednesday that legislators should not kill the legislation “at this crucial moment,” claiming that the bill’s flaws on life issues could be fixed later.
Meanwhile, more Catholic organizations that are aggressively pushing for the bill despite the abortion expansion continue to crawl out of the woodwork, often emphatically claiming over and against the USCCB, the National Right to Life Committee, and countless top pro-life analysts that the bill in fact does not contain abortion funding.
The National Catholic Reporter wrote in an editorial Thursday that “Congress, and its Catholics, should say yes to health care reform.” “The current legislation is not ‘pro-abortion,’ and there is no, repeat no, federal funding of abortion in the bill,” NCR stated.
The left-leaning lobby group Catholics United has sparked an angry response from some bishops for its active promotion of the pro-abortion bill.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, WV ripped Catholics United – which he noted was “in no way affiliated” with the Catholic Church – for having started “secular media campaigns that confuse Catholics with misleading images and messages that are not consistent with the position taught by the Bishops of the United States, including Bishop Michael Bransfield.”
“It is the clear and unchanged position of Bishop Bransfield and the USCCB that unless these flaws are addressed in the legislation, the Senate bill should not be passed in the House,” stated the diocese on its website.
In Michigan, Catholic bishops also slammed Catholics United for taking out advertisements attacking Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) for his pro-life stand against the health care bill.
“In no way does Catholics United represent the public policy positions of the Catholic Church,” stated the Michigan Catholic Conference, which includes the state’s seven bishops on its board. “In fact, the ad campaign and its accompanying news release grossly misrepresents the official position of the Catholic Church on health care reform, and unfairly and erroneously attacks Congressman Bart Stupak for his efforts to prohibit tax-payer funded abortions.”
“When matters are serious and public, the Bishop may deem it necessary to declare that lack of communion explicitly. This declaration no more causes the excommunication than a doctor who diagnoses diabetes causes the diabetes he finds in his patient. The doctor recognizes the symptoms and writes the necessary prescription…”
ED. NOTE: Bishop Robert Vasa on Excommunication/Catholic Sentinel
Excommunication is a declaration of acts that severs ties
BEND — During the course of this past year there have been a number of occasions when bishops have hinted to laity that being Catholic involves a bit more than claiming the title. This has been done, in particular, with regard to politicians who may, in their own way, love Jesus, who may attend Sunday Mass and who do identify themselves as “faithful” Catholics. The press usually hints at the big “E” word, excommunication. The question of when a Catholic should be excommunicated has even been asked quite frequently and very seriously. While bishops are extremely reluctant to take the seemingly dramatic step of excommunication, I think there is very good reason for us to explore more thoroughly what excommunication really means and why it might be considered in certain circumstances.
The press would undoubtedly accuse Bishops who talk or even think about excommunication as being tyrannical power mongers but this is unfair. Excommunication is a declaration, based on solid evidence, that the actions or public teachings of a particular Catholic are categorically incompatible with the teachings of the Church. It is intended primarily as a means of getting the person who is in grave error to recognize the depth of his error and repent. A second reason, while somewhat secondary but no less important, is to assure the faithful who truly are faithful that what they believe to be the teaching of the Church is true and correct. Allowing their faith to be shaken or allowing them to be confused when Catholics publicly affirm something contrary to faith or morals, seemingly without consequences, scandalizes and confuses the faithful. This is no small matter. The Church, and particularly bishops, have an obligation to defend the faith but they also have an obligation to protect the faithful. We do not generally see the dissidence of public figures as something that harms the faithful but it has a deleterious effect upon them.
I find, very frequently, when I speak a bit more boldly on matters of morality or discipline, there are a significant number of the faithful who send messages of gratitude and support. It is their gratitude which stirs my heart for it makes me realize how much there is a need to support and affirm the clear and consistent teachings of our Catholic faith for the sake of the faithful. While the press may caricature such bishops in rather uncharitable fashion, I trust that they are men devoted to true compassion and to the truth itself. Their compassion extends to those who are misled and to those who, while not misled, are discouraged when their faith is attacked without rebuttal. This discouragement of the faithful is not insignificant. When we look at the word itself we see that its root is “courage” and allowing someone’s courage to be dissipated, or “dissed” as the young might say, is harmful to the person. En-couragement, by contrast, builds up the courage of the faithful and increases their strength for doing good. It is life giving and revitalizing. Allowing error, publicly expressed, to stand without comment or contradiction is discouraging.
When that moral error is espoused publicly by a Catholic who, by the likewise public and external act of receiving Holy Communion, appears to be in “good standing” then the faithful are doubly confused and doubly discouraged. In that case, the error is certainly not refuted. Furthermore, the impression is given that the error is positively condoned by the bishop and the Church. This is very dis-couraging to the faithful. In such a case, private “dialogue” is certainly appropriate but a public statement is also needed. In extreme cases, excommunication may be deemed necessary.
It seems to me that even if a decree of excommunication would be issued, the bishop would really not excommunicate anyone. He only declares that the person is excommunicated by virtue of the person’s own actions. The actions and words, contrary to faith and morals, are what excommunicate (i.e. break communion with the Church). When matters are serious and public, the Bishop may deem it necessary to declare that lack of communion explicitly. This declaration no more causes the excommunication than a doctor who diagnoses diabetes causes the diabetes he finds in his patient. The doctor recognizes the symptoms and writes the necessary prescription. Accusing the doctor of being a tyrannical power monger would never cross anyone’s mind. Even when the doctor tells the patient that they are “excommunicated” from sugar it is clear that his desire is solely the health of his patient. In fact, a doctor who told his diabetic patient that he could keep ingesting all the sugar he wanted without fear would be found grossly negligent and guilty of malpractice.
In the same way, bishops who recognize a serious spiritual malady and seek a prescription to remedy the error, after discussion and warning, may be required to simply state, “What you do and say is gravely wrong and puts you out of communion with the faith you claim to hold.” In serious cases, and the cases of misled Catholic public officials are often very serious, a declaration of the fact that the person is de facto out of communion may be the only responsible and charitable thing to do.
Failing to name error because of some kind of fear of offending the person in error is neither compassion nor charity. Confronting or challenging the error or evil of another is never easy yet it must be done.
The adage usually attributed to Edmund Burke was correct: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
The Lord has called bishops to be shepherds. That shepherding entails both leading and protecting. In an era when error runs rampant and false teachings abound, the voice of the Holy Father rings clear and true. The teachings of the Church are well documented and consistent. Bishops and the pastors who serve in their Dioceses have an obligation both to lead their people to the truth and protect them from error.
END OF POST
Flu symptoms lead to diabetic crisis
Knoxville Bishop Richard F. Stika went into a diabetic crisis and suffered a mild heart attack after picking up a flu-like illness in Florida, according to the Diocese of Knoxville.
Deacon Sean Smith said Stika was visiting an ill friend in Florida when he picked up severe flu-like symptoms. Smith said the friend is a retired bishop there.
The stomach flu symptoms brought about dehydration, which prompted a ‘diabetic crisis,’ which led to the heart attack.
Smith said doctors have thoroughly examined the bishop’s heart and found it to be in great shape. Smith also said he’s in contact hourly with the bishop’s doctors.
Stika could be able to leave the hospital in as short a time as four days, depending on his recovery.
Stika was hospitalized following a “sudden illness” this weekend while he was out of town, the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville said in a news release late Sunday night.
The bishop was in stable condition at that point, and was “responsive and doing well,” according to diocese spokeswoman Mary Weaver.
Bishop Stika’s illness was brought on by a chronic medical condition, Weaver said. She did not elaborate then about the nature of the bishop’s symptoms.
Father Ragan Schriver of Catholic Charities told 10 News Bishop Stika suffers from diabetes, but he did not know if that played a role in the sudden illness.
“The Diocese of Knoxville is asking all of the faithful to join together in prayer for their new shepherd,” Weaver said.
Bishop Stika was ordained in March. He is the diocese’s third bishop.
More on Bishop Stika here
Letter 7 of St. Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi to the Most Illustrious Cardinals Who Are Assisting the Apostolic See
The humble handmaid of the slain Lamb and Word Made Flesh, Christ crucified; forced by sweet Truth and by the unity of the Most Holy Trinity, and in particular by her loving Spouse– I say that she is forced, and may you take note that I say forced– to make known to you something that is no less pleasing to God than it is useful for creatures, namely: that He wills to renew His spouse, the Church, by means of you ministers and principal members of that Church!
(…) Wherefore, on the part of sweet Truth, I invite you– I do not say, with human tongue; but if I could, I would invite you with angelic tongues– to cooperate in so grand and pleasing a work, of which I believe that you, because you are in the position that you are, profoundly comprehend the usefulness.
(…) The useful purpose of this work shows you its excellence, even though the beginning will appear difficult to you, as it certainly is. Wherefore it is imperative for you to strip yourselves completely of every earthly convenience and of all human respect, even though there are but few [who rank] above you. It is imperative, further, that you follow the Vicar of Christ, who holds the place of the glorious apostle Peter; and that you be most obedient to him, just as the other apostles were to Peter, though they were not less anxious for the salvation of peoples and of the human race than was the glorious Peter.
And if anyone should say to me that the apostles had belonged to the school of Christ when He was on earth, I tell you that you also are His apostles, because you continually handle His body and blood. And were you still to find an excuse from my charge, I tell you to look at those who have held the place of the apostles. Look at the glorious Father, St. Bonaventure; at the very learned and wise St. Jerome; and at the one who in our own time has left so great an example of holiness– and this you know better than I, because he must have talked and conversed with you; for I am speaking of the most blessed Cardinal Borromeo!
(…) It is imperative, moreover, that you be healthy members, if you wish to be able to help the Vicar of Christ on earth as is fitting. Oh, you must know that sometimes, because the members are sick, the head rests from its work; and sometimes the members rest because the head is sick! But this should not be; and I do not want to believe that either the head or the members are sick.
I do wish that you would perform the office of those most useful members, the hands, which both work and offer us food. So I would wish that my most blessed Fathers would do, namely, that they would accomplish in this work all that God will inspire them and move them to do, and then offer food to the head; for sometimes, in offering food in this way, they arouse the head and the whole body to take nourishment. Oh, how I would wish that you were most useful members of holy Church, by offering food to our head, the Vicar of Christ! And the food that you have to offer is to around him to put into execution the work, to speak thus, so desired by God. This food he must eat, since he must take no other food but that of doing the will of God. Then all the other members also will take this food, to the end that there will be one body, healthy and whole, and there will be no occasion to bewail infirmity. For this must be our glory, to lead souls to God!
(…) Oh, oh, that I have to say this word: Put on justice! But O sweet Truth, there is no holy justice in the holy Church; if there were this justice, there would be union with You! But there is a justice filled with every injustice. O Eternal Word, this justice does not exist; but people pay attention only to those things that are the honor of creatures. And those things that are to the honor of God people pretend, under the guise of mercy, not to see! Such mercy is not mercy, but a mercilessness that leads soulds to the last brink of hell!
[Most Reverend Fathers] please be willing to act towards your neighbors, the members of Christ, in this way, namely, with such mercy that God does not have to call it mercilessness. Persuade with love, yes, but in such a way that the vows made to God will not be left completely in oblivion! (…)
(…) Oh I do not doubt that if you will take you places at such a table and fix your eyes on Christ crucified, you will very willingly take this food and you will not be afraid to suffer in order to lead soulds to, as well as back to Him.
Please do not wish, please do not wish to become greater than Christ, your Head, Who said that the disciple must not be greater than the master not the servant greater than the lord. [Mt 10:24]. Remember also what the enamored Paul said, to wit, that we are not debtors to the flesh, no, but to the spirit; and that we ought to live according to the spirit, because he who lives according to the flesh dies. [Rom 8:12]. Please look at the Spirit to Whom we are debtors! (…)
We are debtors, then; but what is that debt? First to give ourselves to God; and then, according to our powers, to lead our neighbor to Him. He has given Himself to us and have given all His blood, in order to reddem us. What else then must the creature do, who is debtor to this blood, but restore souls redeemed by this blood. Please note, please not that I say God has given His only-begotten Son, and the only begotten Son has given all His blood for creatures! How can those who take this blood, and can give it to others, act in such a way that they do not bring to God the souls redeemed by this blood? How can they bear to have a soul adorned with the blood of God go into hell and be deprived of that same God?
I do not doubt at all that if you will be completely despoiled of yourselves and put on sweet Truth, you will follow in His footsteps, which were made only, only to bring back the one lost sheep and to place it … where my God, where, my God? On His own shoulders! So also must you take the lost sheep of so many souls and place it on your own shoulders! And how are you to place it on your own shoulders? By accepting your labors and nourishing yourself on them; further, by nourishing your sheep with your own labors, I mean, with the word of God and the example of your life. And if you have this desire– as I want to presume you have, in regard to this work– of reuniting His consecrated christs, those especially, I mean, who are gathered together in religious families and also of reuniting His disunified spouses, and if you have the desire to make them observe their vows and despoil themselves of everything that is under God, it is imperative that you despoil yourselves first, inasmuch as example moves more than words. For, as the first Truth, the Word Made Flesh, said, it is not enough to say “Lord, Lord!” [Mt 7:21]. No, it is not enough!
Oh, grow in love a little; and come, in thirst, in zeal and in desire, so bring back these sheep [so to call them], these souls redeemed by the precious blood of the slain Lamb– and to reunite these members to their Head, Christ, so that they can sing with David “The children of your servants shall sit upon thy throne! “[Ps 131:12]
(…) please, please let this blood influence you in such a way that you may bring to the highest perfection this so important work of bringing back so many lost souls, all adorned with this most precious blood that was shed by the slain Lamb, the Word Made Flesh and my most beloved Spouse! (…)
Please do not look at the labors, but at the rewards, which I tell you will be great. And may that which the enamored Paul says always remain in your mind, namely, that although all indeed run, only one receives the prize [I Cor 9:24]. And your prize must be to lead souls back to God. Run, therefore, run! And in what way have you to run! In the ways of charity, because that entire work has to be done and conducted through love and with love. And if you will proceed in such a way, this so great and pleasing work of God will be conducted with love, and the beautiful and well-formed body of holy Church will be reunited and reformed. (…)
From our Monastery of Saint Mary of the Angels near Saint Fredian’s, August 3, 1586.
The humble handmaid of the Word Made Flesh
Sister Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
La rinnovazione della Chiesa
Lettere dettate in estasi
Città Nuova – Edizioni O.C.D.
Dear brethren in Episcopal service!
The lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 without a mandate from the Holy See has led to a violent discussion both within and outside the Catholic Church for a variety of reasons as we have never experienced. Many bishops felt helpless before an event, which came unexpectedly and could barely be positively classified in the questions and tasks of the Church of today.
Although many pastors and believers welcome in principle the desire of the Pope for reconcilistion, many were prepared to place on the other hand, the question of the appropriateness of such a gesture, given the real urgencies of religious life in our time.
Several groups, however, accused the pope of wanting to return to the time before the Council and an avalanche of protests began to move, which made bitter injuries visible and this could be seen immediately. So I am under an obligation to you, dear brethren, to provide a clarifying word, which should help to understand the intentions, which I and the competent organs of the Holy See have been following with this step. I hope in this way to promote peace in the church.
One for me unpredictable mishap was that the lifting of the excommunication was overtaken by the Williamson case. The quiet gesture of mercy to four validly but not legally consecrated bishops appeared suddenly as something quite different: as a rejection of Christian-Jewish reconciliation and the withdrawal of what the Council in this matter has declared as the way of the Church.
An invitation to reconciliation with a separated Church grouping became the reverse: an apparent return from all the steps forward in the reconciliation of Christians and Jews, which had gone on since the Council and whose achievement had been from the start a goal of my theological work. The fact that this superimposition of two opposing processes occurred and disturbed the peace between Christians and Jews as well as peace in the contemporary church, I can only deeply regret.
I hear that closely following the news on the Internet would have allowed knowledge to be obtained of the problem. I learn from the fact that we at the Holy See have to pay careful attention to this news source in the future.
It saddens me that even Catholics who actually should know better believed that they had to show such hostility to me. Even more so, I thank the Jewish friends who have helped to resolve the public misunderstanding quickly and to create an atmosphere of friendship and trust, which – as in the time of Pope John Paul II – and also during the entire period of my Pontificate had existed, and God be praised this continues to exist.
A further breakdown, which I sincerely regret, is that the boundary and scope of the measure published on 21 1. 2009 was not clearly enough explained. The excommunication is about people, not institutions.
Episcopal consecration without papal mandate means the danger of a schism, because it puts in question the unity of the Bishops’ College with the Pope. The Church must, therefore, with the harshest punishment of excommunication react, and to lead those punished to repentance and back into unity. 20 years after the ordinations this goal is unfortunately still not been achieved. The withdrawal of the excommunication serves the same purpose as the punishment itself: once again the four bishops are invited to return.
This gesture was made possible after they clarified their fundamental recognition of the Pope and his pastoral office, albeit with reservations about the obedience to his teaching authority and with concern about Vatican II.
This brings me back to the distinction between person and institution. The withdrawal of excommunication was a measure in the field of church discipline: The people were freed from the punishment with the heaviest burden of conscience. From this level, the disciplinary and doctrinal fields should be differentiated. That the SSPX has no canonical status in the church was not really based on disciplinary, but on doctrinal reasons.
The SSPX has no canonical status in the church, as long as its officials have no legal offices in the church. It is therefore necessary to distinguish in questions between persons as persons concerning the disciplinary level and the level of doctrine, in the office and institution.
To say it once again: As long as the doctrinal issues are not resolved, the SSPX has no canonical status in the church and its officials while practicing, even if not penalised by the church, have no posts legally in the church.
Given this situation, I intend that the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, which since 1988 is responsible for those communities and individuals like the SSPX or similar groups who have come into full communion with the Pope or to return in the future to be associated in future with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
It should be apparent that the problems now being treated much more doctrinal in nature, especially on the adoption of the Second Vatican Council and concerning the teaching of the post-Conciliar Popes.
The collegial organs which the Congregation uses for dealing with questions (especially the regular meeting at the Cardinal on Wednesday and the once or twice-yearly General Assembly), guarantee the involvement of the Roman prefect in various congregations and in the episcopacy worldwide in decisions to be taken.
You cannot freeze the teaching authority of the Church in 1962 on that the SSPX should be clear. But some of those who take themselves as great defenders of the Vatican Council, must also remember that the Second Vatican Council is located in the teaching history of the whole of the church. Whoever wants to be obedient to it, must have the faith of the centuries and may not accept the cutting of the roots from which the tree lives.
I hope, dear brethren, that the positive meaning as well as the limit of the measure of 21 1. 2009 is clarified. But now the question remains: Was it necessary? Was that really a priority? Are there not matters much more important? Of course, there are more important and urgent matters. I think that I have made clear from the beginning the priorities of the pontificate in my speeches. My guidelines remain unchanged.
The first priority for the successor to Peter, the Lord has unequivocally fixed, in the Upper Room: ” And thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. ” (Lk 22, 32). Peter himself in his first letter rephrased this priority: ” But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. ” (1 Peter 3, 15).
In our time, when belief threatens in large parts of the world to go out like a flame, which no longer finds oxygen, the first priority is to make God present in this world and open to people access to God. Not to any God, but to the God who has spoken at Sinai, to the God whose face we are in love with until the very end (Jn 13, 1) – in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.
The real problem of our point in history is that God disappears from the horizon of people and with the cessation of light coming from God mankind falls disorientated whose destructive effects, we always get to see.
From then it is obvious that we must seek the unity of believers. Their dispute and inner conflict puts speaking of God in question. Therefore, the effort for the common witness of the Christian faith – the Church – is the highest priority.
Then there is the necessity that all who believe in God, seek peace with each other, trying to become closer to each other, so in the differences in their image of God they share the source of light – inter-religious dialogue.Those who love God to the end proclaim must give witness to that love, the suffering turned to love- hatred and enmity fight against the social dimension of Christian faith, which I have spoken about in the encyclical “Deus caritas est”.
If the struggle for the faith to hope and to love in the world is the true priority for the Church in this hour (and always in different forms), then it also includes small and medium-sized reconciliations. That the quiet gesture of an offered hand generated a great noise, and became just the opposite of reconciliation, we must take note.
But now I have to ask the question: Was it really wrong, even to go out to meet your brother, ” that hath anything against thee;” to try and seek reconciliation (cf. Mt 5, 23f)? Should not also the civil society try to prevent radicalization, their possible carrier – if possible – to reconnect with major forces of social life rather than cutting oneself off and avoiding consequences?
Can it be entirely wrong to seek the solution of restrictions and narrowing to provide the space, to find what is positive and to lead it back into the whole? I myself, in the years after 1988 have seen in the return of communities previously separated from Rome the interior climate changing, and how the return into the big, wide and common Church overcame one-sidedness and healed restrictions, that became positive forces for the whole.
Can we be totally indifferent to a community in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 6 Seminars, 88 schools, 2 university institutes, 117 brothers and 164 sisters? Should we really be happy to let them be driven from the Church?
I am thinking, for example, of the 491 priests. The fabric of their motivations, we cannot know. But I think that they would not have decided for the priesthood, if they could not show the love of Christ to some of the flock and have the will to proclaim the living God. Should we simply turn them away as representatives of a fringe group when seeking reconciliation and unity? What would then happen?
Certainly, we have over a long-time and repeatedly seen dissonances from representatives of this community – pride and superiority as well a fixation on one-sidedness, etc. However I must add that I have also received a number of moving testimonies of gratitude where an opening of hearts became evident.
But should not the great church be magnanimous in the knowledge of the long breath that she has, in the knowledge of the promise which given to her? Should we not, as good educators, pretend not to hear what is unsatisfactory and quietly strive to lead back from narrowness? And must we not admit that even in church circles dissonances have been heard?
… para to follow
Dear brethren, in the days in which it was in my mind to write this letter, I found by chance that I am in seminary at the center of Rome interpreting and commenting on Gal 5, 13-15. I was surprised how directly it spoke to this hour: ” For you, brethren, have been called unto liberty: only make not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one another.” “For all the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if you bite and devour one another; take heed you be not consumed one of another” I was always inclined to this sentence as one of the rhetorical excesses to which occasionally St. Paul is given.
In some respects it may be so. But unfortunately, there is the “biting and tearing to pieces” even today in the church as an expression of a poorly understood freedom. Is it surprising that we are not better than the Galatians? That we are threatened at least with the same temptations ? The fact is that we must always learn again the right use of freedom?
And must we always learn anew the first priority: love? On the day that I had to speak at the seminary, in Rome, the feast of the Madonna della Fiducia – Our Lady of Confidence – was celebrated.
In fact – Maria teaches us the confidence. She leads us to the Son, which we all expect. He will guide us – even in turbulent times. So I would like at the end of all to thank the many bishops from the heart who at this time showed moving sign of trust and affection, but above all given their prayers.
We also thank all the faithful who during this time have testified their unchanged fidelity to the successor of St. Peter. The Lord preserve us all and lead us to the path of peace. This is a wish that spontaneously from my heart rises, especially now at the beginning of Lent, a liturgical period of time when inner purification is particularly beneficial, and invites us all with new hope to watch for the luminescent goal of Easter.
Editor’s Note: Follow-up Post Here
To the Apostles and disciples gathered with him that night in the Upper Room, Jesus said, “one of you will betray me…” Shocked at the statement, the disciples began to ask among themselves who it might be…” Now, of course, in manifold ways this very same mystery of betrayal has continued on within the life of the Church privately and publicly down throughout the centuries… And so it is today in Connecticut.
The web page of The Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut reads:
Catholics across the State of Connecticut mobilize
to fight the irrational, unlawful, and bigoted
Proposed Bill #1098/2009
A text of the bill is found here. But simply described:
The State of Connecticut will attempt to force a radical reorganization of the legal, financial, and administrative structure of Catholic parishes.
As the diocesan website proclaims, this is:
‘contrary to the Apostolic nature of the Catholic Church because it disconnects parishes from their Pastors and their Bishop.’
Well, at least contrary in view of the vast majority of Catholics in America who faithfully adhere to the Apostolic nature and authority of the Catholic Church. But not so for dissident Catholic groups such as Voice of the Faithful (V.O.T.F). This group and others like it eagerly await and actively promote the day when “all Parishes would be run by boards from which Pastors and Bishops would be effectively excluded.”
“What you are going to do, do quickly”
Faithful Connecticut Catholics should not be mystified by the State introducing this egregious bill, nor should they believe this is yet just one more example of the secularist state intruding upon the rights of the Catholic Church to govern herself and entities. The contents of the bill #1089 have been bantered around by various members of V.O.T.F for some time. Compare the text and gist of the bill with these words from the April 2007 V.O.T.F. article , THE MONEY TRAIL: Financial Management And Mismanagement In The Diocese Of Bridgeport, by Joseph F. O’Callaghan :
“[…] The same principles should be applied to diocesan property. The diocesan corporation should include elected representatives from each of the eighty-seven parishes, who in turn would elect two directors from each of the five vicariates.
The bishop, one of the three vicars general, and the chancellor should be ex officio members, but elected representatives of the laity should comprise the majority of the diocesan corporation, its directors, and its officers.
Implementation of this proposal will necessitate changes in both canon and civil law.
And finally, this revealing tidbit from the same V.O.T.F. article,
“Attorney Tom Gallagher has already initiated discussion with state legislators about changing the law regulating parish and diocesan corporations. Members of VOTF should lend their support to this effort.”
To be clear on the above: The works of V.O.T.F whether great or small, public or private within this situation can no longer be misconstrued as simply taking advantage of the child sex abuse crisis within the Church in order to push some ageing liberal agenda—an view long-held by many who’ve watched both support and finances of the group continually shrink in recent years. No, make no mistake here dear Catholic, this act against the Church is no mere argument among disciples about who is, or isn’t, the greatest within the kingdom as we journey together along the way; No faith upsetting continuation here of that tired old “spirit of Vatican II” argument offered up by the rebellious in the face of authentic authority.
What it is, is a serious attack upon the Church:
The specious use of government in the clear attempt to undermine the Apostolic nature and authority of the Catholic Church in America.
This is the second salvo following the first last month, so to speak, by the newly formed cohort of dissident groups (Led by two V.O.T.F members) with the announcement of the coming American Catholic Council scheduled for the Fall of 2011, in Detroit, Michigan… And following their conquest of America in 2011, its on to Rome (at least in their minds) and Vatican Council III.
It remains to be seen in the days ahead just how actively involved Tom Gallagher, V.O.T.F. and other unidentified dissident groups were in promulgating and finally bringing about this public attempt to arrest and destroy Christ The King and His Bride, the Church (in the world) in Connecticut. I’ll leave that to the more qualified and intelligent, as well as, proper episcopal authorities to judge–and hopefully act upon. But one thing is for sure, there’s original precedence at work here–and we all know how that turns out in regards to Jesus Christ, the future of His Church, her mission in the world, and even, of Judas Iscariot… Hopefully, with strong episcopal leadership, the always stabilizing affects of truly faithful Catholics, this false vineyard being planted within the Church of God will fail to bloom, as in the past, and the American Catholic Council will find itself equally bankrupt of support in the future as its own website is today.
In closing, whether it be recognized by men or not, our country along with many other nations of the world together find themselves in desperate straits today and in sure need of the Catholic Church and her mission of spreading the Gospel. For men have forgotten (or chosen to ignore) that God truly exists and are suffering serious decline at their own hands because of grevious sin, and thus, lack of divine blessings. Both the rich and the poor are imperiled alike within the very same Godless situation, which, as the history of such evil proves, has great potential of turning inhuman and animal-like for long long periods of time. And so, the times of dissent within the Church must come to their close, and the good works of the Church spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ must replace them for the sake of the world and souls. A world God so loves that He sent his only-begotten son to save it from destruction and death–a Son He still sends.
Ours is the same (and only) mission as His as we too pass through this world. Chronic addiction to Church dissent defies that mission, harms souls who’ve allowed themselves to follow such errors, is not of the Holy Spirit of God, and ultimately works to continually cripple this new evangelization we are all responsible for carrying out–for we ourselves have received much–very much: the saving power of the breathe of God, the Spirit Who has led us into the heart of Christ Jesus–so full of truth, grace, pardon, healing and salvation. This is what America and the nations need most of all, and nothing more—a return to God...
So in the truth of a world on the precipice of its own self-destruction, and from the heart of the only Savior that world needs to find, I repeat the words of another convert, +Michael Davies within his work [The Reign of Christ The King–In Both Public and Private Life–], here in his own quote from the book The Devastated Vineyard by Dietrich von Hildebrand, he writes:
“”Professor von Hildebrand warned that the Church can only help mankind to draw back from the precipice upon which it is poised “if the vineyard of the Lord blossoms anew. And therefore we must storm Heaven with the prayer that the spirit of St. Pius X might once again fill the hierarchy, that the great words anathema sit might once again ring out against all heretics, and especially against all the members of the ‘fifth column’ within the Church…”
Davies goes on to say, “We can do no better than begin by praying that they will ring out in Connecticut.””
I concur. Let the vineyard of the Lord blossom anew.
Editors H/T: This story first broke on Father Z’s WDTPRS by another most faithful priest of God and educator, Fr. Greg J. Markey, He is pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk, CT. I ask my readers to join with me in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this coming Sunday for both, and for all priests in these difficult times.
james mary evans
I believe that the outcome of the coming election, a mere 12 days away, and every implication that it has for the pro-life movement in this country lies in the domain of the Catholic Bishops of the United States.
Democrats have installed the strongest abortion plank to date in their platform and their candidate Barack Obama has promised to make the signing of FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) a priority of his administration. When we pro-life Catholics read on the website of our bishops a description of FOCA  here and  here, our hearts quail. We have worked so hard for small pro-life gains that to see them all overturned would be very hard.
Like sheep that crowd around their shepherd for protection from a rampaging predator, we must crowd round our bishops now and beg them to help us.
I believe they can. I believe that we have been brought to a situation where we need their voices more desperately than we ever have before. Where the unborn need their voices. Where our nation needs their voices.
What specifically do we need? What is the message that has to get out? Who is the target audience? Where and how can that audience be reached?
The target audience has to be those millions of Catholics who are still of the “seamless garment” mentality. Who in “good,” but ill-formed, conscience still vote for pro-abortion politicians when there is another alternative.
That audience has to be reached immediately through every medium – at weekend homilies, through diocesan organs, by mass-mailing, by television and radio spots, newspaper pages, and Catholic websites.
The message has two components and both of them are perfectly legal, meaning that neither one of them violates the rules regarding the kind of communications allowed to tax-exempt organizations.
The first component of the message is a repudiation of the “seamless garment” policy as popularly understood, that is, as a “loophole” for voting for pro-abortion politicians. A perfect example of how to communicate this clearly and unequivocally was the  Joint Statement by Bishops Vann and Farrell.
Among the bishops who have so encouraged us by being similarly outspoken on this are:  Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton,  Bishops Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo of Arlington and Richmond Virginia,  Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Rhode Island and oustandingly,  Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput. But we need all our shepherds now! We need clear and unequivocal statements – by every bishop to every parish.
The second component is voter education. Voter education is perfectly legal. It is not endorsement of one candidate or another. It is abundantly clear that the campaign of Barak Obama has been engaging in subterfuge regarding his position on abortion. Out of the millions of Catholic votes to be cast a week from Tuesday are many that will be made by voters knowing neither how extreme the views of Barak Obama are on the issue of abortion nor the danger the pro-life movement faces from FOCA.
FOCA is on the bishops’ radar and the information about it on the USCCB website is extensive, but so far that website is not connecting the dots for Catholic voters. A vote for Obama is a vote for FOCA. What FOCA is and Obama’s promise to sign it into law should be part of the voter education. Archbishop Chaput has been  making it very clear and we need more such exposure of Obama’s extremism.
Triggered by Pelosi and Biden, a number of bishops spoke up this campaign to give abortion the unique priority it deserves in our discourse about national policy and to correct “pro-choice” Catholic politicians who misrepresented Catholic teaching. Among others, we have to thank Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, CO and Bishop James Conley, his auxiliary, Bishop Robeert Morlino of Madison, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT, Bishop Fran Malooly of Wilmington, DL, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, MA. You have lifted our spirits by speaking the truth!
And with great directness the USCCB has responded both  last week and  this week to the argument that overturning Roe v. Wade is a “lost cause.” Thank God for the steadiness of Cardinal Justin Rigali, another shepherd who gives us heart.
We have just days left. Will we look back four years hence at the unraveling of every pro-life gain, at pro-abortion and anti-family judicial tyranny entrenched for another generation, and perhaps even at legal persecution of faithful Catholics and any other Christian who resists the culture of death? We pray not!
Please Shepherds, Fathers, help us!
Article printed from Catholic Exchange: catholicexchange.com
URL to article: http://catholicexchange.com/2008/10/23/114233/
URLs in this post:
 here: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-141.shtml
 here: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/FOCA/FOCA_FactSheet08.pdf
 Joint Statement by Bishops Vann and Farrell: http://catholicexchange.com/2008/10/15/114163/
 Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton: http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/Bishop’s%20Pastoral%20Letters/RespectLifeSundaySeptember30th2008.as
 Bishops Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo of Arlington and Richmond Virginia: http://www.catholicherald.com/bishop/detail.html?sub_id=7939
 Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Rhode Island: http://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/files/05-31-07_My_R.S.V.P.pdf
 Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/655/Archbishop’s-Column/
 making it very clear: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08102005.html
 last week: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/publicat/lifeissues/101008.shtml
 this week: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/Rigali-Murphy-Joint-Statement.pdf