In this week leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday I’m praying the novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily. Today’s intention (The Fifth Day) relates to Christ’s will that we should bring to Him the souls of all those who have separated themselves from his Church. Our Lord encourages us, saying:
“Immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. During my bitter Passion they tore at my body and heart, that is, my Church. As they return to unity with the Church my wounds heal and in this way they alleviate my Passion.”
Yes, of course, Our Lord was speaking to Blessed Faustina preeminently about Protestantism and the scandal of Christian disunity as it was understood in her age, but we ourselves are able to recognize within the one Passion this very same tearing of His body and heart in our own days.
One need only consider, for instance, that with every non-ordination publicly proclaimed as “valid” by the sect Roman Catholic WomenPriests another soul thus separates his or herself from full communion with the Church through self-excommunication.
This is serious business. And made all the more serious and troubling by the confusing fact that many of these souls have stated outright the unbiblical notion of refusing to hear the Church in this matter, and in doing so, fail to acknowledge the reality of their own excommunication.
The following report begins with the long-troubled parish of St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, but portends of an even deeper tearing of the body and heart of the Church with the advent of the American Catholic Council. I encourage you for the sake of these souls, their return to full unity, and ultimately for the sake of alleviating this ongoing passion of Christ, that you too pray with me for these children of the Church and by actively making your concerns known about the American Catholic Council by contacting your bishop and the Archbishop of the Diocese of Minneapolis and St.Paul – Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, S.T.D.. The story follows…
Last Palm Sunday (2008) St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Mn. brought us “liturgical” images like this one above. This year there were no such heinous images offered up to heaven within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Instead, there was this faith-threatening invitation found within the Sunday bulletin:
SJA Palm Sunday Bulletin April 5, 2009
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform: A number of Catholic organizations and groups are partnering for a prayer breakfast on Saturday, April 18 at the Metropolitan Ballroom. Planning will begin for a series of Synods of the Baptized to initiate dialogue around difficult issues in our Church. Cost is $25; no one will be turned away due to inability to pay. FFI contact Julie Madden.
What the unsuspecting pewsitter needs to know
Perhaps for the sake of cover from Episcopal notice, what the SJA bulletin ad conveniently fails to mention to Joe and Mary Pewsitter is that those “Catholic organizations and groups involved in planning this series of “Synods of the Baptized” (Note: Only bishops can convene Synods) to dialogue around difficult issues within the Church” are using this prayer breakfast as a fundraiser and means of support for the newly formed anti-church organization known as the American Catholic Council.
The SJA promo ad advertises the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. Only upon visiting their site does the unsuspecting Catholic learn about the American Catholic Council (ACC). The ACC is a multiplicity of heterodox church reform groups and other like-minded sympathizers who are currently in the planning stage of developing their stated goals of radically restructuring the Roman Catholic Church along the lines of the American Constitution-meaning, democratic governance by the laity–A proposition obviously at odds with the Head and Founder of the Church.
According to the event flier found on the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform website:
[The] CCCR is a coalition of Minnesota Catholic organizations dedicated to Church reform, including the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC), the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), Call To Action MN (CTA-MN), Corpus, Dignity Twin Cities, the Progressive Catholic Voice, Roman Catholic WomenPriests, FutureChurch, and MN St. Joan’s Community, dedicated to women’s ordination. The keynote speaker at our April 18 Prayer Breakfast will be Janet Hauter, vice-president of Voice of the Faithful, and co-chair of the American Catholic Council, a national convention dedicated to church reform, projected for 2011.
Reform of the reform groups
Up until the onset of the homosexual abuse scandal within the Church, reform groups in America (such as many of those mentioned above) were widely known to be waning in influence due to many factors including: lack of interest and non-involvement by laity, the reassertion by the Holy Spirit of fundamental truths concerning authentic Catholic faith and morals under the leadership of Pope John Paul II and (now) Pope Benedict XVI, as well as, by the aging populace of the reformers themselves.
After the scandal broke, however, reformers were reenergized for a time making it possible for new groups such as Voice of the Faithful to emerge. When it became apparent that the original good intentions and goals of VOTF were exchanged instead for the apostate goals associated with structural reorganization of the Catholic Church, VOTF too fell by the wayside both in membership and financial support. Which seems to remain their same struggle today. Perhaps this helps explain, at least in part, why two members of VOTF are the first ever co-chairs of the American Catholic Council. We shall see.
While it may be true that the majority of American Catholics have very little interest in helping to undermine the Catholic Church in America and will rightly reject this latest mystery of betrayal by kiss, one hopes that American bishops will not overlook the danger that the ACC represents in the days, months and years ahead. It would be a terrible mistake to underestimate the intent of the ACC or extent to which they’ll plunge themselves headlong in acting out their long-held goal of restructuring the Church. The “Institutional Church” as they see it has for the most part, and for many years now, frustrated the member organizations that now make up the ACC. This latest reform of the reform movement into one big trail drive shows signs of desperation, including a reckless encircling of the wagons for survival.
For example, all the headlines last month read that the State of Connecticut was trying to force the Catholic Church to reorganize itself financially. There was a big hullabaloo over the government attempt to impinge upon the eternal affairs of the Church, and thus, our religious freedom. What was not so widely publicized from the beginning was the reality that two Members of VOTF were responsible for helping introduce the content of the bill #1098 to lawmakers, [See: here] which in turn was placed on the legislative agenda before being pulled (without vote) due to strong Catholic protests locally and nationwide.
General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, Anthony Picarello, described the bill during the controversy, saying that 1098 was not only “blatantly unconstitutional” but also that it “targets the Catholic Church explicitly and exclusively, and attempts to use the civil law to alter Church governance.” Mr. Picarello nails it, of course, because in effect members of VOTF attempted to influence the Church through civil litigation by instigating the specious use of government in the clear attempt to undermine the apostolic nature and authority of the Catholic Church in America. And that’s the plan of reformers however tragically nearsighted and dangerous that might be…
Bishop Lori [Diocese of Bridgeport] warned the faithful at the time, saying that, “If this bill were to be enacted your bishop, would have virtually, virtually no real relationship with the 87 parishes…they could go off independently, some of them could break off from the Church if they wished, and go their own way as has happened, for example, with the Episcopal Church.” One doesn’t have to look to the Episcopal Church for future examples of independent catholic parishes with virtually no real relationship with their bishop. Try this story from another part of the world for the sad results of such a break in communion.
Remember, I said “signs of desperation”
What’s obvious (and pitiful) concerning the lessons learned in Connecticut is that these groups perceive that unless they somehow manage to garner control of the wealth of the Church, (placing it into the hands of the laity), they will not find themselves in any viable position of power to leverage bishops in order to secure the “change” they seek. It comes down to money equals power for them. And for such reform groups it makes sense, because the change they seek flies in the face of authentic faith and morals as proposed for belief within the Catholic Church and bishops obliged to defend faith and morals cannot accept the multitude of errors these groups propose for belief under the guise Catholicism.
As it is, today’s reform groups remain under funded, are prevented mostly from using church facilities within dioceses by bishops because of their heretical anti-Catholic stances, find themselves unsupported by the same laity they presume to be the voice of, and therefore have come to determine that in order to remain relevant and survive they need now band together in order to keep alive the dream of recreating the Church in the world according to their own image. But, the question remains: Is it possible they might succeed?
Those “and other” groups and the future moves of the ACC
What the Connecticut blunder taught VOTF and other likeminded reform groups is that bishops and laity alike will not stand for government abrogation within the eternal affairs of the Church, financial or otherwise. And any further attempts on the part of reformers to openly (or secretly) use government as their jackhammer to undermine the foundation of the Church will not only meet with swift rejection as it did in Connecticut, but may even signal the final death nil for Church reform groups through episcopal action as well as final recognition by the faithful that the “spirit of Vatican II” is, what it is, a spirit of destruction that harms the Church, and thus, her mission in the world–the salvation of souls.
Licking their wounds, reformers must come up with another alternative. To gain the means to realize victory they need financing that far exceeds what many “prayer breakfast fundraisers” might provide. And that alternative may consist in turning their attention to other groups for help. Groups such as heterodox Christians and sympethetic non-Christian political activists, tacticians, and community organizers with long histories of emnity with the Church. No, I would not be surprised if the ACC moved into a mode of operation that mimicks groups such as Faith in Public Life, who helped successfully dupe nearly 55 percent of Catholics in America into voting into power the culture of death under the pretext of “hope” and “change”. At any rate, I look for an ACC full court press for help upon the following groups [described here] such as:
- Catholic Organizations – official catholic bodies
- Dissident Organizations- exist actively and deliberately to alter Catholic church teaching. All these organizations are associated with Call to Action.
- Other Religious Organizations – member organizations from other religions, usually liberal members. Many who make abortion and homosexual rights denominational policy.
- Community Organizations- Alinskyian organizations and their networks. These organizations are made up of congregations from all denominations. They have an historical and ongoing relationship with Call to Action. They promote liberation theology, progressive political activism, and they often receive funding from the Catholic Church.
- Issue-based Organizations- organizations working for a particular cause. In this category we find a large number of Faith in Public Life members whose only advocacy is to act to secure abortion rights or homosexual rights.
Reform Groups: resurrection from the dead, or, Custer’s last stand in Detroit?
Bishops and laity alike would be wise to be on guard for reformers approaching such groups for needed financial assistance, training, and adaptation of the same successful community organizing tactics within their dioceses and parish’s as was utilized in the election of 2008. Simply put, there will be no effective American Catholic Council if reformers can’t somehow hoodwink laity and bishops into believing that their illegitimate goals are, well, legit. And this entails substancial participation of both bishops and laity for any chance at success. If they fail here, the American Catholic Council tentatively scheduled to convene in Detroit, Michigan, in the fall of 2011, will end up being just another Catholic Call To Action convention that no one pays any real serious attention to any longer–and the only difference being is that this Catholic charade will be held in another city other than Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Or perhaps, stated more positively, it will turn out to be Custer’s last stand in Detroit.
For the sake of the Church, that is, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us hope so.