Pope Francis Feels He Can Second-Guess Jesus with Exhortation?

April 9, 2016

The long awaited apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia  hit Friday and as many have begun to observe, it would be better called the “Joy of Sex” than the “Joy of Love.”  Many people have plowed through the tome in its entirety and it is as bad as expected. The headlines that proclaim the likes of, “Pope Francis Softens Communion Ban for Divorcees” convey the scandal the exhortation is creating.

Mortal sins, such as adultery, appear to be condoned in the exhortation. In places, the document deceptively cuts and pastes excerpts from other magisterial documents in such a way that the original context is grossly distorted–for example, Amoris Laeritia selectively omits the passage from St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio that explains how and why divorced, remarried Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist.

However, the church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon sacred scripture, of not admitting to eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the church which is signified and effected by the eucharist. Besides this there is another special pastoral reason: If these people were admitted to the eucharist the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Pope Francis instead suggests he knows better what Jesus would do with respect to people committing mortal sin, rather than acknowledging and defending what Jesus actually said and did.  He says, “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, ‘always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street.”  In other words, Pope Francis thinks Jesus would not care about the salvation of souls that comes from turning away from sin and for which Our Lord died on the cross. Instead, somehow Jesus would tell sinners to just keep on committing mortal sin as long as you feel good?  The proposal coming from the Chair of Peter is scandalous and must be resisted and opposed. That any priests or bishops, including Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Chaput and others would tell Catholics they should read this piece of garbage just furthers the scandal.

Here are a few links to articles you should read, along with excerpts.

The Shameful Document (Creative Minority Report)

In those key paragraphs (298-302) he posits that it is impossible to know anyone’s culpability for the obvious sin in which they participate, so any kind of rule is casuistry. His calls for pastoral discernment are a clear call for the internal forum solution, even though he never quite comes out and says it.  But people are already getting the message.

In another shameful section, the Pope attempts to side-step the clear teaching that by an unworthy reception of the Eucharist, one eats and drinks judgment upon one’s self.

This redefinition of “discernment of the body” is a scandalous inversion of the true meaning of the admonition. No, the Pope does come right out and deny Church teaching in this area, he skirts it and tries to distort it. It is shameful.

In my view as a whole, this document will make nobody’s life any better. It will lead nobody out of sin. At its worst and in its particulars, it will serve only to confirm people in their sin and lead priests, prelates, and others into sacrilege. Nobody will be saved by this Jesuitical word-puke, unworthy of a successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, and many souls may be lost because of it. This document is a shameful act and a grave evil.

A pastor leads his flock out of danger, this leads them to the wolves den. If you love as Jesus commanded us, you will hate this document.

Pope Francis opens door to Communion for ‘remarried’ Catholics in landmark exhortation (Lifesite News)

Pope Francis Departs from Church Teaching in New Exhortation (1 Peter 5)

…one finds the law of gradualism with regard to sinful relationships, the claim that there are “seeds” of goodness in such relationships that are objectively contrary to God’s laws, and a general tone of not speaking of sin at all with regard to those ways of living that put the soul of the persistent sinner gravely at risk of not attaining to eternal salvation.

The pope is sending a deeply troubling message: those who are living in the objective state of adultery (since they are still sacramentally and validly married to their real spouse, not the person they are living with) and have children from this second “marriage” are essentially bound to stay in this relationship, living as husband and wife (which they are not) and continuing to engage in acts proper only to spouses, and thus, adulterous in nature. Otherwise, the pope reasons, their new relationship – and the welfare of the children involved – could be put at risk! In this, Pope Francis undermines Catholic moral teaching at its core, and puts supposed practical concerns over the higher concern of the salvation of souls.

This question of access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried is taken up again in paragraph 305:

Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.

At the end of that sentence, footnote 351 clarifies: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments,” and then refers to both Confession and the Eucharist. He writes: “I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

 These statements call to mind the substance of the so-called Kasper proposal. The language of the Eucharist as “not a prize” is something both Kasper and Francis have used in public statements on this topic since the Synod process began in 2014. There is no specific prescription on whether the divorced and “remarried” can have access to the sacraments in this, but one sees the opening of a door.

The second grave scandal comes in paragraph 301. In the context of the question of “discernment” for those “irregular” relationships, Pope Francis does away with the claim that those who do not live according to God’s law are living in the state of mortal sin! He says:

Hence it is [sic] can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” [to include homosexual relationships?]  situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values” [?], or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.

Among other mitigating factors in this regard, the pope mentions “affective immaturity” and “force of acquired habit” and “conditions of anxiety,” as well as other “psychological or social factors” that would alleviate a person’s culpability.

This statement of the pope seems to do away with any moral foundation on the question of marriage and divorce. It breaks apart the very basis of moral law, and opens the door to a lax and relativistic approach to the sanctity of marriage.

Taken together, we see that the pope is claiming that “remarried” couples who have children should continue to live as “husband” and “wife” and should not live “as brother and sister” and that all “irregular” relationships which are not in accordance with God’s laws do not, in his estimation, necessarily mean that persons in such situations are living in a state of sin. Thereby, the pope also indirectly opens the door to the admittance of all these persons to the sacraments, and, at the same time, undermines not just one, butthree sacraments: the Sacrament of Marriage, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Catholics cannot accept elements of Pope’s exhortation that threaten faith and family (Lifesite News)

Admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion

Amoris Laetitia, over the course of Chapter VIII (paragraphs 291-312), proposes a number of approaches that prepare the way for “divorced and remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion without true repentance and amendment of life. These paragraphs include:

  1. confused expositions of Catholic teaching on the nature and effects of mortal sin, on the imputability of sin, and on the nature of conscience;
  2. the use of ideological language in place of the Church’s traditional terminology;
  3. and the use of selective and misleading quotations from previous Church documents.

A particularly troubling example of misquotation of previous teaching is found in paragraph 298 which quotes the statement of Pope John Paul II, made in Familiaris Consortio, that there exist situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.” However in Amoris Laetitia the second half of Pope John Paul II’s sentence, which states that such couples “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, No. 84),  is omitted.

Furthermore, in the footnote to this misleading quotation, we read:

In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).

The document makes reference to this erroneous view but does not explain why it is a false approach, which is namely that:

  1. All sexual acts outside of a valid marriage are intrinsically evil and it is never justifiable to commit an intrinsically evil act, even in order to achieve a good end.
  2. “Faithfulness is endangered” by acts of sexual intimacy outside of marriage but faithfulness is lived when two individuals in an invalid union refrain from sexual intimacy in fidelity to their original union, which remains valid.
  3. The quotation implies that children will suffer because their parents, with the help of divine grace, live chastely. On the contrary, such parents are giving their children an example of fidelity, chastity and trust in the power of God’s grace.

The document cites Gaudium et Spes but the passage is quoted out of context and does not support the argument made. The context makes clear that Gaudium et Spes is speaking of married Catholics, in the context of procreation, not those cohabiting in an invalid union. The full sentence is as follows:

But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperilled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered (Gaudium et Spes, No. 51).

It is therefore difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Apostolic Exhortation is at least raising the possibility that adulterous sexual acts might in some cases be justifiable and has misquoted Gaudium et Spes as if to provide grounds for this.

The Apostolic Exhortation and the Abolishment of the Sin of Presumption

There is no other way to say this: Despite its protestations to the contrary Amoris Laetitia represents an attempt to achieve a revolution in Catholicism at the expense of the prior teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and reception of the Eucharist.
In order to achieve its aim of deconstructing the sacraments of Matrimony and the Eucharist, the tome paints the picture of sacramental marital love as a torture chamber of abuse, domination, sexism, exploitation and endless financial and emotional travails.

The sacrament of Matrimony, it is claimed, subjects its participants to the need to mutually beg constant forgiveness and afford each other mercy on an on-going basis.

Drawing upon such diverse and meaningful sources as “Eastern masters,” Erich Fromm, Martin Luther King, Babette’s Feast, and numerous and plethora of Pope Francis’s own prior statements, and, on occasion even selective quotes from the Bible, the author demands that the Church accept and not comment negatively about divorce and adultery.  This, he asserts, will minimize the frequency of those phenomena.

Moreover, despite the horrific nature of sacramental marriage which he depicts, the author nonetheless purports to make a case for encouraging those in irregular unions to become sacramentally married.  The question as to why someone “living in sin” would seek to enter into such an horrific institution is not readily answered, especially since, it would seem, the institution is no longer to be considered de facto indissoluble, even if it is, currently, theoretically de jure indissoluble. Indeed, at one point marriage is actually called a contract in the document.

Further, the so-called concept of gradualness facilitates adulterers (who are in grave sin) receiving Communion.  This is to be accomplished, depending on the facts of the situation.  But one thing is asserted strongly:  No one is to be kept away from Communion forever.

Although only the rapprochement of those in “irregular relationships” is considered, there would appear to be no rational basis for refusing to extend the logic involved to all of those in grave sin.  The reception of Communion by all grave sinners, of whatever kind, is left to the conscience of the sinner and their pastor.  This is one undoubted time bomb of a slippery slope contained in Amoris Laetitia; another is the justification for a married priesthood; and, who knows, perhaps even a gay and married priesthood.  The floodgates have opened, and who are we to judge?

Finally, no one in the congregation has a right to be scandalized by this, it would seem. Scandal and banning from Communion are perhaps only to apply to those who engage in social injustice, something for which Pope Francis unsurprisingly expresses deep disdain.

In summary, the exhortation is BAD.  Really BAD. it must be resisted and opposed. We will share some ideas on how you can do that in a subsequent post.

 

 


Boston Archdiocese Income Declined $20M in Fiscal 2015; Lost $5M

February 24, 2016

With little fanfare, the Boston Archdiocese published its Fiscal 2015 financial report recently, where they reported a $20 million decline in revenue vs Fiscal 2014, and a $5 million operating loss for the year.  In addition, it should be noted that the Boston Archdiocese is unable to repay about $36 million in debt owed to St. Johns Seminary, and managed to get the seminary board to defer repayment from 2017 to 2027 with no interest charges. The annual Catholic Appeal raised $400K less in fiscal 2015 vs 2014, and spent $400K more than the previous year to do so.One third of parishes are operating in the red. Here are a few of the key points from the report.

Operating Loss (p. 12)
Operating income decreased $20.5 million from an operating income of $15.6 million in fiscal 2014 to an operating loss of $4.9 million in fiscal 2015. Revenues declined by $10.4 million, while expenses increased $10.1 million. This was explained as follows (p.8):

“Fiscal 2015 was a challenging year from a financial standpoint, with a significant decline in operating income for parishes, a deficit in central operations, and a loss in our self-insurance program. External events were a major contributor to these results. Low capital market returns impacted by concerns about a global economic slowdown, a return to a more customary level of parish bequests, and an extremely harsh winter that resulted in a number of catastrophic property insurance losses and increased utility and maintenance costs at parishes negatively impacted financial results.”

In addition, Central Operations lost $7.3 million in fiscal 2015 as compared to a $2.3 million loss in 2014.

Unable to Pay $36M in Debt
On many occasions, BCI has questioned how the Archdiocese will be able to repay the $36 million in debt to St. Johns Seminary for the property sold in 2007 in order to pay off sexual abuse settlement loans.  That debt was due to be paid in 2017. The 2015 Archdiocesan Annual Report and the 2014 Annual Report both describe how the debt payback has magically been deferred for 10 more years.  “On September 22, 2014, the St. John’s Seminary Board of Trustees voted to extend the due date of the $36.4 million note to August 23, 2027 (which was previously due on August 23, 2017).”  Such a vote presents a massive conflict of interest, as the Board of Trustees includes: Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto, and Chancellor John Straub–all of whom have an interest in not seeing the Boston Archdiocese default on the debt. But since the RCAB took the property from the Seminary and sold it out from under them, it’s an inherent conflict of interest for them to vote to defer repayment of this huge loan and charge no interest on a loan for 20 years–from 2007 until 2027.  Even in 2027, how will it be repaid?

Deception Around Paying for Clergy Sexual Abuse Settlements with Parish Funds
The lie continues here in the 2015 report. On page 20 they write, “Consistent with past practices, parish funds, money raised from the Promise for Tomorrow Campaign, the Annual Catholic Appeal and proceeds from the parish reconfiguration process are not being used to fund settlements.”  Page 21 of the report reveals the deception, which we debunked that deception two years ago in our post, “Archdiocese of Boston uses parish funds to repay sexual abuse settlement costs:

To repay the $4.8 million note, in 2013 the Boston Archdiocese transferred property from the closed Our Lady of Presentation and St. Gabriel’s parishes to the Seminary.  Here are the references in the 2013 Annual Report (p. 21):

Corporation Sole agreed to canonically transfer all of its rights, title and interest in Our Lady of Presentation Church, Rectory and parking lots and the St. Gabriel rectory and school to the Seminary. The properties have a collective appraised value of approximately $6,070,000 and a book value of $566,000.

During the year ended June 30, 2013, Corporation Sole transferred the Our Lady of Presentation property with an appraised value of $2,850000 to the Seminary to discharge a portion of the note. In accordance with the MOU, the Seminary agreed to forgive the remaining note balance of $1,038,000 which is included in gain on settlement of note payable in the statement of activities.

Debt
Long-term debt is about $100 million, but something funny appears to be happening with the debt for the Clergy Fund and clergy retirement costs.  They write, “Net unfunded clergy pension and post retirement obligations of $62.9 million and $36.4 million in debt owed to St. John’s Seminary represent the significant long-term liabilities…Accrued pension and other retirement costs decreased by $21.1 million. An increase in the discount rate, the impact of the Regina Cleri asset transfer and updated retirement age assumptions, somewhat offset by the adoption of new mortality tables, led to the decrease in the net unfunded liability.”  With more clergy reaching retirement age, presumably their medical and retirement costs and unfunded liability should be increasing, yet it is somehow miraculously decreasing.

Ongoing Sexual Abuse Costs
For the year, the total cost of sexual abuse settlements  was $1.73 million, plus there were costs incurred related to abuse prevention, outreach and other costs  of $3.07 million, for a total expenditure of $4.8 million during fiscal year 2015. When will this end?

1/3 of Parishes are In the Red
The 2016 Central Ministries Budget Plan informs us that 1/3 of all parishes are running an annual deficit. “Currently, about one-third of parishes are not self-sustaining with some requiring financial subsidy, either directly of indirectly, by the Archdiocese.”

Other than the above issues, the fiscal health of the Boston Archdiocese is just great! . The Boston Archdiocese is contemplating the idea of launching a major capital campaign to raise hundreds of millions of dollars (rumors have it targeted at anywhere from $100M to more than $300M), and it would surely take that amount of money to repay debt and unfunded liabilities, let alone provide for other long-term needs. Meanwhile, we hear many stories about struggles with the Disciples in Mission initiative (DIM), but that is a topic for another post…


Boston Offers Clergy Wellness Seminar by Woman Minister

February 23, 2016

The Archdiocese of Boston Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is offering wellness seminars for priests. Several of them strike us as odd, and risk working against the spiritual wellness of Catholic priests. Then there is the matter of the struggling Clergy Fund.

Centering Prayer Workshop
One of them is in June 2016 in Duxbury offered by Rev Meninger OCSO on the New Age practice of Centering Prayer. Of course, one of the big problems is that Centering Prayer actually is not a “prayer” and it is not even Christian. It originated with Abbot Thomas Keating at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, but its origins are a pagan practice and it’s more like a form of self-hypnosis.

Authentic Christian prayer and meditation stem from contact with God. Proponents of centering prayer claim prayer centers in one’s being, as opposed to what prayer should be–namely, a conversation with God from the center of our souls. Read this excellent piece, The Danger of Centering Prayer which clearly articulates how Centering Prayers exercises are “at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.”

As reported by Catholic Culture, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of’ the Faith under then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned about the dangers of blending Christian prayer and Eastern methods of meditation (e.g., Zen, Transcendental Meditation and yoga). Although Some Aspects of Christian Meditation does not single out any persons or schools of thought by name, many of its warnings apply to the centering- prayer literature, including the writings of Abbot Keating and his spiritual disciple Father Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. Both have backgrounds in Eastern meditation methods and cite those experiences favorably as instructive for today’s Christians.

 

Cardinal Ratzinger warned about methods which “try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible, or conceptually limited.” An approach of this sort to prayer may actually be “an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which as such is neither terrestrial, sense perceptible nor capable of conceptualization.” Besides the temptation to reject the material world in this approach there is another problem-indicated by Cardinal Ratzinger’s use of the word “oneself” in the last quote-the temptation to ascend to God by one’s own power or strength. In fact it is God’s choice, not ours, whether we enter the sphere of the divine. “God is free to ’empty’ us of all that holds us back …. to draw us completely into the Trinitarian life of his eternal love,” but this gift is granted “not through our own efforts.

Time Management, facilitated by a Protestant Minister
In April there is a session at our Lady Help of Christians in Newton offered by a Rev. Nancy Foran–she is a minister in the United Church of Christ and pastor at Raymond Village Community Church in Maine, and specializes in Myers-Briggs. Can we not find any Catholics in Boston who are good at managing time to lead such a session? The brochure can be found below:

Clergy Wellness Brochure Side 1

Clergy Wellness Brochure Side 2

Who picks these sessions?!

Clergy Fund

As BCI has mentioned previously, the Clergy Fund is adding nothing to the rapidly depleting reserves–what is collected at Christmas, Easter, Assessments, September Collection and Annual Priest Appreciation Dinner goes directly to pay annual expenses. With more clergy retiring, that means increasing retirement and medical expenses, and that means reserves get tapped to pay those expenses.

Other that that, Boston is doing a good job taking care of clergy.

 


Boston Diocesean Deception on Survey

December 6, 2015

In our last post, we criticized the Boston Archdiocese for spending in excess of $100K to survey mostly non-church-going Catholics about their views on the Catholic Church and Catholic faith. By coincidence, the day after BCI posted our criticism, Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications, sent out an email to all priests in the archdiocese explaining the background on the survey.  Here is his email, and then the BCI analysis of the deception follows:

From: “Donilon, Terry”
Date: 12/03/2015 11:37 AM (GMT-05:00)
To:
Subject: Background on Survey Effort

Dear Monsignor/Father,

During the course of the past year, the Archdiocese of Boston has been planning to gain a broader understanding of what is in the hearts and on the minds of Catholics. The reason for this effort is we believe that we should be in an ongoing conversation with our people. Recently we convened a series of focus groups and conducted a survey of 1,600 respondents from across the Archdiocese. This effort involves surveying practicing Catholics and those who have fallen away from the Church.

In 2012, the Archdiocese was a member of a coalition which defeated the physician assisted suicide ballot initiative in the Commonwealth. In conducting research at that time we gathered valuable information about the thoughts and concerns of Catholics on a wide range of issues statewide. The current effort has been focused specifically on the Archdiocese.

This type of research is a standard practice for other nonprofits, colleges and universities including many Catholic institutions. We have conducted similar surveys on a more informal level from time to time. In the spirit of evangelization our hope is to learn more about the people we serve as well as learn how we can help those who have fallen away from the church to consider rejoining us on their faith journey. The project is not quite completed and there will be an extensive analysis of the information gathered.

We are confident that this initiative will help us to be more engaged with our people, to be better communicators in spreading the beauty of our faith and in helping Catholics grow closer in their relationship with Christ.

Thank you for all you do each and every day in your priestly ministry.

Sincerely Yours,
​Terry Donilon

Where to start?

If the Boston Archdiocese truly wants to better understand what is in the hearts and minds of Catholics, help those who have fallen away from the church consider rejoining the Catholic Church and help Catholics grow closer in their relationship with Christ”, then how can Terry Donilon explain this feedback on the survey provided by “Iwassurveyed” about the design flaws of the survey?

 

First, there were direct questions with multiple choice answers such as strongly disagree, disagree, disagree somewhat, agree, somewhat agree, strongly agree etc. Many questions concerned Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s being chosen for the Pope’s circle of 8 and also as head of the new sex abuse unit at the Vatican. Not one question concerned Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s performance as head of RCAB.. Another question concerned the RCAB handling of sex abuse by clergy TODAY, not in the past. Another question was, “Do you intend to see SPOTLIGHT or have you seen it? “Some questions about contraception, abortion etc.

Not one question concerned RCAB finances; church closures and sales; the new and improved collaboratives; mergers and takeovers, school closings, EVANGELIZATION. WHERE IS IT ANYWAY?

Soooooo, I suggest that the questions were carefully formulated to minimize any real criticism of RCAB and Cardinal. Sean O’Malley. Not many people are going to criticize his participation in circle of 8 or the new sex abuse unit of the Vatican, no matter their feelings on what is happening locally.

There was no opportunity to control the interview. No open ended questions and no opening for you to reformulate the questions into something else. This was as programmed as possible.

We know from the Boston Globe article that questions included, Is your opinion of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable? And, “Which best reflects your attitude about abortion? 1) It is morally wrong and should not be legal; 2) It is morally wrong but should be legal; or 3) It is morally acceptable and should be legal.”

So, clearly the Boston Archdiocese has some other motives in the survey besides bringing people back to the Catholic Church, and they are interested in finding out Catholic faithful feel the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese is doing at its main mission–carrying out the saving mission of Jesus Christ.

Not that BCI is supportive of such surveys, but similar surveys done elsewhere have typically reported the following reasons why people stop going to Mass:

  • Liturgies are uninspiring
  • Homilies are uninspiring
  • Parishes are not welcoming
  • Money concerns abound
  • No attention paid to youth and young people
  • Like priests, but they are overworked
  • Runs too much like a business
  • Disagree with one or another of Church’s teachings

So, there is reason to believe that the Boston Archdiocese could save between $100K and 250K by simply using the sort of feedback gotten already from similar surveys. These will likely be the results of the very expensive survey RCAB is taking in 2015 and reporting in 2016. What will be done with this ground-breaking feedback? NOTHING.

 

A reasonable person might also ask why–if a survey was really needed–was there not a comprehensive survey of RCAB done by a group like the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).  If a survey was called for, and we still do not think so, a group like CARA could design surveys for individual groups, and thus get a more specific view of the state of the diocese by separately surveying priests, religious, lay leadership, Mass attendees, fallen away, and youth.

We will repeat and paraphrase what we said in our last post.  Cardinal Sean O’Malley needs to teach with the authority and confidence of a man who knows he has been given the keys to eternal life. Those who reject the immutable truths of the Catholic Faith will put their souls in grave danger. What might we expect from the current survey? The likely answer of what will come: Instead of sound doctrine clearly stated with authority, we are likely to see the Archdiocese pander to those who no longer attend Mass with lukewarm statements, cleverly worded to remain as inoffensive as possible while stating the bare minimum in terms of doctrine. We have already had this over the past 50 years and seen nothing but declining Mass attendance. It certainly is not the way Christendom was built.

We have a flawed survey designed and executed by a consultant who works for political candidates who hate the Catholic Church and work in strident opposition to our teachings. The fact that such a survey is being employed by a prelate whose primary duty is to guard the deposit of Faith delivered to the Saints is capitulation to the spirit of the age.


Boston Archdiocese Spending $100K+ to Survey Apostates

December 2, 2015

According to an article just published in the Boston Globe, the Archdiocese of Boston “has hired a top Democratic consultant to poll Catholics in Eastern Massachusetts – most of whom no longer attend weekly Mass – to find out what they think about thapostatee church and its leaders.”  A random phone survey will be taken  of whomever of 1,600 people want to respond, plus there will be six focus groups of fallen away catholics.   Participants will be asked a series of 90 questions including their views on church teaching such as abortion and contraception as well as their opinion of Cardinal Sean. (Since when are the prelates of the Church of Christ up for a popularity contest?)

While Terry Donilon, the Archdiocesan spokesperson refused to share the cost of the poll, sources tell BCI that the cost was $100K or more. Not only does BCI question the morality of giving church funds to John Martilla, who has served as a strategist for the likes of John Kerry, Joe Biden and Deval Patrick, we also question the purpose for marketing the Bride of Christ. After all, She alone has the words of eternal life.

What exactly does the Archdiocese hope to find by polling baptized Catholics who are no longer attending weekly Mass? The ills that afflict them are the same ills that have caused every apostate since Jesus first began preaching the Gospel to leave the bosom of Holy Mother Church. They leave because they refuse to accept the teaching authority of Christ and His Church. The only remedy for the situation of these unfortunate people is repentance.

As Christ ascended to Heaven, when the Church consisted of only a handful of disciples, Christ commanded the apostles to “Teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them all things whatsoever I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) “And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in His name.” (Luke 24:47). By Apostolic Succession, this is the mission also for the bishops of today.

Instead of teaching with the authority and confidence of men who know that they have been given the keys to eternal life and that those who reject the immutable truths of the Catholic Faith will put their souls in grave danger, the Archdiocese of Boston plans to invert Christ’s command and in the words of Terry Donilon “learn” from those who do not show respect or reverence for God and His Church.

What might we expect from this inversion? The likely answer is more of the same. Instead of sound doctrine clearly stated with authority, we are likely to see the Archdiocese pander to the godless multitude with lukewarm statements, cleverly worded to remain as inoffensive as possible while stating the bare minimum in terms of doctrine. Only a halfwit could imagine that this will fill the pews again. It certainly is not the way Christendom was built.

Pope Leo XIII clearly condemned this approach in his 1899 encyclical Testem Benevolentiae:

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order the more easily to attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. … Let it be far from anyone’s mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ.”

The mere fact that such a survey is being employed by a prelate whose primary duty is to guard the deposit of Faith delivered to the Saints is capitulation to the spirit of the age.

That the Boston Archdiocese is spending even $1 on such a boneheaded initiative is a travesty and scandal, let alone donor funds at a time when most parishes are operating in the red.  Readers, please take this post, forward it to Terry Donilon (tdonilon@rcab.org), and ask him to cut the Archdiocese’s losses on the survey and stop this waste of time and money.

(This post was contributed by a local Catholic who wishes to remain anonymous)


Cardinal O’Malley: Please Correct Heresy and Discipline Your Priest

September 17, 2015

Msgr. Paul Garrity is at it once again–this time with perhaps his most egregiously heretical public comments ever–published in the official Archdiocesan newspaper, The Boston Pilot. And Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese have been silent about the scandal and done nothing to correct the heresy.

What Garrity wrote in his editorial column, “Synod Needs Your Prayers” is thoroughly BAD. It is so heretical that it needs to be removed from being accessed and he needs to be made to publicly retract and correct his words.  Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute expressed the problems very well in this Open Letter to Cardinal O’Malley.

In his article, Msgr. Garrity directly assaults the indissolubility of marriage.  He said:

“It is ludicrous to assert that divorced couples who have found love and fidelity with new spouses are still recognized by the Church as being married to their former spouses after the passage of many years. It is equally untenable (and disrespectful) to try to convince these happily married couples that, in fact, their relationships are sinful. Moreover, the Church’s current prohibition regarding the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried couples would seem to be at odds with the consistent teaching of the Gospel about love, forgiveness and mercy.

In this one paragraph, Msgr. Garrity heretically denies three teachings of the Catholic Church and then heretically asserts that there is a division between Holy Mother Church’s loving guidance of sinners and the Gospels.

As you know, the Catechism of the Catholic Churchparagraph 2089, defines heresy as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.” Given this definition, it is clear that Msgr. Garrity is proclaiming heresy in the following circumstances:

  1. Monsignor Garrity said, “It is ludicrous to assert that divorced couples … are still recognized by the Church as being married to their former spouse after the passage of many years.” This claim is at complete odds with paragraph 1614 of the Catechism, which expressly states, “The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it ‘what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.'” Given this, divorce cannot actually dissolve a marriage bound by God Himself. Furthermore, when bride and groom take their wedding vows, they promise before God to be faithful to their spouses “until death,” so the caveat provided by Msgr. Garrity of “the passage of many years” likewise cannot dissolve a marriage. In light of the definition of heresy provided by Holy Mother Church, the only conclusion can be that Msgr. Garrity preached a heretical principle in your publication.
  2. Monsignor Garrity said, “It is equally untenable (and disrespectful) to try to convince these happily married couples that, in fact, their relationships are sinful.” Our Blessed Lord said, according to Mark, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11–12). In order for Msgr. Garrity to maintain this position, he must also blaspheme by claiming that what was said by Our Blessed Lord was “untenable and disrespectful.”
  3. Monsignor Garrity said, “The Church’s current prohibition regarding the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried couples would seem to be at odds with the consistent teaching of the Gospel about love, forgiveness and mercy.” In this statement are two grave errors.
    1. Monsignor Garrity implicitly denies the sacrilege committed by those who receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin. Saint Paul very clearly teaches, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” The Catechism of the Catholic Churchparagraph 2120, says, “Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist.” What Msgr. Garrity says in this article is extremely scandalous, as it will likely embolden divorced and re-married Catholics to commit sacrilege against the Eucharist, thereby placing their souls in extreme peril.
    2. In this one statement, Msgr. Garrity attacks the Holiness of the Church.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 824, “United with Christ, the Church is sanctified by him; through him and with him she becomes sanctifying. ‘All the activities of the Church are directed, as toward their end, to the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God.’ It is in the Church that ‘the fullness of the means of salvation’ has been deposited. It is in her that ‘by the grace of God we acquire holiness.'” In contrast to the teaching that “The Church … is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy” (para. 823), Msgr. Garrity suggests that the Church’s work to help poor sinners avoid sacrilege is somehow unloving, unforgiving and unmerciful. But even worse, Msgr. Garrity implies that Holy Mother Church is at sinful odds with Herself through a perceived inconsistency in Her teachings and in Her disciplines.

Your Eminence, this is not the first time Msgr. Garrity has openly preached views in direct opposition to Catholic Teaching. In 2013, Msgr. blasphemously compared homosexual “families” with the Holy Family in his parish bulletin.

[As BCI reported in 2013 in our post, “Boston pastor praised by Cardinal O’Malley puts Holy Family on par with homosexual couples“,] Garrity wrote:

 Taken all together, the first family of Christianity reminds us that there is no such thing as normal. Every family is different and this means that we need to broaden our understanding of family life beyond TV sitcoms and applaud the virtues of family living wherever we find them: two-parent families, single-parent families, blended families, families with two mommies or two daddies and adoptive families. What is most important is that we continually hold up the family as the instrument that God has chosen to communicate God’s unconditional love to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.

Your Eminence, countless souls are gravely imperiled by the outright heresy being preached by Msgr. Garrity. At this current time, where there is so much confusion and anxiety over the Church’s authentic and immutable teachings regarding the family, we beg you, for the sake of Msgr. Garritys soul and the souls of those led astray by him, to remove this article from your publication and publicly correct the error proclaimed by your priest.

Yesterday, the Catholic League of Masschusetts weighed in:

The Catholic Action League called Garrity’s column “a shocking disavowal of Catholic morality by a prominent pastor of the Archdiocese of Boston, in the Archbishop’s own newspaper.”

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “Garrity’s heretical assertions go far beyond the so-called concessions in pastoral practice envisaged by some synod fathers. Garrity unambiguously repudiates, and holds up to public ridicule, the constant, 2,000 year old doctrine of the Catholic Church on the indissolubility of a valid, sacramental marriage. Ordinary Catholics, reading Garrity in a diocesan newspaper published by Cardinal O’Malley, could be led to the erroneous belief that Catholic moral teaching is changeable.”

“Although Garrity invokes ‘love, forgiveness and mercy,’ he doesn’t practice it. Apparently, for him, the Spiritual Works of Mercy — counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, and admonishing the sinner — are obsolete. Warning the flock of the dangers of mortal sin is intrinsic to the priesthood. For Garrity, such priestly duty is ‘disrespectful.’”

“There are three scandals here: that a Catholic pastor would propound such heresy; that an official Catholic newspaper would publish it; and that a Catholic archdiocese, would, by its silence, acquiesce in it. Twice in recent years, lay columnists who wrote opinion pieces in The Pilot critical of homosexuality were forced to clarify their comments. We will see if a different standard applies to a chancery connected cleric who mocks Catholic morality.”

Everyone reading this should be outraged. Here is who you should both call and email:

Cardinal Sean O’Malley:  ArchbishopSean_O’Malley@rcab.org; 617-782-2544

Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto: vicar_general@rcab.org; 617-746-5619

Episcopal Vicar (West Region) over Msgr. Garrity: Very Reverend Brian R. Kiely: 508-647-0296

Interim Episcopal Vicar and Secretary for Parish Life: Fr. Bryan Parrish: ReverendBryan_Parrish@rcab.org; 617-746-5618

Editor of The Boston Pilot Antonio Enrique: aenrique@thebostonpilot.com


St. Pauls School Closing Saga Continues

August 12, 2015

The saga over the mismanagement by the Boston Archdiocese of the closing of St. Paul school in Wellesley continues. Here is an article in The Swellesley Report, “With faith shaken, St. Paul School parents try to set record straight on closing.” Below you’ll see the letter that parents sent to all St. Paul parishioners:

Dear Parishioners of St. Paul Parish,

On Sunday, July 26, a letter from Fr. Sepe appeared in the St. Paul Parish bulletin announcing the closing of St. Paul School. This letter implied that a lack of commitment on the part of school families was the cause of the school’s failure. This implication could not be further from the truth, and the parents of St. Paul School once again find themselves deeply disturbed by decisions and communications with regard to our school. We write to you now to set the record straight and make you aware of the following:

  • The school did not close due to a lack of commitment on the part of the parents, or because demand for the school did not exist. It was certainly not “clinging to only 32 students,” as you are being led to
  • The closing of Paul School was completely preventable. In fact, great strides had been made over the course of the year to turn it around and set it up for a bright future.

It is true that over the past several years the school has experienced a decline in enrollment. The cause of this decline is well­documented as due to the actions as well as inaction of our pastors under the advisement of the Boston Catholic Schools Office. However, the actions of the parents, under the leadership of their principal and the guidance of an independent consultant, were to engage in a series of initiatives to breathe new life into the school. To alleviate financial pressure on the parish, we undertook an ambitious Annual Fund campaign. The end result is the largest Annual Fund balance known to St. Paul School. Sixty thousand dollars of the reported $85,000 balance was raised only among the parents and teachers of St. Paul School. It is very likely that this fund would have exceeded $100,000 if the requests to speak at Masses were granted.

On two occasions ­­ in March from Fr. Rafferty and in June from Fr. Sepe ­­ parents received written commitments that the school would be open for the 2015­2016 year. These commitments had no other stipulations. The expectations were that our pastors’ written words would be their bond.

In the last week of April, school parents ­­ who had already submitted re­enrollment deposits in March ­­ received a letter from the Parish office raising the initial $200 non­refundable deposit to an unprecedented $1,500 due July 15th. This policy was described as coming directly from the Boston Catholic Schools Office. It was flawed, ill­conceived and poorly communicated, causing uncertainty relative to the commitment to St. Paul School’s continued mission. Countless requests to reconsider the deposit increase were ignored.

Adding to the fears and uncertainty of parents, on April 23rd our principal was terminated effective immediately, despite a clear upward trajectory and measurable achievements in fundraising and admissions. On the Thursday of Spring vacation, she was told to clean out her office by Saturday, and an interim principal was in her place the returning Monday with no explanation. The timing and manner of our principal’s forced exit demoralized our community, and in this mailing we share with you our collective communication responding to the event.

Following the termination of the principal, school parents pleaded with Fr. Sepe to reach out and engage the school community to assuage their fears and concerns. By ignoring these pleas, he cast further doubt about the long­term plan for St. Paul School, and previously­committed families started to pull their enrollment.

It wasn’t until the evening of the day he announced the school closing that Fr. Sepe finally afforded parents the opportunity to meet with him. It became clear at this meeting that more than 32 deposit increases had been paid; in fact, our polling after the meeting has shown that close to 50 deposit increases were paid. Additionally, there were a number of parents who did not pay for financial reasons or out of principle, but who indicated to the Parish office that their children would attend St. Paul School in the fall. At no point were parents notified that if they didn’t turn in this deposit increase, the school would close. The rushed nature of the closing and obvious disregard for due diligence regarding a decision with such resounding ramifications leaves us in utter disbelief.

Parishioners should be concerned about the closing of St. Paul School for many reasons. First and foremost, the manner and timing of the school’s closing has caused great distress and grief among children, families and dedicated teachers. Parents and teachers were told numerous times that the school would be available, and are now scrambling to find alternatives. For many, their faith is shaken. We believe that our parishioners and alumni would have risen to the occasion to prevent such a devastating event if they had only been given the opportunity to decide whether to come to the school’s aid.

Our children are the future of the Church and Catholic schools are the cornerstone of the church’s mission of evangelization. The children of St. Paul School have been the lifeblood of the parish for over 60 years. We ask you now to stand by St. Paul School by contacting the office of Cardinal Archbishop Sean O’Malley and voicing the following:

  • Your objections that the school was closed ­­ a consequential and far-­reaching decision for the parish ­­ with no consultation or outreach to you, and for the manner in which this closing was carried
  • Your support in the return of all Paul School Annual Fund monies raised under the “Believe in Our Future: 60th Anniversary Fund” campaign.
  • Your request for intercession on behalf of our principal, who was inexplicably terminated under conditions that leave us concerned for her
  • Your insistence that a thorough investigation into the role of the Boston Catholic Schools Office be undertaken, and that individuals are held responsible for failing to carry out the mission of strengthening Catholic

Please help us shine the light on St. Paul School so that what happened here will not happen to another Catholic school in this Archdiocese.

Yours sincerely,

# Parents of St. Paul School in Support of this Letter

To engage with the Parents of St Paul group on Facebook, click here.


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