Why Did Cardinal O’Malley Cover-Up Gay Abuse Scandal?

September 13, 2018

In view of Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s public denials about cardinal sean o malleyhaving had knowledge of  Cardinal McCarrick’s sexually immoral behavior, Catholics and non-Catholics ought to be aware of how Cardinal O’Malley handled a situation where he did know of a Boston priest’s homosexual abuse of a young man, and where he knew about the priest’s advocacy of the gay agenda for many years before this abuse occurred.

The priest is Fr. Walter Cuenin, and his public advocacy for the gay agenda was well known for 15+ years under both Cardinal Law and Cardinal O’Malley.  In his final role in active ministry, he was chaplain at Brandeis Univ. in Waltham, MA. Cuenin departed that position abruptly in January of 2015 without prior notice for what was described at the time as “health reasons.”  A tipster at BCI reported on September 8 that the reason for the departure was actually that Cuenin has plied a student with alcohol and made undesired sexual advances on him.  Cuenin was removed from ministry and sent for treatment at a clinic in Michigan and has not been heard from since. This scandalous incident was covered-up by both Brandeis and the Archdiocese of Boston. On September 11, an official from the Archdiocese of Boston confirmed that is what actually happened. Here are more details and the full history.

  •  1993: Fr. Walter Cuenin was appointed pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, MA by Cardinal Bernard Law
  • From 1999 to 2000,  Fr. Cuenin was actively involved in an effort sponsored by Catholic Charities of Boston to create a program called, “Companions” for parents and family of homosexual children that was focused on affirming and supporting the homosexual lifestyle. The opening Mass was held at Our Lady’s in October 1999. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Cuenin and was assisted Fr. John J. White (companion of child-molester Fr. Paul Shanley and co-owner with Fr. Shanley of a gay bed-and-breakfast motel in Palm Springs California) and Fr. Richard Lewandowski (then-pastor of St. Camillas Church in Fitchburg who ran a PFLAG organization at Fitchburg State College and later testified against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage). Other participants in the event included Charles Connors, president of Boston PFLAG, and Paul Merullo who had to serve 2 years in jail for molesting a youth.  Numerous complaints were made to regional bishops, then-Vicar General Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Law and others to try and get the program halted, and it was eventually stopped in late 2000.
  • April 2002: Cuenin testified to a MA legislative committee in opposition to a proposed amendment that would have banned gay marriage.  He argued that Defense of Marriage Amendment amendment seemed to violate the Catechism of the Catholic Church because homosexual marriage was a human rights issue.
  • September 2002: In a New Yorker article entitled, “The Reformer“, Cuenin said gays and lesbians should be allowed a front-row seat at church and not be told that their lives are “basically disordered.”
  • June 2004: Cuenin invites parishioners to attend the Gay Pride parade. Complaints to the archdiocese are ignored.
  • May 2005: Our Lady’s bulletin runs a notice from their Gay and Lesbian Faith Sharing group invites all parishioners again to Boston’s Gay Pride Parade.  Faithful Catholic, Alice Slattery sends  letter to Cardinal OMalley and Bishop Lennon to  sharing details of Cuenin’s history and begging the Cardinal to intervene. She gets no response.
  • September 2005: After years of complaints to both Cardinals Law and O’Malley about Fr. Cuenin’s promotion of homosexuality, he was finally removed as pastor by O’Malley not for his public dissent from Catholic teachings, but rather based on the results of a financial audit that showed improper use of church funds for a leased car and excessive payment of Mass stipends. 
  •  January 2006.  Cardinal O’Malley reassigned Cuenin as campus chaplain, at Brandeis University, where he would be allowed to freely counsel students confused about their sexuality.  It was widely assumed at the time this move was done to find a permanent role for Cuenin and to quell the furor at Our Lady’s over his departure and anger at his replacement, Fr. Chris Coyne (former spokesman for Cardinal’s Law and O’Malley)
  • June 2006:  Cuenin was the featured speaker at the Gay Pride interfaith prayer service.
  • April 2007: Cuenin speaks in Lexington at Interfaith Forum on topic of “God, Gays, and Faith.”  Alice Slattery send another urgent request to Cardinal O’Malley prior to the talk asking him to intervene and stop the talk, but she got no response.  She then sent a follow-up letter to Cardinal O’Malley_on April 12 2007 giving more background on Cuenin and also naming other officials and priests from the Archdiocese with past involvement in pushing the gay agenda. She also got not response.  (Perhaps the letter was received by Fr. Robert Kickham?!)  Alice included a letter published in the local Lexington newspaper saying that “Cuenin doesn’t represent all Catholics.
  • February 2012: Cuenin, in an interview with the New Ways Ministry, said:

“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage, so I cannot directly say I support it, but I have seen from my experience that for many people it creates a much healthier environment..For example, if you were to go to Provincetown in the summer time, where a lot of gay people go, it’s a radically different place today than it was 20 years ago,’ Cuenin said. ‘They are there with children and married, raising kids, so they go home at night. In other words, it has transformed the whole gay scene.”

What actually happened around his departure is for more grave than “health reasons.”  BCI is told that Cuenin had taken a Brandeis student on a trip to NY City around Christmas-time, staying in a one-bedroom hotel room with one bed.  He plied him with alcohol, and then engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with him. The victim, who prefers to be unidentified, wanted Fr. Cuenin to leave campus so that other students were no longer vulnerable to similar happenings.  Brandeis administration loved Fr. Cuenin for his liberal ideology that fit well on campus and because he was a popular figure on campus, and they wanted to keep the matter quiet. So did the Archdiocese of Boston..  Key people from Brandeis involved in the handling of this situation included Andrew Flagel, then senior vice president for students and enrollment, and Jamele Adams, dean of student life.  Then-president, Frederick Lawrence was also aware and involved. Cardinal O’Malley knew about this as did Bishop Peter Uglietto, Vicar General, and Fr. Bryan Parrish, episcopal vicar and secretary for parish life and leadership.

Fr. Parrish was asked about this on September 11.  Even though the diocesan website shows Cuenin’s status is “Senior Priest” (which means a retired priest in good standing, many of whom offer assistance in parishes), Parrish said Cuenin’s official status with the archdiocese is a “restricted Senior Priest”, which means no ministry is allowed and no church housing is provided. Cuenin has a very public problem with alcohol and Fr. Parrish confirmed he was involved in the incident of molestation at Brandies as reported on BCI and at Conquered by Love.  Cuenin is at an alcohol treatment facility similar to a halfway house in very poor health with some level of supervision, and his condition is such that he is not considered a threat to others.

Many questions merit answers from Cardinal O’Malley.  Why did he allow a man known as an advocate for homosexual activity to a college campus where he could corrupt young minds and souls?  Did he read all of the many letters sent to him, or were they screened by Fr. Kickham?  Did he discuss the idea of reassigning Fr. Cuenin to a college campus with his staff and/or head of campus ministry, and if so, what was the recommendation?   Why were the circumstances of Cuenin’s actions that led to his departure from Brandeis — namely, sexual molestation of a student – kept quiet?  Was this incident reported to the police?  How do we know there have not been other victims of Cuenin’s? What keeps Cuenin from going to a park or other place where young people are present and repeating this behavior again?

Cardinal O’Malley is in Rome today meeting with Pope Francis to discuss sexual abuse by clergy.  Hopefully following that meeting, he can provide some answers to these questions.

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Cardinal O’Malley’s Coddling of Homosexual Priests: Part 1

August 29, 2018

In the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, Cardinal McCarrick scandal, explosive disclosure by former U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano about Pope Francis and “gay networks” in the Catholic Church, and the reported sexuaRainbow-Flagl harassment at St. Johns Seminary, it seems appropriate to highlight the evidence of homosexual activity and open promotion of the gay agenda by ordained clergy that’s been allowed and condoned by the Boston Archdiocesan leadership up to Cardinal O’Malley.

The big question here in Boston is why does Cardinal O’Malley coddle priests who promote homosexuality or even come out that they are “gay”? Here are a few examples of the gay clergy network and/or promotion of homosexuality by clergy in open view in Boston:

St. Cecilia Church in Boston, led by pastor, Fr. John Unni

The church has an active “Rainbow Ministry” for LGBT Catholics that participates in the annual Boston Pride festival, brings in speakers who advance the homosexual agenda, and even tried in 2011 to offer a “liturgy to commemorate Boston Pride”, before a public outcry by faithful Catholics prompted the archdiocese to intervene and order the Mass cancelled. (It was turned into a prayer service and a Mass at a later date). What did the archdiocese say about the pastor who was to celebrate the Gay Pride Mass and who allows the active Rainbow Ministry at his church?  “Fr. Unni has the full confidence and support of the Cardinal and the archdiocese” and “is a great pastor.

Two years after the 2011 scandal, the St. Cecilia Parish bulletin announced “PFLAG-Save the Date!”–the executive director of greater Boston PFLAG would be speaking at the 6pm Mass on Nov. 24, 2013.  PFLAG advocates for accepting homosexual activity as a positive good act, and PFLAG rejects and vilifies the work of Courage, the Catholic way of helping people who have fallen into same-sex sexual activity to live in a chaste manner according to Catholic Church teachings. Faithful Catholic, Alice Slattery, wrote to Cardinal O’Malley to ask him to intervene and prevent the scandalous act during Mass.  Alice recounted what happened:

“I received a letter dated Dec. 23, 2013 from the Cardinal’s Office stating that “Cardinal O’Malley recently celebrated the 125th Anniversary Mass at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Boston. The Church was filled to capacity that day and it is evident that all programs and activities offered at the parish are in accord with the teaching and practice of the Roman Catholic Church.”

The Rainbow Ministry is still going strong today, as evidenced by their recent presence at the 2018 Boston Pride Festival. Recent or frequent speakers at the parish include “married” gay BC prof. John McDargh, Stonehill College’s George Piggford and others who advocate for the homosexual lifestyle and homosexual activity.  They have never promoted a speaker to discuss chastity for those with homosexual attractions.

Fr. Austin Fleming, pastor of Holy Family in Concord

A few years ago, a self-described “happy porn-writing sodomite” wrote a tell-all  book entitled, “Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir.” detailing homosexual debauchery taking place within a Franciscan order and with diocesan priests.  The book includes commentary from interviews with diocesan and religious priests who acknowledge they are gay.  A then-60-year-old diocesan priest, nicknamed “Fr. Butterballino” in the book, admits he’d come out to other priests and parishioners and had attended and blessed four “gay unions.”  A simple Google search revealed the diocesan priest was Fr. Fleming.  BCI posted about this and sent information to the archdiocese along with other faithful Catholics. Here are a few passages from the book

“[Father Butterballino] admitted, “I’ve been to four civil weddings of gay people. It scares the s#(t out of me because those are very public situations. After the rite is over, I do some kind of prayer or blessing. If I’m called on it, I can say I was there and I performed a prayer. I didn’t perform a wedding.”

“When the Brown Bag (Cardinal O’Malley) started issuing statements concerning same-sex marriage and adoption, Fr. Butterballino addressed them directly in his parish bulletins. For example, he wrote that to call gay adoptions “gravely immoral” and a form of violence proved only that those issuing such statements had never spend a second with gay adoptive families.”  (This same passage appeared in the November 5, 2005 letter from Fr. Fleming to parishioners at Holy Family, Concord)

“Trapped in inarticulate yearning, he entered the seminary and was ordained.  ‘We were sexually repressed.  When I committed myself to celibacy I might as well have been committing myself to go to the moon.’  Years after ordination, his sexual feelings emerged. Occasionally he was tempted to act out….Yeah, I’m gay.  He came out to a small circle of fellow priests after the sex abuse scandal.”

“Since the incident with the petitions [in support of a MA constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage], Fr. Butterballino…came out to a member of his parish staff who had learned her son was gay. He had triumphant comings-out to select acquaintances.  He even learned to be open with his parishioners that he was spending his summer vacation in Provincetown, MA, the gay beach mecca.”

Indeed, here is an article where Fr. Fleming talks about his vacation at Herring Cove beach in Provincetown.  Multiple Yelp reviews indicate the beach is “nudity-tolerant” and “gay-accepting.”  “they are at play and not for the straight people to bother… Nudity and cruising and sex in the dunes.”

Why would a chaste priest, even one with an attraction to other men, label himself “gay”?  And why would a chaste priest or one struggling with a same-sex attraction vacation in a gay hotspot and go to a beach known for gay cruising?  And why would Cardinal O’Malley ignore complaints, coddle the priest and do nothing about it?

Msgr. Paul Garrity, currently pastor at Sacred Heart and St. Brigid’s in Lexington

He has been praised by Cardinal O’Malley.  Yet he also put homosexual couples on par with the Holy Family.  At his previous assignment at St. Catherine in Norwood, on the Feast of the Holy Family, Garrity wrote in his parish bulletin:

It is very easy to forget that Mary would have been an unwed mother were it not for Joseph. It is also easy to forget that Joseph was not the natural father of Jesus but became his foster father and protector, along with his new bride Mary…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.

What did the archdiocese do in response to complaints about this?  Nothing.  When complaints were lodged with his regional bishop, faithful Catholics were told he had tried to escalate this and get action by Cardinal O’Malley and his concerns were dismissed. In his blog months earlier, Cardinal O’Malley said of Msgr. Garrity, saying he did an extraordinary job at St. Mary’s in Lynn, and “is very focused on promoting Catholic education in Norwood.”

These are just a few examples–we will share more in our next post.  This passage from  a report written between the time when Cardinal Law resigned and Sean O’Malley was appointed archbishop in June of 2003 gives even more perspective:

The sketch of life in the Archdiocese of Boston which follows is based largely on anecdotal evidence and the trustworthy testimony of faithful priests and laymen. While this description is necessarily unscientific, it is offered in good faith in the service of understanding the nature and range of the problems the next Archbishop of Boston must confront.

The Present Situation

Clerical Unchastity

The sexual crimes of the priests accused of molesting minors are but a small token of widespread unchastity among the presbyterate. A significant number of priests, both secular and religious, are engaged in regular sexual behavior (most of it homosexual), either with stable sexual partners or in anonymous encounters with strangers met in bars, parks, or through the Internet. Acceptance of such behavior, excused either with a wink and a nudge on the grounds of human weakness or because of rejection of the Church’s teaching on chastity, encourages further unchastity.

Clerical Homosexuality

Many priests in the Archdiocese, certainly a large minority of the presbyterate and perhaps a slight majority of those between 40 and 60, are homosexual men, and many of those have come to understand themselves by reference to their sexual identity as the gay subculture defines it. The open secret of their homosexuality is closely guarded by the silence of a solid clerical “black wall”, behind which some priests have surrendered completely to the pagan culture of “gay” identity and behavior. Many priests socialize only with other active homosexuals, and in this way loose networks of sexually active priests are formed to protect each other from scrutiny.

The big questions are obvious.  Why does Cardinal O’Malley allow this and coddle priests who encourage or promote homosexual behavior or have “come out” themselves? And how can he claim he is trying to clean-up homosexual activity in St. Johns Seminary when he is allowing it in his presbyterate?  And given that the John Jay report and other studies show the vast majority of the sexual abuse crisis was homosexual activity with teenagers, why isn’t he concerned and talking about the problem of homosexual activity in the clergy? What do you think?

More next post.


This Disastrous Papacy (by Phil Lawler)

March 8, 2017

Phil Lawler over at Catholic Culture posted an interesting piece last week, entitled “This Disastrous Papacy.”  We excerpt from it below.  We agree with him, but would simply observe it seems to have taken him a while to realize and report on the extent of the problem:

Something snapped last Friday, when Pope Francis used the day’s Gospel reading as one more opportunity to promote his own view on divorce and remarriage. Condemning hypocrisy and the “logic of casuistry,” the Pontiff said that Jesus rejects the approach of legal scholars.

True enough. But in his rebuke to the Pharisees, what does Jesus say about marriage?

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

…and…

Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

Day after day, in his homilies at morning Mass in the Vatican’s St. Martha residence, Pope Francis denounces the “doctors of the law” and the “rigid” application of Catholic moral doctrine. Sometimes his interpretation of the day’s Scripture readings is forced; often his characterization of tradition-minded Catholics is insulting. But in this case, the Pope turned the Gospel reading completely upside-down. Reading the Vatican Radio account of that astonishing homily, I could no longer pretend that Pope Francis is merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No; it is more than that. He is engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.

For over 20 years now, writing daily about the news from the Vatican, I have tried to be honest in my assessment of papal statements and gestures….But has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced—on such bedrock issues as the nature of marriage and of the Eucharist?

Pope Francis has sparked controversy from the day he was elected as St. Peter’s successor. But in the past several months the controversy has become so intense, confusion among the faithful so widespread, administration at the Vatican so arbitrary—and the Pope’s diatribes against his (real or imagined) foes so manic—that today the universal Church is rushing toward a crisis.

In a large family, how should a son behave when he realizes that his father’s pathological behavior threatens the welfare of the whole household? He should certainly continue to show respect for his father, but he cannot indefinitely deny the danger. Eventually, a dysfunctional family needs an intervention.

In the worldwide family that is the Catholic Church, the best means of intervention is always prayer. Intense prayer for the Holy Father would be a particularly apt project for the season of Lent. But intervention also requires honesty: a candid recognition that we have a serious problem.

Recognizing the problem can also provide a sort of relief, a relaxation of accumulating tensions. When I tell friends that I consider this papacy a disaster, I notice that more often than not, they feel oddly reassured…

Francis is our Pope, for better or worse. And if it is for worse—as I sadly conclude it is—the Church has survived bad Popes in the past…We have grown accustomed to looking to Rome for guidance. Now we cannot.

But if we cannot count on clear directions from Rome, where can we turn? First, Catholics can rely on the constant teaching of the Church, the doctrines that are now too often called into question. If the Pope is confusing, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not. Second, we can and should ask our own diocesan bishops to step up and shoulder their own proper responsibilities. Bishops, too, have spent years referring the tough questions to Rome. Now, of necessity, they must provide their own clear, decisive affirmations of Catholic doctrine.

…if I am right, and the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith, then other Catholics, and especially ordained Church leaders, must decide how to respond. And if I am right—as I surely am—that confusion about fundamental Church teachings has become widespread, then the bishops, as primary teachers of the faith, cannot neglect their duty to intervene.

BCI agrees with the assessment that this papacy is a disaster, and we agree with Phil’s assessment that we will need to put pressure on our diocesan bishops to step and shoulder their proper responsibilities to uphold the constant teachings of the Church.


In defense of the Four Cardinals, by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

November 29, 2016

The following post was published at Rorate Caeli on Nov. 23, and is written by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Permission has been given for it to be reproduced. BCI has had the opportunity to hear Bishop Schneider speak and to meet him, and we are highly supportive of him and his courage in writing this piece. Very shortly, we will give you a way to share this Cardinal O’Malley and other bishops.

“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13: 8)

A Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church

Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of  Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and His Eminence Walter Brandmüller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences, have published on November 14, 2016, the text of five questions, called dubia (Latin for “doubts”), which previously on September 19, 2016, they sent to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with an accompanying letter. The Cardinals ask Pope Francis to clear up “grave disorientation and great confusion” concerning the interpretation and practical application, particularly of chapter VIII, of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and its passages relating to admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments and the Church’s moral teaching.

In their statement entitled “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia,” the Cardinals say that to “many — bishops, priests, faithful — these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union.” Speaking so, the Cardinals have merely stated real facts in the life of the Church. These facts are demonstrated by pastoral orientations on behalf of several dioceses and by public statements of some bishops and cardinals, who affirm that in some cases divorced and remarried Catholics can be admitted to Holy Communion even though they continue to use the rights reserved by Divine law to validly married spouses.

In publishing a plea for clarity in a matter that touches the truth and the sanctity simultaneously of the three sacraments of Marriage, Penance, and the Eucharist, the Four Cardinals only did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals, which consists in actively contributing so that the revelation transmitted through the Apostles might be guarded sacredly and might be faithfully interpreted. It was especially the Second Vatican Council that reminded all the members of the college of bishops as legitimate successors of the Apostles of their obligation, according to which “by Christ’s institution and command they have to be solicitous for the whole Church, and that this solicitude, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes greatly to the advantage of the universal Church. For it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church” (Lumen gentium, 23; cf. also Christus Dominus, 5-6).

In making a public appeal to the Pope, bishops and cardinals should be moved by genuine collegial affection for the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth, following the teaching of Vatican Council II (cf. Lumen gentium, 22); in so doing they render “service to the primatial ministry” of the Pope (cf. Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, 13).

The entire Church in our days has to reflect upon the fact that the Holy Spirit has not in vain inspired Saint Paul to write in the Letter to the Galatians about the incident of his public correction of Peter. One has to trust that Pope Francis will accept this public appeal of the Four Cardinals in the spirit of the Apostle Peter, when St Paul offered him a fraternal correction for the good of the whole Church. May the words of that great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas, illuminate and comfort us all: “When there is a danger for the faith, subjects are required to reprove their prelates, even publicly. Since Paul, who was subject to Peter, out of the danger of scandal, publicly reproved him. And Augustine comments: “Peter himself gave an example to superiors by not disdaining to be corrected by his subjects when it occurred to them that he had departed from the right path” (Summa theol., II-II, 33, 4c).

Pope Francis often calls for an outspoken and fearless dialogue between all members of the Church in matters concerning the spiritual good of souls. In the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, the Pope speaks of a need for “open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions. The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity” (n. 2). Furthermore, relationships at all levels within the Church must be free from a climate of fear and intimidation, as Pope Francis has requested in his various pronouncements.

In light of these pronouncements of Pope Francis and the principle of dialogue and acceptance of legitimate plurality of opinions, which was fostered by the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the unusually violent and intolerant reactions on behalf of some bishops and cardinals against the calm and circumspect plea of the Four Cardinals cause great astonishment. Among such intolerant reactions one could read affirmations such as, for instance: the four Cardinals are witless, naive, schismatic, heretical, and even comparable to the Arian heretics.

Such apodictic merciless judgments reveal not only intolerance, refusal of dialogue, and irrational rage, but demonstrate also a surrender to the impossibility of speaking the truth, a surrender to relativism in doctrine and practice, in faith and life. The above-mentioned clerical reaction against the prophetic voice of the Four Cardinals parades ultimately powerlessness before the eyes of the truth. Such a violent reaction has only one aim: to silence the voice of the truth, which is disturbing and annoying the apparently peaceful nebulous ambiguity of these clerical critics.

The negative reactions to the public statement of the Four Cardinals resemble the general doctrinal confusion of the Arian crisis in the fourth century. It is helpful to all to quote in the situation of the doctrinal confusion in our days some affirmations of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, the “Athanasius of the West”.

“You [the bishops of Gaul] who still remain with me faithful in Christ did not give way when threatened with the onset of heresy, and now by meeting that onset you have broken all its violence. Yes, brethren, you have conquered, to the abundant joy of those who share your faith: and your unimpaired constancy gained the double glory of keeping a pure conscience and giving an authoritative example” (Hil. De Syn., 3).

“Your [the bishops of Gaul] invincible faith keeps the honourable distinction of conscious worth and, content with repudiating crafty, vague, or hesitating action, safely abides in Christ, preserving the profession of its liberty. For since we all suffered deep and grievous pain at the actions of the wicked against God, within our boundaries alone is communion in Christ to be found from the time that the Church began to be harried by disturbances such as the expatriation of bishops, the deposition of priests, the intimidation of the people, the threatening of the faith, and the determination of the meaning of Christ’s doctrine by human will and power. Your resolute faith does not pretend to be ignorant of these facts or profess that it can tolerate them, perceiving that by the act of hypocritical assent it would bring itself before the bar of conscience” (Hil. De Syn., 4).

“I have spoken what I myself believed, conscious that I owed it as my soldier’s service to the Church to send to you in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel by these letters the voice of the office which I hold in Christ. It is yours to discuss, to provide and to act, that the inviolable fidelity in which you stand you may still keep with conscientious hearts, and that you may continue to hold what you hold now” (Hil. De Syn., 92).

The following words of Saint Basil the Great, addressed to the Latin Bishops, can be in some aspects applied to the situation of those who in our days ask for doctrinal clarity, including our Four Cardinals: “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers. We are not being attacked for the sake of riches, or glory, or any temporal advantages. We stand in the arena to fight for our common heritage, for the treasure of the sound faith, derived from our Fathers. Grieve with us, all you who love the brethren, at the shutting of the mouths of our men of true religion, and at the opening of the bold and blasphemous lips of all that utter unrighteousness against God. The pillars and foundation of the truth are scattered abroad. We, whose insignificance has allowed of our being overlooked, are deprived of our right of free speech” (Ep. 243, 2.4).

Today those bishops and cardinals, who ask for clarity and who try to fulfill their duty in guarding sacredly and faithfully interpreting the transmitted Divine Revelation concerning the Sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist, are no longer exiled as it was with the Nicene bishops during the Arian crisis. Contrary to the time of the Arian crisis, today, as wrote Rudolf Graber, the bishop of Ratisbone, in 1973, exile of the bishops is replaced by hush-up strategies and by slander campaigns (cf. Athanasius und die Kirche unserer Zeit, Abensberg 1973, p. 23).

Another champion of the Catholic faith during the Arian crisis was Saint Gregory Nazianzen. He wrote the following striking characterization of the behavior of the majority of the shepherds of the Church in those times. This voice of the great Doctor of the Church should be a salutary warning for the bishops of all times: “Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influences of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance” (Orat. 21, 24).

When Pope Liberius in 357 signed one of the so called formulas of Sirmium, in which he deliberately discarded the dogmatically defined expression “homo-ousios” and excommunicated Saint Athanasius in order to have peace and harmony with the Arian and Semi-Arian bishops of the East, faithful Catholics and some few bishops, especially Saint Hilary of Poitiers, were deeply shocked. Saint Hilary transmitted the letter that Pope Liberius wrote to the Oriental bishops, announcing the acceptance of the formula of Sirmium and the excommunication of Saint Athanasius. In his deep pain and dismay, Saint Hilary added to the letter in a kind of desperation the phrase: “Anathema tibi a me dictum, praevaricator Liberi” (I say to you anathema, prevaricator Liberius), cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 141. Pope Liberius wanted to have peace and harmony at any price, even at the expense of the Divine truth. In his letter to the heterodox Latin bishops Ursace, Valence, and Germinius announcing to them the above-mentioned decisions, he wrote that he preferred peace and harmony to martyrdom (cf. cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 142).

“In what a dramatic contrast stood the behavior of Pope Liberius to the following conviction of Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “We don’t make peace at the expense of the truth by making concessions in order to acquire the reputation of tolerance. We make peace by fighting legitimately according to the rules of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger to ally surreptitiously with unbelief under the beautiful name of peace.” (Hil. Ad Const., 2, 6, 2).

Blessed John Henry Newman commented on these unusual sad facts with the following wise and equilibrated affirmation: “While it is historically true, it is in no sense doctrinally false, that a Pope, as a private doctor, and much more Bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as we find they did err in the fourth century. Pope Liberius might sign a Eusebian formula at Sirmium, and the mass of Bishops at Ariminum or elsewhere, and yet they might, in spite of this error, be infallible in their ex cathedra decisions” (The Arians of the Fourth Century, London, 1876, p. 465).

The Four Cardinals with their prophetic voice demanding doctrinal and pastoral clarity have a great merit before their own conscience, before history, and before the innumerable simple faithful Catholics of our days, who are driven to the ecclesiastical periphery, because of their fidelity to Christ’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. But above all, the Four Cardinals have a great merit in the eyes of Christ. Because of their courageous voice, their names will shine brightly at the Last Judgment. For they obeyed the voice of their conscience remembering the words of Saint Paul: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor 13: 8). Surely, at the Last Judgment the above-mentioned mostly clerical critics of the Four Cardinals will not have an easy answer for their violent attack on such a just, worthy, and meritorious act of these Four Members of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

The following words inspired by the Holy Spirit retain their prophetic value especially in view of the spreading doctrinal and practical confusion regarding the Sacrament of Marriage in our days: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4: 3-5).

May all, who in our days still take seriously their baptismal vows and their priestly and episcopal promises, receive the strength and the grace of God so that they may reiterate together with Saint Hilary the words: “May I always be in exile, if only the truth begins to be preached again!” (De Syn., 78). This strength and grace we wish wholeheartedly to our Four Cardinals and as well as to those who criticize them.


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.

 

 


The Error of Preaching Mercy without Repentance

December 15, 2015

With all the fanfare over the start of Pope Francis’ declared, “Year of Mercy,” BCI is getting increasingly frustrated by all of the articles and homilies reported to us that, frankly, convey  an incomplete or flawed picture of what the Catholic Church actually teaches about mercy. We wish more priests would either skip over mentioning what Pope Francis has said on this topic that is flawed, or find a way of clearly setting the record straight. Instead, we see faithful Catholics being led by priests they think are solid and credible to believe something that is not correct. It’s happening everywhere–in parishes, the Boston Pilot, and mass media.

First, what the Catholic Church teaches on something and has taught for 2000+ years is more often than not these days NOT the same as what Pope Francis is saying publicly or writing in his various documents.  Hopefully, everyone realizes that by now.  And if Jesus Christ, the Bible and the magisterium of the Catholic Church during 266 papacies have all said one thing about particular Church teachings, and Pope Francis says something radically different, a reasonable person should ask, “Which Pope is wrong?  Francis, or all of the others?”

So it is that we get to the topic of mercy. We draw inspiration for this post from both Msgr. Pope’s excellent Reflection on the Modern Error of Preaching Mercy Without Repentance as well as a review by Boston’s Fr. Daniel Moloney’s review of Cardinal Kasper’s dreadful book, “What Mercy Is” (a book Pope Francis said publicly had a big influence on him).  Readers should read the entirety of both pieces, but here are a few excerpts from Msgr Pope’s piece:

“God’s offer of mercy and healing love stand, and are offered to everyone. But these magnificent gifts must be accessed through repentance. That is to say, we must come to understand the seriousness of our condition, turn to God, call upon his mercy, and begin to receive the glorious medicine he offers: the medicine of his Word, of the Sacraments, of prayer, and walking in fellowship with the Church, which he established as his ongoing presence and voice in the world (cf Acts 2:42).

But of course it is not enough for us simply to hear of this new way of thinking, we must actually come to it, decide for it. Repentance is to actually embrace this new mind, and this unlocks all the blessings the healings, the mercy, and the salvation that is promised. We must allow the grace of God, interacting with our freedom to effect an actual change, a decision in our life that changes the way we think, the way we act, and puts us into a saving relationship with the Divine Physician Jesus.

Like the patient above, we must be brought to understand the seriousness of our condition, come to know that there is saving help available, and then by positive decision, rooted in grace, actually reach out to lay hold of that help.

Repentance is the door, is the key that unlocks mercy.

Yet too often today mercy is preached without reference to repentance. Too many who preach and too many who hear have come to see mercy as granted without any human engagement. One simply has it automatically, no matter what.

Yet that is not what Scripture teaches. Most notably, Simon Peter on Day One of Pentecot and the going for of the gospel preached a sermon laying out who Jesus is, and how we, in our sin and rebellion killed the very author of life. The text from Acts says,

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38)

Thus, when asked what they are to do, Peter does not say, “Don’t worry, all is well,God is mercy. He says, “Repent and baptized.” In other words, come to a new mind, come to your senses, reject your sins, be washed clean and come to Jesus. And this will unlock the supreme blessing of the Holy Spirit of God, who is the mercy of God, the love of God the very life and grace of God!

And how is this accessed? Repentance.

Isaiah had said, The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD (Is 59:20).

And to the Disciples in Emmaus Jesus said, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)

And thus preachers and teachers in the Church, who are Christ’s witnesses, must proclaim repentance that unlocks the forgiveness and mercy of God.

St. Paul warns, In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).

Thus those who preach and teach mercy without repentance are deceivers and likely themselves deceived. And those who think of mercy without reference to repentance are deceived.

Faith and repentance are the supernaturally transformed and assisted human element that is necessary to unlock mercy and the graces of God. To ignore or deny this amounts to a denial of human freedom and does not help God’s people. Rather it hinders them, for mercy is accessed through repentance, and without it, the door cannot open. Repentance must be preached to all the nations because repentance, by God’s grace opens the door

 

Here is a passage from Fr. Moloney’s piece

Thomas Aquinas famously warned that a small mistake at the beginning of an argument leads to a large one at the end. For Kasper, most of the time, his weaknesses as a systematic theologian cancel each other out. He frequently uses the terms love and goodness and mercyinterchangeably, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the first two terms but not the third can be proper divine attributes. The upside is that readers can go along with all the nice things he says about God’s love, as Pope Francis apparently did, and not be sticklers for the details.

If Kasper’s understanding of mercy is wrong, what’s the right way to understand it? Mercy’s political origins are important to remember, because it’s very easy for a flawed application of mercy to lead to grave injustices in real life. The crime waves of the 1970s and early 1980s across England and the United States came in part from the introduction of a false concept of mercy into criminal punishment. Prominent experts at the time suggested that crime was really a form of mental illness that demanded therapy rather than incarceration. Judges developed or were given a variety of sentencing options, including expanded parole and out-of-prison furloughs, aimed at reintegrating criminals into society so that they would feel more connected. Prisons were reoriented around the idea of rehabilitating criminals rather than punishing them. Therapy, leniency, reintegration, and rehabilitation were implemented in one jurisdiction after another—and crime went through the roof. Soon voters were demanding stricter laws.

Around the same time, the Catholic bishops tried to replace canonical punishments with therapy, leniency, reintegration, and rehabilitation. In the 1970s, priests who were reported to be abusers of children were ­quietly sent for psychiatric treatment to be treated, rehabilitated, and reintegrated into parish ministry, rather than punished according to canon law. This was, among other things, an attempt to show mercy to the priest—by protecting his reputation and allowing him a second chance. In many places, including my own Archdiocese of Boston, psychiatrists pronounced the priests cured and fit for ministry even after several “relapses,” and the bishops did not second-guess the psychiatrists. Neither did they apply canonical penalties. Today, the bishops do not permit themselves even the possibility of granting mercy to a priest who has been accused of such a sin or committed it only once.

Is my bishop, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, merciless for enforcing the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, with its famous “zero tolerance” for abusers? I’m quite sure that Pope Francis doesn’t think so, since he just appointed him to head the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. ­Probably most of America would think likewise. But why? Why does the ­Boston Globe’s readership think that it’s a scandal for the Church to show “mercy” to priests wh­o ­committed one serious sin of abuse forty years ago but that it’s a sign of the wonderfulness of Pope Francis that he’s reportedly considering showing “mercy” to a man who dumped his wife and kids for a younger woman, also forty years ago? A consistent principle of mercy is lacking, and Walter Kasper has not helped us find one.

This brings us to our gripe.  BCI has heard complaints that a number of priests in Boston preached on “mercy” this week and specifically quoted Pope Francis’ recent comments on the topic, published in The Pilot and around the globe in secular media:

“How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy,” he said.  “We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love.”

What’s missing here is that mercy requires moving away from evil, and there is no mercy without there first being truth.  To leave out the need for repentance is the equivalent of spiritual malpractice. It’s simply not correct and is not at all what the Catholic Church teaches. As discussed recently in First Things, “St. John Paul II: No Mercy Without Truth

Mercy is not moral peek-a-boo. Mercy requires moving away from evil: “Where [mercy] enters in, evil effectively gives way. Where evil does not give way, mercy is not there—but we also add, where there is no mercy, evil does not yield. Mercy does not accept sin nor looks upon it as if peeking between one’s fingers, but only and exclusively helps in conversion from sin….  Divine mercy goes strictly in tandem with justice”

We take issue with one piece in the Pilot which, though it mentioned the need for repentance, also encouraged readers to read Pope Francis’ “The Face of Mercy,”(called in the article, a “great resource” (even though it neglects repentance and drew inspiration from Cardinal Kasper’s drivel). And the author merely regurgitated Pope Francis’ line about why we needed a year of mercy, when the handwriting is clearly on the wall about why Pope Francis is on this bandwagon and the false teachings behind it.  A far better piece in the Pilot is What is Mercy — And What are Some False Conceptions of it , where author, Matt Hadro quotes Dr. William Mattison, a moral theology prof at the Catholic University of America saying:

“If my kid is obstinately avoiding treating his mother respectfully, there’s a time for mercy, but there’s also a time to recognize that things are what they are and they need to be punished. The goal of punishment is not an end in itself. The goal of punishment is to correct the will of the sinner to be restored into right relationship.”

If a priest you know preached on what Pope Francis said without giving the full truth, or a friend or family member is talking about mercy without repentence or judgment, we suggest you send this blog post to them.


Perspectives on the Synod on the Family

October 31, 2015

BCI was on a plane a few days ago when someone seated nearby brought up the Catholic Church. By and by, the discussion turned to what we thought about what is going on in the Catholic Church today with the “Synod on the Family.”   The short answer is that BCI is very concerned about the future of the Catholic Church right now and we believe all should be concerned and be praying for the Church.  So much excellent commentary is out there on this issue that BCI will highlight a few we think are worth reading or listening to by all:

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s final report ‘misleading,’ lacks ‘clarity’ on indissolubility of marriage (Lifesite News): 

He focuses on paragraphs 84-86 on divorce and remarriage, saying this section is of “immediate concern because of its lack of clarity in a fundamental matter of the faith: the indissolubility of the marriage bond which both reason and faith teach all men.” He also says the way the quotation from Familaris Consortio is used is “misleading.”  Read more


The Synod explained via new media (Rorate Caeli)
“The Synod of Sin has concluded. For some perspective to understand the traditional position — from a non-traditional medium — we bring you two helpful tools. First up, a sermon from a traditional mission priest, looking at the present-day Church through the lens of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Click here to listen to this eye-opening sermon.

Second, see below for a video from The Remnant, featuring Dr. John Rao. Give it a few minutes, then buckle up:

“The failed Synod: everyone defeated; and Catholic morality in particular” (by Roberto  de Mattei, at Rorate Caeli)

The day after the XIV Synod on the Family, everyone seems to have won. Pope Francis has won, since he was able to find a compromising text among the opposing positions; the progressives have won since the approved text admits the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist; the conservatives have won, since the document doesn’t contain an explicit reference to Communion for the divorced [and remarried] and rejects “homosexual marriage” and the gender theory.

The morality of inculturation, that of “case by case”, relativizes and dissolves the moral law, which by definition is absolute and universal. There are no good intentions, nor extenuating circumstances which can transform a good act into a bad one or vice versa. Catholic morality does not admit exceptions: it is absolute and universal or it isn’t a moral law. The newspapers then are not wrong when they presented the final Relatio with this title: “The absolute prohibition for Communion to the divorced and remarried falls”.

In the end we find ourselves faced with an ambiguous and contradictory document, which permits everyone to shout victory; even if nobody has won anything. All have been defeated, starting with Catholic morality which emerges profoundly humiliated by the Synod on the Family concluded on October 24th.

Yes, some commentators say that the language in the final document does not expressly contradict Catholic Church moral teachings. However, the door has been cracked ajar with a tremendous amount of wiggle room. As Roberto de Mattei wrote, “The Relatio, doesn’t affirm the right for the divorced and remarried to receive Communion (and thus the right to adultery), but it denies the Church, de facto, the right to publically define as adulterous, the condition of the divorced and remarried, leaving the responsibility for evaluation [of this] to the conscience of the pastors and the divorced and remarried themselves.”

The absurdity of this notion is made impeccably clear by Cardinal Arinze, who said, people in objectively sinful situations can’t receive Holy Communion “in good conscience….There is such a thing as objective evil and objective good. Christ said he who [divorces his wife] and marries another, Christ has one word for that action, ‘adultery.’ That’s not my word. It is Christ’s word himself, who is humble and meek in heart, who is eternal truth. So, he knows what he’s saying.”

That such matters are now up for grabs is cause for grave concern. BCI believes all should be fasting and praying for Holy Mother Church.


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