Tag Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

Orthodox Easter: Guns and Emmaus (scaring myself)

IMG_20170417_055953

Easter evening (for both East and West this year) was spent with some parishioners and a young Greek Orthodox couple. The Orthodox fellow (from Wisconsin but now in Georgia) is to be deployed any day now for a tour on the mountainous Iraqi-Syrian border. The father-in-law parishioner just retired out of law enforcement. They set up a half-dozen green post-it note targets some 23 meters out (the Mountain U.S. Army guy already speaking U.N.-speak).

We were practicing standing, using two hands, either hand singly, and then prone, with different pistols and an AR-15.

I did real well with the AR-15. That’s a totally new experience for me, moving from target to target quickly, with double hits on all but one with a single hit. They wanted me to then pepper the larger target as fast as I could go and I got most of them right on but that needs a bit of practice. No, I don’t own an AR-15!

I didn’t do so well with the single-handed pistol shooting. It’s good to get caught out in this way, so that you realize what you need to practice. The LEO also arranged a mag with a mix of spent cartridges so that I could see hidden problems, such as trying too hard. This works well. And I was trying too hard, as the gun popped an inch or so without a live bullet. It also forces you to work quickly to clear jams. The Army guy had a lot of good advice for the both of us. No matter how many years you’ve got in, more advice is always welcome.

Uh-oh: I scared myself a bit when I shot my own Glock 19 from a prone position. I’ve never tried to shoot laying down before. Aiming at a green post-it note with one AR-15 round through it from the Army guy, I quickly put four more rounds in a row through that one hit with my little pistol, so pretty much 10-X with all of them. I am reminded of this scene of the beginnings of recovery from amnesia:

But, no. I don’t think I’ve been suffering from amnesia. I mean, after all, I’m not great at one-handed whatever-hand shooting, good, but not great without practice (which I never really do in that way). So, therefore, no amnesia. I mean, I did do the 10-X multiple times in a row with one hand, if I remember, with a .45, last Autumn. But that had a smooth trigger pull, not like a Glock. No, no. No amnesia. Unless it’s like a mental block… ;¬)

Anyway: that was all after the breaking of bread together at the evening meal on a glorious Easter Sunday. The discussion at table was intensely religious as you might imagine with an American Greek-Orthodox soldier who has a Masters Degree in theological studies under his belt.

We spoke of the cultural differences (complementary) between East and West, the whole breathing with two lungs thing, the excommunications and the wiping out of the excommunications (leaving us with communion), the divine liturgy and the singing and being brought up into the Sacred Mysteries, Jesus fulfilling the prophesies in the Old Testament by being the acceptable sacrifice, His standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, our obligation in love to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the possibility of another major Ecumenical Council between East and West, and which theologians might be useful to this end…

You didn’t expect that, did you? If not, why not? You might offer a comment in the comments box… Pretend you’re sitting around the fire we had outside as night fell, all reminiscing. There was also some discussion of how it is that John the Baptist gave advice to soldiers about how to be the best of soldiers, and about the morality of self-defense on one’s own behalf or that of others: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice as opposed to the idiotic PTSD inducing lesser of two evils theory that would mean that no matter what you do you are always doing something evil (No!).

Is there a disconnect here? You know, between it being Easter Sunday evening and, you know, guns? No. And you have to know that the Army guy tested me on that, joking a little by wishing me a Happy Easter with all the target practice. Those who are on the front lines either here at home or overseas in some of the worst of the worst most violent hot-spots in the world have to know that we are in solidarity with our soldiers even as they are in solidarity with us. That’s an orthodox truth that the Orthodox appreciate.

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Filed under Ecumenism, Guns, Humor, Military, Missionaries of Mercy

Fr Byers still under Pontifical interdict insisting FAITHBYTHESWORD is good

INTERDICT

I have begged through the years to be have relief from this interdict, at least from the sharpness of its cynicism and sarcasm, from the way it throws Mud-Bowls [a hint for interpretation], for it was known from the beginning that there is no possibility of circumstances under which I could possibly submit to ecclesial authority in this matter, that is, to wit, even though I no longer reside in said territory, for I continue to this day to be forbidden to even pass through, or say “Hey!” There is no mercy for this Missionary of Mercy, it being having mercy on those banished to the peripheries at said institution which has brought about my own being cast into the same existential, anguished darkness. The holy angels, I reckon, were never happy with such a result prepared by the highest tribunals in the Holy See (note the exaggerated ecclesiastical Latin of penal decrees ossified by centuries of rote application to like offenders against expected loyalties). I predict that said institution, which started to go down the tubes upon the imposition of the burden thrust upon me, will, should they remain intransigent, no longer be viable within three to four years of this writing. Mark my words.

mudbowl faith by the sword elijah

Although the given reason for the interdict seems serious enough, I’m guessing that the T-Shirt art produced in my honor for the event in question is thought to be politically incorrect in any number of ways. I respond that this over-reaction is symptomatic of our day. Instead of that reductionism, I firmly confess that the faith is spread by the sword as it was when Jesus’ Heart was pierced through (truly this was the Son of God), when Mary’s heart was pierced by sorrow (when our thoughts are laid bare), and this ever since the ferocious cherubim back in Genesis 3:24 brandished their fiery sword (for our conversion), since Elijah used his sword (for the edification of believers and the pedagogical punishment of non-believers), since Saint Michael used his (to show forth God’s glory), since our Lord told Peter not to use the sword in that most dire of circumstances (so that He Himself could have a sword plunged into His Heart).

I recommend that all seminarians get to know faith by the sword.

BTW: The interdict was actually written by the highest tribunals in Rome. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity… Perhaps, as a punishment for my continued contentiousness, I will be sent back to this office in the Pontifical Family (after all, notice the donkey in the painting besides the one sitting at the desk):

Pontifical Family humor

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Filed under Humor, Missionaries of Mercy, Vocations

MRSA Hepatitis Plague: it’s what we do.

[[ I would put a picture of one elderly person I anointed last night, but its all too horrific. ]]

Yesterday Sassy the Subaru had hundreds of more miles put on her going to far flung places for Communion calls and anointing. People I go to see in the mountains of WNC are often on their way out or are terribly sick. I am reminded of carrying around a plague victim in Calcutta (yes, plague).

Jesus watches all of this. A front row seat. He came with me in the Blessed Sacrament. He watched as I laid hands on the head of an elderly lady with a huge MRSA boil on her head (getting close to her eye), and then anointed her. Not the first time I did this for her. I’m thinking that Jesus is just fine with all that. This kind of thing makes you respect doctors and nurses who are continuously surrounded by injurious and deadly things.

I have to ask myself if I was the patient if I wouldn’t want a priest to provide sacraments and blessings? Yes, I would. I remember as a seminarian that one of my summers was to be spent in India volunteering for Mother Teresa’s home for the dying. The Rector told me to reconsider going because I might get sick. I told him someone has to do it, whether I meant volunteer or get sick or both I don’t remember. Pretty sure it was both as his comment made me pretty upset. I did call to mind even then that Jesus came among us to die, and on purpose, so, why not do this? I did pick up some awful things in India, and the Rector said upon my return: “I told you so.” At which point I said that I was O.K. with that and wouldn’t change a thing.

Anyway, I had no place to wash my hands last night after finishing with the MRSA patient and had to drive many hours before arriving home, at which point I used a bleach wipe thingy on my hands, but had meanwhile touched about every part of my face in those hours as people do. O well. I’ll have to bring the bleach wipes with me in the car for these frequent enough occasions. If it’s too late it’s too late. MRSA, a bacterial infection, does respond perhaps, maybe, to some very few antibiotics. I guess Hepatitis is, instead, a virus, though it sometimes just goes away on its own. So, whatever. You have to die of something, right? I would be happy to die from such things. It’s not like getting one’s head chopped off like Thomas More or those who are victims of ISIS, but, hey, I’m O.K. with it.

I’m such a martyr, such a drama-queen, right? But here’s the point: actually, I just don’t care about consequences. I’m so happy with doing what I do in carrying Jesus around these backsides of these back-mountains that I don’t care about what may come. I think it’s the most wonderful thing in the world not to care if only one can do what one needs to do in whatever situation until one can no longer do it. There is a certain freedom in this, a “NO FEAR” thing. I wish everyone was this way. Sure, our military and law enforcement and firemen and rescue squads all have “NO FEAR” and just do what they are going to do regardless of the consequences, if only they get a chance to serve. But there are other more numerous unsung heroes and, usually, heroines, not only home-health care nurses, but those relatives at home who care for those with all sorts of problems. I think we will be surprised at the gates of heaven about those who said they had “NO FEAR” but were frozen in fear, and those who said they were fearful or who said they had “NO FEAR” but in any case did what they had to do.

My putting myself among the “we” in the title to this post is, I guess, a bit fraudulent, as I visit here and there, even while others live in these situations day-in, day-out. But it is still a we, in my case, Jesus and myself. And actually, people couldn’t care less about me. They just want Jesus. As it should be. So, just Jesus. Jesus alone. Amen.

P.S. I mean, all I can take credit for is putting wounds on Jesus. Anything good is Him.

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

On being a good son of the Church

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

Jesus not playing politics. Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.

Recently I published a post entitled Father Byers’ run for political office? In that post I tried to make a good argument for dabbling in politics as a priest, befuddling both left and right. Just smacking people down to make ourselves look better than “them” does not draw those in the peripheries to take note of the pastoral wisdom of the Church.

Did not Jesus redeem us all? Does He not want that we also be saved? Were we not all in the peripheries of left and right until we assented to allow ourselves to be drawn by Him to the Cross when He was lifted up to that great height? Can we do that if we pretend that we’ve never ever been on the peripheries, that He never had to forgive us, that we were always correct even as we crucified Him?

What does a good son of the Church say? He says “Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 

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Accompaniment: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself”

A priest-friend sent this in from a twitter account. So, we have an analogy: This is the image of the fall of a venial sin in which we are nevertheless still assenting to being dragged to heaven by our Lord (via Calvary and the Cross). A mortal sin would be to jump off altogether in contempt.

Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks of repentance from a mortal sin, whether one can, as it were, jump back on where one left off in the spiritual life. He answers that, yes, this is possible, depending on one’s contrition, one’s purpose of amendment, the grace of God’s charity to which one assents in order that this contrition is brought to fruition with the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. It does, in grace, also depend on our generosity in following the grace being given. What would prohibit this assent would be presumption, lack of contrition, lack of firm purpose of amendment. But, all things being equal, as it were, yes, one can come back into God’s good friendship, whether a bit diminished, whether pretty much the same, whether far advanced. But NO presumption, with contrition and purpose of amendment being necessary.

Tangled webs can be woven. But tangled webs can be broken. Sometimes things are difficult.

Confession brings things back in good order. Sometimes we need the help of others, of the Church, of Jesus. Find a good confessor.

 

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

On Immigration: bait and you’ll receive

saint-jose-luis-sanchez-del-rioSaint José Luis Sánchez del Río, soldier and martyr, because “all those Mexicans are the same!” Oh, I forgot, I was supposed to pick on someone who wasn’t yet canonized, you know, someone undocumented and who, say, committed a non-violent crime years ago but was still in the system at the invitation of the system, so that we could kick all Mexicans in the face with impunity.

As it is, there were some spectacular and well reasoned comments on ICE deports undocumented working tax-payer contributing mother / wife to spread fear among undocumented, which I very much appreciate. Thank you.

But then another comment came in that was ranting away, with the author apparently having skipped reading those comments, very much upset. Here’s part of a very long comment. Pardon my emphases and [sometimes sarcastic comments]. And if I’m a bit rough here, please know that this person is a friend who I think can take this reprimand.

I have no sympathy here. There are plenty of people who desperately want to come here but wait to do so legally. [This is continuously more difficult, next to impossible as the years, months and days go by, with contradictory, complex laws, layers and layers of labyrinthine mazes. As one commenter put it, this is somewhat our fault. We should streamline the process without foregoing safety. The thing is, we bait people to be illegal by baiting them to skip the line but also nevertheless to be in the system, checking in with ICE, paying taxes, etc.] I also have issue with the number of mexicans who are setting up their lives here with no intention to assimilate. [So, you know all of them? Can you name them? Even one? Did they tell you they have no intention?] It makes me crazy [!] when I enter into commerce [When you’re at the cash register? Who says to the cashier: “May I enter into commerce with you?” While that’s English, no one speaks that way. It smacks of a foreign speaker. What are doing in this country? You foreigners are all the same. You should be deported! ;-) ] at a place where the staff is speaking another language while waiting on customers who speak English. [Did you try to speak English or were you just offended? Did you greet the cashier in English or just fume about it?] I complained at a big box store because the cashier spoke in another language to an employee [Esperanto? Latin? Swahili? French? German? Russian!?] who was standing around [as security because of the presence of crazy people? as a cashier manager? as someone giving lessons in laziness?] and also to a customer [who spoke the same language? That’s polite, isn’t it?]who was dressed in a similar manner [So, you’re a writer for Saturday Night Live? What does that even mean? What are you really angry with? Do “they” have better taste than you? Are they more stylish? More “with it”, “up to date”, “mod”, “hip”? You’re envious?]. She uttered not a word to me the entire transaction and was solely focused on her two compatriots. [I often go through a checkout on the phone, which is really annoying, I know, but sometimes things can’t wait. An accident has occurred and a priest is needed, etc. I might speak in whatever language. At any rate, maybe they didn’t say anything to you because you didn’t say anything to them because you were too taken at looking at them all aghast at your own lack of style. Did you look angry? Impatient? Were they talking about trying to arrange a welcoming party for, say, local Russians to the neighborhood? Maybe they were talking about signing up for classes to perfect their English? Our Spanish speakers here put on a number of events for the local law enforcement. They arranged that in their native tongue.]

That’s not how the typical transaction goes in this country. [Try smiling.] She was also moving very slowly [like all those damn Mexicans, right?] at a busy time of year [like, what, Christmas? Kwanzaa? New Year’s? The Feast Day of the great third century Bishop and Martyr Saint Valentine? The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes?] which was problematic because the long line wasn’t diminishing.” [Because they were having a good time speaking to each other and being human instead of fuming and crawling out of their skin? You’re just angry because you had to stand in line, right? Because no one else had a right to stand in line, right? Or are you really just racist? Or just a bad day? Lighten up. Jesus loves you too.]

Did I purposely write about Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos to guage reaction? Yes.

Don’t forget the purpose of this blog, noted by the title and blurb in the header:

  • “Arise! Let us be going!” which refers to Jesus’ command to the sleepy Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane at the moment of the betrayal by Judas: “See, my betrayer is at hand.” That kind of sets the tone of intensity. But if anyone was mistaken about this, thinking that to just be pious piffle, the rest of it says:
  • Evangelizing the darkest of mankind’s existential peripheries that together we humbly thank the Lord. If you have good eyes, you can see a modern Hebrew script version of the motto of המוסד which is balanced by the death of our Lord and the Holy Spirit hovering over a scene of terrible violence between two societies.
  • There are some further words about goodness and kindness for the greater glory of God, something to do with the Jesuits, of which Pope Francis is one. I’m Catholic. And I’m a priest. I wan’t people to come to know Jesus, not just be comfortable in their mistaken ideas of who they think Jesus is.

Look. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and our own personal rubbish. Smashing people down because they talk differently from you or just because they dress differently from you [more stylish!] won’t gain you many points at the final judgment. We’re hoping that people get to heaven, right? Eternity is a long time. Do you think they will want YOU there, ragging on them all the time, fuming about them? What if Jesus says “Shalom!” to someone else there, or to you? Will you throw a tantrum then?

And if you want to know my generalized impression of illegal immigrants, I’ll tell you, even though these are generalizations and therefore “racist”: I find that as a whole, these are the hardest working, most polite, piously Catholic, family oriented, peace loving, community minded, always but always helpful people I have known in my life. And I’ve been on so many continents and so many countries in so many cultures. And I also have an anecdote. Be warned of provocative language:

There was a young woman here who broke up with her white trash American boyfriend, who was always drugged up and always beating on her, leaving her a smashed up wreck continuously. Her father heard that she had started dating a Mexican and was planning on getting  married to him. The father immediately was enraged and hunted down the Mexican so as to beat the living tar out of him. Of course, he instead got the living tar beat out of him, because he just kept up the attack, but he kept getting pummeled, rightly, in self-defense, until an ambulance had to come. The EMT guy reprimanded the father to say that his daughter had lived a living hell with her white trash boyfriend, but was treated like a queen by the Mexican guy, who, in fact, was born in these USA and is an American citizen in good standing. We just need to slow down a bit. Changing circumstances can show us a bit about ourselves, and that’s a good thing. It’s then an occasion to be closer to the Jesus, the Way, Truth and Life. And that’s a good thing. We’re not against each other! We’re against the devil who wishes to work havoc among us.

  • Lord Jesus, have mercy on us.
  • Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río, soldier and martyr, pray for us.

Anyway, I want a sombrero like our Cristero saint above. I’m envious. But no frills:

benedict-xvi-sombrero

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Filed under Immigration, Missionaries of Mercy, Politics, Racism

The hypocrisy of the still pro-SNAP priests and bishops from here to Rome

themediareport

You can read those stories at Dave F. Pierre’s site: TheMediaReport.com. But, if you really want to get an insider’s view, that is, from one of the victims of their mentality, see Father Gordon J. MacRae’s article on this. He is still in prison decades later. See:

David Clohessy [and Barbara Blaine] resigns SNAP in Alleged Kickback Scheme

snap

I’ve been reporting on this for years, making enemies for myself throughout the Church including in the Holy See, garnering lots of vengeance for myself from those who support SNAP among priests and the episcopacy. I was pretty much alone as a priest in good standing (=vulnerable) reporting on this. Fr Z has mentioned it a couple of times. I hope he does again. A couple other priests have done a bit. They get smacked down and you never hear from them again. Nothing other than that. Period. Pretty much zilch. In the entire Church universal…

One of the most important articles in all these years is Father MacRae’s published today. See that link above.

I am aghast. If any bishop is so self-referentially stuck on himself that he still supports SNAP even after this, making himself a hero because he’s “tough on abuse”, but perhaps also taking kickbacks from their risk retention groups, really, I mean, my goodness… and then I can’t write more because what I would write would be bitterness. I am weak. But this most damnable hypocrisy of so very many of the (Cardinal) (Arch-)bishops needs to stop. It needs to stop now. They must close down The National Catholic Risk Retention Group. They must rescind their support for SNAP. They must do it publicly. They must do it forcefully.

I’d like to write up a RICO challenge to the Bishops. What they do against their priests, making themselves heroes at the price of the loss of innocent priests who are not allowed due process is the kind of thing that is referenced many times in RICO law. Sorry, but I’d like to see all their sorry faces in prison. But that’s nothing.

Jesus, the High Priest, doesn’t take kindly to His own priests being mistreated by bishops. He remembers what it was like when His own apostle betrayed Him, Judas. The Immaculate Conception’s Divine Son, Jesus, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. They won’t be heroes then. Amen.

As you can tell, although I wish David and Barbara would convert, I don’t much care about them compared to the souls of the priests and bishops who don’t want David and Barbara to convert. It’s them I want especially to convert. We need their help in praying for the souls of David and Barbara.

So many priests committed suicide. It’s the innocent ones who did. They just couldn’t believe the betrayal, the hypocrisy. They weren’t prepared for it…

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Filed under Abuse, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Hey, Madeleine Albright. You are not a Muslim. You are a Catholic. Get with it.

madeleine-albright

Dearest Madeleine,

I too was raised Catholic. I too only later found out my family was Jewish. I am still a Catholic priest who happens also to be Jewish. That’s not a contradiction. That you became Episcopalian by choice says a lot. When non-Catholic Christians make fun of themselves they say to each other: “Oh, you must be Episcopalian,” the idea being that anything goes with Episcopalians. Now, with your head still spinning, you say that you stand ready to register as Muslim in solidarity. What does that even mean? Are you ready to wear a rug? Are you ready to be raped and then honor-killed by the “pious men” who watched you being raped but did nothing except accuse you of not wearing a big enough rug? Are you ready to cut down Christians and Jews wherever they are? Are you? If it’s all hyperbole about your conversion to Islam, you know, so that you don’t really mean it, so that really you are mocking Islam about your conversion, well, I don’t think they will appreciate that. Sometimes political skills are not appreciated by those for whose benefit they are used. Be careful what you wish for. For their part, they might want Trump to make a scene so that they have an excuse for “extremism.” When you are ready to make your Catholic sacramental Confession, hunt me down; I’ll give you a light penance. Jesus loves you even during the time that you have reject Him. He wants you back to the fullness of truth and the fulfillment of the Jewish-Catholic faith. Don’t forget, salvation is of the Jews, and is now universal, that is, Catholic.

Father George David Byers (your Jewish-Catholic Priest)

P.S. Do you also say, “Je suis Charlie Hebdo”?

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Filed under Ecumenism, Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy

Most Holy Father: Thank you!

pope-francis

In a communiqué from the Holy See delivered to the parish today I discover the good news that Pope Francis has personally granted a personal request to this Missionary of Mercy. I am grateful. Thanks, Holy Father! These exchanges are now adding up. For my part, I have never promised anything to the Bishop of Rome. For his part, he has never asked anything of me whatsoever. As it should be. Perhaps he realizes fully that I am a mere donkey of a priest and takes pity on me. I’m happy with that.

GEORGE DAVID BYERS - COAT OF ARMS - revisionIn fact, I think it is now high time that I finally come up with some words to add below the coat of arms which the talented elizdelphi so artistically rendered for me. I once again open this up to suggestions and, while I do, I apologize for breaking the rules of heraldry. It’s all part and parcel of someone who has crucified the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception with my sin, but nevertheless someone upon whom the Lord has deigned to show his mercy. The words should be short and incisive. Go ahead and suggest in English. I’ll translate them into whatever language best suits that message, whether Greek, Hebrew or Latin.

 

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Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Amoris laetitia and suspensions and excommunications… No, no, no…

PROMETHEUS

A bishop cannot legitimately legislate anything against the universal law of the Church, particularly that law which is based on Divine Law. A bishop cannot legitimately posit administrative acts imposing penal sanctions on a priest based on illegitimate law. For instance, Amoris laetitia cannot legitimately be used as a foundation upon which legislation and penal sanctions are based for the reason that statements in Amoris laetitia are merely posited as a continuation of dialogue. That’s what the Supreme Legislator said in Amoris laetitia 3-4. That’s the mind of the legislator. Any illegitimate legislation or illegitimate penal sanctions, whether inescapably implied by Malta’s document (paragraph 10) published in l’Osservatore Romano, or (apparently) explicitly accomplished in Colombia, or anywhere else in the world, are, in fact illegitimate and have no bearing in truth on anyone’s status.

Thus, on the one hand, if a priest would like to continue accompaniment of a certain divorced and civilly “remarried” couple by not providing sacraments which he judges that couple are not able to fruitfully receive, he has done nothing wrong, as such a judgement is his to make, but if bishops put pressure on him nevertheless to provide those sacraments, somehow inserting themselves impossibly into the internal forum, they have done a grave disservice to the couple, to the priest and to the Church, and it is such bishops who should be disciplined and, in my opinion, very severely, as what they are doing, inter alia, is in direct contradiction to the directives of pastoral care by priests given by Pope Francis himself; such bishops are openly and obstinately insulting the Supreme Pontiff.

If, on the other hand, this is all according to the mind and non-public directives of Pope Francis, and this is actually a persecution of faithful priests in the Church, then I, as a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis, ask that I also be held to be excommunicate along with any other sanctions he can think of, so that I might be in solidarity with those who may at one time or another be unjustly trampled into the ground. Fine with me. None of that is legitimate even on the part of the Holy Father, for such legislation and imposition of penal sanctions, however much real pain they may bring in this world, have no legitimate entry into the judgment of a soul of a priest who goes before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception with the “crime” on his soul of being a faithful son of the Church. I couldn’t care less about doing the will of Pope Francis or any bishop on this earth if it contradicts the will of God himself. It is not they, but rather Christ Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will – do not be mistaken – come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Now, having said that, we don’t know anything whatsoever about what Pope Francis thinks about illegitimate legislation and illegitimate penal sanctions, do we? No, we don’t. I’m guessing that we will see something about all that in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, I restate my filial obedience to the Holy Father, as I must assume until otherwise indicated that he has not legislated or imposed penal sanctions for illegitimate reasons, or, for that matter, that he has even provided benign neglect to the persecution of the priests of our One High Priest, Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

P.S. I’m guessing that as the real persecution ensues among renegade rebels, wrought by those who posit that which is ultra vires, beyond their powers to do so, that there will be no suspensions or excommunications, but rather simply removal from any assignment and then, eventually, seeing that the faithful priest is useless to the Church precisely and only for the reason that he is faithful, he will be dismissed from the clerical state, laicized, he being a mere liability and a waste of space in this world, kind of like, you know, Jesus. Meanwhile, he will be discredited as having committed all sorts of crimes, such as not being pastoral, being divisory, not being easy to work with, not having a team spirit, etc.

Great! The beatitudes come into play. We will have plenty of priests rejoicing and being glad that their reward is great in heaven. And that’s very cool indeed. Wonderful. I can’t wait for my turn. May it please Mary’s Divine Son that I may be counted worthy to suffer for his sake and the sake of those he is saving unto eternal life. Amen.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood

+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia expects sinful obedience. But priests are free to “disobey.” How? Don’t be a dog.

laudie-dog

Laudie-dog, listening intently, eager to follow orders

Obedience is not a descriptor for a reaction to a cold authoritarian command that negates one’s very existence as a person with free will, but rather, instead, obedience, from the Latin OB-AUDIRE (referring to intense listening) is all about an eager following of commands given in love and received in love. Our Heavenly Father speaks himself in one divine Word, who is already, then, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, who is always listening intently to the Father with love. Our Heavenly Father speaks Jesus into us, as it were, with that Word reverberating within our hearts and souls, now a symphony. Obedience isn’t a bad thing!

If a command is given that negates the very existence of a person as someone with free will who is meant to follow our Lord, so that one is expected to reject conscience and reject our Lord, that is not a command given in love and it doesn’t need to be followed. As Aquinas says, law is not law if it contradicts God’s law. “Disobedience” in such a case is actually true obedience.

Any priest in Malta who obeys the sinful direct command of the bishops of Malta to provide the Most Blessed Sacrament to notorious sinners flaunting their sin but protesting that they are at peace with God commits a number of grave sins that put them in eternal peril of losing eternal life.

Saying that they are coerced into doing so is no excuse. Will they be removed from ministry? Most likely. Will their names be blackened, their personnel files filled with notes about being divisory, unfit for ministry, etc.? Most likely. Will they eventually be dismissed from the clerical state as useless? Yes, even that can happen a number of years later, you know, when no one is looking. The priests know this. They do feel the pressure. But that is no excuse to sin. Instead, they are to rejoice and be glad that they are treated like the prophets before them, indeed, just like John the Baptist, just like Jesus.

The judgment will come much sooner than later. We will all stand before those wounds of Jesus and he will ask where our wounds are. What will we have to say for ourselves if we simply compromise so as to do what? Keep our “jobs”?

Priests are not dogs. Dogs are treated better than priests in some places.

For all the background documentation for what is in this post, see:

The idea for +CJ Scicluna’s version of Amoris laetitia is this: even if you are a notorious in your sin, known by all as an adulterer, not only flaunting your sin but murdering anyone who disagrees, but you feel yourself to be at peace with God, hey!, just go up and get that white wafer Communion thingy with television cameras uplinking to the world:

henry-viii

P.S.

  • Question: Am I fomenting disobedience among the priests of Malta?
  • Answer: No, I am encouraging true obedience to Jesus and to the Church.

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia: priests are the body-politic’s cancer to be excised

scicluna

The reason why I say that Archbishop’s opinion of priests is that they are cancer of the body-politic that needs to be excised is found in the previous post on this blog of ariseletusbegoing, namely: +CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia usurps papal authority, rejecting dialogue, discernment, accompaniment.

When people have cancer, their hair falls out because of the treatment they must endure. Often enough, friends and classmates shave their heads to show their solidarity with those who have cancer. Very nice, that.

cancer-shaved-head

I’m wondering if there is a way to be in solidarity with priests who are thrown out of ministry into the darkest of existential peripheries precisely because of the priestly love they have for their sheep in Christ Jesus our Lord. If there is a priest thrown out of ministry because he sees that this or that sheep is fully capable and otherwise willing to rejoice in the love of our Lord and so the priest wants them to continue to accompany a certain sheep but is then for that reason smacked down by Archbishop Scicluna or any other like minded (arch-)bishop right around the world, is there a way to be in solidarity with those good priests, some of whom will feel lost and bewildered in their having been so terribly betrayed.

There should be a registry of such faithful priests. We should keep track of them as they enter the darkest of existential peripheries where the mercy of the Church in the eyes of some cannot or at least should not reach.

Even more than this, and quite specifically, I’m wondering if it is possible for priests who are in good standing and in active ministry to self-report their love for Christ Jesus and their desire to share the greatest love of their lives, Christ Jesus, who is at the same time the greatest truth in their lives. In self-reporting, can they also be thrown out with the other priests, you know, suspended or even dismissed at a later date from the clerical state? After all, it can be said that they are rebellious and the cause of division and perhaps even the cause of uncomfortable feelings. Self-reporting to be removed from active ministry would be like shaving one’s head to be in solidarity with those who have cancer. “I should be thrown out as well since I believe just like they do.”

God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to be in solidarity with us, himself being thrown into the darkest of existential peripheries, spit on, mocked, ridiculed, rejected, called all sorts of names… As the Master so the disciple… right?

I wonder if there is a way. I wonder. As a Missionary of Mercy, I feel obliged be in solidarity with Jesus and his priests as he and they are once again betrayed by one of their own.

JESUS JUDAS

I remember Archbishop Fulton Sheen telling a story of a Jewish girl when, during the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp climbed up a veritable mountain of corpses and sat down to die, even while other survivors were leaving the camp. She was asked what she was doing. Her response was: “How can I live while all my people are dying?”

auschwitz

So, this Missionary of Mercy has done some logistical investigations… ;-)

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia usurps papal authority, rejecting dialogue, discernment, accompaniment

scicluna

The Archbishop of Malta, C.J. Scicluna has high praise for dialogue, discernment and accompaniment in a document directed to priests which he published in the Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano (Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris laetitia), but he rejected all of this, including papal authority, by adding this:

10. If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

The words “cannot be precluded” are directed at the priests, telling them that they have no real voice in dialogue, discernment and accompaniment, undercutting their priestly ministry and, quite frankly, threatening them with what would have to be removal from active ministry if they wish instead – knowing well the smell of their sheep – to prolong  the process of dialogue, discernment and accompaniment for the good of those very sheep.

The Times of Malta reports that “Archbishop Charles Scicluna refuted the criticism, insisting Bishop Mario Grech and himself had decided not to engage with individual bloggers on the matter.” “Decided not to engage” is also not a dialogue. The “criticism” refers to Ed Peters, a canon lawyer whose blog entries on this topic can be found HERE and HERE. Ed Peters has a serious analysis. I’m amazed that +CJ Scicluna, a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, dismisses Ed Peters so readily, since Peters is a Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s top tribunal.

Archbishop Scicluna then turns his attention to those he might think are a more vulnerable class of people, the priests: “I am saddened by the reaction from certain quarters and invite priests who may have concerns to come forward and discuss them directly with us because we want to be a service to our people.” I’m sure the priests want to be of service to their people as well. But here’s the problem. If any priests go to him with their concerns they are merely self-reporting that which is absolutely intolerable, reporting that they are precluding or envision precluding that which Archbishop Scicluna says cannot ever be precluded. If they open up a dialogue with him they will simply have their heads cut off. That’s another example of what he really thinks about dialogue, discernment and accompaniment. Moreover…

The threat to impose sanctions that is inescapably implied in the absolutist phrase “cannot be precluded” goes so far beyond Pope Francis’ direction in this matter that Archbishop Scicluna is de facto usurping the authority of Pope Francis to guide the Barque of Peter. And that I find disgusting.

The direction Pope Francis gave to us Missionaries of Mercy began by all of us singing together the Salve Regina with Pope Francis. I’m sure he remembers the exuberance:

Pope Francis brought all of us Missionaries of Mercy together and brought us through, with incisive distinctions, refined moral and sacramental theology, using anecdotes some of which were terribly sad and some of which were hilarious. He did his best to form us priests into being good confessors, those who would dialogue with, discern with and accompany penitents on their journey to know the will of Christ Jesus in all of their unrepeatable circumstances.

But Archbishop CJ Scicluna rejects that effort of Pope Francis. Sad, that. Sad for him. Sad for the penitents. Sad for the priests who are treated as his robots, not as Jesus’ fathers of their parish families. And this is also the point: CJ Scicluna rejects the unrepeatable circumstances of people, ideologically putting them all in one group.

Much more could be said about anthropology, psychology, grace, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, etc., with some saying I say too much and others too little. What I’m writing about in this post is just this one aspect of what is happening:

the ministry of priests is unimportant in the Church because + Scicluna said so.

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Fearful Roman Curia discerning the way of the Holy Spirit in the Beatitudes

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said that those working in whatever capacity in the Holy See (the “Vatican”) are scared. I say that if they are ever afraid, whether priests or bishops or religious, they shouldn’t be. Fear is a sign of the lack of truth, a lack of discernment of the truth, a lack of the Holy Spirit who would instead lead us to the truth. To be established in him who is truth is not to fear. Being one with him who fearlessly says “I AM” cannot at the same time tolerate fear.

“But what should we do? Give us clear direction!”

So, I guess you missed it the first time around. Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“But you don’t get it, Father George, that’s considered Pharisaical, Pelagian, Promethian self-absorbed idol worship.”

“Really? Are you making that application? Even if that were true on whoever’s part, so what? Since when did we lose sight of the Beatitudes? Since when are we to mope about, have nervous sweats, panic attacks and ulcers instead of rejoicing and being glad that great is our reward in the Kingdom of the heavens because we love Jesus and want to share the greatest love of our lives, namely, Jesus? Is not Jesus the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will be the one to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit? Yes, that would be him. He’s the One who said: “I AM.” So what are you afraid of? Amen.

P.S. I mean, really, what are these protestations of fear about? Is this a way of making an excuse? “Oh! I’m so fearful that my fear acted as a coercion forcing me to do something I otherwise would never do! It’s all the fault of fear! I’m soooo afraid.”

To which I say, grow up, love Jesus, and be a good son of his good mom. Also, and I don’t say this lightly, have some respect for your guardian angel who sees God in the face.

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Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

John’s Baptism in the river Jordan called to mind the soldiers of Pharaoh getting drowned in the Red Sea as they pursued the Israelites. Those soldiers deserved to be drowned for unjustly enslaving the Israelites in physical labor. When everyone went down to the river Jordan confessing their sins and getting smashed down under the water by John to symbolize the death they deserved for having enslaved each other in sin, this was an occasion to have a humble and contrite heart, and was thus a baptism that was an occasion for the remission of sin. When Jesus was baptized, He wasn’t saying he was a sinner, but that, as the innocent Son of God, he was playing the part of the worst sinner of all, the One who enslaved all people of all time in sin, from Adam until the last man is conceived. He was thus saying to his heavenly Father: “Treat me as being guilty, as being worthy of death.” Right after that baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and our heavenly Father spoke thunderously: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” But straight after that, Jesus said that he longed for the baptism for which he came, that of his own blood, by which he would fulfill what he did in the baptism of John by taking on the guilt of all our sins. By standing in our stead, the innocent for the guilty, he would have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us: “Father forgive them,” he now commanded from the cross. He wants to give us as a gift to our heavenly Father in heaven.

Meanwhile, John says that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The fire is the very love of God who God is. The Holy Spirit makes us one with Jesus, who is the Head of the Body of Christ while the Holy Spirit forms us into being the members of the one Body of Christ. As the Holy Spirit introduces us to who we are in Christ Jesus, we see Jesus as the Standard of Truth and Goodness and Kindness and we then see ourselves by way of a comparison we could not previously make that we fall short of that Standard, and we are brought by the Holy Spirit to have a humble and contrite heart before the Divine Son of God, who in all his majesty lays down his life for us, standing in our stead. It is then that we make our way to Confession (as the people were doing at John’s baptism) and we receive sacramental absolution, being reconciled to God and all the other members of the mystical body of Christ simultaneously, getting the grace directly from Jesus, but by the words of the knucklehead priest (like this donkey priest) who, by his ordination, represents all other members of the Body of Christ. We then hear the absolution, which includes something about the Holy Spirit, that he was sent among us for the forgiveness of sin. That is how Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit.

The gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit build on this baptism of the Holy Spirit. Other special gifts are totally secondary to all of this. The main thing is being one with the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will – do not be mistaken – come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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A note to my shadow

I only have one way to communicate with my shadow*, namely, this way, though social media. I’ve been wanting to get in touch with him. I’ve been doing some wheeling and dealing and have come to some tentative conclusions Continue reading

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Repeat: Confession Settlement that could halt the Sacrament of Confession in the Catholic Church

lourdes confessional

One of my most favorite places in the world is the penitent side of a confessional screen. This is where we meet with the goodness and kindness of Jesus ever so personally, which is precisely what brings the great joy experienced by those who go to confession.

There is renewed interest in this post up in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. I wonder if something is up on whatever side of the issue…

More than 3 1/2 years ago there was a little news story covering the fact that the Diocese of Manchester made a monetary settlement for a complaint that advice alleged to have been given by a Priest-Confessor under the Confessional Seal was inappropriate. The story plays out like it was scripted by Satan himself, what with the Diocese of Manchester just so eager — if, perhaps, unwittingly — to cooperate against the Sacrament of Mercy, against the Holy Spirit, who was sent to us for the forgiveness of sins, not so that we stop the forgiveness of sins.

This story had been simmering for months at the time, but May 17, 2013, Tricia L. Nadolny wrote about it in the tiny newspaper called the Concord Monitor. I commented on this story at the time, and, since the priest involved is still off on the peripheries (as far as I know), and since we now have completed the Year of Mercy, I think it is high time to bring this story back into the light of day in hopes that Bishop Libasci will admit his mistake for the sake of the good of the Church, pro bono ecclesiae. The [comments] are by myself, Father George David Byers, at https://ariseletusbegoing.com/

* * *

Diocese of Manchester settles with parents over sexual comments lawsuit

The Pembroke parents who accused a Concord priest of making inappropriate sexual comments to their son during the sacrament of confession will be paid $2,000 to settle the lawsuit they filed in February, according to a spokesman from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. The settlement, reached Wednesday, stipulates that the money will go to future educational costs of the 14-year-old boy, who is a student at St. John Regional School. [Sounds nice, that settlement, but let’s see how this plays out, and for what reasons. It couldn’t be more nefarious from the settlement side of things.]

Spokesman [for the Diocese of Manchester] Kevin Donovan said the settlement is not an admission of guilt by the Rev. George Desjardins [Yes, well, Father Desjardins can’t say anything one way or the other. He’s bound by the Seal of Confession. However, no matter what the Diocese says, the Diocese is, to all intents, constructions and purposes, saying that he is guilty by way of the settlement made, which is amazing, since they don’t know what went on during that alleged Confession, since the priest cannot say anything about it. Such a settlement destroys a priest for life. It is disingenuous to say that a settlement does not speak to someone’s guilt. Practically, a dark cloud remains over the head of the priest for life. Since that is the case, there must be very serious reasons that we don’t know about for the Diocese to make such a settlement, right? There are reasons, but, stunningly, they have nothing to do with the priest or the penitent, as we will see later in the article.], who was accused of talking about pornography and rape in a December 2012 confession held during the school day. [Of course, a 14 year-old, a young man, is entirely capable of looking at porn and committing rape, especially statutory rape. Many girls have gotten multiple abortions by the time they are fourteen. Boys are, of course, involved. This is not an unlikely scenario. Confession is about forgiveness of sin, such as pornography and rape, right? At any rate, it’s extremely easy to come up with a scenario that would back Father up. In fact, what I’ll imagine here has plenty of indications that it is the true scenario, truer, it seems, that the inconsistent accusations.]

[Diocesan Spokesman] Donovan called the payment “minimal” [That’s a foolish statement, implying that for other cases, the “payment” could be much bigger. That’s a strange phrase of the reporter: “payment” instead of settlement. If’s she’s accurate, something’s wrong. Anyway, speaking about anything “minimal” is a huge invitation to create bogus cases, the more salacious the better it will be for all the more $$$ dollars $$$.] and a “means to an end, so the community can move on.” [“means to an end” of “the community moving on.” In other words, this has nothing to do with the priest, nothing to do with the penitent, nothing to do with justice. The Diocese admits that they are doing something evil, slitting the throat of a defenseless priest, to achieve what they think is a good end, shoving money down the throat of any accuser, not for the accuser’s sake, who is ignored as he chokes on that money, but for the sake of the community, using what they assume to be the greed of the boy’s parents as bait, all of which — the demonic principle of doing evil to achieve good — is justly condemned by Saint Paul (see Romans 3:8). At any rate, the community will not only not move on, but will be condemned with the weight hanging over them of the dynamic of an accusation that obtains money without any accompanying due process for the accused priest. This is something that cheapens their lives, cheapens their religion. They have been insulted by the Diocese, which has effectively said: Go and choke on your money. That’s not a service to the community. The benefit for the diocese is save money in view of a possibly successful litigated claim.]

The parents, who are not being named to protect the name of their son, maintain that Desjardins’s comments were unacceptable, their lawyer, Peter Hutchins, said. [Peter Hutchins has a long history with the Diocese of Manchester, mocking the Diocese for their nefarious idiocy in handling the sex-abuse cases he brought to the Diocese, saying that he just couldn’t believe that they didn’t care about dates or allegations (and therefore neither did the Diocese care about any possibly real victims), but just wanted to shove as much settlement money down as many throats of alleged victims  as they could in as little time as possible so as to avoid possible litigated claims)].

In the lawsuit filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court, they [the parents] accused Desjardins of asking the boy whether he had “engaged in watching pornographic material and masturbating.” [Scenario: Perhaps the boy confessed to kind of not keeping custody of his eyes in regard to, kind of like, you know, looking at some, like, you know, immodesty, and ended up committing, you know, impure acts, kind of, maybe. Now, if that were the actual confession, there is a risk that the boy would not celebrate an integral confession, but would rather suffer making a sacrilegious confession in that he didn’t confess circumstances so important that they would add more grave sins to what was already confessed. Asking a pertinent question begged by the ambiguity is a favor to the boy. If the priest asked if there was a partner in sin, this would be laudable. Though, it is said, he asks about a lesser interpretation, about porn, perhaps expecting that what the boy is being ambiguous about concerns a partner in sin. Finding out about a partner in sin, especially regarding a young man, brings with it further questions about the age of the other person, as there are then questions about statutory rape. Such questions are also necessitated for a proper penance and for advice to be given, such as to cut any untoward relationship. One should also ask if the other person is vulnerable in any other way. If one finds out that the other person was an adult, well now, that changes things altogether, doesn’t it? It does. If this were all the case, the priest is to be commended. Of course, we won’t know on this earth, as the Seal of Confession is involved.] When the boy said that he hadn’t and that he had a girlfriend [Hah! There we are: there was, in fact, a partner in this sin, adding another sin to what was confessed. Way to go, Father Desjardins! Good work!], Desjardins [allegedly] told the boy to use “rubbers” [Or maybe the boy had actually said that he had a girl-friend, but that it was all O.K. since he was using prophylactics. And maybe the priest then justly reprimanded the boy for trying to make an excuse for having had sex with his girlfriend. Using condoms does not lessen the sin! The boy, perhaps used to doing whatever he damn well pleases, so that no priest is going to stop him, perhaps became angry with the priest and blamed the priest for all this. Right? People can, at times, be very damning of the Church’s morality in confession, which means they are not repentant. People can go to Confession to try to get permission to sin. Some priests will do that. It doesn’t sound as if Father Desjardins is one of them. But now watch what happens:] and warned him to be careful because a girl can “yell ‘rape’ ” during sex [Hah! Is it that Father was reprimanding him for committing statutory rape, which really threw the boy into a rage? The priest wouldn’t counsel condom use and warn the boy that he is committing statutory rape. That’s just ludicrous. PFffffttt!!!], the lawsuit continued. The parents also accused Desjardins, who is an assisting retired priest at Christ the King Parish, of attempting to grab the boy twice as the student tried to avoid him. Donovan has said that physical contact was nothing more than a handshake after Mass. [Hah! “A handshake after Mass”… Really? Ooooo! Nefarious, that! Wow! A handshake after Mass! No one does that anywhere in the world, ever! A handshake! After Mass! Unheard of. What scandal! What horror! The parents of this kid really, really seem to hate all priests and the Catholic Church and have, it seems, tried their best to instill that in their son. Sad, that. So, O.K. Fathers! Hear that? No more shaking hands after Mass. Just pray some thanksgiving prayers alone, kneeling on the steps of the sanctuary. Actually, that’s a good idea. I digress. At any rate, don’t forget that the parents are best friends of Hutchins, zillionaire abuse attorney. And with this, they get some tuition money.]

Yesterday, he [Donovan, the Diocesan Spokesman] said the diocese still believes the lawsuit had no merit. [Great! But…] But in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed last month, the diocese took a different route when it neither denied nor admitted that Desjardins made the comments [nor can they because the Diocese doesn’t know anything about the Confession since the priest is under the Seal of Confession] and instead argued that the suit should have been thrown out because it interfered with the church’s First Amendment rights. [That’s true, but it ignores that the priest cannot defend himself in any way. It’s the priest’s inability to defend himself that will push courts in future cases (and there may well be future cases, right?) to put the priest on the stand and try to force him to break the Seal of Confession, the very thing the State of New Hampshire already tried to do very recently at that time. One has to wonder what will happen when tens, then hundreds, then thousands and tens of thousands of cases pile up. No one ever needs to have gone to Confession to any priest to claim that one did go, and that one got bad advice or worse. It’s all too easy. Just get any bulletin, find out when confessions times are, retaining proof, and see who hears confessions that day. Then make up a story. Easy peasy. It’s really easy to go to hell. Untold $$$ dollars $$$ will be paid to anyone who makes a complaint, no matter how ludicrous. It seems to me that “payments” for this, The Perdition Crisis, risk dwarfing the billions of dollars paid out for The Judas Crisis.]

Gordon MacDonald, the diocese’s lawyer, argued that the topics Desjardins was accused of discussing – including pornography, masturbation, premarital sex [“pre-marital”… really? But that’s just the paraphrase of the reporter.] and rape – all are considered sins under Catholic doctrine. And he said resolving the case would require a judge or jury to examine the appropriateness of those doctrines as well as whether the alleged discussion was in line with tenets of the Catholic faith. [And there it is: The Perdition Crisis. This is a cave-in to Peter Hutchins, the abuse attorney. This is a practical admission that any and all accusations, no matter what, are accepted as the honest truth, no matter how ludicrous, how inconsistent, and that we can just move on now to discussing the faith and being consistent with the faith. That’s giving a win to the attorney just to do it. That priest cannot defend himself. The diocese cannot pretend to argue for the priest, because they cannot know what the priest said.  The diocese is treating itself as the defendant, not the priest, which was the same thing as had happened with The Judas Crisis, where the priest is always guilty no matter what, with no due process, as any innocence would get in the way of making immediate and even blanket settlements in hopes of saving a few bucks. Manchester Diocese has a long history of leading the destruction of the Church by way of throwing due process for priests out the window so as to serve themselves. /// Note that the lawyer also does something just as nefarious. He not only throws judgment of consistency with the faith by the State into the equation, but also the acceptability of the faith before the State in the first place. This is just plain EVIL. This invites the State to say that, for instance, the Catholic Church’s faith in regard to the nefariousness of homosexual marriage is illegal (to take another case that is sure to come about). Sure, the diocesan attorney is saying that these are reasons that the case should be dismissed, but in making the settlement at the very end, he is not only saying, but highlighting, screaming it out, that first amendment issues are vacuous for the defense, and are legitimate avenues for the State to pursue in future cases. The Diocese says that the settlement is just meant to sweep the problem under the carpet. However, there are implications, whether they like it or not.]

“A civil factfinder would become enmeshed in determining whether a Catholic priest [any priest] may discuss pornography, masturbation, sexual intercourse out-of-wedlock [a better phrase], and rape with a penitent during the Sacrament of Penance and whether those subjects are consistent with Catholic doctrine and the Catholic faith’s overall mission,” MacDonald wrote in the motion. [A civil factfinder couldn’t care less. The point would be what was said about these things in view of any civil laws. For instance, if a priest were to say that divorce and the attempt to marry again without a declaration that the first marriage was null from the beginning is wrong might be considered nefarious and illegal by the State. That’s what the State is judging. The State of New Hampshire would gladly shut down the Catholic Church altogether. At any rate, all this immediately goes from Father Doe priest to Father Desjardins, and, again, the priest has no defense, as he cannot break the Seal of Confession. What is most ludicrous is that the Diocese, in saying all this, is acting as if it and the State can reliably act upon the information given by whatever accuser when it all must remain perpetually one-sided because of the Seal of Confession. This simply doesn’t occur to Manchester Diocese, since it seems that they have never given due process to any priest, with the possible exception, in all irony, of convicted felon Monsignor Edward Arsenault. Other priests are non-existent in the actual judgment. This lending of credibility to such accusations, and then offering a monetary settlement for them, means that there will never be a time when any accusations are ever not given credibility and acted upon with settlement money, no matter how inconsistent and ludicrous. This is quite the invitation to anyone and everyone to come to the money-tree by way of making bogus accusations about something imagined to have been said in an imaginary Confession.] He said the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and also the state Constitution “prohibit this type of intrusive inquiry into the doctrinal affairs of the church.” [Hutchins may well win his point that he only wants to discuss if any alleged advice goes against State law. So, the point is this: The priest cannot make a defense, and the Diocese cannot defend him, since the Diocese has no idea what the priest said, or, indeed, if there was ever a Confession to begin with. The Diocese must insist on dismissing the case, and not ever pay any settlement. But they caved on the dismissal by going for the settlement. The effect of mentioning the Constitution only to throw that argument out the window with a settlement is to insist that the Constitution does not matter in such cases. Ironic, no? Or is that what Manchester Diocese wanted. That would be in line with what they’ve always done. The next step for the State will be to repeat their attack on the Seal of Confession. And, if there are tens or hundreds of cases in Manchester Diocese alone, you can bet that one priest will cave and say something to defend himself, which will be then be used as a precedent by the State, at least to continue a cross-examination of the priest. If he refuses to continue, realizing he’s been caught out, he’ll be in jail for contempt of court until he decides otherwise.]

[But then the obfuscations get worse:] The family sued specifically for breach of contract, saying the diocese failed to provide their son with the safe learning environment promised in the school’s handbook. In the motion to dismiss, McDonald also claimed that document isn’t a contract. The handbook – which includes a mission statement and sections on, among other things, school rules and student responsibilities – doesn’t include contractual promises, MacDonald said. He said the family accused the diocese of violating “a series of aspirational policies,” not binding promises.

Hutchins said yesterday that he disagrees that a student handbook doesn’t act as a contract in a private school setting. “It’s our position that absolutely all of those materials that basically promise what the school’s going to do and also gives the responsibility to the students and parents (create a contract),” he said. “It goes both ways. Here are your obligations; here are ours. It’s a contract. Period.” [Contract=Money. Hutchins needs to win this point for any future case from a school, etc. But this is not necessarily what will break any bank. Just the fact of the settlement will more than break the bank, regardless of talk of any contracts being broken or not. This is a purposed distraction, but a welcome one to Hutchins if it hits pay-dirt. It’s a bluff. Just one more way to put pressure on the Diocese to make a settlement. He guessed it right. But it’s more than this. He’s saying that the safe-learning environment is to extend to the Confessional, so that the Confessional is to have an oversight it cannot have because of the Seal of Confession. But this is what he is going after: the Seal of Confession. The State is on side with that. This whole thing seems to fly right over the heads of those in the Diocese. And maybe, just maybe, those in the Diocese have absolutely no idea just how evil they are acting with all of this. Or maybe they just don’t have the faith. Or maybe they just literally don’t give a damn…] He also disputed the diocese’s stance that the lawsuit violated its First Amendment rights, saying the suit focused “on the conduct, not the religion.” [Again, I bet Hutchins could win this argument, but not the war, it being that all of it is always hypothetical, since the priest cannot defend himself. At any rate, Hutchins actually has all he needs, for the Diocese acts like any accusation, no matter how ludicrous and inconsistent, will be accepted immediately as the truth. And this is confirmed with the settlement. Hutchins can take that and run with an unlimited number of cases.] Hutchins, who has been involved in litigating more than 150 child abuse cases against New Hampshire clergy [making himself a zillionaire, because it’s all about the children, of course.], said the church is not immune to being held accountable for violations of secular law, such as state statutes or local ordinances. He said a breach of contract falls into that category. “We do not focus on, criticize or try to change religious beliefs or religious procedures,” he said. [I think that’s exactly what he’s trying to do.] “Those are protected.” [He certainly did laugh all the way to the bank when he respected how the diocese threw procedures of justice and due process out the window for those abuse cases. He mocked the Diocese of Manchester for, in some cases, not even asking about dates or allegations. He can accept the word of the Diocese as an attorney for an out of court settlement that all priests are always guilty, no matter what, but he’s also got to know that something’s just not quite correct there, right?] Hutchins is a longtime friend of the father who filed the lawsuit [Kudos to the Monitor for noting the friendship this time. On the other hand, Hutchins was, in effect, given free advertising to fish for more clients with more accusations with more money to be thrown at them], and yesterday he said he is not collecting attorney’s fees for his involvement [that is, for THIS testing of the waters case, that is, for THIS case with his best friends. This was leaning toward being a test case for the Seal of Confession, but the Diocese caved with the settlement. The settlement does nothing by way of precedent to protect the Seal of Confession all the more. Quite the opposite. For the Diocese, whatever an accusation claims is exactly what happened, even though the priest cannot say anything. This is a mockery of the Seal of Confession, plain and simple.]. He said the family decided to sue the diocese after feeling their concerns, which they raised with school administrators shortly after the confession, weren’t taken seriously. Hutchins said diocese [sic] officials called Desjardins’s conduct “innocuous” [That could be a lie, but, anyway, how would the Diocese know, since the priest cannot say anything? Hutchins knows that better than the Diocese. He wants them to say something like that, perhaps to use it as proof that, in fact, they did get the priest to defend himself privately at the Chancery offices. Then Hutchins could claim that the Seal of Confession means nothing, and therefore the priest can in fact be cross-examined in court. If the Diocese accepts the alleged comments of the priest at face value, they are going in that direction. Even if they don’t say that the priest revealed the confession, they are saying that an accusation in itself makes the accusations true, the way they always said that accusations are always true no matter what in abuse cases. Regardless of what Hutchins says the Diocese says, the Diocese, in making the settlement, does say that they accept all accusations as absolutely true no matter what. Moreover, since the Diocese accepts the alleged comments of the priest saying that the using of condoms is great, and if it also says that these comments are “innocuous”,  well, that actual comment of the Diocese would be against the faith of the Catholic Church. Contraception is a sin, also in a case of statutory rape, however “consensual”. The priest is most likely innocent of all this, but if Hutchins is right and the Diocese did make such statements, then it is the Diocese that is guilty of acting against the faith and morals of the Church, along with acting against the priesthood and the Sacrament of Confession.] and did nothing to put the family at ease [How would they do that? Take them bowling?] or tell Desjardins that the comments were inappropriate. [But they don’t know what the comments are, since, ad nauseam, the priest is under the Seal of Confession.]

“It shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but once it did happen, they should have had a much more pastoral and immediate human response to it,” Hutchins said. [And he’s just the one to say how that’s to be done, right?]

[Diocesan Spokesman] Donovan said the diocese takes all allegations against priests seriously and places them on leave if officials believe the accusation rises to the level of misconduct. That wasn’t the case here [So why did they make the settlement, just out of meanness, to destroy his good name and his life as a priest?], he said, so Desjardins wasn’t removed from his role as chaplain at the school after the parents went to administrators. [Uh huh. I’m not so sure. At any rate, nothing good can come from this except to put people off of confession, and make priests wary of hearing confessions. That’s not what’s needed right now or ever. This sickness of shoving money down everyone’s throat has got to stop, and it’s got to stop now. Hutchins played the Diocese and won, as he does at will. The Diocese will never consider going to court. They will now make settlements without question every time. As in The Judas Crisis, it all seems to be legal, because it’s all out of court. That doesn’t mean that it is moral or acceptable in Church Law. But this will surely go the way of The Judas Crisis, with mountains of money spread about everywhere. Cui bono? To what good?]

He [the Diocesan Spokesman] said Desjardins did decide [Or was that decided for him?] to take a leave of absence from the school after the lawsuit was filed in February. He was unsure whether the priest would be returning next school year. [“Unsure.” Really?] Read the rest there.


Usually, abuse lawyers go in two years cycles of bringing cases for settlements. Now that the Holy Year of Mercy (and confession!) is completed, we’ll see what happens. But, in the meantime, I think Bishop Libasci would do well to admit the mistake for the sake of the good of the Church, you know, pro bono ecclesiae.

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Amoris laetitia 351 Unrepentant, active prostitutes, absolution,Communion?

Update: There is some pretty heavy interest in high places right now over some of the more controversial posts I’ve put up about the past couple of Synods. If I had to write an apologia about this, I would just say that my opinions are on behalf of those who suffer much in this world, who are marginalized and kept suffering it seems to me on purpose. That unnecessary suffering really just needs to stop, and stop now.

peep show

It seems that paragraph 49 refers to prostitution to avoid poverty. Communion for active prostitutes has been part of pastoral praxis by some for decades and a continuous side debate for some of the liberation theology / arm-chair moral theology crowd. So:

49. Here I would also like to mention the situation of families living in dire poverty and great limitations. The problems faced by poor households are often all the more trying.36 For example, if a single mother has to raise a child by herself and needs to leave the child alone at home while she goes to work, the child can grow up exposed to all kind of risks and obstacles to personal growth. In such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy. Rather than offering the healing power of grace and the light of the Gospel message, some would “indoctrinate” that message, turning it into “dead stones to be hurled at others”.37

36 Cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 15.
37 Concluding Address of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (24 October 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 26-27 October 2015, p. 13.

I mean, what does that mean in light of footnote 351 other than to provide, say, Communion for active prostitutes? The solution, it seems to me, isn’t to argue for decades about Prostitutes going to Communion, but rather to open safe houses which can immediately set about finding jobs and shelter and education.

Who throws dead stones of doctrine at anyone? Is the reference to priests like me?

Does this throwing stones reference (coming not long after paragraph 27 in which the adulterous woman of the Gospel of John is mentioned) mean that Jesus was a fool damned by our Heavenly Father for telling the adulterous woman to “sin no more,” Himself stoning this woman into marginalization from the faith by His damnable indoctrinated doctrine-stone of “sin no more”? That’s not what the document says about Jesus, instead reporting in paragraph 27 that, “alone with Jesus, she meets not condemnation but the admonition to lead a more worthy life (cf. Jn 8:1-11).” In other words, the Gospel lies that Jesus told her to “sin no more,” which would inescapably imply that she knew she had in fact sinned (both objectively and subjectively), and that the condemnation is only avoided by taking in the forgiveness with repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. All that, for the document, is simply a heap of indoctrinated stones to throw. So, instead, the document insists that Jesus said that she is to live a more worthy life, inescapably implying that her life was already worthy, but just needed to be, you know, more worthy.

And that leads us back to paragraph 49, where the worthiness of adultery by prostitution, while not as worthy as a life which doesn’t include prostitution, is nevertheless so worthy that it is to be rewarded by such casuistry with, say, Holy Communion.

Look: Just open a safe house. I’ve worked in such places, offered confessions and Holy Mass in such places, given Holy Communion to prostitutes galore in such places. I’ve even ended up in a wheelchair and crutches because of such places. Really, I’ve been there, done that. Just get them the help they need. Don’t just say have a nice day with Holy Communion at a street Mass in the red-light district and not provide for them. Do provide for them both physically and spiritually.

Just call me the dumpster priest. But don’t try to make me take up a program that will keep prostitutes in prostitution. To hell with that.

And, by the way, you know all those people steeped in Tradition, that is, those Legion of Mary people? You have to know that I’m one of them, and you have to know that they started out by evangelizing at brothels.

Or is this really about thinking that prostitutes can’t repent? A prostitute once told me that a clergy guy (Episcopalian I think) would walk into her room for quick sex, first taking his clergy collar off, then unzipping himself, as if the collar in the back pocket would make what he was doing out front somehow moral. When she asked him about his visits to herself later (after she was converted from prostitution), he said that he didn’t think that people like her could possibly ever convert. Is that the message that we have here?

I would like to ask someone, but it seems that speaking with parrhesia isn’t to be met with answers of parrhesia. But if I’m wrong on that, I sure would appreciate an answer.

And, oh, by the way, this paragraph 49 cannot refer to something like thievery either for the mom or the boy, can it? We have better theology of private property than that.

I mean, I just can’t believe that this paragraph was written or published. Prostitutes are always in grave danger of disease, damage, dismemberment, and death by physical force or despair along. Get them out of the situation immediately. Don’t argue about their subjective guilt. If you want a lack of mercy and hurling stones, THAT kind of sophistry that keeps them in their prostitution is example number one.

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Filed under Adulterous woman, Amoris laetitia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family

Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (II)

PROMETHEUS

It seems that those at Santa Marta in the Holy See are having some late night discussions about my original post on:

Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

It seems that it was directed that that a link to said post be sent up North to the “Bergoglio of Italy,” +Mattheo Maria Zuppi by name, and another, +Angelo Scola by name. It seems the latter then took a gander at another post. If there were any ambiguity about where I myself stand on Amoris laetitia, this other post will make it crystal clear about what I think about the power of the grace of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception:

Amoris laetitia 351 gradualism casuistry

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Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

pope-francis-cardinal-burke

Respect and joy in the Lord

I love and respect both Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke.

You have heard that it was said by the latter:

“My position is that ‘Amoris laetitia’ is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin. A document with these defects cannot be part of the Church’s perennial teaching. Because that is the case, the Church needs absolute clarity regarding what Pope Francis is teaching and encouraging.”

This Missionary of Mercy says in response:

  • Amoris laetitia cannot yet be spoken about as if it were a document already published by the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, for it is not.
  • Amoris laetitia, even if published as is, is not an Apostolic Constitution or even an Encyclical, but simply an Apostolic Exhortation, whose author, mind you, goes way, WAY out of his way in articles 3-4 of Amoris laetitia to assert that Amoris laetitia is simply a conglomerate of opinions for the sake of encouraging more dialogue on the matters at hand. Pope Francis completely disowns this having anything whatsoever to do with any kind of Magisterial intervention of the Church whatsoever, whether ordinary or extraordinary. If it’s published as is in the Acta, well, that just doesn’t make any difference, to wit:

“Since ‘time is greater than space’, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. […] The various interventions of the Synod Fathers, to which I paid close heed, made up, as it were, a multifaceted gem reflecting many legitimate concerns and honest questions. For this reason, I thought it appropriate to prepare a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation to gather the contributions of the two recent Synods on the family, while adding other considerations as an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice, and as a help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges.

  • To say that Amoris laetitia would be part of at least the ordinary Magisterium of the Church (see “perennial teaching”) if anyone might like to agree with its contents but that it cannot be part of at least the ordinary Magisterium of the Church (see “perennial teaching”) if anyone might like to disagree with its contents seems to me to be saying that the Pope has no authority to teach on matters of faith and morals to the universal Church as the Successor of Peter. That, of course, would be quite wrong. Amoris laetitia is not part of any teaching of the Church whatsoever not because of anyone’s opinion, however well founded, but because Pope Francis himself denies that it is part of any teaching of the Church whatsoever, insisting as he does on dialogue, etc.

A question might be asked as to whether Pope Francis has a good understanding of Papal Infallibility. Let’s analyze his extensive statements on the matter, and then compare that with what Scripture has for us. This is from Pope Francis’ speech on October 17, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synods of Bishops:

On the eve of last year’s Synod I stated: “For the Synod Fathers we ask the Holy Spirit first of all for the gift of listening: to listen to God, so that with him we may hear the cry of his people; to listen to his people until we are in harmony with the will to which God calls us”.(14) The Synod process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, who is called to speak [chiamato a pronunciarsi=called to pronounce (a word used for ex-cathedra statements)] as “pastor and teacher of all Christians”,(15) not on the basis of his personal convictions but as the supreme witness to the fides totius Ecclesiae, “the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church”.(16)

The fact that the Synod always acts cum Petro et sub Petro — indeed, not only cum Petro, but also sub Petro — is not a limitation of freedom, but a guarantee of unity. For the Pope is, by will of the Lord, “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful”.(17) Closely related to this is the concept of “hierarchica communio” as employed by the Second Vatican Council: the Bishops are linked to the Bishop of Rome by the bond of episcopal communion (cum Petro) while, at the same time, hierarchically subject to him as head of the college (sub Petro).(18)

14) FRANCIS, Address at the Prayer Vigil for the Synod on the Family, 4 October 2014.

15) FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus (18 July 1870), ch. IV: Denz. 3074. Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 749, § 1.

16) FRANCIS, Address to the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 18 October 2014.

17) SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 23. cf. FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Prologue: Denz. 3051.

18) Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 22; Decree Christus Dominus (28 October 1965), 4.

Impressive. This makes us wait for an infallible pronouncement by:

  • The Bishop of Rome precisely as the Successor of Peter
  • pronouncing on a matter or many matters of faith and/or morals
  • especially deciding a matter or many matters of controversy
  • directing the instruction to the entirety of Christ’s faithful.

Just to say the obvious: This has not happened to date (this being written on December 9, 2016), and, just to repeat, Amoris laetitia has been excluded from any consideration of it as any kind of teaching of the Magisterium of the Church by the indications of Pope Francis himself.

Meanwhile, I do believe I understand what Pope Francis is doing in not answering various theologians and Cardinals, to wit, he is trying to emphasize Matthew 18:18 (the voice of some of the laity and some of the Synod members) more than Matthew 16:19 (the lone voice of Peter, the Rock), at least for the moment. He is interested in the richness of dialogue, but we see from that October 17, 2015 speech cited above, he is also interested in what can be provided by infallible Peter. Let’s analyze these passages and see some surprising take aways:

Let’s review Matthew 16:19 in utterly pedantic translation

“Whatever you may bind at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”

What do the verbs mean in this context?

  • Second person singular subjunctive aorist active – The second person singular refers to Peter alone. The subjunctive here is not so much a kind of conditional or wishfulness, but rather depicts the state of actually choosing an option; from the perspective of the actor, there is freedom to the choice: “Whatever you may bind at any give time.” The aorist time frame, whatever delusion your introductory Greek grammars insist on providing to you, is literally “without borders”, that which can happen in the past, present or even future (as is the case here: see below), though usually something which itself happens in a defined time frame, such as the choice to bind. Active simply refers to something actually being accomplished.
  • Third person singular indicative future middle – The third person singular refers to any given object of the action, its state of being. It will simply be what it is (indicative) at that time (future). The middle voice is here used to indicate the status quo to which the actor is also subject, that is, retroactively to his decision to bind something, the truth of that which is described by the following verb, which this singular indicative future middle (“will”) helps to describe.
  • Nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive: The nominative neuter singular refers to the object which is being bound (passive), that is, in an ongoing fashion (participle) in a perfect manner (perfect); mind you, in Greek, “perfect” never refers to a perfectly accomplished action at one point in time, but rather to an action which is perfectly ongoing in a perfect manner since its inception: it always was and will be this way, perfectly, with no change: “already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way.” This “perfect” action structures the capacity of the actor, Peter, to act subjunctively, preempting all choices of Peter except for the one which is consonant which the truth which has always been this way in the heavens. Whatever he may choose to bind at any given time will already have been the case, is the case, and will always continue to be the case in the heavens. Peter cannot choose anything which is not already perfectly established in the heavens. What is in heaven is not an affirmation of what Peter might pronounce; what is in heaven simply is what it is, absolute truth, so to speak. If Peter is wrong about what he intends to pronounce upon, he simply will not be able to pronounce upon it.

Indeed, the part of this equation that people always forget about when trying to figure out the tenses, is that there is a part of this equation which is utterly expendable: Peter. If he is going to get it wrong, he will either die or be incapacitated, but he will not be able to work against what is in heaven already. Being the Successor of Peter isn’t so much an honor as it is a service that may involve laying down his life, for, after all, what do we know? The Orthodox or any others should never be envious of infallibility.

The bit about loosing is exactly the same, verbatim:

“Whatever you may loose at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”

Let’s review Matthew 18:18 in utterly pedantic translation

“Whatever ye may bind at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”

And then:

“Whatever ye may loose at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”

There are some differences besides the plural heavens and singular heaven. Matthew 18:18 is addressed also to the laity about any number of things that may be under dispute. But the verbs and their meanings are exactly the same. But the context removes any infallibility from this other crowd. Let’s see how:

Firstly, in Matthew 16:19, where Peter alone among the Apostles is addressed, only Peter is given the keys of the Kingdom of the Heavens. There is no reference at all to such keys for anyone else in Matthew 18:18. That they have the same access to the understanding of the faith as does Peter is contingent for them in agreeing with Peter, for, as we see in context, the process of a dispute will bring them right back to the Church, that is, as differentiated from Christ’s faithful in general so as to refer to Peter in particular. They are not infallible, he is.

What if Peter is wrong? He can’t be wrong. That’s the point. But say that it could happen, that wouldn’t mean that we ignore him, correct him, unseat him, burn him at the stake, say that he’s not a nice guy or something like that; that would mean that there is no such thing as the Church at all. It can’t happen. Period. Is “dialogue” among the faithful expected by our Lord? Yes. He explicitly speaks of it. But then there is a process to follow. But there is a richness to be expected among so many. That richness is not to be ignored, calling the faith provided to the faithful useless, thus insulting the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis knows this. He respects it. After Matthew 18:18 we go to Matthew 16:19. We are still in the Matthew 18:18 phase.

Might Pope Francis choose to go to Matthew 16:19, to pronounce in an infallible way on the matter? Sure. That is yet to be seen. He surely has set up a scenario in which it seems he truly wants to pronounce an infallible statement. He surely has prefaced this with a great deal of dialogue. To the degree that he is insisting on dialogue, that is the degree he may be incisive in pronouncing an infallible statement.

Have some perhaps jumped the gun? Perhaps. Can it be said that all involved may well be filled with Apostolic charity, that is, both the four Cardinals and the Holy Father? Yes. Are they merely asking him to move from Matthew 18:18 to Matthew 16:19? Perhaps. Again, I don’t like the statement of one of the Cardinals who said: “My position is that ‘Amoris laetitia’ is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities…” His opinion is not why Amoris laetitia is not magisterial. It is not magisterial because Pope Francis said it is not magisterial. Otherwise, how many popes do we have? So…

We pray. That is to be expected and desired by all involved, right? Yes. We pray.

Does my having written this article mean that I don’t have my own concerns which happen to be well stated in the five dubia? No, it doesn’t mean that. Does the present non-answer of Pope Francis mean that he doesn’t agree with the intent of the five dubia? No, it doesn’t mean that. What it all means is that we haven’t yet moved from Matthew 18:18 to Matthew 16:19. That’s all. Might I say to Pope Francis that I sure do hope for the good of the Church that our Lord’s desire that our present dialogue with Matthew 18:18 will move to Matthew 16:19? Sure. But the timing is the judgment call of Vicar of Christ, not mine or anyone else for that matter. Again, might we ask him politely to move to Matthew 16:19? Sure, and I think everyone has been polite, although, again, that bit of one of the Cardinals about why he thinks Amoris laetitia is not magisterial is, I think, out of place. And in view of that, I must defend the fact of the papacy itself. Might that make me lose many friends. I suppose. That saddens me. But I am also filled with fortitude. Hier stehe ich and all that. Amen.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Eucharist, Holy See, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family, Year of Mercy