Saturday, March 24, 2007

Truth: A choice?

A professor at the Seminary raised a discussion on the group "We are Church". I had heard of them before and I decided to check out their website.

On it I found links to:
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
Call to Action
Catholics for a Changing Church:
Catholics For a Free Choice
Catholic Organizations for Renewal
Catholics Speak Out
CNWE -- Catholic Network for Women's Equality
Future Church
Irish Women's Ordination Site
Partenia: Bishop Gaillot's Cyber-See
Priests for Equality
Redes Cristianas website
Theology Library
Women Priests

Now many of you may be wondering why I have linked all these dissident groups on this blog.

I have done this so that our readers can familiarise themselves with groups that openly oppose the Teachings of Holy Mother Church.

As I looked through them I was astounded at the rage that these people seemed to have. Words such as DEMAND and RIGHTS jump out at you as you read.

All I could think was: where is the humility? What would Our Lady do? Is this how she would have acted?
Think of how Our Lady responded at the Annunciation, a feast we shall celebrate soon. Many of us will have contemplated an image of the Annunciation. We will have seen how Our Lady, spotless, immaculate and pure, bowed her head in humility and said "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum!" There was no shouting. There were no RIGHTS and DEMANDS. Just utter humility and grace.

So my question would be: Is truth a choice that I demand?

Many will think that I generalise here but it has been my experience that I have never met someone who dissented Church teaching who was peaceful.

All the people that I have met that have exuded a deep peace have been those who, though they may have their struggles with some Church teachings, say "Fiat" with humility and generosity.

Church teaching is challenging. These people that I have met have faced the challenge and humbly accept. They don't understand everything but they accept. There have been times when I have found a particular Church teaching difficult to swallow. But with prayer and talking to Lecturers and dedicated Theologians I have realised that it is the Lord that guides His Church and that Holy Mother Church really knows best. That doesn't take the difficulty away but I accept and I believe. I realise that the times when I have rebelled against Church teaching I was acting out of arrogance, anger and pride.

Often people say: You can't judge. But I have seen something of that arrogance in others.

"The Church is wrong". Having been there to some degree myself I know what the root cause of it is. I respond: Then who is right? You?

Church teaching sometimes will be difficult for our fallen, pride-filled nature to accept. But with the grace of God found through prayer and the sacraments we will be given just enough humility to say with Our Lady: Fait mihi secundum verbum tuum.

Our Lady Queen of peace and humility pray for us that we might be like you!

God bless


Ma Beck said...

Yes, the old "My 30 yeas of wisdom is far greater than the Church's divinely inspired 2000+ years of wisdom."
These groups are heretics, plain and simple.
I once read a quote on another blog (Pontifications), "If a man cannot name at least one article of faith which he believes based principally of the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium, he is either a saint or a protestant."
Either you believe it all (sometimes solely because your Church teaches it) or you don't believe some of it, which makes you a protestant.
These groups make me ill.

Augustinus said...

Thank you for bringing the details for these groups together in one place.

Insidous though they are, it is absolutely right that we raise our awareness of the falsehoods these groups stand for and be prepared to uphold the truth, no matter from where the oppositon comes - and much of it will come from structures within the Church.

Orthfully Catholic said...

Let's pray for their conversion. If they convert they become an invaluable tool for the Church.

Paul said...

Not all of these sites are maintained by dissident or heretical groups. The Theology Library is one of the best of its kind on the internet. Yes there are links to articles by, e.g. Charles Curran and Bernard Haring, but Germain Grisez and John Finnis are also there, as well as a wealth of other good material. I think you need to be a bit more discerning before issuing a blanket condemnation.

Ma Beck said...

I am not familiar with the Theology Library, but I would suggest that if it has links to dissident writings, it is NOT a good resource.
If I mostly am faithful to my husband, but occasionally have affairs, I'm no better than a person that is continuously unfaithful.
Good material can be located without going through a minefield of heterodoxy.
[Gets curious - goes to look.]
I applaud TL's resources on the abortion issue, but I stand by what I said. Much that is there is less than orthodox, and that's the nicest way I know to put it.
(Links to magazines whose authors openly support "choice", "women's ordination", etc.)

Ma Beck said...

Also, seminarians, this is a great site if you've never seen it.
I use it frequently.

Paul said...

Well, I suugest that you actually LOOK at the Theology Library website, as opposed to making assumptions about what it contains simply because it has been linked be a dissident group! There is a more fundamental point also. It is only by engaging with heretical and dissident groups that the "Splendour of the Truth" (Veritatis Spendor) is made clear. I would hope that those who are being formed for the priesthood are able to meet error on its own terms and defeat it!

Ma Beck said...

As I mentioned in my post, I DID look at TL, which is where I noted that it links to magazines whose authors support things directly opposed to Church teaching.
NO, one need not look at heterodoxy to know how to explain the teachings of the Church.
Looking at heretical materials is a waste of time.
I don't have to look at Planned Parenthood's website to know how to explain why abortion is wrong.

Paul said...

I apologise for implying that you had not looked at the TL website. You did said that you were not familiar with TL, but I misunderstood what you were saying. That’s the trouble with blogging, once you’ve pressed that send button, you can’t retract what you’ve said!

With regard to reading “heretical” material, I think the following extract from Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (n10) explains the point I was trying to make in more detail. If we don’t engage in the “Gospel Discernment in the way that JPII suggests that we should, we are unlikely to be effective agents of the New Evangelisation.

“The complex situation of the present day, briefly outlined above in general terms and examples, needs not only to be known but also and above all to be interpreted. Only in this way can an adequate answer can be given to the fundamental question: How can we form priests who are truly able to respond to the demands of our times and capable of evangelizing the world of today?

Knowledge of the situation is important. However, simply to provide data is not enough; what is needed is a "scientific" inquiry in order to sketch a precise and concrete picture of today's socio - cultural and ecclesial circumstances.

Even more important is an interpretation of the situation. Such an interpretation is required because of the ambivalence and at times contradictions which are characteristic of the present situation where there is a mixture of difficulties and potentialities, negative elements and reasons for hope, obstacles and alternatives, as in the field mentioned in the Gospel where good seed and weeds are both sown and "co - exist" (cf. Mt. 13:24ff.).

It is not always easy to give an interpretive reading capable of distinguishing good from evil or signs of hope from threats. In the formation of priests it is not sufficient simply to welcome the positive factors and to counteract the negative ones. The positive factors themselves need to be subjected to a careful work of discernment, so that they do not become isolated and contradict one another, becoming absolutes and at odds with one another. The same is true for the negative factors, which are not to be rejected en bloc and without distinction, because in each one there may lie hidden some value which awaits liberation and restoration to its full truth.

For a believer the interpretation of the historical situation finds its principle for understanding and its criterion for making practical choices in a new and unique reality, that is, in a Gospel discernment. This interpretation is a work which is done in the light and strength provided by the true and living Gospel, which is Jesus Christ, and in virtue of the gift of the Holy Spirit. In such a way, Gospel discernment gathers from the historical situation -- from its events and circumstances -- not just a simple "fact" to be precisely recorded yet capable of leaving a person indifferent or passive, but a "task," a challenge to responsible freedom -- both of the individual person and of the community. It is a "challenge" which is linked to a "call" which God causes to sound in the historical situation itself. In this situation, and also through it, God calls the believer -- and first of all the Church -- to ensure that "the Gospel of vocation and priesthood" expresses its perennial truth in the changing circumstances of life. In this case, the words of the Second Vatican Council are also applicable to the formation of priests: "The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel so that in a language intelligible to every generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which people ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, it's expectations, its longings and its often dramatic characteristics."

This Gospel discernment is based on trust in the love of Jesus Christ, who always and tirelessly cares for his Church (cf. Eph. 5:29), he the Lord and Master, the key, the center and the purpose of the whole of human history. This discernment is nourished by the light and strength of the Holy Spirit who evokes everywhere and in all circumstances, obedience to the faith, the joyous courage of following Jesus, and the gift of wisdom, which judges all things and is judged by no one (cf. 1 Cor. 2:15). It rests on the fidelity of the Father to his promises.

In this way the Church feels that she can face the difficulties and challenges of this new period of history and can also provide, in the present and in the future, priests who are well trained to be convinced and fervent ministers of the "new evangelization," faithful and generous servants of Jesus Christ and of the human family. We are not unmindful of difficulties in this regard; they are neither few nor insignificant. However, to surmount these difficulties we have at our disposal our hope, our faith in the unfailing love of Christ, and our certainty that the priestly ministry in the life of the Church and in the world knows no substitute.”

Anonymous said...

I'm discouraged at being a young Catholic in the UK. Perhaps I'm unlucky, but I've yet to meet a faithful priest. After having met a bunch of heretical nuns who were all for priestesses, New Age and such, Catholic Answers ( has pretty much been my lifeline.

That there are faithful British Catholic seminarians is a surprise for me, and gives me reason to hope.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that you always remain faithful to the Catholic Church and the Pope. People like you are needed. People who don't give in to the pressures of society and to heretics, and people who don't look for the easy way out and seek to split from the Church. I'll pray that God blesses us with some St. Athanasiuses, and that you're one of them.

Orthfully Catholic said...

If you pray, study the Church's teachings, find orthodox answers to any problems you may have and ask God for the humility and the love of the Church to remain orthodox you will!!!

Pray to Our Lady to crush heresy and liberalism with Her Immaculate heel. And don't forget to pray for their conversion!

Orthfully Catholic said...

Thanks alot ma beck for the link!
God bless

John Kearney said...

I am so glad I found your website. You are a breath of fresh air. I am afraid the remarks by Paul left me exhausted. I have heard them so many times and sadly I cannot get a picture in my mind of what `the sings of the times` means when people like Paul explode into rhetoric. It is all very smple to me. There are new challenges we have to face and in the case of couples living together rather than marrying quoting `Thou shalt not commit adulter` is not helpful. We must show them the negative affects this has on society and that we still must live with the techings of Christ on marriage. In the past many behaviours were frowned on but today they are encouraged. But the Gospel stands firm we do not compromise it by saying "Well they love ona ahother" We have the challenge of homosexuality - certainly "Thou shalt not ...." does not work. But show them the dangers they are in healthwise, the unhappiness that nned not be. It is all good stuff. Perhaps I will find someone in my Diocese who agrees with me - now there is the real challenge.

Paul said...


At the risk of being accused of “exploding into rhetoric”, what about Our Lord’s response to the servants who, in the parable of the weeds and the wheat (Mt 13: 24-30), offer to go and gather the wheat before the harvest:

"No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn."

St John Chrysostom comments on this passage as follows

"But what means, “Lest ye root up the wheat with them?” Either He means this, If ye are to take up arms, and to kill the heretics, many of the saints also must needs be overthrown with them; or that of the very tares it is likely that many may change and become wheat. If therefore ye root them up beforehand, ye injure that which is to become wheat, slaying some, in whom there is yet room for change and improvement. He doth not therefore forbid our checking heretics, and stopping their mouths, and taking away their freedom of speech, and breaking up their assemblies and confederacies, but our killing and slaying them."

In other words, the need for a careful discernment of the signs of the times (your phrase not mine) has been part of Catholic tradition right from the beginning.


Andrew said...

I would like to point you to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln who excommunicated the members of some of the groups you listed.

The official position of the Bishop can be found on the Lincoln Diocese website.

The Vatican recently upheld the excommunication after some members of those listed groups appealed to the Vatican.

And oh yeah, don't forget the excommunicated Archbishop Millingo's Married Priests Now group. He's in it with the Moonies whose leader was recently crowned Messiah! In Washington, no less. What has the world come to?