Friday, 29 May 2015

Loss of Faith Among the Bishops

Too many souls have lost The Faith, even among those who come to (or celebrate) Mass. The vote in Ireland (around 60% said ‘yes’ to homosexual “marriage”), shows just how far we have gone in abandoning the Gospel for modern secular views fuelled by emotion and bad psychology in the face of objective biological realties. Such a fuel burns even among some Cardinals who have argued against the traditional position held by the Church as defended by pro-life Cardinals such as Cardinals Burke, Pell, Müller, Brandmüller, and Caffarra (all of whom collaborated on the book, “Remaining In The Truth Of Christ”). Cardinals and Bishops who have argued against the five Cardinals just mentioned have, in their misguided understanding of mercy and social justice, abandoned their duty to protect their flock from the Father of Lies; they have abandoned 2000 years of Catholic teaching and natural law so as to adapt The Faith to subjectivity, which is contrary to The Revealed Truth and the good of souls. Make no mistake about it: the Church is in a battle against evil and the Culture of Death in a new and intense way, and we need to keep up our prayers for the exaltation of the Church and the good of souls -and for the recovery of The Faith in many of the Bishops and the support of those who prefer to simply administer their Diocese without raising the Church's voice on hot-button topics.

On this same topic, it ought to be disturbing to see the report from Guiseppe Rusconi (see Lifesite news here) outlining the dissatisfaction in the Roman Curia with Pope Francis and some of his remarks such as “Who am I to judge?” Many however, will simply dismiss the article, others will be scandalised. Whatever way we react, the story must be disturbing to the man or woman who seeks the peace of the Church and the good of souls.

It is important to remember that a Pope cannot add to, delete from or change established teaching; he can only guard it, penetrate it and hand it on incorrupt. So while we must accept infallible papal teachings we can, with due obedience and respect, question his words in homilies and interviews, and question any dubious laws he enacts, no Pope being above the Tradition he is called to serve: “A servant is not greater than his master” (Jn.15v20). Indeed to seek to change established teaching or to enact laws which undercut that teaching is to usurp the Sovereignty of Christ, which has probably been a temptation for many popes. Still, they can rely upon faithful Catholics and Cardinals such as those named above to call them to account if they veer from the Truth in word or in action, as Paul called-out Peter (Gal.2v11).

Too many in the Church are blind to the state of the Church today, which is lacerated by the world and suffering from an autoimmune disease. Fundamentally, this disease consists in a shift in focus from God to man: pastoral care must overlook sinful acts so as to be “merciful” (though it is not merciful to pretend that sinful actions are not sinful), and liturgy must be geared towards the affirmation of man. As for moral teaching, in recent decades the people of God have been allowed by their shepherds to consider their conscience autonomous from the teaching of the Church with the result that now, any attempt to teach orthodoxy by faithful presbyters, is met with antagonism from the people and rebuke from many of the Bishops.

I was once called to our curial offices (not by our current Bishop) to account for a ‘How to go to Confession’ sheet I placed in the Church and in which (it was claimed) I had failed to make room for the word of God as required by the New Rite of Penance. I showed my questioner where scripture was indeed properly included and he duly apologised, but then complained that I had incorporated an Act of Contrition that included the words “I am sorry for my sins because by them I have lost heaven and gained hell”. I was told it was inappropriate. I asked if we did not lose heaven by our sins and he said we did, but that it wasn’t appropriate to say it. (If it isn’t appropriate in Confession, one wonders where it could ever be appropriate). He then showed me a communication from a parent decrying the fact that I required the families of those children seeking Confirmation to attend Sunday Mass.  The lady writing said it was not right for me to demand that people attend Mass to receive Confirmation –and my questioner told me she was right. I pointed out that Divine Law (the Ten Commandments); Canon Law and the Catechism are what make that demand; I only voice it. But he was not happy.

Laity are just as confrontational. I was once reproached by a lady where I regularly supplied a Sunday Mass because I had preached a sermon on the immorality of contraception, abortion and homosexual acts. The lady told me she was the catechist for marriage preparation in the parish and that it was "her job to teach on those topics, not the priest, and certainly not in a homily where people need to be affirmed and uplifted”.

In my experience there is great antagonism to anything that is not people-centred in our liturgy, and a commensurate antagonism to Catholic moral teaching. Here we come back to the Bishops: it is up to them to put this right; if they will be clear on teaching according to the Catechism; faithful to the rubrics of the Mass and the decrees of Vatican II, the people will follow and Rome will take notice. Indeed I respectfully suggest that it is not Pope Francis who is primarily at fault today, but the episcopate which, with rare exceptions, is afraid of being unpopular with the world and our own Catholic people. If the Bishops were to begin again teach faithfully, clearly and consistently what Scripture, Tradition and the Catechism teach, both in their own Diocese and through their Episcopal Conferences, Francis would not think of allowing anyone to toy with new teachings on marriage or changing Canon Law governing marriage and the reception of the Sacraments. Sadly, one cannot help but wonder if Francis realises his popularity is not because he shows compassion to the sick and disabled; because he kisses babies or because he speaks about the rights of the poor –none of these are unique to Francis. No, his popularity arises from the fact that he is seen as the pope who will abandon Gospel teaching and 2000 years of moral tradition; he is popular because people see him as the pope who will give them permission to live by their licentious and perverted desires. It is this which makes him -and those Bishops and priests who promote the same- popular.

Pray for Pope Francis and the Bishops in particular; they mean well and act from good heart but many act from weakened faith and bad theology. Pray especially for the Pope who, as Captain of Peter’s Barque but not its owner, must steer her safely in the direction of Heaven’s harbour through the strong winds of disordered societal change.


  1. The passage of St Faustina's diary about souls skipping through gardens of pleasure, straight into hell comes to mind.

    I haven't finished my Rosary today Father, be assured you have a decade.

  2. Thank you, JAMC. Prayer is always appreciated.

  3. I trust your inquisitor felt duly chastised. I sometimes feel totally nonplussed by people who question EVERYTHING that was done pre Vatican 2. I was always taught that there is no salvation outside of the Church & this was confirmed by a You Tube sermon by an American priest & yet ecumenism is taught to our seminarians & Catholics are encouraged to attend services of other religions. I recall having to have written permission from the bishop to attend weddings in non Catholic churches.
    What about our children (& their teachers) who are required to study & teach 'comparative religion' often to the detriment of learning Catholic teaching?

    1. Thank you David.
      There is certainly a huge prejudice against anything pre 1965.
      God Bless.

  4. I can identify with everything you have written Fr Gary. A very dear priest friend of mine Fr John Speekman, was removed from his parish in Morwell by two bishops for his orthodoxy. The case went on for 6 years and was covered by Into the Deep. He has since moved to a diocese where the bishop at least supports him. A fish always rot from its head. In many dioceses in the world it has been rotting for sometime now.The moral mess the world is in has its roots in the Church.

    1. Thank you Greg.
      I often refer to the Israelis having the advantage over the Amelakites when Moses elevated his arms in battle, but failing when his arms were lowered (Ex.17). We have stopped raising our hands and hearts to God in much of the current liturgies we see today, where affirmation of the people is the aim.. Only when the Church is healthy can the world be healthy, since the Church is akin the circulatory system of Our Lord's Body, ministering the Precious Blood to the world for it's salvation.
      God Bless

    2. Beautifully said once again Fr Gary!

  5. Fr. Dickson said:

    "Pray for Pope Francis and the Bishops in particular; they mean well and act from good heart"

    Father, you're such a good priest and I pray for you but many of these men within the Church are NOT " of goodwill"

    "Know thine enemy." St. Ignatius said and there IS an enemy and many, unfortunately are the Cardinals and Bishops. I pray daily they will repent but if not then they must leave...


    There can be no peace
    If not of good will.
    There can be no race
    For those who stand still.

    Only she –
    Full of grace
    Was the miracle
    Set in place.

    To magnify
    Her soul prepared
    By God her spirit -
    Never ensnared.

    “Blessed art thou…”
    Gabriel hailed
    And at that moment
    The enemy railed.

    For he remembered
    In the garden free
    Tween him and a woman

    But who the woman?
    God did not tell
    Then Gabriel’s “Ave”
    Shook the depths of Hell.

    And Satan screamed
    Turned on a wing
    To offer some peace
    And will good to a King.

    “Peace.” Herod said,
    “And yes, good will…
    I’ve a right to my reign,
    If some Innocents I kill!”

    1. Thank you, Longskirts.
      Your poems are very much appreciated. It is because Gabriel's Ave shook the depths of hell that prayer to our Lady for the Church is so essential. She, after all, is mediatrix of the the graces Our lord has won for us.
      God bless.
      PS. I'm not really good, just trying to leave behind "what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize God in Christ Jesus" (Pil.3v13,14)

  6. Fr. Dickson
    Thank you for your frank, and honest Catholic blog .

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      God Bless

  7. Father, i agree we are fighting an evil culture, but don't you think you have been a bit hard on the Bishops? A number of them are doing a very good job.

    1. Thank you, Chris.
      I have not said all bishops have lost the faith but that many have, and I don't want to list those that so many admire lest I forget to name one or two -and the list is quite long. I names the Cardinals because they were contributors to the book.
      God Bless.

  8. Yes Father,

    The Church is going through a difficult phase at present. But Truth must prevail. There is no possible alternative to this for the One True Holy and Catholic Church.

    As for the lady whose thought her “job” was to “teach on those topics, not the priest”, I would suggest that she be told quite specifically, but very ”nicely” of course to change her ideas, to recognise that she must speak in line with, on behalf of, and with the approval of the priest, otherwise she be politely advised to get some other “job”.

    The time for acceptance of this sort of indiscipline, has long since gone.

    1. Thank you, Jacobi.
      Truth will prevail: "Behold, I have overcome the world" (Jn.16v33).
      the lady is not from my parish so I made my point, clearly and gently, at the time.
      God Bless.

  9. Well said yet again, Father. If we had bishops of your calibre the Church, and the world, would not be in such a mess.


    1. Thank you, patricia.
      I wish we had Bishops and priests far above me in knowledge and far beyond me in holiness (presuming I have any!)
      God Bless.

  10. Well said again Fr. and thank you. You say what a lot of priests and laity think but don't dare to speak out. It is so sad what has happened to our lovely beautiful Holy Church. . I look back and remember "I will go to the altar of God. To God the joy to my youth." how good it was then in the 50s . . . .
    I pray that it will all come back.. . . and it will . . in all its glory . .But not in my lifetime . . . .

    1. TYhanl you paul.
      I don;t think we can go back to the fifties; what we need is simply good, solid, unswerving teaching and God-focused liturgy. (I love the Old Rite because of the sort of things you mention: "I will go unto the altar of God"; the burning coals of Isaiah before the Gospel; washing one's hands among the innocent.."I have loved the beauty of thy house", and the prayers of the Offertory which are missing from the Novus Ordo.
      God Bless.

  11. We tend to forget about priests like yourself having to explain to Bishops, let alone parishioners, why they are preaching/teaching/upholding Catholic Doctrine and Faith. Our worlds are filled with news bytes of Shepard's unfaithful to Church Teaching or priests advancing their own interpretations of Doctrine, but seldom do we hear of the many Faithful priests who have to stand - mostly silently, I'm guessing - before their superior to defend themselves for simply being a Catholic Priest and doing what a priest does - Teach the Faith, however unpleasant it my be to the ears in the pews.

    May Christ grant you the Graces needed as a priest and the Cure of Ars guide you in your vocation. You will be remembered in my Rosary Intentions this evening. God Bless...

  12. Thank you, David.
    I have to say that I have never found of my Bishops (three in my time as a priest) to be personally offensive, and indeed, one was able to demonstrate great charity towards me when I was very agitated and angry with him for not being up-front and for having listened uncritically to criticisms of my teaching and practice. That we have to account for orthodoxy is indeed a ridiculous state of affairs..
    God Bless.

    1. The thanks belongs to yourself and other Catholic priests, Father...

      There have been Bishops in the recent past who have not supported their priests, though their are many more who do admirably so, regardless of the world's opinion or that of Catholics in their diocese. Apologetics doesn't mean to apologize for the Faith, but to defend it, something we all need to remember.

      God Bless...

  13. Fr. Gary
    I agree whole heartedly, 110%, with your column.
    I pray this slow (or maybe not so slow!) 'fading away' of our Holy Roman Catholic Church will halt and Our Blessed Mother's promise to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta at Fatima will soon come to pass and a great period of peace descends on the world. Then, and only then will the world once again see the beauty of our true religion.
    Thank you Father Gary for your courage to stand up in defence of the Faith, faithfully passing on what you have received. If only more Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and dare I say Popes would have the guts to do the same.
    Be assured of my prayers
    God Bless.....
    Stephen P

    1. Thank you, Stephen.
      There are a number of very good Bishops around (I can think of several), but the majority have gotten so enamoured with and lost in the being 'pastoral' approach and in their seeking to use non-offensive language that they are unable to proclaim the Faith. It is always going to be offensive to cohabitees, to those using contraception, to those who are civilly married after divorce and to those who engage in same-sex activity to say that such things are gravely sinful and contrary to the natural law; it is offensive to non-Catholics to say God established one true Church and it is the Catholic Church, but it is the truth that offends, not the person speaking it. We need to recover the courage to speak speaking the truth so that we please God, not man.
      God Bless.

  14. Thank you for your gentle determination to go on speaking the Truth, and your gracious responses to those who have difficulties with what you say...please know you are a great encourager, and may St Barnabas pray for you to keep going.

    1. Thank you Ever Mindful.
      We do try to be charitable in our responses and to deal with issues rather than persons. It is good to know Mr Tie and I are giving some folk encouragement.
      God Bless.
      PS Sorry for the delay posting; I was preparing for a funeral today (FRiday) and for First Holy Communions tomorrow.


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