Fr Stephen Smuts

This Is Where Dissent Leads: Communion Given to the Dog

with 45 comments

The Age (au):

Father Greg Reynolds wants his church of dissident Catholics to welcome all – ”every man and his dog”, one might say, risking the non-inclusive language he deplores – but even he was taken aback when that was put to the test during Mass yesterday.

A first-time visitor arrived late at the Inclusive Catholics service in South Yarra with a large and well-trained German shepherd. When the consecrated bread and wine were passed around, the visitor took some bread and fed it to his dog.

Apart from one stifled gasp, those present showed admirable presence of mind – but the dog was not offered the cup!

Father Reynolds, a Melbourne priest for 32 years, launched Inclusive Catholics earlier this year. He now ministers to up to 40 people at fortnightly services alternating between two inner-suburban Protestant churches.

The congregation includes gay men, former priests, abuse victims and many women who feel disenfranchised, but it is optimistic rather than bitter.

Yesterday a woman, Irene Wilson, led the liturgy and another, Emmy Silvius, preached the homily. Two more passed the bread and wine around.

Father Reynolds – his only clerical adornment a green stole around his neck – played as small a role as he could.

Inclusive Catholics is part of a small but growing trend in the West of disaffiliated Catholics forming their own communities and offering ”illicit” Masses, yet are slightly uncertain of their identities. The question was posed during the service: ”Are we part of the church or are we a breakaway movement?”

Father Reynolds was a thorn in the side of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart when he preached in 2010 that it was God’s will to have women priests. He resigned as Western Port parish priest last August and had his faculties to act as a priest in Melbourne removed.

He is still a priest, though now on the dole. Mary Fenelon, who usually worships in Abbotsford, comes to this Mass because ”these people are forward-thinkers, and the church is going backwards. This is inclusive and welcoming’…’

(HTFr John Zuhlsdorf)

Dissent, caused by sin, leads to disobedience. Disobedience leads to rebellion. And rebellion ends up in anarchy, a place where dogs are fed communion. Breaks in the Body of Christ, some big, some small, all through schisms and heresies.

 

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 5, 2012 at 18:57

45 Responses

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  1. I would surely agree on the theological and biblical level, but the point needs to be also said, that “Roman Catholicism” has certainly “disenfranchised” some people, like many divorced Catholics who are forever in this life told, they cannot receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist! This is just legalism, and not the grace of God! And I am not saying that divorce is not a serious breach in the Christian life, but it is certainly not beyond forgivness and full restoration!

    Btw, I am Low Church somewhat, but never to the point of forgetting the celebrate does somehow represent Christ! The Alb and Stole for me…”The Eucharist is to be celebrated with dignity and devotion, allowing as much room as the celebrant deems appropriate for spontaneity.” And, “Liturgy centered in God rests on the Word of God, celebrates the presence of God, and points to the Kingdom of God. Attempts to demythologize liturgy often leave God unknown and unapproachable.” (Anglican)

    irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

    August 5, 2012 at 20:00

    • You must accept this rather than blaming Catholicism for one’s own sins and disobedience; without laws, you get doggie communion and homosexual marriage and bishops and she-bishopesses- it is inevitable, and boy is it infuriating!

      Why should I be happy that these people either don’t know what they’re doing, or rejoicing in how abusive they actually are despite their ignorance of their actions? You’d try to inform them, and they sound like atheists, agnostics, and indifferentists who all share the same “I just want to be happy and comfortable” without making any sort of actual sacrifice.

      Or they just feel entitled to it. That’s also a common theme I see between “liberal Catholics” and atheists/agnostics/wiccans/neopagans/anarchists/communist/etc. They all feel entitled to something, and would twitch at any instance of authority or disagreement expressed against them. Why don’t we all just skip the pleasantries and call those who love the Law and the Authority of the Church and God “Fascists” and “Nazis” and call people who give Laws such as the Pope as “Dear Leader Kim Jong Il”? Maybe we’ll come into the realization that that’s what God and Our Lord is- a figure of authority, Who IS the Law. Don’t bargain with Him, don’t treat Him as your equal- Obey Him and Love Him until death. But you see, that’s too late for the Westerners who believe they can force God and force the Church to do what they want so that they can be comfortable without their conscience picking at them like a jackhammer because of their sinfulness. I say, as St. Luke had written:

      “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. ”

      Likewise, one can try to be as comfortable as one can get on Earth, but that’s missing the point of what Christianity is or being presumptuous of God’s Mercy; every waking moment a Christian must prepare for the Second Coming of Christ and His Final Judgement. I certainly am ready to die as we speak, but some people think that they need to be comfortable first, to be a part of the “inclusive church” first before they can obey God.

      Now, we have DOGGY COMMUNION. How mentally deficient have people become to not realize what they are doing? Their egos and rationalizations have blocked entertaining the notion that they are doing something deeply, deeply, deeply wrong, because of the “Jesus Loves EVERYONE!” Rhetoric that has been going on since Vatican 2. These people might as well be performing Satanist Black Mass and they’ll do it with a smile, talking about how “inclusive” they really are. They’ll quote some Bible verses there too. Truth is, if I wanted to, I can quote the Bible to justify genocide and other forms of mass murder; but I shan’t, because I believe in the authority of the Roman Pontiff and no one else’s.

      One does not blame God for having sinned, and so there is no justification for statements and actions that breaks up the Body of Christ, nor to blame the Body of Christ and its visible senior Bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, for one’s own disobedience.This is where Protestantism has led people, and is no different from when the Sacraments of the One, Catholic, and Apostolic Church was cast down and stepped on by Luther and his ilk, along with what was handed down from the time of the Apostles. Ruined by “Reformation” by people who thought they knew better than 1,500 years of Christendom. If there ever is a “Reform of the Reform” target these people. Cast the devils out, put them into swine, and drive them to the sea!

      How I miss the days when heretics were burned at the stake- for every bleeding heart that uses the Inquisition as an excuse for Doggy Communion, I say, the Inquisitions truly rooted out sodomites, perverts, heretics, and abominations of all sorts- though the Cathars and Albigensians are dead, some people have now permitted Satan into the Church when mankind was weak with guilt and uncertainty from its self-destruction during the 20th century. (Caused by Atheism and Protestantism, by the way!) Vigilance was relaxed, and now we see the result.

      In comparison, the Eastern Orthodox have withstood Mongols, Communists, Arabs, Turks, -Crusaders- and one will NEVER find anything like Doggy Communion or any of the issues faced by Western Christendom today. Why is this? Because the West forgot what asceticism is; Westerners have become hedonists at the heart, which is why testifying to the Truth makes one a “bigot” and “Uncharitable” and so forth. They say this while Civilization crumbles around them, and have their heads in the sand. Well, my enemies will call me a bigot anyways, so long as I disagree with them- so why does it matter? And that’s what all Catholics who are obedient to tradition should think- if people will hate you regardless of what you do save by compromising what you believe, why would what they do or say against you matter? Comfort rots the interior. Nothing rots most than when one is comfortable with one’s disobedience and rebellion, and nothing more evil and offensive to God than by using His Word to justify rebellion and disobedience and sin against Him, against His Church and against all the authority put upon Peter and His successors.

      Ioannes

      August 5, 2012 at 20:45

      • @Ioannes: Your babble is quite amazing, and it almost always lacks proper knowledge, history and Christian theology, notwithstanding God’s mercy and grace! Why don’t ya go with the SSPX and be done with it! – And not all divorced Catholics are liberals!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 5, 2012 at 21:04

      • All knowledge is foolishness when it is incorrect knowledge. It is you who lacks proper knowledge because you exist outside Roman Catholicism. You are as knowledgeable as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, sir, and just as wise.

        Ioannes

        August 5, 2012 at 21:11

      • @Ioannes: Just about everything you say has ad hominem in it! That’s prejudice, rather than good reason! And calling me, an Evangelical Anglican priest-presbyter, an atheist just because I am Reformational and Reformed, proves my point! Just plain ignorance in your zeal! Once again, just amazing! But, I do hope you can find the proper temperance and true understanding someday in your great zeal! And, I hope I am still alive! ;)

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 5, 2012 at 21:22

    • @celebrant

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 5, 2012 at 20:57

  2. THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! If I see a priest or ANYONE give the Eucharist, the real Body and Blood of Christ, to a DOG, my fight or flight response will go HAYWIRE.

    I feel violence becomes justified at such a thing. IT’S OUR GOD. Being given to a DOG. Only atheists and evil men rejoice in this.

    Am I overreacting? No, I don’t think so. But for those who believe so, think of Jesus Christ, of the people who are faithful to their religion and its authorities. Are the faithful willing to be tortured and killed for -this-? A doggy treat?

    The only thing I can recommend is to watch the Passion of the Christ, because no amount of anger and outrage can be expressed at how we have treated the Son of God.

    Ioannes

    August 5, 2012 at 21:03

  3. May the Lord God have mercy on his soul….

    Robert Ian Williams

    August 5, 2012 at 21:24

  4. Ioannes, you are certainly NOT overreacting. How anyone can justify giving The Real Presence of Jesus to a dog is beyond belief. It takes me an entire school year to teach my Catechism class about the Sacrament of the Eucharist so that they understand it is Jesus Himself who is coming to dwell in them. Anyone who thinks that animals can receive Communion needs to re-learn their Catechism or stop calling themselves Catholic, reformed or otherwise.

    8 kids and a business

    August 5, 2012 at 23:26

    • @8, Since you stuffed “reformed” into your statement, I will respond. It is often nice when people read fully, rather than just shoot from the hip! In my first post, I said on a theological level I agreed with our blog host! Of course no dogs get the Sacrament, that is a no brainer! Btw, concerning the Catechism, I wonder how many Catholics know the importance of the Ecumenical Councils? especially the Nicene! And btw, “Rome” does not have a monopoly on the word “Catholic”, noting the meaning and etymology of the word.

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 6, 2012 at 00:38

      • As St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) wrote (as truly for today, as then):

        cf.: http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/catholic_church.htm

        26. But since the word Ecclesia [Church/Assembly] is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to thee now the Article, “And in one Holy Catholic Church;” that thou mayest avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which thou wast regenerated. And if ever thou art sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord’s House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, and all the rest,) and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all; which before was barren, but now has many children.

        St. Augustine somewhere in his polemic against the Donatists has an even stronger passage to the same effect, but I cannot locate it at the moment.

        William Tighe

        August 6, 2012 at 00:59

      • And now for St. Augustine, see:

        http://www.gnosis.org/library/contfe.htm

        “The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself. But with you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play. Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion.”

        William Tighe

        August 6, 2012 at 02:15

      • Indeed William: Nothing in either statement, equates that the Roman “Papacy” has somehow become itself head of the Church Catholic! And certainly Augustine was not infallible! Note, too Reformed Theology is not the place of a certain church, but the principle of the Reformation and Reformed itself: Ecclesia semper reformada est. Indeed the Reformers thought the Church Catholic was itself measured by “spirit and truth”, and not a historical episcopate, alone! Indeed the Sola’s for the Reformed Catholic Christians, as Sola fides in Christum membra ecclesiae constituit: One faith in Christ can establish the members of the church; i.e. the foundation or basis of membership in the church is faith!

        *I will not give you or Rome, the title “Catholic” alone! And indeed even Vatican II admits the principle that the Mystical Body of Christ extends beyond Rome!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 02:57

      • And Justification and sacramental re-recreation form one single act, but by faith itself. Of this the sacrament of Baptism is the sign & seal, and even Augustine, as Luther followed here! And everyone in the Church Catholic enters here!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 03:24

      • Well, if my comment was directed specifically at reformed you, Fr. Robert, then you could defend your stand re: dogs and Communion. But I wasn’t addressing you specifically. One of us may be shooting from the hip, but it’s not me.

        8 kids and a business

        August 6, 2012 at 15:09

      • @8, Hopefully then we can put away our “guns”? And speak in good conscience and theological-biblical conviction, even if we must disagree! :)

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 17:53

      • Btw William, this little Wiki piece is rather good! I have been busy today, I often go back and forth to my laptop in the hospital, according to time, etc. Sorry if I appear harsh, I know you are yourself seeking scholarship, somewhat. But indeed, we have very different presuppositions!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Catholic

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 7, 2012 at 01:45

  5. “like many divorced Catholics who are forever in this life told, they cannot receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist! This is just legalism, and not the grace of God!”

    What an amazing statement, or rather rant! I suppose that there are some “divorced Catholics,” who, due to their particular circumstances, are excluded from the sacraments, but I can’t imagine that there are many. But if one means, “divorced and remarried Catholics,” then they are rightly excluded from the Eucharist, living as they do in a state of continual adultery, “joining their members” to a person to whom they are not married in the eyes of God and of his Church. But even then, if they agree to live together “as brother and sister” they can be readmitted to the Eucharist.

    It is, of course, most amusing, to see an Anglican like “irishanglican” taking this line. From 1604 onwards until (on paper at least) until the 1980s the Church of England did not allow for remarriage after divorce under any circumstances whatsoever (*), except after the granting of an annulment — and the circumstances under which one might obtain an annulment in the Church of England after 1604 were far more limited and stringent than in the Catholic Church, even before the 1960s (when in North America, at least, Catholic marital tribunals began to use the most ludicrous and far-fetched “psychological immaturity” considerations to grant annulments — amounting in most years to 60-70% of annulments granted worldwide. It is high time that this “loophole” which is more like a maelstrom were shut up.)

    (*) save for “Parliamentary divorces” of which some 360 were granted between 1670 and 1820. The English, after 1707 British, Parliament would pass a law granting a couple a divorce, also granting sometimes one of the divorcing parties, sometimes both of them, leave to remarry, and also granting to any Church of England clergyman exemption from all secular and ecclesiastical penalties for performing a remarriage for the persons benefitting from the act. (The fiasco of George IV’s attempted parliamentary divorce from his Queen Caroline in 1821 discredited the whole farcical procedure.) Strangely, from 1560 onward divorce and remarriage after divorce was available in Scotland in a wide variety of circumstances.

    Cranmer was, of course, like all Protestant “Reformers” in favor of allowing remarriage after divorce in a wide variety of circumstances. In 1547, just a few months after the death of Henry VIII he granted a divorce on his own authority to William Parr, Earl of Essex, together with permission to remarry (in Good Queen Mary’s reign Parr was threatened with prosecution for bigamy, and so had to separate from his “wife;” and even though he resumed cohabiting with her under Queen Bess, the latter more than once told him, when he joined with other nobles to try to force her to agree to marry to produce an heir, that he was in no position to advise anybody about marriage), and remarriage after divorce was embodied in Cranmer’s proposed reform of English Canon Law, the “Reformatio Legum Ecclestocarum,” which was rejected by Parliament in 1553 and which, when reintroduced for debate in Parliament in 1571, Queen Elizabeth ordered the bill not to be debated, and threatened to imprison those who were promoting it. Throughout Elizabeth’s reign the situation was very confused: separations from bed and board (which did not allow the parties to remarry) were granted from time to time, and on occasion one or another of the parties to such “separations” subsequently attempted to “remarry.” Marmaduke Middleton, Bishop of St. David’s, attempted to “remarry” after receiving such a separation, and was subsequently prosecuted for and convicted of bigamy, and removed from his see — but John Thornborough managed to be appointed Bishop of Limerick in 1591, despite his having dome subsequently the same thing; and he was later translated to Worcester. These confusions were ended by the Canons of 1604, which ruled out marriage after divorce in any and all circumstances, save when the divorce was what we should call today an annulment.

    William Tighe

    August 6, 2012 at 00:38

    • @William: One can see that you don’t do priestly, pastoral work, and thank goodness! Sadly, and I say this with open conscience and knowledge, that I have several former Catholics, and even one Roman Catholic, who actually come to me for pastoral support and dialogue! And yes, the former Roman Catholics ask for my ear in confession. So to hell with your history lesson! Such means next to nothing in dealing with human souls! How’s that mate! ;)

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 6, 2012 at 00:51

      • How’s that, you ask? Just another example of creating your own church to go along with creating your own theology. Nothing new there.

        William Tighe

        August 6, 2012 at 01:00

      • @William: I have created nothing, but I do believe the Church Catholic and Mystical is much larger than just Rome! Btw, I stand with many of the Reformers theologically, both the top-tier and many Reformed since, if ya want to try and take this great subject on, I am quite willing, but perhaps we would need to move to my wee blog. I have many Reformed favorites in theology, like the Biblical Theology of Geerhardus Vos, etc. But the Anglican history still has its own also! I know this is a “Catholic” spot, but thank God “truth” lives & also breathes!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 01:23

      • Ignore him, he’s a souper.

        Conchúr

        August 6, 2012 at 01:23

      • Don’t mess with me “Conchur”, unless your ready to chat seriously, and have something to say!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 01:30

      • This “Irishanglican” is aiming to be a new Marcion. First born of SATAN.

        Ioannes

        August 6, 2012 at 01:45

      • So tell us oh wise “Ioannes” (besides your ad hominem), what are your qualifications to speak? And btw, please tell us (in some reality) just who is Marcion, and who was the Church Father who first dealt with him?

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 01:52

      • I thought not! Just more hot air, and ad hom!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 01:59

      • Well, if you have access to the internet, you can read St. Irenaeus relate that St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, dealt with Marcion.

        Considering how widely available that information is, I don’t see what you’re trying to prove other than how bloated you are with trivia- trivia that hasn’t helped you be any more relevant despite your lifetime of “scholarship” That’s why you’re in this blog, having an argument with a stranger, thinking you’ll change lives or something. You have as much likeliness of changing anything that matters as you are likely to become Roman Catholic again.

        Qualifications? I have plenty! I’m an Oxford graduate of the School of Divinity with a DPhil. I’m also a world-renowned Biblical scholar, having written hundreds of books. I’m also a Canon Lawyer and Church Historian, with a degree from the Pontifical University of Salamanca. I’m also the Supreme General of the Salvation Army, and can bi-locate at will! I can also fly! How’s that for qualifications- it’s better than yours!

        Honestly, you think “qualifications” matter, especially on the internet? I don’t even recognize nor care for any of your accomplishments. Jesus Christ had no qualifications, and neither did the Apostles. But they certainly have authority, as the Pope and Bishops have authority- something you’ll never have and can only wish you had. That’s why you play pretend as a priest, and demand “qualifications” to hide the fact.

        Your qualifications don’t speak for you. One can lie about qualifications until one’s ego is satisfied. What you say speaks louder than your qualifications. Right now, you sound like you support doggie communion. Let’s see “qualifications” save you from that. Certainly, Jesus Christ isn’t going to look at your “qualifications” but at the fact that you abandoned Him and His Church and still consider yourself loyal and faithful.

        Ioannes

        August 6, 2012 at 03:54

      • @Ioannes: I think it best, that we not chat with each other now! As you seem to belittle both the Internet, as this blog and just yourself!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 6, 2012 at 04:04

      • Marcion? I’ll give you Marcion, and Montanus to boot:

        http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/04/modern-day-marcionism

        William Tighe

        August 6, 2012 at 16:06

    • “… despite his having dome subsequently the same thing.”

      “Subsequently” is a mistake; it should read “… despite his having done previously substantially the same thing.”

      William Tighe

      August 6, 2012 at 16:20

    • “Cranmer was, of course, like all Protestant “Reformers” in favor of allowing remarriage after divorce in a wide variety of circumstances.”

      Omit the word “wide;” some wanted to allow it “widely,” but some not. All endorsed it, however, in this respect following the novel views of Erasmus on the subject, who presented permanent life-long marriage as (if I may use modern terminology) as a ideal, or, rather, a realizable goal, but not as a dominical “law.”

      William Tighe

      August 6, 2012 at 16:25

  6. Sounds to me like the ole irishanglican has had his head handed to him on this blog today!

    johnnyzee3

    August 6, 2012 at 05:50

    • This is basically a “Catholic” blog! And I am most definitely on almost enemy ground! Care to come over to my blog Johnny? That’s irishanglican.wordpress ;)

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 6, 2012 at 05:56

  7. We all know that “irishanglican” has sufficient time on his hands to put forward his own point of view on just about every thread on this blog. If my recollection serves me, he has disclosed that he was brought up in the Catholic Church, left it, was ordained in the Church of Ireland, and is now in the USA in some capacity or other. Given that background, we cannot expect his posts to be pro-Catholic or pro Ordinariate, can we?

    But I cannot espouse the viewpoint of Ioannnes who posts: “How I miss the days when heretics were burned at the stake- for every bleeding heart that uses the Inquisition as an excuse for Doggy Communion, I say, the Inquisitions truly rooted out sodomites, perverts, heretics, and abominations of all sorts- though the Cathars and Albigensians are dead, some people have now permitted Satan into the Church when mankind was weak with guilt and uncertainty from its self-destruction during the 20th century. (Caused by Atheism and Protestantism, by the way!) Vigilance was relaxed, and now we see the result.”

    The Crusades, the Reconquista, the Inquisition, the burning of “heretics” at the stake, the expusions of Jews and Muslims, the blood libels, are all examples of man’s inhumanity to man and of the evil consequences of the Church allowing itself to become too closely identified with the power of the state. And when the power of the state is turned upon Catholics? As it was in England and as it has been elsewhere over the centuries.

    The Church has learned many lessons over the years and one of them is the need for the Church to keep its distance from the state.

    That is reflected in Canon Law today. A cleric may not take up a office of the state. So a Catholic Bishop of Priest may not be part of the legislature or judiciary, a priest may not run for president. Concordats with fascist dictators and juntas are no longer considered a good idea.

    The Church has to have the freedom to speak truth unto power, as Catholic bishops are doing today on evils such as legalised abortion, euthanasia, the redefinition of marriage and much else. The story which gave rise to this thread is indeed shocking to Catholics. But the solution to heresy or sacrilege is not to put the clock back to the Middle Ages.

    Curchill went to the wartime Casablanca conference on board a British warship. It is said that he was taking a postprandial stroll on the deck when he was approached by a French Canadian naval officer who asked the great man whether he did not think that General De Gaulle was for France of the time what Joan of Arc had been in her day. Churchill, who had his prolems with De Gaulle took a little time to think and after a couple of puffs on his cigar replied, “Young man, that may well be so. The problem is that I have not yet been able to persuade the bishops to have him burned at the stake!”

    Yes, the Maid of Orleans, was condemned for heresy by Catholic Bishops and handed over to the civil power and burned at the stake. The sentence of heresy was reversed 25 years later, she was beatified in 1909, canonised in 1920 and is now one of the patron saints of France.

    Mourad

    August 6, 2012 at 10:44

    • I do not question nor doubt that you are the better Catholic, Mr. Mourad! I have little or no doubt that what you say is consistent with Church teaching.

      My own question is- the question of violence being justifiable not as an aggressive act but purely as a defensive one. What comes into my mind would be those communities who are being systematically wiped out -because- of their faith, whether incrementally or with brute efficiency. I have admiration for those who do not wish for violence- they are made for holy martyrdom and sainthood. But I also do not believe that Our Lord was a pacifist (just ask the Jewish Temple authorities) What is the line in which violence is justifiable? What is the line in which violence becomes unjust?

      I’m not talking about violence as always using armaments or resulting in death, but something physical and not limited to just words.

      I really have a strong suspicion that this hesitancy to do what has to be done, this dirty work of violence, when justifiable, is the result of having seen a great loss of life at the hands of fellow man. People run the other way when talk of violence in any kind when they have to stand up and face a real threat. I am reminded of Neville “Peace for our time” Chamberlain when people like Adolf Hitler rose. Or even the accusations of inaction from the good Pope Pius XII. (He has the right to be non-violent. But I also remember “Papal Zouaves” who volunteered to fight for the Pope.)

      But it boils my blood to think that a Christian cannot use violence as a way when he witnesses the rape of his mother, sister, or daughter, or when one cannot protect either those who cannot protect themselves because of their dedication to non-violence or because they are not able to due to age or infirmity. It would break my heart to just sit and do nothing when I am able to do something! (This is why I believe fervently in Christ; There is so much evil in the world, that I know I cannot save everyone with my own actions. So, it is the supreme hope that Christ will save, when people fail. But that doesn’t mean we should do nothing when we have the ability, does it?)

      One cannot dialogue with monsters. I do not deny the Church’s teaching that Man is fundamentally good, but flawed. But some people may have gone too far away and are now a threat to be confronted, no matter how good and innocent they were. And maybe, there is a point where dialogue has become useless for people who will, for example, desecrate the Body of Christ regardless of any non-violent ways we can try to use. Certainly, I would equate the desecration of the Body of Christ as even more heinous than mass murder or rape, because I believe that the Eucharist is truly Christ present. And if it were not so, then our God is a liar who does not love us as much as He could and we’d be better off as atheists or something.

      Ioannes

      August 6, 2012 at 15:01

    • @Mourad: Thanks for a bit of sanity, indeed as a lawyer you know one must have some kind of intellectual and even proper moral approach, and certainly the prejudice of ad hominem is not valid here! Yes, the days of killing our theological opponents is hopefully over! Even with his theological errors we might have to see a Servetus (for me), and a Cranmer (for you), in the glory?

      Just a note, though I am not Ordinariate friendly, and certainly do not support the papacy theologically, I really do have friends and family in both! So my point to be on “enemy ground” is certainly theological! One young man (early 40’s) in the OC Ordinariate, of Blessed John Henry Newman (Southern Calif.), posits my help in going into the Ordinariate. But we are friends, and he is a certain theolog (one time student of the Reformed Seminary, Westminster (West Coast, Escondido). Of course he was on his way to Rome already, I just helped him find the group. Certainly I wish he would have stayed a historical Anglican! But we all have our own journey and conscience in the Christian Faith. Something our friend “Ioannes” has yet to learn, i.e. “conscience, bound by our spirit and hopefully the Spirit of God! (As even St. Paul was want to say! (Acts 23:1 ; 24: 16 / Rom. 9: 1 / 2 Cor. 1:12 ; 4:2, etc.) Note, the negative here too, 1 Tim. 4: 2 / Titus 1:15)…indeed “conscience” was very important for St. Paul!

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 6, 2012 at 17:48

  8. @Ioannes

    I am not for one moment suggesting that there are not occasions where the use of force, even leathal force, is justifiable, I would hold that there are circumsatances where a failure to use force would be reprehensible. Many Catholics serve with distinction in the armed forces of their countries and also in police forces.

    Where your thinking is perhaps muddled is when you equate sacrilege to murder.

    In the case of the former there is a concept known to both the criminal law and canon law – that of justifiable homicide. But there is no need for such a concept in relation to sacrilege. Why?

    Because there is no victim to protect other than the perpetrator. If you think about it, either the person responsible does not appreciate the enormity of the act, in which case the words, “Father forgive them for they known not what they do” spring to mind, or they do know what they are doing, in which case they are in peril of their immortal soul and deserving of our prayer.

    And by the way, there have been Arab Christians since apostolic times. You may care to have a look Website of St Peter Chaldean Cathedral San Diego

    Mourad

    August 7, 2012 at 00:55

    • Thank you for clarifying the canonical segregation of murder from sacrilege.

      Yes, sir, I’ve been aware of Arab Christians before the existence of Islam. I live near a Maronite/Melkite community, though I also follow news of Chaldeans/Assyrians and Copts whenever I can find them in the English language.

      Ioannes

      August 7, 2012 at 02:10

  9. One thing I would like to see in relation to the sacrilege is that the diocese organise some Days of Reparation.

    Mourad

    August 7, 2012 at 03:00

    • Mourad: Don’t you think “Reparation” is demanded for the sexual sins of those in the RC priesthood who have sinned against those people, many who were children at the time, who have been sexually molested? Btw, I know a few of these people myself!

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 7, 2012 at 03:29

      • *Reparation, “In the religious sense this is the repair of some spiritual damage done against a person.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1987)

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 7, 2012 at 03:56

      • Yes, this is a most grave matter, one that I think has been grossly underplayed within the local church, probably with the mindset ‘the less said the better’, but that has only caused even greater harm. I know the Holy Father has made a public apology to the victims of these scandals and much has been paid out toward legal settlements, but nowhere have I heard anything about ‘Reparation’–by the Church Faithful. Jesus had very strong words about such actions: that “…a millstone be tied around their neck and cast into the sea”. HE never advocated ‘burning anyone at the stake’, but Jesus did not mince HIS Words in “sinning against one of these little ones”; HE was crystal clear, definitive, most grave and certainly did NOT advocate ‘cover up and judge not’!
        One Sunday our Pastor announced just such a situation that had surfaced in a county within our diocese. He said the Bishop did not want us to read about it in the newspapers ‘first’ so it was announced ‘during the homily’ at Mass – what poor taste! It was simply related to us in the form of a newsflash followed by “how sad”. That was it! No mention of “Reparation”–for the Gravity of this horrific sin brought down upon the whole Church! Plus there were children present at the Mass – what impression did they leave with as this was handled in such poor taste? We have Perpetual Adoration at our parish, so why was there no outcry for “Reparation”–by all the Faithful before The Blessed Sacrament! Why did Father not expound on this? No, it was simply treated along with parish fundraisers and noteworthy charities. Afterwards, I remembered Our Lord’s words: “…but since you are lukewarm I will spew you out of MY Mouth”! Once again, Clear, Definitive….
        Thank you Fr. Robert for highlighting this most necessary of “Reparations”!

        Margaret

        August 7, 2012 at 10:14

      • Amen Margaret! It is a late hour, and indeed ‘the smoke of Satan has entered the whole church’! Protestant and Catholic!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        August 7, 2012 at 16:31

  10. @ irish anglican

    Why just for Catholic priests? The best data currently available for the incidence of child abuse in the UK is probably that contained in a big study from the NSPCC which you can download Child abuse and neglect in the UK today

    It makes very uncomfortable reading.

    Mourad

    August 7, 2012 at 05:11

    • @Mourad: Well, this whole subject is terrible! But most assuredly more so within the Church itself, and by the very men that are supposed to be godly. Note, the context was about Reparation within or by the Catholic Church, itself! Again, really my point was about the very Pilgrim and sinful nature of the Church, and that’s all of the historical Church Catholic (universal). This is a very sad and late hour! One had never heard of such back when the Church was a Judeo-Christian reality and culture! Indeed, a very late hour in the Gentile Church Apostasy!

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      August 7, 2012 at 05:45


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