For your nostalgic pleasure:
Posted to Island Catholic blog, October 18, 2005
Posted to Island Catholic blog, October 18, 2005
Just a week or two ago the Canadian media was abuzz with speculation that Benedict XVI was getting ready to clamp down on Catholic politicians who denied the teachings of the Church (a problem which seems very prevalent in many parts of the world).
The word was that the Synod of Bishops and Pope in Rome might decide to deny Communion to our very own Prime Minister Paul Martin who supports abortion on demand and who helped almost single-handedly to push through into Canadian law same sex “marriage” just a few months ago.
Here’s a story similar to the news story that reached my own local paper here in St. John’s Newfoundland.
While considering my civic duty as a Christian and as a Catholic, I came to a couple of conclusions; firstly, that many fellow Newfoundlanders might be very confused about all this hubbub. Scandals have a way of causing confusion, and lots of other things.
Catholics have lots of experience with scandal, approximately 2000 years of first hand experience. From a secular, dictionary point of view, this is a short description of scandal. As I said the Catholic Church has had lots of time to think about it and define it.
Of course when it’s convenient (anytime will do) enemies of the Church constantly remind the world (and the Church) of these colourful occasions and use it to profane and distort the message of Christ.
Which is exactly why Jesus and the apostles so strongly warned against causing scandal. It destroys faith and confidence in God and in the Gospel.
I surmised that people might be puzzled by many things recently reported by the press. For example, why the prime minister would be insisting on being a “strong” and “devout” Catholic; why his bishop would be describing him as a “faithful” Catholic; why his sometimes parish priest John Walsh declared the PM to be always welcome for communion regardless of what the Pope said; why bishop Henry said he would deny the PM communion, and possibly even ex-communicate him; why top Vatican officials and even the Pope might consider denying the PM communion; why Charlie Angus, another Canadian MP, has been denied communion by his parish priest for supporting same sex “marriage” but the PM hasn’t; etc. etc.
By the by, Ted Byfield had interesting commentary on this scandal in yesterday’s edition of Oh! Canada.
My second conclusion was that I should at least try to clarify the situation on a local level and maybe mitigate the damage to the many confused and offended souls. My simplest route to do this was by way of a letter to the editor. I had the usual 300 word limit and that really forces one to go quickly to the heart of the issue.
The following is what I forwarded to the editor. It will appear in tomorrow’s paper.
Except for one small change. I was asked by The Telegram to change the word “heretical” because it sounded too harsh and judgmental. Father John Walsh couldn’t be a heretic, could he? After all, he’s still serving as a priest.
Exactly another reason I had to write a letter.
I write in respect of a news item in The Telegram dated Oct. 2 entitled “PM won’t be denied communion.”
What is the average Canadian to make of this confused state? Truly the issue is one of communion, which refers to the state of being intimate with God and each other and demanding a holy solidarity with Christ and with his Vicar, the Pope, and the bishops.
This solidarity we see most often expressed in the rite called the Holy Eucharist. The news report conveyed the sense that bishops and Pope were just now dealing with this question of denying communion to politicians “who go against their faith.” Not so. Only a blind man could fail to see the age old and clear teaching of the Church and Benedict XVI on the matter of refusing communion to those who have broken with the Church by denying her teachings, whether the issue be abortion, same sex “marriage,” divorce, etc.
The power of the Pope in the Church is "supreme, full, and immediate” and all the faithful, including and especially bishops, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience.
Failure to do so is characteristic of “dissident” bishops, and the poisonous culture that flourishes in their dioceses, where protest and confusion runs rampant as well as heretical priests like John Walsh who flout Church teaching. They demand equality and denigrate and dishonour the Pope in the name of “independent thinking” and “conscience” rather than defer to his teaching and that of Holy Mother Church.
Which is why, without profound repentance and drastic conversion of Canada’s offending bishops, they aren’t able to do anything about Paul Martin, who is really a sad victim in this tragedy. After all, in a spiritual sense, they are his fathers and gave birth to him.
In the meanwhile the Pope waits, hopes and prays.
And by the way, I changed the word “heretical” to “defiant.” It’s the pc thing to do.