Sunday, June 15, 2014

Holy Innocents and St. Francis Xavier: The Story of a Divided Church

Holy Innocents Church, NYC, threatened with closure
There is now an update to the situation with Father Justin Wylie who gave a very controversial sermon at Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan. As Pat Archbold reported on his blog [HERE] in a post entitled, "Traditional Priest Kicked Out of New York":
Now it is being reported [by Christine Niles] that Fr. Wylie has had his faculties in NY revoked and he is being sent home [to South Africa].
Traditionalists are in an uproar across the Internet, and see this as a complete injustice against a good and holy priest and a proof of how they are persecuted by the "Church of Nice", a term coined by one of their heroes, Michael Voris. They see themselves as loyal Catholics who just want to worship God in the same way the Church has done for 2000 years, and it is the evil, demonically inspired Church hierarchy who is conspiring to destroy them. This is seen loud and clear in the comments left on Archbold's post.

A few examples:
schmenz
Here in Milwaukee we suffered under the reign of the blowhard comedian, Timothy Dolan, who seemed to prefer being looked upon as Santa Claus rather than a Catholic Bishop. Now he is in New York, and I can only pity my fellow Catholics who have to sit there and endure him.
Susan 
The Pseudo-Cardinal Dolan is a joke and the bishops support pro-abortion organizations and pro-sodomy organizations with parish money. They are frauds and evil, Satan's spawn, except for the Traditional priests, like above. God Bless him. And Dolan's just a pathetic pillsbury boy, a "leader" in America who is destroying the Catholic Church from within, intentionally--like Fr. Oko writes, in his Homoheresy Report, for the Vatican.
Dolan just glad-hands abortionists and Satanic sodomites like Biden and Obama, acting like Mortal Sin is not "mortal"---just a joke. There is no Good and Evil in Dolon's America. Satanic Ethics are better than Thomistic Theology which he threw out.
There is no God, really, is there, Dolan, and Jesus Christ was just a lover of everything and all behaviors. He loved sin. Marx and his buddies (Dolan's buddies, too) are smarter than God.
Dolan is part of the Postmodernist "Kill God" group. He should be dumped by the Church---but the guy at top may be no better. We will see.
codephined 
All we can do is as Card. Dolan told the Muslims, "keep the faith!" Even when Card. Dolan doesn't, or any other pastor of the Church for that matter--dare I say even the supreme pastor.
Karen Hall 
We seem to be in an era where believing and teaching what the Church has believed and taught for 2,000 years is now frowned upon by ... the Church. I do NOT know what to do with this. Will I eventually be kicked out of Catholicism for being too Catholic?
Alphonsus_Jr 
Where's the news? Dolan is a proven wolf, yet another shameless Judas Council scumbag.
There was one person who did not agree with the majority opinion, and voiced his differences thusly:
Josephtheworker
You misunderstand. I am not a dissenter or a liberal. Think the opposite. But to rail on in a homily about schism doesn't help Catholics in their holy struggle to sanctity the world or to intensify their prayer and interior life and sacrifice. To do so is to give in to weakness and to grow schism. It nurses resentment.
A great priest calls for great sacrifice from his parish. He doesn't give in to whining. He encourages a sporting spirit among his flock in the spirit of the very early Christians.
A smiling, stout "we can work with this mess You've given to us, as You wish Lord! Thank You for the confidence You have in Your struggling children!"
Not a nanosecond of doubt, despair, complaint, worry. The homily, in the excerpt given, was just a big whiny complaint, in my opinion. It was not the stuff of hardy Catholicism.
He was, of course, attacked by the others, but the one who really came out swinging was Christine Niles, our favorite Michael Voris acolyte. Her response in part:
Christine L. Niles 
Let me ask you something, Joseph, since you seem intent on defending the archdiocese here:
How does it sit with you that a gay-friendly parish like St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan (not far from Holy Innocents), whose pastor noted just last week in his bulletin that the Church "should evolve" on the issue of same-sex relations, and which just had a celebratory Mass for "21 years of LGBT ministry," complete with a rainbow flag runner up to the High Altar, gets NO INTERFERENCE from the archdiocese for its heterodoxy, while it swiftly brings down the iron fist on a good priest who spent 5 minutes mildly calling for justice and charity for the Traditional community at Holy Innocents?
If you're ok with that, then I will assume you either work for the archdiocese, or you're a progressive troll pretending to be orthodox.
Christine's talking points are taken directly from her leader, Michael Voris.  Notice how Niles dismisses Joseph's call to not give in to "weakness and schism" or "nurse resentment" but instead be willing to sacrifice.  She declares this humble and submissive attitude  as a sign that Joseph is somehow in league with the evil Archdiocese of New York ("assuming" he is working for them) or he is a "progressive troll pretending to be orthodox."

Niles then picks up another Voris talking point when she brings up the "gay friendly St. Francis Xavier parish."   Voris, with Christine Niles' help, has started talking points against the NY Archdiocese that have spread around the internet, and together they have started an active campaign against the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan.

I freely admit that Niles and Voris are correct when they say that St. Francis Xavier Church is a very gay friendly. The church is in Chelsea, a large homosexual community in NYC, and has an active LGBT ministry. They marched in the infamous New York City Gay Pride parade for many years proudly carrying their church banner, as seen here:


Voris and Niles are making the case that the fact that this "pro homosexual" church is being allowed to stay open while Holy Innocents, a church filled with good, faithful and traditional Catholics who only want to worship God as the Church has always done, is proof that the evil Cardinal Dolan really hates faithful Catholics and wants nothing more in life than to destroy them.

In his efforts to prove Cardinal Dolan's bias and even hatred against traditional Catholics, Voris makes the absolutely false claim that Cardinal Dolan supports the gay and lesbian lifestyle. To make his case, Voris points to a video which he claims shows His Eminence specifically cheering on the LGBT ministry of St. Xavier Church in 2010. Voris has made this charge many times against Cardinal Dolan in the past.

Voris brought up this false charge again with an interview he did with a parishioner from Holy Innocents (whom I have never personally met) on his "Mic'd Up" program. Below is the video of the interview.



Voris begins to talk about Cardinal Dolan and St. Francis Xavier at about the 13:00 mark in this video. Voris prefaces his remarks by stating that there is a "radical animosity" by the Church authorities against anything traditional.
"It's beyond disturbing. We have reported on these things for a number of years and many other people have reported many more years than we have. We have the advantage of having television so it's sometime in this day and age a better form of communication in getting the message across. But the idea that there is just this radical animosity towards anything in tradition, even . . . All of this stuff came out . . . Cardinal Dolan went to St. Francis Xavier parish three years ago.  The parish videotaped the event. It was the . . . They just spent $10 million fixing it all up and they invited him to come say the Mass. He is at the Mass. Many of our viewers may not remember this or may not know it, but he goes to the Mass. And at the Mass, in the middle of the Mass, they start bringing up all the different parish groups, the Alcoholics Anonymous and this and that. Those are all fine works . . . people need help and that's wonderful. Then they brought up and introduced to him the LGBT group and said, 'The Parish lesbian and gay group.' And they brought them up, and he sat there in the chair. He had his glasses in his hand like this. He was slouched over. We've got the video. He leans over. They make the announcement and he goes like this [shaking his glasses in his hand], gives them the big handshake, big cheer."
At this point, they switch to the actual video showing this moment.  Following is my explanation of this video from a previous post entitled, "Michael Voris Declares War On Timothy Cardinal Dolan" which you can read HERE:
At 5:30 to 6:00 in the [original] video, you will see the "Catholic Lesbian Group" and "Gay Catholics Men Group" being introduced. The camera is focused on Cardinal Dolan who looks very serious. His face lightens up considerably when the speaker says, "These groups helped LGBT Catholics return to the sacraments and find an adult place in the Church of their youth." That is what Cardinal Dolan was "cheering", the fact that these men and women had returned to the sacraments, which would imply that they have left their sinful lifestyle. Right after this we see Cardinal Edward Egan, former archbishop of New York, praising St. Francis Xavier Church. Why doesn't Voris attack Cardinal Egan as well?
St. Francis Xavier Church, NYC
You will see this same moment of Cardinal Dolan "cheering" at approximately 14:30 into the above video. You will see very clearly that Cardinal Dolan does not smile until he hears the words, "These groups helped LGBT Catholics return to the sacraments and find an adult place in the Church of their youth." THAT is the moment when he waves his glasses and nods in approval at what is being said. Voris is being incredibly deceptive when he tries to convince us otherwise. Please look at the video and you will see this for yourself.

After the video of Cardinal Dolan is shown, Voris then goes on a rant, designed to turn Catholics against His Eminence:
"Can you imagine St. Athanasius, Bishop Sheen, who is buried under the Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, standing there and giving a little cheer to people who have perverted sex and are placing their immortal souls in danger? [Voris then gets apoplectic] It's mind boggling how far off the tracks the Church of Nice, the Establishment Church has gone. It's beyond the pale. "
The interviewee responds to this rant by agreeing and supporting the agenda of turning Catholics against Church hierarchy by basically blaming the Church for all of the evils in our society:
"Absolutely. This entire incompetence and irresponsibility - it wouldn't be so perilous for souls except for the fact that we're living in this, as you say, this toxic environment. There are almost as many abortions in the City of New York as there are live births. We're witnessing State sponsored attacks on the family and the Federal Government trying to get involved in all aspects of our personal lives including the education of our children. Where is the Church? Where is the hierarchy? They're missing in action."
The truth is that Cardinal Dolan, as I have previously reported, is a board member of Courage, the Catholic ministry which helps gays and lesbians turn away from the homosexual lifestyle, and His Eminence has many times spoken out in support of this ministry. In addition, one week after appearing at St. Francis Xavier and "cheering them on" as Voris would have you believe, Cardinal Dolan forbid the people of that parish to march in the Gay Pride Parade carrying the banner of their church. Somehow, neither Voris nor Christine Niles ever seem to mention these facts.

Further, Cardinal Dolan has spoken out many times about the dangers of same sex marriage and abortion.  He has celebrated Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral with Msgr. Philip Reilly, the "pro life apostle" as we in New York call him, whose entire ministry has been to stop abortion.  There are many other examples I could give, all of which Voris and his supporters conveniently disregard.  

Unfortunately, as I pointed out, many Catholics bloggers and Catholics in general have bought into this deception by Michael Voris.

From A Blog for Dallas Catholics talking about the removal of Father Wylie:
It seems Cardinal Dolan and/or someone in the Archdiocese of NY really, really did not like that sermon. But sodomizing St. Francis Xavier parish is OK. I am certain Holy Innocents will be shut down, Dolan seems to have little love for the TLM.
From The Eponymous Flower:
There’s no word as to what plans there are for St. Francis Xavier parish and its amazing outreach programs, and "loyal opposition” to the Archbishop and Catholic teaching. At this point, the Cardinal seems enthusiastic about what’s happening there, and less so about what’s happening elsewhere, if these closures are any indication.
Les Femmes - The Truth posts one sentence and an interview Christine Niles did with the same Paul McGregor:
Pray Holy Innocents Stays Open and St. Francis Xavier Closes!
From a blog entitled, "East Side Hunky's Klobasa Club":
Maybe Dolan would spend more time keeping a solidly Catholic parish open and closing down the Michael Sam wannabees at the sodomite parish of St Francis Xavier? 
So why close Holy Innocents, which is filled with "obedient and loyal" Catholics and leave St. Francis Xavier open when that church is so lax in following Church teaching? Don't such actions reveal a true bias on the part of Cardinal Dolan?

As I mentioned, St. Francis Xavier is in the heart of New York's gay community. I agree that this church is definitely not orthodox in its approach to church teachings, especially in the area of sexuality. There is the now infamous picture of the gay flag leading up to the altar in the church. This church sees homosexuals as people who need to be loved and accepted on their own level. They, like so many of us, have great difficulty with separating the sin from the sinner. With many of us, the problem is that we condemn the person as well as the sin. With St. Francis Xavier and many parishes like them, they accept the sin with the sinner, no longer recognizing that such actions are sinful.

In other words, St. Francis Xavier is in need of evangelization. But this is a very tricky situation. The people who attend this church, for the most part, live in a community where homosexuality is considered completely normal. It is just another way for people to love one another. They truly do not understand why homosexual acts are condemned by the Catholic church.  However weak it may be, St. Francis Xavier is able to draw those who would normally reject the Church.  If St. Francis Xavier Church was closed, many who attend there would not go to any other church. They would be completely cut off from any contact with the Catholic Church and be even further away from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

In contrast, those in the Latin Mass community at Holy Innocents pride themselves on being good, strong Catholics.  If the worst happens and Holy Innocents is closed, they will not leave the Church but, for the most part, will find other Catholic churches where they can practice their faith.

But, you say, people have also worked hard to make Holy Innocents their home where they can feel safe and secure, giving of their own time and treasure. Why should they be turned out when all they have done is try to worship God as best they can? Why should they be "thrown to the wolves", as Father Wylie characterized it?  The answer:  for the same reason Our Lord allowed men to destroy His physical body - for the salvation of mankind.

Holy Innocents and St. Francis Xavier, even though they are both Catholic churches within city blocks of one another, are worlds apart and hardly seem like the same religion.  Those who attend Holy Innocents would never go near St. Francis Xavier and vice versa.  Is this the work of the Holy Spirit, that Catholics be divided into their own little churches that have absolutely nothing to do with one another? Or are we instead to be part of the one Mystical Body of Christ whose mission in life is to spread the saving message of the Gospel?  How can we go out to the world with the message of Jesus Christ when we can't even agree among ourselves?  Catholics are so busy fighting among themselves and with Church hierarchy that they give little notice to the spiritually wounded in their own midst much less those outside of the Church.

So how can we unite Catholics with Catholics? Michael Voris and his supporters would have you believe that Catholics who will not accept orthodox Catholic teaching, in this case the teaching on homosexuality, are not even Catholic and should be cast out and not allowed back unless and until they come to their senses. Let them lose their church and be thrown to the wolves. They don't deserve a church.

At this point, I think we need to remember just what our mission is as Catholics, we who have been graced with the Holy Spirit and brought into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Our Lord did not literally pour out His Life's Blood on the Cross so that we can just sit back and be comfortable. He gave us a command, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" [Mark 16:15]. In past ages, this often meant missionaries leaving their homes and traveling thousands of miles to unknown lands and sacrificing their lives to bring the saving message of the Gospel to others. This task was mostly left to priests and religious. Vatican II, however, tells us that we are all involved in this evangelization, no matter what our state in life. And in our post-Christian age, the missionary fields are no longer thousands of miles away but our own neighborhoods and cities. This, sadly, includes many who call themselves Catholics.

What does this have to do with closing Holy Innocents and keeping "sodomy loving" St. Francis Xavier open?  Everything.  

When Jesus Christ came to this earth 2000 years ago, He came to restore Life to mankind. As He said, "I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). In order to accomplish this, He gave himself to us without reserve. He, so completely perfect and righteous, held nothing back. He went out and walked among the lepers, and that means the physical and, more importantly, the spiritual lepers of society. He never turned anyone away.

As Jesus told us in John 3:17, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." Our Lord would often go out of his way to search for the outcasts, as He did with the Samaritan woman at the well who was not allowed into "proper" society. There is no doubt in my mind that if Jesus Christ were physically walking this earth today, He would be at St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan, among many other places, reaching out to those in need. He would not barricade Himself off in His own world as so many of us have done.

In the book of Exodus we are given the story of how God led the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them into their own land, physically separating them from the rest of the world. The Lord commanded the Israelites to kill all of the inhabitants of the land they were given and to keep themselves separate from all those who surrounded them.

However, as referenced above, when Jesus Christ came to earth He gave a completely opposite command to His followers.  Our Lord did lead us in an exodus out of sin, but in a total reversal of the command given to the Israelites, Our Lord told us to "go into the world and preach the Gospel to all creatures."  He led the way by doing this Himself, and was condemned for His actions by the Pharisees.  Many were scandalized when Christ allowed his feet to be washed by the prostitute (thought to be Mary Magdalene).  The Pharisee who had invited Jesus to his house said, "If Jesus were a prophet, he would know that the woman touching him is a sinner!"  We need to ask ourselves if we are more like Jesus or the Pharisee.

Those who understand and accept Catholic teaching need to reach out to evangelize their brother and sister Catholics who do not have such understanding.  They need to do so with love and compassion, showing the same mercy as we have been shown by Jesus Christ.  If we believe that the parish of St. Francis Xavier has lost its way, then we need to do as Christ taught us in the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14):
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
St. John the Baptist Church, NYC, threatened with closure
The closing of Catholic Churches is a tragic situation, no matter how you look at it, and this is especially true in New York City.  One of the great things about being Catholic in New York City is that there is a Catholic Church every few blocks, almost all magnificent structures. These churches have served their communities, in some cases, for more than 100 years. They are physically beautiful churches which are impossible to replace in today's market.

But how did these churches come to be? Many, if not most, of the Catholic churches in Manhattan were built by poor immigrant Catholics in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. And how did so many immigrants come to America when they did? In the case of Ireland, approximately one million Catholics came to our shore because of the potato famine, with 600,000 in New York City alone. Others came because of persecution in their countries, or others just looking to give their families a better life because of the terrible poverty in their own land. And they brought their religion with them. Our Lord used the tragic circumstances in these countries to bring His Church to the new world.

St. Michael's Church, NYC, threatened with closure
This, I believe, is exactly what is happening in New York City and other dioceses around the country.  But, you say, why would Our Lord allow so many beautiful churches and spiritual communities to be destroyed?   The churches are beautiful works of art and great spiritual oases in this hectic city, but there is something more important than this.

I believe that Our Lord is using the closing of churches to bring us spiritually and physically closer together and make us a stronger tool for evangelization to our fallen away brothers and sisters and those outside the Church. With so many souls in the balance, we cannot afford our petty differences and grievances against one another. We are like people fighting with each other on the river bank while others are drowning in the river. We have to stop fighting with one another and turn our attention to those who are drowning.  

There is actually a higher percentage of Catholics in New York City than at any time in our history. In the borough of Manhattan, which is where Holy Innocents and St. Francis Xavier are located, 52.5% of the 1.6 million Manhattanites are Catholic. Yet, Catholic churches are being closed because the vast majority do not practice their religion.

New York City, along with much of the United States, is missionary territory. Our Lord said He did not come to condemn people and neither should we. We need to recognize sin for what it is, but just as a doctor sees his patients separately from their diseases, so we should see people separately from their sin. It is not our job to stand in judgment of them. It is our job to bring them to Christ. I believe that the church closings are going to force a lot of people to venture out to places where they would not otherwise go to spread the message of Jesus Christ, just as tragic circumstances motivated Catholics in the 19th century to leave everything familiar and, as a result, Catholicism was brought to America.

One of the main reasons I love going to Holy Innocents is the great reverence shown towards the Blessed Sacrament and the prayerful attention given during Mass.  The servers and priests all genuflect each and every time they pass in front of the Tabernacle.  During Mass, when their hands are not otherwise occupied, they hold them in prayer.  Most people in the pews follow their example.  People come to Mass and prayerfully participate in the entire Mass, completely focused on what is happening at the altar.  They are truly aware that the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ is being re-presented to the Father in heaven.

If the worse happens and Holy Innocents is closed, the people there need to take what they have learned and share it with others.  Like Abraham, the father of the faithful, they will be sent from their spiritual home to what may seem to be a hostile world, but it is a world that desperately needs what they have to give. I do hope they will go to places like St. Francis Xavier and lovingly and compassionately share their great love for Christ and His Church. 

To all those at Holy Innocents, I say this.  Stop playing the victim and looking at church authority as your enemy.  Stop listening to people like Michael Voris who are trying to turn you against those who are in charge of your souls.  Prove to the authorities that you are not self righteous and rebellious.  I know how important the Latin Mass is to you, but try to remember that as beautiful and important as the Mass is, it is not our goal but the means to achieving our goal, which is salvation, both for ourselves and others.

Realize that this is not your fight, but that Jesus Christ fights for you, and therefore no matter what happens, you will be the victor.  But this will only be true if you follow our gentle and compassionate Savior who said He came not to judge but to save mankind.  

Genesis 12:1:
The Lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you."
Hebrews 11:8-10:
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

28 comments:

  1. I was sorry to hear what had happened to Fr. Wylie, however, I was not surprised. I do not believe any reasonable person would be actually surprised about this kind of thing happening to a Priest who railed against his Bishop like the good Father did. I would say that if there is fault is in Fr. Wylie it definitely would be in the poor example he showed to the laity in the obedience and reverence that by Canon law they owe to their Archbishop who is in good standing and communion with the Holy See.
    One person who definitely stands out is Christine Niles. I have had personal dealings with her on Michael Voris' CMTV Facebook page. For a while I actually thought she was on staff there. She does seem to be quick to attack a viewpoint that she or Michael Voris do not agree to. I have posted a couple times on her own Forward Boldly Facebook page. It does like look like she has yet found the intestinal fortitude or consideration to allow them to actually show up on her page.
    Further, I do not get why the dissenters are bringing up St. Francis Xavier Parish in the same breath as Holy Innocents Parish. One does not have anything to do with the other. The only reason I can think of that would cause them to bring it up is that these dissenters want to pick and choose which Parishes they think are worthy to remain open rather than the appropriate governance of the Archdiocese of New York.
    A bigger question that comes to mind is why any person who would call themselves faithful Catholics want a Catholic Parish closed? I personally am not too keen on the idea of a LGBT ministry within the structure of a Parish, but I am not going to desire that entire Parish to close just because of it. If we had a neighbor with gay son, would it be the Christian thing to do to run them out of the neighborhood? For the love of Christ, I would say not.
    After all is said and done, I find this dissention against Church authority is very spiritually troubling. I believe that not only does it show a profound unfaithfulness to the Church but also shows an even more profound lack of faith in the providential protection of God.

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    1. "Further, I do not get why the dissenters are bringing up St. Francis Xavier Parish in the same breath as Holy Innocents Parish."

      I think it has been brought up more as a point of contrast with Fr. Wylie's treatment. In the instance of the former, a parish and pastor well known (as the blog author himself agrees) for strong doctrinal dissent are treated benignly - indeed, they even have hosted a visit by the Cardinal himself, as noted above (Cardinal Dolan has yet to ever even visit Holy Innocents, however.) Fr. Wyile, on the other hand, is by all accounts quite orthodox. He raised a concern about whether this community was having its pastoral needs met (without naming Cardinal Dolan or anyone else by name), while at the same time urging against any instinct to go into schism over the maltreatment. For this, he was swiftly booted from the archdiocese. Yes, it seems like a double standard. Especially given how many vocations Holy Innocents has produced, and especially given the long history of hostile treatment of Catholics (priests included) attached to tradition in the ADNY. There is a history here, you know.

      A few hotheads may be calling for St. Francis Xavier's closing, but I think the overwhelming sentiment among Holy Innocents members and supporters is merely to see that parish given orthodox leadership, not closed.

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    2. The reason Cardinal Dolan was at St. Francis Xavier was to reconsecrate altar. Only a bishop can do that, and that was the reason he was invited. I don't know that Holy Innocents has ever invited him to the church.

      I have also not disputed the fact that traditionalists have had an uphill battle in Manhattan and most other places. My point is, how do we deal with it? Do we kick and whine, or do we act like adult Christians? Are we there just to get our way and do our own thing, or are we there to serve the Lord? As I noted in my previous post, those faithfully following the Lord down through history, in the Old Testament, in the New Testament and throughout the 2000 year history of the Church have faced persecution and hardship. .Do we trust that Our Lord will fight our battles, or do we decide He is not big enough and we must do it ourselves?

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    3. Do we kick and whine, or do we act like adult Christians? ... Do we trust that Our Lord will fight our battles, or do we decide He is not big enough and we must do it ourselves?

      What is the point of your post then? Do you not trust that the Lord will fight the battles of the divided Church such that you must fight against these dividers yourself?

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    4. I am not really sure why I am answering you because it is not going to make any difference to you. This is a very difficult time for all whose churches may be closed, not just Holy Innocents. I am trying to encourage others not to give in to their emotions but to realize that Our Lord is always with them and fighting their battles.

      If you don't like what I am saying, then move on. Unless you can say something that will help others spiritually, there really isn't a lot for you to add to this conversation.

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  2. In contrast, those in the Latin Mass community at Holy Innocents pride themselves on being good, strong Catholics. If the worst happens and Holy Innocents is closed, they will not leave the Church but, for the most part, will find other Catholic churches where they can practice their faith.

    What nonsense. Plenty of "good strong Catholics" leave the Church, especially when they are mistreated for pecuniary gain by Church officials.

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    1. This argument is also self-contradictory, since you are simultaneously relying on the fact that the people there are strong Catholics to say they'll be OK if the Archdiocese closes the parish and also condeming them for all kinds of malfeasance (pride, self-righteousness, rebelliousness, etc), which, if true would mean that they are not good Catholics and are therefore in danger of falling away if their Church is closed.

      And it's awfully convenient that you completely ignore the actual injustice of the situation. The recommendation to close Holy Inocents blatantly violates the rules set forth for church closings by the Holy See which state that a grave reason is needed. God may bring good (an evangelical scattering) out of evil, but men (the leader's of the Archdiocese) are not thereby justified in the evil they may do to bring it about.

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    2. I am afraid it is your comment that is contradictory. A faithful Catholic will never leave the Body of Christ.

      You are also pulling accusations out of the hat. I am not accusing anyone of anything. I am merely exhorting them to trust that Our Lord will fight their battles. As noted, I have personally met Father Wylie, whom I praise, and I have spent literally hundreds of hours worshiping at Holy Innocents over the years. I know these people, and I do not condemn them in any way.

      Again. you need to re-read my posts. I am not denying the injustice of the situation. I am exhorting others to not allow bitterness and anger sway their judgment, and to try to trust that Our Lord will take care of them.

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    3. I am not accusing anyone of anything.

      Nonsense, you can't say:

      "To all those at Holy Innocents ... Stop playing the victim and looking at church authority as your enemy."

      Unless you are accusing them of playing the victim and looking at church authority as their enemy.

      "As noted, I have personally met Father Wylie, whom I praise..."

      And whom you also condemn. See your previous post.

      "I know these people, and I do not condemn them in any way"

      Except when you call them disobedient to church authority and claim they are playing the victim.

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    4. Exhorting people not to give into their natural emotions is not accusing them of anything. I went carefully through Father Wylie's sermon, and it cannot be denied that he portrayed the people there as victims of the Archdiocese. As I said in my post, that may be true. But that does not give us an excuse to turn against them. They are the spiritually ordained authority in the Church.

      I did not condemn Father Wylie. I praised him and said I admired him greatly. I did and do disagree with what he said at the church that day. To conflate that with condemning the man is wholly untrue.

      Further, I have not accused anyone of being disobedient. But if they allow their anger and bitterness to get the best of them, it could very well lead to that.

      Why does it bother you so much that I think it is important to respect Church authority and allow Our Lord to fight the batter for us? Don't you think Jesus Christ is capable?

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  3. Just as strange is your constant (anonymous) judgment and disparagement of people at Holy Innocents while simultaneously proclaiming the importance of non-judgmentalism.

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    1. Samuel,
      It seems you have a lot to say. I am however, not exactly sure about what yet.
      That being said, in general I find it strange people that generally have no problem categorically voicing them own judgment about others get so sensitive about others doing the same to them.
      I personally believe that as brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to correct each other, however in Christ we are called to do this in love. Further, if we are unable to offer this fraternal correction in love, we should remain silent and leave it to others who are spiritually mature to do it properly. The problem is that the spiritually immature usually do not make a habit of deferring to the better judgment of others. Oh well.
      Additionally, if the Holy See had an issue with what was going on in a major Archdiocese like New York, the Holy See is more than capable in doing something about it. I believe we should have more confidence in the governance of Holy Mother Church. If they pulled one German Bishop for spending too much on his residence, I am sure they are hip to what is going on in New York.

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    2. Hi Steve,

      "If the Holy See had an issue with what was going on in a major Archdiocese like New York, the Holy See is more than capable in doing something about it."

      With respect, the Holy See can usually only go by whatever the Archdiocese tells them. And dioceses have been known to...how shall I put it? Gild their lillies. Provide something less than the truth when it comes time for ad limina visits. Pope Benedict complained about this at some length when he was at CDF.

      Where are the boundaries for the laity - or even clergy - to assert their rights against wrongful ecclesiastical conduct? I think that's an important question we need to answer. Sometimes, bishops do bad things, and the Holy See is forced to take correction when other sources bring it to their attention. But that's the point: Rome can only act when it knows; and even then, it can be reluctant to step too hard on bishops, even when it appears justified. We've learned that lesson all too well from the sex abuse scandals, which have cost the Cathoic Church in America alone billions of dollars.

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    3. It seems you have a lot to say. I am however, not exactly sure about what yet.

      There's nothing unclear about my comments and they're not that long, either.

      That being said, in general I find it strange people that generally have no problem categorically voicing them own judgment about others get so sensitive about others doing the same to them.

      I'm not sensitive about it, that's the point. I'm not complaining about criticism per se, I'm complaining that the criticism is dumb and hypocritical. I don't complain about the fact of people making judgments, "Catholic in Brooklyn" does. Then she goes on to accuse other people of various sins. It's rank hypocrisy. And on top of that her judgments are just badly reasoned.

      I personally believe that as brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to correct each other, however in Christ we are called to do this in love. Further, if we are unable to offer this fraternal correction in love, we should remain silent and leave it to others who are spiritually mature to do it properly. The problem is that the spiritually immature usually do not make a habit of deferring to the better judgment of others. Oh well.

      Those who are spiritually mature don't generally go on about it.

      Additionally, if the Holy See had an issue with what was going on in a major Archdiocese like New York, the Holy See is more than capable in doing something about it. I believe we should have more confidence in the governance of Holy Mother Church. If they pulled one German Bishop for spending too much on his residence, I am sure they are hip to what is going on in New York.

      Your ignorance of how the process works is astounding. The Holy See will not hear appeals of decisions that haven't been made yet and we'd like to save everyone the expense and anxiety of canonical lawsuits by having the Archdiocese not close the Church in the first place forcing those appeals to take place.

      That you can point to one case where they acted doesn't mean there aren't hundreds of others where they don't.

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    4. And just where am I disparaging anyone? You will have to show me the statement because I don't remember writing any such thing. Holy Innocents is a very special place to me, and I am greatly distressed that we may lose it. At the same time, I realize that we must be ready to give all, and that Our Lord can work anything out if we allow Him.

      Please re-read my first post where I give examples in which situations seemed hopeless, and it was at this point that Our Lord showed Himself most powerfully. Think of the Israelites between Pharaoh and the Red Sea. if the Israelites had not "stood still" and allowed God to work among them, but instead had tried to find their own way out, as I stated, they would have been slaughtered. When the patriarch Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, as told in the book of Genesis, he would have never gone to Egypt, and would have never been a part of Pharaoh's government which literally saved the world. As he told his brothers in later years, they meant their act for evil, but God used it for good.

      I cannot read the minds of those who are making the decision to close churches. I can speculate as to why, but that is all it is - speculation. I truly believe that no matter what happens, Jesus Christ is still the Head of the Body, and to once more quote from the "Imitation of Christ": Man proposes and God disposes.

      This is a critical moment in the spiritual lives of all who are involved in this situation. Anything we say or do must be done prayerfully and with full dependence on Jesus Christ. The minute we try to take matters into our own hands is stepping out of the Will of God, and that can only mean disaster in every sense of the word.

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  4. Hello CIB,

    "Stop playing the victim and looking at church authority as your enemy."

    In fairness, there's a good case to be made that, in fact, it is church authorities in many places (New York included) that have been treating Catholics with some attachment to tradition as the enemy - for decades. Eventually, that is going to have an effect, whether it's right or not. Kick a dog once, he'll still come back to be petted. Kick him every day for several weeks...you'll eventually end up with an unfriendly dog. He may even bite. Even if he is a golden retriever.

    In the case of New York, Catholics wanting traditional sacraments have been living off borrowed space and whatever they could cajole here and there. In 2003-04, after the traditional and Armenian communities had spent over 1 million dollars to restore the National Shrine of St. Anne’s, where the Traditional Mass was being offered - and the Archdiocese sold it to NYU and tore it down. Now they face the very same fate after having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore Holy Innocents.

    Which is but the tip of the iceberg. Traditionalists in NY have been harassed or snubbed at numerous points, and priests who have tried to minister to them have suffered for it. Holy Innocents is the closest thing they have to an actual parish with an actual priest who will actually act as their shepherd - and now it is threatened with closure. Who will be their shepherds now? Where will they go? This was, in fact, the only real point that Fr. Wylie was trying to make after witnessing all of this:

    "I worry about the situation of traditional Catholics in the Archdiocese. Yes, the archdiocese ‘permits’ a traditional mass here or there — but responsibility for the matter continues to rest upon the initiative and resourcefulness of the laity, who with enormous difficulty have to source priests hither and thither as though we were seemingly still living in Reformation England or Cromwellian Ireland."

    Loyalty to Church authority is essential, but in a specific figure it has its limits, as the Church itself has affirmed, especially when such a figure acts in abusive, arbitrary and (yes) illegal ways. The laity have canonical rights, too - though they must be exercised with due respect. Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland closed 13 parishes in 2009-10, flouting certain points of canon law in doing so. The laity could have been...what, submissive? But those parishes fought, appealed to Rome, and Rome ruled...that they were in the right. Similarly, instances of bishops disregarding the laws permitting generous provision of the traditional sacraments are almost endless, and laity have won numerous times in appealing to Rome. Some of the rhetorical abuse of Cardinal Dolan may be over the top, but that they have a right to challenge this looming closure, and complain about the archdiocese's continued indifference to their rightful pastoral needs, cannot be doubted. And it is disappointing that you fail to recognize this, making instead insistent demands that such Catholics simply...pray, pay and obey.

    That's what it amounts to, isn't it?

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    1. Athelstane,
      You undermined your own argument with one phrase. Appeal to Rome.
      I have not heard of anyone in New York doing that. Have you? All I have heard is a lot of near schismatic rhetoric.
      Per Canon Law the laity has a right to appeal to a higher authority, Rome being the highest. However, the laity does NOT have the right to rail against the governance on their Bishop who is on good standing and communion with the Holy See.
      Yes! At the end of the day we must submit to the rule of our Pastors, whether it is our Parish Pastors, our Bishops or the Holy Father himself. They all represent Christ as King in our spiritual lives.

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    2. Hi Steve,

      "I have not heard of anyone in New York doing that. Have you?"

      There can't be an appeal until there's a ruling to appeal. Which won't come until June 30. But this is not the first time that parishioners of a parish threatened openly with closure have tried to lobby up to the deadline of a final decision by a diocese. The process allows them to make their concerns known. Maybe that hasn't always happened in an edifying manner...but as I said, there's a long, long history here. And it is not pretty.

      The property of Holy Innocents is worth an awful lot of money, I'm afraid. Yet the parish has no debt and is running in the black, and has booming attendance in a revitalizing neighborhood. It has produced more than its share of vocations. What is the argument for closing it? Is it unreasonable for some to suspect it's about simply cashing in on the property value?

      "At the end of the day we must submit to the rule of our Pastors, whether it is our Parish Pastors, our Bishops or the Holy Father himself."

      No question - this is the way the Church is supposed to work - it is a hierarchical church. Obedience is a virtue even when - especially when - it is reacting to injustice. But the Church has always recognized limits on this.

      And the sex abuse scandals are (alas) a perfect example of this. Were the faithful (and most of the clergy) of Boston wrong to react with outrage when they discovered that Paul Shanley had been moved by Cardinal Law from parish to parish to abuse over and over again, while knowledge of his crimes were suppressed? What of the faithful in Dallas when Bishop Gramann did the same with Rudy Kos? Given how often these terrible things have happened...I think it's fair to ask why you retain such confidence in the good governance of American bishops (which, by the way, I do think are getting better in most recent appointments).

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    3. They all represent Christ as King in our spiritual lives.

      As does the priest homilist at Mass, which is why you quickly condemned Catholic in Brooklyn's post criticizing Fr. Wylie's homily. Except you didn't.

      What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Either it's OK to criticize priests and bishops or not.. You and Catholic in Brooklyn can't have it both ways.

      And some of the other old posts on this blog will have to come down if criticizing priests and bishops is always wrong:

      "This seems a matter of the hierarchy giving in to the laity's laziness."

      "Another very popular priest who comes perilously close to preaching universal salvation is Father Robert Barron...

      Etc.

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    4. Athelstane - see my other comments. I will only be repeating myself.

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  5. I do not see the "connection" Michael Voris has with Holy Innocents. Sure, someone was interviewed on his show. Sure, Michael Voris has talked about Holy Innocents, etc. But does Michael Voris attend Mass at Holy Innocents?

    It is unfair to judge what Michael says and throw that judgment on all "traditionalists" as if that were the exclusive reaction of the real faithful who attend Mass at Holy Innocents. So far, I have not seen anybody picketing outside or inside Holy Innocents. If one or two (of the hundreds who go to Holy Innocents) do something bad, is it the charitable thing to do to generalize it to everybody who goes to Holy Innocents by not specifying that only a few of them are really being publicly rebellious?

    Cardinal Dolan HAS been invited to come to Holy Innocents, specifically for the Latin Mass. He has always declined. The only times he has been at Holy Innocents, it was for the English Mass. What do we make of this???

    The Holy See will not really know what is really going on in NYC until the faithful bring it up to them. Do you think that Cardinal Dolan will contact the Holy Father and give him the list of all the churches he wants to close? For your information, it is intentional that they are not releasing the full list of the churches recommended for closure. They know that if they give the full list, it would be a cause for major SCANDAL in the Church in the US.

    If a Bishop is in good standing and in full Communion with Rome, it is a good thing. However, that is not always equivalent to Church leaders doing the right thing. We have had many examples of so many Priests and Bishops in good standing who were doing the wrong thing and saying the wrong things.

    Has not the Holy Father himself been quoted as saying that the faithful should "make noise"? If you guys think that that is not right, someone better inform him that he is not giving the correct example!

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    1. Those at Holy Innocents and all other churches that are threatened with closure should follow all the avenues the Church has given them to protest closure. I am not disputing that and even encourage it.

      My whole point is that we need to do it in the right attitude. I have read horrible things said about church hierarchy because of this situation, and I have heard others say terrible things. We need to trust that Our Lord will fight this battle. I cannot say that enough. And frankly, I'm just not seeing that attitude. That is why I have written these posts.

      Are you denouncing Michael Voris? I really hope so. He is spiritual poison. He did a Vortex yesterday in which he basically called for the death of what he calls the "establishment church." That is most certainly not of the Holy Spirit and must be denounced.

      If you agree with Michael Voris, then we really have nothing more to discuss because we are on two different planets.

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  7. I'm going to make a final, more comment. And it starts with this: $3 billion.

    That's roughly what's been paid out in sexual abuse settlements by dioceses in the United States to date.

    If that number doesn't stagger you, it should. $3 billion may not be much to the federal government, but for the Catholic Church, it's a mind-boggling sum. It's a crippling sum. It's also a sum that demonstrates quite clearly that the more troubling aspect of the abuse crisis - the episcopal coverup of abuse, its enabling, even its demonization of victims - was widespread, and systematic, even if it's also true that the vast majority of clergy are not guilty of these behaviors. And to see that number is why I really cannot agree with this assertion: "I believe we should have more confidence in the governance of Holy Mother Church." I know too many people destroyed by these acts. And some of the officials who helped perpetrate them are still in power.

    Let's address the caveats. The danger of being TOO staggered by that sum can be seen in various precincts. You can end up like SNAP and their trial lawyer cheering section, with no real goal but to suck every last dollar out of the Church en route to destroying it, because you've concluded that it's an irredeemably evil institution. You could also, on the other hand, end up in Sedevacantist Land, firmly believing that only your very tiny remnant of the Church survives intact, and to hell with the rest.

    But somewhere between those alienated extremes and the sunny faith that the Church in America is basically well governed is a more credible stretch of space that can honestly look at what's happened in the Church in recent decades and accept that often ugly reality without abandoning all hope in it. Michael Voris is, at times, too histrionic in denouncing that ugliness. But it's there, in spades. Regiments of Catholic schools and CCD classes that are actually extraordinarily successful in eradicating the faith, to the point where I am virtually the only one in my very extended Italian family that practices the faith (and I have friends in similar situations). Pulpits where heresy is regularly expounded. Charities that openly subsidize grave evils. Hospitals that perform sterilizations and abortions. And these aren't isolated acts. Look, I work for the Church, and in a diocese where sacraments of initiation have dropped by HALF since 2000. I've seen some horrible things. And I am not alone. Far from it.

    Encouragingly, there are signs of life. The new breed of bishops and (especially) young priests are great improvements on their predecessors, for the most part. But they are still a minority, and they face great resistance. And yes, that resistance is alive and well in the ADNY, especially the chancery. And because it is, I think it patently unreasonable to expect young Catholic parents attending Holy Innocents to take their children off to a perversely pro-gay parish like Francis Xavier or Francis of Xavier on some quixotic intramural quest to evangelize them. *Someone* needs to reach them, but parents have NO duty to expose their children to that. Their first job is the faith formation of their household.

    For all these reasons, Holy Innocents must be saved. Not least because it is by every conceivable measure one of the healthiest places you can find in the Church. It will be a tremendous injustice if it is closed. And I really don't think most supporters of Holy Innocents have been overboard in their efforts to stop that.

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    1. Typos (oops):

      1. First sentence: "I'm going to make one final comment."

      2. "pro-gay parish like Francis Xavier or Francis of Xavier" should read "pro-gay parish like St. Francis Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi" (the parish rumored - rumored, mind you - as being in contemplation as the new destination for Holy Innocents parishioners if the latter is indeed closed. Somehow I can't quite believe that even the ADNY chancery would be that vicious or clueless, however, so I'm left to hope that Voris's sources are bad or misled).

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    2. If I wanted to hear Michael Voris's talking points, I would go to his website.

      You obviously are not a New Yorker and don't know anything about Holy Innocents. Holy Innocents is in the middle of Manhattan's garment district. This is not a residential neighborhood. It's almost entirely businesses. HI is a commuter church, meaning the people who go here almost all live elsewhere.

      Since Holy Innocents is in a business district and not a residential neighborhood, there are very few who can call HI their home parish. (If Holy Innocents is closed, this will no doubt be one of the reasons that will be cited.) As a result, there are very few families. You will see some kids on Sunday, but next to none the rest of the week. It is all adults who travel varying distances to get there. My own commuter time is a one hour subway ride. That is one of the reasons I stopped going there on a regular basis. Going to the 6:00 pm Mass, I wouldn't get home till 8:00 or 8:30, depending on how long the Mass went.

      As for the rest of your points, the Catholic Church is not just another organization. It is the Mystical Body of Christ. Yes, we have been going through some very bad times in recent decades, and many souls are at risk. At the same time, there are still many faithful Catholics out there. I know because I have met them.

      We can all put in our two cents about the causes of the present circumstances, and we can all come up with our own solutions. But the Head of the Body knows far better than we as to what needs to be done. He has been with the Church for 2000 years and has taken her through every kind of crisis imaginable, and many that we can't imagine. To sit around and worry about the future of the Church is an insult to Our Lord. As St Padre Pio said, "Pray, hope and don't worry."

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  8. An amazingly lengthy piece to say you think protestors are over-reacting. And Michael Vorris goes overboard. Many will peacefully disagree with you. Given the state of the Church, we certainly have reasonable grounds. Dolan may be on the board of Courage, just as Pope Francis may be a devoted son of the Church. Both confuse as much as the clarify when the deal with hot button topics. They need help, and strong reactions to let them know all is not hunky dory.

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  9. @ Catholic in Brooklyn:
    In your article you said the following:
    Our Lord did lead us in an exodus out of sin, but in a total reversal of the command given to the Israelites, Our Lord told us to "go into the world and preach the Gospel to all creatures."
    What you don't realize is that you are making the point of every traditional minded Catholic when you quote this. Our Lord said "go into the world and preach the Gospel." But the traditional Latin Mass is an oasis to worship God fittingly so that all the graces which He gives us can be taken out into the world. The world should not be brought into His House and given free reign. What we gain from the holiness of the TLM feeds us and equips us to go out to be a witness in the world. It is judgmental of you to say that traditional Latin Massers are just happy being closed off from everyone. It is the great graces that come from the holy Mass celebrated reverently (as God deserves) by holy priests that gives us something to bring to the world. It is our knowledge that we have nothing of ourselves to offer the world that brings us to a haven like Holy Innocents to get the grace in order to give it. It's like the oxygen mask thing.

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