Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Is It A Mistake For Catholics To Trust The Catholic Church?

Many people, both readers and friends, have shown a lot of concern about the direction I have been taking in my writings on this blog lately.  It seems that I am on the wrong side of every issue about which I have been writing.

I am wrong about Father Wylie's sermon at Holy Innocents when he chastised the Archdiocese of New York [HERE].

I am wrong for disagreeing with the parishioners of Holy Innocents when they decided to partner with the New York Times as a place to air their grievances against the Archdiocese for putting them on the potential list for church closings [HERE].

I am always getting under the skin of Michael Voris fans because I refuse to accept his rantings and ravings against Church hierarchy. But I really incurred their wrath when I wrote about the Vortex episode in which he encouraged all of his listeners to stop financially supporting their local dioceses and parishes, and I called it for what it was: "Michael Voris Calls for the Destruction of the Catholic Church" [HERE]. Pewsitter picked this up and kept the link there for a few days so that Voris fans could come here and let me have it for making such an "outrageous" accusation.

Lately I have been incurring everyone's wrath because, after attending and seeing it for what it was, I am supporting the "Pre Pride Mass" at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan [HERE, HERE and HERE]. As one blogger said of me, I am "clueless."

One friend said in an email that my posts "do not seem to be solidly grounded in a foundation of charity, and even more seriously, they seem to involve you in 'spirits' of conflict and anger."  Wow.  I guess this is so serious I might be in need of an exorcist.

All of the criticisms aside, does anyone notice a recurring theme in all of these issues?  I am taking the side of Church hierarchy, and I am getting blasted by other Catholics for doing so.   Catholics are attacking a Catholic for supporting the Catholic Church.

Could there possibly be something wrong with this picture?

How have I become so "radical"? Why don't I see, like everyone else apparently does, that the Catholic Church hierarchy has gone completely off the rails and it is up to us few faithful still in the pews to bring them back to their senses? Why can't I understand that the vast majority of bishops and priests (and let's be honest, even the Holy Father) hate the Catholic Church as it has always been for 2000 years and want to remake it into a church in their own image? The fact that I do not accept this kind of thinking proves that I am just as evil as the Church hierarchy.

Believe it or not, my initial gut reactions to all of these issues is pretty much the same as those who criticize me. Father Wylie, a good and holy priest, is disciplined by the Archdiocese? A Catholic Church offering a "Pre Pride Mass"? Surely these things cannot be right.

So how has my initial reaction to these issues evolved to the exact opposite conclusion?

I have learned a few things since I started blogging, and I want to share these lessons. First, as a Christian, I have come to realize that the first thing we must do is rid ourselves of pride. That's a big order, and I think it takes a lifetime to truly accomplish. Pride is the king of all sins. It was the sin of Satan.

Pride will block the Holy Spirit faster and more effectively than any other sin, because we are, in effect, setting ourselves up as our own god. We are saying, I know what is right. I have all the answers and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. We have become that "rich man" who cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We are so filled with ourselves that there is no room for the Holy Spirit.

Look at an example from Scripture to see what true obedience and trust is. Think of how Abraham felt when God came to him and said, you need to leave your family and your country and go to a completely foreign place. Why would this be necessary? Why couldn't he follow God's Will right where he lived? 

And if that made no sense, think of the confusion and questioning in Abraham's mind when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, the son upon whom all the promises rested. First of all, how could it be right to sacrifice a human being? Secondly, how were the promises to be fulfilled if the one through whom they were promised was dead?

Yet Abraham, who is called the father of the faithful, followed the commands of Gold without hesitation. We, like Abraham, need to follow the command of God even when it makes no sense to us.

Many will argue that those in Church hierarchy are not following God's commands, so we cannot follow them. We need to ask ourselves, do we believe the Catholic Church is the true Church founded by Jesus Christ? Do we believe Our Lord's words that the gates of hell will never prevail against this Church? Do we believe that the bishops are the direct spiritual descendants of the apostles? Do we believe that the pope sits in the Chair of Peter?

If we truly believe these things, it then follows that when we hear what we perceive to be confusing and conflicting statements from Church hierarchy, our first reaction should never be to question the Church. We need to ask such questions as what is the source of this information? Is there an agenda from this source? Does what we hear actually conflict with Catholic teaching, or do we just not like what is being said? Just how complete is our understanding of the subject? Do we have the whole story? Do we know all the facts involved?

These are the questions I ask in each story I have written about on this blog. When I hear or read something that indicates Church hierarchy is teaching or promoting something heretical, I take a few steps back and ask all of the above questions. I have learned never to trust my first reaction. I try to always defend the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Sadly, I do not see this very often in other Catholics. Too many are quick to believe the very worst, to sit in judgment and condemnation. Then when someone comes along and tries to tell them differently, presenting them with the true facts, they don't listen. They just continue to attack.

Pope Francis gave what turned out to be a very controversial interview to America Magazine last year [HERE], which I would urge everyone to read. He made some truly profound and wise statements in that interview. Below is one of them:
“But I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision. This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time. The wisdom of discernment redeems the necessary ambiguity of life and helps us find the most appropriate means, which do not always coincide with what looks great and strong.”
If you study Scripture and Church history, you will see that Our Lord never works in ways that we would expect. Who would think He would choose the greatest persecutor of the Church, the one who wanted every Christian dead, to be the greatest evangelizer of the Gospel, namely St. Paul? Who would think Our Lord would choose a cowardly, impetuous and sometimes just plain stupid man to be the leader of the Church, St. Peter? Who would think that the first person the Risen Jesus appeared to would be an outcast of society, Mary Magdalene, a woman from whom Christ cast seven devils? It goes on and on. 
 
We should never, never presume to know the mind of God. As such, we must always give the benefit of the doubt to His Church. We must always be willing to say, this doesn't seem right to me, but I have very limited understanding and I don't know how Our Lord will use this situation or this person. So let me just step back until it become clearer.

It is most definitely possible for a priest or bishop to act against Church authority. Certainly we need to speak up in such cases. But it has been my experience that this is a very rare occurrence. Priests and bishops don't always speak and act the way I would like them to, but that doesn't mean I don't have to listen to them. Again, we should never trust our first reaction. We should always "wait and assess" as Pope Francis counsels.

If you will read my posts without prejudice, you will find nothing in them that goes against Church teaching or attacks Church hierarchy in any way. In fact, you will see just the opposite. I truly love Our Lord and I love the Mystical Body of Christ.

You will notice that I often use Scripture and the saints to support what I am saying. By doing this, I am showing you how I came to the conclusion I did. I don't start out with a conclusion and then look to see how I can support it. I go to Scripture and to the Church, and I allow that to lead me. I also listen to and read directly what the bishops and the Holy Father actually say instead of allowing someone to interpret them for me. That is essential to knowing what is true.

In short, I have learned that we must trust Our Lord, Jesus Christ. We must trust His Church, His Mystical Body against whom the gates of hell will never prevail. At the very bottom of the list, we can trust ourselves only to the extent that we are submissive and obedient to Christ and His Church.

I am sure most will find fault with this post as well. That's okay. I think I'm getting use to it.  And it certainly does keep me humble.

10 comments:

  1. Great points. Don't let the negative people silence you.

    There is a group of Catholics who are rabble-rousers. They don't see the big picture. They have a pack mentality and egg each other on. One will nip at your heels and soon you're surrounded by a group of jackals who take delight in ripping at you. They don't have the confidence in their position to have a civil discussion. Many of them don't seem capable of thinking things through on their own and blindly parrot the words of their leader. It's similar to a gang mentality. They enjoy adopting an "us (the only truly faithful Catholics) against them (Church hierarchy and everyone who doesn't rubber-stamp their ringleader's agenda)" mentality. They take personal affront if anyone dares to criticize their beloved leader. We saw it with Fr Corapi's fan club. We see it with Michael Voris' fan club. People go for the rebel image.

    The ringleaders will answer for their part in ginning up the crowd and leading Catholics to commit character assassination. I'm apalled at some of the hateful comments I see coming from the fans of those who make it their occupation and livelihood to snipe at Church hierarchy. What can be in the heart of one who spends so much time searching for ways to criticize Church leaders? They have little trust in Christ. They are self-proclaimed martyrs and saviors, so filled with pride. They're so enraptured by the accolades of their groupies that they can't hear Satan heartily applauding their work. Pray for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. Thank you so much for those words. I wish I could say differently, but your words are, regrettably, very true.

      It is good to hear from someone who truly loves the Church and trusts that Our Lord will not allow His Church to lead us astray.

      Delete
    2. Gerard is appalled at hateful comments, after his opening paragraph of accusing fellow Catholics of being jackals, rabble-rousers, pack mentality, uncivilized, blind parrots, and gang mentality. Brilliant! You can't make this stuff up.

      Delete
    3. What do you think of the following statements:

      "If you make your way around the Catholic world today, one thing is blinding. It’s inescapable – there is an apostate Church operating within the power structure of the establishment Church. It is a wicked evil thing. Parish after parish, diocese after diocese has abandoned the true faith.

      lying/deceitful or misled archdiocesan chancery

      you must come to understand you have been lied to and deceived by wicked and weak men who have no care or concern for your immortal souls. They have profited in a hundred different ways from your ignorance and your giving into to your passions. You have been deceived and now you must pray to Our Blessed Lord to pull you out of the mighty waters before you are drowned. Time is running out .. repent and let go of the apostate Church

      repent and let go of the apostate Church – the one that teaches you nothing in preparation for standing before Almighty God."

      Do these statements seem like they are designed to produce unity in the Church of God? These are statements from just ONE Vortex episode. There is also the Vortex which is the subject of this post, which clearly shows how Voris manipulates and lies to get his point across.

      You're right. You can't make this stuff up. It is appalling beyond words.

      Delete
    4. stevendallas. I painted a picture that comes to mind when I see the behavior exhibited by the crowd of Catholics who promote disrespect for Church hierarchy. Having been treated to this behavior after making civil comments that offer an opposing view, my description of the behavior isn't dishonest. If you're familiar at all with the followers of those who seek to lead Catholics away from the structure of the Church, you'll know what I mean.

      Delete
    5. Well, let's take a look at just the most recent "stumble" of the hierarchy that our friend here, Gerard, likes to simplify it as:
      http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/07/hhs-money-to-church-entities-long-before-waves-of-illegal-immigrants/

      Delete
    6. What an amazing thing. The Church isn't perfect. Seems to me this has been true since the time of the apostles. Is that reason to turn on them and try to destroy them? Those who make mistakes or are actually involved in corruption need to be called out. But that does not mean we should destroy the entire "Establishment" Church as Voris advocates.

      Actions such as this are playing right into the hands of the Evil One.

      Delete
  2. You're welcome. I enjoy your blog entries. You've pointed out that you write to help you sort through issues. I use that method when I'm faced with a troubling situation. Setting the problem on paper helps me view it more objectively and discern the next best step. I find the adoration chapel a great place to write. Christ keeps me honest.

    Christ often used the image of the shepherd and sheep. Our challenge is to be sheep. We resist it. We don't like being part of the flock, one of many. It's a lifelong struggle to be humble and childlike and submit to the will of the shepherd. We're tempted to break away and have our own little herd. The Lucifer syndrome. Protestants have done that and I see some rebellious Catholics taking that path. They distract some sheep from the flock under the guise of having a keener, more enlightened knowledge of the faith. They plant seeds of doubt about those in authority. They're unforgiving and don't miss an opportunity to point out any failing or misstep of the leaders. Problem is that Christ has neither called nor appointed these rebels as shepherds. When they lead the herd away from the legitimately ordained shepherds and encourage grumbling, resentment and even attacks on those appointed by Christ, they chip away at the rock of Peter. They may claim that Peter is off limits and confine their open disrespect and disdain to bishops and priests but ultimately, they're showing contempt even for Peter in rejecting the bishops appointed by him. And they do nothing to hold their followers in check who make outrageously disrespectful remarks about the Holy Father. Any blogger or social media page administrator has the duty to monitor the comments and encourage respect for Church authority and civil discourse with one another. They cause division which is counter to Christ's prayer that "they all be one".

    We've seen the problems brought about by this sort of division in the Protestant world. Now we're seeing it among Catholics. Attack the leaders and start your own band of "real" Catholics as opposed to all those others. Coming together as brothers and sisters for the salvation of all souls is what we need to do. There may be times when our appointed shepherds stumble or grow tired and we have to nudge or even carry them. They deserve our love, respect and support, not to be trampled under foot. God have mercy on those promoting division in our beautiful Church. May they learn to trust our Lord who promised that the gates of hell won't prevail against His Church and work together to build up rather than tear down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very well said. Thank you. Having been part of the "Traditionaliist" movement for many years, and having very much of the mindset that you describe, I can attest to the truth of your words.

      Satan is so clever, and he knows the best way to throw us off track is to appeal to our pride. He doesn't care if he gets to us by tempting us with immorality or self righteousness. It all ends up the same. Rebellion against Our Lord and His Church.

      I feel that having been a part of this "Catholic Uprising" as Michael Voris so accurately calls it (while promoting it at the same time), I have some right to speak to this issue. My writings are more directed to me than anyone else.

      Delete
  3. I am part of the Hierarchy of the Church, though not high ranking. Yet due to my vocation, I have spent time with Holy Priests, and lukewarm priests, to those that truly dislike the church as it is, and would like us to just like the Episcopal church in all things (except the Anglo High Church has better music and inspiring liturgies). There is a need for us all to go back to the Church Fathers and Popes of the pasts, and make sure we are living our faith and morals according to the truths handed down to us from Christ to his Apostles to us now though the bishops. The one reason why there are so many fights in my humble opinion , is due to the ambiguity within some of the post Vatican II Documents themselves. Some things can be taken one way or another. I pray that the Hierarchy of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church will write a Commentary, issued by the Holy Father which explains each Post concilliar Document in its entirety. Also, we need to obey things from the documents that were ignored, regarding the Divine Liturgy. Above all we need to pray for the Lord to raise up great Holy Saints among our bishops and priests especially.I believe we need another Universal Catholic Council to fix the problems we face in the Church today. to make sure the Faith in being transmitted using the hermenutics of continuity with the past dogmatic and Liturgical statements of the past, be they before, during or after the 7 great Ecumenical Councils. Until then, we need people like Michael Voris, who in many ways is like a modern day Prophet; they prophet were need to call back the people of God to orthodox faith and praxis. You mentioned the Gates of Hell not overcoming the Church? it will never happen,But remember it came close in history during the arian heresy. 85 percent of the bishops and the their layfaithful left the Orthodox Catholic Faith to believe in heresies, such as Jesus was not the Eternal Logos, but only a creature, a man.It took some bold bishops and the power of the Holy Spirit to fix the Church. Perhaps we are in such a crisis today? I for one believe we are. I follow and Practice the Holy Faith serving my parish and diocese and also helping the Ukrainian Catholic Church (I have received permission from both bishops involved). We must all study and learn and research the truths of our faith as St. Paul Said, "study to show yourselves approved unto God as a workman that need not be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...