Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Father Justin Wylie and Holy Innocents

Father Justin Wylie
Father Justin Wylie is a priest from South Africa who is an Attaché of the Holy See to the United Nations. I have personally met him and attended Masses in which he has been the celebrant and listened to several of his talks. He is a good, holy priest, and tremendously loyal to the Catholic Church. He is also a great devotee of the Traditional Latin Mass, and celebrates it beautifully.

Father Wylie recently celebrated Mass and gave a sermon at Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan. Holy Innocents, along with dozens of other churches in the Archdiocese, is facing potential closure in the next couple of months. This is a very traumatic time for Catholics in this area, and emotions are running high. Many at Holy Innocents feel that church is being targeted because there is a very strong Traditional Latin Mass group there with the only daily Latin Mass in the entire tri-state area. Judging by his sermon, Father Wylie is among those who feel that Holy Innocents is threatened with closure because of the Latin Mass. His sermon has gotten a lot of play on Traditional Catholic blogs and websites, all of which applaud his remarks.  Father Z wrote about it and entitled his post, "MUST READ: Fr. Wylie’s hard-hitting sermon at Holy Innoncents [sic] (Manhattan, NYC) – How traditionalists are treated by priests and bishops."

Holy Innocents, Manhattan
(For the record, I have been attending Holy Innocents for many years, first going there to hear Father Benedict Groeschel, and then to attend the TLM.  I don't go as often as I once did, but I try never to miss the monthly all-night prayer vigils.  The potential closure of Holy Innocents is a very emotional issue with me as with many others.)

Father Wylie spoke about the potential closure of Holy Innocents and what it means to the Traditional Catholic community there.  Anyone who reads my blog knows I never seem to agree with the majority of my fellow Catholic bloggers, and this is no exception.  As much as I like and admire Father Wylie, I don't agree with the general assessment of his sermon.  [If you would like to read the entire sermon, it can be found on the Facebook page of "Forward Boldly", run by a Michael Voris accolyte, Christine Le Niles, HERE.]  

Father Wylie started his sermon urging his listeners to stay true to the Church:
Dear friends – and mark well that I speak to you now from the prophetic heart of my sacerdotal paternity – Dom Prosper Gueranger has something important to say also about threes. Hear it well:
“[T]he sacraments, being visible signs, are an additional bond of unity between the members of the Church: we say additional, because these members have the two other strong links of union – submission to Peter and to the pastors sent by him and profession of the same faith. The Holy Ghost tells us, in the sacred Volume, that a threefold chord is not easily broken [Eccles. Iv 12]. Now we have such a one, and it keeps us in the glorious unity of the Church: hierarchy, dogma, and sacraments, all contribute to make us one Body. Everywhere, from north to south, and from east to west, the sacraments testify to the fraternity that exists amongst us; by them we know each other, no matter in what part of the globe we may be, and by the same we are known by heretics and infidels. These divine sacraments are the same in every country, how much soever the liturgical formulae of their administration may differ; they are the same in the graces they produce, they are the same in the signs whereby grace is produced – in a word, they are the same in all the essentials” (pp. 228-9).
Dom Gueranger writes these words for us under his entry for precisely this Fourth Sunday after Easter, when in this parish, as I understand, you will meet to discuss a path forward for the precarious existence of your own worshipping community. Will this be the path Christ charts or will we make of ourselves instruments of the evil one for division and derision? The test of this, as in all things, is charity. Deus caritas est; et ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est. Where there is a breakdown of charity, there also is the spirit of the antichrist. I urge you, therefore, to be obedient and to be charitable with your legitimate superiors in all this, as well as with each other. Be firm and clear, also, and just; however, let charity always be the litmus test of whom it is you serve.
This, of course, is excellent advice from Father Wylie. Strong negative emotions are never the work of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we start acting out of a feeling of victimization, we are not under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No matter what persecution we may face, no matter how dire the circumstances may appear, we must remember that we are already victors because Christ has won the battle for us. This was the message of St. Paul in Romans 8:
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Unfortunately, Father Wylie's sermon then began to deviate from this positive message.  He talked about his experience when he first came to New York and how freely the Latin Mass was celebrated here.  However, he has since changed his opinion:
As I said: during the dark days of prohibition, New York seemed to be a happy place to be for you because of the indult-masses at places like St. Agnes, but in the fresh juridical freedom Summorum Pontificum brings, New York has become, in my view, a less felicitous place for traditional Catholics: because nothing is structured, nothing acknowledged. Who takes responsibility for you pastorally?
Father Wylie then took swipes at the Administration of the New York Archdiocese:
Pastores dabo vobis, the Lord promises Jeremiah: I will give you shepherds! Fundamentally – and this is something about which I urge you to think well and pray much about – as a priest, I have to say: 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. Isn't it high time for the Church to take pastoral responsibility also for these sheep? Do they not deserve a shepherd? a parish? or at least some sense of juridical security? What happens to you when the parish you are harbouring in closes its doors?
As you can see, Father Wylie is comparing the situation of traditional Catholics in New York City to those in "Reformation England" when the Catholic Church was outlawed and priests had to be literally smuggled into the country. Father Wylie is, in effect, accusing the Archdiocese of waging war on traditional Catholics, and I know many who are in complete agreement with that. And it probably is true to one extent or another. But would our Lord want us to, in turn, do battle with those in Church hierarchy? 

This is what Jesus told the people of his time regard to their religious leaders (Matthew 23:1-3):
Then Jesus spoke to the people and to his followers. Jesus said, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have the authority (power) to tell you what the law of Moses says. So you should obey the things they say. You should do all the things they tell you to do. But their lives are not good examples for you to follow. They tell you to do things, but they don't do those things themselves."
St. Padre Pio
We have a wonderful example of this in St. Padre Pio.  St Padre Pio was the victim of persecution early in his ministry when the stigmata started, and he was basically stripped of almost all his priestly duties, including hearing confessions and public celebration of the Mass.  His response:
"God's will be done,"...then he covered his eyes with his hands, lowered his head, and murmured, "The will of the authorities is the will of God."
Notice what he said: "The will of the authorities is the will of God."  Do we believe that?  It certainly wouldn't seem so from a reading of many Catholic blogs and websites.

Our Lord will often, and in fact usually does, allow great persecution and hardship into the lives of His followers.  We see this beginning in the Old Testament.  In the Book of Genesis, the patriarch Joseph was sold as a slave by his own brothers to the Egyptians.  Then he was falsely accused of rape by Pharaoh's wife when he rejected her advances, and he spent many years in prison.   He calmly accepted his circumstances and waited for God to work things out.

Later in the book of Exodus, God comes to the children of Israel and says he will free them from slavery to the Egyptians.  But first things are made much harder for them, with even more persecution from the Egyptians.  When they are finally freed, God leads them right to the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army behind them, a sure death trap.  This, of course, was done to show them that God will always fight their battles for them, as Moses told them, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."

We see the example of King David, who was anointed King of Israel, and then spent the next many years being hunted down like an animal by King Saul.

The prophet Daniel refused to bow down to false gods and as a result, was thrown into the lion's den.

And of course, there is the great example of the father of faith, Abraham, who waited years for God to make good on His promise to give Abraham a son. When Abraham is finally given a son, God tells him to sacrifice Isaac. Does that make any sense? Isaac was the one through whom the promises would be given. Everything depended on Isaac, and yet here was God telling Abraham to slit his son's throat. But because Abraham was willing to do it, he became the father of the faithful, the living definition of faith.

What all of these examples have in common is that none of these great biblical figures tried to work things out their own way. They let God fight their battles for them.

Am I saying that those at Holy Innocents should do nothing? Absolutely not. The Church has a process whereby they can challenge the closing of the Church, and they should follow this. But they should be very careful not to get into a spirit of victimization and resentment towards those in authority. Those attitudes are never from the Holy Spirit, and will only lead to bad consequences.

Unfortunately, the next statements of Father Wylie do not support patiently waiting on God:
What will become of the priestly vocations aplenty I see in these numerous young men of such quality as we have in abundance serving here at Holy Innocents, St. Agnes and elsewhere – remaining as they do at the mercy (and sometimes, caprice) of 'landlords' who, for one reason or another, 'permit' their presence in their parishes? Doors everywere seem closing to them. Our Saviour has closed its doors to them. St. Agnes, for its part, guards its doors vigilantly to make sure they don't enter the building 5 minutes too early or don't overstay their welcome by 5 minutes more. Now, it seems, the doors of Holy Innocents will be closed to them, too.
Taken together, this is, in my view, a clear instance of exclusion: an injustice which you should bring to the attention of your shepherd, I think. You are fully-fledged members of the baptised Faithful, for heaven's sake: why are you scurrying about like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your very existence? The precariousness of your community cannot hinge on a church building being available to you as though you were a mere sodality or guild. The days of renting space in hotels and the like must surely be over. You are not schismatics! Are you schismatics?
I am not challenging the veracity of Father Wylie's statements. But he is presenting these facts in such a way as to agitate those who are listening almost to rebellion. He is telling the people to rise up in self-righteous anger against those in authority. This is not the example we see in the Bible or the saints.

He continues:
Whatever happens to Holy Innocents – and this will be the decision of your chief-shepherd here, who will base his decision on more information than any of us has at his or her disposal – you need to assert that you belong to the Church as fully as any other community. You have found a home here, largely through your own hard work and perseverence: no good shepherd could dispossess you of your home without providing safety and good pasture elsewhere. Parishioners of a Novus ordo parish closure might easily find another 'home' nearby; but what of you?
Where is God in this statement? Father Wylie says: "You have found a home here, largely through your own hard work and perseverence." Father Wylie gives no credit to God for the accomplishments of Holy Innocence, and as a result, he does not turn the people to God to work out the solution. Everything is centered on the people. This is a sure recipe for disaster. Wouldn't it have been much better to say, "The Holy Spirit working through you has created a vibrant community, and no matter what happens, He will not desert you. As we are told, God's ways are not our ways. We need to trust that He will work things out just as He has always done."

From Father Wylie:
You have a right to find the Mass (and not only on Sundays); and not only the Mass, but the other sacraments and rites of the Church. Closing this parish is more akin to closing a linguistic parish or a Oriental rite parish. What becomes of you?
Father Wylie puts the emphasis on the "rights" of the people:  "You have a right to find the Mass (and not only on Sundays); and not only the Mass, but the other sacraments and rites of the Church. Closing this parish is more akin to closing a linguistic parish or a Oriental rite parish. What becomes of you?"  St. Padre Pio had a right to exercise his priestly duties, but when this was taken away from him by Church authorities, he humbly submitted.  And as a result, he became one of the greatest spiritual giants of our time.    

Father Wiley also asks:  "What becomes of you?"  St. Paul gives us the answer:  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"  

What becomes of us?  We are in the safe and loving arms of Jesus Christ who promises never to leave us.  Maybe things aren't the way we want them to be.  Maybe we have to give up what we have worked for and suffer through great loss.  But does that mean we are abandoned?  

Father Wylie ends his sermon as follows:
No longer, I say, should you think of yourselves as squatters in the mighty edifice of Holy Church, nor should you find yourselves turned out like squatters. Shepherds must needs make difficult decisions, such as the erection or suppression of parishes – that is their onerous duty and in this they must have our obedience, charity and prayer: but never should they throw open the sheep-fold and allow the uncertain dispersion of their sheep into a world full of wolves. Charity, of course, is a two-way street.
Return Crucifix at Holy Innocents
Charity is a two-way street? Really? Was that the philosophy of Jesus Christ when He said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Mt. 5:43-44). Was charity a two-way street when Christ was hanging on the cross surrounded by those cheering on his death, and his response was "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do"? A Christian does not say I will love you only if you love me. A Christian loves because that is the great commandment of Jesus Christ. Whatever else Christian love is, it is NOT a two-way street.

I am also deeply disturbed by Fr. Wylie's characterization of the New York Archdiocese throwing traditional Catholics "into a world full of wolves."  Why doesn't Father Wylie remind the people that our Lord has promised never to abandon them?  As the "Imitation of Christ" tells us, quoting from Proverbs 16:9, "Man proposes, God disposes."  God is the one who makes the final decision.  Are we willing to trust Him?  

And is Father Wylie characterizing the rest of the Catholic Church, the "ordinary form" of the Church, as a "world full of wolves"? If the worst does happen and Holy Innocents is closed, the Latin Mass Community will have to assimilate into other CATHOLIC churches (not a "world full of wolves") which may not offer the Latin Mass, but are nonetheless as Catholic as they are.  Does Father Wylie see that as being thrown to the wolves? Is he saying, as I have heard far too many Traditionalists say, that the only true Catholic Church are those who attend the Latin Mass? Traditionalists often complain that they are persecuted in the Church, but it is statements like this that bring on distrust by others.   

It is obvious that the purpose of Father Wylie's sermon was to instill fight into those who were listening to him.  However, no where does he talk about taking this in prayer to God, and humbly and patiently waiting for an answer.  He tells the people that they are victims, that they have rights which are being violated, that no one in the New York Archdiocese really cares about them and they better look out for themselves.  

With all due respect to Father Wylie, whom I greatly respect and admire, this sermon is an example of why so many in the Catholic hierarchy are suspicious of traditional Catholics. This kind of sermon will not help their cause at all. This sermon represents traditionalists as self righteous and rebellious. It hurts me to characterize it in this way because of my great attachment to Holy Innocents Church and respect for Father Wylie. But I feel that Our Lord is giving them an opportunity to prove just how much they love and trust Him in the way they accept this heavy trial they have been given. If this sermon by Father Wylie is any indication, this great opportunity is being squandered.

To quote Father Justin Wylie:
Will this be the path Christ charts or will we make of ourselves instruments of the evil one for division and derision? The test of this, as in all things, is charity. Deus caritas est; et ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est. Where there is a breakdown of charity, there also is the spirit of the antichrist. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I pray for the good Father that he find the wisdom of God in the trial he and his parishioners are enduring.

    Isaiah chapter 45 says:
    I am the Lord, there is no other. I form the light, and create the darkness,
    I make weal and create woe; I, the Lord, do all these things.
    Let justice descend, you heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the clouds drop it down.
    Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let righteousness spring up with them!
    I, the Lord, have created this. Woe to anyone who contends with their Maker; a potsherd among potsherds of the earth!*
    Shall the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” or, “What you are making has no handles”?

    I try to look at it this way. Bad things happen to people all the time. Sometimes very horrible things, like our innocent Lord being crucified on the Cross. However, these things only because bad when we fail to accept that God is in control in our lives and He in his wisdom gives what is best for us, even if it is not something we willingly would choose for ourselves.

  3. Well, I believe you have missed Fr. Wylie's point. There's nothing wrong to say that they want to close Holy Innocents because of the traditional Mass when it is an actual fact, except that the Archdiocese will never say it publicly.

    As one of the servers at Holy Innocents, I can tell you that they have wanted to close Holy Innocents since the daily Mass started. And now, the reasons being given for closing it are far from being true (financial problems, lack of priests, the Garmet District has been "outsourced," etc. All these reasons are completely false).

    It also seems that you would have given a better sermon than Fr. Wylie.

    1. I think it is probably true that HI is being targeted because of the Latin Mass for various reasons. and this is the same persecution suffered in the examples given in my post. But it is precisely these kinds of moments and how we handle them that can give the greatest blessings. If we allow ourselves to become bitter and hateful, then the Enemy has won.

      Follow all the legal channels given to fight the closure, but if the worst does happen, then it is time to "stand back and see the salvation of The Lord." When the people of Israel stood between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army, they thought they were doomed, not realizing this was the moment when God would show Himself most powerfully.

  4. This is very true. But, so far, I have not seen anybody at Holy Innocents go crazy and become desperate. There has been no protest, no picketing, no fights, no violence, even after this sermon. I have not seen any type of instigation to disobedience so far.

    I would also like to clarify something: Different people have different experiences and different ways of expressing and seeing the same thing. Fr. Wylie, who has been dealing with Priests and servers and Pastors where the Latin Mass is allowed (or tolerated), knows that it is difficult to have to start all over again (this is what he meant when he acknowledged the work of the lay people involved, as opposed to the work of the diocesan clergy, which has been very minimal). He did not meant to say that God did not do anything about it. We all know that without God nothing would be possible, especially in relation to the Mass.

    Lay people who are not directly involved with the scheduling of Celebrants and servers and musicians, the obtaining of Vestments and candles and charcoal and incense (when the hosting parish refuses to provide these things), people in the pews who simply come to Mass and leave right after the Mass is over do not get to see the "work and effort" that goes on behind having a decent Sung Mass. So, their view or take will be different from the view or take of those who are aware of these struggles. Most times, these things have to be obtained at the expense of a few laymen (not the parish), even when the entire collection goes to the parish.

    I am sure that this is what Fr. Wylie was referring to in his sermon. It is not always easy (as the example of Our Saviour after July showed, and as it is still the case at St. Agnes) to have to have "battles" every time there's a Mass because not everything is in place and because the Pastor does not really want to worry about the things needed for the traditional Mass.

    And then, there are those (Pastors) who will absolutely make sure to make the Latin Mass community feel unwelcome, whether the "traditionalists" give them reasons for it or not. So, his use of "into a world full of wolves" was very accurate. He simply did not mean to generalize it to every Catholic church or Pastor.

    1. Thanks for clarifying this, and please don't think for a second that those of us in the pews, especially those who come on a regular basis, don't appreciate all the hard work and financial resources that the laity have contributed to the Latin Mass. I know firsthand that it is a true work of love. I know the struggles you go through, and I don't discount them in any way. I tried to make that clear in my post. However, although there has been no picketing or public displays, as you mentioned, I have heard some very derrogatory comments made about the Archdiocese. While these may or may not be deserved, I think it shows what is in the heart of at least some people. That is why I pointed out the example of St. Padre Pio, who was unjustly persecuted by his superiors and deprived of many things, and yet refused to talk against them.

      All the things you write about Father Wylie's sermon may be true, but the fact is, he didn't say it, and we are only left with his words, so that is all I can go by.

  5. Father Wylie's sermon can be reduced to the old dictum attributed to Saint Augustine: "Work as if everything depended on [human] efforts, pray as if everything depended on God's." His assessment of the political situation is quite correct and his counsels in conformity with canon law. This current reorganization (auto-demolition) plan of the Archdiocese is, on the whole, thoroughly uncharitable and inept.

    1. And therein lies a true opportunity for sanctification. Do we allow ourselves to become bitter and angry, or do we put this battle into the hands of Our Lord and "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."

  6. A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.

    A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”

    The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”

    As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”

    The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”

    The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.

    A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, "Grab my hand and I will pull you up!" But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”

    Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.

    When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”

    And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”

    1. Too bad there wasn't someone to tell this story to St. Padre Pio, the Israelites at the Red Sea, the apostles in the boat with the sleeping Jesus during the storm, etc.

  7. The other day I left Holy Innocents and walked home. I walked up through Times Square. I was passed by a bus emblazoned with a full size picture of Angelina Jolie dressed as Baphomet with the Disney logo prominently displayed. A couple of minutes later I passed by the Disney store with a massive video display. Of course Jolie with her black horns was in full view to all children walking by and entering the store. The display is probably 3 stories tall. As I approached Columbus Circle there was a tent out front for an Atheist group and they were out evangelizing.

    Fr. Wylie I think was extremely diplomatic in his sermon. I don't think the Gospels call on Catholics to be cowards but to search out and speak the truth. Going along to get along has destroyed the Catholic Church. How many millions of laity have left the Church; how many good priests have likewise walked away over the years.

    The Latin and Roman Mass has been in existence for well over a thousand years. It should not be stopped or degraded on account of the agenda of a few German progressives. This is why the Church is in the state it is in. There is a true evil in this world that has always existed however today that evil has become mainstream.

    Catholics can sit back and hope and pray for the good to return or they can stand up against evil. If they continue on the path they are on the evangelizing atheists will surely win.

    1. Grego,
      Brother, I believe you may have missed the point. No one doubts that the culture is against us with the normalization of the demonic and the pagan. I do not believe any one really doubts that there are factions within the Church working against the Latin Mass.
      However, I believe what the overall point is that Father Wylie's choice of words in his sermon seems to forget that the Church founded by our Risen Lord has His own guarantee of His protection. The good Father's word seems to not keep in mind that God is the author of all things, even things that are not what we ourselves would wish for.
      Allow me to offer an example: I have faith that even if there was some sort of catastrophe that caused human beings to forget how to speak or read latin, Holy Mother Church through the protection of our Lord is going to be strong in the business of the salvation of souls as she is now.
      I am aware that many that call themselves Catholic seem to doubt that the Church is currently strong in the business of the salvation of souls. To these unfortunates I pose the following question: Are you yourself going to Heaven?
      If the answer is yes, then I say, Hallelujah! and urge you to go forth and spread the Gospel because that is how our Church is strong.

    2. I don't remember there being a point, maybe only one to discredit Father Wylie.
      The game being played is quite obvious. First you compliment Father Wylie, next you attack his sermon, finally you lodge complaints with Cardinal Dolan. It's all pretty obvious. You guys won Fr. Wylie's faculties have been removed.

      Remember one thing when the advice you constantly give is to sit back and trust in God, the prophecies at Fatima warned of apostasy in the Church. There is such a thing as free will. Many in the Church hierarchy have exercised their's and chose not to honor Our Lady's message. Following blindly is setting oneself up to falling into this apostasy.

      Father Wylie chose to speak the truth. He should be revered for this because not many in the Church do today nor anywhere else for that matter.
      His removal is obvious about what happens to those who speak the truth.

      How can a person save one's soul when most churches don't even talk about reconciliation and realizing a state of grace? 20 minutes once a week for most parishes is all that is allotted for confession and it is usually empty because penance is no longer deemed important. It's all utopia, ecumenism and one world people. When you think upon your own salvation, worry if you are living up to their word or His.

    3. I am very sorry you do not see any point in my post. It was certainly not to just criticize Father Wylie. And I assure you, this is not a game I am playing. I believe we are in very critical times, as a Church, in our society and in the world at large, with many souls in peril.

      I also believe with all my heart and soul that the Catholic Church is the Barque of Peter and the Ark of Salvation. But Our Lord has chosen to allow fallible human beings to run it, and has also made us in the Church subject to those fallible human beings. This forces us to trust that no matter what happens, no matter how far off the mark Church authority seems to be, the Holy Spirit is still in charge and will still accomplish His Purpose. This is a major way in which we learn to "walk by faith and not by sight." And none of us will be saved without faith.

      You have made a very judgmental statement in your comment by accusing "many in the Church hierarchy" of basically being apostates. That is a very heavy accusation. Whether it is true or not, that is not a judgment for any of us to make. It is not our job to judge one another but to pray for one another.

      You mention our Lady of Fatima. Her advice to us was "pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them." She said nothing about sitting in criticism of the hierarchy of the Church and condemning them.

    4. Grego,
      There is a big difference between trusting in God and just sitting back. No reasonable person would suggest that we just sit back. No reasonable person would think that has been suggest here.
      What I am suggesting is that we try to gain perspective and ask ourselves, What is God trying to teach us and what does he want us to do?
      I guarantee you God does not want us to turn against one another and He especially does not want us to turn against our Church's Hierarchy.

  8. Fr. Pio's case would not normally apply to every single Catholic. Being a Religious, he was bound (more than we are) to a very specific type of Obedience, the type for which he is promised eternal life if he lives the life of that community.

    Lay people who do not have those vows are not always required to the same level of obedience or, at least, not in the same way. We all know of the work St. Catherine of Sienna did and it was not all done in accordance to the type of Obedience Padre Pio was required to follow.

    Then, there is also the fact that Padre Pio had special gifts given to him, visions, predictions, stigmata, miracles, etc. for which Obedience is absolutely required if the Church authorities are to look at the case and decide whether it is worthy of believe or not.

    The closing of a parish or the closing of a building requires a different type of action, especially when lies are the reasons given for closing it and putting an end to the only daily traditional Mass in the entire city of New York!

    1. What do you do with Padre Pio's comment, "The will of the authorities is the Will of God"? Or even with the quote Father Wylie gave us from Dom Gueranger, "The Holy Ghost tells us, in the sacred Volume, that a threefold chord is not easily broken [Eccles. Iv 12]. Now we have such a one, and it keeps us in the glorious unity of the Church: hierarchy, dogma, and sacraments, all contribute to make us one Body." This does not mean that everything that issues forth from a bishop's mouth is infallible by any means, but it does mean that we are subject to our prelates, not as much as the clergy or religious, but we do not have a right to rebel against them.

      I gave other examples in my post of events in the lives of biblical figures who suffered greatly because those in authority either misunderstood them or were actually persecuting them. You do not address these examples at all. My point is that we, as limited human beings, cannot see the whole picture. When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, it seemed they were led straight into a trap, caught between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army, with no escape. If they had not "stood still" as Moses commanded them but instead tried to find their own way out of the situation, they most assuredly would have been annihilated.

      The closing of Holy Innocents and other churches in the NY Archdiocese is truly tragic and it would seem there can be no good from this terrible situation. And it is possible, even probable, that Holy Innocents Church is being targeted because of an animus against the Latin Mass. I feel in many ways those in Holy Innocents Church are between Pharaoh and the Red Sea. It is very important that all involved pray that they do not become bitter or hateful but that they continue to put their trust in the One who poured out His Life on the Cross for all of us. It may seem like we are in a boat in the middle of a terrible storm, and Jesus is sound asleep and letting us drown. But this is most assuredly the time to let Him work things out. No one ever expected the parting of the Red Sea. The apostles never thought that Jesus could just raise his hand and calm the storm.

      To quote once again from "Imitation of Christ", man proposes and God disposes. We must always remember who is really in charge, no matter what our physical eyes may tell us.

    2. latinmass,
      You are 100% correct, it does require a different type of action.
      1. Prayer, daily.
      2. Sacrifice, fasting or some other mortification.
      3. Humility, the accepting that we can do nothing, yet God can do anything.
      4. Faith, that God has a plan and purpose for all things, even things we do not like.

  9. No matter how you parse this, the persecution of Fr. Wylie is disheartening. How many pederasts got kicked out for abusing children? How many priests spread heresy without correction? There is a double standard that Dietrich von Hildebrand described in The Devastate Vineyard when he discussed how the shepherds persecute the most faithful. "The drivel of heretics, both priests and laymen, is tolerated; the bishops tacitly acquiesce to the poisoning of the faithful. But they want to silence the faithful believers who take up the cause of orthodoxy." This exactly describes the situation of closing Holy Innocents while allowing St. Francis Xavier to go on poisoning people in the pew. It reminds me of the rhetoric of the archdiocese attacking (I use that word deliberately) pro-lifers who objected to Obama being given an election boost with the photo op at the Al Smith dinner. If the innocent he advocated murdering wore roman collars would that event have gone forth? Unfortunately, babies don't vote or give to diocesan appeals.

    And isn't it true that the laity do have "rights." Doesn't Canon Law articulate them? If no one discusses that fact how can the laity know what those rights are and how to take action?

    I attend the Novus Ordo myself, but have been saddened to see the ongoing persecution of my brothers and sisters who long for the TLM. Ezekiel cries "Woe to the false shepherds." John the Baptist condemned the pharisees. Paul talked about those among the faithful who were spreading false teachings. Padre Pio is not the only saint with an example to share.

    May all the angels and saints pray for our poor Church. Fr. John Hardon, S.J. predicted that entire dioceses in the U.S. would disappear. The mass closing of churches in many places appears to be the fulfillment of that prophecy.

    1. Mary Ann, you are obviously very angry, but just where is your anger really directed? Do you still believe that Jesus Christ is in charge of His Church? Do you believe the Holy Spirit has fallen down on the job? Is the Church a spiritual entity which receives its life's blood from above, or is it dependent on frail human beings who can destroy it? Your post would lead me to conclude that you believe the latter.

      I don't know how many times I can say it. Yes, we are in the midst of a storm. But does that mean we have been abandoned? If it is persecution that is causing the closing of Holy Innocents, is Our Lord not aware of it? Has He suddenly stopped fighting our battles for us and now we must take over? I remember a sermon I heard from Father Benedict Groeschel in which he talked about the darkest hour of the Church. That was when Jesus was crucified. Everyone was convinced the dream was over. Jesus had failed. Of course, the truth is that was when the victory had been won.

      To spew out such negative statements about the hierarchy of the Church, whether they be true or not, is not helpful to anyone. Our example is our Blessed Mother, who stands before her Son constantly interceding for us. Do you think she does so by just pointing out all of our sins? Thank God she does not. Shouldn't we be following her example?

      I live in the New York area and these church closings are personally affecting me. It is a very difficult time. But to start a war against the hierarchy of the Church is just what the enemy wants us to do. I prefer to follow the way of Our Lady.

  10. And you aren't angry? Frankly that puzzles me. I think the normal reaction to betrayal by those with responsibility to defend the faith (not to mention the flock) is righteous anger. Bishop Sheen talked about the problem of our age being too much tolerance. We've tolerated millions of murdered babies, whom I consider the same as my children and grandchildren, while money from people in the pew is siphoned into groups that advance the killing. We've tolerated so-called Catholic schools robbing our children of the faith. That doesn't make you angry?

    Well, a priest once preached that women need to come down from the cross and the men need to climb up. Maybe when that happens we angry mama bears can let the papa bears and take on the defense of the innocent.

    1. Of course my first reaction is anger. How dare they do this? But anger is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And righteous anger (which is very rare) does not involve denigrating other people, even those who may deserve it. So I took it in prayer and looked to the written Word of God, and my post is the result.

      Again, I can only say that we need to follow the example of Our Blessed Mother and react not with anger, but with prayer and the firm realization that Our Lord is in control.

  11. I don't think anger and prayer are mutually exclusive. I pray for all the bishops, but the attitude of "pray, pay, and obey" seems to me to smack of clericalism which is certainly no virtue. Thomas Aquinas says public scandal needs to be addressed publicly. Additionally, I read this on the Augustine Institute website ( and completely agree:

    "Being angry about the right things and in the right way is virtuous. But avoiding anger at all times may be a sign of weakness. St. Thomas Aquinas notes how it is a vice not get angry over things one should. He calls it “unreasonable patience.” A failure to seek punishment of the unjust encourages the wicked to persist in their evil deeds, since there are no reprimands for their actions. It also causes confusion in the community over what is truly right and wrong, and thus may lead even good people to do evil."

    I believe one of the reasons our five adult children practice the faith today is because they saw their parents going in and fighting scandals at their so-called Catholic schools. Fighting evil (motivated by anger against the evil) is virtuous and can save souls. I have had many civil conversations outside abortion mills with people who are getting ready to murder babies and have photos of the little ones saved. It was anger against the murder of the innocent that took me down to those mills week after week. The millstone sentence is still in effect and sounding the warning trumpet is an act of charity. And if you've never seen the picture of Blessed Mother with a club to bash the little demon getting ready to hurt the children, I recommend it for meditation.

    1. I do not believe that Our Blessed Mother would put bashing bishops and bashing the devil on the same level. Never in any of her approved apparitions has she ever even hinted we should do such a thing. And neither would any saint.

      You can bash the ordained hierarchy of the Church on your own blog. It is not welcome here.

  12. Cardinal Dolan seems to be two steps behind the rebirth of a devout group of faithful worshipers longing for truth and beauty. The Latin Mass is a gorgeous celebration of Christ. Its lovely to see the young priests embracing it and teaching we old malnourished cafeteria Catholics how its done. It is also nice to hear brave, strong words from a representative of the Holy See. Like Saint Paul, he's not afraid to shake his fists and wake us all up!

  13. In an emotionally charged situation such as this one, various currents can easily and understandably become conflated. It is not a sin for the lay faithful to question whether certain members of the clergy acting out of malice, caprice, incompetence or diabolical influence or some malignant confluence of the aforementioned. Additionally, the heresy of Quietism, which is basically "God is in total control of every last little thing so I just have to sit back and be absorbed into Divinity" was roundly condemned by Holy Mother Church.

    Canon Law on the Rights and Obligations of All the Faithful:

    Catholic Encyclopedia on Quietism:

    1. Mister Screwtape,
      Wow, brother you probably want to re-read what has been posted so far, especially what I wrote to Grego.
      I am sorry to say that you seem to be pulling this Quietism business out of I do not know what, because no one here is suggesting anything like it.
      I really love it when people bring Canon Law in to discussions like this.
      Which Canon actually allows the laity to “question” the Clergy on anything?
      There is no such right in Canon Law.
      Canon 212 §3 allows the laity to make their concerns known to the Clergy and to other faithful, but that is it.
      The same Canon 212 §1 tell us that we are to obey the Clergy as teachers and rulers of the Church.
      So, by the Canon Law on the Rights and Obligations of All the Faithful we may express our disagreement with our Bishops and Priest, either to them directly or even behind their back, it is not a sin, however, we are still bound to follow them in Christian obedience.

    2. Quietism? Did you read your own link?

      "Quietism (Latin quies, quietus, passivity) in the broadest sense is the doctrine which declares that man's highest perfection consists in a sort of psychical self-annihilation and a consequent absorption of the soul into the Divine Essence even during the present life. In the state of "quietude" the mind is wholly inactive; it no longer thinks or wills on its own account, but remains passive while God acts within it. Quietism is thus generally speaking a sort of false or exaggerated mysticism, which under the guise of the loftiest spirituality contains erroneous notions which, if consistently followed, would prove fatal to morality. It is fostered by Pantheism and similar theories, and it involves peculiar notions concerning the Divine cooperation in human acts."

      Quietism means not thinking for ourselves at all, not allowing any kind of outside influence. How can you accuse me of that after reading a post in which I point out examples of saints and biblical accounts, using the words of St. Paul, showing examples from Our Lord? Was Moses advocating "quietism" when he told the Israelites to "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord"?

      The article you link to says this quietism has essentially nothing to do with Christianity:

      "In its essential features Quietism is a characteristic of the religions of India. Both Pantheistic Brahmanism and Buddhism aim at a sort of self-annihilation, a state of indifference in which the soul enjoys an imperturbable tranquillity. And the means of bringing this about is the recognition of one's identity with Brahma, the all-god, or, for the Buddhist, the quenching of desire and the consequent attainment of Nirvana, incompletely in the present life, but completely after death."

      What you are trying to do is equate trusting God with "a sort of self-annihilation, a state of indifference in which the soul enjoys an imperturbable tranquillity." There is nothing in what I have written that supports this in any way.

      According to the article you linked to, these are some of the ways in which quietism is exhibited:

      "No preparation is required before Communion nor thanksgiving after other than that the soul remain in its usual state of passive resignation; and the soul must not endeavour to arouse in itself feelings of devotion. Interior souls resign themselves, in silence, to God; and the more thorough their resignation the more do they realize that they are unable to recite even the "Pater Noster". They should elicit no acts of love for the Blessed Virgin or the saints or the Humanity of Christ, because, as these are all sensible objects, love for them is also sensible. External works are not necessary to sanctification, and penitential works, i.e. voluntary mortification should be cast off as a grievous and useless burden "

      Mister Screwtape, you personally know me and you know for a fact that I have an active devotional life. Quietism as it is defined in the article you linked to has no part in my life, and I am very saddened that you would try to use this against me and actually call me a heretic.

      I do hope that as someone who calls himself my friend that you will publicly retract this accusation and apologize.

  14. I am deeply afraid many here have lost a great deal of perspective. The Hierarchy working to suppress the Latin Mass is not scandal. It is rather sad and misguided, but not scandal.
    Scandal would be something that violates Church teaching.
    At this point in time the Latin Mass, while beautiful, is a matter of prudence. It is up to the judgement of the person. In this case the Hierarchy.
    I have to say that I find a little silly for someone to presuppose that the Latin Mass would somehow nourish Catholics who allegedly pick and choose what part of our Faith they will follow.
    People seem to be unaware of one of the reasons that the Mass was changed to be in colloquial languages is because many people were doing things like praying a Rosary instead of participating in the Mass.
    It seems to me that people who pick and choose on what items they will be loyal to their rightful Bishops are themselves candidates to be cafeteria Catholics.
    I pray that in the course of time that the Hierarchy of Holy Mother Church in its wisdom will make the Latin Mass more available to those of us who know enough latin to participate fully in its beauty.

    1. Mr. Clark, thank you so much for your comments and your encouragement. I find it so ironic that supporting Holy Mother Church should turn so many fellow Catholics against me.

    2. You are welcome. I am not saying specifically that you were being attacked, but I must I did feel obligated to make an extra effort to stand by your side from all of this seemed onslaught.

  15. That's what happens when one multitasks: incomplete thoughts get transmitted. I am sorry for the impression that I was condemning you as a heretic.
    The point I wanted to make is thus: The position that you are advocating in this post has Quietist tendencies. This consolidation process is rife with injustice (and this is said with insider knowledge) that the lay Faithful have a right and duty to protest. Padre Pio was under investigation because of the supernatural phenomena surrounding him and allegations of financial impropriety. He was projecting his style of obedience as a Religious upon his followers. There is no word, phrase or sentence in Father Wylie's sermon that is incorrect regarding this situation.

    Also, that this comment thread is continuing is a diabolical distraction.

    1. First you accuse me of being a heretic, and now you accuse me of being a "diabolical distraction"? You want to see "diabolical distraction." Take a look at Pat Arcbhold post on the removal of Father Wylie, which I just found out about. Look at the comments there. Just one example:

      "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."

      This is what Catholicism is about - condemning a prince of the Church AND the Holy Father? And yet because I support Holy Mother Church, you first accuse me of being a heretic (which you sort of took back), and now accuse me of being diabolical.

      You say you take back your charge of heresy, yet you still accuse of me of quietism, which is heresy. As I have shown in the quotes taken from the article that you linked to, this is a totally false charge on your part.

      Mr. Screwtape, I repeat, you owe me a major apology.

    2. Mister Screwtape,
      No one said that Father Wylie's sermon was incorrect. That is not the point. You obviously are not going to accept the point.
      You seem to not be able accept that God has a plan in all this debacle.
      I am sorry to say that I find this very lacking in supernatural faith.
      And we do NOT have a right to protest against our Clergy. We are bound to obedience to them. One does not have to be a Religious and take a vow of obedience to be bound to obedience. Just read your own link that you posted. Canon 212 §1.
      Canon 212 §2 and §3 allow us to make our needs, wishes and concerns known to our Pastors, but that is no way allows for protesting.
      No, I am sorry brother, but I believe it is time that persons with this near schismatic point of view decide whether they themselves are within the Church founded by our Lord or on outside of it.

  16. His remarks were made to exhort a specific group of parishioners who were rallying a town hall meeting to protest the closing. They were obligated to make a response to the recommendation for better or for worse. He demanded they would stop resisting the process and be boldly unafraid to seek and to trust their shepherd. Out of goodwill he offered those who would defend the parish community the best points he had that might merit the cardinal's respect, in the spirit of discouraging detraction and resistance to the process. The nuance of his message was that the cardinal will expect you to bring forth your honest practical needs to the cluster meeting and that ranting over conspiracies and real estate and air rights will only hurt you - though he dared not even acknowledge naming those. Context is everything. He was not concerned at all with the greater traditionalist situation, just desperately preserving the threefold chord of unity in hierarchy, dogma and sacraments in this meeting.

    1. I have worked in law offices for many years, and I have to say this comment sounds like something right out of a legal brief. All that is missing is case law.

      I understand your point that "context is everything." However, I disagree that context is everything. Other important elements in what is said is VENUE and WHO is making these comments. Was a sermon in the Church the right place to tell people they are being persecuted by church authorities and they need to stand up for themselves? And should a priest, and on top of that, a visiting priest, be the one who is making these comments?

      Don't you think the context, the venue and the person speaking called more for admonition to rely on prayer and on the Holy Spirit to guide this situation? Shouldn't Father Wylie have made more comments about the fact that Our Lord promised never to desert us. that we have many biblical and historical examples of times when people of God have been in what seems to be impossible circumstances and Our Lord has always worked things out in ways we would never dream of?

      Stirring up rebellion and resentment is just wrong. There is no other way of looking at this. I feel terrible about the outcome of this in regard to Father Wylie, that he was not only banned by the NY Archdiocese but that he even lost his post at the UN and was sent back to South Africa.

      I am in the process of doing a post on how this entire situation can actually be used to further the Gospel of Christ. Our function as a Church is to save souls. There is nothing more important than that. We need to see how such a terrible situation as the closing of Holy Innocents and dozens of other churches can further our God-given mission to spread the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should not just be sitting around and complaining about how persecuted we are. That doesn't solve anything.

  17. I sincerely doubt that Padre Pio would demand a retraction or an apology if he had been accused of heresy or diabolical distraction. His example should be followed in this case as well, but only when one thinks it should be followed in relation to the hierarchy in the church.

    In the Church of Christ, as in many other spheres of this world, there are so many different types of examples ... St. Joan of Arc, St. John Vianney, St. Dominic, St. Athanasius, St. Leo the Great, etc. All of them Saints, all of them protested in their own way, all of them guided by God, etc.

    To the person who said that closing Holy Innocents is not scandal: It is a great scandal to close a church that has no financial debt. It is a scandal to close a church that sustains itself on its own parochial ministry (candles, collections -- most other churches pay their bills because they have spaces to rent). It is a scandal to close a church that has about 40 altar servers and 20 volunteer singers. It is a scandal to abandon a congregation that goes to Holy Innocents and not find another suitable place for it. It is a scandal, especially because the shepherd of the Archdiocese does not seem to be showing paternal concern about any of this.

    I also have to say this: while the blogs cited by some many people here show that the "traditionalists" have a very biased view and path, it is also obvious to me that those spreading that view also have their own biased view and path. Instead of correcting people via long blog posts and comments, you guys should be doing what you want the "traditionalists" to do with the people at St. Francis Xavier. Stop complaining about traditionalists and show them the way by example! Talk to them, help them (since you seem to know that they need help), pray for them, meet with them, etc. Don't just send them to St. Francis Xavier! Don't just tell them to follow Padre Pio's example. SHOW THEM how you follow that example.

    Then, you can write posts and comments all you want.

    1. You are probably right in that St. Padre Pio would not have asked for an apology after being so accused, which shows that I still have a long way to go for sainthood.

      I have been attending Latin Mass and have been a part of the traditionalist community for several years, but have been going through many changes in the past year or so. I have tried to share this with others, but have been slapped down just as you have seen here. I think the reception my remarks have received from you and others indicates that I would not be very welcome at Holy Innocents anymore, or in any other Latin Mass community so that makes it very difficult to talk to traditional minded Catholics. They tend to just want to shut me down.

      It is quite obvious that you have little interest in anything I have to say, but you may be interested in what a real saint has to say. There was a wonderful reading from St. Therese of Lisieux in today's "Magnificat" magazine which you probably don't get. So I will share it with you here:

      "Life is burdensome. What bitterness. . .but what sweetness. Yes, life is painful for us. It is hard to begin a day of work. The feeble bud has seen it just as the beautiful lily has. If we feel Jesus present, oh! then we would really do all for him, but no, he seems a thousand leagues away. We are all alone with ourselves. Oh! what annoying company when Jesus is not there. But what is this sweet friend doing then? Doesn't he see our anguish, the weight that is oppressing us? Where is he? Why doesn't he come to console us since we have him alone for a friend?

      Alas, he is not far; he is there, very close. He is looking at us, and he is begging this sorrow, this agony from us. He needs it for souls and for our soul. He wants to give us such a beautiful recompense, and his ambitions for us are very great. But how can he say, "My turn," if ours hasn't come, if we have given him nothing? Alas, it does pain him to give us sorrows to drink, but he knows this is the only means of preparing us to 'know him as he knows himself and to become Gods ourselves.' Oh! what a destiny. How great is our soul. . .

      Jesus is asking all, all, all."

    2. latinmass1983
      I am sorry, but the Church defines for us these words and their proper usage. We do not have to liberty to use them as we see fit.

      CCC 2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.

      Closing a Parish is not leading anyone to do evil. Other than the evil of dissenting from an Archbishop who is in good standing and communion with the Holy See. But that is a matter of individual choice rather than anyone leading anyone to it.
      Also, this dialogue through comments and counter-comments on websites like this is talking. Like Catholic in Brooklyn mentioned we are not usually well received. I think it might be because we are looked on as traitors or something like that. Catholic in Brooklyn describes herself as traditionalist. I consider myself rather orthodox. However, we seem to be more centered rather than to the extreme. One of my favorite quotes is "In Medio stat Virtus"
      And I do pray for them, as I hope they pray for me. And I do try to show them an example to follow. I try to show this example by trying to do what is righteous even though I might not agree with it or even like it.
      So, thanks for the advice, but been there, done that, have the tee-shirt. I will continue to write posts and comments. I hope you will continue to read them. Let me know what you think.
      Proverbs 3:5-7
      Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of Him, and He will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes...

  18. Everyone is always welcome at Holy Innocents (the sane and the insane, the traditionalist, the conservative, the orthodox, the liberal, the neo-con, etc.). No one has ever been told never to comeback to Holy Innocents, as far as I am aware.

    It is a natural thing in life that people do and will disagree. That, however, does not mean that they cannot go to the same church. I have disagreed with many people before and many people have disagreed with me, but that will not stop me from going to church where I usually go.

    The only thing that can stop me from going to Holy Innocents is if Cardinal Dolan closes it -- which would be a scandal!

    Scandal: Mrstevenclark, the CCC section that you quote does not say that, when scandal is caused, the people who cause people to do evil are blameless. The next number, which I am sure you also read says: "2285. Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the **authority of those who cause it** or the weakness of those who are scandalized"

    If people are lead to do evil, it is true that it is their own choice, but those who gave them the push to do evil will also share some of the responsibility. So, it is a scandal to close a church that does not need to be closed. It is a scandal that the news of closing a vital parish like Holy Innocents gave Fr. Wylie reason to voice his concern and that that led others to argue about the consequences of those public concerns. It is a scandal that a priest was deprived of his faculties without much explanation given for it. And all of this should and could have been avoided if the archdiocese of NY had paid more attention to the CCC section that you quoted. They should be more concerned, as spiritual fathers that Priests and Bishops are with preventing people from being led to doing "evil."
    There's no way around that. So much so, that the Holy See, as Samuel Howard has pointed out in other comments, delineates what is a valid reason to close a church. The Archdiocese of NY has NOT given a valid reason to close Holy Innocents. So, if people react in a "negative way," it is the archdiocese's responsibility for not providing the necessary reason or explanation for its actions.

    So, it will be a scandal to close Holy Innocents, if from now until it happens, the archdiocese is not able to provide valid and just cause to demolish that and many other churches (and everything sacred in them).


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