Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'm Over My Tantrum

Okay, I'm over my temper tantrum and self pity.  I've opened my blog back to up to comments.  Give me your best shot.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Michael Voris Calls For The Destruction Of The Catholic Church

UPDATE: Thanks to PewSitter linking to me, I am getting tons of Voris supporters commenting here. Could at least one of you please respond to the actual points I make? Do you still believe the Catholic hierarchy, no matter how you may feel about them personally, are duly ordained priests and bishops? Or do you agree with Voris that they are evil, that we as laity have the right to judge their souls, and decide that they must be destroyed? And what gives you the right to condemn our bishops and priests and even the Holy Father?

Every time I think that Michael Voris can't get any more radical than he is, he surprises me. Now he has actually called for Catholics to stop financially supporting their churches and dioceses.

In a recent Vortex episode, which you can watch HERE if you really want to subject yourself to it, Voris again discussed the situation at Holy Innocents Church in New York City, once again accusing Church hierarchy, and specifically Cardinal Dolan, of hating and trying to stamp out Catholic Traditionalists.  I have already been through this on previous blog posts and don't wish to rehash it at this point.

Suffice it to say that Voris is using the circumstances here in New York to push his point that the "establishment" Catholic Church is dying,
Do you see what’s going on here? The Church in America is on her last legs. And the battle royale is on – the fight for the soul of what’s left. On the one side the small but growing population of Catholics .. in fact, the only place where there is growth, the tradition minded. Unfortunately, they have no power.
As Voris would have us believe, "tradition minded" Catholics are the only Catholics who still have the faith.  Everyone else is a CINO - Catholic In Name Only.  But why don't the "real Catholics" have any power in the Church?
That’s because the Protestant minded, homosexual friendly, man-centered crowd that took over the chanceries parishes seminaries hospitals and universities in the 1970’s has never been dislodged.
You see, the real enemies of true Catholics is the Church hierarchy - those who are responsible for our souls.  We must do everything possible to take them out because all they really want to do is destroy the Church.  And Voris assures us that this evil hierarchy "will get theirs":
But they are falling victim to their own success. Desiring to re-make the Church they have largely succeeded and they are now reaping their rewards.

But the sorry truth is, they are going to try and ride into their sorry sunset with their crushing debt and faithless parishes on the backs of the only truly completely faithful Catholics left.
And, as Voris tells us, this is not something that should be mourned. These evil men in the Church hierarchy - the bishops and priests - deserve exactly what they have coming to them. Just look at all the horrible things they have done. It truly is a miracle that any part of the Church is still standing:
They have stood silent and sometimes preached affirmatively on contraception, abortion, active homosexuality. They have abandoned the Gospel truth to accommodate the heresies of Protestantism and Modernism.

They have done all in their power to eradicate ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that points to the Church’s tradition – from liturgy, to education, to proper moral instruction, to breaking canon law and just about any other area of Church life you point to.

And now they are going broke. SHOCKING! Well, the few remaining Catholics who have suffered at the hands of these prelates, professors, priests, liberal chancery personnel, feminized men – all of whom will roll out the red carpet for any wacked out theology that presents itself – all under the cover of charity – are not gonna take this any more.
How does Voris propose that the "few remaining Catholics" (all of whom, of course, think just like Michael Voris, who is the personification of "loyal Catholic") react to the "dying Church of America"? Should we fast and pray? Should we offer up our suffering on behalf of the Church?

No, nothing as mundane as all of that.  We have to hit the evil establishment Church where it hurts the most - in the pocketbook:
Since money seems to be the only thing that motivates the Establishment Church – it is more than time for the faithful to begin withholding contributions. Why give money to a diocese that is gonna use that money to keep the status quo going – to abuse faithful Catholics while supporting fake Catholics – parishes and individuals.

And just in case you're not sure:  "faithful Catholics" means everyone who thinks like and agrees with Michael Voris.  "Fake Catholics" are all of those who do not think like and actually are evil enough to disagree with Michael Voris.  

So here is good, faithful Catholic Michael Voris exhorting other good and faithful Catholics to willfully withhold financial support from the church in order that the "establishment" church dies, which is all for a good cause - to get rid of the evil hierarchy.

And all of you good and faithful Catholics who are fighting against the ordained hierarchy of the Catholic Church - don't feel that you are really doing anything wrong. You are just hastening along the inevitable and actually making way for a "purified" Church:
The whole thing is gonna blow up anyway – the sooner the better. What will emerge from the rubble is a purified Church, doctrinally, liturgically, morally, devotionally and clerically. Too bad Catholics didn’t know this about 50 years ago.

What happened 50 years ago?  Oh yes - the Second Vatican Council.  If only Michael Voris had been around 50 years ago to give this great advice to withhold financial support from the Church.  Maybe Vatican II would have never happened and we wouldn't be in this colossal mess!

Ah, but no use crying over spilled milk.  Let's just do what we can now to make things right in the Church:
But that was then, this is now. Simply stop giving your money to the Establishment Church. Forget the diocesan pledge drives, forget the so-called social justice initiatives, like CRS and CCHD. Let them get their money from the government, whose interests they serve over and above the Church’s anyway.
You see, we are really helping those in charge by withholding financial support.  In fact, to give financial support to the "establishment" church is actually just enabling their wickedness.  By withholding financial support, we are practicing tough love, just like we would use with anyone with a destructive addiction.  This is what will help the evil hierarchy to wake up:
Maybe then, those in charge of this massive meltdown will finally wake up. Giving the Establishment Church and any group that supports it is like enabling an alcoholic.
Normally, we don't believe in euthanasia, but in this case it is a good thing:
Like the old adage goes – feed a cold, starve a fever. The Establishment Church has a death bed fever. Time to starve it. Maybe then the homosexualists in power throughout the Church will think twice before trying to go after the few faithful Catholics left.
You silly Catholics who actually thought prayer was the way to go. How could you be so naive? We've got to financially starve the Church to death. That is the only way to save her.

In all seriousness, I just don't remember seeing anywhere in scripture or Church teaching that it is the responsibility of the laity to "take out" church hierarchy whom they deem unfit by withholding financial support.  If followed, this action would lead to the total collapse of the Church:  no parishes, no priests, no Masses, no sacraments.  And that, of course, would lead to NO SALVATION.  We can rest assured that Our Lord will never allow this to happen, but if taken to its logical conclusion and without divine intervention, this would be the result of the action proposed by Voris.

Further, it is actually sinful for a Catholic to willfully withhold financial support from the Church.  

From "The Commandments of the Church" from
The chief commandments, or laws, of the Church are these six:
1. To assist at Holy Mass on all Sundays and holydays of obligation.
2. To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.
3. To confess our sins at least once a year.
4. To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
5. To contribute to the support of the Church.
6. To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.
To use a favorite Voris phrase, it boggles the mind that anyone could call himself a "loyal Catholic" and at the same time urge other Catholics to stop supporting the Catholic Church. Voris has many times called for priests and bishops to leave and/or be fired. Does anyone see anything wrong with this? Catholics have always been exhorted to pray for those in leadership positions, not wish them in the cornfield.

Voris defends this apparently heretical position by stating that the institutional Church that we see is a fake. He does not tell us by what authority he makes this judgment and condemnation. Yes, there are problems in the Church. But when hasn't that been true? What about England at the time of Henry VIII when all but one bishop denounced Rome? What about the Arian heresy which basically took over the Church? In 2000 years of history, does anyone really believe this is the first time there has been a crisis of belief in the Church?

Our Lord gave us fallible human beings to run the Church. We have seen their weaknesses since the founding of the Church in the first century. Our first pope was a coward who literally denied our Lord. I wonder if Voris has ever heard this scripture: "My strength is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor. 12:9). These were the words of Jesus Christ to St. Paul when St. Paul begged Our Lord to remove an unidentified but heavy cross he was carrying. Our glory should always be in the Lord, never in ourselves. He is our strength, He is our salvation. Often when things look the worst is the time when Our Lord shows Himself most powerfully.

We are in a time of testing. There is no doubt of that. We are in the boat in the middle of the lake during a fierce storm, just as the apostles were with the sleeping Christ. The apostles were sure they were going to drown. They could not understand how Jesus could just sleep and not care what was happening to them.

Is that how we feel? Do we think Jesus has gone to sleep and is letting the Church just go to hell in a handbasket? Remember the words of Jesus Christ, "Oh ye of little faith. Why are you so afraid?" (Matthew 8:26). Why are we so afraid? Why would we even listen to the heretical words of someone like Michael Voris who says we must disobey the Church in order to "save" her? Remember, the Church was saved 2000 years ago when Christ died on the cross and then rose from the dead. As Our Lord said in His last dying words, "It is finished."  (Just to clarify:  although the Church is saved, we as individuals are still working on our salvation and will be until our last moment on earth.)

Please stop listening to the likes of Michael Voris. He is a danger to souls. He says to stop supporting the Church hierarchy financially because they are destroying the Church. For any of you who are sending him money, you might want to think about who is really hurting the Church and who really does or does not deserve your money.

The Church is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Those are not just words. It is not a symbol or a nice image. It is the truth. When St. Paul, as Saul, was persecuting the Church, Jesus said to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4).  To persecute the Church is to persecute Christ.  We are His Body, a part of Him. He will always take care of us.

Is Jesus Christ saying to Michael Voris, "Michael, Michael, why are you persecuting me?"

Why I Have Disabled Comments

I have come across blogs that do not allow comments, and I have wondered why someone would choose to do that. Isn't an important part of blogging that you get to interact with your readers, which is done primarily through the comments they leave? I think the answer to that is dependent upon the reason for doing a blog. Some people do it for the attention it gets them. Others are trying to make money off their blog. Others have something - an idea, a product, a business - thy want to promote.  Comments are important because they help draw people to your blog.

My reason for blogging is that writing helps me form my thoughts and to see things more clearly.   My posts are basically my train of thought on any given subject.  I try very hard not to push any kind of agenda other than that of salvation through Jesus Christ.  As it says at the top of my page, this is my journey in search of the truth in a world that has gone mad.

I put a lot of time and research into almost every post I do. Some posts will take me several days to do. None of them take less than several hours. Every issue I write about is done from the point of view of my Catholic beliefs. As you will see from my posts, if you actually read them, I almost always incorporate a lot of scripture and church teaching. I actually do try to let that form my opinion instead of having an opinion and looking for whatever will back it up. This does not seem to be the modus operandi of most bloggers. I actually rarely see the use of Holy Scripture on Catholic blogs, and I find that very unfortunate. As Pope Benedict XVI said, "We must never forget that all authentic and living Christian spirituality is based on the Word of God proclaimed, accepted, celebrated and meditated upon in the Church."

It is very disappointing to me when I get comments from people who are most obviously not interested in actually discussing my posts, but have only come to push their own agenda.  Most people never address any specific points that I have made.  They simply tell me that I'm wrong and will ignore anything that is contrary to what they want to believe.  When I began blogging, I naively believed that comments were for discussion.  I now realize that this is not the case at all.

I don't mind being challenged on what I have written. In fact, I encourage it if it is done in a reasonable and thoughtful manner AND if the person has actually read the post with an open mind. Unfortunately, I have seen very little of that on my blog, and that has especially been true with the last couple of posts concerning church closings here in New York and more specifically, Holy Innocents Church. I believe that most people read the title of my post, skim quickly through it, and then write a comment telling me how wrong I am. This is the only explanation for the fact that so few people actually bring up specific points that I make. I tend to just get the same talking points over and over again, which add nothing to the discussion, or lack thereof.

I really don't want to close comments, but most comments here have done nothing to add to the clarity of the subject and have become only a distraction.  Therefore, comments are closed indefinitely.  

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:
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.

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