This article originally appeared on Life Site News’ website, which you can view here.
By Doug Mainwaring
A Catholic school religion teacher has been fired for sharing an article with her students and their parents mentioning the “homosexual scandal” involved in the clerical sex abuse crisis written by a highly respected, orthodox Catholic theology professor, Dr. Ralph Martin.
Joan Simon, a veteran Catholic school religion teacher with more than forty years of experience was informed October 9 — on her first day back to work from disability — that she had to either resign or be fired for disseminating the letter, apparently because administration at St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City, New Jersey, found it to be at odds with their beliefs.
The article, titled, Dear Troubled Catholics, penned by Martin eloquently and powerfully expresses the disturbed shock of many at the grave, mostly homosexual scandals rocking the Church right now. At one point, Martin writes:
And how long can Church officials speak about the “positive values” of “irregular relationships” until the average Catholic comes to believe that we no longer believe the words of Jesus that fornicators, adulterers, and those who actively practice homosexuality will not enter the kingdom of God unless they repent? How many still believe that there is really a hell and that, unless we repent from such serious sins before we die, we will go there? Have we ever heard from leading churchmen, even in Rome, in recent years, that adultery, fornication and homosexual relations are not only “irregular,” but gravely sinful?
Simon was stunned to be told that the letter was cause for her dismissal. The school’s administrators insisted that, according to Simon, the letter was “not the Catholic Church’s teaching.”
“The head of the school, Sarah Degnan Moje, said she refused to believe that [Martin’s article] was Catholic and then said the school’s philosophy is ‘first Dominican and then Catholic,’” Simon told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview.
The following letter about Ralph Martin’s recent time in Brazil originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ October newsletter.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s amazing how many of us associated with Renewal Ministries have been asked to serve in Brazil over the last year or so! In the February 2018 newsletter, Peter wrote about his trip there (to read his account, visit www.RenewalMinistries.net/newsletter). Also, our dear friend Patti Mansfield has been going to Brazil for many years and just recently was there for a retreat for priests. Mary Healy was recently there for a retreat, and I was recently there too!
I would like to tell you about what’s happening in Brazil. There are four national Catholic television networks in Brazil, and I spent most of my time there at one of the networks. Fr. Edward Dougherty (“Fr. Eduardo”), the one who invited me to Brazil, wanted to continue to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the amazing impact it is having there, so he had me appear on a number of his TV programs. In one half-hour interview, he shared the story of his encounter with me many years ago, when another man and I prayed with him in Michigan for baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I also was on a national program that evening, and then he has an all-day program on Sunday, during which I gave three forty-five-minute talks. Fr. Eduardo also arranged for a day in which key leaders from across the country came together and dialogued with me about issues of concern. It was a very worthwhile visit! On another day, we traveled to a nearby diocese that has prayer groups in every single city. The 600 leaders of these prayer groups and little communities came together, and I gave three talks to them. I was very impressed, because so many of them were in their twenties and thirties.
The question I have always had is: With so many good things happening in the Catholic Church in Brazil, why do they keep asking people from Renewal Ministries to come and help them? They gave me this three-part answer:
They get big crowds, but people are living off a past experience that they want to recreate. They believe Renewal Ministries can help, because we understand the call to holiness and how to make progress in the journey. That is why they are having my book on holiness—The Fulfillment of All Desire—translated, and it should be available in the next few months.
We have preserved a fervent zeal for God for many years. For many people, their zeal is flagging, and they think we can help us persevere for the long haul.
There’s a certain polarization going on in the Church in Brazil right now. There’s been a resurgence of liberation theology and a reaction to that by a more traditionalist Catholicism that’s actually closed to renewal. They think that Renewal Ministries has a balanced approach to the real vision of Vatican II and Pope John Paul II.
I returned from Brazil tired, happy, thanking God for all He is doing there, and humbled by the thought that we could make a contribution to what is already such an amazing work of God.
I’m writing to share with you a few thoughts as a follow up to Ralph Martin’s excellent and courageous letter Dear Troubled Catholics, regarding the current crisis in the Church.
Ralph wrote that this current crisis, precipitated by the revelation of Cardinal McCarrick’s moral failures and the failure of leadership in the Church to prevent his rise to prominence, could be a “tipping point” for the Church. He sees in it a possibility for genuine repentance and change for the Church.
I perceive in this crisis—both here in the United States and around the world—an opportunity, given us by our Lord. I believe we are experiencing the discipline of the Lord; it is a severe mercy, a judgment upon the Church that is meant to lead to deep, thorough repentance, healing, and reformation. It’s an opportunity that demands a response from all of us, beginning with the leadership of the Church. If we cooperate with Jesus, with obedient and repentant hearts and total honesty and transparency in the fear of the Lord, Jesus will lead us out of this terrible crisis. If we fail to respond to this time of purification, I believe the Church in America will be severely weakened, the decline we’re witnessing in the Church will escalate, and the flock will scatter.
While on mission in Uganda in 2016, the Lord spoke to me about what we are now living through. Our team from Renewal Ministries was leading a week-long retreat for about 350 priests and bishops from five east-African countries. One morning during daily Mass, right after Communion, I sensed the Lord telling me to get out my journal and to write down the following: “The days ahead will be marked by growing chaos and confusion. I am coming to purify my Church. I am about to bring down the idols that hold my people in bondage; I will expose the hypocrisy of the mighty and the strong, both in the Church and in the world.”
Watching the mighty fall in the past few years—Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, and now former Cardinal McCarrick (now Archbishop McCarrick) and other cardinals and bishops—has been sobering. These revelations are meant to lead all of us to repentance and to instill in us a healthy fear of the Lord. The Captain of the Armies of Heaven, Jesus, the Lord, is purifying His Church and exposing the emptiness and hypocrisy of the world. Scripture tells us that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves.
It’s important for us to understand Jesus’ intent. He doesn’t come to humiliate or destroy; He comes to save. St. Peter tells us that judgment begins with the house of God. Jesus is purifying His Church for the sake of the salvation of the world. The Church is the hope of the world, the sacrament of salvation, the light of the world. When the Church is trapped in sin, her light goes dim and her salt goes flat.
Today, the Church is infected with deep strongholds of sin that are crippling her life and witness. In the period leading up to the Dallas Charter in 2002, Jesus began to expose the horrific corruption of homosexual sins of pedophilia and ephebophilia (sexual attraction to pubescent boys) among the clergy, and the cover up by some of the hierarchy of these crimes. Eighty-one percent of the victims were adolescent males.
Steps were taken at the time to respond to the crisis with the Dallas Charter and the “zero tolerance” policy instituted throughout the Church in the United States. The Charter was a start, but lacked complete honesty and transparency. The efforts by the bishops left the dishonest impression that the primary problem the Church was facing in this crisis was pedophilia and not ephebophilia. This allowed them to deflect attention from the fact that active homosexuality among the clergy was the primary source of the problem.
What’s clear from the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick is that the repentance in 2002 did not go deep enough. There was a cover up, a strategic decision to hide the bigger problem of active homosexuality among the clergy, including some of the hierarchy.
What we are seeing is the means to which Jesus will go to purify His Church. The wound of sin in this area is deeper than most of our brothers in the hierarchy are willing to acknowledge or to confront. But the Lord will not relent.
In the letter to the Church in Ephesus in the Book of Revelation, Jesus tells the leaders of the Church the following:
“I have this against you, that you abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Rv 2:4-5).
Jesus warned the leaders of the Church that even though they had done many things right, they had lost their first love. He then gave them a three-step process to make things right: remember, repent, and act. They were to remember the place from which they had fallen, to repent, and then do the works they had done at first. In this crisis, this is a good guide for all of us, especially our leaders.
Jesus is calling our leaders to remember the purity and holiness to which they have been called, and to make a thorough examination of their lives before Him. They must then act decisively, with zeal and determination, to bring to light all that is hidden in darkness. They must remember that this severe mercy is an act of love that calls for total obedience to the Lord, knowing, “those whom I love I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent” (Rv 3:19).
Just as in Ephesus, so it will be with the Church in America, if we don’t respond wholeheartedly, with complete honesty. If the Church refuses to expose the truth, and in the fear of the Lord to cooperate with Him in this hour of purification, He will “come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
That is what I believe is at stake at this time for the Church in America. To “remove your lampstand” means, in the words of Victorinus of Petovium, to “disperse the congregation.”[i] The Church in many parts of the United States is already in decline. If we as a Church do not cooperate fully with the Lord at this time of visitation, the decline will escalate dramatically.
Cooperation means that policies, good public relations, the advice of lawyers, and the like are not enough. Just looking to the future is not enough. Positive platitudes are not enough. What is needed is action to root out systemic habit patterns of sin, to expose strongholds of sin to the full light of day.
This kind of stronghold of sin will not go away. It will keep producing like a deadly virus in the body or like a festering wound that has only been tended to on the surface. The infection will keep spreading. To date, the words of Jeremiah are a fitting description of the response of the bishops to this serious problem: “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly” (Jer 6:14).
The bishops can no longer continue to treat this wound carelessly; it has to be cut out, to the root. That means having to confront the fear that holds them back. To address this problem head on and to take appropriate action will likely cause serious disruption in the Church for a time, and serious pushback from forces in and outside the Church. There is no easy way forward; it will require great courage.
There is a way out of this: follow Jesus, obey Him. He will give all of us what we need. It’s time to awaken the graces of our confirmation, fortitude that is “prepared to suffer injury and, if need be, death for the truth and for the realization of justice.”[ii] And a healthy fear of the Lord to overcome the fear of men that so often leads to inaction and weak, foolish responses in the face of serious sin. “The man who fears the Lord will not be fainthearted” (Sir 34:14).
We have nothing to fear if we put all our hope in Him. It’s not our job to secure all the potential consequences that may transpire from a radical response to Jesus at this time. Our job is to obey and to entrust everything to His mercy and love, and to the protection and intercession of Our Lady.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). Even in the greatest darkness, we can walk in the Light.
[i] Peter Williamson, Revelation: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015), 62.
[ii] Josef Pieper, A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, (San Fransisco: Ignatius Press, 1991), 11.
Dr. Ralph Martin with a group of Dominican seminarians in Ireland.
The following post, “Proclaiming the New Evangelization in Amsterdam”, was originally written by Lisa Martinez for the Mosaic Blog April 1st, 2018.
Traveling to Ireland to speak at a large Divine Mercy Conference, Dr. Ralph Martin was also invited by a seminary in the Netherlands to lecture about the New Evangelization. After presenting to five hundred young adults and a group of Dominican seminarians in Ireland, on February 19, he was welcomed to Amsterdam by Rector Dr. Jeroen de Wit, a student from Dr. Martin’s STL summer program at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
Dr. Martin conducted a study day at the seminary connected to the Marian Shrine, Onze Lieve Vrouw, Heiloo, Netherlands. More than one hundred people attended, including the two bishops from the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam. The four talks he gave throughout the day on the mission of the laity ranged from presenting the New Evangelization and what is new about it to the call to holiness and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The audience drew insights and inspiration through Dr. Martin’s presentation from quotes made by Popes and other ecclesiastical documents, as well as stories from Martin’s own life and those of the saints. Although the message was challenging, it was aided by Dr. Martin’s sense of humor. Read more…
Ralph Martin has been speaking at local area Catholic grade schools about Fatima and the importance of making sacrifices, not matter one’s age. We came across this article written by Sr. Mary Martha Becnel, OP who mentions the impact one of these talks had on some of her students.
The following post, “Fr. Solanus’ Unique Breakfast Penance Shows His Childlike Faith”, was originally written by Sr. Mary Martha Becnel, OP for The Michigan Catholic Blog Nov. 14th, 2017.
This weekend, Fr. Solanus Casey will be beatified, a great grace for the entire Church, but in a particular way for the Archdiocese of Detroit. As I was recently reflecting on the life of Fr. Solanus, I remembered one of the extraordinary penances he used to perform for love of God and of souls: in the mornings, Fr. Solanus would put everything — cereal, orange juice, and coffee — into one bowl for his breakfast. Such a unique penance could cause us today to scratch our heads in confusion, if not even disapproval.
Yet I was reminded of this penitential sacrifice of Fr. Solanus recently after my fifth-grade students heard a talk about the sacrifices that St. Jacinta and St. Francisco of Fatima had made. Later in the day, one of my students chose, voluntarily and discreetly, to sacrifice a special treat for the salvation of souls. And, I learned the next day, he also led his teammates in making a sacrifice during their basketball practice that afternoon. Read more…