A steady march of the sexual revolution into deeper and deeper confusion has left many Catholics and fellow Christians confused themselves. But there should be no confusion nor is there permissible dissent by any Catholic (lay or cleric) from Church teaching on human sexuality. Both Scripture and Church doctrine are very clear that all forms of illicit sexual union, whether adultery, fornication, or homosexual acts, are sinful and cannot in any way be approved.
Some Catholics formally dissent due to a knowing and willful rejection of Church teaching, but the dissent of others is due more to the confusion brought on by a loud culture and a quiet pulpit.
Particularly culpable is any deacon, priest, or bishop who spreads error either by direct statements, intentional ambiguity, or questionable policies that offer mercy without reference to the necessary repentance. Caring for all sinners is a constant work of the Church. All sinners deserve love and careful, respectful pastoral care. But calling good or insignificant what God calls sinful, whether by direct statement or obfuscation, is not pastoral care; it is malpractice. All of us, clergy and lay, are called to be God’s prophets, spreading His teaching; we do well to remember that one day we will have to account to Him.
This post originally appeared on the Archdiocese of Washington’s blog,Community in Mission. Read to the end, where you will see Ralph Martin speaking about The Urgency of the New Evangelization on EWTN’s Bookmark. This video is a great summary of Renewal Ministries’ mission!
By Msgr. Charles Pope
It was recently announced that a substantial number of Catholic parishes will be closing in Connecticut. This is just the latest in a national trend that is likely to affect the diocese where you live, especially in the north. I’d like to offer some rather quick thoughts and then ponder what I think is the root cause for our decline.
Bishops don’t close parishes, people do. While it may be juridically true that bishops formally certify or give recognition to the opening, closing, and merging of parishes, it is ultimately God’s people who create or withdraw the need for a parish. The hard truth is that Catholics are contracepting and aborting in large numbers, thus depleting our ranks. Further, in most urban areas of the northeast, barely 15% of Catholics attend Mass regularly. In comparison, during the first half of the 20th century, when many of the parishes being closed today were being built, nearly 85% of Catholics attended Mass regularly. It is unrealistic for Catholics to expect that parishes should not be closed in significant numbers when there is so little attendance and concomitant support.
Msgr. Charles Pope opened the new year with a profound blog post for Community in Mission that reflects both on the significance of 2017 being the one-hundredth anniversary of the miracle at Fatima and why we should heed a special call to prayer this year.
By Msgr. Charles Pope
Last week at Christmas we celebrated an event that was both pivotal and hidden. The conception and birth of Jesus Christ were events that changed human history. It was a daring, hidden raid by the Kingdom of Light into the kingdom of darkness, an incursion behind enemy lines, into enemy territory. Only some shepherds in Bethlehem and a few magi from distant lands were witnesses to this event, one which began the undoing of the long reign of sin.
St. Paul hints at this drama in today’s second reading:When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman (Gal 4:4). Yes, all time meets here. The long reign of sin is ending; Our Savior stealthily emerges to begin His work of giving us a way out. The wall has been breached and will one day wholly crumble.
Even Satan, to whom we often attribute exaggerated powers, seems unaware. The later visit of the Magi makes him suspicious, but even with that, his knowledge is lacking. Through his agent, Herod, he stabs wildly, searching for the interloper, but he misses the mark. Jesus eludes him for another thirty years, preparing for a final showdown that will seal Satan’s fate as the great loser.
Something happened that quiet Christmas night, enormous in its implications but mostly hidden and unnoticed. A ray of light flashes in a darkened world, just long enough to be remembered by a few. It is like a seed that is sown; it remains hidden for a time, but later yields a harvest that will undermine the world of darkness.
I offer all of this as a prelude to a year that I think will be significant for the Church and for the world . . . . Continue reading here.
God always desires what is best for us! Sometimes, we must humble ourselves to accept that His understanding is greater than ours. At these times, may God offer us the grace to continue to say, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
Msgr. Pope writes, “In last Sunday’s Gospel, we heard the story of the widow at Nain, whose son Jesus raised from the dead. Beautiful though that story is, there are some who may wonder sadly why they did not receive a better answer to their prayers; why their loved one died. Such stories might even serve to deepen their sorrow.”
In a blog post for the National Catholic Register, Msgr. Charles Pope recently discussed how Catholics should view moral issues in this election season and Satan’s ploy to reduce matters of conscience to matters of politics. His thoughts can help Catholics navigate this uniquely challenging election season.
Msgr. Pope wrote, “Satan is no idiot. He has successfully convinced most Catholics that moral issues are political issues. And in so doing he has successfully shut down a huge amount of moral exhortation and reflection. This is especially true in a political season such as this, when the distinctions between the candidates on critical moral issues could not be clearer or sharper.
Among the moral issues that have been most politicized are non-negotiable issues for any Catholic: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same sex “marriage.” These are non-negotiable issues because there is no room for nuance or degree of support. You are either for them or against them. There is no middle ground. . . .”