Pretty often the "pastor’s page" of parish a parish bulletin offers pretty thin gruel indeed.
At times, however, they can be a truly useful tool. Take for example what went on via the bulletin in Greenville!
Then there is the weekly offering from Fr. George Welzbacher.
Here we have this week’s comments with my emphases:
By Fr. George Welzbacher
May 4, 2008
Thoughts on Pope Benedict’s "Journey of Hope"
Many years ago, if memory holds true, there was a television game show in which contestants were asked to identify which of the two or more candidates claiming, each of them, to be a certain particular person was "the real McCoy". At the end of the contest, after each candidate had made his pitch, the program’s impresario announced in stentorian terms: "Now will the real ["Mr. Smith", or whoever] stand up?" I was reminded of this during Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the United States. While watching his appearances and listening to his words, and comparing what he was saying with what the exponents of a revisionist, "progressive" Catholicism have been saying for lo! these many years, I kept hearing a voice in the background saying "Now will the real Catholic Church stand up!", as Pope Benedict’s face, humbly and serenely smiling, filled the screen.
Pope Benedict’s basic message, a message of "the real Catholic Church," is a message of hope, a hope based on Christ’s promise that ‘The truth will make you free" (John 8:32), the truth, that is to say, taught by Christ and transmitted by His Church under the everlasting guidance of the Holy Spirit, an eternal and unchanging truth that reflects the unchanging nature of God and the unchanging nature of man. [authentic "liberation theology"] This is the truth that "progressive" Catholics have sought to "revise," particularly as it governs sexual behavior. When Humanae Vitae (the encyclical letter Pope Paul the Sixth signed on July 25, 1968 ) reasserted the age-old teaching of the Catholic Church that the use of the sexual power is restricted to the union of husband and wife in the life-long commitment of marriage and that the procreative potential of the sexual power can never be actively obstructed, a gang of rebel priests publicly rejected this papal teaching, led by such intellectual mediocrities (though widely applauded demagogues) as Father Charles Curran, a professor of moral theology at Catholic University whose shabby thinking , a perfect match for his sloppy prose, is on display forever in his book entitled Absolutes in Moral Theology? Joining Father Curran Father Richard McBrien, whose two-volume work entitled Catholicism was quite properly censured by America’s Catholic bishops for its multitude of errors. The errors referenced by America’s bishops for correction have survived, uncorrected, in the work’s subsequent editions.
Such priests as could claim for their false teaching the prestige of an academic chair were soon seconded by a bold chorus of parish and religious order priests, who moved perhaps by a desire to be compassionate, though in this case such compassion would be a compassion falsely defined, swiftly set up a counter-magisterium to their own liking – one is reminded of Aaron’s revolt against Moses – according to which the practice of contraception was enthusiastically praised as the "responsible" choice. Once this initial repudiation of a single teaching of Christ’s Church had gained widespread acceptance, abetted by legions of priests who with a spectacular lack of courage in defending the truth began to counsel their parishioners privately to judge the matter for themselves, rather than to rely on the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking within Christ’s Church, very predictably the rest of the precepts governing sexual morality were successively allowed to fall one-by-one into oblivion. Soon what used to be called (and is still rightly considered to be) "living in sin", that is to say cohabitation without life-long commitment, came to be regarded by many as an acceptable practice. And once the separation of the sexual power from its procreative purpose was taken for granted, approval of sterilization and homosexual lifestyles soon inevitably followed. Finally – again in the name of compassion – approval of abortion began, timidly at first and then with gathering speed, to find support among Catholics, Catholics, that is to say, who are disposed still to identify themselves as Catholic but for whom the voice of St. Peter’s successors, charged with obeying Christ’s mandate to "establish the brethren", has come to count for very little. The coup de grace for a united Catholic front against abortion came with the assurances given to Catholic politicians by Jesuit Father Robert Drinan, for ten years, though without the required ecclesiastical permission, a representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who taught that one may cast a vote to promote abortion with a clear conscience, as long as one is "personally opposed" to abortion; one cannot you see, impose his own religious scruples on the public domain. In the interests of accepting so sophistical an excuse for mass murder a blind eye has to be turned to the basic truth that a directly intended attack on innocent human life violates the natural law, the law that governs all of mankind, whatever one’s religious convictions, the law that is "written on the hearts of men" (Romans 2:15), the law that expresses itself in the spontaneous judgment that certain acts are so disordered as to be always and everywhere evil. Therefore to act in response to that spontaneous, moral judgment is not to impose the peculiar precepts of a particular religion or a culture; particular culture; it is to bow to the dictates of a universal law rooted in the very nature of man. Whether one is Roman Catholic or Buddhist or a card-carrying atheist, the directly willed murder of the innocent is something human beings instinctively recoil from, since it fundamentally violates the dignity of man and, by depriving him of life, deprives him of all other rights.
In his First Letter to Timothy St. Paul refers to a certain Hymenacus and Alexander, two Christians about whom we otherwise know nothing, who "by rejecting conscience … have made shipwreck of their faith." (1 Timothy 1:19). In that same first chapter of 1 Timothy St. Paul gives examples of the kinds of sinners whose sins will cause them to suffer shipwreck in the faith: "manslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatsoever else is contrary to sound doctrine." (1 Timothy 1:10). In effect St. Paul is telling us that if we fail to shape our behavior in accord with our faith, we will very soon shape our faith to accord with our behavior. That formula fits the so-called "progressive" Catholic quite well. As St. John tells us in his Second Letter: "Anyone who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son" (2 John :9). There is a kind of "progress" that means turning our backs on God.
Pope Benedict has come to our shores to rescue those who have suffered shipwreck in the faith, or at least to rescue those who are willing to accept the terms that will permit such rescue. Such terms of rescue call fundamentally for a return to the "sound doctrines of which St. Paul speaks, the doctrine protected and proclaimed in Christ’s Church ("the pillar and bulwark of the truth"-1 Timothy 3:15) by the Holy Spirit against the devil’s ceaseless attempts to subvert that doctrine. As Pope Benedict announced, "A people of hope is a people willing to make a change," a people willing to make whatever changes in their lives may be needed to bring them into harmony with Christ’s truth. Whatever may have been the previous course of their lives, if they are willing now, under the grace of God, to change course and and to take Christ’s teachings as the only true compass, they can find their way home to safe haven through "all of life’s tempestuous seas." That is his message to us.
Pope Benedict invites each one of us to examine his conscience and to make whatever changes in our lives need to be made. Let us pray that we will do so, and let us pray for those in whose confused and sin-darkened minds the voice of Peter, speaking through Benedict, has perhaps stirred some awareness that through an obedient return to sound doctrine a new way of life can open up, a new way of life that offers hope.
That, my friends, is how it is done.
WDTPRS solemn high kudos to the great Fr. W!
Praying I may be as eloquent and lucid when the good Lord grants me the responsibility of a parish- a parochial vicar.
It is a sign of how bad its gotten that every time I hear my own priest speak out on the reality of evil or against abortion or for marriage that I compliment him on his spiritual leadership, because I know many parishes are not fortunate enough to have a priest who will speak out on the teachings of the Church.
God send us more priests like this, save your people Lord.
“[T]he age-old teaching of the Catholic Church that the use of the sexual power is restricted to the union of husband and wife in the life-long commitment of marriage and that the procreative potential of the sexual power can never be actively obstructed.” An elegant, powerful and concise statement of the fundamental Catholic doctrines on a host of different issues: abortion, gay marriage, pre-marital sex, contraception, divorce, etc. Bravo and thanks to Fr. W. and Fr. Z. for this gem!
Man it is clear that your anger is really destroying you. Please get some help!
Karl, I salute your courage in coming here to say what you said. It is the first step on a long road to reconciliation with the community of those who believe in a God who would rather forgive than condemn. You need to tell your story.
…and we sinners (nos quoque peccatores) need to listen with respect.
beautiful, beautiful…what is there to add? nothing :)
“…led by such intellectual mediocrities (though widely applauded demagogues) as Father Charles Curran, a professor of moral theology at Catholic University whose shabby thinking , a perfect match for his sloppy prose, is on display forever in his book entitled Absolutes in Moral Theology? Joining Father Curran Father Richard McBrien, whose two-volume work entitled Catholicism was quite properly censured by America’s Catholic bishops for its multitude of errors. The errors referenced by America’s bishops for correction have survived, uncorrected, in the work’s subsequent editions.
Can someone answer this: Whatever happened to the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur designations?
We need these! – especially today where there are so many popular, so-called Catholic writers out there like Gary Wills and others leading Catholics astray.
It seems to me, naively, perhaps that these would at least keep some writers in check or at least keeps us, who try very hard to be faithful, obedient Catholics from wasting money unnecessarily.
I firmly believe, we are still a long, long way from “the real Catholic Church standing up.”
The entire crisis in the Church can be summed up by this phrase from the article..
“Once this initial repudiation of a single teaching of Christ’s Church had gained widespread acceptance…”
Unfortunately, what is not addressed is the actual key teaching that has been repudiated. It’s not abortion nor sexual prohibitions. Everybody already knows the Church is against that. And many don’t care because they don’t believe in another teaching. And if they did know, they would probably refuse to believe in the key teaching.
It is “Outside the Church, there is no salvation” and why that is.
You can’t argue “natural law” with people who deny the existence of natural law.
You can’t appeal to “Christ” when people don’t have a real clue as to what he IS.
“Christ” is a completely optional “lover of mankind” to most people, not The Savior of a fallen race. A race that is fallen, spiritually, physically and mentally and continuing to fall.
Unless people understand that we are broken and how we are broken, that we need a savior from the fires of Hell, the redemption of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the sacraments and the necessity to be incorporated in the Church, the Pope is wasting his efforts.
Unless people know that this place on earth is not our home and that we have to agonize to get to our home, the Pope is going to seem like a “nice guy” reflecting the mere “nice guy” that Jesus “was.”
May God give Pope Benedict the strength to upset a lot of Catholics and non-Catholics with clear Catholic truths, to the point where they are either hot or cold and no longer lukewarm.
“When just one man stands up to them and says ‘No, I won’t’, they begin to shake with fear, others follow him and soon we are millions..”
– Kirk Douglas in “Spartacus” (1963)
Fr. Welzbacher’s analysis is right on the money. I would add, by way of mitigation, however, that the vast majority of priests who were confronted by the issues of Humanae Vitae were totally unprepared. Their understanding of the sacramental character of human sexuality and marriage was entirely superficial, and generally continues to be so down to the present time. Is it their fault? I’m not so sure. Is it the fault of the bishops? I would argue that it is only the people who really understood the nature of things that bear responsibility for the widespread ignorance of Catholics.
It took centuries to develop Christology and Trinitarian theology. It could take centuries for the current ignorance to dissipate. Let’s pray that it doesn’t. The cost of the persistence of the current “sexual liberation” theology is prohibitive.
” … there was a television game show in which contestants were asked to identify which of the two or more candidates claiming, each of them, to be a certain particular person was ‘the real McCoy.’ At the end of the contest, after each candidate had made his pitch, the program’s impresario announced in stentorian terms: ‘Now will the real [‘Mr. Smith,’ or whoever] stand up?'”
He is, of course, referring to the classic game show To Tell the Truth, which, given Father Welzbacher’s purpose, is very appropriate.
I was fortunate to see Fr. W at a reception following the First Mass of Fr. John Bauer. I thanked Father Welzbacher for all his wisdom – but especially one pearl of wisdom that has prevented me from committing sin on more than one occasion. He has asked people to consider what a soul’s first five seconds in Hell must be like – the moment of realizing your fate of eternal damnation.
Boy…when I think of that, I don’t even sneak the last Oreo when no one is looking.
Seroiusly…any contribution of his to your blog is required reading.
Talking about “Absolutes in Moral Theology”& put ideas into one’s head
The May 2, 2008 publication of the awards winning “Catholic voice” of the Archdiocese of Omaha reprint prominently on the page next to the Archbishop column, a shortened article from Catholic News Service/USCCB title “Democrats talking about religion” .
It start at:
“The Rev. Jim Wallis finds it unexpected and refreshing that the majority of “God talk” in this presidential election season has been among and about Democratic candidates and that the dialogue takes a broad view of what’s important to religiously motivated voters”
And it end at:
“ poverty and the Iraq War were polling as higher priorities than abortion and same-sex marriage”
NOW WILL THE REAL CATHOLIC CHURCH STAND UP!!!
“He has asked people to consider what a soul’s first five seconds in Hell must be like”
Here is another nicely worded pastor’s bulletin note from my parish of Sacred Heart, Bowie, MD:
Weekly Bulletin Article
Ascension of the Lord
Today our parish rejoices with 35 of our young children who for the very first time will receive the Most Blessed Sacrament at the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass. This should give us pause to reflect on the day that we made our First Holy Communion – perhaps many years ago. What joy the soul experienced on that day. What joy the soul experiences each time the precious Body and the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus is taken into our own human frame. This food for the soul enlivens our faith, provides a generous portion of sanctifying grace, makes us one with our Lord and Savior, and nurtures us in a life of holiness.
Our children do not need more toys and games; they do not need more fancy and expensive clothes; they do not need more sports programs; they do not need more money to spend on things. They do need loving parents who will spend time with them; they do need to hear that they are loved; they do need an environment at home where the Catholic Faith and where Catholic values are important; and most of all, they do need to be at Mass EVERY week so that they can receive with us and learn to cherish as we do the Most Holy Eucharist.
I commend the parents of our young people for the good example that you set for them. I commend you for coming to church with your family on a regular basis, especially on those days when it is difficult and challenging to do it. I commend you for teaching your children the importance of the Mass by the manner of dress, by the spirit of prayerful quiet and reverence before – during – and after the Mass, by the example you give in a respectful reception of the Holy Eucharist. You will not regret having done your best to raise your children as good Catholics by attending Mass with them. In this you provide an avenue of grace for them so that they might be more closely united to Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Church.
I offer this reminder to one and all. It remains church practice to genuflect toward the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle before entering your pew prior to the Mass, and upon leaving your pew at the conclusion of the Mass. It remains church practice to abstain from food and drink (with the exception of a medical necessity) prior to the reception of the Blessed Sacrament. It remains church practice to be in the state of grace, that is – free of mortal sin, for the reception of the Eucharist. It has become church practice to offer a slight bow of the head as the person in front of you receives the Blessed Sacrament – this is a gesture of reverence as you step forward to receive. Notice that the priest genuflects prior to his reception of the Eucharist. In all of this, we give evidence to Our Lord that we wish to receive Him with a pure heart and with loving reverence. These gestures are received by Him with loving gratitude for sure.
As we treasure the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist and receive the Lord in this sacrament often, may He continue to bless and protect each of us in the week ahead. May our children learn from us the inestimable value of the Holy Eucharist given to the Church by Our Lord!