Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops

April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five cardinals who contributed to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which focused on criticizing Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to open up Communion to those in irregular sexual unions.
LifeSiteNews contributor Dr. Maike Hickson interviewed Cardinal Brandmüller last month.
LifeSiteNews: Could you present once more for our readers clearly the teaching of the Catholic Church, as it has been consistently taught throughout centuries concerning marriage and its indissolubility? 
Cardinal: The answer is to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1638-1642.
Can the Church admit remarried couples to Holy Communion, even though their second marriage is not valid in the eyes of the Church?
That would be possible if the concerned couples would make the decision to live in the future like brother and sister. This solution is especially worth considering when the care for children disallows a separation. The decision for such a path would be a convincing expression of the penance for the previous and protracted act of adultery.
Can the Church deal with the topic of marriage in a pastoral manner that is different from the continual teaching of the Church? Can the Church at all change the teaching itself without falling herself into heresy?
It is evident that the pastoral practice of the Church cannot stand in opposition to the binding doctrine nor simply ignore it. In the same manner, an architect could perhaps build a most beautiful bridge. However, if he does not pay attention to the laws of structural engineering, he risks the collapse of his construction. In the same manner, every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail. A change of the teaching, of the dogma, is unthinkable. Who nevertheless consciously does it, or insistently demands it, is a heretic – even if he wears the Roman Purple.
Is not the whole discussion about the admittance of remarried to the Holy Eucharist also an expression of the fact that many Catholics do not believe any more in the Real Presence and rather think that they receive in Holy Communion anyway only a piece of bread?
Indeed, there is an indissoluble inner contradiction in someone who wants to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and to unite himself with Him, while in the same time he disregards consciously His Commandment. How shall this work? St. Paul says about this matter: 'Who eats and drinks unworthily, is eating and drinking his judgment...' But: You are right. By far not all Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated host. One can see this fact already in the way many – even priests – pass the tabernacle without genuflection.
Why is there nowadays such a strong attack on the indissolubility of marriage within the Church? A possible answer could be that the spirit of relativism has entered the Church, but there must be more reasons. Could you name some? And are not all these reasons a sign of the crisis of Faith within the Church herself?@MCITLFrAphorism: Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops https://t.co/pLgoale3P5

Monday, April 13, 2015

Has your priest signed the letter to the bishops of the Synod on the Family

Dear Father,

Will you join the nearly-500 priests in England who recently signed a public statement defending the Church’s teachings on the nature and indissolubility of marriage, and asking for clarity from the upcoming Synod on the Family?

Following the amazing success of the priests initiative in England, Voice of the Family, a lay initiative made up of 23 pro-life and pro-family groups from around the world, is now working to promote the initiative internationally.

To add your name to the letter, simply send an e-mail to voiceofthefamilyusa@gmail.com with your full name, parish and/or religious order, and affirm that you wish to be added as a signatory to the letter. The full text of the open letter appears below. A fuller explanation of this initiative follows after that.

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER TO THE PRESS

Following the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2014 much confusion has arisen concerning Catholic moral teaching. In this situation we wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia. We commit ourselves anew to the task of presenting this teaching in all its fullness, while reaching out with the Lord’s compassion to those struggling to respond to the demands and challenges of the Gospel in an increasingly secular society. Furthermore we affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony. We urge all those who will participate in the second Synod in October 2015 to make a clear and firm proclamation of the Church’s unchanging moral teaching, so that confusion may be removed, and faith confirmed.

Yours
Your name:
Your parish:

It is most likely that, like us, you will have followed the events of last October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops and its aftermath with interest. Like us, you may also have been left unsettled and deeply concerned by some of the statements coming out of that Synod, and the manner in which the Synod was at times reported by the media and interpreted by those with a secular ideological agenda. There is now a distorted general sense that the Church’s moral teaching could be changed and that Catholic practice could be altered regardless of doctrine. Even some committed Catholics are making statements that do not reflect the settled teaching of the Church, nor the clear message of the New Testament.

As pastors of souls you will be only too aware of the confusion this has caused to those to whom you minister. All too often it is those who have been most faithful to the teaching of the Church and have made great sacrifices in order to conform their lives to the Gospel, who have been left in greatest distress.

Pope Francis exhorted the participants of the Extraordinary Synod: 'Speak freely and from the heart. And listen humbly to each other.’ Inspired by the Holy Father’s invitation, we wish to make our voice heard.

 Above is the text of a letter which we intend and now propose to publish in the Catholic/national press. It states our adherence to the Church’s traditional doctrine and discipline of marriage, and our request that this will be affirmed without ambiguity by the Synod to be held later in 2015. We also make clear our commitment to serve all those who struggle to live out the demands of the Gospel amidst the often difficult circumstances of modern life. Clarity in teaching is never opposed to good pastoral practice, but is rather its foundation.

Please join your brother priests around the world in making this statement, for which we know many people are longing. We invite you to sign the letter and return it, without delay, to the email address provided.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy: We continue to explore and grow in our baptismal graces and vocation during the Easter Season


     During the season of Lent we focused on our own offering together with the priest at Mass by turning together toward the Lord with the priest as he stands facing the altar during the Eucharistic prayer. We call this facing “liturgical East” or ad orientem. Together with all the great world religions we orient ourselves before we pray in order to enter into it more fully as a self-offering to God. This custom was largely and inadvisably abandoned in the ferment following Vatican II without mandate from Church documents.
 
     Christ comes now in the Eucharist and will come again at the end of time. Both senses of time are in our minds and hearts as we pray the Mass together. We call this the “cosmic” aspect of our spirituality. The God we hear speaking in the Scriptures and present in the Eucharist at Mass is the creator of the heavens and the earth, the “cosmos”; we both meet Him now in Communion and look ahead in space and time to meeting Him at the end of our lives, and at the end of all time, when He creates a new heavens and a new earth. We will continue to explore this richly symbolic meaning of our most important prayer of the Mass throughout the Easter Season.
     By turning toward the altar together with the priest we confront more powerfully the fact that we are always moving spiritually through time as we look with hope to meeting the Lord of heaven at the end of our earthly journey. Thank you for your participation in this opportunity to grow in the life of prayer and praise.
- From the 12 April 2015 parish bulletin of Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Benedict, Md. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"It is not possible to go backwards. We must go forward. Always forward." - Pope Francis

Prayer by Pope Francis for the Synod on the Family

The Pope asks for prayers for the Synod on the family
Vatican City, 25 March 2015 (VIS) – On the solemnity of the Annunciation, during this Wednesday's general audience held in a rain-soaked St. Peter's Square, the Pope announced to the faithful that today would be a special catechesis, a pause for prayer during his path of reflections on the family.
“On 25 March, the Church solemnly celebrates the Annunciation, the beginning of the mystery of the Incarnation. The Archangel Gabriel visits the humble girl from Nazareth and announces that she will conceive and give birth to the Son of God. By this announcement the Lord illuminates and strengthens Mary's faith, as He will also do for her spouse Giuseppe, so that Jesus may be born in a human family. This is beautiful: it shows us how deeply the mystery of the Incarnation, as God wished it to be, includes not only conception in the womb of the mother, but also the fact of being welcomed into a true family. Today I would like to contemplate with you the beauty of this bond, of this, God's condescension, and we can do so reciting together the Hail Mary, which in its first part includes the words the Angel addressed to the Virgin”.
After praying the Hail Mary with all those present, Francis commented that today in many countries is the Day for Life, and that twenty years ago on this date St. John Paul II signed his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”, in which the family “occupies a central role, inasmuch as it is the womb of human life”.
“The word of my venerated predecessor reminds us that the human couple has been blessed by God since the beginning to form a community of love and life, to whom the mission of procreation has been entrusted. Christian couples, by celebrating the sacrament of Marriage, indicate they are willing to honour this blessing, with the grace of Christ, for all their life. The Church, for her part, solemnly commits to caring for the family that is thus born, as a gift from God for her own life, in good times and bad: the bond between the Church and the family is sacred and inviolable. The Church, as a mother, never abandons her family, even when it is debased, hurt and humiliated in many ways. Not even when it gives in to sin or drifts away from the Church; she will always do everything to seek to cure and heal it, to invite it to convert and be reconciled with the Lord”.
If this is her task, the Pontiff observed, then it appears clear how much prayer the Church needs in order to be able to carry out this mission. “A prayer full of love for the family and for life. A prayer that knows how to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to suffer with those who suffer”. The Holy Father explained that he and his collaborators had decided to propose a renewal of the prayer for the Synod of Bishops on the family, and asked all present to continue to recite it until October, when the Synod assembly dedicated to the family is due to take place.
“I would like this prayer, like the entire Synod path, to be inspired by the Good Shepherd's compassion for his flock, especially for those people and families who for various reasons are 'harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd'. In this way, supported and inspired by the grace of God, the Church will be able to be even more committed, and even more united, in her witness of the truth of God's love and His mercy for the world's families, without exception, both inside and outside the fold”.
“I ask you, please, to ensure that your prayer is not lacking. All of us – the Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, men and women religious – we must all pray for the Synod. We need this, not chatter! I encourage even those who feel distant to pray too, and those who are not used to doing so. This prayer for the Synod on the family is for the good of all of us. I know that this morning an image has been given to you, which you now hold in your hands. I invite you to keep it and carry it with you always, so that over the coming months you can recite the prayer often, with holy insistence, as Jesus asked us. Now, let us pray together:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendour of true love,
We turn to you with confidence.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalised
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Re-awaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen”.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cardinal Cordes on Faithfulness to Marriage by Bishops and Faithfulness in Marriage by Catholics

"At the last plenary meeting of the German bishops, statements of their president were made public which were neither officially published nor denied by the conference’s secretariat. Since words of the most prominent representative of German Catholics give directions and [since these statements] furthermore caused a stir in the media, it makes sense to publicly contradict some of the positions expressed, also in order to limit the confusion they have caused in several places.

"In these statements, the president [Marx] noted that in the universal Church ‘certain expectations’ are directed towards Germany. This is astonishing. A poll of the ‘Bertelsmann foundation’ showed that only 16.2 percent of the West-German Catholics believe in almighty God as a person they can encounter, all other Catholics equate ‘God’ with a faceless providence, anonymous fate, or a primordial power – or they simply deny His existence. Therefore we have little reason to boast against churches in other countries about our faith.

"Moreover, it is not only astonishing that the German Church supposedly enjoys such great respect within Catholicism. More irritating still are the theological blurs and statements, in which the President of the Bishops’ Conference plainly declared that “We are no local branches of Rome. Each Conference is responsible for the pastoral care in its cultural environment and, as it most proper task, has to proclaim the Gospel in its own way.” As a social ethicist Cardinal Marx may know much about the dependency of branches of large corporations. In an ecclesiastical context, such statements should rather be rather left to the village pub.


"What, however, is meant with the “responsibility” for the “pastoral care in a cultural environment”? Undoubtedly, the President of the German Bishops’ Conference has such competence for questions like the new edition of a hymnal [Gotteslob, new edition recently released in the German-speaking world], or for decisions on pilgrim routes to Altötting [Marian shrine]. However, the debate on the problems of remarried divorcees is another matter. It is bound to theology, which forms its centre. Therefore, even a Cardinal cannot, almost as in a coup, separate pastoral care from doctrine – unless he wants to ignore the meaning of the words of Jesus, which oblige us in Faith, and the binding definitions of the Council of Trent.

"
The fundamental sense of community, a central theological-spiritual foundation upholding the universal Church, seems to be of little relevance in his [Marx’s] statements from Hildesheim, although bishops have promised explicitly such “Unity with the College of Bishops under the Successor of St Peter” at their consecration. The sentence “We cannot wait until a synod tells us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and families here” was hardly inspired by the ecclesiastical sense of ‘Communio,’ to say the least. This ‘anti-Roman instinct’ is not the invention of some scholars, but in the North [of Europe] a reality that displays strong centrifugal power. It is destructive to the highest degree to the unity of the Faith.

"It is, however, also correct that Cardinal Marx is not alone. The chairman of the pastoral commission of the conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, came to his support by demanding that pastoral care and dogma had to cross-fertilise each other. This was supposedly a “historically important” insight, which he even calls a “change of paradigm.” For this purpose he even uses the conciliar constitution ‘Gaudium et Spes,’ where it is written that there was “nothing truly human that did not find an echo in their [sc. the disciples’ of Christ] hearts.”

"
From that he deduces that “Not only the Christian message must find an echo with men, but men must find an echo with us.” “In what relation stands the doctrine of the Church today with the everyday life of men? Do we sufficiently integrate the concrete experiences of people into doctrine? A total discrepancy between doctrine and life must not happen.” However, the attempt to deduce the content of Faith from the experience of human life is not as new as is claimed here, and it can especially not claim to be a “change of paradigm”.

"During the conciliar debate on the relevance of social or ecclesiastical phenomena for the Faith the arguments focused on the biblical expression “signs of the times.” However, the debate of the Council Fathers had as its result that it would be erroneous to discover the “signs of the times” in human life simply as a “source for the Faith”, and they explicitly rejected the embarrassing shortcut that a phenomenon challenging the Church would as such already be a source of the Faith (Locus Theologicus)On the contrary, the Vatican II constitution on “Divine Revelation” leaves no doubt that the Faith of the Catholic Church is nourished by Scripture and ecclesiastical tradition only. Independent of this unambiguous direction it would be paradox to attribute to a small group of members of the Church, who live in a spiritually pitiable but objectively irregular situation, the function of a source of the Faith.

"This problem does not touch directly most of the members of the Church practicing the Faith. May the pastors assembled in Rome this autumn also instruct these men and women on how their marriage can root them deeper and deeper in the Faith in Jesus Christ, so that they may become for many contemporaries witnesses of God’s power in the life of men. Maybe it will even occur to the synod fathers to express their respect to those who, out of fidelity to the marriage vows once made, do not enter any new union. Also they exist."

- Cardinal Cordes is a member of the German Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops and former president of Pontifical Council Cor Unum. Translation provided by Rorate Caeli.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"The Church is not of the world": A Young Revert Catholic Defends Cardinal Burke and the Church

"This debate is between those who care about the world and those who care about the salvation of souls."

A young Catholic "revert" shared his recent experience in conversation with the attackers of Cardinal Burke who, in opening their mouths, only prove their ignorance.

"I was on CathNews commenting on a topic concerning Cardinal Burke. I confess I got a bit upset, because I'm tired of seeing him attacked. A lot of Catholics have the wrong impression of Burke, as if he's some Sedevacantist radical.

"One guy told me that I should leave the Church along with 'my cardinal'. Well, here's my response. I hope you don't find it too 'judgmental':

"So, because I spoke up in defense of Burke and against the modernists attacking him for no reason at all, this fellow said that I need to leave the Church along with 'my cardinal'. I responded and he deleted his post, because he knows he's wrong. But I'll tell you what I said, because it shines a light on this debate. I told him that I would never, under any circumstances, tell someone to leave the Church, because that's the same as telling someone to go to Hell. EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS.

"I wonder, you who attack Cardinal Burke for defending the Church's traditions, do you believe in the indefectibility of the Church? Do believe the Church to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, the institution of Salvation founded by Christ? Because that appears to me to be the difference in this debate concerning Burke.

"The people who go on about not being 'judgmental' are telling us they find the Magisterium of the Church to be 'judgmental'. They find the words of Our Lord against divorce 'judgmental'. They are concerned with the world's acceptance, forgetting that the Church is not of the world.

"This debate is between those who care about the world and those who care for the salvation of souls. And I wouldn't have said all that if I believed there were ANY truth to the accusation that Burke has attacked Pope Francis. I've read his interviews. He has never attacked the Pope, and would never."

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