Monday, January 14, 2013


Should we grieve when someone leaves the Church? Of course, because in doing so the graces God wants to give them and which by His grace they are able to receive (not take) is for them and their salvation. So a Catholic's departure from the full communion of the Church is a sign that that person really doesn't want to be oriented toward God's grace or reception of it as God intends.

Some people of course depart the Church out of anger at someone who has hurt or abuse them in despicable ways or others simply a loss of faith. In a sense there is a bit of integrity related to these kinds of decisions.

But then there are those who completely disagree with the Church's stance on particular moral issues, what is called pejoratively, the pelvic issues. Those in the homosexual political movement take great exception toward the Church and her embrace of Divine Law found in Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law. They wish to rewrite Scripture through re-interpretation based upon cultural changes, but they can't contend or deal with either Tradition or Natural Law as these thwart their efforts.

So many Catholics who have same sex attractions are angry at Church leaders who say that the homosexual orientation is disordered (not to be confused with sinful) and that any sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman and recognized by the Church is considered sinful.

So we see many homosexuals leaving the Church, becoming totally secular or joining Protestant communions such as the Episcopal Church which has no prohibitions against sin.

Jesus of course never stops anyone from departing from His company and these people in His public ministry departed precisely because they did not like the truths He taught and the implications of His miracles and the necessity to eat His Body and Drink His Blood for their salvation. He let them go. Did he stew over it? Evidently not since this is not reported in the Scriptures.


Pater Ignotus said...

"Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Luke 15:1-7

You cannot assert that what is "not reported in the scriptures" did not take place. At no point do the Scriptures "report" that any of the Twelve had a bowel movement. You cannot say "Evedently they did not since this is not reported in the Scriptures."

This doesn't mean that we can make up what we want to fill in "what is not reported." On the contrary, we KNOW what the Scriptures assert to be true. We KNOW that what the Scriptures assert is necessary for salvation. We do not KNOW, from the absence of reporting, that Jesus "didn't stew over" the disciples who left.

rcg said...

It is difficult, maybe impossible, to decide to what extent the person is actually choosing this separation. I guess that is what Purgatory is all about.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course we also know Jesus wept, got angry, etc, but we do not know his reaction to those who were a part of his company and then departed Him for what He taught was too much for them, we just don't know, but we do know that He wept at the death of His Friend Lazrrous.

Unknown said...

I think that He did stew over it. I think that the clearest example of said stewing Father McD, is Luke 19:41-44.

Dominus Flevit.

He knew precisely, through His Divine Nature and because of this, His human nature was overcome with emotion to the point that he could not help but weep. But for whom? He wept for Jerusalem, in this case a metaphor for all men who did not accept Him for being the Christ.

No, Fr. McD, I don't think that He was so accepting of letting it go. I think that He understood perfectly what was happening and He dwelt on it and it pained Him, pained Him so that His PDR was necessary.

I think that Sacred Scripture is explicit.

Henry Edwards said...

"but we do not know his reaction to those who were a part of his company and then departed Him for what He taught was too much for them"

Well, actually, we ought to be able to make a pretty good stab at it. Like when--as reported in John 6:60 ff--many left because it was too hard to believe in the Real Presence--Jesus did not call them back saying, Well, maybe we can soften this a bit if it doesn't work for you. Rather, in effect, he plainly invited those to leave who could not accept his moral teachings.

So it appears to me that, in so many words, He said auf wiedersehen to those "tax collectors and sinners" who refused to get the message.

rcg said...

PI, I like the Prodigal Son example, too. But I think there is a big difference in people who are open to proselytisation and those are fighting it. Even the prodigal son was outside until he decided to come in. The sinners were in with Jesus or decided to leave. People in FrAJM's example are trying to bargain their grace. That is not possible and we put the rest of the flock at risk going along with it.

Carol H. said...

I'm sure Jesus was sad because so many departed, but He refused to back down from the truth. Sin is sin and that is never going to change- not by majority, or vote, or presidential appointment, or by any other means.

He knew that the Holy Spirit was on His way to illuminate those souls to the truth, but he is not going to force us to follow Him. He wants us to accept the truth and follow Him willingly. He loves us.

Gene said...

... and don't let the Thurible hit you in the butt on your way out...

Gene said...

Ignotus, there is a difference between a "lost sheep" and a sheep that angrily leaves the sheepfold. "I call my sheep by name..." The sheep also know the will and all that. You read about that once somewhere didn't you?

Robert Kumpel said...

There IS a certain integrity to the person who cannot mentally assent to the Church's teachings and leaves because of a sincere disagreement. However, it is downright criminal for those with the same convictions against the Church to stay in the Church and try to undermine the Church from within. As an old friend of mine used to say (and you suggest here): "Why don't they just become Episcopalians?"

Hammer of Fascists said...

Robert: I posit four reasons why they formally remain within the Church (note I say "formally" and not "essentially"). I'll put them here in what seems to me an increasing order of culpability.

1) Due to the abysmal catechesis of the past half-century, they genuinely believe that doctrinal dissent is permissable, or, alternatively, that the points they dissent on aren't doctrinal/essential. One of the best examples appears in the sociological studies that show that self-identified Catholics use birth control at roughly the same rates as non-Catholics. Whose fault is this? It must be laid squarely at the feet of the clergy and hierarchy who will not teach doctrine from the ambo and in other contexts.

2) A variation of the above: They know that their beliefs/practices put them at odds with the Church, but they see themselves as basically good people, and thus believe that God won't send them to hell despite their divergences because of this basic goodness. (There are at least three problems here: a) the notion that God arbitrarily sends people to hell, b) their underestimation of the role/importance of doctrine, and c) their failure to realize that it's the Church's moral teachings that define "good"; that if they're willfully engaging in grave sin, then they're _not_ basically good people.)

3) They know that their beliefs/practices are at odds with what the Church teaches, but deep down they're Catholic enough that they still know she speaks with authority and subconsciously want/need her approval. They hope by remaining, and by agitating and speaking out in defense of their beliefs/actions, they can somehow convince the Church to "come around" and approve their beliefs/actions, thus salving their consciences. (This same motivation can also apply to some "angry ex-Catholics" who attack the church in a rage from without; in many cases, I suspect, the fuel for this rage is the deep-down knowledge that the Church is right.)

2) They don't believe the Church to be authoritative at all; they don't believe that she contains and teaches the fullness of God's revelation of himself to the world. But they're aware that the Church is a large organization with many resources, visibility, and moral clout (yes, even today she still retains some despite the hierarchy's best efforts to change that), and they seek to co-opt her in order to use her, her structure, her resources, her visibility, and her power to further their own non-Catholic or anti-Catholic agendas. The most obvious examples, but by no means the only ones, are the high-profile "Catholic" politicians who make a point of explicitly and emphatically holding themselves out as Catholic while in the very next breath implicitly or explicitly declaring that the Church teaches doctrinal error. A variation would be people who are drawn to the Church as a social welfare organization but who don't accept her as containing God's revelation, or accept that revelation only insofar as it comports with modernist/secular notions of social justice.

rcg said...

A5 hits it basically on the head. this blog has discussed excommunication before and I think it needs to be looked at seriously. People don't think you mean business if you don't enforce your position. Of course they should be returned to communion if they publicly change their positions and practices.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered if it pained Jesus to see so many turn away and reject what He was offering.
Clearly, He didn't physically chase them down and beg them to reconsider there choice. But then again, being God, He didn't have to physically since He could nudge their consciences, I suppose.
He gave them free will and allowed them to make their choice and He didn't budge on His message...but did His heart pain for them? THAT is not what is specified in scripture.
Yet, it seems that the Crucifixion answers the question...that His heart did indeed pain for those sheep that chose to wander away.

In a nutshell...He stewed about it, but didn't have a hissy fit about it.


Gene said...

The Church is not a theological "entitlement program" or some all-inclusive spiritual welfare state. There are certain obligations and requirements for receiving the Grace Christ offered so belief, and if belief, then obedience. Obedience means keeping your mouth shut if there are doctrines amd dogmas of the Church that you do not understand or with which you disagree. Yes, indeed, shut up and trust the wisdom of the Magisterium and Holy Scripture. If this is giving you trouble, then pray, go to Confession, and study harder. But, by all means, shut up and remember that it is a sin to tempt other Catholics to fall through your whining, bitching, and constant belly-aching because the Church is not Burger King where you can "have it your way."

Marc said...

Father, can Gene deliver the homily at all Masses this weekend?