Tuesday, July 30, 2013


There are prudential judgments we must make about judging people. We judge people all the time, especially when they are on trial. We've had some spectacular public trials in this regard and very recently.

When it comes to the Church, we must judge ourselves in terms of our worthiness to receive Holy Communion. Am I in a state of mortal sin? I have to examine my conscience and if I am, I must go to confession prior to receiving Holy Communion.

We are to continue attending Mass and participating as prayerfully and liturgically as possible, even if we are in a state of mortal sin, or a public sinner. Most of the time our parish family does not know the state of our soul, only we do. So if I receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, usually that is known only to me. We are not to judge those who receive Holy Communion.

But a pastor or priest who knows someone is a public sinner and is receiving Holy Communion as a kind of political statement that they disagree with the Church's moral teachings in their regard, then, a priest must judge that person and deny him/her Holy Communion but hopefully this is done in a pastoral counseling situation. This is true of those in marriages not recognized by the Church. It is also true of those who belong to the KKK, work for abortion clinics and are quite public in their pro-choice politics. But depending on the priest or the bishop, the pastoral judgments might differ.

For example, how many would be opposed to a priest refusing Holy Communion to a couple in an adulterous relationship and that man's wife (there is no legal divorce) is present at the Mass too? Do you think that is far fetched? Think again!

With Pope Francis, we have a major shift in emphasis in his papacy. He is intelligent, but he is not an academic. He is not a professor. He is a pastor. He is a people person. He is an extravert. I say he is an extravert because he seems to be energized by the experience he had in Rio and his public audiences in Rome. He doesn't want to live alone in the papal apartments but in a hotel where he can be around people all of the time. If he were an introvert, he would want that papal apartment to retreat, but he doesn't.

Pope Francis communicates in a pastoral style and is inclusive in this regard. He wants as many people as possible to be a part of the Church although we all know that people's commitment to the Church varies from person to person, always has, always will.

Let's face it some Catholic parents of the past have been too quick to disinherit their children, stop talking to them and exclude them when they did something that the parent thought was shameful. Isn't it better to remain in dialogue with them and to love them unconditionally? That doesn't mean that we love the wrong they are doing, but we love them, and accept them and even visit them in prison if they murder someone. We pray for their conversion and try to be an instrument of God's grace in this regard.

So Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners at a Holy Thursday Mass, some of whom are not even Catholic, some of whom are women. He is telling bishops, priests and the laity to care for people, minister to them no matter who they are. He is changing the meaning of a "optional sacramental" during the Holy Thursday Mass, from a literalism in terms of the 12 apostles to the Church that Jesus is founding through them and by the Holy Spirit to go to the whole world with the Good News and baptize them!

So Pope Francis makes comments about "gay" priests. I am not sure that "gay" in Italian has the same meaning as in English, although Italians now use this English term. In English, I think it has political ramifications and means an active lifestyle in terms of actually having sex with a variety of partners and promoting this as a political and moral equivalent to heterosexuality. I'm not sure that is what Pope Francis meant when he used it in Italian. I think he used it as another word for homosexual or same sex attraction. "Gay lobby" though means a political activism that is opposed to the Church's moral teachings. So a homosexual priest who is gay, meaning, he is having same sex sex and thus breaking his vow or promise of celibacy/chastity, we can judge that priest, suspend him, fire him, "defrock" him. And is a candidate for the priesthood is "gay" meaning a part of the gay lobby and using his desire to be a priest to promote the gay lifestyle in the Church, he can and should, in fact must be excluded from the seminary and ultimately the priesthood.

I know of many people who have same sex attractions, but are married and faithful to their opposite sex spouse and function well in the bedroom. I know of many confirmed homosexuals who are heroic in living chaste lives. I am not sure that in English we should refer to these categories of people as "gay."

So the Holy Father lets the not so secret fact that there are "gay" priests. He still expects them to be chaste and many are, not all. The same is true of heterosexual priests too, by the way.

Would the Holy Father tell us that homosexuality and heterosexuality are on the same level? He'll have to tell you. But he knows that homosexuals can't be married, are called to live-long chastity given their orientation and must rely upon God and the support of the Church and her sacraments to achieve this and through a free, conscious decision of the will to unite themselves to Christ and the chastity He desire for them.

This is not true of heterosexuals who have the option of natural sex within marriage and fidelity to their spouse. So there is a discrimination and judgement made in the light of natural law, Scripture and Tradition.

But let me say this as a priest. I hope that sinners feel welcome in my parish. I have had murderers, adulterers, KKK, abortionists and the like attending Mass and some of whom are registered. I am glad they attend Mass and I pray they are seeking God's grace and I know that God is seeking them and offering them His grace for conversion and salvation.

Why exclude those most in need of God salvation. Remember the Fatima Prayer in this regard:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.


Marc said...

I think I have sorted this all out.

Anytime we see the word "pastor" or some variation used adjectivally, it is synonymous with "incorrect." That helps a lot because then we can decode statements like the following:

"Vatican II was pastoral."

"Pope Francis is a pastor."

Marc said...

And, by the way, Father, you're being very pastoral in saying Francis is doctrinally conservative...

John said...

No matter how much I think about it the conclusion I come to is this: the pontificate of Francis, due to his deliberate or careless remarks, is going to result in a second revolution within the post-Vatican 2 Catholic Church. Another Spirit of the Council, every bit as destructive as the first.

His awkward remarks on an assortment of hot-button issues are serious threatening the tattered moral discipline among the clergy and laity. Ask yourself who benefits from his remarks? Which side of the culture wars is he supporting?

His recent remarks and his pointed suppression of the TLM among the Franciscans is bound to have long-term negative impact.

John Nolan said...

Are there any Catholics in the KKK? Not long ago one of their leaders said in a TV interview: "We're not bigoted. We just don't like nigras, Jews and Catholics". Has the Klan become infected with the liberal spirit that pervades the age? What is their attitude to gay marriage? Is there a "KKK for Obama" lobby? I'm just an ignorant Limey whose attitude to the South is somewhat conditioned by Tom Lehrer.

"I wanna go back to Dixie, I wanna be a Dixie pixie, and eat cornpone till it's comin' outa mah ears! I wanna talk with Southern gen'l'men, and put that white sheet on again - I ain't seen one good lynchin' in years!".

Fraser said...

Praying for a very short pontificate.

Rood Screen said...

OK, dear Father MacDonald, but mustn't we also say frequently, clearly and publicly that homosexual desire is a disorder, and that acting on that desire is a mortal sin that can get you damned to eternal Hell? That's the bit that's missing in all this. Christ told his disciples to preach repentance, but we just seem to preach acceptance, leaving mortal sin and damnation as mere footnotes.
The same is true for contraception. It's fine to speak out for the rights of the Church concerning the Obamacare mandate, but it's more important to warn contracepting couples that they're going to Hell unless they repent.
Has our social tolerance made us tolerant of lost souls?

Wink Martindale said...

Doctrinally Conservative
Pastorally Liberal
Traditionally Intolerant

Templar said...

John: Traditionally No, there are no Catholics in the Klan. Certainly not in it's heyday, but being a small fringe group as they are these days they may very well have lowered their standards considerably to just white and breathing.

Anonymous said...

I must learn not to read the commetn section of bloggs. They are more then likely uncharitable.

Marc said...

I like these commenters who insist on commenting only about how uncharitable the rest of the commenters are... They never provide examples to back up their allegations, of course.

I don't think they have an idea about what charity actually is...

Unknown said...

LOL... on the Tweetosphere, many Anglican priests are celebrating what His Holiness said.

In fact, one of them wrote: "Pope: 'Who am I to judge gay people?' ... This wont end here. The Catholic church will liberalise. Its inevitable. And utterly necessary.

I don't see how an Anglican priest can have any idea as to what is and is not "necessary" for us.

What's funny is that the reformers thought like this during the pontificates of Leo X, Clement VII, and Paul III--who then convoked the Council of Trent in 1545.

Unknown said...

Marc, I almost commented with "I do not think we agree on the definition of charity."

I would also suggest Anonymous #5001 "learn to use a name."

John said...

Years ago a non-Catholic friend asked me: "Does it not bother you as a Catholic that many of your priests are homosexual?" My answer was that as long as they are celibate I do not care about it. Then came the revelations about all the sex abuse by priests, 80 percent of the cases by homosexual priests according to the John Jay study.

Now it was obvious that my friend's question was not besides the point.

Who am I to judge ask our HF? A snooty answer would be: St. Paul new. You are a successor of Peter and St. Paul why do you not know?

David said...

I must apologize. My first post was painted with to wide of a brush. I was annoyed by Fraser's statement about "Praying for a short pontificat". While you may disagree with the holy father, wishing for his quick death is far from the respect we owe the Pope. Sorry for the bland statement,


PS I did sign my name last time. Hopefully I succeed at puting it in the header this time.

Marc said...

Well, thank you, David, for coming back to the shark's nest!

I happen to agree with you that no one should pray for the Pope's death. I'll give the benefit of the doubt here, though, and assume the prayer is for another abdication, not death.

I am going to get a lot of flack for this, but I'd go another route, still, and pray for the Pope's conversion, if that is what's needed. We are, after all, supposed to pray for the Pope. What better prayer is there for him than to pray he is guided properly.

Failing that, we have to pray for perseverance in these difficult times. I heard a sermon today wherein it was recounted that St. John Chrysostom said that "most bishops and priests go to hell." Just think about that MOST. And that was said all the way back near the beginning... How much more in these times...?

Anonymous said...

I sent a comment this morning that didn't post, don't know why...
C'mon, guys, praying for a short papacy, no matter what the reason? Are you serious? If so, may God have mercy on us all! Love God, love thy neighbor, the first two and greatest commandments. It is so simply stated by Christ. Not simple to follow I grant you, and I don't like it much at times, but it is mandated by our Lord.
Great post, Father, thanks.

Anonymous said...

And heeeere we go!!!!!

Gene said...

Yes, Anonymous @9:40 and it is no surprise. More to come, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to think that St. John Chrysostom has replaced God in determining the eternal fate of the clergy . . .

Interesting, but utterly absurd.