Friday, May 13, 2016


I know there is great polarization in the Catholic Church among those who are informed about the politics of the Church especially since Pope Francis entered the world stage. But to be honest with you, in my parish most of my parishioners are not as informed about the political intrigue at the Vatican and the direction that Pope Francis has set for the Church that causes such consternation for the right wing. They are more concerned about making a living, enjoying life, dealing with crisis and problems at home and work and grieving about all kinds of things especially the loss of loved ones.

But with that said, all Catholics should do what new pastors or pastors being sent to new parishes must do. We must make a profession of faith in front of a witness, usually another priest or a deacon and we must sign it before a witness who also signs.

I had to do so as I prepare to become the new pastor of Saint Anne Catholic Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia. This, in part, is what I promised with my hand on the Book of the Gospels. I did so yesterday on May 12th:

After reciting the Nicene Creed in the new and glorious English translation of it, I made the Oath of fidelity:

With firm faith I also believe everything contained in God's word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the Church, whether in solemn judgement or in the ordinary and universal magisterium, as divinely revealed and calling for faith.

I also firmly accept and hold everything that is proposed definitively by the Church regarding the teaching on faith and morals.

I, Allan J. McDonald, in assuming the office of pastor, promise that in my words and in my actions I shall always preserve communion with the Catholic Church.

With great cared and fidelity I shall carry out the duties incumbent on me toward the Church, both universal and particular, in which according to the provision s of the law, I have been called to exercise my service.

In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it. 

I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.

With Christian obedience I shall follow what the Bishops, as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith, declare, or what they, as those who govern the Church, establish.

I shall also faithfully assist the diocesan Bishops, so that the apostolic activity, exercised in the name and by mandate of the Church, may be carried out in communion with the Church.

So help me God, and God's Holy Gospels on which I place my hand.  

I believe that every Catholic should take this Oath of Fidelity as well and understand clearly its implications for their daily lives. This is especially true of those who deny the last three sentences.


Gene said...

"...and I promise to defend the indefensible, even if it means marching in lock step with a heretical Pope, believing that the myriads of Catholics who believe the Pope is destroying the church are merely stupid and cannot possibly see things that I refuse to help me...whoever."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene, it sounds to me that you really did not convert from Protestantism or its ethos whatsoever--meaning its Protestations against the papacy and the Magisterium.

Marc said...

To protest the pope is not to protest the papacy if the pope you're protesting is abusing the papacy.

Anonymous said...

"In fulfilling the chard entrusted to me in the name of the Church,..."

"Chard—along with kale, mustard greens and collard greens—is one of several leafy green vegetables often referred to as "greens". It is a tall leafy green vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk that comes in white, red or yellow with wide fan-like green leaves."

Glad you are pledging an oath to eat more green leafies! Your digestive tract will be grateful.

Bad Catholic said...

Father McDonald, I wish you and all the priests who have been re-assigned all the best as you continue your ministries at your new parishes!

Anonymous said...

Father, every year at Easter we repeat our baptismal promises and that is the important thing. I feel for those priests who have to make such a pledge in dioceses where the bishop, although in communion with Rome, takes a liberal interpretation of things. I understand that priests have been censured here by the then archbishop, now promoted to cardinal because they followed the rubrics of the Mass and completed their communion first before handing communion to the Extraordinary ministers, the idea being that the extraordinary ministers should join in the communion of the priest. Soon priests will be expected to give communion to those living in sinful relationships. I heard another priest was forbidden from hearing confession in another diiocese because someone complained to the bishop he had told them in confession fornication was a sin. So it is not at all black and white. We know that St Paul called St Peter out when he was wrong - no blind obedience there ...


Marc said...

Since we're talking about the duty of pastors, here are a couple of things that my pastor sent to our parish in recent times.

"Please be advised that the media is widely reporting the recent remarks Pope Francis and Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi regarding the possible liceity of the use of oral contraceptives and male prophylactics to prevent pregnancy. As your pastor, I remind you that the the ordinary, universal Magisterium of the Church has forever taught that such things are gravely immoral and contrary to the Natural Law. If, indeed, the Holy Father is truly suggesting such things are permissible in some cases, than he is speaking erroneously in a matter of Faith and Morals and he should be studiously ignored on these points. I include below a few excerpts from papal encyclicals for your study."

And after the second Synod:

"Ostensibly owing to the interventions of dutiful bishops, the unthinkable proposal to permit the reception of Holy Communion by those living in adulterous circumstances was rejected. The Synod also reaffirmed the nature of matrimony and indeed more specifically the sacramental bond of married Christians. Thank you for your prayers!

Nevertheless, we must admit that the Synod has given license to the expression of opinions which run contrary to the Faith. Indeed, many are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Those prelates and laity who are without Faith will continue to agitate for the destruction of the Church’s perennial practice and belief. They may well exploit the weaknesses of the Synodal Document in order to promote pastoral practices which can only serve to further undermine the Faith.

Please be assured of the fidelity of your priests to the teachings of the Church’s perennial Magisterium which is itself the irreformable teaching of Christ the Savior.

I ask your continued prayers for Our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Whatever we might think of his prudential judgments as Supreme Pastor, let us pray that he be found faithful in the end."

Jusadbellum said...

Dear Fr. M,

I for one am very edified to know that a pastor has to take a vow like this. I had no idea. Thanks for letting us in on something that every pastor does (but I'll bet almost no layman knows about...until now!)

Gene said...

Fr, I'll bet you a transgender guy in the Church bathroom that I am theologically and doctrinally more Catholic than this Pope.

Jusadbellum said...


It's like there's two completely different Popes. I have friends who vociferously insist on the Barnhardt interpretation that Pope Francis is a precursor to the anti-Christ. But as evidence they point to LEFTWING spin of the various actions and statements and words he's uttered or written as though the Leftwing spin is to be taken as infallible.

The modernists glom onto paragraphs 301-305 in AL as though these are slam dunk revolutions of doctrine necessarily jettisoning 2,000 years of tradition.

The traditionalists look at the modernists' spin and assume they're 100% accurate and freak out.

Meanwhile, I read the same paragraphs - after wading through the previous 300 paragraphs in a single sitting...and in that context figure out that the Pope can't possibly mean what his liberal/modernist buddies so hope to spin it as meaning.

Look, if we can misinterpret the very word of God (as most Protestants do!) then anyone can misinterpret any document of any Pope. But if one side can gaslight me and attempt to drive a truck through equivocal language, then it's a two way street and I can drive a tank back through that same vague paragraph.,

Using just the preceding paragraphs I can (and have) shown how to correctly read paragraphs 301-305 without rejecting Church doctrine.

The sad fact is, the Church has ALWAYS SUFFERED CORRUPTION AT THE TOP. And yet almost all the reforms throughout history have come not from the top but from the bottom or out of the blue. We keep looking to the Pope, our bishop and our pastors to fight the spirit of the age FOR US when all along that has been OUR JOB.

We keep looking to Rome to 'smite' the heretics and so do no smiting of our own. We wait for the Pope to call for a crusade against ISIS and so do no crusading of our own. We're waiting for the USCCB or our bishops to give us marching orders against the LGBTQ and complaining bitterly that they're avoiding our phone calls...when all along that is OUR job.

Jusadbellum said...

Take the Target bathroom signage deal - putting up PC signs that are male, female and inbetween.

Laity can (and have) begun a boycott that has dropped Target's stock price considerably already. But we could just as easily engage in guerilla marketing with large 8x10 stickers which we could affix to any 'PC' door restoring it to the status quo ante.

Snark and ridicule remain an almost impossible to defend against rebuttal to PC madness.

There are so many ways we laity can - on our own without guidance or the say so of any clergy man - address the culture war and win it that I could write a book. But a book is a waste of time. What's needed is action and that's what I'm doing by hook and crook.

Try it. Next time someone asserts some PC snowflake demand for respect of their feelings, just start LAUGHING. In between grasping for air say "you're not serious" and keep laughing as though they're trying to pull one over on you.

There's little oxygen for some SJW to use to combust a fire when you refuse to take them seriously and act like it's just a hilarious joke. After all, they might think you aren't seriously against them, just not understanding their point of view. That ambiguity alone takes some wind out of their sails.

"wait, wait, you're serious?" hahahahah. oh man, that's rich.... oh um, oh I see, so your feelings are more important than my feelings? hahahahaha ridiculous! "In the name of equality, your feelings are more important than mine...hahaha. Some feelings more important than others in the name of equality...ahahahah. You're killin me, this is awesome, you're the best!"

They'll be reduced to either spontaneously combusting and storming off or trying to explain how serious they are.

"right, so 1% of the population have 'ideas' - not skin color, not culture, not ethnicity, not sex...just ideas in their heads that they prefer this or that fellow woman or man for sexual intercourse OR feel that they're not really men or women at all but the opposite and these IDEAS are more important than the IDEAS in the heads of the 99%? What is this, democracy?" hahahahahaha.

Again, keep laughing and occasionally planting these 'logic bombs' while they sputter and shout.

It works for feminists, it works for BLMs, it works for communists and socialists.... heck it works on pretty much everyone on the Left because they have no sense of humor or self-awareness.

And no priest or deacon can pull this off. But laity can all day long.

if they insist on 'calling the authorities' on you, you can always paint them the bad guys by asking "oh, so you're calling the cops because I'm laughing at a joke? You want me fired because I find this funny? More ideas! hahahahah."

This maneuvers them into becoming the unreasonable, faith-alone, unscientific bully. Their entire schtick depends on them being the moral and intellectual highground. Putting them in the position of being the meanspirited, nasty, humorless scold is devastating.

It's why Milo Yiannopoulos (a gay Catholic brit) is so effective against SJWs on college campi in debates. He just starts giggling, laughing, and then takes down their shibboleths with a smirk and smile as though it's hilarious. He'll joke, tease, drop a logic bomb, joke, tease, drop another bomb, etc. until they're completely discombobulated and the audience eats it up.

The secular world has spent 40 years setting the stage to maneuver us into being the scolding Church ladies. It's spent a hundred years prepping audiences to EXPECT the Church to be a scold. This is why laity coming out in praise of Catholicism must sidestep the trap and make THE SECULAR WORLD into the scold. It short-circuits their entire program.

Rood Screen said...


The puzzling contradictions of Pope Paul VI provides a recent precedent for this. I'm wondering if that was a Moon over Parador situation!

Marc said...

Of course my friend Gene is correct. Consider:

"Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations” – Fr. Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.

Anonymous said...

Gene will lose his bet - I'll quote his posts if he wants....

Starting with, "Bishops are remarkably naive. Unless they are speaking "in persona Christi" or ex cathedra they should be ignored." January 27, 2012 9:23 AM

Marc said...

If people didn't ignore bishops when they're wrong, a lot more people would be Nestorians or monophysites or Arians or Anglicans...

Anonymous said...

Ah, but it's the "knowing when they're wrong" that is the tricky part.

The way this often works is, "I am a relatively new Catholic. I have read certain documents that confirm what I believe. THEREFORE, what this pope or this bishop is saying is wrong/heretical/discontinuous."

That's not much of a basis, in my opinion and in the opinion of the Church, to start ignoring bishops.

Gene said...

There are ample tools for knowing when Bishops are wrong. You can start with the Creeds, then CCC, Holy Scripture, etc. I stand by my post about Bishops. I see no problem with it. Cardinals, too. Yeah, Popes...all them heretics and deceivers.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We're not talking about the potential for a pope or council to be wrong on things that are not infallibly defined as such, ex cathedra. We are talking about the golden rule, the virtue of love/charity and how we conduct ourselves with our brothers and sisters in the Lord, especially with those call to high office in the Church, those in Holy Orders, specifically the pope and bishops in union with him

There is a cadre of people, including you Gene, who take a Protestant approach, not Catholic and not even Protestant that becomes likened to what we hear about politicians from the electorate depending on what is done or not done.

The vitriol is what is so problematic, the anger, the rage, which really stem from peripheral personality issues of those who sling the mud and hype the anger and encourage schism, because when all is said and done in the Catholic Church, schism is breaking with the pope who alone is the Vicar of Christ.

Fortunately, not even the Joy of Love or any formal teaching of Pope Francis no matter how ambiguous has crossed a line that a future pope could not clarify. In a sense the ambiguity is a blessing in disguise in this regard.

Civility is what is lacking from so many ultra traditionalist as it concerns this pope and they are the ones who have undermined the cause of tradition in the Church. If they had only been civil, unlike the progressives vitriol toward Pope Benedict, our cause would have advanced 100 fold despite the present concerns with the present Holy Father! But the traditionalists are acting like the progressives in their vitriol and rhetoric.

Marc said...

Father, the fact that you're more concerned with people being nice than you are with the prerogatives of our Blessed Lord and the preservation of the saving doctrines that he entrusted to the care of the pope and bishops reveals an effeminacy in your thinking. Who is going to be offended by incivility on the part of those who are arguing on behalf of Christ on this so-called Catholic blog? It isn't as if we are out in the streets telling passers-by about the errors of the pope. This is an internal discussion amongst educated Catholics who have spent time studying and considering the issues.

Are you the one who is offended by comments pointing out the errors of the pope? Or, more likely, you are convicted by the fact that you are squandering the graces of your orders by failing to catechize your people to stay away from these errors, instead insisting on an adhesion to the modern errors coming from Rome. Will you appeal to Christ your judge that you were afraid of being uncivil and so you refused to stand up for His Kingly rights?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, you have had a tendency to prove that you are willing to go into Schism, that is break with the pope as the Orthodox and others have done over issues of discipline and so forth.

Roman Catholics, authentic one, will work to avoid this at all costs. Ultimately, as a lay person and I as a cleric have no say in these matters. The Church is led by the Pope and the Bishops in union with him, the college of bishops. We can voice our concerns and doing so respectfully is the way to go, not usually through blogs.

But ultimately, even is the pope is wrong on this, that or the other, given what the Catholic Church infallibly declares about acts of schism, I will let the Lord deal for the errors of our leaders and trust that I will be preserved by the Holy Spirit at the time of my judgement.

Catholics are called to be unabashed papist regardless of the quality of leadership of a particular pope or his peccadilloes. Jesus is the head of the Church and if he can't care for it in time and eternity you and me can't either!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And yes, Marc, the greatest gifts are Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of the three is love. So to sin against that is more serious, a more serious mortal sin, than being a warrior for orthodoxy.

Gene said...

It seems that the OT prophets knew something about righteous anger (what you call "vitriol"), as did Jesus and Paul.

Gene said...

RE: "protestant approach" reminded that Luther was not a "protestant" when he began teaching against the abuses of the Papacy and its Priests. He was a dedicated and loyal Catholic Priest. He never called himself a protestant and, for many years, only considered himself to be a loyal Priest who had some problems with Church abuses.