Thursday, July 6, 2017


Balkanisation refers to the fragmentation of countries into smaller independent groups. This is happening to the Catholic Church under Pope Francis. However, in religious parlance, a better term would be congregationalism, which is a very Protestant term and ideology. Baptists are most prone to it as are the fundamentalist sects.

Our now late, former bishop, Bishop Raymond W. Lessard use to decry the congregationalism of some of our parishes. He said it wasn't Catholic or our Catholic ecclesiology. He was right and it was a wound against the "Oneness" of the Catholic Church.

Under Pope Francis, as different bishops, bishops' conferences and individual priests and parishes begin to do their own thing by way of interpreting Amoris Laetitia, we are seeing an acceleration of Catholic Balkanisation that will destroy our Catholic Oneness and make us just another Protestant clique when it comes to the Faith and Morals of the Catholic Church.

But what the heck, how can we let dogmas and law put forward by the doctors of the law, that dastardly group of Jews and Catholics who uphold the law, rule the world?

So who is right? Bishop Paprocki in refusing funerals to "married gays" or Bishop McGrath who encourages it and when will bishops' conferences and individual bishops, to say nothing of rank and file clergy, stop poking each other in the eyes with their own congregationalism or fierce individualism, which not so long ago were anathema to the inherent philosophy and theology of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

San Jose Bishop to LGBT: 'We Will Not Refuse Sacraments or Christian Burial to Anyone'

CNS News 15 hours ago


Anonymous said...

"Balkanisation refers to the fragmentation of countries into smaller independent groups. This is happening to the Catholic Church under Pope Francis."

It is very short-sighted to blame Francis.

Dissident groups, from SSPX to the Women's Ordination Conference, all predate the arrival of Francis.

Individuals like Fr. Marek Bozek have defied the legitimate authority of their bishops, have been around since before Francis ascended to the Chair of Peter.

Small groups of disgruntled parishioners threaten to withhold funding when a pastor does something that does not suit their fancy. "He moved that statue and my great-great-grandfather paid for it!" (Don't mention the fact that the statue was blocking a fire exit as was moved on orders of the local fire inspector.)

This is not the doing nor the effect of Francis.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The difference, which you overlook, is that in the cases you mention, there was appropriate Magisterial push-back, such as excommunication, suspension and the like--which didn't stop the fragmentation, but made it clear that it would not be tolerated under other popes.

Pope Francis is allowing different conferences of bishops to interpret Amoris Laetitia in different ways and not calling out those who seem to be allowing the suppression of the Church's teaching on natural law--this is quite evil and will lead us to become like the Anglican Communion and will enable the Church to give into the gender ideology of our times leading to females being ordained as well as transgendered people who are one of one biological gender but who claim another gender or none at all.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In addition, you overlook what i said about Bishop Lessard who confirms some of what you say but now seems to be negated by Pope Francis. Congregationalism predates Pope Francis, but he has embraced it under the heading of synodality. In fact, I was taught this in the seminary of the 1970's which Pope Francis has embraced and remained to this day, that local conference of bishops should have an authority to make up their own minds on things like married priests, and by way of extension, female priests, divorce and remarriage and who can receive the sacraments of the Church.

We were also taught that old meme of the 1970's that pre-Vatican II Catholicism and conservative more traditional bishops were "doctors of the law" standing in the way of God mercy and love.

When i hear Pope Francis speak what I heard in the 1970's liberal seminary, my get sick to my stomach.

rcg said...

It is literally crazy to offer a Catholic funeral to someone who rejects the Church and Her teachings. The most charitable thing one can say about a person who demands it is that they clearly misunderstand what they are requesting. For a bishop to confuse this issue or allow confusion to exist is beyond irresponsible. Can I accept a death bed conversion from a homosexual? Of course. But the bishops must be wary of the intention to mislead and manipulate.

Tom Makin said...

It is all VERY confusing...and unnecessarily so. I lost a friend recently to pancreatic cancer. Her husband had cheated on her and walked out. The divorced, there was no annulment, she "remarried" and is now being buried. Should she be buried in the Catholic Rite? I'm really not sure of the churches official position on this....emotions aside.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I was under the impression that the only Catholics to be denied funerals were those who died in a public state of excommunication. The Funeral Rites, if properly celebrated, and that is the rub, prays to the immortal soul of the deceased but does not presume they are already in heaven or purgatory, but the hope is they are in either and not in hell, but who knows but God.

With the wrong celebration of the funeral rites of the Mass in the Ordinary Form, so often the music selected or the homily given and especially any eulogies allowed after Holy Communion are a sort of "celebration of life" or even a "canonization." Thus when a person like the one you describe or one in an unnatural marriage dies, if the Mass is a celebration of life--and thus of sin, and not a Requiem in the strict sense of the word, Houston, we have problems.

I see in Bishop Paprocki singling out gays in unnatural gay marriages and not those in other illicit or immoral "marriages" as inconsistent and wrong-headed--there should be consistency.

I see in the other bishop a reckless enablement of sin and praising the sinner. One can only imagine what a gay funeral in his diocese would be like given the celebration of life or canonizations of the Ordinary Form's funeral rites.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In other words, the problem is how Ordinary Form funerals are celebrated today--something that isn't a problem in the EF Requiem. I think a gay Catholic in an unnatural "marriage" should be prayed for and intensely in life and in death. Love the sinner but hate the sin. There would be no mixing of the sin and sinner in an EF Requiem whereas in an OF Funeral Mass, there may be no distinctions made between the sinner and his sin, that both are what makes the gay man great.

Victor said...

Like for liberation theologians, praxis determines doctrine, that is to say the meaning of Scripture. Say good-bye to centuries of "Fides querens intellectum." with this papacy.

ByzRC said...

Father -

I cannot improve upon your commentary at 11:16 and, therefore, will be brief. I'm grateful for this post as it supports a comment I provided in an earlier post. While I greatly respect the Orthodox and appreciate how they've preserved tradition with such care (despite the existence of some pockets of innovation), Balkanization is dangerous as it will lead the church to a similar state - divided (in the wrong ways) but, hopefully, still united.

As an aside, your masthead photo is really nice. The altar and tabernacle are beautifully photographed. I've enjoyed the other photos you have provided to better understand your new church. It has nice 'bones' as they say, with potential as other decoration and fixtures might be contemplated down the road. That magnificent tabernacle is screaming out for a more substantial base that can be embellished with 6 high candles. If circumstance were different and high altars were still the norm, the tabernacle on a perhaps larger version of your main altar would look stunning and tradition would be honored. Thank you for sharing.

rcg said...

Since I am Catholic I will delve into some details that may or may not clarify this problem. Bp Paprocki was addressing the specifics of homosexual activity and how it relates to access to the Sacraments. It would be confusing to dilute his explanation by addressing concrrent sexual issues such as Communion for divorced Catholics.

Similarly, Bp McGrath includes the phrase "in good faith". It would have been better if he had capitalized "Faith". In any case, I think he is headed in the right direction. My sense here is that he is responding to some heated discussion in his diocese and is concerned about losing Catholics. He is in a tough spot. How he intends to enforce the "good faith" requirement will tell what his real vision is.

Anonymous said...

"I was under the impression that the only Catholics to be denied funerals were those who died in a public state of excommunication."

No. A person need not be "in a public state of excommunication" to be denied a Catholic funeral.

Can. 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:

1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;

2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;

3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

These conditions can exist without public excommunication.

However, "Because Christian burial is not to lead the faithful away from the Church, but to draw them closer to God, the priest confronted with a denial of Church burial should lead to leniency and mercy." (NCC Guidelines, CLD 9:694)

Gene said...

The Bishop may be light in his loafers, himself...

Robert Kumpel said...

The diocese of San Jose isn't exactly the kind of diocese most bishops would use as a model for themselves. At one point, Bishop McGrath had to deal with rosary vigils outside his residence from people praying that he would convert to the Catholic faith.

I hope he does!

Anonymous said...

So might you, Gene. SO might you.

John Nolan said...

Shortly after Francis's election, Gerhard Müller pointed out that national episcopal conferences did not constitute a layer of authority between individual bishops and the pope -they were merely consultative bodies. His remarks were made with the German conference in mind.

In Evangelii Gaudium there is reference to a possible enhanced role for episcopal conferences, but nothing is spelled out. To give national conferences the authority to decide on everything from liturgical praxis to sacramental discipline, even to fundamental questions of doctrine, has nothing to do with synodality (as defined by Vatican II), and not much to do with 'congregationalism', a tendency which is manifested at parish level.

It is an extreme form of Gallicanism which would see the creation of autonomous national Churches which would pay lip service to the Holy See but would control their own affairs and appoint their own bishops.

Is this Pope Francis's vision for the Church of the future? We are constantly being told by the usual suspects that cardinals who don't 'get with the programme' will suffer the same fate as Müller, but what precisely is the programme?

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

Bishops and others who uphold Church teaching on sexuality will almost certainly have to endure some degree of harassment,scornful reproach, and contempt when it comes to admonishing an individual or some group for being involved in or advocating the active homosexual lifestyle.
There is the issue of scandal to consider,especially when it comes to the young. There are young minds around and being formed, and while some of these young people, once they are out living on their own, will stray from the Faith, they should by that time have enough instruction and example to know where the Church stands on issues of morality. There are some who will be corrupted by poor family situations and God will judge these as only He, in employing His justice and mercy, can.
It matters not whether a practicing homosexual believes he or she is committing a mortal sin. The sin greatly offends God. When one looks at the world today, there is an increasing acceptance of homosexuality as normal (which of course is not how the Catechism and Scripture characterizes it)
All sexual sins which are not in accord with what God intended and requires of us are serious, whether committed by heterosexuals or homosexuals. At least married heterosexuals can avail themselves of sexual acts which are licit. That is not something homosexuals, if they remain such, can do. So in addition to the sin, they cannot avoid bringing public scandal with them which compounds their sin, since by their observed relationship, their sinful actions can be reasonably inferred, and so scandal for them is always in attendance..
As far as interacting with those who are homosexual,one must discern with humble Christian charity and make the appropriate judgement of the best way to do this according to the particular situation, but always in light of Scriptural teaching, which being revealed by God, is always an infallible,unchanging guide.

George said...

God who is and fair , just, and merciful , knows each one according to circumstance, but His Divine precepts and laws apply equally to everyone. Does not the physical laws God has put in place, such as gravity, apply equally to everyone? Was not Jonah sent by God to Ninevah to call the pagans (yes, the pagans) residing there to repentance?
The Catholic Church has requirements for the reception of the Holy Eucharist -as well it should. Is it now to be that those who have separated themselves from God by their sinful lifestyles, and remain so, are to be the arbiters of Church law and how it is to be applied? Will it now no longer be necessary to cease sinful behavior, confess and repent? If the Eucharist is to be considered as an entitlement, can anyone then be denied it's reception?
Persistent, serious sin will corrupt and confuse the conscience and impel one rationalize,accept, and justify the continuance in a sinful state. Those who are living in a persistent sinful state, need to be challenged and helped by our example and our prayers, sacrifices and interventions, to see the error of their ways, and to make the decision to conform to the Will of God by choosing to change their lives, obey His laws, and and repent of their transgressions. Many today, because of the abuse of the freedom God has given them and a turning against His laws, become unwitting co-operaters with Satan.
It speaks to the lack of belief of many today that they presume to judge God as not having done enough, of not having provided adequately, of having left things unfinished or incomplete and of being unfair. As if God, Who in Himself is Mercy and Goodness itself, has not done for us and revealed to us everything necessary for our salvation. God Who is Truth itself, cannot change or re-define what is true according to the whims of man. Truth is truth and because it is true can never change or be changed. God cannot ordain that which goes against His Divine nature and is contrary to what He desires from His creatures.
Such persons who can’t and don’t accept this have a very weak faith- if they have any at all- and so they do not know God and what He desires. Everything holds together only as long as we accept, acknowledge and obey God's pre-ordained laws and His created order of all things.
Does not God want us to obey His Holy laws? He wants us to obey them out of love and respect for Him and for our own good. It is for our own good to do so because disobedience to His ordinances can bring serious consequences, even spiritual death and Eternal damnation.
We must, seek and be open to co-operate with God's grace, and we must then petition Him through our prayers and good works, and this can be done most effectively through the aid of the Holy agents He provides us in this regard and that is His Holy Mother, the Holy Angels and the saints. It is well to keep in mind also that God allows certain things to befall even the good to atone and for and make up for what is lacking in the Mystical Body due the the sinfulness and bad action of some of its members.