No Mass in the Diocese
As I write this article, we are just leaving a week whereby two of our national newspapers reported that an Irish diocese would not be celebrating Holy Mass on Tuesday 25th April 2017 because the bishop was holding a meeting with the priests of his diocese and because he also wanted to prepare the laity for a future wherein Holy Mass may not be available every day by holding lay led liturgies. The lay led liturgies on the Tuesday would not involve the distribution of Holy Communion.
Negotiating Terms of Surrender
Why is it, that our Irish bishops seem constantly to be negotiating terms of surrender with the world when it comes to the Catholic faith? Do our Irish bishops no longer believe in Christ’s real presence, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist? Do they no longer believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Most Holy Trinity? Do they no longer believe that Jesus Christ has overcome the world?
Our bishops, if asked will say that, of course they believe in all of the above, so that then begs the next question. Why do our Irish bishops behave as if they no longer believe these and other teachings of the Catholic church?
Why Have the Bishops Surrendered Control to those who Dissent?
If our bishops believe in all that the Catholic church teaches, then why have they surrendered control of the religious curriculum in Catholic schools to the secular state? Indeed why have they surrendered control of the general curriculum in Catholic schools to the secular state? Why have our bishops surrendered control of the seminary in Maynooth to dissenting priests, theologians and teachers? Why have they surrendered control of ‘ACCORD’, the Catholic Marriage agency in Ireland charged with preparing our young people for marriage, to dissenting voices? Why have they surrendered control of the ethos of Irish Catholic hospitals to the secular state? Soon we will have Irish ‘catholic’ hospitals killing unborn children. In fact babies have probably already been killed in Irish ‘catholic’ hospitals under the 2013 abortion legislation.
I remember attending a meeting of Catholics when the issue of including religious education as an examination subject on both the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate exams was first being proposed. Most of the Catholics at the meeting were in favour of the proposal, believing that if religion became a ‘serious’ exam subject for which one could get entry points to university, students would become more interested in learning religion.
Does Passing a Religious Exam guarantee a place in Heaven?
As the discussion was coming to an end I raised my hand and said that I had just two questions to ask. First, if one were to get an ‘A’ in leaving certificate religion, would one be guaranteed a place in Heaven? The second question was similar, if one were to fail the religious examination for the leaving certificate, would that mean that one would automatically be condemned to Hell?
The Purpose of the Catholic Faith
The point I was making is this. The purpose of the Catholic Church and of the Catholic faith is to get people to Heaven. This is why Christ instituted His Catholic Church. This is why He died the ignominious death on the cross. Any compromises in the teaching of that faith will lead to the situation whereby souls are less likely to become Holy and therefore less likely to get to Heaven.
In Ireland, Hell has been Closed
Anyone who has attended a Catholic funeral in Ireland recently, unless it was celebrated in the Traditional form, will be well aware that belief in the possibility of Hell no longer exists in Ireland. Christ Himself spoke many times about Hell but today, His Words are edited to conform to the popular sentiment that we must not offend anyone. I often wonder do modern Catholics who speak like this ever ask themselves, ‘why was Christ crucified?’ Do they really think that no one was offended by Christ’s Words?
In May 2014, an Irish Bishop was being interviewed on RTE radio and the interviewer, commenting on Pope Francis’ statements to the Italian Mafia said.
Interviewer: “… he (Pope Francis) was very very direct, he said look, if you don’t change your ways, if you don’t repent, you will go to Hell. It couldn’t have been more blunt. Do you believe in hell yourself?”
To which the bishop replied
Irish Bishop: “I believe in heaven, and that’s the important thing, and that’s what we should be preaching. I believe that heaven is the place where, in encountering God, we realise fully, the good things that are in us, but that encounter with God isn’t simply easy forgiveness…”
The interviewer asked him again if he believed in Hell and the bishop replied
Irish Bishop: “…the encounter with God will be a cleansing experience. I know cleansing is painful. Could you possibly exclude yourself from that encounter with God, deliberately, by particular behaviour? You know, I think, that if you say, well look, you can be as brutal and as ugly and as nasty as you want in this life and it makes no difference, you know there’s something wrong there as well. You can have a merciful God, but that mercy must be, must be much more demanding than just easy forgiveness and saying look we’ll get away with it.”
So once more the interviewer asked the bishop if he believed in Hell. This time the bishop replied
Irish Bishop: “I believe that Hell could be possible, I don’t know who might be in it…”
The Bishop, in not Affirming the Existence of Hell, Spoke Heresy
Unfortunately, this Irish Bishop made a heretical statement on national Irish radio. Hell is a dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church teaches us that those who die in a state of mortal sin, will remain in Hell for all eternity. Now maybe the bishop felt that he was being set up by the interviewer, or that the interviewer was being controversial, or that the question could not be properly dealt with on the programme, but why could he, a Catholic bishop, not simply state what the Catholic Church teaches instead of playing fast and loose with Catholic teaching thus ending up denying that teaching?
If the bishop is not prepared to answer correctly questions on matters of the Catholic faith, then with all due respect, he should not be on national radio. But the real problem here is that this bishop, in all probability, does not really believe in Hell. He does not really believe that anyone goes to Hell even though Christ assured us that Hell is real and that those who do not follow Him will end up there.
A Priest Denies an Infallible Teaching
On another occasion in the past, I had what became quite a heated discussion with a priest in my own home. I had been travelling around to meetings in primary schools opposing the introduction of sex education in Catholic schools and the priest was in favour of it. At one point he said that I was a fascist and that if he had his way, sex education would be mandatory in Catholic schools. He also stated that Catholic Church teaching on contraception was not infallible because it had never been declared so by way of an infallible statement. At the time I did not know enough to contradict this priest even though I knew instinctively that he was wrong and that he was speaking contrary to Church teaching.
Dissenting Priest Appointed as Bishop
About fifteen years later, you cannot imagine my horror when I found out that this priest had been appointed as a bishop to an Irish diocese. I don’t know if he had a change of heart regarding his erroneous beliefs on human sexuality, but in the current situation in Ireland, where Church teaching on contraception is widely disregarded at all levels, I see no reason for him to have changed his views. Dissent from Church teaching on contraception is widely tolerated in this once Catholic country of ours.
It pains me to have to write like this about our Irish bishops, but people must be made aware that they are not being taught the truth about what the Catholic Church teaches. False teaching pervades Catholic institutions in this country. I have mentioned more than once the sad situation of the ‘same-sex’ marriage referendum where many Catholics who were opposed to the referendum, contradicted Church teaching regarding the sinfulness of same sex relations in public debates on the matter. But what is sadder still is that these pervasive and erroneous opinions regarding human sexuality are not corrected by our bishops.
Bishops Causing Confusion by Issuing Partly True Statements
A media controversy recently erupted over the fact that the new National Maternity Hospital will be owned by the Sisters of Charity. One bishop when asked to comment said.
“A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic, while offering care to all who need it, has a special responsibility… to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person,”
When this led to further controversy the bishop clarified by saying that the comments attributed to him were in response to a question about canonical obligations regarding the disposal of existing church property, and were intended to be general in nature and were not specifically about the new National Maternity Hospital.
Once again this is a cause of confusion because it implies that only Catholic hospitals must follow Catholic teaching on morality. All hospital’s are bound to follow Catholic teaching on human morality, not because it is Catholic teaching, but because it is the Truth!
All Hospitals are Bound Under God to follow Catholic Morality
A protestant or an atheist run hospital still acts immorally and against God when it permits In Vitro Fertilisation or when doctors working for the hospital prescribe contraceptives or abortifiacient drugs. Killing unborn children is immoral regardless of whether the murder takes place in a Catholic or a secular facility!
Catholics need to stop apologising for being Catholics and our bishops need to stop surrendering Catholic territory to the rulers of this world. My job as a parent is made far more difficult when our bishops seek compromise with the secular rulers of this world rather than upholding Catholic teaching in the face of the secular onslaught.
Many Irish Men and Women Risked Their Lives for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Getting back to the situation I mentioned in the beginning about a certain diocese not having Holy Mass celebrated on Tuesday 25th of April, 2017 I would respectfully like to remind the bishop in question to think about what the Irish people suffered in order to be able to attend Mass at the Rock during the penal times. Many died rather than renounce their faith. The story is also told of the old man who exchanged clothes with the priest, taking his place at the gallows, so that the priest could escape and would thereby be able to continue saying the Mass in secret for the people.
© John Lacken 2017
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