Monday, October 1, 2012

The Church Made Me Do It

I am a Victim Here

Over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, Father Tim Moyle has a habit of posting links to various articles that touch on matters of faith, particularly the Catholic faith.  We have conversed by email over the last couple of years periodically, and one time I asked him to comment on the articles that he posts, since I would value his thoughts, and believed that others would as well. 

However, that has not been his style, and as time has passed, I have come to appreciate his approach.  By providing the links only, usually without his personal opinion, I have to think harder about the article linked than I would if I could just have a priest's viewpoint.  It is not that he does not have a priest's viewpoint, but there is a synergy and continuity to the articles he links.  Also, he monitors the comments that the articles generate and participates as he feels the need.

Consequently, his method has made me become a more studious Catholic Christian, by providing me things on which to ruminate.

This morning he provided a link to a blog posting over at by Tom Moran a writer at the Star Ledger, and a lapsed Catholic, who while canonizing his much loved mother, has claimed that he is a spiritual refugee, and wonder of wonders it is the fault of the Catholic Church.

He wrote about the Catholic Church that he was raised up in, and how through no fault or responsibility of his own he fled a million miles from it, and finds himself spiritually homeless.  A million miles from New Jersey would put him somewhere out in space, which is probably a good place for his brand of Catholic theology.

He states that:
One in three American adults was raised in a Catholic family, but fewer than one in four identify as Catholic today. No other church has shed so many followers, according to surveys by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

So if I am a refugee, I am walking on a road that is crowded with others who feel the same way.
But, really he wants to share with us his angst that Archbishop Myers of his local diocese issued a pastoral letter called "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage", which can be read at the Archdiocese of Newark site here, or in executive summary at the same site here.

If Mr. Moran (I wonder if his last name is not misspelled) has read Catholic teaching, or perhaps scanned the sections of the Catechism that the Archbishop refers to in his teaching, he would know readily that Archbishop Myers is not telling the people what he wants them to do, as Mr. Moran put it, but what the Church believes today, and has always believed.  That the good Archbishop chose now to present his teaching is timely, though Mr. Moran sees it as politically motivated.

The American people have an opportunity in a little over a month from now to vote their consciences in their national election, and shame on them if they do not.  Whether they should vote Democrat or Republican in this election is a matter for them individually to decide.  That one party, the Democrat party has party policies that are in direct conflict with the Church as it relates to marriage, and also to the sanctity of life, does not preclude individual Catholics from voting for a Democrat politician locally who has beliefs that he is prepared to push forward that are consistent with Catholic teaching.  But, if Catholic Church teaching matters to Catholics, and it should, then serious thought has to be given to how one votes.

Mr. Moran cited his sainted mother who after his father passed away, married a divorced man a decade later, and with the complicity of her parish priest continued to receive Holy Communion.  Archbishop Myers advised Mr. Moran that the priest and his mother were wrong, which shocked Mr. Moran.  That his mother had taken birth control pills, because pregnancies gave her serious migraines apparently should have furthered her cause for sainthood.

The late Mrs. Moran was born a sinner, lived as a sinner, and died as a sinner.  There, I bet she was received into the loving arms of Her Saviour, because she is not different than any one of us on the planet, except in one way.   Unlike most of us, she sought to do God's will in her life.  Most of us skip that part.  But, we are all sinners, and like her, sometimes we sin because in seeking to do our best we are wrongly advised, as happened to her in the matters of our sexuality. 

We are complicit in our illicit sexuality, and Archbishop Myers is trying to correct that to some extent.  We, the faithful, need our pastoral leaders to tell us the truth that the Church teaches.  We need them to be unequivocal with us about what is and is not right.  We need them to not wave like the flag does in the breeze, but to stand strong against the tide of the world, and lead us to freedom.

No, Mr. Moran, the Catholic Church will not ever have women priests.  Also,  gay marriages will never be accepted in the Catholic Church for the reasons that Archbishop Myers has clearly stated, and did not make up on his own.

Archbishop Myers has a solemn duty to teach authentically what the Church believes to be true, and risks his own personal salvation if he does not.  He knows that, and is not playing with us about it.

As Lifesite News reported shortly after the pastoral letter was released, the Archbishop goes so far as to state that those in opposition to Church teaching should not present themselves for Holy Communion.  That is a hard teaching, and as many walked away from Jesus when he preached about the Eucharist, and that we were to eat His Body and His Blood if we were to have life within us, many are likely to walk away from the Newark Archdiocese. 

Since Mr. Moran has a pulpit of his own to spread dissent beyond his own family, he has manipulated the pastoral letter to protect his job, and to sell newspapers.  As the failure of many to follow Church teaching on sexuality in the past, because it was not presented well, and often not at all, is in no small part the responsibility of the bishops of the day, spreading lies and falsehoods, as Mr. Moran is doing will be on his head when he leaves this mortal coil.

Let us pray for the reversion of Mr. Moran to the truth of the Catholic Church, and may we rejoice with the angels when the prayers of his own mother in heaven, and our Holy Mother in heaven for his soul are answered in their fullness.


Fr W T Sehl said...

"By providing the links only, usually without his personal opinion, I have to think harder about the article linked than I would if I could just have a priest's viewpoint."

I try to do the same thing here at Catholic Canada
Father W T Sehl

Michael Brandon said...

Dear Father Sehl

Thank you for the cross link, and also for requiring us to think for ourselves as well.

We need good teaching, but we need to absorb what we are taught and be able to work with it if we are ever to become holy.

Your links and Father Tim's make us exercise our brains.

God Bless You

Michael Brandon

Fr. Tim Moyle said...

Michael: A priestly mentor (in fact,the priest that baptized me 54 years ago) Fr. J.J. Delaney taught me to heed the axiom, 'know your enemy'.

While I'm loathe to consider any one my 'enemy', it is wise to know what those who do not believe as we do are thinking. I appreciate and am grateful that you understand my intent is to provoke thought... to provoke a reflection about why we believe what we do . That is the challenge Catholics face in today's secular society.

This particular article was posted with the conviction that there is something to be learned by our failures as well. It's author possessed his Catholic faith as a youth, but found it insufficient to withstand that challenge. He has lost his faith. Somehow, when he needed it, it failed him... or at least he perceives that the Church failed him. We should listen to him so that we can learn both where we went wrong and best how to help in (and others) to recover their spiritual attachment to the Church and their belief in a loving and forgiving Savior.

I'll be please to cross post to this column. It's regrettable that you were unable to post it as a comment. I'm not aware of a problem with the blog, but I'll look into it. Thanks for letting me know.

Fr. Tim