Fr. Justin Wylie, Closing Remarks, Homily, May 18, 2014, Holy Innocents Parish, NY
Forward Boldly Episode: On the Potential Closing of Holy Innocents Church
Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum
In the Secret Consistory where the divorced/remarried and the Eucharist were discussed, “Kasper’s theorem” received little consensus and a lot of criticism. Here is a reconstruction of some of the most significant and important statements. “It would be a fatal mistake” someone said, to follow the pastoral approach without referring to doctrine.
Marco Tosatti, for LA STAMPA
The Consistory on the 22nd February to discuss the family, was supposed to be secret. Instead a decision came from the top that it was opportune to publish Cardinal Kasper’s long report on the theme of the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried. In all probability [this] to open the way in prospect of the October Synod on the Family. However half of the Consistory remained secret: [that half] concerned observations from Cardinals. And maybe not by chance, as, after Cardinal Kasper had presented his long report (and as it seems it was not very light when given ,) rather a lot of voices were raised in criticizing it. So much so, that in the afternoon when the Pope gave him the job of responding, the German Cardinal’s tone appeared piqued, even angry to the many [present].
The current opinion is that “Kasper’s theorem” tends to allow permission in general for the divorced and remarried to receive communion, without the previous marriage being recognized as null. At present this does not happen, based on Jesus’ words which were very severe and explicit on divorce. People who live a full matrimonial life without the first union being regarded as invalid by the Church, find themselves in a situation of permanent sin, according to present doctrine.
In this sense, Cardinal Caffarra of Bologna as well as German Cardinal Mueller (Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith) spoke clearly. Equally explicit was Cardinal Walter Brandmuller (“ Neither human nature nor the Commandments nor the Gospel have an expiry date[…]Courage is needed to enunciate the truth even against current customs. Whoever speaks on behalf of the Church must possess courage if he does not want his vocation to be a failure.[…] The desire to obtain approval and applause is a temptation which is always present in the transmission of religious teaching.” Afterwards he made his words public). Also the President of the Italian Bishops, Cardinal Bagnasco expressed himself in a critical manner with regard to “Kasper’s theorem”; the same went for the African Cardinal Robert Sarah, Head of “Cor Unum” who at the end of his comments, recalled that in the course of the centuries even on dramatic questions controversies and divergences had existed inside the Church, but that the role of the Papacy had always been the one of defending doctrine.
Cardinal Re who was one of Bergoglio’s greatest electors, gave a very short statement, which can be summarized thus: “I will speak for just a moment, because there are future new cardinals here and perhaps some of them do not have the courage to say it, so I will: I am completely against this report.” Also the Prefect of the Penitentiary, Cardinal Piacenza said he was against it and more or less said: “we are here now and we will be here again in October for a Synod on the Family, and so since we want to have a positive Synod, I don’t see why we have to touch only on the matter of Communion for divorcees.” He added: “Since we want to have a debate on pastoral care it seems to me that we should have to take note of a widespread pan-sexualism and the attack of the “ideology of gender” which tend to demolish the family as we have always known it. It would be providential if we were lumen gentium so as clarify the situation we find ourselves in, as well as the things that can destroy the family.” He concluded by exhorting a re-reading of the catecheses by John Paul II on corporeity, since they contain many positive elements about sex, being a man and a woman, procreation and love.
Cardinal Tauran, (of Inter-Religious Dialogue) returned again to the attack on the family, also in light of relations with Islam. Likewise Cardinal Scola of Milan raised theological and doctrinal perplexities .
Cardinal Ruini was also very critical. He [also]added: “I don’t know if I understood well, but at this moment, about 85% of the Cardinals have expressed opinions apparently contrary to the layout of the report.” He added that among those who did not say anything - therefore could not be classified - he took from their silence that: “I believe they are embarrassed”.
Cardinal Ruini then cited the Good Pope. In essence saying: “when John XXIII gave his opening speech at the Second Vatican Council, he said a pastoral council could be held as fortunately doctrine was accepted peacefully by everyone and there were no controversies; so a pastoral approach could be presented without fear of misunderstandings because doctrine remained very clear. If John XXIII had been right then, the Cardinal commented, God alone knew, but apparently it was true to a large extent. This could absolutely not be said anymore today, because doctrine is not only not shared, but it is contested. “It would be a fatal mistake” to follow the pastoral approach without referring to doctrine.
So it is understandable that Cardinal Kasper seemed a little piqued in the afternoon when Pope Bergoglio allowed him to respond, without permitting, however, the start of a real debate: only Kasper spoke. To add to the criticisms aired about “Kasper’s theorem” during the Consistory, these are also building up - in a private way - towards the Pope [along with ] other public criticisms by cardinals from all over the world.
German Cardinals who know Kasper well, say that he has had a passion for this subject since the 1970s. The problem raised by many critics is that on this point the Gospel is very clear. And by not taking this into account – which is the fear – any other point of doctrine based on the Gospel would be rendered very instable, and modifiable at will.
Why do we laugh? Life can wear people down. When it becomes too heavy, we need to counteract gravity with levity. Laughter unlocks, though only momentarily, the chains of responsibility. It lifts us from the weightiness of life. “Man laughs because he has a soul,” wrote Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, “hence, the more spiritual a person is, the more enjoyment there is in [his] life. In this sense, humor is closely related to faith; it bids us not to take anything too seriously.”The rest is here.
And this is why we have a continuing need for humorists, comics, clowns, punsters, jugglers, and acrobats. We need the occasional reprieve from life’s pressures. Yet we love laughing, not only because of this reprieve, but also because it intimates that one day we will enjoy a permanent victory over heaviness. “Angels can fly,” said, G. K. Chesterton, “because they take themselves lightly.”
Urged by faith, We are obliged to believe and to hold that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We firmly believe in her, and We confess absolutely that outside of Her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins... Furthermore, We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is wholly necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.--Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam
[St. Vincent Ferrer] relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell."Five saved out of 33,000.
When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.--Ezekiel 33:8The gift of your Catholic faith is given to you, not to keep to yourself, but to take to a world desperately in need of light and truth and LOVE. Evangelization is not optional; it is our solemn duty. The enemy would like nothing more than to keep us from this duty by luring us away by the thousand distractions this world offers. Those serious about becoming saints, however, know we must be vigilant against turning away from this one goal that eclipses all others: the salvation of souls.
Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear every pain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the more the soul endures, the more she shows that she loves Me; loving Me she comes to know more of My truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels at the offenses committed against Me. You asked Me to sustain you, and to punish the faults of others in you, and you did not remark that you were really asking for love, light, and knowledge of the truth, since I have already told you that, by the increase of love, grows grief and pain, wherefore he that grows in love grows in grief. Therefore, I say to you all, that you should ask, and it will be given you, for I deny nothing to him who asks of Me in truth. Consider that the love of divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselves with manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company of those who relish the taste of My honor, and the salvation of souls.
Dec. 22, 1774And in an October 9, 1774 letter:
The Orders of Ecclesiastics at Corunna are only Three, The Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Augustins, but the numbers who compose the Fraternities of these religious Houses are a burden beyond all proportion to the Wealth, Industry and population of this Town. They are Drones enough to devour all the honey of the Hive. There are in addition to these, two Convents of Nuns, those of St. Barbe and the Capuchins. These are a large Addition to the Number of Consumers without producing any Thing. They are very industrious however at their Prayers and devotions that is to say in repeating their Pater Nosters, in counting their Beads, in kissing their Crucifixes, and taking off their hair Shifts to whip and lacerate themselves every day for their Sins, to discipline themselves to greater Spirituality in the Christian Life. Strange! that any reasonable Creatures, any thinking Beings should ever believe that they could recommend themselves to Heaven by making themselves miserable on Earth. Christianity put an End to the Sacrifice of Iphigenias and other Grecian Beauties and it probably will discontinue the Incineration of Widows in Malabar: but it may be made a question whether the Catholick Religion has not retained to this day Cruelties as inhuman and antichristian as those of Antiquity.
This afternoon, led by curiosity and good company, I strolled away to mother church, or rather grandmother church. I mean the Romish chapel. I heard a good, short moral essay upon the duty of parents to their children, founded in justice and charity, to take care of their interests, temporal and spiritual. This afternoon’s entertainment was to me most awful and affecting; the poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin, not a word of which they understood; their pater nosters and ave Marias; their holy water; their crossing themselves perpetually; their bowing to the name of Jesus, whenever they hear it; their bowings, kneelings and genuflections before the altar. The dress of the priest was rich white lace. His pulpit was velvet and gold. The altar-piece was very rich, little images and crucifixes about; wax candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the picture of our Savior in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds! The music, consisting of an organ and a choir of singers, went all the afternoon except sermon time, and the assembly chanted most sweetly and exquisitely.Enough with the romanticized view of early colonial America and the so-called purity of intention of our revolutionary forebears. Simply to know the Founding Fathers sympathized with the French Revolution is enough to make me wonder--as it should any thinking American Catholic...
Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination–everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell. Adieu.
O God, who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the eternal High Priest for the glory of Thy Majesty and the salvation of mankind; grant that they whom He hath chosen to be His ministers and the stewards of His mysteries, may be found faithful in the fulfillment of the ministry which they have received. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.I highly recommend this enlightening and readable book.
Materialists, humanists and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly: "swung as a trinket about one's wrist." To an atheist gold is gold, water is water and money is money. To a believer everything in this world is a telltale of something else.... I remember once meeting a doorman at the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney. I said to him as I came out of the hotel door: "Oh, it's raining." He put out his hand and said: "You call that rain, Father. That's holy water from Heaven and it's blessing yourself you ought to be doing with it," as he signed himself with the sign of the Cross.
In the early days when I was on national radio, a man came into St. Patrick's Cathedral one Monday morning and, not recognizing me, said: "Father, I want to go to Confession. I commute from Westchester every day. I had three friends with me--all Protesetants. I became very angry and spoke the most disparagingly and bitterly of that young priest that is on the radio, Dr. Fulton Sheen. I just cannot stand him. He drives me crazy. I am afraid that I probably scandalized those men by the way I talked about a priest. So, will you hear my confession?" I said: "My good man, I don't think you committed a serious sin. There are moments in my life when I share exactly the same opinion about Dr. Sheen that you do. Go to Communion and reserve your confession for another day." He left very happily, saying: "It certainly is wonderful to meet a nice priest like you."
I gave many Advent sermons in Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manhattan. During World War II, a woman came into the rectory before Mass and said to me: "Every time I cross Seventy-sixth and Broadway on my way to Mass I get a pain in my left ankle. At that moment, the Blessed Mother speaks to me and says: "Tell Monsignor Sheen that I want him to go to Germany at once to convert Hitler." I said to her: "My dear lady, it's very peculiar that every time I cross Seventy-sixth and Broadway, I get a pain in my right ankle. The Blessed Mother appears to me and says: 'Do not pay any attention to what I told that lady this morning.' " She went away satisfied.
[In] a lecture I was giving to a group of university students in Minnesota... one asked me how Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days. I answered: "I have not the slightest idea, but when I get to Heaven, I will ask Jonah." He shouted back: "Suppose Jonah isn't there." I said: "Then you can ask him."
[A] mother wrote that her son was under her feet in the kitchen and she said to him: "Go into the parlor, turn on the television, listen to Bishop Sheen. He's smart. You will learn something." He did as he was told and at the moment I appeared on television, I was writing the word "sex" on the blackboard. He ran out to his mother and said: "He is not so smart. He doesn't know how to spell six."
It was my honor to have been named to a preconciliar commission--namely, the Catholic Action Commission. I recall that several of the members of this commission were very anxious to introduce a chapter into the Council on tourism. I was about the only one who could see no value in such a chapter unless it was to remind the faithful about attendance at the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and Days of Obligation. In order to convince me, the Cardinal who was in charge one day brought a list of the speeches that Pius XI had given in the course of his Pontificate. He pointed out that he had addressed tourist groups four times; if the Pontiff thought such a subject was so important why should not I? That night I took home a review of the talks that the Pontiff had given to other groups and I found that he had addressed urologists five times. The next day I argued that inasmuch as the Holy Father had spoken more to urologists than he had on the subject of tourism, we should therefore have a chapter on urology. I am sure it was the only time there was a defense of urologists given in Latin in a Council. It will be recalled that there was no chapter on tourism in the Council documents.--Treasure in clay, p. 283
Louis, informed no doubt of the woes that afflicted his people, demanded and obtained permission from the Emperor to return to his dukedom. He set out on the 23d of June, 1226, and arrived at Cremona on St. John's eve, just as the people were kindling the fires on the surrounding heights. After having happily crossed the Alps, he took up his quarters with a prince, not named by historians, but who was his near relative and friend. He was received with ceremony and magnificence; and after superb feasting, with music and singing, he was conducted to his sleeping-chamber, where the prince, anxious to test the virtue of his guest, had placed a young woman of extraordinary beauty. But the young duke said immediately to his faithful attendant, the lord de Varila, "Take away this young woman quietly, and give her a mark of silver wherewith to buy a new mantle, that want may not again urge her to expose herself to sin. I say unto thee in all sincerity, that even if adultery were not a sin before God, nor a scandal in the eyes of my fellow men, I would never consent to it, solely through love for my dear Elizabeth, and fear of saddening or troubling her soul."From The Life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Count de Montalembert
The next morning, as the prince jested with him on this subject, Louis replied, "Know, my cousin, that to obtain the whole Roman empire I would not commit such a sin."
A particularly striking scene at the abbey was Compline, or the night prayers of the monks. Each of them had a small lamp above his choir seat which he would use if he needed to recall the words for reading. But as they came to that part of the prayer which they knew, one by one the lights would go out. The long narrow chapel was then in total darkness, except for the great large window at the far extreme above the main altar, where there was a stained-glass window of the Blessed Mother surrounded by angels and saints. As the evening prayer progressed until finally they came to the hymn of Our Lady, Salve Regina, the illumination of the window gradually increased, until at the close of the song and the night prayer it was a veritable blaze of glory. Here were over two hundred strong men as full of passion as and perhaps more full than their fellow men in the world, who all were in love with the same Woman--without jealousy--and in whom they all trusted to make them more like her Son.
With incomparable skill, he knew how to conduct priests to a place of safety along subterranean passages, to hide them between walls and bury them in impenetrable recesses, and to entangle them in labyrinths and a thousand windings. But what was much more difficult of accomplishment, he so disguised the entrances to these as to make them most unlike what they really were. Moreover, he kept these places so close a secret with himself that he would never disclose to another the place of concealment of any Catholic. He alone was both their architect and their builder, working at them with inexhaustible industry and labour, for generally the thickest walls had to be broken into and large stones excavated, requiring stronger arms than were attached to a body so diminutive as to give him the nickname of 'Little John,' and by this his skill many priests were preserved from the prey of persecutors. Nor is it easy to find anyone who had not often been indebted for his life to Owen's hiding-places.--Fr. Tanner, Vita et Mors
the Naworth Castle pries thole may have been built during the time of Lord William Howard (1563-1640) who lived through The Reformation. Imprisoned no less than three times on suspicion of treason whilst still in his 20's and having seen his father Thomas Howard executed in 1572, William Howard was only too well aware of the dangers of being a practising Catholic in England at that time. He lived at Naworth Castle with his family from 1602 until shortly before his death. The priest hole can be found behind the panelling of the chapel in what is known as Lord William's Tower.Oxburgh Hall (video)