May 2017 Print

News from Tradition

Amoris Laetitia: The Confusion Continues

Although we are fast approaching the one year anniversary of Pope Francis issuing his now infamous Apostolic Exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, the confusion caused by it does not abate.

In the past few months, the bishops of Malta and the German Episcopal Conference have issued statements saying that the divorced and remarried may receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion while continuing to live in a state of adultery, basing their statements on the pope’s words in Amoris Laetitia. At the same time, Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Prelature of the Chair of St. Peter (former Anglicans who are now Catholic) issued a pastoral letter to his priests and faithful stating that those living in a state of adultery are necessarily prevented from receiving the sacraments. Additionally, various bishops in the United States have issued conflicting “pastoral guidelines” for their priests on the proper way to implement the Apostolic Exhortation — some take the stance of the Maltese and German bishops while others reiterate the perennial teaching of the Church that those persisting in an adulterous relationship are excluded from the sacraments. Sadly, these conflicting statements make it appear that adultery becomes a mortal sin based upon your location!

Aside from the serious danger this poses to the salvation of souls, many priests have been put in very difficult positions as to leading their parishes. A priest in the Diocese of Pereira, Colombia, was suspended for the serious crime of preaching that the divorced and remarried may not approach the sacraments if they continue to live as husband and wife. The bishop of the diocese, Rigoberto Corredor Bermudez, stated in his decree suspending the priest that he had separated himself from the Church by not following the teaching of Pope Francis in this matter. For Bishop Corredor, it does not matter what our Lord or the Church has always taught, what matters is what the current pope says is the Catholic faith — a frightening statement from a successor of the apostles. Happily, soon after the decree was made public and the absurdity of Bishop Corredor’s statements was pointed out in the blogosphere, the priest in question was reinstated and the suspension removed.

While we certainly must pray for Pope Francis and the bishops who have joined him in promoting the reception of the sacraments for those persisting in the mortal sin of adultery, we must also keep in our prayers those priests who are now being persecuted for teaching and preaching the Catholic faith.

More Nonsense Regarding Martin Luther

Following on the “celebration” of the Protestant Reformation by Pope Francis last October in his visit to Sweden, the Vatican postage stamp honoring Martin Luther, and the statement from the Vatican that Luther was a “witness to the Gospel,” Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has added sometahing even more unsettling. The cardinal, in an interview published in the Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, stated that doctrinal condemnations expressed by the Council of Trent against the Protestants “have no more value today.” Thus we have a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church publicly stating that a dogmatic Ecumenical Council of the Church no longer has value—and this statement is published in the official Vatican newspaper.

Of course, this sort of statement has been the hallmark of most of the hierarchy since Vatican II — implicitly (and often explicitly) adhering to the Modernist teaching that the dogmas of the Church are not absolute and can change with the passage of time. 

The perverse irony here is that Cardinal Koch would be the first to insist that in order to be a Catholic “in good standing” one must absolutely and completely accept the teaching found in the pastoral Second Vatican Council. He has also fallen into the logical contradiction that by denying the perduring validity of the Council of Trent, he is also denying the perduring validity of any council, including Vatican II. 

Simply put, your Eminence, one cannot have it both ways. Though in the Rome of Pope Francis, maybe one can.

The Collapse Continues

The Archdiocese of New York has filed a petition asking a judge’s permission to mortgage a valuable piece of Manhattan real estate in order to finance the settlements of various abuse claims against the Archdiocese. A number of months ago Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, announced a plan whereby a fund would be established to compensate victims, thereby avoiding costly lawsuits. By mortgaging the Madison Avenue property upon which the historic Villard Mansion rests, the Archdiocese will be able to establish the fund with the 100 million dollar income.

The mansion was originally built by Henry Villard in the early 1880s on Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. Villard was president of the Northern Pacific Railway. Eventually the Mansion passed into the hands of the Archdiocese of New York, which used the building for its Chancery Office until the 1970s, when it was decided to consolidate the many Archdiocesan offices into one building. This building was constructed on First Avenue at 56th Street at the site of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, which had been condemned because of structural issues. The Archdiocese eventually sold the mansion, located across Madison Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and it was incorporated into the newly constructed Helmsley Palace Hotel, but it retained ownership of the property. It is this property that is being mortgaged to establish the abused victims fund.

According to the court filing, the mortgage is to be for only 364 days when the principal is to be paid off, with only interest payments being made monthly. The Archdiocese did not indicate where the funds to pay off the mortgage would come from. The fact that the Archdiocese had to mortgage such a valuable piece of property to meet its financial obligations is just one more indication of not only the spiritual collapse that is so evident but also of the financial collapse which is facing most dioceses in the United States.

In addition to the mortgaging of the Villard property, the Archdiocese of New York also announced the planned sale of Our Lady of Peace Church, located in Manhattan, to the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church. Our Lady of Peace parish was merged with St. John the Evangelist Parish in the “reorganization” of parishes in the Archdiocese during 2015. Since then, parishioners of Our Lady of Peace have been appealing the closure to Rome, but while the case is still in its appeal stage, the Archdiocese has allowed the Coptics to use the church for their Divine Liturgy, a move which has further angered faithful of the parish. Once again, valuable Manhattan property is being sacrificed in order to meet the ordinary operating expenses of the Archdiocese, further indicating the financial straits prevalent in New York.

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