As Catholics prepare for the Millennium celebration of Jubilee 2,000 and the spiritual renewal which Lent 1999 calls us to, it would do well to meditate on the state of the Church in our time and the many needs of the Church which our Holy Father has noted in many addresses. Bishops, too, such as the Australian Bishops recently, have emphasized the realities of the "Crisis of Faith" through which the Church has been passing these last 3 decades. In every crisis that has afflicted the Mystical Body of Christ during its earthly pilgrimage, the devil (yes, he does exist) tempts the faithful to abandon God, the Church, and their vocation as "living stones" in the Church. In similar fashion he tempted our Lord Himself in the desert to abandon His vocation as the Messiah and Savior. The 25 million Catholics whom the "Tempter" has induced to abandon the Church or to leave the practice of the faith are ample proof of the work of the devil in our day.
Certainly the scandal resulting at Corpus Christi Church in Rochester provides much reason for an examination of conscience by bishops, priests, and laity regarding the manner in which they have understood the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and "the spirit of Vatican II" operating in dioceses. Catechetical, liturgical, and sacramental abuses have taken a heavy toll among all too many Catholics in this diocese who no longer appear to know what it means to be Catholic any more. For example, dissent from the Magisterium and its teachings have flourished among the parishioners at Corpus Christi who are indistinguishable from Protestants or New Agers reveling in nature worship. Fr. James Callan and his hard core followers have been rightly excommunicated for their schism but much remains to be answered as to the causes of the schismatic and heretical mentality that has been allowed to run rampant in the diocese.
It is no secret that bad catechetics, corrupt sex education in Catholic schools, mindless and frivolous liturgical experimentation, the favor shown radical feminist propaganda concerning the "right" of women to priestly ordination, and collaboration with the pro-homosexualist Lobby (NACDLGM) operating in the Church – have simply disgusted many Catholics and lessened the Church's credibility before non-Catholics who become even further alienated from the Catholic Church. The fruit of the Church's internal problems is seen in the phenomena of "Cafeteria Catholics" ("I'm a Catholic, but... I pick and choose what I want to believe") parading before the media at Corpus Christi Church and now at the site of Callan's and Mary Ramerman's "Independent Catholic Church".
The following are typical reactions of Fr. Callan's sympathizers and followers who for many years had been attending a profoundly de-Catholicized parish:
- "We're feeling more Catholic than ever", and
- "Excommunication: That's nothing. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about"
There all the manifestations of heretical catechesis, corrupt moral teaching, and atrocious liturgy had been tolerated and even encouraged by diocesan officials. Now the latter's chickens have come to roost to the dismay of all believing Catholics who love the Church. For years discerning Catholic laity had sought the correction of the serious abuses noted above and which led inevitably to the loss of faith on the part of Fr. Callan's dupes. Then there is the astonishing spectacle of dissenter Fr. Richard P. McBrien's columns continuing to appear in the diocesan paper (spreading the same errors concerning the Church's Magisterium and its doctrinal teachings manifested by Fr. Callan's followers)!
The Diocese of Rochester has received nation-wide publicity regarding the scandalous Callan Affair. It is publicity that hopefully will result in the correction of serious abuses that have been too long delayed. When such abuses go un-corrected, faithful Catholics are denied justice with regards to their right to authentic catechesis, sound moral teaching, and truly sacred liturgy. As in other matters, "Justice delayed is Justice denied".
While awaiting justice, however, let faithful Catholics continue to love the Church, pray for those in authority, and remember that they must be 100% Catholic, and loyal to Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church built on the Rock of Peter – without reserve.
Dissent from the Magisterium.... is not compatible with being a
- Pope John Paul II -