14 May 2010

Reply To Commentary of Bishop Pat Power

It seems that Bishop Power didn't like hearing from some of the Faithful, only those in accord with his own position.  My response message was rejected by his server as being SPAM.  No way it was so I must conclude I have been blacklisted.

Aux. Bishop Pat Power of Australia recently commented on the Church's need to rethink its positions, on sexuality, celibacy and marriage and called for the voices of the Faithful to heed this call.  I sent him an email to which he responded
Thanks, John. I respect your right to enunciate your views but I am sure that you are aware of many people who see things as being far more complex than you seem to believe.
 and here is my response back,
While assuredly there are many people who see the situation in the Church today as complex if you are looking for a comparison in numbers there are two thousand years of Church history, Fathers, Doctors and Saints who support my beliefs. It may be that I see things simply and that is because the message of Jesus was simple to those who would listen. It is we humans who in our pride make things complex. When Jesus told the people to “eat My body” many went away because they found that message difficult and complex to understand. Today many people find the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception, divorce, marriage between men and women only also difficult. And so they too “go away” because they find the message too hard to accept. But the command is simple even though our fallen nature makes it difficult to comply. We rarely hear our Bishops and priests speak about the virtue of chastity, why is that? Instead of making allowances and defending immoral behavior why don’t we instruct on the beauty of the virtue and encourage people to aspire to a higher level of virtue?

Our Faith has been so diluted in delivery that is not difficult to understand why few people bother with it anymore. The Protestant reformers of the 16th Century instead of seeking to correct the abuses of the Church’s true teachings denied them entirely. So today too we have reformers in the Church who remain not to reform but to destroy. Our response must not be to deny the Church’s teaching but proclaim them ever anew. To paraphrase Chesterton, most Catholics don’t understand the basis for the teachings of the Church so they reject the things they do hear. To those who actually read it Humanae Vitae is brilliant in its defense of the historical teaching of the Church. So too for the Church discipline on celibacy which when understood in its supernatural context is beautiful. Unfortunately those opposed to this discipline, and we should not forget that not only priests but also religious and unmarried laity are called to be chaste and celibate, can offer no argument in its defense other than purely natural, frequently selfish reasons. I fully understand the difficulties involved but also the graces given by God in support.

How frequently did Jesus chastise his followers who always tried to make things more difficult than they were? Philip and Thomas are two we have heard about recently at Mass but there was also Judas who betrayed Jesus because he thought he knew better than Jesus what his mission ought to be. You accuse me of seeming to believe things less complex than others. That is not true. I think it is a great paradox of Jesus’s teaching that it is at the same time simple while complex in its mystery which we will never fully understand, even in Heaven. But there is also a reason He so frequently first chose the weak and the simple to deliver His message. From the poverty of His birth amidst the animals and shepherds, His humble childhood in Nazareth, His choice of simple fisherman to be His first Apostles, etc., Jesus chose them to make His message known rather than the learned scholars. He also told us we must be “as children.” Yet simple does not mean naïve and Jesus also told us to be “wise as serpents” so that we might be alert to those false teachers that would come preaching a new Gospel. I don’t accuse you of being one of these as I don’t know your thoughts fully on the issues you said needed rethinking. But if you fall into the camp and support the recent letter of the dissident Hans Kung then one indeed must be wary. A faith built on the pillars of Be Nice and Don’t Judge is no faith at all and it certainly wasn't the Gospel of Jesus.

I hope that you will accept my letter with the spirit of respect and humility with which it was written and I wholeheartedly enjoin your request that we pray for one another and the Church and our Religion which we both love. In this time after the Ascension I pray that Jesus send His Spirit to guide and support you,
Here is a link to the article Bishop Powers wrote. http://www.catholica.com.au/gc1/pp/005_pp_270410.php

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