Catholics familiar with Church history will know that the fifth century heresy known as Monophysitism claimed that Christ was one person with only one nature, a kind of fusion of both the human and divine elements. Monophysites therefore believed that Jesus had only one divine nature. His human nature, it was said, was “dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea”. It was a reaction to Nestorianism which held that Christ was two persons (one divine and one human) with two different natures (one divine and one human). The Catholic (Chalcedonian) position, of course, was that Jesus had two natures – one fully human and one fully divine, but that He was one divineperson. Without Jesus being both truly and fully divine and human, there would be no redemption on the Cross for humanity and no reconciliation either because, to be truly Son of God and Son of Man, Christ had to possess both natures. What “holds” these two natures together is what Catholics call the hypostatic union.
Heresies invariably always either take some essential element away or they stress truths to the point of negating other essential truths. That is why when people sometimes claim that Catholics are “extreme” in their theological or moral positions, they have no idea that the Catholic Faith is, by definition, right in the exact center, in perfect equilibrium.
Since the beginning of the Church, the attack on Christianity has always been through separation. In the Christological and Mariological controversies of the early centuries, it was all about trying to strip Jesus of some fundamental aspect of His identity. The attack was directed at Him personally, or indirectly through the identity about His Mother. But it was all about seeking to divide and conquer. To strip. To take away a fundamental element. To make the whole less than what it was.
Today in the Church, the new heresy (if I may use the term loosely) is not a doctrinal or moral one. It is a pastoral one.
…This article is the attempt of one layman, a former lawyer and judge, to “analyze the true nature of that celebration.” The issues surrounding Ted Kennedy’s funeral are not limited to whether Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, should have allowed or presided at his public funeral or whether he should have allowed the grand celebration of Kennedy’s supposed legislative accomplishments (without mention of his support for abortion, embryonic killing or same-sex marriage) or the liturgical transgressions or even the quasi-canonization by Fr. Mark Hession in his homily. The central issue is whether sacrilegious Communions were committed by Catholic politicians who publicly support the horrendous sin of abortion.
Cardinal O’Malley’s office and his Communications Director were requested to confirm or deny that these pro-abortion politicians received the Holy Eucharist at the funeral. Instead of answering this simple question, his Communications Director wrote, “With respect to the Cardinal’s participation at Senator Kennedy’s funeral we refer you to his blog statement. . .” However, the Cardinal was not asked about his participation but about the participation of Catholic pro-abortion politicians in receiving the Holy Eucharist. The Cardinal’s blog said nothing about this.
Moreover,neither Fr Hession, the homilist, nor his staff returned phone calls or answered emails that requested them to confirm or deny these Communion receptions, even after giving them three days notice before the publication of this article.
Neither the Cardinal nor Fr. Hession answered the very simple question of whether these Catholic pro-abortion politicians received. They could easily have denied it, but their failure to do so leads to the reasonable inference that they did receive. Canon Law 915 mandates that those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin are not to receive the Holy Eucharist….(Source)
“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” (Can. 915)
…Arroyo questioned the Vatican Cardinal saying: “Last year, you were asked at a press conference whether a politician, a Catholic politician who supports abortion publicly should be permitted to the Communion rail, should be permitted to receive Communion publicly. What is your response to that?”
Cardinal Arinze responded, “The answer is clear. If a person says I am in favour of killing unborn babies whether they be four thousand or five thousand, I have been in favour of killing them. I will be in favour of killing them tomorrow and next week and next year. So, unborn babies, too bad for you. I am in favour that you should be killed, then the person turn around and say I want to receive Holy Communion. Do you need any Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that? (Source)
TORONTO, September 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Salt and Light Television President and CEO, Fr. Thomas Rosica, is continuing his public campaign against LifeSiteNews.com. In an interview article on the Toronto diocese’s Catholic Register website today, he blames this news service for death threats, and “vile, vile phone calls” he says he has received.
“It’s a mixture of the LifeSite crowd, LifeSite subscribers combined with EWTN viewers who have now set themselves above the church,” Rosica told the Catholic Register.
Speaking of LSN specifically he said, “When they run up against somebody they disagree with they condemn them and they do an ad hominem attack. It’s character assassination.”
In a rather telling omission, the article’s author, Michael Swan, failed to note most of Rosica’s own incendiary comments that garnered the irate responses from many. The Register did report that Rosica was “blaming LifeSiteNews for stirring up ‘division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence’.”
… Read the rest of the LSN editorial here. Original Catholic Register article here.
Excerpt from Catholic Register article: “The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has scheduled a closed-door session on independent blogs and web sites claiming to be Catholic at its October plenary. Rosica said he also hopes the Pontifical Council on Social Communication takes up the issue.”
In the event that any bishop is reading this….
While you have the authority handed on to you by Christ, its strength and power only comes when you are teaching the Gospel in truth and with boldness.
Do not deceive yourselves into thinking that a mere administrative framework to “imprimatur” Catholic blogs will help you gain the credibility you demand, nor, for that matter, will a cheap declaration which says that only the Bishops teach in the Name of Christ.
We understand your authority comes from Christ. We know the drill.
If you are not defending the Faith and instead making it a mockery among the nations, don’t expect us to take you too seriously on Life Issues, and don’t expect our credibility to lessen and yours to increase because you merely will it to be so.
Catholic Bloggers wouldn’t be needed to explain and defend the Faith in these situations, and you wouldn’t perceive us as a threat (which we are most certainly not), if you were faithful to your vocation as Father and Teacher.
Moreover, as the Development & Peace Abortion Scandal showed everyone, people look at the facts and make a judgement. The hierarchy and the main stream Catholic press has not been very good at admitting the facts, while blogs and internet news sources have been very good at presenting them. If the Canadian Church wants to improve its credibility, then it should start, as a first step, in admitting the facts. (If you are particularly courageous and honest, you can start by addressing that massive betrayal known as the Winnipeg Statement). If bishops start to conceal who was receiving Communion at the Kennedy funeral, or refuse to admit that Development and Peace has been funding pro-abortion, anti-Catholic groups in the Global South, here’s a newsflash for you: it doesn’t go a long way with establishing your credibility. Quite the opposite actually.
We may be mere children to you, but we’re not morons, and we’re not your fools either.
Stop smiling for the cameras and listening to Yo-Yo. Feed the sheep real food instead of rocks, real milk instead of Koolaid.
Then things will get better.
p.s. For people concerned about the airing of dirty laundry, let me remind you all of a couple truths:
1) Rather the scandal of being offended, than the Church continuing to betray its concrete witness to the unborn.
2) Rather the risk of losing some to “divisiveness” in the acrimony of debate, than the risk of losing more through disgust and frustration because of massive pastoral betrayal or the lethal indifference of fellow Catholics.
Two nights ago as I was doing some spiritual reading to find some reprieve from the Kennedy scandal, I decided to read some Scripture. For some reason, I decided to re-read the book of Samuel. When I came across this passage, it immediately caught my attention:
And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ” (1 Samuel 3:11-14)
Eli, of course, was the Lord’s priest who ministered and offered sacrifice at the Temple for the people. As the passage above informs us, Eli had two sons which Scripture also says were “wicked men” and “had no regard for God” (Cf. 1 Sam. 1:12-13).
But before God spoke His judgement to Samuel about Eli, He warned Eli about his abuse of the Sacred Sacrifice. He warned Eli explicitly about giving deference to His sons over the pure and holy Sacrifice that was owed to Him alone:
Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father’s house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites. Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ (1 Samuel 2:27-29)
And so, my dear friends, how can we avoid the unmistakable connection of the above accounts to what is now transpiring with the Kennedy Funeral Scandal? First, because our spiritual fathers have made their sons “contemptible” because they failed to teach, failed to discipline, and failed to restrain them. And second, what greater scandal could there be than to adorn and praise someone who during his public life attacked and sought to destroy innocent human beings, our little brothers and sisters, the image of the living God Himself? And for what purpose was this sham public funeral mass conducted, if not to honour our disobedient sons by fattening ourselves on human respect, deference, and preference for power and prestige?
Respect that should have been paid to the innocent babes who were sacrificed on the altar of Satan was instead paid to a man who stands against the most important teaching of our time: the absolute respect due to every human creature.
And what are we left with from the public spectacle?
Partiality, scandal, stumbling blocks, compromise, violation. And as a result, the people now hold the purveyors of this soft religion in contempt.
“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenantwith Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.” (Malachi 2:7-9)
“These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone — I think first of all they’re not part of the church, they’re not Catholic in the sense that they have no mandate, they have no authority, they have no accountability. And they speak very, very definitively about what it means to be Catholic, and they’re followed by so many people… the bishops I think take a more reasoned approach to the whole thing.” (Source)
I question whether or not they belong to the Catholic Church. Are such people Catholic? Part of our Catholic structure is the structure of the Church being united with the bishops and when we have people drawing up lists of good bishops or bad bishops, good priests or bad priests – this is sinful. Let’s admit and this is how the devil triumphs and this is how the opposition will win their cause.
ORALANDO, September 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In addition to his announcement that he is considering a run for President in 2012, former US Senator Rick Santorum gave his assessment of the controversy around the Ted Kennedy funeral during his speech to the Catholic Leadership Conference last week. Santorum’s talk focused on rejuvenating the Catholic Church in the United States.
During his speech Santorum lamented “what the Church allowed to happen” with the Kennedy funeral, referring to it as a “deification” of Kennedy. “The damage done” to the Church, he said, “is profound.”
“We have Catholic politicians who have led this country astray, have led generations of Catholics astray,” said Santorum.
He noted that there was no personal grievance between himself and Kennedy. “I knew Ted Kennedy very, very well, I got along with Teddy. Everybody got along with Teddy. He’s was a nice, affable guy,” he said.
In answer to those who would protest that “the Church is all about forgiveness,” Santorum said: “Yes, God blessed Teddy with a year of knowing he was going to die.”
“We all prayed that that year was a productive one for him and his relationship with our Savior,” he added. “I prayed for that. I sent him a note. I told him that. I prayed for him every day.”
Santorum made particular note of the Vatican letter read by former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick at the internment. And while he said he understood the motivation for such a presentation, he nevertheless concluded that “there is no excuse” for it. “It will harm us, it will hurt the rejuvenation of our Church,” he said.
For the future rejuvenation of the Church, “getting it right with Catholic politicians is going to be huge,” he warned. “We keep sending the message that it’s okay to dissent, okay to do all the things that almost every Catholic politician in the United States does,” he said.
He recalled that during the Senate debates on banning partial birth abortion, “almost a third of the votes against the bill were Catholics.”
The key to it all, he said, is having “good shepherds” to lead the Church.
FALL RIVER, MA, September 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Father Roger J. Landry, editor at The Anchor, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River (the diocese where the late Senator Edward Kennedy resided), has written extensively on the passing of Senator Kennedy and his funeral. Fr. Landry himself was ordained by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the presider at Kennedy’s funeral.
Using examples from the past, Landry observes, “The facts show that the vast majority of personally opposed, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators have become far less personally opposed and far more publicly in favor over the duration of the strategy.”
Fr. Landry observes: “Even though the U.S. bishops have taught with one voice that pro-choice Catholic legislators should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, if they pay no heed to that teaching and present themselves anyway, they have observed that in practice they will almost never be denied.”
“With Senator Kennedy’s funeral, they have now grasped that even a 100% pro-abortion voting record will not only not prevent them from having a Catholic funeral, but will not even stop them from receiving possibly one of the most publicly panegyrical Catholic funerals in U.S. history. “
The more that we are divided among ourselves, what kind of witness are we giving? And I think that is what this whole thing – my blog, my text – it surfaced deep-seated anger and hostility of people, mistrust of the Church, mistrust of the Church leaders – people wanting to set up a parallel Church, if you will.
Just like Kennedy’s funeral, the Obama scandal at Notre Dame touches on the same issue of honouring pro-abortion politicians. After all, Barack Obama is not all about abortion, is he? Of course not. And yet, 83 bishops opposed Notre Dame’s scandalous action of giving him an honourary degree. Tell us, then, Father Rosica, who should we side with? 83 Catholic Bishops who are a faithful witnesses to the Church or you?
So, dear readers, we must ask ourselves quite plainly, just who, indeed, is seeking to set up “a parallel Church”? The faithful are merely insisting that the Church’s witness be authentic – both in word and indeed.
Support and participation in a public funeral which extols the legacy of such a man is a cowardly act. It is a liturgical and personal betrayal of the sanctity of human life for the sake of a worldly accommodation and a perverted human respect.
CHICAGO, Illinois, September 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A publisher associated with the Archdiocese of Chicago has revoked and apologized for a prayer they distributed that praised the late pro-abortion senator Edward Kennedy as one who promoted “values of peace, justice, equality, and liberty.” The prayer has been replaced with another one, urging prayer for the soul of Kennedy, but excising the words of praise.
Liturgy Training Publications issued the original prayer as a suggested Prayer for the Faithful for use at Sunday Masses after the prominent Catholic senator’s death on August 25.
The text of the prayer, available in the publisher’s online Prayer of the Faithful resource, read: “For those who have given their lives to service to their country, promoting values of peace, justice, equality, and liberty; especially, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, that he may find his eternal reward in the arms of God. … We pray…”
The public Catholic funeral of hardcore pro-abort Senator Ted Kennedy unleashed a storm of controversy in the Catholic Church that spilled over right into Canada. Fr. Tom Rosica called the actions of the Boston Church “gracious” and chastised pro-lifers for their attitude of “division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence.” His condemnation comes on the heels of Archbishop James Weisberger’s denunciation of pro-life allegations against Development and Peace. These two reactions against orthodox, faithful pro-lifers came to me as a shock.
A refreshing shock.
Because after years of being ignored, the crowd of faithful Catholics – whom might be termed “Magisterial Catholics” – are finally being acknowledged publicly by the church elite.
With breathtaking candour.
And it’s a good thing.
Magisterial Catholics in Canada have been turning away from the clergy as a source of doctrine for some time now. Instead, they have relied on forums, websites and blogs to learn the substance of their faith and to seek authentic spiritual guidance. Many are fed up with the church leaders’ wishy-washiness, even downright heresy. The elites have largely distanced themselves from Magisterial teaching, either by omission, or through trendy theological novelties.
Father Rosica, however, later slammed Westen’s article and denied his reference was aimed directly at Arroyo. In a September 9 interview with Bob Dunning on “Across the Nation” (Sirius Catholic Radio), the priest said:
I don’t agree with Raymond Arroyo’s blog that he wrote criticizing Cardinals McCarrick and O’Malley…. For them to say that I aimed everything at Raymond Arroyo; there were about 20 different people. Raymond Arroyo was the most public that they cited, which I didn’t mention in my article, but we all saw Raymond Arroyo’s blog, but we saw many other people stirring up — and priests especially, who claim to be pro-life, causing more division in the Church. (Taken from a transcript of the program.)
Father Rosica went on to explain to Dunning, “I think civility, charity, kindness, and humanity — when they fall from the picture, when they are not present, we have a big problem on our hands.”Yet, in his September 3 blogpost this is how he described the critics of the Kennedy funeral:
Through vicious attacks launched on blogs, a new form of self-righteousness, condemnation, and gnosticism reveals authors who behave as little children bullying one another around in schoolyards — casting stones, calling names, and wreaking havoc in the Church today! What such people fail to realize is that their messages are ultimately screamed into a vacuum. No one but their own loud crowd is really listening…. Sowing seeds of hatred and division are not the work of those who wish to build a culture of life (emphasis added).
I have read through Arroyo’s comment several times and have found nothing like what Father Rosica describes above. Interestingly enough, the priest also took a swing at the internationally respected LifeSite News:
For the 1/10th of kernel of truth that they purport to uncover, and there is truth in what they do, 9/10ths is exaggeration. It is bombastic, it is derisive and it is divisive (emphasis added). (Source: Inside Catholic.com)
The National Catholic Reporter is an extremist leftist periodical which houses well known dissenters from Catholic teaching including radical feminists like Joan Chittister, known disenters like disgraced theologian, Richard McBrien (whose book “Catholicism” was rejected by the U.S. Bishops), and retired auxiliary bishop and cheerleader for the pro-abortion, pro-gay Call to Action, Thomas Gumbleton, who was pushed out of active ministry by the Vatican. You can see their pictures and bios on the sidebar of NCR’s website. Read the rest of this entry »
This will likely be my last post regarding the Kennedy funeral, unless some new and important information turns up.
I want to encourage everyone to examine the facts, and not get snookered by the propagandists of cheap mercy. The Church has rules for a reason. They are not simply rules with no grounding in the Scriptures or are present for mere “legalism”. The Church’s laws and directives are ultimately there for the protection of the Gospel itself – whether that is respecting the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, not scandalizing the faithful, or simply preserving what a funeral mass is for.
I want to caution you all about putting trust in Fr. Tom Rosica.
The D&P abortion scandal showed a side of Salt + Light that was very disturbing. I cancelled my subscription to Salt + Light for a variety of reasons a couple of months ago. I never felt completely at ease with its programming, and was very disturbed at a few of its programming episodes, including the softball interview Fr. Rosica did with Premier Dalton McGuinty. Their coverage of the D&P abortion scandal cemented it for me. What is even more disturbing is the reaction of Fr. Rosica to the Archbishop of Toronto’s decision to call for reform of Development & Peace. Even though his Grace largely exonerated the research conducted by Socon or Bust and LifesiteNews about the abortion funding practices of D&P, Fr. Rosica insisted that we were “misinterpreting” the Archbishop’s letter, and tried to spin the Archbishop’s judgement into something other than a rebuke to Development & Peace which it clearly was.
Moreover, I don’t recall seeing anything about Fr. Rosica’s reaction to the Notre Dame-Obama scandal, do you? Are any of you interested to know what his position is? I am very interested to know what his opinion is, but I very much doubt he will offer it, considering his views of the Kennedy funeral. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why he won’t be giving us his opinion of that fiasco.
In the Gospels, we read about a certain rich young man who sought to justify Himself to the Lord:
“Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
“You know the commandments, ‘ DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’”
And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:17-25)
When we read this passage, many of us might resort to reducing this to a lesson about money, or even worse, believing that Jesus expects us to give all of our material wealth to the poor. Clearly, however, that was not His intention for everyone. The intention of Our Lord was simply to teach His disciples that God owns everything in our lives, and that we are merely to be good stewards of it. In the above story, the rich young man went away “grieving” because he could not put his wealth under God’s sovereignty. For us, it could very well be wealth, but it could also be any kind of talent, material advantage, or influence that we possess. Christ was challenging this man to give over everything to God’s providence.
You”ll notice too, that once the man went away sad, Our Lord did not play the fool, allowing him to indulge his disorder. He didn’t run after him either once he left. He merely let him go, turned to His disciples, and explained how disordered attachments to this world – whether they be money, or fame, or reputation, or anything else – will be a formidable impediment to entering the Kingdom of God.
There is something relevant in this story to the Ted Kennedy funeral fiasco. Notice that Jesus let the man go. He didn’t play the indulgent instructor by ignoring the problem with this rich young man. He didn’t pretend that there wasn’t something seriously wrong in this man’s life. He didn’t offer this man some kind of cheap mercy or false compassion. It says Jesus “felt a love for him”, but the expression of that love did not come from indulgence but from a challenge.
Love always challenges. Cowardice never does.
Where was the challenge to Ted Kennedy to publicly repent before he died? Can we really say we loved Ted Kennedy, if we let him go unchallenged? Would Our Lord really have loved the man, if he had sent him away in a self righteous state, falsely believing that everything was kosher?
Of course not.
Unfortunately, for everyone at the Kennedy funeral, his family, friends, and the general public lining his funeral route and watching on TV, the Church was not interested in challenging Ted before he went to his place. Instead, our pastors sent him away singing in false delight, telling him that everything was going to be alright and that he would soon see his brothers.
Unlike the Church leaders in Boston and Washington, however, Jesus was no sugar daddy, peddling a counterfeit mercy with a soft voice and slick smile. The currency of false mercy, cloaked in its own false and self righteous accusations of “hatred, vitriol, and violence”, purchases nothing of true worth or virtue because it benefits only those who trade in it, either for human respect or the shunning of the cross. The only words of rebuke from these people are those they direct to faithful followers of Christ who insist on Our Lord’s unmistakable witness. They save the words of “mercy and compassion” for those who would otherwise crucify them so that they (our teachers) may avoid that fate altogether.
Instead of teaching the crowds ”as one having authority” like Our Lord did, Cardinal O’Malley and his supporters taught as the Scribes did in hypocrisy and for personal advantage or benefit (Cf. Matt. 7:29). The actions of our leaders are rightly incurring the scorn and contempt that the Scribes themselves were held in during Our Lord’s time.
Like Cardinal O’Malley, Saint Padre Pio belonged to the Capuchin order. But sadly, in the case of bold courage, this is where the similarity ends.
There are many famous stories about Saint Pio which portray his love and mercy and kindness. But there are also many stories of him being rather gruff and condemnatory and even impolite! The Saint, who experienced the stigmata during his life, was also known to read souls. One account explains how one particular woman entered into the Confessional to confess her sins to Padre Pio. Immediately, he shouted, “Criminal!” Shocked, the woman asked the reason for his reaction, and he replied, “I see all three of your children in hell as a result of your lax faith!“ This example, and many like them by Padre Pio, should serve as a strong and unmistakable reminder to Cardinal O’Malley and his followers that there is indeed such a thing as false compassion or mercy.
For all of those who have ears, let them hear!
“I beg you not to criticize me by invoking charity, because the greatest charity is to deliver souls held fast by Satan in order to win them over to Christ.” – Saint Padre Pio
Faithful Catholics who have been critical of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s funeral have been focusing on the scandalous witness of Cardinal O’Malley. The Cardinal has chosen to ignore the principle of refusing pro-abortion politicians a place of honour. In 2004, the USCCB issued “Catholics in Political Life.” The document directs Catholic universities not to honour pro-abortion politicians:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Catholics in Political Life“, 2004)
But there’s been a few other issues that have not been fully probed and discussed. The Kennedy funeral was not just about the scandalous witness of Cardinal O’Malley and the Church.
It was also about liturgical and Eucharistic sacrilege and deception.
First Crow - Ecclesiastical Funerals
Canon Law clearly states (Can. 1184 §1) that ”unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
#1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
#2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
#3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.
While the above Canon applies only to those who remained unrepentant and does not concern a public funeral per se, the principle of not scandalizing the faithful still remains in force (Cf. Can.1184 §1.3). Moreover, what PUBLIC sign of repentance did Edward Kennedy give to us to justify the grandiose public that he received? None at all. In fact, the last public correspondence of Ted Kennedy with the Church was an unapologetic 10 page letter he wrote to the Pope, seeking to justify himself and his legacy. He even tossed pro-lifers a bone by proudly claiming that he was on the Church’s side by supporting conscience legislation which would protect pro-life health care workers from participating in abortion. But that was no renunciation of his disastrous pro-abortion legacy. It is hard to imagine a scenario more grievous and scandalous than the events surrounding the public legacy of Senator Edward Kennedy. The man advocated the most heinous crime imaginable, and his influence and reach in securing the protection and promotion of abortion and sodomy have proved to be an incalculable cancer on the body of Christ. If the above canon’s principle does not apply to Sen. Kennedy, then no baptized Catholic can be refused a public funeral for anything at all. The problem, of course, is not with the Church’s teaching or its canon law. The problem is not the law. The problem is the resolve to apply it and to accept the inevitable “Cross” of negative public opinion once it is applied. Isn’t what this controversy is really about? The Cross and The Sacrifice that awaits us? I think it is.
Second Crow - Eulogizing
At Catholic funerals, eulogizing is not part of the rubrics because it takes away from what the funeral is supposed to be about. It’s not about the individual’s past life. It’s about his future one, and the hope and sobriety presented to us when we face our own demise. If anything is said about the individual in passing, it is supposed to be tied in strictly to the Gospel message. Fr. Rutler tells us why eulogies are not appropriate at Catholic Funerals:
“The Church’s rubrics require that anything edifying in the deceased’s life be mentioned only as commentary on the Gospel. Our “Culture of Death,” as John Paul II called it, is idiosyncratic in its refusal to be cogent about the Gospel mystery of death itself. In its rejection of moral reality, this lurid cultural paradigm mocks the imperatives of the mystery by applauding the guilty as cold-bloodedly as it destroys the innocent. Where the idol worshipped by a culture is one’s public image, even candor must be sacrificed to it; and when only the self is celebrated, celebrity canonizes itself. All the Holy Sonnets are replaced by one unholy bravado: “Death be proud.” The noble pagans flattered and flowered their dead because they could not absolve them. De mortuis nihil nisi bonumis not a Christian dictum; speaking nothing but good of the dead translates the Spartan decency of Chilon who lived six centuries before the incarnation of the Redeemer. Chilonwas a wise magistrate himself, and as merciful as a Spartan could be, but his mercy was not that of Christ the Judge, for Chilon had no power to summon the dead: “Come forth!” The noble pagan tried to make the best of a bad thing, urging a social convention born of pessimism. The mercy of God changes pessimism to hope, and hope is the engine of honesty. In obedience to the Divine Mercy, speaking well of the dead may sometimes require not speaking good of the dead. However many different ways there are to say it, everyone has the same eulogy: “There is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Source)
The cult of personal aggrandizement and lionization has no place in the Mass. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal specifically says that: “At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind.” (382). One eulogy would have been objectionable enough, but there were three of them! And yet, what are we to say about the Church when even one of its own Cardinals can’t follow this simple rule! Just what part of ”never” does the Cardinal not understand in the canon?
Third Crow – Communion for Pro-abort politicians
As with the issue of refusing notorious and publicly unrepentant pro-abortion Catholic politicians at a public funeral, the law concerning scandalous public officials receiving Communion is also clear:
“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” (Can. 915)
Although the teaching is clear, it seems that those involved in Ted Kennedy’s funeral have had some rather shady involvement in trying to obscure the law of the Church. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, for instance, the retired Archbishop of Washington, presided at the interment of the Senator and who read a conventional sympathy letter from the Vatican Secretary of State (not the Pope), audaciously spinning it into some kind of endorsement of the public funeral proceedings and creating the impression that it was a friendly personal letter from the Pope. Yet this was the same Cardinal who, in 2004, “when the Bishops of the US were anguishing over whether to allow communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion laws, Cardinal McCarrick concealed a letter from his brother bishops. The missive was from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal (now Pope) Joseph Ratzinger. Had the bishops received the letter intended to help guide their debate, things might have gone very differently. The contents of that letter are still relevant, particularly now when dissenting Catholics have made grandiose pronouncements about what it means to be a Catholic in public life. (Source)
Is it a surprise, then, that when it came time for receiving the Holy Eucharist, the television camera panned away from viewing who indeed was going to receive Communion. This was done, of course, to hide yet another scandal at the Funeral – one which has not yet received the necessary coverage or discussion – and that is even worse than the public endorsement of Ted Kennedy’s scandalous public life on abortion, as hard as that is to believe. That scandal was the reception of holy communion at the Funeral by plenty of pseudo Catholics who endorse abortion.
We didn’t see them receive the Eucharist, of course. The cameras panned away coincidentally at the time when the Communion line was about to form. But God saw. Evil always seeks to hide itself in its darkness, for fear of being exposed to the light of truth (Cf.Eph.5:11). Did not St. John tell us? “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:6)
The mystical body of Christ is not just some obscure or hazy idea. It’s a supernatural, living reality and the reception of Holy Communion affects that Body for good or for ill. Every sacrilegious communion, therefore, tears at the Body of Christ, wounding it, and making it less identifiable and present in the midst of a hurting world. A scandal of a public official is even more damaging because of the wider influence the scandal causes on the other members of the Body. Before a priest or bishop or Cardinal is anything else, he is first and foremost the guardian of the Blessed Sacrament. If he did nothing else, NOTHINGELSEATALL, in this life but guard the respect and reverence due to it, his priesthood would have been infinitely more valuable and incalculable than the priesthood which delivered the most brilliant and inspiring homilies ever heard.
There are two ways of looking at the fraud that occurred at Kennedy’s funeral. We can say, as everyone is saying, that Cardinal O’Malley invited and fostered public scandal. That is likely true, but it’s not the only possibility. On the contrary, we may say that there was no great public scandal at all since the occasion in which his Funeral was celebrated, the Mass, doesn’t mean that much at all anyway. It’s just another public service to honour our wonderful public servants. Does it not strike you, dear reader, how complimentary those two realities are? That participating in a public scandal in the context of a Funeral Mass is totally consistent with demoting the sacredness of the Eucharist in it?
When Our Lord was brought to the house of the high priest, Scripture says that St. Peter “followed at a distance” and tried to blend in with the crowd until he was singled out by a servant girl for being one of Jesus’s disciples. As we know, Peter denied our Lord. He wanted to “blend in” with the crowd, to become inconspicuous, and not cause undue attention to himself. If he had admitted the truth, if he had stood up and proclaimed his love for Christ, the mob would have turned on him. But the Gospel would have been proclaimed and many souls saved during that opportunity, much like the opportunity that Cardinal O’Malley had at the Funeral of Ted Kennedy. If Cardinal O’Malley wants to talk about lost opportunities, he should reflect well on the words of Our Lord to St. Peter…
“Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” (Luke 22:61)
…and consider the three crows cawing at the Funeral Mass he presided over.
We pray that Cardinal O’Malley and those who support him will repent and recover like St. Peter did.
If any of you have not yet been over to Salt+Light’s blog to check out the 5 pages of largely polite yet very critical comments of Fr. Rosica’s post, you really should slip over there for a while. I’ve read them all, and they are very well written. Some of the critiques are really first rate and very deferential. The one below, posted on page 5, caught my attention in particular. It’s written from a Boston resident who has seen Fr. Rosica on Boston TV. It seems that people’s reliance on Fr. Rosica as a trusted Church source is being eroded everywhere…even in the city that hosted the scandalous funeral.
I think you will agree that the comment below puts the marshmallow arguments right into the fire:
Father Rosica: I am troubled by your remarks, having seen you a number of times on Boston Catholic TV and admired your achievements at S&L TV.
What we are addressing here, Father, is the lack of leadership on behalf of our clergy and hierarchy in the pro-life movement, aside from an appearance at a walk or a luncheon where one can preach to the choir.
Witnessing to life as many of us have done for years on the sidewalks of abortion clinics, we struggle with cheap shots, insults, mockery, etc. etc. and wonder why neither our clergy nor our Cardinal Archbishop are ever there to give us support. Being there for the Kennedy family and all the pro-abort Catholic politicians only reinforces for us, the indifference of the Church leadership to the real situations we face.
Thousands of girls, literally, have had abortions in the Boston area, and do we ever see the Church rallying around this cause? NO. As one Boston Policeman put it to me so succinctly: “If abortion is such a terrible evil, why isn’t the Cardinal out here with the rest of you?”Hard to answer…very hard to answer. I am very saddened at your remarks, Father…
Conversely, if abortion is such a terrible evil, why is the Cardinal at Kennedy’s funeral?
Sometimes, you don’t have to write many words to make marshmallows look ridiculous.