All Conversations in My Heart
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
  Hosea 4:6
Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

This I read on a recent blog comment,
“The sacred synod teaches that the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ.” Lumen Gentium III: 20.
I must now ask that as these were comments of the justification of the Boston Hierarch and the nonsense over health insurance and the double talk in defense of the nonsense, was this Christ speaking through this man?

Personally, for me the comment also contained other quotes that may have some validity. But let me say this I and all of you were created for one thing and one thing only to know, love and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him in the next. This places the onus, the burden of choice on us to save our souls. Prudence tells me that in today’s Church it is unsafe to trust the majority of Bishops and Priests. Fortitude and the Defense of the Mystical Body demands I or you act. If we are talking about the faithful in the Church today, and definitely not echoing the pride and hubris of some of the cultish groups who want to do it their way and not as God direced, we are better informed than ever before and must form our conscience with integrity and honesty. This is not possible without the sacraments and the grace they bring us. Quoting Fr Peyton out of context but still apropos. “ How can I explain to God my Judge how I deliberately missed the opportunities of Grace, He gave me”.

Catholic Encyclopedia
As to whom we are to obey, there can be no doubt that first we are bound to offer an unreserved service to Almighty God in all His commands. No real difficulty against this truth can be gathered from putting in juxtaposition the unchangeableness of the natural law and an order, such as that given to Abraham to slay his son Isaac. The conclusive answer is that the absolute sovereignty of God over life and death made it right in that particular instance to undertake the killing of an innocent human being at His direction. On the other hand the obligation to obedience to superiors under God admits of limitations. We are not bound to obey a superior in a matter which does not fall within the limits of his preceptive power. Thus for instance parents although entitled beyond question of the submission of their children until they become of age, have no right to command them to marry. Neither can a superior claim our obedience in contravention to the dispositions of higher authority. Hence, notably, we cannot heed the behests of any human power no matter how venerable or undisputed as against the ordinances of God. All authority to which we bow has its source in Him and cannot be validly used against Him. It is the recognition of the authority of God vicariously exercised through a human agent that confers upon the act of obedience its special merit.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4
When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects."
St Peter Canisius and St John Borromeo also admitted to the same viewpoint

Fr Clement wrote in his blog at: http://fssrchristchurch.blogspot.com/2008/01/wolves-and-sheep.html
The concept of “blind obedience” is much misunderstood and much criticized but it is a mistake to compare it to the brainwashing techniques of modern cults. It had inbuilt safeguards that existed to prevent such mindless conformity as we have witnessed over the last forty years. Here for example is what St. Alphonsus says in his Homo Apostolicus, a shorter form of his Moral Theology for priests. The subject is the duty of religious to obey their superiors, even when there is a doubt about the licitness of the command. In that case, the subject must give the superior the benefit of the doubt and obey. But….read the next part: “However, theologians commonly limit the foregoing principle and say that the subject is not obliged to obey when
a) the thing commanded is very difficult and burdensome; because such difficulty together with a probability that the thing commanded is illicit or that the command exceeds the power of the superior, takes precedence over the superior’s right to command.
b) the subject by obeying would expose himself or others to grave inconvenience to his life, his reputation, his honour or his goods….The reason is that a subject is not obliged to deprive himself of a certain right in matters of such great importance when the superior’s right to command is in some way uncertain…”

Dom Gueranger, (1805-1875) Abbot of Solesmes.
It gives an example of the abstract principles quoted above of which the bottom line is that in matters of faith and morals our first duty is to safeguard them - no matter who is threatening them. In this passage the great Abbot is talking of the genesis of the Nestorian heresy. It was later to be officially condemned in the Council of Ephesus in 431, but it started with a sermon of the Patriarch of Constantinople. The faithful of these days did not take such things lying down, nor did they need to spend a long time agonising whether "disobedience" was justified. Here is the passage, from The Liturgical Year.

"On Christmas Day, 428, Nestorius (Patriarch of Constantinople), profiting from the immense crowd assembled to celebrate the birth of the Divine Child to Our Lady uttered this blasphemy from his episcopal throne: "Mary did not give birth to God; her son was only a man, the instrument of God."At these words a tremor of horror passed through the multitude. The general indignation was voiced by Eusebius, a layman, who stood up in the crowd and protested. Soon a more detailed protest was drafted in the name of the members of the abandoned Church, and numerous copies spread far and wide, declaring anathema on whoever should dare to say that He Who was born of the Virgin Mary was other than the only begotten Son of God".

This attitude not only safeguarded the Faith of the Eastern Church, but was praised alike by Popes and Councils. When the shepherd turns into a wolf the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. As a general rule, doctrine comes from the bishops to the faithful, and it is not for the faithful, who are subjects in the order of Faith, to pass judgment on their superiors. But every Christian, by virtue of his title to the name Christian, has not only the necessary knowledge of the essentials of the treasure of Revelation, but also the duty of safeguarding them. The principle is the same, whether it is a matter of belief or conduct, that is of dogma or morals. Treachery such as that of Nestorius is rare in the Church; but it can happen that, for one reason or another, pastors remain silent on essential matters of faith."

Such treachery is indeed rare, and since the Reformation we have had, with only a few exceptions, wonderful leadership from the Popes and so we have been unprepared for the treachery of today. Therefore, we need to dig down deep into the teaching, tradition and history of the Church to find the answers.

Fr Peyton Of Rosary Crusade fame who, unlike the synod quoter above was like me there at that time, wrote in His autobiography “The Vatican Council taught reasonable obedience". Try to tell today’s clergy that whose free will is circumscribed by vows of obedience, especially to the local ordinaries. I had a confessor and friend who outside the confessional told me this, “I have to obey the Archbishop, I placed my hands in his and made a vow of obedience”. He told me of when the layman in charge of the Catholic Schools was allowing heresy to be taught, he complained. The Bishop took him aside and told him to behave and never again would he have a parish with a school attached. When the priest died, there was no room at the Cathedral, from sixty minutes before, and the streets were jammed outside. The Archbishops eulogy was explicit the best virtue of the priest was he always obeyed me.

We cannot obey sinful instructions and we must stand publicly front and center as did Eusebius before Nestor. We cannot lack fortitude in defending our virgin children

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