Sunday, April 20, 2008

On Bishop Gabby Reyes letter to the Vatican Council for the Laity calls for reactions to the above recent letter of our spiritual director Bishop Gabriel Reyes to the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Laity. I have taken interest to respond as follows:

We should know where we stand, I suppose the issues raised need a clear and definitive Church position, we are not getting it and it has dragged on for so long that is why it continues to hurt a lot of people.

First off, when responding to challenges like this, the faithful Catholic must bear in mind this foremost paramount consideration: Fidelity to the Church Magisterium. The Church that Christ founded has persisted and prospered for over 2,000 years due precisely to the preservation of objective morality, the unbroken legacy of the deposit of faith, and most primarily due to the constant protection and guidance of Jesus Christ Himself who said “I will be with you always till the end of days..”.

The objective truth must be upheld at all times, but this must be moderated (but never compromised) by charity, humility and forgiveness. Thus the prime apostle Peter said:

"Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3: 15)

Thus it is with gentleness and reverence that we are to approach the trials and challenges in the course of our practice of the faith, but the primary consideration must be to uphold the Truth. Uphold the objective truth of our faith, regardless of opinions, preferences, personalities and situational exigencies. We see Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI repeatedly affirm there is no conflict with Faith and Reason.

Bishop Reyes’ letter raises a number of issues, but we must distinguish between doctrinal instructions and advise on temporal, administrative matters. Doctrinal instructions in unity with magisterial authority must be unconditionally obeyed, while advise in temporal matters of the laity should be respected but not necessary considered as imperative. Well-meaning advise are well-appreciated, but administrative matters concerning organizations of the laity are best left for the laity themselves to decide, as long as they stay within the bounds of Catholic doctrine.

That being said, there are certain issues that present themselves clearly as one proceeds with an objective appraisal of Bishop Reyes’ stated letter to the Vatican Council on the Laity:

1 - “Veering away from the purpose and charism of the Couples for Christ”.

This appears to be a persistent core contention against the CFC. The statement itself is a contradiction in terms. Charism is a GIFT from God, one simply cannot arrogate unto oneself a certain Charism. Charism is freely given by God to a chosen follower or group of followers. 1 Cor 7:7 says: “Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” Thus one makes fruitful use of a Charism regardless of one’s personal preferences. No one can choose nor dictate a Charism for himself or for others. One accepts and uses a gift that is freely given to him by God Himself. If a God-given Charism is pursued privately or collectively in a community of believers for the benefit of the Church, then the issue that it changes over time is a non-issue, presuming that it ever does. “Veering away from the Charism..” is definitely a non-issue that, strangely enough, is being made as a prominent issue.

2 – “GK receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives.”

Again a persistent contention but thoroughly confusing. Pray tell us the basis so we can understand. A conscientious Catholic should be able to understand whether this specific act of GK in “receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives” constitutes formal and/or material cooperation with evil. By formal cooperation, did GK associate itself directly with promoting contraceptives in the course of accepting funds? Did GK as an entity profess sharing the contraceptive mentality when it accepted those funds? By material cooperation, did GK actively participate and help those donor pharmaceutical firms promote and sell contraceptives? Does an objective assessment of this (supposed) formal and material cooperation justify a wholescale indictment of GK? This is a serious issue that needs to be clearly laid to rest both from a clear doctrinal standpoint and the factual incidences relative to GK’s involvement in the matter.

3 – Internal administrative matters concerning Lay organizations.

Belong principally to the prerogatives of the laity and that is all there is to it. This is especially so when it comes to organizational elections. This is not to say that the laity should not seek the wisdom of its clergy advisors when confronted with administrative matters. Rather, it is prudent to seek spiritual advisors’ inputs when faced with any internal administrative challenges within the lay group. Lay organizations should conscientiously consider clergy advise on administrative matters, yet the burdens, decisions and ultimate responsibility rest on the laity themselves. But when matters of faith and morals arise and the clergy steps in to direct with authority, it is imperative to obey, as a faithful Catholic should. At this point, it is incumbent upon the clergy that the pastoral guidance be explained fully with clear references to Church tradition. When the clergy does in fact come to this, we should understand that the clergy is not and should not be expressing an opinion, but draws from clear magisterial authority.

It is all about 2,000 years of church history. It is all about Fidelity, it is all about Faith and Reason. It is all about protecting the Church, and finally it is all about each one of us always “prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you”.

God bless us all.


Anonymous said...

Very nice... very well written. How I wish, those imputing lack of charism have read your item so that they should realize their mistake.

Devil's Advocate

WillyJ said...