Monday, October 18, 2010

A lesser antidote to the culture of death: A millstone around the neck

LifesiteNews has highlighted the speech of Archbishop Burke to the Human Life International World Prayer Congress last Saturday. Abp Burke is the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Apart from the Pope himself, who is the supreme ecclesiastical judge, the Apostolic Signatura is the highest Church tribunal. His complete talk in PDF format maybe downloaded here. The message bears emphasizing today to all the countries around the world with prominent 'Catholic' politicians, although at first glance I had the impression that it was specifically addressed to the Philippines. Here are some excerpts (emphasis mine).


...Often the lack of obedience to the Magisterium is not total but selective. Our culture teaches us to believe what is convenient and to reject what is difficult for us or challenges us. Thus, we can easily fall into “cafeteria Catholicism,” a practice of the faith, which picks and chooses what part of the deposit of faith to believe and practice. A most tragic example of the lack of obedience of faith, also on the part of certain Bishops, was the response of many to the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, published on July 25, 1968.

The confusion which resulted has led many Catholics into habits of sin in what pertains to the procreation and education of human life...

[The sponsors of the RH bill are a paramount examples, wherein these self-professed Catholics dismiss Humanae Vitae as 'not infallible' and may be conveniently disregarded. The rationale goes typically like this: Contraceptives should be allowed in a poverty-stricken, overpopulated country, doesn't the Church care for the poor? Ahem. I will translate their euphemistic words for all it’s worth: Humanae Vitae is erroneus, and what their conscience tells them is morally superior to the teachings therein by Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI, and so on, and so on.]

Regarding the Magisterium and public life, there has developed in many places the false notion that the Christian or any person of faith, in order to be a true citizen of his nation, must bracket his faith life from his public life. According to such a notion, one ends up with Christians, for example, who claim personally to be faithful members of the Church and, therefore, to hold to the demands of the natural moral law, while they sustain and support the right to violate the moral law in its most fundamental tenets. We find self-professed Catholics, for example, who sustain and support the right of a woman to procure the death of the infant in her womb, or the right of two persons of the same sex to the recognition which gives to a man and a woman who have entered into marriage. It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself publicly in this manner...

[This has many translations and flavors: Not all Filipinos are Catholics; I am first and foremost a public servant, I will just check-in my conscience at the door; Jesus did not judge, who are we to judge. And the hands-down, all-time favorite: Separation of Church and State!!! The latter is especially invoked when one’s personal opinion does not square with 2000++ years of solid Church teaching.]

...When a person has publicly espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into confusion and error about fundamental questions of respect for human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, his repentance of such actions must also be public. The person in question bears a heavy responsibility for the grave scandal which he has caused. The responsibility is especially heavy for political leaders. The repair of such scandal begins with the public acknowledgment of his own error and the public declaration of his adherence to the moral law. The soul which recognizes the gravity of what he has done will, in fact, understand immediately the need to make public reparation...

[Yes, yes -- public repentance is required. Whenever the sin is publicly espoused as to account for massive scandal, It is only appropriate that repentance must also be public, otherwise, one has to face Pope Benedict XVI’s minimum proper prescription. Besides there is also Canon law 1364#1, and Canon 1399 which calls for just penalties (yes, including excommunication).

If a politician thinks denial of Communion or excommunication is a tad harsh, wait till he or she reads Luke 17:1-2]

"Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if amillstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin."

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