Time and again we are preached that we the laity have changed our values. What was worst yesterday has become OK and what was bad has become acceptable today.
Sadly this is not only with our laity but also with our religious. Today religion has become a business and the priests who are the sole trustees have become the managing directors. Money is no longer a problem , the managing director must know how to make it.
A school in the central suburbs collects one lakh as donation. The principal who stays in Nalla sopara moves about in a car which stands in the name of a teacher.
A principal of a school in Bandra East is accused of raping a young lady of 19 years. The sad part all our Eucharistic ministers accused the girl that she was falsely accusing a priest and tarnishing the Churches name. She was pulled up at a meeting where more than 200 people were present. The girl then showed them pictures of the priest and her. Immediately two other catholic girls stood up and said they too had been attacked. The meeting ended all the chamchas ran away.
In Mahim, cameras were installed in the ladies toilet area were men are not allowed. The camera was fixed above the mirror. Normally any mirror is always fixed above the wash basin which was on the opposite wall. The climax was that nuns were part of the morcha which wanted the camera in the way it was fixed.
Fr. Simon Borges was the sole trustee of St. Micheals church. My society consisting of 112 flats was built on land originally owned by the church. St. Micheals Church had to transfer ownership of the land proportionate to the FSI consumed in the building within 4 months of society registration as per the MOF Act. My society was registered on 20/1/2004.Till date we have not been given conveyance. To top it all amenities sold to us ie gardens have been resold and plans to build two 16 storied buildings were passed by the Church with the approval of our beloved Cardinal Oswald Gracias who gives such wonderful sermons about saving gardens and the environment. Apparently based on documents of the Archdiocese of Mumbai , the Vatican has also approved the project. It’s sad that Catholics had to move the court and take an injunction against the Church. Laudato Si has a different meaning in Mumbai.
In Goa , the home of CCBI president shorts are not allowed in church premises but pictures circulated showed that drinking was allowed in an area, very close to the church. Surprisingly the church has remained silent. Mumbai Indians having permanent residences in Goa are called tourists and hence are not allowed in Church during the lockdown while Portuguese passport holders were allowed. Bishop Filipe Neri despite being sent 5 e mails has chosen to remain silent on these issues.If he is so busy he should never have taken the CCBI presidentship. After months of agitations by the people on various environmental issues he issued a statement only on December 3rd, 2020 .Laudato Si means nothing.
What is worst we now have a Catholic 2021 calendar with the photograph of Bishop Mullakal a person accused of rape. We have changed our values and saints pictures have been replaced with Mullakals. Sad but true.
Indeed our values have changed but what is worst is that while Christ had 11 disciples and one Judas at his table today it has become 11 Judases and one disciple. The sad part is that Disciples will soon become an endangered species.
Civil execution of Church marriage annulment decrees
Recently the High Court of Bombay in Goa struck down Article 19 of Decree 35461 cancelling marriages as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and ultra vires, FR MOUSINHO DE ATAIDE, a former Canonical Judge, provides an insight into the issue
The Decree No. 35.461, dated 22nd January 1946, is in consonance with the Common Civil Code in force in Goa, because it takes into account the specific internal legal organization and structure which the Catholic Church has. No other religion has such an organization and structure. So it cannot be considered discrimination in favour of the Catholic Church. Had such a Decree not been there, it would have been a discrimination against the Catholic Church. So it is not violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution. “Equality towards unequals is the greatest form of inequality”.Art 19 of the said Decree regulating the civil execution of ecclesiastical decrees of nullity and dispensation of marriage is a corollary of Art. 8 ff. of the same Decree regulating the civil recognition of the canonical marriage.According to Art. 8 ff. of the said Decree, the Civil Registration Office, after a due process, acknowledges the canonical marriage as such, contracted according to this due process. Canonical marriage does not become civil marriage, it remains canonical. The Catholic Officiating Minister does not become a Civil Registrar, he remains a Minister of the Church.Art. 19 of the said Decree follows the same train of thought and legislation as Art. 8 ff. of the said Decree: The Church annuls and dispenses the canonical marriages, which are its own. The State, through its High Court, orders the civil execution of the ecclesiastical decrees of annulment and dispensation.At no time, either before or after Liberation, was the diplomatic channel ever made use of for transmission of the decrees of annulment and dispensation, verified and ratified by Rome, to the High Court for the purpose of their civil execution. It was always the Archdiocesan Tribunal which did the transmission directly.When in 1979 the Metropolitan Tribunal of Bombay became the Court of Appeal for Goa, the then Judicial Commissioner Mishra raised objections against civil execution of decrees of annulment issued by this Archdiocesan Tribunal of Goa, verified and ratified by the said Metropolitan Tribunal. But Justice Dr G F Couto, by his Judgment, dated 17th December 1982, stipulated that, when the annulment is duly confirmed by the competent Ecclesiastical Tribunal, it will be sufficient to forward such a decree to the High Court for the purpose of the execution, without getting it verified by the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature and forwarded to the High Court through diplomatic channel. Mr Justice Dr G F Couto bases his decisions, ‘inter alia’, on the fact that the Church itself has changed its law or rules. If the Church has made the Metropolitan Tribunal of Bombay the second Instance Court for Goa, instead of the Roman Tribunal, then the High Court has no objection to order civil execution of decrees by the said Metropolitan Tribunal, as it did till then with Roman decrees. It is the ecclesiastical internal arrangement, which the High Court respects.It is true that Art 19/2 of the said Decree establishes that the High Court must enforce the ecclesiastical decision of annulment and dispensation without revision and confirmation, but this does not preclude the High Court, by virtue of Art. 226 of the Constitution of India, from verifying, when one of the parties raises doubts and suspicions, whether the ecclesiastical decisions are authentic, i.e. issued by the competent Ecclesiastical Tribunal, whether principles of natural justice, including the right of defence, have been followed, and only when the findings are affirmative, to order the execution of the ecclesiastical decisions. This is done by High Courts in Portugal after the Concordat of 2004 between the Holy See and Portugal. Thus Art. 19/2 of the said Decree is not violative of Art. 226 of the Constitution, and can very well be read within the parameters of the latter. It is to be noted that law is never a stagnant letter, unamenable to any progressive interpretation. This was already done with the same Art. in another matter by the above Judgment coram Mr Justice Dr G F Couto.The substantive Matrimonial Law, spanning from can. 1055 to can. 1165 (111 canons), and the Procedural Law, spanning from can. 1400 to can. 1752 (353 canons) are extensive and detailed, leaving no room to individual Judges’ whims and fancies. An annulment decision to be ecclesiastically executive requires affirmative Judgment by the lower Tribunal and the Decree of confirmation by the Higher Tribunal. This is even when there is no appeal from the first decision. Following of the procedural law and upholding of the right of defense are checked at every step during the trial. The Judge has to have at least a Masters in Canon Law. It is he who conducts the hearings, examining and cross-examining the parties. If the latter wish to requisition the services of an advocate, they are free to do so, in which case the advocate has the faculty to attend all the hearings and to cross-examine the parties. But the advocate has to have at least a Masters in Canon Law and approved by the Diocesan Bishop. When sufficient evidence has been collected, the parties are entitled to peruse it and produce any other piece of evidence. Their advocates may seek copies of the records and present their briefs. Besides, there is the defender of the bond who may attend hearings, goes through the records and files his observations in favour of the bond. Copies of the judgment are given to the parties, who, feeling themselves aggrieved, may file an appeal, which has to be admitted and the same procedure as above is followed. In view of these strict provisions of Canon Law, which are observed literally, it surpasses my mind how anyone can state that natural justice is not followed in the Church Courts.The Church (Code of Canon Law, Doctrine and Jurisprudence) has its own terminology, which may not be easily understood by others. Thus, discretion of judgment (can. 1095, 2°, C.I.C) means a mature evaluation of the other person and circumstances of the marriage. This has to be done at the time of the marriage and, if for any reason this is not done by the person, then the marriage is invalid. Reasons may be manifold. For example, a boy may be so infatuated with the beauty of the girl that he overlooks everything else, which, if he had considered, he would not have made and taken the decision to marry. This carries ‘per se’ no stigma on the boy.The other ground of nullity, sometimes invoked, is inability to assume essential obligations of marriage (can 1095, 3°, C.I.C). This is also prone to be misunderstood, specially by those who have half knowledge. Ability to assume… means possessing will-power sufficient to choose the marriage and to live it thereafter at least in a minimum passable manner. This may be proven oftener than not only ‘ex postfacto’. Here the canon specifies that the mentioned inability has to be due to “causes of psychic nature”. This formulation was done after setting aside two others, which had been proposed, viz: “grave psycho-sexual anomaly” and “grave psychic anomaly”. So the cause of inability may not be an anomaly. It is enough that it is a “cause of psychic nature”, that is a cause rooted in one’s psyche or personality. For example, a boy may have a personality of an ascetic or rishi or bear an asocial personality but still marry, and the resulting marriage becomes a disaster. This being so, to declare a person unable to assume… may not ‘per se’ a stigma on him.The Church Tribunals are not established under and do not draw their powers from Art. 19 of the above Decree-Law, but from the Code of Canon Law. They have recourse to the said Art. only for the purpose of having its decrees of nullity executed civilly. If the High Court, in its wisdom, feels that, for one reason or the other, it cannot order the civil execution, it is well within its powers, but surely it crosses its powers if it then sits in judgment over the ecclesiastical decision of nullity and overturns it and, worse still, orders the Church Tribunals to initiate the trial again, setting time limit for its completion. It is to be noted that the Church may not seek civil execution of its decrees of nullity and may keep the proceedings within its own ambit. Nothing prevents it from doing it.The High Court is within its rights to declare the said Art. 19 of the Decree Law unconstitutional, because it is a state law, and, having done it, to withdraw the civil execution, already performed under its orders, of the Church Decree of Annulment of the Marriage. But logic seems to fail it, when, pursuant to the same Art., declared unconstitutional, it takes upon itself the task of delving into Church Decrees. This is no disrespect towards the High Court. (The writer is currently posted at the Minor Seminary at Saligao, and earlier was a Canonical Judge)1COMMENTRelated news
Christ hears your prayers depending on how you dress and where you live. In Mumbai your prayers are heard even if you wear short pants but in Goa Christ will not hear your prayers if you are in short pants according to Bishop Filipe Neri.
On 23/10/2020 two Mumbaites both Goans having permanent residences in Goa visited the Candolim Church early in the morning . Both of them were stopped by two priests and prevented from hearing mass which is a grave liturgical abuse. The reason given,one was in short pants whose length was upto to the knees and the other though he had long pants was stopped as according to those two priest he was a tourist and Covid rules were in place.
Since the two highly educated persons did not want to create a scene at the Church premises one of them phoned Fr. Loyola who is the secretary of Bishop Filipe Neri and told him about the incident . He stated that rules are different in Mumbai and Goa and did not want to talk more as according to him the call was being recorded.Lets assume the call was being recorded when in fact it wasnt , why was Fr. Loyola afraid? One needs to be afraid only if one lies or is doing something wrong.
An e mail was sent to Bishop Filipe Neri who besides heading the Goa church is head of CCBI which deals with all issues pertaining to the internal working of the Church in India and Cardinal Oswald Gracias who heads the Mumbai Church and the CBCI which according to him only deals with the Government of India, asking them if there is a dress code while attending mass and if so to give me a copy , to give me the definition of tourist and if portuguese passport holders resident in Goa were tourists or not as they were attending mass as compared to Indians who were not allowed and to provide the Covid rules.
Four reminder e mails were sent to Bishop Filipe Neri and Cardinal Oswald Gracias asking for the same information and lastly they were given notice that in case no reply was received by November 6th, 2020 it would be presumed that there is no dress code , no definition of tourist and no Covid rules by the Goa Church.
In Mumbai a person who is a member of the Archdiocesean Finance Committee along with Cardinal Oswald Gracias receives communion in short pants. I feel that there is nothing wrong about it but Bishop Neri feels that it is wrong but is not willing to provide the dress code as probably according to him Christ does not hear ones prayers if one comes in shorts and hears mass in Goa, though priests can do official duties in civil dress.
Does Bishop Neri recide a different ” I Believe ” in Goa? Does he not believe in ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH OR DOES HE BELIEVE IN MANY CHURCHES IN INDIA? Bishop Neri is answerable to the laity as he is head of the CCBI which is supposed to deal with all internal matters related to the Church in India.
In another issue of 37 priests from Mysore ,Bishop Neri was asked for a meeting well in advance and was told people were coming from various places to Goa, he was also informed that flight tickets were booked and all arrangements made and tentative dates given to him, after persistent telephonic follow up with his secretary , he refused saying that he is afraid due to Covid, he was then told to give a zoom meeting as priests and people had arrived from Mangalore, Mumbai, Karnataka and Kerala , he then claimed he was unaware of the issue. I then sent him documentary evidence showing him that a letter was sent by registered post to him by one of the 37 priests one year prior to his e mail and the weight of the said letter was 290 grams and hence he was fully aware.
People occupying public posts are accountable to the public. People who do not have time to reply should not hold public posts. If Bishop Neri has no time to reply he should not be occuping such a post.
Lastly stop fooling people as chances are very high that you will get caught.
Rome: A priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, US, has been arrested along with two women and charged with obscenity after he was discovered filming a pornographic video on a parish church altar.
Father Travis Clark, 37, the pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River, Louisiana, was arrested together with Mindy Dixon, 41, and Melissa Cheng, 23, on September 30.
A local resident told police they noticed the lights were on in the parish church, and upon looking in the windows, saw the three engaged in sexual activity on the altar. According to reports, the altar of the church had been outfitted with stage lighting.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced the following day, Oct. 1, that Clark had been arrested and removed from ministry. Initially, no details were given for the cause of his removal, other than to confirm that he was not accused of any offences related to abuse of minors.
Details were not revealed until Oct. 8, when public records were released.
Dixon is a pornographic performer and “dominatrix.” According to Nola.com, she had posted on her social media the day before her arrest that she was headed to New Orleans to “defile a house of God” alongside another “dominatrix,” presumably Cheng.
Police believe the sexual encounter to have been consensual, and have not filed charges related to sexual assault. The obscenity charge stemmed from the fact that the sex act was visible from a window.
Clark is expected to face canonical sanctions for violations of clerical continence, and for the profanation of an altar, which is constituted a crime in canon 1376 of the Code of Canon Law, which provides that “a person who profanes a movable or immovable sacred object is to be punished with a just penalty.”
Clark was ordained a priest in 2013, and became the pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in 2019. He had recently been named the chaplain of Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, Louisiana, replacing another priest who resigned this summer. That priest, Fr. Paul Wattingly, was also suspended from public ministry Oct 1, after he admitted to abusing a minor in 2013.
“Both of these situations are very troubling to me. When a priest does not live out his vocation faithfully he suffers consequences and I must notify the parishioners, school families, and public in general,” said Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans in an Oct. 1 statement announcing the suspensions.
“Please pray for all those affected, especially the parishioners of the parishes and school communities where they have served,” he added.
Aymond has since performed a penitential liturgy of atonement and re-consecration of the altar at Sts. Peter and Paul church following the act of profanation.
As news of the story spread Friday, one priest on Twitter urged Catholics to pray prayers of reparation, “consoling the heart of Jesus.”
Clark, Dixon, and Cheng have all been released on bail.
“No one is ever allowed to disobey the pope. Period.”
The statement is made repeatedly on social media, usually in an attempt to end a debate. It’s taken as a given. No sources cited, no documentation provided. It’s merely assumed. It is, after all, obvious.
But is it? Does the Catholic Church actually teach this? Has She ever taught this?
As always in Catholic theology, distinctions must be made.
Few would disagree that it’s permissible to resist a Pope. This idea dates back to St. Paul’s resisting St. Peter in Galatians 2:11–15:
But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that some came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision. And to his dissimulation the rest of the Jews consented, so that Barnabas also was led by them into that dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as the Jews do, how dost thou compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We by nature are Jews, and not of the Gentiles sinners.
St. Paul takes issue here with St. Peter’s conduct in withdrawing himself from the table of the Gentiles for fear of offending the Jewish converts; by doing so, St. Peter risked misleading the Gentiles into thinking they were obligated to conform to the Jewish way of living. St. Paul’s reprimand here is clearly not an argument against St. Peter’s authority. St. Thomas Aquinas concurs that even an inferior may, and sometimes ought to admonish his superior:
[I]f there was a question of a danger for the Faith, the superiors would have to be rebuked by their inferiors, even in public.” (1)
Aquinas, along with many of the theologians quoted below, makes clear that any such public resistance is directed toward a prelate’s exercise of authority, as Paul did to Peter (2) if there is a danger to the faith (3). As licit resistance, it does not constitute “judging” the Pope.
Concerning this resistance, Thomas Cardinal Cajetan (1469–1534), a leading theologian of his time, concurs:
Therefore, you must resist, to his face, a pope who is openly tearing the Church apart, for example, by refusing to confer ecclesiastical benefices except for money, or in exchange for services … a case of simony, even committed by a pope, must be denounced. (4)
But what if this “resistance” is not simply rebuking a pope in an improper exercise of authority? Is disobedience ever allowed? Do theologians ever discuss “disobedience” to the “pope” specifically?
In fact, they do.
Francisco Suarez (1548–1617) of the School of Salamanca, a Jesuit priest and theologian, considered by many to be one of the greatest Scholastics after St. Thomas Aquinas himself, wrote:
If the Pope lays down an order contrary to right customs one does not have to obey him; if he tries to do something manifestly opposed to justice and to the common good, it would be licit to resist him; if he attacks by force, he could be repelled by force, with the moderation characteristic of a good defense. (5)
Sylvester Prieras (1456–1523), a Dominican theologian, appointed master of the Sacred Palace by Pope Leo X and known for his detailed rebuttal to Luther’s 95 Theses, wrote:
In answer to the question, “What should be done in cases where the Popedestroys the Church by his evil actions?”: “He would certainly sin; he should neither be permitted to act in such fashion, nor should he be obeyedin what was evil; but he should be resisted with a courteous reprehension[.] … [H]e does not have the power to destroy; therefore, if there is evidence that he is doing it, it is licit to resist him. The result of all this is that if the Pope destroys the Church by his orders and acts, he can be resisted and the execution of his mandate prevented. The right of open resistance to prelates’ abuse of authority stems also from natural law[.] … As Cajetan observes, we do not affirm all this in the sense that someone could have competence to judge the Pope or have authority over him, but meaning that it is licit to defend oneself. Indeed, anyone has the right to resist an unjust act, to try to prevent it and to defend himself.” (6)
Francisco de Vitoria (1483–1546), his Dominican counterpart, founder of the School of Salamanca, wrote:
If the Pope by his orders and his acts destroys the Church, one can resist him and impede the execution of his commands. (7)
St. Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), Jesuit theologian, Doctor of the Church, one of the greatest defenders of Catholic theology during the Counter-Reformation, wrote:
As it is lawful to resist the pope, if he assaulted a man’s person, so it is lawful to resist him, if he assaulted souls, or troubled the state, and much more if he strove to destroy the Church. It is lawful, I say, to resist him, by not doing what he commands, and hindering the execution of his will; still, it is not lawful to judge or punish or even depose him, because he is nothing other than a superior. See Cajetan on this matter and John de Torquemada. (8)
Juan Cardinal de Torquemada (1388–1468), not to be confused with Tomás, the Grand Inquisitor (1420–1498), wrote:
Were the pope to command anything against Holy Scripture, or the articles of faith, or the truth of the Sacraments, or the commands of the natural or divine law, he ought not to be obeyed, but in such commands is to be passed over. (9)
More recently, Raymond Cardinal Burke, canon lawyer, stated: “[There are even times when a] Pope must, as a duty, be disobeyed.” Cardinal Burke referenced the late medieval historian and Oxford scholar Professor John Watts, who wrote about limits to Petrine ministry (10).
The first well known example of a bishop openly disobeying a pope in this sense is provided by Bishop Robert Grosseteste (1175–1253), Bishop of Lincoln (north of London) and one of the most learned men of the Middle Ages. Michael Davies is here quoted at length:
The issue which provoked Bishop Grosseteste’s refusal to comply with what he considered to be an abuse of papal power was that of the papal provision to benefices [a permanent Church appointment, typically that of a rector or vicar, for which property and income are provided in respect of pastoral duties]. He was a man who would allow no compromise on a matter of principle, and here was a question which could not have been more directly concerned with the care of souls. Where he was concerned, there were two considerations which must come before all else when appointing a priest who was to be a true pastor to his people: the pastor must be spiritually worthy of his awe-inspiring office, and he must live among his flock.
He accepted that, in virtue of his plentitude of power, the Pope had the right to make nominations to benefices, and, where this right was properly exercised, he was quite prepared to accept it. But for him both papal power and the provision to a benefice had but one end — the salvation of souls. The Pope, therefore, had been given the power to nominate men to pastoral offices only to build up the Body of Christ through the effective care of souls; and how could the care of souls be advanced by alien pastors who never even saw their flocks and were interested only in the gold they could obtain from them?
In 1253 the Pope nominated his own nephew, Frederick of Lavagna, to a vacant canonry in Lincoln Cathedral! The mandate ordering Bishop Grosseteste to appoint him was something of a legal masterpiece in which the careful use of non obstane clauses [notwithstanding any statutes to the contrary] ruled out every legal ground for refusal or delay. This, then, was the Bishop’s dilemma: He was faced with a perfectly legal command from the Sovereign Pontiff, which apparently must be obeyed, and yet the demand, though legal, was obviously immoral, a clear abuse of power. The Pope was using his office as Vicar of Christ in a sense quite contrary to the purpose for which it had been entrusted to him. The Bishop saw clearly that there is an important distinction between what a Pope has a legal right to do and what he has a moral right to do. His response was a direct refusal to obey an order which constituted an abuse of authority. The Pope was acting ultra vires, beyond the limits of his authority, and hence his subjects were not bound to obey him in this.
In his reply to the papal command, Bishop Grosseteste accused Pope Innocent IV of disobedience to Christ and the destruction of the care of souls. “No faithful subject of the Holy See,” he wrote, “no man who is not cut away by schism from the Body of Christ and the same Holy See, can submit to mandates, precepts, or any other demonstrations of this kind, no, not even if the authors were the most high body of angels. He must needs repudiate them and rebel against them with all his strength. Because of the obedience by which I am bound, and of my love of my union with the Holy See in the Body of Christ, as an obedient son I disobey, I contradict, I rebel. You cannot take action against me, for my every word and act is not rebellion but the filial honor due by God’s command to father and mother. As I have said, the Apostolic See in its holiness cannot destroy, it can only build. This is what the plenitude of power means; it can do all things to edification. But these co-called provisions do not build up, they destroy.”
Commenting on this letter in his study, “Grosseteste’s Relations with the Papacy and the Crown”, W. A. Pantin writes:
“There seem to be two lines of argument here. The first is that since the plentitudo potestatis [regardingthejurisdictional power of the papacy]exists for the purpose of edification and not destruction, any act which tends to the destruction or the ruin of souls cannot be a genuine exercise of the plenitude potestatis[.] … The second line of argument is that if the Pope, or anyone else, should command anything contrary to the Divine Law, then it will be wrong to obey, and in the last resort, while protesting one’s loyalty, one must refuse to obey. The fundamental problem was that while the Church’s teaching is supernaturally guaranteed against error, the Church’s ministers, from the Pope downwards, are not impeccable, and are capable of making wrong judgments or giving wrong commands.” (11)
“You cannot take action against me,” Bishop Grosseteste had warned the Pope — and events proved him to be correct. Innocent IV was beside himself with fury when he first received the Bishop’s letter. His first impulse was to order his “vassal the king” to imprison the old prelate — but his Cardinals persuaded him to take no action.
“You must do nothing. It is true. We cannot condemn him. He is a Catholic and a holy man, a better man than we are. He has not got his equal among the prelates. All the French and English clergy know this and our contradiction would be of no avail. The truth of this letter, which is probably known to many, might move many against us. He is esteemed as a great philosopher, learned in Greek and Latin literature, zealous for justice, a reader in the schools of theology, a preacher to the people, an active enemy of abuses.” This account was written by a man who had no love for the Bishop — Mathew Paris, executor of the mandate which the Bishop had refused to implement. But Mathew recognized the greatness and sincerity of Robert Grosseteste and was stirred by it.
Innocent IV decided that the most prudent course would be to take no action[.] (12)
St. Thomas, other moralists, and even the Church Herself give certain conditions under which we should not execute the command of a superior. And this would apply to bishops, and in some rare cases, even the pope. We are bound to obey all of their legitimate commands[.] …
The first condition that would exempt us from obedience is if they command something that is contrary to the Natural Law or the Divine Positive Law, that is, if the command is sinful, one is bound not to obey, in fact, one is forbidden to obey.
Second, if the command is clearly imprudent, and this follows from the fact that imprudence is a sin[.] … This can only be done when has a very clear grasp of all of the circumstances involved, otherwise the benefit of the doubt goes to one’s superior.
Third, the Church Herself says in the code of Canon Law that if the circumstances, under which the command was given, make the execution of the command impossible, the person should go back to the superior and ask what he is to do.
Fourth, if the superior commands you to do something which is contrary to sustenance of life, for example, your superiors cannot command you to fast to the point of starving to death.
Fifth, if the command is excessively onerous, one is not bound to obey. For example, if your superior commanded you to live on four hours of sleep at night[.] …
Sixth, if the command does not come from someone with jurisdiction[.] …
Seventh, your superiors cannot command you to do something spiritually or morally harmful. For example, if your superior commanded a young male to take a piano-playing job in a brothel. (13)
Once all of these factors have been taken into consideration, the question becomes whether they can be applied to the more recent case of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Archbishop Lefebvre, in an act he himself openly described as one of “disobedience,” consecrated four bishops for the Society of St. Pius X in 1988 after being refused permission to do so by Pope John Paul II. In a formal written statement given March 29, 1988 and published in July 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre described this act of disobedience and referenced, in his defense, the theologians quoted above:
Now our disobedience is motivated by the need to keep the Catholic Faith. The orders being given us clearly express that they are being given us in order to oblige us to submit without reserve to the Second Vatican Council, to the post-conciliar reforms, and to the prescriptions of the Holy See, that is to say, to the orientations and acts which are undermining our Faith and destroying the Church. It is impossible for us to do this. To collaborate in the destruction of the Church is to betray the Church and to betray Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now all the theologians worthy of this name teach that if the pope, by his acts, destroys the Church, we cannot obey him ([references in original]: Vitoria: Obras, pp.486-487; Suarez: De fide, disp.X, sec.VI, no.16; St. Robert Bellarmine: de Rom. Pont., Book 2, Ch.29; Cornelius a Lapide: ad Gal. 2,11, etc.)[.] (14)
Note that Prieras, Vitoria, Bellarmine, Grosseteste, Pantin, and Lefebvre all stated that the conditions requisite for disobeying the pope would involve an act or acts that would “destroy the Church” or lead to the “destruction of souls.” None, however, goes into much detail regarding what this destruction would entail. The defenders of Archbishop Lefebvre will point to the statistical collapse of the Church during the period during and following the Second Vatican Council, but whether that, by itself, suffices for the conditions outlined by the theologians (i.e., “destroy”) can be debated.
Applying Fr. Ripperger’s criteria, defenders make the argument that Archbishop Lefebvre met at least the first two:
That being required, even in his own mind, to “betray the Church and to betray Our Lord Jesus Christ” constituted a sin
That the “orders being given us … oblige us to submit without reserve to … orientations and acts which are undermining our Faith and destroying the Church,” orders which therefore constituted imprudent commands, making disobedience permissible, since, as Fr. Ripperger states, “this follows from the fact that imprudence is a sin.” They would claim that it would be difficult to argue that Archbishop Lefebvre did not have “a very clear grasp of allof the circumstances involved,” or that he was ignorant of Aquinas’s description of when “an erring conscience binds.”
The answer to the question, then, is yes — a Catholic may disobey the Pope, but only when certain conditions are met. For the everyday Catholic, the conditions outlined by the theologians above do not apply. But for those to whom the theologians addressed their concerns, when they do, disobedience may, in fact, be required. With regard to Archbishop Lefebvre, we have, as St. Thomas More said, no window to look into another man’s conscience, nor can we read a dead man’s mind. Those who wish to claim that Archbishop Lefebvre was lying about his reasons have the free will to do so. Those who wish to claim that he did not in fact meet the conditions set out by the theologians are free to make their case. The theologians have spoken; the reader may decide for himself.
What cannot be argued, however, is that the Catholic Church teaches now, or has ever taught, that no one is ever permitted to disobey a pope.
Summa Theologica II-II, q33, a. 4
Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians
Cajetan, De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii
Suarez, De Fide, disp. X, sect. VI, n. 16. De Fide, disp. X, sec VI, no. 16
Prieras, Dialogus de Potestate Papae (from Francisco de Vitoria: Obras, pp. 486–7)
De Vitoria, Obras de Francisco de Vitoria, pp. 486-487.
Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Bk 2, Ch. 29, 7th reply
Prof. Vincent D Monteiro firstname.lastname@example.org 126.96.36.199Dear Faithful, further to the Circular from the Archdiocese of Mumbai. Herein is fitting reply from the Vatican towards our hypocrisy from the Popes Secretary…….Pope’s secretary warns people will abandon Church if Church abandons ……..[Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of the story to reflect comments by Pope Francis’s personal secretary to Crux.] ROME – Shortly after the Diocese of Rome reversed its decision Friday to close all churches in a bid to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, a personal secretary to Pope Francis sent a message to priest friends urging them to go out and bring faithful the sacraments, voicing fear that some might leave the Church due to its failure to be there for people in a time of need. “In the epidemic of fear that we are all living due to the coronavirus pandemic, we risk behaving more like wage-earners than as pastors,” Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid said in a letter dated March 13. “I think of the people who will certainly abandon the Church, when this nightmare is over, because the Church abandoned them when they were in need,” he said, adding, “May it never be said: “I won’t go to a church that didn’t come to me when I was in need.” Though taken by many Roman priests as written by the pope himself, Gaid told Crux Sunday that he was the author of the note, it was sent to a few priest friends using WhatsApp, and that it was not read or approved by Pope Francis in advance. Signed by Gaid, the message recounts an early Christian tradition of Peter leaving Rome under Nero’s persecution. According to the account, as Peter was leaving, he saw Jesus walking toward the city, and when he asked Jesus where he was going, Jesus responded that he was going to Rome to be crucified again. The response prompted Peter to return to Rome, where he was martyred. “Peter, humanely speaking, had every right to flee to save his life from persecution and to perhaps establish other communities and other churches,” Gaid said, “but in reality, he acted according to the logic of the world, like Satan; that is, thinking like men and not as God does.” In light of government measures imposing heavy fines for violation of its lockdown, “We cannot and must not judge” those who decide not to go out, he said, but stressed the image of Christ “who meets a Peter full of fear and fleeing not to rebuke him, but to go and die in his place.” “We think of all the souls who are fearful and left alone because we pastors follow civil instructions – which is right and clearly necessary in this moment to avoid contagion,” he said, but cautioned that in doing so, priests risk “putting aside divine instructions – which is a sin.” “We are thinking like men and not like God. We are among the fearful and not among the doctors, nurses, volunteers, workers and fathers of families who are on the front lines,” he said. Turning his focus to the faithful, Gaid said his thoughts go out to those need comfort and wish to go to confession but cannot; to people who are able to receive communion, believing it is Christ himself they are receiving, and of those “who now must be content following the Mass through streaming.” Priests, he said, must be on “the front line,” and must be available when their people are looking for a source of comfort and courage as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. “They must know that they can run at any moment and take refuge in their churches and parishes and find them open and welcoming,” the pope said, insisting that the Church must be the “toll-free number” that anyone can call “to be comforted, to ask for confession, to receive communion; or to ask for it for their loved ones.” Gaid urged priests not to stay as “spectators” as the pandemic continues, but to increase their visits to individual homes, while taking all the necessary precautions to avoid contagion. “Otherwise pastas and pizzas will be delivered to houses but not communion for those who want it because they are elderly, sick or in need. Supermarkets, newspaper shops and tobacco shops will be open, but not the churches,” he said, noting that the government has a duty to guarantee the health and material support of the people, “but we have the duty to do the same for souls.” “Let us apply all the necessary measures but not let ourselves be conditioned by fear,” he said, inviting priests to pray “for the grace and courage to act according to God and not according to men!” Gaid’s message came after the Diocese of Rome made a quick about-face on a decision to close all churches, whether in use as a parish or not. After decreeing March 12 that all churches in Rome would be closed, a day later the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, reversed that decision, saying the back-track came out of a meeting with the pope. De Donatis permitted parochial churches to remain open, and placed the decision whether to go up to the “mature consciences” of the faithful. RELATED: Rome reopens churches after pope cautions against taking ‘drastic measures’ Since March 8, all public Masses in Rome have been suspended in a bid to prevent transmission of the disease. The decision of whether to keep parishes open now lay in the hands of individual pastors. In one of his first televised daily Masses after the suspension, Pope Francis urged priests to have the courage to “go out” and offer people the sacraments. Follow Elise Ann Allen on Twitter: @eliseannallen ________________________________________ Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. That kind of reporting doesn’t come cheap, and we need your support. You can help Crux by giving a small amount monthly, or with a onetime gift. Please remember, Crux is a for-profit organization, so contributions are not tax-deductible.
It appears that people who lose their loved ones during the lockdown are not aware that there are specific guidelines issued by the Archdiocese of Mumbai. It’s sad that the same are not being highlighted for obvious reasons.
The permission for the mass to be said at the Cemetery has been given by H. E. Cardinal Oswald since 6th May via a video msg… This was at the instance of Judith Monterio when her dad passed away in his sleep. See the message
Meanwhile, Judith having found no reason for mass not being said following due norms,; approached the Cardinal & the 1st funeral mass for a Non Covid person was held at Salvation Church, dadar cemetery for her dad Graciano Monteiro on 6th May 2020 (the 1st mass in the cemetery worldwide post lockdown all over).
Why are families not asking for masses to be said for even the noncovid funerals post 6th may ?
Catholics are advised to cremate bodies. People are not informed that a mass can be held. Some priests give the funeral prayers in the hands of the dead persons relatives and tell them to recite the prayers.
One of the corporal works of mercy is to bury the dead. Alas today many disciples of Christ who wear cassocks are more afraid of Covid than anything else.
Indeed Covid has shaken the faith in Christ of most Roman Catholic priests. The corporal works of mercy has been forgotten.
In these trying times we have human beings called Cyril Dara , Darryl Dsouza, Melwyn Fernandes and Joaquim Fernandes who have gone out and met various officials and got BMC permissions to bury the Christian Covid persons.
After getting the permissions from the BMC the Sewri cemetery grave diggers refused to dig the graves for these covid corpses. These guys got private persons and overcame that hurdle as well. Presently the cemetery grave diggers have started digging covid graves.
What takes the cake is that a number of funerals have been conducted by these people without a priest.
These people who have lost a family member to Covid have been fleeced by various hospitals first, next the ambulance has charged them a minimum of Rs. 8000 for 3-4 kms distance and certain undertakers have charged Rs. 50,000/- for a simple coffin and burial. It’s really sad that these people who have lost their dear ones have also been fleeced financially.
It is in these trying times that Cyril Dara, Darryl Dsouza, Melwyn Fernandes and Joaquin have stood up and helped fellow christians in distress. This is Christianity in action.Groups recognised by the Church have all run away.
Today being being Faith Formation Sunday, it was a beautiful sermon preached by a priest of my Parish. Got me contemplating on my levels of faith which is on it’s lowest levels and decreasing daily. It is actually something I am clinging to on a thin thread of rope and hope.
On introspection I realised I was brought up in a religion of Forced Faith Formation or Fear Faith Formation, when I would have aligned better with a Faith Foundation and not Formation. Formation is more a human interpretation or biased influential teaching. Foundation is learning from example of teachers who turned out to be only preachers of the faith. This is where I was getting disillusioned. Where I am preached about a Christ born in poverty and lived a life of modesty and I see priests who are supposed to be Christ like living in opulence. A Christ who healed the sick and today priests who fear to bury the dead due to COVID19 and even cases of Priests not having time to bury the dead. What healing are we expecting from these Priests who want to Form our Faith.
Forced and Fear that if we don’t attend classes then we will not be administered Holy Communion followed by Confirmation and then even for Marriage. How many youth want or come back to the Church after confirmation, besides a Sunday Mass and other religious festivities. The state of the Institution of Marriage needs no explanation as it is attempted to built with Faith Formatiom and not Faith Foundation. Where Priests cannot stay in their vows of celibacy preaching Couples on how to stay in a Marriage. Priests raping Nuns, sodomizing kids wanting to Form our Faith? Money and land donated by the laity in Faith and Trust that it would be used for the underprivileged of the community being squandered and looted. These custodians of our money and land want to Form our Faith?
On this Faith Formation Sunday I would like to express my gratitude to Priests who were responsible for making me, ME. To those Priests who are responsible for weakening, ruining, wrecking and shaking my faith, they can have a Sunday to fake their Formation of my Faith, as the rest of the days of the week, months and the rest of my life, they are ending my faith in them.
So this Faith Formation Sunday, I am happy my levels of faith which is on it’s lowest levels and decreasing daily is not in my God or my Church but on the ones who preach my God and run the Church.