Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Irish heretic and a rant against heresy and heretics

And yet another Irish priest has been disciplined for heresy, this time he has been sacked from teaching at the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick but this time it appears to by the Dominicans themselves. Fr Thomas Father Brodie has questioned the existence of Jesus since the Seventies but has only made his views public in a recent book.

I have been wondering what was actually happening about the renewal of the Irish Church promised in the Pope 2010 letter, the process is much slower than might have been hoped. There doesn't appear to be any radical amalgamation of dioceses, just the appointment of a new Nuncio and a slow appointing of orthodox bishops. There is supposed be a "Mission" to the Irish clergy - the bishops, priests and religious. I am sure this will happen but there seems little point if there is an "anti-Church" within the Church arguing against Orthodoxy and undermining all that might be done. Before anything else there must be a purification, a clear proclamation of Catholic Truth.

Any Renewal, or even Evangelisation, is impossible if there is a lack of clarity about what the essential message of the Church of Christ is actually proclaiming. The ambiguity of post-Vatican II Catholicism's "religious freedom" has done incredible damage, to the point of treating heresy as partner in dialogue rather than a serious violence to the Faith of the Church, revealed down the Ages by the Holy Spirit. I quite understand why Abp Lefebvre was concened about religious liberty, though I wonder if his followers through opposition to Peter are falling into it. Their arguements for dissidence are beginning to sound like those of the Irish dissident ACP!

Heresy is an attack on Truth,

I am convinced that heresy is the sin against the Holy Spirit that cannot be forgiven. It is after all the Holy Spirit who leads us into Truth. It is Holy Spirit that co-authors scripture, that keeps the Chuch free from error and validates Her sacraments. He underwrites the Church's teaching authority. He both draws men to Christ and opens their hearts to him. Heresy is a denial of all the Holy Spirit does. Tolleration of heresy leaves us orphans who are incapable of crying out "Abba, Father". It strikes at the very heart of Christian unity. It undermines Faith obviously, but it also undermines Hope and Charity because it obscures the person of Christ.

No wonder the Holy Father said to our Bishops, "It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate."
Heresy and heretics are the enemies of Christ and we really must pray for the Grace to recognise them for what they are and to learn to hate them for the terrible damage they do to the Church's ability to make Christ knowable. They are our enemy and the enemies of the Church. We can be tolerant of any sin because with the truth of Christ we can recognise it but heresy tends to make truth obscure to the point where good becomes evil and evil becomes good.

Mary scourge of heretics, pray for us.


Delia said...

Powerful stuff, Father!

Sitsio said...

Well said Father. From events like Unite For Life we can see how strong the faith still is in Ireland, they desperately need good pastors to feed the flock, instead there are so many like this, sowing dissent and confusion. When will they see the people want the good food which they should be feeding us—the people want Christ!

TH2 said...

Thank you, Father Blake, for your clarity, insight and straightforwardness on the dangers of heresy and heretics. So much needed to be said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father. I agree with you, after all I published the following on my blog last April :
" I have no love and little respect for the above named Association of Catholic Priests. Many of them, despite their claim to be "thirty or forty years in the priesthood", seem to have not grown spiritually or intellectually in that time -. Some have the very same views and attitudes that I heard them express over forty years ago. They were against Paul VI and most things traditional then and they denounced or dismissed as reactionary and as prophets of doom anyone who dared to question them. Some of its present day members long ago appeared to interpret Vatican II to suit their own agenda while ignoring what did not suit. Some were Seminary professors!
I have no doubt that some of the present day members are sincere, even if misguided. Many of the younger members studied in Seminary under some of the older members who were professors or lecturers. It is easy sometimes not to see feet of clay in those whose enthusiasm captures and whose language and attitudes, in another context, would be called appealing to the mob. Most of the seminarians would have been in their late teens or early twenties and very impressionable. I venture to suggest that they could have been easily moved by what I hesitate to call the demagoguery of some lecturers and professors. Now I think they should sit back and look again at where they are being led."

BJC said...

If you look it up on the internet traditonal catechisms list six things as being sins against the Holy Spirit:

- Despair
- Presumption of God's mercy
- Final impenitence
- Obstinacy in sin
- Impugning the known truth
- Envy of another's spiritual welfare.

As one website says: to "impugn" the known truth means to attack it by word or argument, to resist it, to contradict it, or even to oppose the known truth or to challenge it as false. So what you are writing about is point number 5.

GOR said...

”The book, which took 12 years to write, came as a shock to his superiors when it was published last October.”


His superiors didn’t know…? No one in the Dominican Order reviewed his work? This was done all on his own - without the oversight of his superiors? It seems that it is not just the bishops who are asleep at the wheel.

And from the hierarchy, was there no Censor Deputatus to check it? No episcopal Imprimatur sought?

”“A committee is now examining his work and will meet with Fr Brodie to discuss it.”

How many students have been exposed to this and their faith shaken in his years of teaching? The committee is a bit late, I’d say.

Genty said...

I fear that the ingrained and intransigent clericalism in Ireland, coupled with trickle-down collegiality (read too often as do-your-own-thing) has produced a volatile mix. In effect, the dissident priests are talking among themselves because many of the laity have voted with their feet, if not their souls, and are no longer around to hear them.
For those faithful clergy it must feel as though they are burdened with a Sisyphean task.
It seems that a wholesale purge is the answer. How sad.

JARay said...

I must agree with Genty that a wholesale purge must be the answer.
There is no doubt in my mind that formal excommunication must be promulgated. The bewildered faithful deserve no less. Keeping quiet and tut tutting in the background will no longer do.
We have all been launched on a year of evangelisation! When is this to actually bloom? Or even flower before blooming?
I have never, ever, known a more ignorant, lethargic and more worldly bunch of people who call themselves Catholics, but don't know what they are claiming!

RJ said...

I don't think this is an isolated case. I have direct experience of an Irish academic institution where I believe such views would be regarded as perfectly tolerable - 'academic freedom' etc. Is this something to do with the alleged split between the 'Christ of history' and 'the Christ of faith'?

Unfortunately, I suspect I would find a wide range of unorthodox liberal views in my own parish in England: a lady recently informed me that the definitive teaching on the impossibility of ordaining women was 'just the Pope's opinion'. The poison is widespread.

I don't agree that we should hate heretics (hate the heresy, yes) although I do find myself inclined to make a robust response.

RJ said...

I suspect what we are seeing in Brodie's work is the effect of philosophical assumptions stemming from the post-Cartesian tradition, which reimported the Platonic mind/body split to Western thinking: if there is a mind/body split, then there is a mind/world split, and if there is a mind/world split, we cannot have direct knowledge of the world, only of the contents of our own consciousness. On the same grounds, historical knowledge of the world (e.g. the life of Jesus) is also impossible. Thus, in our consciousness, we can have 'faith' in Jesus, but this is not the Jesus of history, who lived in the real world of which we have no knowledge. The abandonment of Thomism in Catholic academe has a lot to answer for!

Jacobi said...

Ireland is but typical of so much of the Western Church.

The past 50 years have seen a sustained revolt, from within the Church, against core beliefs of Catholicism. The similarities with the Protestant Reformation are remarkable. It seems we now have a Modernist Reformation on our hands.

As with the previous reformation, the attack has been directly or indirectly on the same Sacraments.

Holy Communion and the Real Presence are denied in the universal and casual reception of the Host.

The Sacrament of Confession, sin and The Fall, are denied in the near zero attendance in most churches at Confession.

Holy Orders is implicitly denied, with the assumption of clerical roles by the laity, in particular the abuse of the routine and universal use of lay distributors of the Sacred Elements.

Marriage is now implicitly attacked with the widespread tolerance of the divorced or unmarried partners receiving Communion, instead of just attending Mass.

Until this is grasped, the underlying heretical and essentially Secularist nature of the attack will not be understood and the remedy will not be forthcoming. If we take, however, Pope Benedict’s 2005 speech on the Hermeneutic of Rupture as the start of the counter-reformation, then we have at least 50 years to go.

parepidemos said...

Fr. Blake, With respect, the Catechism (1864) would certainly indicate that the sin against the Holy Spirit is not heresy but the refusal to accept God's mercy and forgiveness through repentance. This rejection of the "..salvation offered by the Holy Spirit...can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss."

I find the use of "can" rather than "does" to be very interesting.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Which particular 1864 Catechism?

If you look at the particular text you will see that the basic principle is the rejecting of Revelation that is the Unforgiveable Sin -important to read scripture in its context!
The presumption in the Gospel is that Faith having been given is somehow disfigured through what BJC lists
- Despair
- Presumption of God's mercy
- Final impenitence
- Obstinacy in sin
- Impugning the known truth
- Envy of another's spiritual welfare

Being true to what is revealed (orthodoxy) ensures we do not fall into such sin. Thus I suggest unorthooxy (heresy) attacks even the theological virtues, the root of Grace!

F Marsden said...

Hate the sin but love the sinner. Hate the heresy but love the heretic - at least by praying that they may abjure their errors and come to the Truth.

If you speak of hating the heretic we might end up burning Albigensians again....or their modern equivalents.

Fr Ray Blake said...

F Marsden,
The Fathers wou;ld disagree with you as far as heretics were concerned. I think because heresy, unlike sin, was seen as contaminant.

Heresy is a wilful rejection of Truth, sin is about human weakness, the two cannot be compared!

Hence the story of St Nicholas' violent attack on Arius. The letter's of John especially would have us have nothing to do with heretics.
As I suggest every other sin can be forgiven but not heresy because it distorts and perverts the image of Christ.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...