Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Priests Drinking to Conscience First

I had always thought that conscience was important to Catholics: Newman famously said he would drink to the Pope but to conscience first, Aquinas, that we must follow conscience, even if leads one out of the Church.

Pope Francis, or at least the Beroglians, appear to be saying that the divorced and remarried may receive Holy Communion if they do so in good conscience, the problem is what if the priest who is expected to give them Communion feels in good conscience that he may not do so.

I heard a rather garbled account of a young priest, not a 'Correcton' signer, placed in this situation, after a discussion with his bishop he was led by conscience not quite out of the Church but to another diocese. it could be that this priest was tactless or harsh in how he said what he said, I don't know.

I get the feeling that this seems to be a phenomena that is likely to grow in the Church. On social media and in clerical chat rooms those priests whose comscience tells them the Gospel and Church promotes the former 'pastoral' practice seem very uneasy about their ability to continue in their dioceses. It seems that in some places lay people and bishops can freely follow conscience but not priests.

The implication for priests is if you insist on following your conscience you must find a diocese where the bishop allows or tolerates such a priest with such a conscience.

In the past conscience led priests to the arena, or the gallows or concentration camp and a bishop and those involved in their formation were concerned about sharpening not blunting conscience. An 'e-friend' priest said recently, 'they want us out and gone from the Church', that is probably an over reaction but there are obviously diocese, as in Malta where the seminary gate is open, as is, presumably, the diocesan gate where other bishops have told critical Catholics to stay away from events, the implication for priests whose conscience is sensitive is frightening.

This is presumably where schism begins; 'old' believers are simply told to go away or are unwelcome. The problem is that 'old' believers are so often the young, not the men and women of the 1970s. for a diocese in Europe or the US to lose even one of its younger priests today is pretty catastrophic.


John Vasc said...

"...it could be that this priest was tactless or harsh in how he said what he said, I don't know."

We should of course separate ourselves from all ill-feeling and personal dislike when we explain ourselves to those who themselves judge harshly.
But if that priest's 'harsh and tactless' words may eventually - and only God knows if and when - help to prick his bishop's conscience and save that man's soul, then they were charitable words beyond all measure, and that priest is indeed among the blessed.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

"If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand." Mark 3:24-25.

I fear that the Catholic Church is sending out mixed messages which are confusing the congregations. And I don't mean just on the subject of "the divorced and remarried may receive Holy Communion if they do so in good conscience". By which I presume you mean the remarried but not having their previous marriage annulled.

On a different matter, there are also a number of Catholic priests who do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; and what is worse they teach that the Communion and the "blood" of Christ are only symbolism not to be take literally.

God bless.

Lepanto said...

I often think that things could be a lot worse. We have a Pope who is almost wholly without subtlety and whose efforts at applying it fail because he cannot help gloating over his opponents. Think what damage a gentler, subtler, more theologically inclusive man could have done. He has drawn fairly clear lines (what he says, he tells us, is magisterial, no matter what any document or previous Pope says or has said). So none of us is left in doubt about his views and little about his ultimate intentions which I would say are a married priesthood, female deacons/parish administrators and ultimately female priests, 'freedom' of bishops' conferences over Mass translations and local 'interpretation' of Church Law, joint 'communion' services with Protestants etc. etc.

I can understand that a man who has spent most of his life thinking that the Church is wrong about so much and needs to 'catch up' with contemporary attitudes, and who then becomes Pope, might conclude that an approving God must have arranged his election so that he can turn his views into 'policy'. We have to wait for God, through Our Lady, to rescue us, I am old but expect to be alive to witness the rescue which I believe will be soon, sudden and impossible to misunderstand.

Pelerin said...

I have always understood that it was important to have an informed conscience. Indeed surely there is no point in having an uninformed conscience?

This is getting more and more murky. I see that there are reports of a well known French Cardinal seemingly going against Church teaching. Up to now he has been in the forefront of publicly supporting Catholic teaching and he has always been popular with young people.

Where is all this leading? Will there really be a schism? The barque of Peter seems to be rocking furiously these days. At the weekend I attended two very different Masses. One was a weekday Mass, ad populum, in the vernacular (no server present) and was over in 20 minutes flat with a small congregation one of whom wore a brash T-shirt advertising a Rolling Stones concert. The other was a Sunday sung Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form so of course ad orientem with a large full church mostly in their 'Sunday Best' - one and three quarter hours in length and 5 all male servers present. A visiting Martian would have found it difficult to believe that both were of the same Church.

Anonymous said...

@Lepanto, I certainly hope you are right regarding the rescue.

Lord hear our prayer.

gemoftheocean said...

Hope you are right, Lepanto.

Paul Hellyer said...

Yes Lepanto I agree with you. I am old too and I hope before I die I get to see a turn around in the Church. The end of such monstrosities as holy Communion in the hand and all the other impieties that go with it.

Physiocrat said...

We Catholics do not attach sufficient importance to the liturgy. It is downhill all the way from there.

Ivanmijeime said...

'they want us out and gone from the Church'
I don't think we should even think this is over reacting. This is namely one of the main goals of all the promoters of the false spirit. And they are working very hard on it.
All that promoting of 'fraternite+egalite' brotherhood feeling which we can see and hear repeatedly saying by many clerics, even some chiefs and priors of one ecclesiastical orders, while the hierarchy and the priesthood at the same time are intentionally minimized and underappreciated and relativized...

They do their work gradually, but very quickly, especially in these, last half decade.
Firstly, they have abolished missionary works. The ban on sending priests and monks to the ends of the world, where there is a lack of local priests and universities, under the guise that everyone should have their (national) priests and monks.
Secondly, since there are not enough priests, and they will be even less, they will abolish celibacy, introduce female deacons, and then come female priests,... After that is just one step more to give to lay people altar for celebrating of the 'common festive dinner'...
One of many examples of the minimizing importance of the hierarchy (and therefore at the end, the main goal,- priesthood) is the way how people led by false spirit have re(de)formed the Third Orders of the ecclesiastical communities.
They ceased to be named or called any Order, after the sixties, but became some Lay or Secular fraternities, such as the Franciscans, and Dominicans...
I think only the Carmelite tertiaries (still) kept the name,- the Third Order.

They removed the ORDER, to replace it with the brotherhood, under the coat of fraternity + equality + freedom ... which ultimately leads into an unpredictable disorder, aka the real mess.

Do not forget; with the rejection of the TRUTH (by no less, but some of the apostolic successors!),- which is, always was, and will always be: "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus", the gate of hell became widely open...
With this saying, those who are still talking just about the 'satanic smoke' are in fact behindhand, and they are not aware of the real state of affairs, which is no longer just a 'smoke', but a fiery fire from Hell itself.

Michael Dowd said...

The fundamental error of Vatican II is that conscience is primary over the teaching of the Church. This teaching was established to accommodate ecumenism and the Protestation of the Catholic Church. Heretical sects like Lutheranism say that experience of God is paramount and not the truth about God. This is an error that amounts to the abandonment of religion revealed by God. Ref Mortalium Animos, Pope Pius XI, 1928.

Cosmos said...

An important distinction here: (1) You are required to follow your conscience in doing or refraining from doing something that is necessary, but (2) You are not required to do everything that your conscience would allow. You don't have to kiss the Queen's cheek or slap the President's cheek, just because you think neither is immoral.

This is crucial because even if a divorced and remarried couple could receive Holy Communion in good conscience--in contravention of the teaching of the Church--they don't need to do so.

It's hard to understand how it could possibly be consistent with Catholic teaching to say that someone is compelled to take a non-necessary action that the Church teaches is sinful, just because they are OK with it.

TLM said...

Yes, Ivan, you are correct as in the fact that there are many who are awake and know the 'direction' the Church is heading and it is what's talked about as a 'crisis'. The fact is the Church is now burning to the ground. Some are way behind in their perception.

How long O Lord, HOW LONG??

Nicolas Bellord said...

They want us out? I get the impression that most of Them have left already.

Lepanto said...

The Nigerian Episcopal Conference has declared that the phenomena of a 'solar dance' which occurred on 17th of this month (the centenary of the Fatima miracle) at Benin to be a miracle. The country was consecrated to Our Lady by all of the country's bishops and the phenomena was witnessed by about 50,000 witnesses attending the ceremony.

We are not forsaken, She WILL rescue the Church.

turzovka said...

Victor Moubarak above said >>> On a different matter, there are also a number of Catholic priests who do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; and what is worse they teach that the Communion and the "blood" of Christ are only symbolism not to be take literally.
Sorry, Victor, but I seriously have my doubts about that. I mean, what is the point of entering the priesthood then? This is hyperbole. Unless the priest is an outright atheist infiltrator from some communist nation.
Priests have it so tough these days, especially amongst an unbelieving or secular cynical world that mocks their very nature. But God is still on the throne, thankfully. Surely He will prevail, but the interim is striking fear in us all.

Marie said...

I am increasingly heartbroken and appalled over what I am hearing our poor priests must endure. Perhaps this is one of the blessings of the internet. It allows our priests to tell us things we might not be told otherwise. My parents taught me to respect Father so I am always flabbergasted when I hear people going up to the priest to demand the world be arranged to their liking.

I am guilty of thinking our priests don't need much from me. I always knew priests aren't above human faults (losing tempers, mispeaking etc.) but I always view priests as slayers of dragons. You are our Shepards. You give us the sacraments, baptized our children, give us holy advice in an increasingly unholy world. You are the favored sons of our Lord, what could possibly harm you?

I apologize Father. I have not kept priests in my prayers as I should have. This is one of the few things I can do for you and I am ashamed I neglected it. I can't walk into a bishops office and demand an explanation for what I am hearing from priests all over the world. But I can ask the Blessed Mother to hold all of you close and maybe _she_ can go have that conversation I am tempted to have.

Lepanto said...

@turzovka An anonymous survey of priests in one German diocese taken two or three years ago disclosed that a large minority (I cannot recall the precise figure but I'm sure that it was more than one third) said that they did not believe in the Real Presence. Since it is necessary (as I understand it) for a priest to have the intention to 'confect' the species into the Body and Blood of Jesus, it seems (to me) that these priests never offer a valid Mass and may never have done so. I have sought advice on this matter from various priests without response.

As I recall, the website I read this on was 'The Eponymous Flower'.

John F. Kennedy said...

"I am always flabbergasted when I hear people going up to the priest to demand the world be arranged to their liking."

Depends on what you mean.

I asked questions.
At Parrish 1 - Why do we stand during the Concentration when the GIRM states we should kneel?
At Parrish 1 - When a visiting Jesuit priest, the local head of the order at the local university, spoke about God the Mother and the Prodigal Daughter and other errors on Trinity Sunday, I wrote the Archbishop after the parish priest reviewed it first.
At Parrish 2 - To attend a Mass where the priest sits in the nave in the Church and only a single elderly server sits in the Sanctuary.
At Parrish 3 - To attend a Mass where the "readers" change the text of the readings, including changing any masculine references to God, including "Father", to something else. When I asked the priest about it he said he wouldn't do anything about it.

Do we have a "right" to the Mass as taught by the Church? How about morality? How about Truth?

In these things and in others, yes, I do demand these it. Where else can we go? The Truth is being taken and hidden from us!!!

Marie said...


Oh, I am sorry. I was trying to be diplomatic and instead I was unclear. I was meaning more those who wish Father to ignore Church teachings, our doctrines and logic to do what they prefer.

Asking questions, pushing for the sacraments, things like that? Oh of course. Our pastors do have a duty to us as well.

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