Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines: Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman

CBCP President Soc Villegas

CBCP President Soc Villegas

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize “gay marriages”, Archbishop Soc Villegas, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, issued a statement reiterating the Church’s opposition to “gay marriages”. Below is the statement:

“The Church continues to maintain what it has always taught. Marriage is a permanent union of man and woman, in the complementarity of the sexes and the mutual fulfillment that the union of a man and a woman bring into the loftiness of the matrimonial bond. If there is an undeniable difference between man and woman, there is also an undeniable difference between the permanent union of a man and a woman.

“This is the way the Church has always read Sacred Scriptures. This is the way it has lived its faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit, in that living normative fount called Sacred Tradition. We will continue to teach the sons and daughters of the Church that marriage, transformed by The Lord Jesus and by His Church into a sacrament — a means by which the Risen Lord encounters his people — is an indissoluble bond of man and woman. There is much that the Church receives that is part of the “depositum fidei….the deposit of faith” of which she is not maker but guardian and steward.

“As President of the CBCP, however, I reiterate our commitment to the pastoral solicitude of all, and no bishop, priest, deacon, religious or lay leader actively serving the Church will ever demand to know of a person his or her orientation before serving the person, as The Lord Jesus commands all his disciples to serve. All will continue to find welcome in the Church, while, under command from The Lord himself, will continue to teach what the Church has unceasingly taught.”

Priest: I’ll never profane the sacraments by following Kasper’s proposal, no matter who tells me to do it

fr_harrison_column_graphic_0Renowned theologian and author, Father Brian Harrison, O.S, of St. Louis, Missouri, in a talk he recently gave in St. Louis on March 22, 2015, at the annual St. Joseph Dinner-Forum hosted by the group Credo of the Catholic Laity, discussed the Kasper proposal and patiently refuted it.

First, he declares:

…”the Kasper Proposal” – is, in my estimation, the gravest single moral and pastoral issue that has confronted the Catholic Church in the half-century that has now elapsed since the dispute over contraception erupted with renewed force at the end of Vatican Council II.

From the outset, he states clearly:

Like contraception, Communion for the divorced and remarried is not an issue that is, so to speak, self-contained. Rather, it is the kind of issue in which any change to the Church’s existing teaching and/or discipline would not stop right there, but rather, would have a profound and far-reaching ripple effect on other fundamentally important areas of Catholic morality and sacramental practice.

Father Harrison then calmly examines the proposal as it was put into the final Relatio of the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, namely to readmit “remarried” divorcees to the reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion, after they have undergone a period of penance, taking into account  “the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological and social factors.’” (Relatio, Paragraph 52).

Father Harrison shows then step by step that all these listed categories of reasons why a possible “remarriage” could be less sinful than what was described by Our Lord Himself in the Gospels are, indeed, not applicable to the specific case of the sin of adultery. He argues convincingly that someone who enters a second marriage outside the Church will do so deliberately, knowingly, not rashly, and without any overwhelming fear or sense of threat to his or her life. Nor can this new bond be convincingly described as an attachment or habit that cannot be broken.

He also points out that, by the very fact that Cardinal Kasper himself proposes a period of serious penance for those “remarried” couples, shows that he – and with him then also the penitents themselves – are very much aware of the grave sinfulness or disorder of the act of adultery.  Father Harrison points out that exactly this form of penitence should make the seriousness of the sin even more evident, which thus makes a remaining in that perilous state even worse:

…the idea of granting some Catholics permission to continue committing what they know is objectively gravely sinful, on the presumption that their defective consent will stop it from being imputable as such – would introduce a revolutionary, subjectivist premise into the Church’s moral teaching and discipline.

Finally, he also warns of the disastrous effects that such a procedure of laxity would have upon those couples who now still hold on to their marriage vow in spite of their having a troubled bond:

Catholics in valid but troubled marriages would be deprived of an important incentive to persevere and try to restore a loving conjugal relationship. The Church’s actions would speak louder than her words, and everyone would interpret her revised legislation as giving them the following ‘advance notice’: ‘It’s OK. If you’re convinced your first marriage is ‘dead’, you can go ahead and get divorced, find a new partner, and get civilly married. Then, if you can’t get the first marriage declared null and void, no problem! As soon as you have at least one child with your new partner, come to the diocesan family life center and we’ll set up a merciful penitential process for you to go through, after which you’ll go to confession, receive absolution, and be able to receive Communion happily ever after while living intimately with your civil spouse!’

Father Harrison also shows how such a lax attitude of the Church toward sin would then thereby also affect other sinners such as those living just in cohabitation without any form of marriage. He says:

Since that civil marriage, after all, is not valid on God’s sight, why not extend this new ecclesiastical ‘mercy’ to some couples who are just ‘living together’? Pope Francis himself, who I am afraid has not kept secret the fact that he personally would like to implement the revisionist proposal, has already been reported, without any subsequent denial issuing from the Vatican, as having recently sent a message to a divorced Argentinian woman who is now living in outright concubinage with another man that she has the Pope’s personal permission to start receiving Communion again. What will come next? Holy Communion for fornicators living in ‘trial marriages’?  Why not Communion for at least some homosexual couples?

Most importantly, at the end of his talk, Father Brian Harrison went on record and publicly declared that he as a priest would refuse to give absolution to “remarried” divorcees:

The inclusion of sacramental confession in the ‘penitential process’ proposed by revisionists will require from priests what I believe would be a sacrilegious abuse of the Sacrament of Penance. For they will be expected to give absolution, and thus permission for Holy Communion, to some persons who confess being in a sexual relationship with someone other than their true husband or wife, but who have no purpose of amendment; they admit to the priest their intention to continue in that sexual intimacy. And the priest will be expected to grant absolution on the flagrantly false pretext that the penitent is not and will not be in mortal sin because he or she is supposedly not giving a full and free consent to these illicit sex acts. I feel I should conclude this talk by going on record as stating that I myself, with the help of God, will never profane the Sacrament of Penance and violate my own conscience by giving a sacrilegious absolution to someone in that situation, no matter what higher authority in the Church might tell me to do so. May God, through the mighty protection and intercession of Saint Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, preserve his Church from endorsing Cardinal Kasper’s iniquitous revisionist proposal.

Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops

Cardinal BrandmullerFrom  LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five cardinals who contributed to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which focused on criticizing Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to open up Communion to those in irregular sexual unions.

LifeSiteNews contributor Dr. Maike Hickson interviewed Cardinal Brandmüller last month.

LifeSiteNews: Could you present once more for our readers clearly the teaching of the Catholic Church, as it has been consistently taught throughout centuries concerning marriage and its indissolubility?

Cardinal: The answer is to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1638-1642.

Can the Church deal with the topic of marriage in a pastoral manner that is different from the continual teaching of the Church? Can the Church at all change the teaching itself without falling herself into heresy?

It is evident that the pastoral practice of the Church cannot stand in opposition to the binding doctrine nor simply ignore it. In the same manner, an architect could perhaps build a most beautiful bridge. However, if he does not pay attention to the laws of structural engineering, he risks the collapse of his construction. In the same manner, every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail. A change of the teaching, of the dogma, is unthinkable. Who nevertheless consciously does it, or insistently demands it, is a heretic – even if he wears the Roman Purple.

Is not the whole discussion about the admittance of remarried to the Holy Eucharist also an expression of the fact that many Catholics do not believe any more in the Real Presence and rather think that they receive in Holy Communion anyway only a piece of bread?

Indeed, there is an indissoluble inner contradiction in someone who wants to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and to unite himself with Him, while in the same time he disregards consciously His Commandment. How shall this work? St. Paul says about this matter: ‘Who eats and drinks unworthily, is eating and drinking his judgment…’ But: You are right. By far not all Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated host. One can see this fact already in the way many – even priests – pass the tabernacle without genuflection.

What would you say about the recent statements of Bishop Franz-Josef Bode that the Catholic Church has to adapt increasingly to the “life realities” of the people of today and adjust accordingly her moral teaching? I am sure that you as a Church historian have in front of your eyes other examples from the history of the Church, where she was pressured from outside to change the teaching of Christ. Could you name some, and how did the Church in the past respond to such attacks?

It is completely clear and also not new that the proclamation of the teaching of the Church has to be adapted to the concrete life situations of society and of the individual, if the message shall be heard. But this applies only to the way of the proclamation, and not at all to its inviolable content. An adaptation of the moral teaching is not acceptable.  ‘Do not conform to the world,’ said the Apostle St. Paul. If Bishop Bode teaches something different, he finds himself in contradiction to the teaching of the Church. Is he conscious of that?

Two Leading Prelates: Catholics Must Protect Family, Faith

Bishop Athanasius Schneider (right) and Cardinal Raymond Burke (left) are fighting for the family and the Faith

Bishop Athanasius Schneider (right) and Cardinal Raymond Burke (left) are fighting for the family and the Faith

May 29, 2015 (from ChurchMilitant.com) – Two leading prelates are decrying a global culture that’s hostile to Christians and the family.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, in his homily on Pentecost, warned of a “new worldwide neo-Marxist ideology” attacking faithful Christians, and the family especially.

Today, there are families, young people, priests and bishops who, in order to remain faithful to God’s commandments, are often marginalized, ridiculed and persecuted by the dictatorial power of the new worldwide neo-Marxist ideology of gender, and the cult of the earth and the climate. Moreover, there are also families, young people, priests, seminarians and even bishops who are marginalized and ridiculed, sometimes even in the ecclesiastical domain, because of their fidelity to the integrity of the Catholic Faith, and to Divine Worship according to the tradition of the Apostles and of our ancestors.

He continued:

In our time, the natural family and the Christian family have become the principal object of attack for the destruction of the civilized world by the neo-Marxist gender ideology. Paradoxically, we are living in the age of the family precisely because it is under attack. It is today that the family is called to witness to the Divine beauty of its essence and of its vocation.

The bishop then called for heroic fortitude on the part of Catholics amid the ongoing, worldwide crisis.

O Catholic Families, fathers and mothers of families, young men and young women: Do not be afraid to fight against sin, against the seductive spirit of neo-Paganism. Do not be afraid to fight to defend the commandments of God, to defend the integrity of your Faith and your chastity. Do not be afraid to be heroic.

Bishop Schneider isn’t all “doom and gloom,” though. He has a keen appreciation for the sublime character of living the Faith in these troubling times.

What a beautiful vocation it is to be a true Catholic! What a beautiful vocation to fight for the integrity of the Faith, and the commandments of God! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a Catholic family, a domestic Church! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a chaste young man, or a chaste young woman! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a seminarian and a priest with a pure and ardent heart!

Finally, he concluded with hope and encouragement:

Do not be afraid of the Goliath of our times, that is, the new worldwide anti-Christian ideology. The fire of Divine love and the Holy Ghost’s gift of fortitude will make us able to conquer the Goliath of our times…

Meanwhile, Cardinal Raymond Burke, new patron of the Order of Malta, says Ireland’s recent passage of so-called gay marriage defies God even more than the ancient pagans ever dared. Reflecting on the revolutionary change in once-Catholic Ireland, the cardinal, speaking at Oxford University, lamented, “I mean, this is a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviors; they never dared to say this was marriage.”

He believes family life must be strengthened in these times of crisis. “The culture is thoroughly corrupted, if I may say so,” he added, “and the children are being exposed to this, especially through the internet.”

He reportedly told his audience how he’s persistently urging his nieces and nephews to keep their family’s computers in an open area of the household so that their children won’t “imbibe this poison that’s out there.”