Monday, January 11, 2010

"....hated by the world..."

It was Archbishop Fulton John Sheen who once said, "The acceptance of the fullness of Truth will have the unfortunate quality of making you hated by the world. Forget for a moment the history of Christianity, and the fact that Christ existed. Suppose there appeared in this world today a man who claimed to be Divine Truth; and who did not say, 'I will teach you Truth,' but 'I am the Truth.' Suppose he gave evidence by his works of the truth of his statement. Knowing ourselves as we do, with our tendency to relativism, to indifference, and to the fusing of right and wrong, how do you suppose we would react to that Divine Truth? With hatred, with obloquy, with defiance; with charges of intolerance, narrow-mindedness, bigotry, and crucifixion. That is what happened to Christ. That is what our Lord said would happen to those who accept His Truth."

We have only to meditate upon the Fifteenth Chapter of the Gospel of John, verses 18-19.

Have you ever noticed how worldly people achieve great fame and success and are entirely welcomed by others but that those who give themselves entirely to God meet with only resistance and persecution? St. Alphonsus de Liguori said that, "As soon as souls give themselves completely to God, God Himself causes or permits others to despise and persecute them." As Archbishop Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, said: "A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good so that they become entrenched in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's call. A preaching that does not discomfit sinners but lulls them in their sin leaves Zebulun and Naphtali in the shadow of death. A preaching that awakens, a preaching that enlightens -- as when a light turned on awakens and of course annoys a sleeper -- that is the preaching of Christ, calling, "wake up! Be converted!" this is the church's authentic preaching. Naturally, such preaching must meet conflict, must spoil what is miscalled prestige, must disturb, must be persecuted. It cannot get along with the powers of darkness and sin."

I have experienced and continue to experience this hatred, this persecution within my own Diocese. At St. Joseph's Parish in Fitchburg, I was treated with a contempt which was palpable. This is the cost of authentic discipleship.
Related reading here.


StJoe'sParishioner said...

St. Joseph's has the following in this week's bulletin..."All are welcome..We are happy you are here...and want you to stay. We would like to share our lives with you." This couldn't be further from the truth. The parish is run by a select few who want to dominate ministry and refuse to allow others participation, at least on a meaningful level. The parish is dying spiritually because others are not welcome. The parish is viewed as "personal property" by some rather than Christ's Church where ALL members have a part. The eye is saying to the ear, "I don't need you." And because others aren't allowed the opportunity to share their gifts, especially the young, the parish is stagnating.

Elizabeth said...

Some people come to believe that they "own" a parish and view others as "outsiders." Such a view is not compatible with Christianity. It is rooted in selfishness.

Anonymous said...

The Diocese of Worcester is on the verge of bankruptcy--not because of the current economic downturn or settlements in cases of clerical sexual abuse--but because of long-term systemic problems, resulting in 75 of the diocese's 120 churches owing $33,000,000 to the diocese, which in many cases has had to borrow money to make the loans to those parishes.

Stewart said...

Exactly right Anonymous. The Telegram & Gazette is reporting (January 9th edition) that "Msgr. Thomas J. Sullivan, diocesan chancellor and director of fiscal affairs, said parishes — even those in affluent communities — have been economically struggling for at least a dozen years, with many of them shouldering heavy debt interest payments that continue to grow.

He said 75 of the diocese’s 120 parishes and missions are in serious economic difficulty."

What Mgsr Sullivan neglected to mention is that many parishes are having financial problems because they in turn have failed to be places of hospitality and welcome. Many Catholics are turned off by the dissent from Church teaching and by the arrogance of Church "leadership" which turns a deaf ear to the concerns of the faithful.

I wouldn't expect any positive changes in the near term. Our "leaders" are too arrogant and too proud to perform an honest examination of conscience.

Why have there been so many sex abuse scandals in Worcester - as in other parts of the country? Because pride goes before a fall according to Proverbs.

Anonymous said...

I think the laity have turned themselves off (because of loss of faith and moral) as much as the clergy and hierarchy have turned the laity off for the reasons that Stewart states. There is a need for re-evangelization of everyone (laity, clergy and hierarchy) but especially the latter two, because according to a Latin proverb, Nemo debet quod non habet: No one can give what he does not have (namely, faith and charity).

John Ansley said...

Those of you who might be visiting this Blog for the first time should read Paul's previous posting:

Because the diocese of Worcester has ignored the prophetic warnings of Catholic laymen such as Paul Melanson and Richard Blanchard (and others), it now finds itself in crisis.

Betty said...

Anonymous writes, "I think the laity have turned themselves off..." I would disagree. So would, it seems, most other Catholics. Read the comments section under the January 9, 2010 edition of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette pertaining to the article on the Diocese's financial woes. People are extremely disappointed with the Church's pastors.

Presbyterorum Ordinis, No. 6 of Vatican II says that: "Exercising the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head, and according to their share of his authority, priests, in the name of the bishop, gather the family of God together as a brotherhood enlivened by one spirit. Through Christ they lead them in the Holy Spirit to God the Father. For the exercise of this ministry, as for the other priestly duties, spiritual power is conferred upon them for the building up of the Church. In building up of the Church, priests must treat all with exceptional kindness in imitation of the Lord. They should act toward men, not as seeking to please them, but in accord with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. They should teach them and admonish them as beloved sons, according to the words of the Apostle: "Be urgent in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine" (2 Tim 4:2).

Priests therefore, as educators in the faith, must see to it either by themselves or through others that the faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation according to the Gospel, to a sincere and practical charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free. Ceremonies however beautiful, or associations however flourishing, will be of little value if they are not directed toward the education of men to Christian maturity. In furthering this, priests should help men to see what is required and what is God's will in the important and unimportant events of life. Also, Christians should be taught that they live not only for themselves, but, according to the demands of the new law of charity; as every man has received grace, he must administer the same to others. In this way, all will discharge in a Christian manner their duties in the community of men.

Although they have obligations toward all men, priests have a special obligation to the poor and weak entrusted to them, for our Lord himself showed that he was united to them, and their evangelization is mentioned as a sign of messianic activity.."

Our pastors have failed to properly catechize the laity. Many of them need to be catechized themselves. Many more dissent from Church teaching or engage in illicit sexual activity (e.g., abuse of children and homosexuality).

The Diocese is experiencing financial problems because it has abandoned its mission in the world. Too many priests and deacons are no longer salt and light but have brought corruption into the Church.

Sanctus Belle said...

There are many that are hateful or at least show contempt, but there in one every now and then that seem..fascinated by a life lived with uncompromsing Catholic integrity. I have found it is the lukewarm that are the most hateful, and have had what we might call "great sinners" react with joyful surprise when they hear I don't prescribe contraception - the Lord works in wondrous ways.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

The Holy Father has described same-sex "marriage" as an assault on Creation. Expect the homosexual hate movement (within and without the Church) to attack him viciously as a result. The faithful remnant continues to look to Christ's Vicar as darkness envelops a sin-sick and confused world.

Anonymous said...

Deacon Jim Couture is part of the problem at St. Joseph's. Just last night he preached that the Jews crucified Jesus. Actually, wrong. Evidently Deacon Jim isn't all that familar with Vatican II or its teaching. Nostra Aetate, No. 4: "True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."

All sinners are the authors of Christ's Passion. The Deacon's comment was offensive. Parishioners deserve better.

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