Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Archdiocese of Boston says it is committed to evangelization, but what sort of evangelization?

In an essay on the meaning of evangelization, Father Vincent Miceli, S.J. wrote, "Being the work of God and man in cooperation, it must ever be a thrilling and awesome adventure.  We can say, however, that this sanctifying activity proclaims Christ to those who do not know Him, preaches the Gospel to them through catechesis and missionary sermons, confers Baptism and other sacraments and tirelessly exhorts converts to scale the heights of sanctity.  Jesus Christ, Himself, the Good News of God, was the very first and greatest evangelizer.  He proclaimed an absolute Kingdom of God, making everything else relative.  He proclaimed salvation, namely liberation from sin, Satan, death, a liberation that bestowed upon sinners returned to God grace, resurrection in immortality and glorification in the triune God.  He proclaimed the price man must pay for his salvation, namely that men must gain Heaven by violence, i.e., through a life of penance, toil, and suffering accepted in the spirit of the Suffering Servant of God.  And above all He proclaimed that man must undergo that interior renewal which the Gospel calls metanoia, that is the radical change of heart and mind which destroys 'the old man of sin' and creates 'the new man of grace.'"

Fr. Miceli then explains that there are obstacles to evangelization.  He writes, "St Thomas Aquinas teaches that three things are necessary for a soul to find, follow and embrace Christ.  First, a person must know what he ought to believe.  Second, he must know what he ought to desire.  Third, he must know what he ought to do.  Now ignorance is the first great obstacle to evangelization.  Catholics, therefore, should grow in a profound knowledge of their Faith through a constant reading and reflection on the Gospels and a faithful following of the teachings of the Magisterium.  Only thus will they come to appreciate the Catholic Faith as a gift of God that is true, good and beautiful.  They then will be moved by the Holy Spirit to bring non-Catholics to share this gift from God with them..."

Finally, surveying the Catholic Church in the United States, Fr. Miceli writes, "Unfortunately, the fact is that the Church in the United States, instead of being the crusading, courageous, evangelizing society Christ founded it to be, has become a cream-puff chaplaincy to the converted - and because of this attitude is failing to hold on even to these...How are we to stir up again the spirit of evangelization?  Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi gives us our marching orders:

'On us particularly, the pastors of the Church, rests the responsibility for reshaping with boldness and wisdom, but in complete fidelity to the content of evangelization, the means that are most suitable and effective for communicating the Gospel message to the men and women of our times.'" (Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, citing Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, No. 40).

Note this passage.  What does Pope Paul VI mean by "complete fidelity to the content of evangelization"?  The Holy Father means that pastors of the Church must offer the men and women of our times what Pope Benedict XVI has said is the entire plan of God.  That is to say, the full content of Catholic teaching - including, and especially, those hard truths which the world does not want to hear but which faithful Catholics must share with hurting souls who wander about without a shepherd.  This is what evangelization is all about!

But it would seem that the Archdiocese of Boston has something else in mind when it refers to evangelization. Joe Sacerdo writes:

"It’s pretty bad in Boston. The Archdiocese of Boston, where 'relativism' remains a household word, has flip-flopped yet again becoming the 'John Kerry' of firm decision-making by now firmly backing a Catholic Mass to celebrate Gay Pride.

First the Archdiocese was allowing Mass for the purpose of celebrating and commemorating Gay Pride at St. Cecilia’s in Boston. Then they said it had to be cancelled, but there would be a Mass in the future to welcome the community, but not specifically gays and lesbians. Now, the 'Mass marking gay pride is back on' with the full endorsement of the archdiocese. This hit the Monday morning news after Catholic bloggers including us revealed how for years St. Cecilia’s has been sponsoring speakers who support gay marriage, in direct opposition to Catholic teachings.

Here’s the statement issued by the archdiocese on June 19:

June 19, 2011 – Archdiocese of Boston statement regarding prayer service at St. Cecilia Parish Boston

'The Archdiocese of Boston is committed to evangelization and to being a welcoming Church for all of God’s people. St. Cecilia’s is a wonderful example of the exceptional parishes in the Archdiocese which seek to serve the Catholic faithful with grace, dignity, respect, compassion and love and being devoted to the Gospel and Christ’s saving ministry.

The reports that the Mass, originally scheduled for June 19th, was cancelled are not accurate. Rather the Mass was postponed. As indicated in the statement of the Archdiocese on June 10, a Mass welcoming the wider community of the faithful, including gays and lesbians, will be held. The Mass has been rescheduled to Sunday, July 10th at 11am.

We respect the desire of those individuals organizing and participating in the prayer service. We know that the postponement of the June 19th Mass has been disappointing to them. Our hope and prayer is that we can come together as one community of Catholics sharing in the Lord’s divine love for each of us.'

How can St. Cecilia’s be devoted to the Gospel and Christ’s saving ministry if they they’ve been promoting gay marriage for years?

Mass day in and day out is intended to commemorate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Why is any Mass being hijacked to celebrate Gay Pride at all, let alone any category of sinners–adulterers, those engaging in pre-marital sex, liars, etc.? Is the archdiocese that ill-informed about the purpose of Catholic Mass and Gay Pride that they still don’t understand this?" (Full post here).

Indeed.  To which I would add: How can the Archdiocese seriously suggest that it is "committed to evangelization" when it permits a Catholic parish under its authority to undermine Church teaching through a "rainbow ministry" and dissident speakers who have agitated for same-sex "marriage" and "Gay Pride"?  In what way is this "complete fidelity to the content of evangelization" and the "entire plan of God"?

What is going on at St. Cecilia's may be called evangelization.  But it is far from the authentic evangelization of the Church, an evangelizaton which exhorts people to reach for the heights of sanctity under the guidance of the teaching Magisterium.  Instead, it may be called an evangelization for Hell.  An education in the ways of pride and degradation.


John Ansley said...

Peter Kreeft has said that, "The first step in barring the door to sin is refusing to listen to ANY false witness that contradicts God's revealed truth. Faith is this bar against sin. Therefore Scripture says, 'Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin' (Romans 14:23). St. Paul contrasts sin with faith, not just with virtue, and contrasts faith with sin, not just with doubt. Believing the darkness of Satan's lie rather than the light of God's commandment was the beginning ot the fall and continues to be the beginning of every fall. We eat the forbidden fruit of falsehood with our minds before we eat any other forbidden fruit with our bodies and our deeds."

The battle is first in the mind. The "gay pride" movement is a attack on the mind first. Catholics are encouraged to view homosexuality as a source of pride. Seen in this light, homosexual acts are not viewed as sinful and people are encouraged to act on same-sex attraction.

It is noteworthy that the Archdiocese still hasn't explained the theology behind "gay pride." Also noteworthy is the silence of the Archdiocese regarding Fr. Unni's promotion of same-sex "marriage."

Amanda said...

What does the Archdiocese mean when it says (in its June 19th statement): "We respect the desire of those individuals organizing and participating in the prayer service.."

What desire? For same-sex "marriage"? The dissident's desire for Church acceptance of homosexual acts? Their desire to see a change in Church teaching?

We've all read comments from some of those who belong to either St. Cecilia's or its "rainbow ministry." One referred to the teaching of the Magisterium as "bile." Others have twisted the scriptures or Church teaching in an effort to justify homosexuality.

And the Archdiocese shares their desire?

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley took part in the Apostolic Visitation of the Catholic Church in Ireland. It's pretty interesting to see what is happening in his own diocese.

Anonymous said...

Retired bishop on Boston gay pride Mass: ‘Has Cardinal O’Malley totally lost his marbles?’
Wed Jun 22 11:02 EST

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida suggested that Cardinal Sean O’Malley and other archdiocesan leaders are "showing they probably can’t serve the Catholic church in Boston any longer, and all have to go."

Full story:

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you anonymous. There's only one thing I have against Bishop Gracida: he's retired. The Lord Jesus knows we need more courageous Bishops like him!

Anonymous said...

Correction to the above comment from LifeSiteNews: This article has been CORRECTED to name Joe Sacerdo as the author of the original commentary ( ), not Bishop Gracida, who had reposted the commentary on his blog. We sincerely apologize for the error.

Nonetheless, according to the corrected LifeSiteNews item: The retired bishop questioned why “a Mass promoted to celebrate Boston Pride month in June” was “not permissible,” while “a Mass celebrating Boston Gay Pride in July is OK.”

BostonCatholic2011 said...

We are supposed to be offering an evangelization which preaches liberation from sin and not liberation FOR sin. I agree with you. Totally bizarre.

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