Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Father Michael Wood of the Springfield Diocese: If the laity have a problem with error or scandalalous behavior from a cleric: let them find another parish

“We invite you to criticize our institutions without reserve. One is not insulted by being informed of something amiss, but rather gets an opportunity for amendment, if the information is taken in good part, without resentment.” – Plato, Laws, Bk. 1, 635a

In his important work entitled The Devastated Vineyard, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand examines three false responses to the devastation within the Catholic Church while emphasizing that, "the most dangerous one would be to imagine that there is no devastation of the vineyard of the Lord" and that "our task as laymen is simply to adhere with complete loyalty to whatever our bishop says." Dr. von Hildebrand warns that, "the basis of this attitude is a false idea of loyalty to the hierarchy." (p. 246).

The Church's pastoral authority is not totalitarian. Her authority is subordinate to the theological virtues of faith and love, both of which redeem and perfect persons instead of merely subjecting them to a particular ideology. There are some who believe that the laity should never criticize a bishop because "it is impossible for a lay person to know all that goes into his decision-making process" and because "it just seems backwards to mistrust a man who authoritatively speaks in the name of Christ."

But a bishop only teaches authoritatively if he offers a teaching which conforms to that of the Church's Magisterium. And while the laity may not always be privy to all the factors that go into a bishop's decision-making process, they still are able to see the results of a particular decision and "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church." (Canon 212). Dr. Germain Grisez reminds us, "That the Church is a communion of faith and love does not mean popes and other bishops may ignore the conditions necessary for the just use of authority in any human community. Like any community's leaders, the Church's pastoral leaders can make wise decisions only if they deliberate well. The other members of the community should contribute to their deliberation by responsibly expressing their opinions on matters concerning the Church's good."
Pope John Paul II said that there is room in the Church for constructive criticism. Sometimes such criticism must be directed toward a bishop. Especially when he sets himself against the Church's teaching or fails to protect the faithful entrusted to his care.

Many today, including sadly many Catholics, equate criticism with condemnation or a lack of charity.  Dr. Montague Brown explains the difference between the two nicely: “Criticism is the honest appraisal of the value of ideas or actions…Pursued in the right spirit, it is a positive undertaking whose purpose is to gain an accurate understanding for the sake of growing in wisdom and virtue….Condemnation goes beyond evaluation of an idea or action to a declaration of the worthlessness of a human being. It is never fair and is a wholly negative judgment, referring only to weaknesses. Because condemnation is unreasonable, it serves no purpose in our quest for wisdom and virtue.” (The One-Minute Philosopher, pp. 28,29).

This past Sunday, I took exception to a Catholic priest, Father Peter Naranjo of Saint Mary's Church in Orange, Massachusetts, holding up Boston Red Sox celebrity David "Big Papi" Ortiz as a "good Catholic" and a "hero."  See here.  This post was forwarded by a reader of this Blog to Father Michael Wood of the Springfield, Massachusetts Diocese.  Besides serving as the secretary for the local Bishop, Mitchell T. Rozanski, Father Wood is on the diocesan "vocation team."  See here.

Father Wood responded to this reader by implying that I  should not be, "airing [my] frustrations in such a public and uncharitable way" and added: "Please see Matthew 18: 15-18.."  Then he suggested, in part, that I should "find a new place to go to Mass.."

This reader responded responded:

"You are the one being uncharitable. And Father Naranjo's promotion of an individual who publically opposes Church teaching and routinely uses profanity is disgusting...Saint Thomas Aquinas, from his Summa (you might try reading it sometime):

I answer that, With regard to the public denunciation of sins it is necessary to make a distinction: because sins may be either public or secret. On the case of public sins, a remedy is required not only for the sinner, that he may become better, but also for others, who know of his sin, lest they be scandalized. Wherefore such like sins should be denounced in public, according to the saying of the Apostle (1 Timothy 5:20): "Them that sin reprove before all, that the rest also may have fear," which is to be understood as referring to public sins, as Augustine states (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 7).

True peace, not the asinine false irenicism promoted by poorly educated clerics such as Father Michael Wood, must be constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone's part.  And of course, it must be remembered that there is no authentic peace without prayer and a genuine love for truth.  In the words of Pope John XXIII:  " long as we are journeying in exile over this earth, our peace and happiness will be imperfect. For such peace is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith." (Ad Petri Cathedram No. 93).

Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation Recurrens Mensis October (The recurrence of the month of October), 1969, said that, "Undoubtedly, peace is the concern of men and a good common to all. As such, it must be the constant care of everyone...Despite much good will, there are many interests in opposition; much selfishness is shown; many antagonisms increase; many rivalries conflict with one another. Who does not see, then, the unflagging action demanded from each and all in order that love may triumph over discord and that peace may be restored to the city of men?"

There is no peace without God. And no peace without prayer. Which is why there is no peace among men. Most men do not pray - even many of those who give lip service to prayer. Pope Paul VI continues, "..peace is also the concern of God. He has placed in our hearts the ardent desire for peace. He urges us to work toward it, each doing his share, and for that purpose He sustains our feeble energies and our vacillating wills. He alone can give us a peaceful soul, and confirm in depth and solidity our efforts for peace. Prayer, by which we ask for the gift of peace, is therefore an irreplaceable contribution to the establishment of peace. It is through Christ, in whom all grace is given us, that we dispose ourselves to welcome the gift of peace. And in that undertaking, how can we do otherwise than to depend lovingly upon the incomparable intercession of Mary, His Mother, of whom the Gospel tells us that she 'found favor with God'?"

For Father Wood, clerics are above reproach and above criticism, no matter how fraternal such criticism is.  And the role of the laity is to shut up, pay their tithes and, if they're unhappy with error or scandalous behavior from a cleric, to find another parish.

Father Wood needs to spend more time prayerfully reading and meditating upon Christifideles Laici.  In the meantime, he has no business being on a vocation team.  One cannot give to others what one does not possess.  How can he provide a solid example of what a priest should be when he fails to live the life of an authentic shepherd?


  1. Athol/Orange Catholic12:29 PM

    And if Father Wood doesn't like an active and informed laity, perhaps he should find another vocation. What a disgusting attitude.

    Arrogance! Very un-Christ like!

  2. Anonymous2:36 PM

    I would find another parish, only if it is in accordance with Our Lord's most ancient will. Unfortunately, there are hardly any other parishes that is not a product of the Novus Ordo Church.

    Perhaps I really should be looking underground, the only place where The Catholic Church continues to resonate stronger.

  3. CatholicinWendell3:16 PM

    I have a better idea people: stay, be a thorn in the side of priests who are committed toward wreckovating the Church and, this is key: WITHHOLD YOUR TITHES.

    Hit these haters where they'll feel it the pocketbook.

    It's the only thing they respect. Money. They don't care at all about souls.

  4. The Springfield Diocese is the home of a large number of pervert priests, with an intact lavender mafia that constantly covers each other's backsides. This Diocese has raised "passing the trash" to an art form. Most all of Springfield clergy are worthless worldly modernist heretics, who could care less about Jesus Christ and actively promote indifferentism and the Democratic party. Their point of reference is the Vatican II Council alone. Thank God I did move out of that rotten Diocese.
    Michael F Poulin

  5. BoredParishionerinOrange5:41 AM

    Naranjo said that he knows "all about Big Papi" because He was a sportscaster.

    In other words, knowing that Ortiz has a foul mouth and promotes LGBT, he still called him a "good Catholic."

    Stop giving to Saint Mary's. Naranjo is no better than Bermudez.

  6. Anonymous11:55 AM

    As a convert, I heard all about "good Catholics" my whole life. It was one reason I stayed away from the Catholic Church till I was 49. Thru the reading of the Bible, the doctrines of the faith {CCC, Fathers, etc} I realized the church IS who She claims to be or maybe rather claimed to be if we are to believe that the current Pope and other leaders are good spokesmen for the Church.

    When I converted and found out what the Church was like indoors, having seen only Her Majesty from the outside, so-to-speak, I realized I had walked plumb into a domestic squabble of Biblical proportions, complete with broken furniture {literally...iconoclast-bashed communion rails, altars, etc...} and family infighting of a sort I have rarely experienced in the Protestant world or actually, come to think of it, anywhere in the secular world, either...

    Thank God...YET AGAIN...for the doctrines of the Church and the prophesies that warn us of this reality as it is today. If it wasn't for CCC para 675, I might not even be a Catholic, but that text simply and bluntly described the queerness that exists in the body today.


    There's the problem {and Frankly, yeah, pun intended, is there any doubt about the problems of post-V2 ambiguous teaching and attitudes from Churchmen these days?}, and let's move beyond it to the solution?

    What's that?

    Well, my priests of a TLM apostolate in communion with Rome tell me to:

    1} Study the perennial Magesterium {Bible, past encyclicals, [papal pronouncements, teachings, Fathers, CCC, Cat of the Council of Trent, Balt Cat, you know the whole deal} and...

    CCC 1697 equips us with the support we need: Both the joys AND demands of the Gospel MUST be proclaimed with clarity.

    That our leaders are effeminate enough top dodge the demands and queer enough to give us ambiguity where clarity is needed should only serve to make us study harder and proclaim louder.

    We have asked for bread and we have been given a stone. We have asked for fish and we have been given a serpent.

    So what. It is now our job to go give bread and fish to the hungry.

    May God have mercy on the souls of the effeminate priests, Bishops and others who obfuscate His teaching and lead many astray. They will need it when the day of judgement comes.

  7. David3:24 PM

    Well said Valdemar. Priest-parasites like Naranjo and Wood are committed only to wreckovation and queering the Church.

  8. Steve5:20 AM

    One can understand why Father Wood serves as the Bishop's Secretary. The Bishop doesn't want any criticism or feedback about errant priests.

    Stifle any criticism and create the illusion that "all is well."


  9. David5:52 AM

    Bishop Rozanski doesn't want to hear from the laity Steve. Not really. Correspondence is highly filtered to weed out legitimate concerns and criticisms. Fr. Wood is a hatchet man, a corporate yes man who follows orders to suppress truth.

    Only comments of praise are accepted. The status quo doesn't want to hear that the Emperor has no clothes.

    Goebbels couldn't have done a better job.

  10. Anonymous12:31 PM

    One other thing, and this is directed especially at those who give substantial amounts to the Church but really should be heeded by even thw widow with a mere farthing to give.

    Cease doing so to the general diocese programs where your dioceses are run by Marxists. We are required and rightly so to support our pastors. Find one worthy of your support and focus your attention to him or his parish. After you have been doing that for some time, calculate how much you have NOT given to the Marxist diocese and send a letter to the Bishop telling him to his face exactly why you have redirected your tithing. Don't necessarily tell him where or he might take vengeance on the righteous priests who are receiving your support. Cowards and queers fight that way.

    Bishop Schneider has reminded us all to recognise that we as layman must take our position in the Church very seriously and in the absense of sound doctrinal leadership from the Bishops, priests, etc, we must rise and carry the torch for the faith. Just because they are cowards, moneygrubbing effeminate prancy-dancers trying to make friends with the enemies of Christ by compromising the truth doesn't mean we have to.

    We are not going to be judged on how our Bishops stood for Christ. We are going to be judged on whether we have confessed by word and deed the Savior and His work.

    God's blessings on all those who follow the Lord.

    God Save the Catholic Church.

  11. Cyn M1:56 PM

    Thank you Paul, for speaking the truth unvarnished. God sees your faithfulness...

  12. Anonymous4:36 AM

    So, are there any parishes in Springfield diocese, particularly in Hampshire county, that can be recommended?