Tuesday, December 25, 2007

An open letter to Bishop Robert J. McManus

- "At the side of Jesus, see Mary his Mother, who was never stained with any sin, original or actual, yet whose pure and loving heart was pierced through."
- St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort

I have written His Excellency, The Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, to address my concerns regarding a homily given by the pastor of a Catholic parish located within his Diocese. Here is that letter:

December 26, 2007

The Most Rev. Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester
49 Elm Street
Worcester, Ma 01609

Your Excellency,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you to express my concerns regarding a homily given by Rev. ----- during Holy Mass on Christmas Day at ------ Parish in ------.
During his homily, Fr. ----- described Our Lady as having entertained sinful thoughts. Specifically, he implied that she would have harbored resentment against St. Joseph (for having thought that she had been unfaithful to him) and for the conditions which she had to endure both on the road to - and while giving birth at - Bethlehem.

In his declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception given on December 8, 1854, Blessed Pius IX of happy memory stated clearly that, "..the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of God omnipotent and because of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race, free from all stain of Original Sin."

Our Lady was conceived in the state of perfect justice, free from Original Sin and its consequences, in virtue of the redemption achieved by Christ on the Cross. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 492, teaches that, "The ‘splendor of an entirely unique holiness’ by which Mary is ‘enriched from the first instant of her conception’ comes wholly from Christ: she is ‘redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.’ The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person ‘in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places’ and chose her ‘in Christ before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love.’" (CCC, 492, citing Lumen Gentium, Nos 53, 56; Ephesians 1: 3-4).

The Catechism assures us that: "It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of ‘the law of Christ.’ From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the ‘way.’ From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary." (CCC, No. 2030).

Our Lady is not only the model of holiness but she is Mediatrix of all Graces. Pope Benedict XIV taught that, "Our Lady is like a celestial stream through which the flow of all graces and gifts reach the soul of all wretched mortals." (Op. Omnia, v.16, ed., Prati, 1846, p. 428). And Pope Pius XII, speaking of Our Lady, said that, "She teaches us all virtues; she gives us her Son and with Him all the help we need, for ‘God wished us to have everything through Mary.’" (Mediator Dei, 1947).

Rather than encouraging the faithful under his care to strive toward greater holiness while using Our Lady as a model of something far better to reach for, it would seem that Fr. ----- would prefer to drag Our Lady down to the level of the ordinary "wretched mortal" (to borrow Pope Benedict XIV’s phrase) in an attempt to convince us that we are really not that wretched after all.

Fr. -----'s homily was both morally offensive and grossly inappropriate. Especially considering the fact that it was delivered on Christmas Day. Not that his comments would have been edifying on any other day. One has to wonder if Fr. ----- has an adequate understanding of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It would appear that such is not the case. Either that, or knowing that ---- radio out of ------- is broadcasting the Mass, perhaps Fr. ----- is more concerned with his image and appealing to a mass audience which can be hostile toward devotion to Mary than he is with offering authentic Catholic teaching.

At any rate, I believe this situation should be addressed Your Excellency. The faithful have a right to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity (Veritatis Splendor, No. 113).

Asking Your Excellency’s Blessing,
I am, Yours Respectfully

Paul Anthony Melanson


Anonymous said...

I know which parish and priest you are referring to Paul. I was present at the 9:30 Mass myself. Perhaps Bishop McManus should request a copy of the Mass recording (since it was broadcast from the local radio station).

Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Paul, St. Louis de Montfort said (in The Secret of the Holy Rosary) that people - he refers to them as "freethinkers" - who denigrate the Holy Rosary do so because they have absorbed the poison of Hell. If this be true (and it is), what does that suggest about a priest who denigrates Our Lady by publically down-playing her holiness and implying that she also had sinful thoughts? Hopefully this matter will be appropriately addressed.

Magdalene said...

Yes, I have heard Our Lady called 'just another unwed pregnant teen'.

This Christmas as father talked about himself, as he always does, he talked about darkness and how he likes to play killer video games and a little bit about his addiction. Same old stuff that no one wants to hear.

Preach the gospel? Hmmm, I wonder what that would mean?

Anonymous said...

This priest's comments appear to be blasphemous. He should be instructed to apologize to his parishioners and to conform his views to Catholic teaching. If he refuses, he should be removed immediately from his pastorate.

Sanctus Belle said...

O how God has allowed this crisis of leadership as a chastisement for our sins! God have mercy!

Anonymous said...

I pray that the priest in question is removed as "pastor" of the parish. Such an abominable attack on Our Lady has no place in any Catholic parish.

Anonymous said...

If this is the priest I am thinking about, he was critical of Pope Benedict XVI a couple of months back. I believe his Sunday Masses are all broadcast from a radio station. Just think of all the people he is confusing. Why is this tolerated?

Anonymous said...

As if the Diocese of Worcester doesn't have enough problems. Dissent at Holy Cross, dissent from VOTF, priests who have abused children. Enough is enough. Things have been slowly getting better. But there is much work to be done.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. Our Lady's virtue being attacked by a Catholic priest on Christmas Day. One has to wonder if the priest in question has any faith left. What's next on his list? Denying the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Anonymous said...

The spiritual battle is between the children of Mary and the children of the devil. Genesis says that thee will be "enmity" between Mary and her offspring and the devil and his. This battle, this war, will continue until the Reign of Christ.

Anonymous said...

I think that we should all offer Rosaries of reparation over this. Sanctus hit upon something I think. She said that such attacks on Our Lady from one of her Son's priests is actually part of a chastisement. I agree. The darkness of sin and error and apostasy is inundating our culture and significant portions of the Church. The book of Revelation says that the dragon's tail will destroy one-third of the "stars." In ancient times, the stars of the heavens symbolized the priesthood.

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