Monday, April 19, 2010

Parishioners stand behind dissident priest Father James Scahill who calumniated Pope Benedict XVI

WWLP 22News is reporting that parishioners at Saint Michael's Parish in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts gave dissident priest Father James Scahill a standing ovation after he gave his homily yesterday, the first since he called upon Pope Benedict XVI to step down. Even though Fr. Scahill has calumniated the Holy Father, even though he has referred to the Mystical Body of Christ as "insidiously evil," even though he knew about Father Richard Lavigne molesting childen and didn't act on it, he has his supporters.

This should not come as a surprise. Even within the Catholic Church, charismatic individuals can inspire a cult-following. Religious communities (and a parish is a religious community) can fall victim to the cult phenomenon. In his book "Cults, Sects, and the New Age," Father James LeBar, who has served as a Consultant on Cults for the Archdiocese of New York, notes, " be sure,..cultic behavior is possible at any time in any place. It has also been demonstrated that some legitimate actions of Catholic Church groups can be carried to excess, so that the cult label is applied....Church leaders must be vigilant to make sure that cultic practices do not creep into otherwise legitimate groups." (p. 99).

As I noted in a previous post, the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. This is the authentic and authoritative teaching of Vatican II: "The head of this body is Christ. He is the image of the invisible God and in him all things came into being. He is before all creatures and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body which is the Church." (Lumen Gentium, No. 7). But Father Scahill has referred to Christ's Body as "insidiously evil." This statement constitutes heresy* as it is a clear statement accusing Christ Jesus Himself of being "evil." Heresy is the post-baptismal denial or doubt by a Catholic of any truth that must be believed as part of Divine Revelation (See Canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law). Heresy, if formal, is the deliberate resistance to God's authority, punishable by automatic excommunication (See Canon 1364).

Competent ecclesiastical authorities need to initiate an investigation into the ministry of Father James Scahill and the parish he serves. Let's all pray that this matter will be treated with the seriousness it deserves. It is not enough to call Father Scahill's remarks "unfortunate." They are more than that. They are heretical.

* "The held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as 'alone holy,' loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. The Church, then, is 'the holy People of God,' and her members are called 'saints.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 823).


Ashley Pelletier said...

Fr. Scahill seems to be leading his parishioners into schism. Why is a heretical priest allowed to offer the sacraments? This is totally shameful.

Ellen Wironken said...

Scahill is persecuting the Holy Father and leading a hate crusade against Christ's Vicar. The Bishop of Springfield should remove this hate priest immediately. His words and actions are only harming the Church's unity and peace. They are an act of violence against the Church's peace and unity.

abe said...

Those parishioners are certainly not going to be part of that final remnant.
Where are the holy hours and devotion in that church.
Everything is about self.

Heck the Unitarians do a better job.

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