Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol: Losing Their Religion?

As I said in a previous post, "While the Church respects freedom of conscience and shuns any form of coercion, our Holy Father reminds us that, "We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires. We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An "adult" faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth."

This dictatorship of relativism seeks to impose its immoral agenda on Christians in the name of "tolerance." But this "tolerance" is a sham. It is simply an attempt to make an idol out of a false conception of freedom. Again, our Holy Father explains that, "..what clearly stands behind the modern era's radical demand for freedom is the promise: You will be like God...The implicit goal of all modern freedom movements is, in the end, to be like a god, dependent on nothing and nobody, with one's own freedom not restricted by anyone else's...The primeval error of such a radically developed desire for freedom lies in the idea of a divinity that is conceived as being purely egotistical. The god thus conceived of is, not God, but an idol, indeed, the image of what the Christian tradition would call the devil, the anti-god, because therein lies the radical opposite of the true God: the true God is, of his own nature, being-for (Father), being-from (Son), and being-with (Holy Spirit). Yet man is in the image of God precisely because the being-for , from, and with constitute the basic anthropological shape. Whenever people try to free themselves from this, they are moving, not toward divinity, but toward dehumanizing, toward the destruction of being itself through the destruction of truth. The Jacobin variant of the idea of a rebellion against being human in itself, rebellion against truth, and that is why it leads people - as Sartre percipiently observed - into a self-contradictory existence that we call hell. It has thus become fairly clear that freedom is linked to a yardstick, the yardstick of reality - to truth*. Freedom to destroy oneself or to destroy others is not freedom but a diabolical parody. The freedom of man is a shared freedom, freedom in a coexistence of other freedoms, which are mutually limiting and thus mutually supportive: freedom must be measured according to what I am, what we are - otherwise it abolishes itself."

This truth seems to have been forgotten by parishioners at Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol, Massachusetts.  Among the responses to a "Cluster Survey" (Clint Eastwood's character in Heartbreak Ridge would have called it something else), are the following suggestions: The Church needs to address facts that this age group [20-40] is practicing birth control and divorce, More tolerance (especially in preaching) - this one is particularly disturbing since there are never homilies addressing the sinfulness of abortion, contraception, fornication, homosexuality etc, Teach less theology, Model after Paulist Center in Boston and be "more open and loving" as opposed to "old-time/rigid/closed-minded."

The parish bulletin insert which lists these responses goes on to say that volunteers are requested to evaluate and implement the suggestions.

One can just imagine how that's going to proceed.

Model the parish after the Paulist Center in Boston?  Never mind that the Paulist Center is a hotbed of dissent from Church teaching and a center for homosexual agitprop.  See here.  More tolerance in preaching?  Again, the priests at Our Lady Immaculate have not been preaching against sin as it is.  But tolerance is for external conduct, it is not for the mind.  The mind cannot tolerate error for an instant.  Error and truth are not equally good.  And Catholics are supposed to be on the side of truth. 

If Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol is losing the 20-40 age group (and it is), it's not because the Gospel has been preached there.  It's because it hasn't been.  Young people are naturally idealistic.  They are hungry for truth - even, and especially, the hard truths.  But Our Lady Immaculate Parish - as with many other parishes which have embraced a liberal "gospel" - has only offered spiritual pablum.  The youth need wheat not chaff.

And the parish "leadership" has failed to produce.

Related reading here.


Athol/OrangeCatholic said...

The "survey" is a farce. I submitted suggestions for a return to Eucharistic Adoration, preaching from the Catechism and priests setting an example of prayer. None of these suggestions was published in the bulletin.

In my book, that makes the priests at OLI liars. Why were my suggestions censored? Obviously because the parish has a liberal dissident agenda.

OLIParishioner said...

I also suggested Eucharistic Adoration as well as more time for the Rosary and Mercy Chaplet. I also mentioned homilies which reflect magisterial teaching. My comments apparently were relegated to the garbage can along with the comments from other Catholics faithful to the Magisterium.

Here's one response which somehow made it in: "married and women priests." bias there.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

On November 21st of last year, Deacon Paul Mello took part in an "Interfaith Thanksgiving Service" with M. Lara Hoke, a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and minister of the First Congregational Parish, Unitarian in Petersham, Massachusetts.

According to her Blog, Ms. Hoke is into the "earth-centered traditions" of Native Americans and heavily promotes "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality."

Her Blog profile also mentions that she lives in Worcester with her wife Emily Ferrara.

Our sad time.

Stewart said...

Our young people don't need to drag themselves to Church only to hear LGBT propaganda. They can get all they want of that garbage on television.

If all the parish has to offer is more of the same MTV claptrap, small wonder our kids aren't coming to Church.

Pathetic! Where is Bishop McManus?

Ellen Wironken said...

This is part of an overall strategy and conspiracy to destroy the Church from within and bring it down. Michael Voris just did a piece on this conspiracy a couple of weeks ago. And I know you have been warning about this conspiracy for years Paul.

Ecclesiastical masons within the Church are working along with secret societies and proponents of the radical homosexual agenda to undermine the Mystical Body of Christ and to advance ideologies which are Socialist and New Age.

Rory McGinn said...

Paul, I suggest you bring a camera/phone with you the next time an interfaith service is scheduled. If the diocese doesn't respond to letters and complaints, it may respond to a YouTube showing what is actually happening. It's also good to record the words so you can have a transcript of all that New Age stuff to mail out. Good luck.

Daniel said...

The Worcester Diocese is in a state of crisis Rory. And the faithful are deserting parishes en masse. Things are really realy bad. Athol is no exception. We are witnessing the disintegration of whole Catholic communities as homosexual propaganda and New Age spirituality moves right in.

Anonymous said...

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.-Mother Teresa

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mother was referring to the poor and unwanted. Not those who reject the Gospel. Meditate upon Romans 16: 17-18: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them.

For such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the innocent."

ShrewsburyCatholic said...

Does that include Catholics faithful to the Magisterium anonymous? And if so, why haven't our suggestions been published?

No Catholics faithful to the Magisterium will be heard huh?

Mother Teresa would not condone OLI's dissent anonymous. She understood Pope John Paul II's teaching in Veritatis Splendor (No. 113) that "dissent is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God."

I guess it's back to the drawing board huh anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Your negativity is poison to the soul. Stand back and look at what you have allowed yourself to become. You are more hateful and evil than those you dispise. Do you really wonder why no one wants you in their parish? Honestly?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Anonymous, based upon your comment, it's obvious that charity is a strong suit in your brand of Catholicism. The rejection of error and falsehood is, so you claim, evidence of "negativity." But your argument simply doesn't wash. Dr. Hildebrand explains: "Perhaps never before has there been as much intellectual fraud as there is today. In the mass media - and even in discussions on university campuses - this intellectual fraud appears chiefly as the manipulation of slogans designed to bluff the hearer or reader, and prevent him from thinking clearly. For a typical example, let us consider how the terms positive and negative are now most often used to discredit the refutation of pernicious errors and to give credit to the most shallow speculations. The intellectual swindlers who play such an important role in public discussions will often denominate as 'positive' propositions and attitudes they favor. They thereby seek to forestall questions of truth and value by enveloping their prejudices in a vague suggestion of 'creativity,' 'originality,' 'openness,' 'unaggressiveness.' This is the device of the cuttlefish. The moment one tries to grasp it, it emits a murky substance to confuse and deceive.

In reality, the popular slogan usages of positive and negative is a distortion of the genuine meanings of the terms. In proper usage they can refer to existence and nonexistence or to value and disvalue. They can refer to desirability and undesirability, or to answers to questions and demands, or to results of tests and inquiries. But when these terms are applied to attitudes of mind or to theses - by way of suggesting an evaluation - an intellectual fraud is committed; for they are then being used to evoke vague associations that distract from the question that alone matters - namely: Is this attitude objectively called for? Or: Is this thesis true?...It is the nature of truth to exclude every contradiction of itself. Thus, the rejection of errors and falsehoods can never be separated from the affirmation of truth. The one implies the other...

To give the impression that affirmations are 'positive' and denials 'negative' is to misrepresent completely the nature of judgments and propositions. This abuse of the language transforms the terms positive and negative into deceptive slogans and thus amounts to an intellectual swindle..." (The Charitable Anathema, pp. 45-47).

Thank you for acknowledging that I'm not welcome at Our Lady Immaculate. I already knew this of course. Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterium are not welcome in a parish which is committing spiritual suicide.

Rick Petersen said...

The comment from anonymous, "You are more hateful and evil than those you dispise [the word is actually despise]. Do you really wonder why no one wants you in their parish? Honestly?," is very disturbing. At no time have I ever read anything from you Mr. Melanson which would indicate that you "despise" anyone.

But this comment is evidence of what I would consider the demonic. It was written by a person who is obviously bitter and angry and potentially violent. In all likelihood, someone trapped in the sin of homosexuality who wants to rationalize their sin.

What is particularly troubling is that this person asserts that, "no one wants you in their parish." This would seem to suggest that the writer is a parish or diocesan official who has personal knowledge that you have been placed on some sort of blacklist because of your defense of Catholic teaching and opposition to the radical homosexual agenda.

Absolutely chilling.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Rick, I would have to agree with you. The same angry individual who left a comment here attacking my person (I am now under the impression that it is someone who works for OLI in Athol) anonymously has left another comment citing John 13:35, "This is how all all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Precisely. And judging by the hate-filled comments, this confused soul is sorely lacking in charity. Charity cannot be separated from truth. This point is obviously not understood by this poor soul. In the words of Dr. Dietrich Von Hildebrand, "False irenicism is motivated by a misconceived charity at the service of a meaningless unity. It places unity above truth. Having severed the essential link between charity and defense of the truth, irenicism is more concerned with reaching a unity with all men than with leading them to Christ and His eternal truth. It ignores the fact that real unity can be reached only in truth. Our Lord’s prayer ‘that they may be one’ implies being one in Him and must not be separated from His words in John: ‘And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice. And there shall be one fold and one shepherd.’" (Dr. Dietrich Von Hildebrand, citing John 10:16).

Pray that this angry soul will come to know the Church's authentic peace. A peace which is ever at war with error, falsehood and immorality.

Anonymous said...

The Interfaith Service mentioned by Paul Melanson is simply a service in which all three churches in Petersham participate in a service of Thanksgiving. These services have been held for years in this town, bringing all three churches, along with Sisters of the Assumption, together in unity. What a shame that hate and prejudice endangers a beautiful tradition and that Deacon Mello should be vilified for participating in these beautiful services.

Wendy said...

Anonymous writes, "The Interfaith Service mentioned by Paul Melanson is simply a service in which all three churches in Petersham participate in a service of Thanksgiving. These services have been held for years in this town, bringing all three churches, along with Sisters of the Assumption, together in unity. What a shame that hate and prejudice endangers a beautiful tradition and that Deacon Mello should be vilified for participating in these beautiful services."

Is that all? Never mind that the Unitarians reject the divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, and many other fundamental beliefs of Christianity such as the Trinity and the Resurrection of the dead, never mind that they promote paganism, never mind that they promote homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, bisexuality and same-sex "marriage," never mind that they have attacked the Catholic Church and ridiculed her beliefs - isn't THAT evidence of "hate and prejudice"?

When the CDF issued a document on October 1, 1986 titled "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," the Unitarian Universalists issued a statement of their own which said that: "The recent letter to Roman Catholic bishops from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith demonstrates again that the Catholic hierarchy and its archaic religious assumptions pose a serious threat to the well-being of those who deviate from the church's specifications about what constitutes 'valid' psychosexual orientation or behavior.."

Archaic religious assumptions? Does Deacon Paul Mello view the Church's teaching on homosexuality as nothing more than "archaic religious assumptions"? If not, why is he associating with Christianophobic Unitarians?

Does Deacon Mello also endorse same-sex "marriage"? How about paganism? Does he view sodomy as an "alternative lifestyle"?

Wendy said...

The link to the hate-filled Christianophobic rage of the Unitarians:

Jonathan said...

Wendy, that deacon should be removed from ministry in my opinion. We just don't need clerics who are trying to undermine people's faith or confuse them. We can do much better.

Athol/OrangeCatholic said...

Mary Lara Hoke is promoting liberation theology at her blog:

Liberation theology is marxist and the Church has warned against it.

Athol/OrangeCatholic said...

Site Meter