Courageous Priest: The Supreme Law of the Church

The Supreme Law of the Church

Most Rev. Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland – The Catholic Sentinel:

I hope our readers will pardon a little wading into the Code of Canon Law, the system of law that governs the Catholic Church. I can’t help it — after all, I am a trained canon lawyer! Jesus teaches us in the Gospel that the two greatest commandments are love of God and love of neighbor, for sure.

But what is the greatest love we show for God and neighbor? Is it not to see as many people as possible, including ourselves, come to know the love and mercy of God and be with him one day forever in heaven?

The Church’s Code of Canon Law contains 1,752 laws covering everything from the structural organization of the Church as the people of God, the teaching of the Faith, the sacramental life of the Church, the administration of the material goods of the Church, and even penal and procedural law. But lest any of us (especially canon lawyers) forget the purpose of all of this body of law, the very last law (or “canon”) states that the “salvation of souls”, which must always be the supreme law of the Church, must be kept before our eyes.

The Salvation of Souls.

How often do we hear this language in the Church today? Not very often, I am afraid. And yet that is the very mission of the Church! To emphasize this very point, the Catechsim of the Catholic Church (# 776), quoting the Second Vatican Council, states: “As sacrament, the Church is Christ’s instrument. ‘She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all,’ ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ by which Christ is ‘at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God’s love for men.’ The Church ‘is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity,’ because God desires ‘that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit.’”

We are in Danger

Why am I emphasizing this point, you may ask? Because I sincerely think that we are in danger of losing our focus in fulfilling the mission that Christ has entrusted to all of us in the Church. Our ultimate mission is to bring as many people as possible into the one People of God, to incorporate them into the one Body of Christ, and be built up as the temple of God, animated by the Holy Spirit. The gift of eternal salvation is the greatest gift God has given to us, a gift that was purchased at a great price, the blood of his only begotten Son.

Jesus began his public ministry by boldly proclaiming, “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” His last words to the Apostles of his Church before his Ascension were, “Go forth and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The message is clear. Repent, believe, go forth and baptize. The essential mission is spiritual, focused on bringing people to life in Christ.

The Danger of Losing the Gift of Salvation

Throughout the Gospels Jesus speaks of the dangers of losing the gift of salvation, missing the moment of his redemption, and risking eternal punishment by rejecting the offer God has given us in the death and resurrection of his Son. One of Jesus’ most startling statements is: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

It seems our current environment cultivates the opposite view. Our culture seems to tell us that the way to life is easy and wide, and most people find it, while to find the road to destruction is narrow and hard, and really very few people end up there. I go by our blessed Lord’s words.

Part of the reason I think that we are in danger of losing the essential and primary message of salvation of souls is based on how I see many people defining what it means to be a good Catholic. Many people have reduced being a good and faithful Catholic to being nice, tolerant and doing good works. They think if we do service projects for the poor and needy, and don’t make any judgments about human behavior and sin, then we are fulfilling the Gospel mandate.

While it is a good and even essential thing that a disciple of Jesus care for the poor and seek justice for the oppressed in this world, there is so much more to the message of redemption in Jesus Christ. We must follow the Ten Commandments, avoid sin, and repent and seek forgiveness when we fail. Our eternal salvation depends on all these things, as Jesus himself taught. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

God’s mercy extends to all of us when we have sinned and repented. There is no limit to this mercy. It is infinite. But we must seek it. If we say we are not sinners and are not in need of God’s mercy, we make God a liar. “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5-10)

True mercy goes beyond justice. But mercy does not oppose justice. Our mission is, only by the grace of God, to seek the salvation of our souls, and to bring as many with us to Heaven as we can, again only as God uses us as his instruments of grace and mercy. The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls.

Source: Courageous Priest

RORATE CÆLI: Encouragement for homeschoolers

For those who homeschool, especially for those either just starting or with all fairly young children in their early educational years, we don’t have to tell you — it’s hard. It’s really hard.
If you read some of the homeschooling blogs, while they mean well, they often leave you with the feeling that homeschooling should always be this wonderful, permanent joy. It should always feel like that painting of mother in her chair with the perfectly behaved little ones at her knees listening to each and every word emanating from her mouth.
Then there’s reality. 
Read more here:

Source: RORATE CÆLI: Encouragement for homeschoolers

Turning Toward the Lord — An Evangelical and Ecumenical Perspective for Support by Joel Morehouse

Cardinal Sarah’s challenge that priests celebrate Mass “ad orientem” has sparked controversy and heated discussion throughout the Catholic world. Hyperbole aside, some think this would imply we’re going back to the dark ages. Others see this subtle yet important change as the salvation of the Christian West. Whether you’re with Cardinal Nichols or Cardinal Sarah, it’s a big deal.

As one who converted from the Evangelical faith in 2004, I’d like to offer my support for Cardinal Sarah and simultaneously identify some points where his vision would bring about positive ecumenism with our Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters.

If Catholics hope for any unity with Evangelicals, “ad orientem” could be a big step. Evangelicals are looking for conversion, or at least a warm-blooded attempt, as a sign of true faith. Why not give them the sign they seek? Cardinal Sarah isn’t arguing for tradition for tradition’s sake, but rather that each of us turn toward the Lord with a sincere heart. Jesus the Lord is the cornerstone of the Church, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; if we wish to rebuild ourselves or our Church, we have to turn toward Him. For the sake of the New Evangelization, let’s turn to the Lord and pray for the success of Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation.

Read more here:

Source: New Liturgical Movement: Turning Toward the Lord — An Evangelical and Ecumenical Perspective for Support

Bishop Paprocki: Catholics, Marriage and Holy Communion‏

“Every Catholic Must Sacramentally Confess All Serious Sins”

By Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, The State Journal Register

An Associated Press story that ran in the State Journal-Register July 7 is misleading in saying that Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput in Philadelphia “is closing the door opened by Pope Francis to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion, saying the faithful in his archdiocese can only do so if they abstain from sex and live ‘as brother and sister.’”

As I explained in my statement about the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis on April 8, the date it was issued, “There are no changes to canon law or church doctrine introduced in this document.” I addressed this conclusion in greater detail in my column in our diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Times, on May 1, explaining that in-flight press conferences on an airplane, apostolic exhortations and footnotes “by their very nature are not vehicles for introducing or amending legislative texts or making dogmatic pronouncements.”

The Bible clearly teaches about the proper disposition to receive Holy Communion in the First Letter to the Corinthians, where Saint Paul wrote, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself (1 Cor 11:27-29). This biblical teaching is reflected in canons 915-916 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law.

All Serious Sins Must Be Confessed

Thus, the Philadelphia guidelines issued by Archbishop Chaput are certainly correct when they say, “Every Catholic, not only the divorced and civilly-remarried, must sacramentally confess all serious sins of which he or she is aware, with a firm purpose to change, before receiving the Eucharist. . . . With divorced and civilly-remarried persons, Church teaching requires them to refrain from sexual intimacy. This applies even if they must (for the care of their children) continue to live under one roof. Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly-remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist.”

This applies not only in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but also here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, as it does elsewhere in the Church.

Our Sex-Saturated Culture

Catholics in these circumstances thus have a free choice: if they persist in sexual activity outside of valid marriage, they must refrain from taking Holy Communion; if they wish to receive Holy Communion, they must refrain from sexual activity outside of valid marriage. The latter may seem impossible to those steeped in our sex-saturated culture, but “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki leads the Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

St. Anne’s Feast | July 26

26 July is the Feast Day of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In Malaysia, the St. Anne’s Feast of Bukit Mertajam happens to be one of the 20 biggest Catholic pilgrimages in the world, and is celebrated at St. Anne’s Church, Bukit Mertajam on the mainland of Penang.

It regularly attracts an estimate of about 100,000 pilgrims from Malaysia as well as neighbouring countries, who gather to pray or thank her for prayers answered and petitions granted through her powerful intercession.

Spread over a period of ten days which includes the actual feast day on 26 July, celebrations include a candlelight procession, a nine-day novena and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

A prayer to St. Anne:

Dear Saint Anne, 

I praise God and honor you for having been given the grace to be the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Many who have implored your help have felt the happy effects of your goodness and powerful intercession. Encouraged by this thought, I humbly implore you, O good Saint Anne to hear my request:

(here mention your petition)

O loving Saint Anne, whose heart is ever full of human sympathy for those in trouble, pain or anxiety, have pity on me and grant me your favour as you have done for others in so many wonderful cases for the greater glory of God. Help me to know, love and follow Jesus by being a concerned citizen and an active member of His Church and to reach Heaven, there to praise God with you forever and ever.

Amen.

Source: St. Anne’s Feast | suzannetony

Why Ultra-Orthodox Jews Are Turning to Jesus

Tribulation Times

July 20, 2016

(Rom 11:25-26) For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

CHRISTIAN POST NEWSUltra-Orthodox Jews Experiencing ‘Spiritual Meltdown of Historic Proportions’ and Turning to Jesus, Report Claims

COMMENTARYWhy Ultra-Orthodox Jews Are Turning to Jesus

BLOGThe Conversion of the Jews at the End of Time

EXCERPTSt. Thomas Aquinas in Commentary on Epistle to the Romans:

“The blindness of the Jews will endure until the fullness of the gentiles have accepted the faith.  And this is in accord with what the Apostle says below about the salvation of the Jews, namely, that after the fullness of the nations have entered, ‘all Israel will be saved’, not individually as at present, but universally.” …

“What, I say, will such an admission effectuate, if not that it bring the Gentiles back to life? The Gentiles would be the believers whose faith has grown cold, or even that the totality, deceived by the Antichrist, fall and are restored to their pristine fervor by the admission of the Jews.”

CATHOLIC ANSWERS: The Chief Rabbi’s Conversion by: Fr. Arthur B. Klyber C.Ss.R.

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The Apostasy of Rabbi Zolli

FROM THE MAILBAG
EXCERPT
 Michael D O’Brien: My grief over the current condition of the Church, both universal and particular (the U.S.A., Canada, Western Europe), is immense. Our chief temptation during this time of confusion is to bitterness, isolation, and dismay. Coming through these temptations, I’ve learned that our Lord always desires us to go deeper and farther. At the heart of everything is union with Him. But this union grows only by faith and by suffering. Experiencing rejection, false judgments by others, the failures of shepherds to be true spiritual fathers, a multitude of disorders in the Body of Christ . . . all of these are a test for us (sometimes a severe test).

As you know, the Church throughout its long history has often been in crisis. She is ever populated by, and at times run by, less than edifying people (I count myself as one of them). In time, the ship always steadies and moves forward. God is always at work, seeking to bring good from our seemingly endless follies. So, too, He will raise up new pastors and new saints for our times, and this will probably be in the midst of great tribulations. Our task is to keep turning our thoughts and the movements of our hearts toward the true horizon—or, to mix metaphors, to keep our eyes focused on the Church as the Bride of Christ being prepared to meet the Bridegroom.

He is near. He is coming. I pray you do not lose heart. Human “solutions” such as schism or apostasy only add to the Bride’s wounds and delay her preparation. We must love the charism of Peter, the Chair of Peter with a great love, never losing sight of the Lord’s promise that the “gates of hell” will never prevail against the Church. This implies that hell will surely try to do its worst, tempting us all, sifting us like wheat.  Let us be part of the Church’s defence and not a part of the problem.

I’ve found much consolation and strength by offering everything I suffer as a sacrifice united to the Cross for the purification and strengthening of the Church. We men, and especially we pragmatist North Americans, have a hard-wired sense that we can “fix” anything with enough knowledge, skill, tools, influence, rhetoric, etc. But in the case of the Church, we cannot. We can only “fix” our own selves through cooperation with the grace of Christ—through prayer, sacraments, sacrifice, endurance and perseverance, patience, mercy, truth, and the faith that is refined in the darkest of fires. Keep the eyes of your heart on the true horizon. Keep your eyes on the Bride.

Take heart. Trust in the Lord, especially when there seems to be little or no grounds for trust.

St. Faustina Kowalska writes in her diaries, Divine Mercy in My Soul:
“The greater the darkness, the greater our confidence should be.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux writes in her letters:
“Trust and trust alone should lead us to Love.”

May I suggest that you also prayerfully read Ezekiel, chapter 9.

LINKSIGNS OF THE TIMES
Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- “On remembrance of death”

10. Never, when mourning for your sins, accept that cure which suggests to you that God is tender-hearted (this thought is useful only when you see yourself being dragged down to deep despair). For the aim of the enemy is to thrust from you your mourning and fearless fear.


Prayer request?  Send an email to: PrayerRequest3@aol.comThis month’s archive can be found at: http://www.catholicprophecy.info/news2.html.