Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Voice of the Faithful[TM] encouraging sin? Sheesh.

I've long held the view that one should be careful in labeling dissident groups as "schismatic" or "heretical." There's a difference between dissent and heresy and there's a big difference between dissent and schism.

That said.

A reading of a letter signed by members of "Voice of the Faithful(sic)" in Saint Louis, the dissident group — and it is a dissident group — makes it pretty clear that the group is crossing the line from dissidence to schism.

Archbishop Burke of Saint Louis had the unhappy job of informing the Board and hired pastor of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parish that it, and he, were no longer in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. That they had, in fact, excommunicated themselves.

What are the ramifications of receiving, say, Holy Communion from a schismatic priest?

Archbishop Burke explains:

The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin. All of the faithful of the archdiocese should guard against any participation in the attempt to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Also, they should caution visitors and others who are unaware of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, lest they unknowingly participate in the schismatic acts.

Seems clear enough, doesn't it?

So what does VOTF in Saint Louis do? Encourage people to do the very thing they should not, must not do: commit a mortal sin!

From the letter, headlined "Solidarity with St. Stan" (you've gotta scroll down some...here's the meat of it, though:)

The archbishop said Rev. Bozek's decision "causes further damage to the Church, not only here in St. Louis, but in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau." Father Bozek said he is here to serve "the people of God in need of a spiritual leader and a pastor." If there is "damage" to the church, it is not because of Rev. Bozek's decision, or the actions of the people of St. Stanislaus. It is the result of the failure of our leaders to resolve disputes with their flock in humility.

We hope that all Catholics in the archdiocese will honor Rev. Bozek and his new parish by joining them for 10 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve.

Robert Kaintz

St. Louis

Carol Williams

St. Louis

Voice of the Faithful St. Louis

"But Kelly...maybe it's just a couple of cranks in Saint Louis???"

Maybe. But an article on the VOTF national site is troubling, to put the best face on it.

"We call upon Archbishop Burke to relate to St. Stanislaus parish within the traditional Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which requires that the smaller community decide on and administer all its own affairs for which it has capability."

There's more. Read it if you want.

The thing is, VOTF has, since its inception, pushed (among other things) the notion of parishioners choosing their own pastors.

This is what Protestants do. This is not what Roman Catholics do.

(And it's a silly idea, don't you think? Kinda like a lamb choosing its own shepherd or ...a kid choosing his own parents: the ones most liberal in the ice cream department)

"Voice of the Faithful. [TM]." Promoting mortal sin — whether they realize it or not — one Catholic at a time.