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Oct 7, 2022Liked by Jonathon Fessenden, Jenny duBay, Chantal LaFortune

In one sense I agree with this article, but yet I also disagree!!!!! Jesus, when asked, said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind and will (another translation says heart, mind and strength), and to love our neighbor as yourself. Notice Jesus puts God absolutely first. Putting God and loving God first means putting His Word, His truth and His will totally first. Starting with our present Pope and continuing on with many cardinals, bishops and priests and lay folks, sin and evil is being promoted in our Church! I am not talking about my likes, my opinions. I am speaking about the word and will of God being thwarted and rejected by those who should know better. It very clear from the Bible, Tradition and Church Fathers that many of our leaders have gone against the will of God and chosen the will of man to please the world. Paul came agaist Peter and confronted him to his face. St Catherine confronted the Pope of her day and took him to task along with bishops and priests. Hildegard also confronted Church authorities. Joshua stated boldly "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"! We not only have the right, we have the duty to confront our leaders when they have gone astray. Otherwise we are playing on satan's side, playing his game and promoting his agenda! We must pray for wisdom, discerment, humility and courage which the Holy Spirit will gives us if we ask! We can't always go along to get along!!!!

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Oct 8, 2022·edited Oct 8, 2022Author

Kathleen,

You are correct - We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt 22:36). Jesus also says that the second commandment “is like” the first, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:39). In the Greek, the “is like” is better translated as “is similar to or the same as”. You don’t have the option not to love; even those with whom you disagree. Love is the commandment and with love there is no first or second. To love God is to love as God loves. It is to love who God loves. It is loving as God loves … that is everybody, even those who oppose us. Jesus is our exemplar. Jesus loved those who were killing Him all the way to heaven.

When you say that you are putting God’s Word, truth and His will first, under whose authority are you judging that Word, Truth, and Will? If that authority is not from the Magisterium of the Church, then it is misplaced. Our faith tells us that this authority, given by Christ to Peter, is given to the Magisterium as it teaches within the boundaries of Divine Revelation. So yes we challenge but we do so in humility in love. Your examples, with the exception of Joshua, are good ones to see this:

Paul did challenge Peter. He did so in love and he never disputed Peter’s authority as First amoung the Apostles. He could have but did not give in to pride. Can the Pope do things that give us pause? Yes! He does. Do we have the right to publically disrespect him as the Pope? No! What gives us the right to dispute any Pope’s authority unless we doubt that the Holy Spirit is working within the leadership of the Church… If so, “is this Catholic”, are we Catholic?

St Catherine did challenge the Pope in His actions with the Florentines. She did so in a steam of correspondence in which she constantly affirmed Pope Gregory’s role as Pope and her faith that he was guided by the Holy Spirit. Her recorded correspondence is full of love and prayers. She loved him and sought to gather vice throw the Church into schism. She became the mentor through her consistent life of humility, love, faith, and prayer.

Hildegard did challenge her superiors but never did she renounce their authority over her nor did she cease in her prayers for them.

In your reference to Joshua, I am not sure of the point. In his statement, he was not challenging the leadership of Israel, He was part of the leadership. In his statement, he led Israel by example. So, I am not sure of your point there.

We do have a right and duty to question and seek to understand the Magisterium of the Church. When you decide to reject them, are you not scattering, dividing? Jesus does NOT call us to divide, to scatter, but to seek unity, to gather. So, are we to set aside Jesus’ instruction there? He calls the Church to love Him and through loving Him love our neighbors, those with who we agree and disagree. Should we set thus aside? Unfortunately, so many have decided to scatter without taking the time to really understand what is going on. Am I shocked at some of the second hand accounts and statements by various Bishops. Yes, I am. But second hand statements are not the Magisterium speaking. Have I like everything I am hearing people say in the many listening sessions? No, in fact, I am shocked at the level of Catechisis. But these discussions must occur in order to gain understanding and to lovingly guide all to the truth. These discussions and gentle guiding has been happening since the founding of the Church. Satan wins when we scatter, walk away in anger, or renounce our fellow Catholics whom Christ also loves without any division. Unfortunately, Satan has been very successful in scattering and we are oft his willing accomplices. I think that is why the Lord prays that “we all may be one”.

Have we had some terrible Popes and Bishops? Assuredly. Yet, we are called not to schism but to unity. Again, I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Should we not love those in the Church with whom we do not agree? Should we not enter into dialogue with those with whom we do not agree with humility and above all, patience. I think we must! I try to approach every discussion with St Paul’s definition of love in 1 Cor 13:4-8. I must be patient, kind. not pompous, inflated, rude, seek our own interests. I cannot be not quick-tempered, brood over injury, rejoice over wrongdoing. I must, and this is most important; rejoice with the truth, bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. In short, I must have the faith and attitude to gather such that love never fails.

Does injustice occur. Yes! We are sinners. I like what GK Chesterton says; “we are all in the same boat and we are all sea-sick”. Yet, we do not walk away or divide. That is what happened with the Protestant Church. They disagreed and walked away. They scattered and keep scattering. Many Protestants developed a theology of “sole competency” which says that whatever I individually determine as the truth from Scripture is the truth. This heresy has very successfully splintered the Church into thousands of little islands who claim to hold the real truth. I say, the truth subsists in the Catholic Church. That is our faith and what makes the Catholic Church One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. This is our Credo.

Finally, I can offer many examples of Saints who suffered injustice at the hands of our Church yet, did not walk away. Many, in and for love of the Church, the Body of Christ, suffered in prayer and silence until the Church saw the foolishness of doing what they/we were doing. St Padre Pio is just a most recent example. Did he suffer injustice? Yes, even after his death.

Thank you for your comment. It is full of a love for our Lord and a yearning for truth. In my comment, perhaps I am missing the mark in what you are saying. If so, please tell me what assertion(s) I made in my Gospel reflection that you feel is false or wrong so that I may understand exactly with what you are disagreeing. I ask not as a challenge but to better understand what you are getting at.

Sorry for the long response. In my last two reflections, God has placed on my heart a call to unity…. That we all might be one. When we scatter, the devil wins and the world, scoffs and sadly walks away. Does the world know that we are Christian by or love? Sometimes, I don’t think so.

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Why you think I want to walk away, I am not sure. I am not saying walk away. I am saying put God His truth, word and will first. The Holy Spirit resides in the office. He should reside in the person who holds the office. However, like all humans, popes and bishops have a free will and can sin and teach wrongly if they chose to ignore the Spirit. We too have the Holy Spirit within and with us who gives us the gift discernment. Right now we have a very worldly pope who surrounds himself with worldly cardinals and bishops who wish to make the Church comform to the world rather than reach out to the world and help it comform to the truth and will of God. The whole parchemama situation is the best example of what I speak. In the Vatucan Gardens Francis worships a goddess to whom children have been sacrificed and allows the religious and lay folks present to do the same. Did Francis rebuke those present for worshipping, their faces to the ground, the parchcemama? No, instead he rebuked strongly the brave young man who removed the statues from churches throwing them into the Tiber. This young man risked his person, his name in great humility, courage and love for God! Who pleased the Lord that day - Francis or the young man? I think the answer is obvious!! My reference to Joshua was in reference to the whole parchemama scandal! The whole Catholic Church should have risen up and rebuked Francis loudly and publicly!!!

Now sense you question my love for Our Lord and His Church and for our fellow human beings, it is because I love Francis, my fellow humans, my Church, the Catholic Church, and most of all Our Precious Lord, that I say like Joshua, Paul, Catherine and Hildegard, " Chose this day whom you will serve whether the gods your fathers served....... or the gods of the Amorites...As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord".

Perhaps you did not mean this, but your article seems to say even when popes, bishops etc teach and act wrongly we must obey, keep our mouths shut and go along to get along. The Pharisees taught this, and Jesus strongly rebuked them! When I am put in a position by anyone whereby I must chose to either follow Christ and His Holy Spirit or follow wrong teachings and not speak against them, I will not obey, and I will speak! I do believe the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, but only if we do our part. If we sit silent we are a part of the problem, and will reap whst have sown!

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Kathleen, our response must be with love and humility and strengthened by the Sacraments. That is what my reflection said. You cannot individually write off the Magisterium. The Lord tells us in this Gospel of Luke 11:23, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” You must always answer the question, am I, in my actions with Christ gathering or am I scattering ?

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