From Patrick J. Sheahan.
I can only hope his article missed the editor's desk before it was published.
I would like to believe that my faith and the faith of most Catholics is based on a belief in Christ's teachings found in the Scriptures. If we are not grounded in those teachings then as Ephesians says in chapter 4:14 "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching ...."
Unlike Msgr. Foy I would be disappointed and surprised if bishops didn't agree with the Pope, or bishops disagreed with bishops, or priests disagreed with bishops, etc. It is the human condition and God knows just how human we are. If I recall, Christ had a few followers who didn't know what to believe sometimes. He also left us with a few leaders who were very human indeed. That's why we don't have our faith based on what man teaches but what Christ taught.
Galileo had a few ideas and the Church didn't exactly endorse those concepts. Even when we discovered he was right I didn't disown the Church-my faith wasn't shattered. Nor will it be shattered now, even though I've learned that some of our priests have abused children or that some of our priests have spoken out against the Church's stand on same-sex marriages.
People, including church leaders, are going to sin; they are going to fail us. Thank God for that because then I know I can live among them as Christ did. As Christ did with Judas in the garden, I can call them 'friend'. I can only hope Msgr. Foy can move forward and live among the sinners, even the Canadian bishops. Perhaps he could quit sounding like the prophet of doom and take time in prayer to forgive those bishops and priests he so easily condemns in this article.
How about building up Catholics and giving them reason to hope? Devote some space to Scripture and how people can respond to this world in faith and love and mercy. In Acts, Gamaliel warns us that, "if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God you will not be able to stop it."
I'm not denying that there are many issues in this country and in this world that we as Catholics should be concerned about. Our faith, rather than being shattered by them, will be strengthened if we can focus on Christ and trust that He is working through all people even the Canadian bishops who authored the Winnipeg Statement.
Editor: Alas, there is a huge difference between individual people sinning and a hierarchy teaching wrong faith or morals. If the Winnipeg Statement is not classified as (false) doctrine pertaining to faith, it still leaves us with mistaken teaching on moral matters. One can further soften the error by attributing it to the need for pastoral care of those who wouldn't or couldn't accept it--as the bishops did. But the sole point is that this (false) empathy has backfired: instead of giving the faithful time and understanding to absorb the teaching of Pope Paul VI, the bishops' action led many to reject the Magisterial teaching altogether.
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|Title Annotation:||Letters To The Editor|
|Author:||Sheahan, Patrick J.|
|Article Type:||Letter to the Editor|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2003|
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