Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast: Why Is Pseudo-Catholicism Flourishing In Your Archdiocese?

St. Basil's Parish, Ottawa, ON

I read a recent posting at SoCon or Bust with a good degree of dismay. Apparently a number of folks representing the heart and soul of St. Basil’s Parish in Ottawa have made available their thoughts and beliefs on the subject of the Catholic family.

Accordingly, this report presents findings from RESPONSES BY MORE THAN 60 PARISHIONERS of St. Basil’s Parish, Ottawa, gathered in three discussions after Masses on December 14-15, 2013, to SELECTED QUESTIONS in the Vatican’s Preparatory Document for the Family Synod. It was sent to the Archdiocese on December 18.

Their report is actually a bold and scathing denunciation of Catholic teaching on the family and other weighty matters of faith. The Church is portrayed as unloving, judgmental, outdated, unscientific, and unapproachable in her ways and teachings and the authors freely admit that

large numbers of the baptized walk away, being clear in their own conscience that they are justified.

The report condemns the Church’s teaching on homosexual disorders and unions claiming that

these matters are up to the individual’s conscience.

It is said

Homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon, not a choice.

Apparently, as concerns this parish,

cohabitation before marriage is almost universal now.

 And, according to the authors, in all matters of “irregular” lifestyles, including “divorced” and “annulled”

the Church must practice acceptance (not just tolerance) and respect.  


Catholic couples should be able to divorce and remain active members of the Church, including remarriage.

Regarding openness to life,

The magisterium is simply wrong about birth control.


The Church’s leaders cannot admit that they are wrong (e.g., their continued affirmation of Humanae Vitae). The consequent damage to the credibility of the magisterium is profound.

The Church is accused of having it backwards:

An” increase in births” is to be discouraged, not promoted.

Although the report does not indicate majority agreement, it nevertheless feels it important to record dissident views on women’s involvement in ministry:

As long as the ordained members of the Church and the magisterium persist in denying women equal status, the teaching on women within the family will be regarded with suspicion.

Other vague, incredible opinions are shared, including

Most of the Church’s problems are the result of man-made rules, coupled with rigidity.

It is difficult for me to imagine that these individuals can be considered in any way genuine Catholics. They have denied the faith in blatant fashion. No doubt they are among those pseudo-catholics who base their Catholic membership

not upon the mystery of the Eucharist but upon the "magic" of the Eucharist. Thanks to the negligence, or perhaps simply the spiritual darkness, of too many Canadian Bishops, regardless of the moral conduct or spiritual disposition of vast numbers of renegade "Catholics", attendance at Mass and mere reception of Holy Communion is assumed to magically confer absolution for even the gravest sins and satisfy all of God's significant imperatives for the Catholic. This grave misrepresentation of the Catholic faith not only dishonors faithful Catholics but scandalizes the entire Christian community in Canada, many of whom are forced to conclude that Catholicism is but another cultish enemy of the true Christian faith.

Blame the Bishop? I say, “But of course!” Who else has the responsibility for the Archdiocese? Who is the Shepherd and Teacher? Is it possible that Archbishop Prendergast doesn’t know about the heresies of this parish and other parishes in his Archdiocese? If he doesn’t then he is shockingly na├»ve and negligent. If he knows then he has allowed a series of dangerous evils to overtake this parish and his Archdiocese and the result is that many many souls are being lost to Satan. This condition did not happen overnight. It took many years to reach such a ripened, evil, state. Where has the Archbishop been since he took over the job from Archbishop Gervais?

Speaking of Archbishop Gervais, wasn’t he the Archbishop referred to in this letter?

Canada's Bishops failed to deal with the grave scandal caused by Paul Martin, Canada's most recent pro-abortion, pro-sodomy "Catholic" Prime Minister, defeated in the 2006 election, who spearheaded same sex "marriage" in Canada and vehemently proclaimed his government's commitment to "a woman's right to choose" without restrictions. His Bishop, the Bishop of Canada's capital city, Ottawa, dismissed any possibility of discipline for Martin, claiming that the Prime Minister was a "faithful member of my cathedral parish." (This same Bishop attends the Ottawa March for Life and at the 2004 March delivered a homily condemning the killing of human embryos for their stem cells.)

But wasn’t Archbishop Prendergast the subject of widespread controversy in 2008 when he indicated that Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians Should not “Publicly” Receive Holy Communion? I commented on this big story in my blog entry of March 9, 2008 entitled Archbishop Prendergast Must Go the Whole Nine Yards as well as in a short follow up post.

I give the Archbishop credit for even bringing up the subject, but unfortunately he has only muddied the waters with his confused equivocation.
So to summarize, Archbishop Prendergast must take this matter to the next level, i.e. the level of complete adherence to Catholic teaching, in order to win any respect for his recent statements or to accomplish any desperately needed change regarding the scandal of pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians in Canada.

Several days later, the Archbishop sounded off on “scandal,” a term rarely passing the lips of Catholic Bishops in Canada. As I wondered in another blog posting, was Archbishop Prendergast following in the footsteps of then Archbishop Raymond Burke [now Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome]?

The Archbishop was sounding like the Archbishop of St. Louis, the Rgt. Rev. Raymond Burke, whose record I briefly reviewed in this posting. He even emphasized the crucial role that denial of Holy Communion played in the reformation of the sinner’s ways, a key component of A/B Burke’s education strategy in this controversial matter. Archbishop Prendergast described this as the “medicinal measure,” which indeed it is.

He also emphasized the importance of the Church’s role in this matter in coming “to the assistance of those who serve the public good.” And then finally, a truly unusual and distinguished conclusion to the interview: an Archbishop in Canada discussing the concept of scandal:

“ If one were to allow Catholic political (or other public) figures to freely espouse abortion without drawing to their attention that this is a grave evil," explained Archbishop Prendergast, "other believers might be tended to accept this, not knowing any better and be led on the wrong path: that is what 'scandal' is. One must do everything possible to prevent others from falling away from the path of Christ - i.e. from being scandalized.”

Before I closed that posting I made this prediction:

It will soon be time for the Archbishop of Canada’s capital city “to do or to die.” A showdown of sorts is coming. Will the Archbishop act, or will his words soon vanish into fresh Canadian air as he settles into the politically correct chair of his predecessor?

The fallout from the Archbishop’s comments provoked commentary from some of Canada’s Protestant Evangelical circles and was detailed in this posting, where I explained what I thought the Archbishop was up against:

I do think that Archbishop Prendergast has planted some rare and hopeful signs of change in his recent outline of Catholic teaching concerning pro-abortion politicians who call themselves “Catholic” but he will have to quite literally move some of the gates of hell which have been positioned in Canadian society over the last forty or fifty years. 

Is he up to it? I really don’t know but I have complete confidence that if he moves forward step by step, does not waver in his responsibilities as Bishop, and if he holds complete fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, God Himself will move those gates.

Is this the same Archbishop who gave a speech in 2008 in Barrys Bay, ON that was heard round the world and led some to say No More Marshmellow Teaching. It’s Hard Candy Now ? Truly, some good people’s hopes zoomed skyward. [By the way, did the Archbishop ever release his pastoral document on Humanae Vitae? I can’t say I remember reading it and I don’t see it anywhere on his blog entries.]

It’s very sad indeed that after all the early huff and puff of this episcopate our hearts are now down in our boots. What appeared to be a zealous and courageous Bishop-teacher, even a fearless enforcer of Catholic orthodoxy (God knows how badly we need one), turns out to be powerless to stop the most basic kind of dissent and heresy in his own parishes. Is he so out of contact with his priests and his people? Not only that but clearly the pseudo-catholics in his Archdiocese have little or no fear of their Bishop; witness their boldness to broadcast their outrageous positions via the Internet for the whole world to see.

Is it possible that the Archbishop knows all about the corruption in the hearts of many of the “faithful” in his Archdiocese but that he lacks the courage and faith in God in order to see “the gates of Hell” moved?

Perhaps this also explains why we’ve never heard anything since about politicians being reprimanded or hopefully saved from their sinful ways via Canon 915. Perhaps that’s also why we’ve never heard more about Archbishop Prendergast leading the charge for the Catholic Bishops of Canada to relent on their Winnipeg Statement, which was their disastrous response to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. No doubt John Pacheco has seriously revised his expectations of the Archbishop since 2008.

The Archbishop actually mentions the word “contraception” and the term “Humanae Vitae” several times in his blog which comprises about 1500 postings. He always gives the distinct impression that it is incumbent upon all faithful Catholics to adhere to Humanae Vitae and that this is a key to effective marriages and witness for Christ in the culture.  How shocking and humiliating then that an official document from one of his parishes states:

The Church’s leaders cannot admit that they are wrong (e.g., their continued affirmation of Humanae Vitae)

Perhaps then this also explains why there continues to be an insurmountable crisis in the Ottawa District School Board. Apparently last October he lectured the schools in the Archdiocese “to choose teachers, guest speakers, and partners who are models of holiness and who fully embrace the culture of life” and “warning that if the schools are not ‘fully Catholic’ they risk descending into ‘demonic worldliness.’” I’m sure that scared all the bad people away.

Clearly, this Archbishop is all talk and no action, to the detriment of the souls under his charge. When will he rise up with God given courage and set his own house in order? Honestly, I’m heartsick over cowardly (or incompetent) Bishops who, when push comes to shove, fail to exercise their full God-given authority in defense of the Catholic faith. By their actions they show themselves ashamed of the Holy Faith and not worthy of their posts and will face the wrath of God for the loss of souls to Hell under their watch. I hope Archbishop Prendergast does not prove himself to be one of these. Let us pray that he picks up the pieces and recovers his Archdiocese from the clutches of the Devil while he still can.

God help and save him and his flock in Ottawa!

I fear that in our own Archdiocese of St. John’s, NL many of the same kinds of responses as those of St. Basil’s will be crafted and sent off  to Rome for the Extraordinary Synod in October 2014. We’ve already had some very blatant evidence of similar levels of contempt for Church teaching…and that originating from those closest to our Archbishop! Imagine what some of those in the pews must think!

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