The attitude of the far right in Catholicism: “We’re right, therefore, we can do and say whatever we want.” Wrong.
Here’s a News Story from Canada about a pastor who refuses to obey the laws regarding limits on religious services during the pandemic. He is behind bars, where he belongs, because he told a judge if he was released on bail, he would continue to break the law. This is not martyrdom. This is not an heroic believer fighting against the evil laws of a wicked regime.
This is a person with the attitude that he and his religious sect are Right. Their understanding is absolute truth. If any authority in the Church or in the world says otherwise, then they believe they must fight against them, as good against evil — because they decided they themselves are right.
This is not the attitude from many examples in the past of Saints and martyrs. Rather, it is the attitude from many examples in secular society and in pagan religion of idolatry, of idolizing one’s own understanding and regarding all who disagree as wicked. It is a type of fundamentalism, which over-simplifies truth to produce severe errors, dogmatizes those errors, and then villainizes anyone who disagrees.
Restrictions on religious services due to a pandemic are reasonable and necessary. They have been widely approved by the Pope and the body of Bishops, who can never err gravely in matters of doctrine or discipline. The exact type and extent of restrictions needed is a matter of some legitimate discussion and disagreement. But on the far right, those who claim the pandemic is a hoax or is no worse than the flu, and that people should not have to wear masks or avoid gathering in a crowd close together, esp. indoors, are the ones who are acting contrary to truth and justice.
I am ashamed that among those doing the most harm during the pandemic are persons who call themselves “Catholic”, but who in fact are schismatics and heretics who have rejected the Roman Pontiff, such as Cardinal Vigano and his supporters.
Masks and social distancing is necessary and effective. The Covid-19 virus is exceedingly harmful and has the capability to ravage the human body in ways previously unknown in medicine. Protecting one’s own life and the lives of others is a moral obligation under pain of mortal sin and loss of salvation.
I have read many hundreds of medical studies and have listened to a few hundred videos from physicians on Covid-19. I have written articles on the subject (covid.us.org). The danger is far from passed. This virus could mutate and reassert itself in another form, such as Covid-twenty-something or SARS-something-else. The current form of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is not as bad as it could be. A SARS-CoV-3 could be much worse. SARS had a death rate of nearly 10% and MERS had a death rate of 35%. The number of deaths in Covid-19 have not been exaggerated. The number of reported cases is widely regarded by researchers as an under-reporting. The death rate of Covid-19 is relatively low, but when it strikes a person in its worst form, it is extremely damaging. Also, at least 10% of persons who survive end up with continuing health problems. Then there is the disease called LongCovid, which causes much suffering and is difficult to explain.
Asking pastors to limit the number of persons in a room for a service is not unreasonable. If you are so holy that you are willing to Martyr yourself by going to jail. Why don’t you simply increase the number of services so that, at 15% capacity, you can have just as many persons attend as usual. And by the way, Catholic Masses rarely have a 100% occupancy. Triple or quadruple the number of services to comply with the law. It doesn’t matter if the law, ideally, would be somewhat different. Go the extra mile. Comply. And make other accommodations so that the faithful can go to religious services.
This pastor who chose to go to jail, rather than hold services with fewer persons in attendance, wearing masks and spread out in the room, is not helping anyone. He is not standing up for religion. He should have asked the judge to allow him to hold more services, with a list of various precautions, and received approval to remain out on bail. Then in court he can argue for a loosening of the law. But as it is, with his stubborn insistence that he is right and everyone who disagrees is wrong, he sets a bad example for believers.
The attitude of the far right in Catholicism: “We’re right, therefore, we can do and say whatever we want.” also applies to the way they treat Popes and Councils. No, you don’t have a right to stand in judgment over every decision of the Church on faith and morals, and proclaim that Popes and Councils are wrong wherever you disagree. That is pride, schism, and heresy.
Then the claim that you are only disagreeing where the decisions are non-infallible is a lie. The far right does not accept the infallible definitions of Vatican I and the OUM on the never failing faith of Peter and the unblemished teachings of the Apostolic See. The far right refuses to believe that any teaching is infallible if it is contrary to their own views. And it is a dogma of Vatican I and the OUM that even the non-infallible teachings of the Popes and Councils can never err to a grave extent. Peter is the Rock at all times, not only when teaching infallibly. Peter holds the keys in all decisions, not only when infallible. Peter guides the Ark of Salvation aright not only when infallible. The Church is indefectible at all times, and not only when deciding infallibly.
The single question that is threatening to crash the Ark of Salvation on the Rocks today is this:
(1) Does the grace of God protect the decisions of Popes and Councils on doctrine and discipline from grave error at all times?
(2) In other words, does God prevent Popes and Councils from teaching heresy and prevent the Pope as an individual and the body of Bishops as a body, from committing heresy, apostasy, and idolatry?
The correct answer is (1) Yes, and, (2) Yes. For the Church is indefectible. But if the Pope or the body of Bishops or any Council could err gravely on doctrine or discipline, or if a Pope or the body of Bishops could fall into apostasy, heresy, schism, or idolatry, then the Church would have defected. For the Church is Apostolic. She is founded on the Rock of the successors of Peter — each and every one of them; She is founded on the body of Bishops and the successors to the other Apostles.
No, you cannot reject every teaching and decision of the Church that you think is wrong. In such a way, you idolize yourself. What is the self-version of ultramontanism? Ultra-selfism? That is what the far right in Catholicism and in politics as well is teaching. No Pope can teach or commit heresy. No Council can err gravely on doctrine or discipline. Even the body of Bishops, as a body, cannot teach or commit heresy, cannot commit apostasy, or schism or idolatry.
Claims that this has happened in the past are simply incorrect judgments of the prudential order. You cannot nullify a dogma of Vatican I and of the OUM by a set of personal theological judgments on whether a Pope or a Council erred.
Sadly, this type of misbehavior is not an isolated case. Some religious leaders within the Catholic Church are behaving likewise with such poor excuses as: “we are all going to die anyway” or “we all are going to get the Covid-19 anyway”; thus putting many families in danger because many people who ignore the teachings of the Church follow these particular people blindly. Those religious leaders claim to be faithful to God but they ignore Him or radically reinterpret passages such as Romans 13:1-2 or Sirach 38.
Until we see formal excommunications, the things will not settle down. Priests who risk the health and lives of their faithful, are not serving God. Rather, they are serving the enemy of God. There isn’t such requirement in the Gospel or in the Church rules that one must risk his life out of stupidity in order to attend UNPROTECTED the Holy Mass. One could argue also that is a Sacrilege when the wolves want the faithful to give up their lives and health while exercising their religious rights and receiving the Holy Sacraments. Because if you are sincere faithful, you cannot with good conscience refuse to take the Holy Eucharist, and at the same time you cannot in good conscience refuse to protect yourself, unless you are mad of course. The dillema the fanatical priests put infront of so many, is: “in order to receive the Holy Eucharist and even to attend Holy Mass, you must risk your life for…” not for Christ, but for some sort of superstition and conspiracy theory.
There is no doubt for anyone in the Vatican that Vigano excommunicated himself. Right after his first rebellion when he called for pope Francis to resign, cardinal Ouellet was fast to write in the media that he wished to Vigano a soon return to full communion with the Church. In other words, cardinal Ouellet the prefect of the Congregation of bishops declared Vigano excommunicated. For the Vatican everything is clear.
The problem is for those millions of deluded fanatical faithful. And if they “do not know what they are doing” or whom they are following, their fanatical pastors know very well. I don’t know why it is inconvenient for the Vatican to make a list of a hundred priests who earned their excommunications times and again and who pose as “martyrs for the true faith”. Maybe that moment will come around the next conclave.
Or maybe…the cataclysmic events in the near future will come first, that pope Francis refers to as a second flood. Notice it is He who Knows the secrets of many apparitions (Fatima and Garabandal are told to the pope, with Medjugorje and Anguera are said to be told to the pope if he wants to know them). The fanatics in every likelihood will choose their dead end, the same way they now choose not to obey health and religious authorities as well for such a simple thing as wearing a mask. They declare to all they do not care for their God-given life, and they do not care for the God-given lives of their family members including little children.
Many of those fanatics have already sealed their fate and only God’s all-surpassing Mercy will save them from Hell to spend the rest of the earthly years/centuries in Purgatory on different levels. It is not harsh – remember what punishment got the soul of the nun who opposed Mother Mariana from the fully recognized apparition of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador. She was spared the fires of hell only thanks to Mother Marianna’s sacrificial 3 years “hell on earth” spent for the salvation of her soul, however that soul got Purgatory until the end of the world… Let those fanatics who oppose everything and everyone who dares to say a word contrary to their heresy, let they know they may pay a very, very, very high price infront of God’s Justice. That same Justice they so often call upon their earthly opponents in a reminiscent of past centuries practice. Those people are not saints! They are very grave sinners, sinning with the very same sin of Lucifer himself – an unimaginable spiritual pride that blinds their minds. Even if their intentions were originally good, so they might avoid the Hell, still they are inexcusable and constitute a public scandal.
Why don’t you simply increase the number of services so that, at 15% capacity, you can have just as many persons attend as usual.
My understanding is that a priest is limited to the number of Masses he can say in a day (two iirc) and it is getting to where a parish is lucky to have a priest, much less two.
Bishops can increase than number for a just reason. The current reason is grave.