Open Letter to Bishop Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall
Someone sent me a copy of your homily that you delivered to the faithful of your diocese at the Chrism Mass on Apr. 17. (UPDATE: The homily has been removed from its original location on the Diocese’s website and replaced with some other text. It is unclear if the Diocese has removed the homily completely from its website, as Socon or Bust had requested). I found many of your comments very troubling. If one were not to presume on your good will and concern for the Holy Father, one could almost consider your remarks somewhat scandalous, hidden by the cloak of double meanings. Let me highlight a few of them for you.
Yet, we must admit that, for the past few months, the Church has not seemed to be much of a herald of Good News. To the contrary, our poor Church seems to find itself often in the midst of controversies that could easily be qualified as “bad news.” Last December, the media reported that the Pope compared homosexuality to environmental pollution.
The Pope is reported to have said the following: “The Church must defend not only the earth, the water and the air as gifts of creation belonging to everyone, but it must also protect mankind against the destruction of itself….The tropical forests deserve our protection, but man as a creature deserves it no less.” In a clear reference to homosexuality, he said the failure to respect the union between a man and a woman amounted to the “auto destruction of mankind”. Humanity needed to “listen to the language of creation” to understand the intended roles of man and woman, he added. Anything that deviated from this was a “destruction of God’s works” (Source).
While homosexuals themselves are worthy of the same human respect and dignity as everyone else, the homosexual condition itself is a disorder.
Tell us, your Grace, what do you find more objectionable: the fact that the media reported the Pope compared homosexuality to acts of “environmental pollution” or the fact that the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares homosexual acts to be acts of “grave depravity” and are “intrinsically disordered.” (CCC, 2357)?
In January, the lifting of the excommunications of four lefebvrist bishops caused general consternation when one of them turned out to be deeply anti-semitic.
Why are you simply repeating what the media is reporting and not clarifying what the intentions of the Holy Father were in lifting the excommunications, especially in light of the Holy Father’s favourable writings on Jewish questions? One of your roles as shepherd of your diocese is to defend the Holy Father and the Church against misunderstanding and slander. You didn’t do it here. And you should have. Why not?
The nomination of an ultra-autoritarian (sic) bishop in Austria that same month shook many Catholics of that region.
“Ultra-authoritarian” bishop? According to whom, precisely? The Holy Father originally nominated (or at least accepted) Fr. Wagner for the episcopacy in a country where the Church is dying because of its liberal views, at least according to Cardinal Schonborn. You should listen to what the good Cardinal has to say about lax sexual teaching in his country.
Besides, you shouldn’t get too uptight about the Holy Spirit shaking Catholics around. Jesus came and “shook up” a lot of people too in order to root out their sin. They didn’t like that much and they crucified Him for it. If the Church is not “shaking people up”, then She is not doing her job. In fact, if you’re not inclined to confronting and shaking people with the radical call of the Gospel, perhaps you should reflect more carefully about how the truth relates (and leads) to the crucifixion.
In the first days of March, the drama of a little nine-year-old Brazilian girl, a victim of incest, became front-page news when her bishop announced the excommunications of her mother and her medical team.
Medical team? Oh…you mean the abortionists and the abortion workers….
Do you disagree with the actions of the Archbishop? Why don’t you tell us what you think about this?
Personally, I do not believe any bishop in Canada is in a better position to judge such a case than the local ordinary who, by all accounts, acted as a supremely benevolent and caring father figure. You would be well advised to heed your own advice and not take the media’s well oiled pro-abort propaganda machine without the proper nuance, reflection, and information to form an intelligent opinion. Unlike many of the Canadian bishops who were duped into pumping in hundreds of millions of dollars into pro-abortion front groups in the Global South these past 40 years, Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho has his eyes (and his heart) wide open.
A few weeks ago, the Pope is said to have stated that condoms make the problem of AIDS even worse in Africa, a statement which raised a chorus of protests throughout the world.
Yes, that’s exactly what he said. And where is this “chorus of protest” of which you speak coming from? The UN, Abortion and Gay activist groups, “Catholics” for Free Choice, the useful idiots within the Church? Catholics follow Jesus Christ and His Vicar on this earth, the Holy Father, and the bishops united with him. We don’t follow the “chorus of protests”. The “chorus of protests” come from the mob that crucified Jesus or the voices in the demoniac that were cast out by Him.
Here in Canada, Development and Peace finds itself in the midst of a controversy with pro-life militants.
You should be careful how you use the word “militant”, your Grace. People tell me that the French understanding of the word “militant” has a less confrontational meaning. Nevertheless, we are not sure what you mean by “militant”.
In the face of these events, many members of our diocese have shared their sadness with me, asking me with concern: “What’s happening to our Church?” What to think? How to react?
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:13-19)
As a pastor, I cannot let this situation go by without trying to shed a bit of light, without proposing a few avenues of reflection, action and prayer. This evening, I would like to share with you my hope, in spite of the difficult passage we are crossing. Let me start by admitting that, indeed, mistakes have been made. In retrospect, some decisions should not have been taken, some opinions should not have been voiced.
What opinions should not have been voiced? Please share your thoughts with us, your Grace.
The Pope had to retract the nomination of that Austrian Bishop. The Vatican Press Office had to correct his words about condoms.
The Vatican Press Office “had to correct” the Pope? Indeed. Under what theological, patristic, or canonical view do you believe that the Vatican Press Office has the authority to “correct” the Pope? Please share your views. We are anxious to hear them.
Allow me one final thought. The events of the past month have awakened in some the fear that we are moving towards a style of ecclesial life characterized by doctrinal rigidity, intransigence and authoritarianism, more concerned with principles than with often very painful human realities. In other words, some worry that we are losing what was gained during and after the Second Vatican Council: greater openness to the world, greater collaboration in decisions and responsibilities, faith that is more relevant to the concrete life of believers.
You must know, your Grace, that there are many teachers these days who prefer to offer their views against their superiors and other authorities through third parties instead of speaking plainly and honestly themselves. These cowardly teachers offer their opposing views by merely repeating what their supporters say instead of claiming these arguments for themselves. They do this, of course, so they may protect themselves in case an accusation of disobedience or detraction is levelled against them, claiming instead that it is not their own view but merely “dissenting voices in the flock”. You should take great care so that your homilies are not interpreted as employing such an unbecoming tactic. It is not of Christ.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
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