A Chorus of Protests

PLEASE READ THIS CLARIFICATION & PARTIAL APOLOGY 

Open Letter to Bishop Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall

Your Grace,

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,

John Pacheco 

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10 thoughts on “A Chorus of Protests

  1. John,

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all you have said in this letter to my Bishop. It is frustrating to know we are working so hard for the prolife agenda and experiencing so much resistance from inside the Church and from people who are supposed to be standing against these things and standing WITH our Holy Father, not contadicting him. Thank you for all you are doing in this fight

    Amanda

  2. I am in absolute shock!
    We are part of the London diocese but find Bishop Durocher homily to be bordering on heresy if not full blown heresy. Does he consider himself under the rule of our Holy Father? It doesn’t sound like it when he is criticizing his appointments and statements, which are totally what our Catholic faith is based on.
    Has this been reported to Rome? I think it should be!

    God Bless you for writing such a clarifing yet respectful letter to the Bishop.
    It would be interesting to know what his parishoners thought of it.

    Yours truly in Christ.

    Ed & Bette Turnbull
    London,ON

  3. Lord have mercy on this bishop…..

    Father, we thank You for the many faithful bishops in our land who are taking a strong, vocal, uncompromising stand in defending the teachings of the Church…. bless them, strengthen and establish them, may they receive many words of encouragement, may they be focused and resolute in their calling…

    ….and Father, we ask for more of these faithful ones in Canada!

  4. I am from Cornwall. He is my bishop. I live at walking distance from his home. Please remember him in your prayers. I trust in God to touch his heart more deeply and continue the conversion that once started in him. I trust in God’s love to touch my bishop in the way God himself would have it.

  5. On the bright side, these types of homilies allow us to identify with a fair degree of certainty which Bishops are working to build up the Church and which ones are working to tear it down. Too often, I am left wondering which ones are which. Having said that, it is very discourageing and sad to actually see it in writing. And we all know he is far from the only one…I’m very curious to see if he responds to any of John’s questions.

    Keep draining the swamp John.

  6. How do Bishops like this sleep at night? How could any Bishop spout such utter BS? First it was Cardinal Turcotte and now this. Let’s call a spade a spade shall we. Some Bishops are working to undermine the Church from within. They are traitors to the faith. And yes I did say traitors. John, keep up all the good work and don’t let them bring you down.

  7. We’re getting an awesome spring cleaning accomplished this year. So much dirt is coming out, it ain’t even funny.

    This bishop should get himself a disability sticker for his car, ’cause he clearly doesn’t have any backbone.

    Keep up the great work John.

  8. This was such a well said letter!! I am trying to formulate a response to Bishop Durocher, but you have said it all. I am absolutely appalled that a Bishop of our Church could speak out like this against the Holy Father and the Church. It is no wonder that there is so much confusion in the Church, when we have Bishops that don’t take their calling seriously to teach, sanctify and rule their members.

    Praise God for our Holy Father who is not afraid to speak the Truth!

    May God have mercy on all of us, especially our Bishops that they may remain faithful to the teachings of the Church, which are the teachings of Christ!

  9. My dear Bishop:
    I note that in defending D&P you said at your Chrism Mass:
    “Here in Canada, Development and Peace finds itself in the midst of a controversy with pro-life militants.”
    A common-sense approach by a Canadian Bishop should have been one of profound gratitude for those ordinary Catholics who spotted the serious mis-management of this “Catholic” organization (and of their donations) by CCCB which was so obviously asleep at the wheel (or worse). (Mt. 6:34)
    The abuses by D&P, as you dear Bishop, are well aware, have contined uncorrected by CCCB for years!
    Blaming the messenger is just too old and discredited a technique.
    It was also very odd to observe that this D&P scandal is referred to in the context of your sniping at Benedict xvi and his handling of certain situations.
    With respect,

    Frank LeVay

  10. What’s the matter with you people! Have you even read the Bishop’s letter in its entirety? The Bishop was giving examples of instances where the Pope and the Church were tangled in recent controversy. Parishioners were asking for his input on how to reflect on these events, given that some might feel somewhat discouraged when the Church falls under attack in these circumstances. He is suggesting firstly that we be leery of media reports and that we take it upon ourselves to reasonably investigate what is being circulated before making any judgments. He is also suggesting that, if we feel a particular subject has not been handled as best as it could have in the media, or that missteps in communicating are made, we should sometimes give our Church leaders a break and cut them some slack. I frankly can’t believe what some of you are saying about the Bishop! Before praying for the Bishop, perhaps you should all pray that you each attain the level of perfection you are requiring of our leaders and pray that God grant you some minimal ability of comprehension and reasoning.

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