Other Ordinariates (Eastern)

A friend asked me the following question about other Ordinariates.

The exact question was “[A friend of mine] was telling us that their parish priest is also married, [previously] from the Uniting Church so it  got me wondering are there other  groups like the Ordinariate  who have changed back to the catholic doctrine?

The answer is not so straight forward.  Of the Reformation churches, those that split with Rome from the Reformation on – Church of England, Lutheranism, Anabaptists, Calvanists, and the resultant splits within these denominations – there is only one group that has returned and been approved by Rome as being fully Catholic.  That is, of course, the Personal Ordinariates as established under Anglicanorum Coetibus in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.  We are the only post reformation church to come back into union with Rome.  As we are historically part of the Latin Rite we were given a home back within the Latin Rite,  As such, we are Latin Rite Catholics with our own history, Missal, and Patrimony.  Methodists, United Methodists, and anyone in the Anglican family of churches if they want to come as a corporate body have to come into the Personal Ordinariates.

Read more Other Ordinariates

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Plenary Council Reflection of a Magisterial Catholic

Msgr Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Southern Cross, has asked us to prayerfully reflect on the question posed by the forthcoming Plenary Council, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”

Prayerful reflection must be central to this listening process otherwise it will be impossible to distinguish truth from opinion. In my own reflections on the current situation I am coming to recognise that the confusion created by treating truth as relative is a key element, not only in why chaos exists, but in plotting the way out of it. As Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2005 before his election as Pope, “We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as certain and which has at its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires. (Msgr Harry Entwistle, Musings 32 (1))

The Church is infected with this relativism at the moment, and this council, if you have read anything from the other Diocese of Australia, seem to point to a Church that is going to follow social justice, and not the truth of the Gospel, that there is one Lord, one Church, and that we are called to be obedient to the Magisterium.

It is no wonder that we are where we are. Some bishops who do not teach the faith, subjective faith, disobedient priests. Our Lady said it all, “Do what He tells you'”. Instead we pick and choose what part of the Magisterum we like and ignore the rest, we hold on to our sins and change the Word of God to fit our immorality, we praise the Saints but do not listen or take to heart what they have spoken or done. We are a perverse generation of Catholics doomed to hell unless we take to heart what God requires.

In the run-up to the Pleanary Council, Life Site news reports:

Here is some of the responses from one Diocese in Australia, and these reveal a real, and frightening (remember these are Catholics) detachment from the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  Among the sixteen different categories of responses were the following suggestions, quoted here verbatim:

  • The ordination of married priests;
  • Women deacons and women chaplains should be considered;
  • Focus on developing a more inclusive church. God’s love is inclusive. The church has spent too much time excluding rather than including, eg, women, LGBT people, the divorced, people of other religions … Many people who have drifted away from the church feel intimidated to return by past traditions of the church;
  • A more active social justice stance from the church, more dialogue from the pulpit, more promotion of involvement by the laity in social justice matters. Church leaders should […] emphasis on the need to combat climate change as a fundamental social justice issue;
  • Leaders of other Christian churches should be invited to provide advice to the Plenary Council, especially on matters of church governance.

The document makes no mention of Jesus Christ, the centrality of the Sacrifice of the Mass in the lives of the faithful, and seems to emphasize an adherence to relativism rather than the Kingdom of God obtained through Christ and his cross.

It is important that we respond and give our response to the Listening Sessions of the Pleanary Council.  You can submit them as an individual.  However, if we do nothing, if we say nothing, then we collude with what is happening.

I have submitted my own response:

  • A return to the Magisterium as codified in the Catechism
  • Catechesis on the faith.
  • A return to tradition
  • Bishops who uphold the faith as outlined in the Catechism.
  • Faithful and holy priests
  • Reverent and holy offerings of the Holy Sacrifice
  • A return to our primary mission, the salvation of souls.

Will they listen? Will they change things?  Will it change the outcome of the Plenary Council?  The Church is losing its way, moving from its primary  purpose of the Salvation of all souls, to a social justice model.  It is our duty, a duty of love, to tell all about Christ, to bring all people into the Church, to love all people into the Church, and not at the same time to lessen the Gospel, or to let our own sins, weaknesses, and opinions get in the way.   We are called to be faithful to Christ,His Gospel, His Mission, His Magisterium.  We need to be there, we need to have our say, and we need to remind the Church that God is is in charge.

You can have your say here: https://acu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bf379tGXeK9DkMt

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Christmas Greetings and Times

NativityFor all of the friends of the Gippsland Ordinariate those who are near, and those who are far away, this year has been rich in blessings of many kinds.

Our missal is now a couple of years old, and it forms and shapes the liturgy so that our focus is on God, not on each other;
We are starting to grow as people get used to our distinctive form of worship;
We are forming friendships, and ties with other Catholic groups who see in us, and our worship, something to treasure;
We are getting known as defenders of the Magisterium as codified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church;

As we are in the final couple of weeks before Christmas I would like to remind Catholics, who perhaps have not been to Church for a while, that one should go to confession before receiving Holy Communion. We, as Catholics, are to be in a state of grace to receive our Lord, and what better time than now to go to confession. As you all know, we are called to be Holy, just as our God is Holy.

For those around Heyfield/Cowwarr mass times for the Ordinariate are:

  • Christmas Midnight Mass: Carols 11.30pm Saturday 24th December followed by Mass: Cowwarr: St Brigid’s Catholic Church
  • Christmas Day: Mass 10.00am Heyfield: St Michael’s Catholic Church
  • Feast of the Holy Innocents: 28th December: Friday:: 7.00pm: Cowwarr
  • Feast of the Most Holy Family: 30th December: Sunday: 10.00am: Heyfield
  • Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: 1st January Tuesday: 7.00pm : Cowwarr
  • The Epiphany: 6th January 2017, Sunday: 10.00am: Heyfield.
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Original Sin – forgotten?

I have been thinking.

I have been thinking that we have forgotten original sin. In the great leap forward of humanity into a culture of death, and those within the Church that follow the world, and not Christ, we have forgotten this:

Catechism of the Catholic Church 402 All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.”

Original Sin, the reason that Christ came, the reason he died for you and I. Original sin is the constant ability of all humanity to fall short of what God calls us to be. It is the lack of sanctifying grace.

We are not born perfect, nor are we beasts that are defined by our instincts, our greed, our sexuality, nor our abilities. We are given much at our birth including free will.

Free will allows us, to choose heaven, or to choose hell. Free will, the decision to follow Christ, with grace given at baptism, to rise above, to be more, to become whole in Christ. We are not defined by anything the world has to offer. We are defined by what God calls us to be, through his grace, and in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We are called to be Holy, as God is Holy.

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Novena of masses for the crimes, and sins of the Clergy

The Gippsland Ordinariate is offering a Novena of Masses in reparation for the heinous sins, and crimes, of some of the clergy, not only in Australia, but in the USA, Chile, Italy, Ireland, and throughout the world.  These masses will be on nine consecutive Fridays (unless I am away on the weekend in October, mass of reparation will then move to the Thursday). Enough is enough.  For too long, clergy have hidden their sins (paedophilia, homosexuality, mistresses, and other sins); Cardinals, and bishops, have helped them, and turned a blind eye.  They have made the church a cesspool for their evil deceit, their lack of faith, and their disregard for the teachings of the Church. I, as a priest, am totally disgusted, and ashamed of what these men have done/are doing/and will do.

If you cannot join me, then you might persuade other clergy to offer a Novena of masses.  We must fight these agents of evil with the power of prayer and sacrifice. For too long this evil has been i our midst, and it must be lanced, and cleansed by God.

  • For the Heinous Sins of the Clergy
  • Nine Consecutive Fridays at 6 PM: there is a possibility that I will be away on the weekend of the 13th If that occurs mass will move to the Thursday at 10.00am.
  • Litany of the Sacred Heart after mass.

September 7th, 6.00pm
First Friday, Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

September 14th, 6.00pm
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 21st, 6.00pm
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

September 28th, 6.00pm
Votive Mass of the Five Wounds

October 5th, 6.00pm
First Friday, Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

October 12th, 6.00pm
Votive Mass of the Five Wounds

October 19th, 6.00pm
Votive Mass of the Five Wounds

October 26th, 6.00pm
Votive Mass of the Five Wounds

November 2nd, 6.00pm
Commemoration of the Faithful departed.
Bishop Morlino condemns “homosexual subculture” in the hierarchy
Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino [Bishop of Madison in the States] urges “perfect hatred” for sin and a return to holiness,…

MADISON, Wis. — Bishop Robert C. Morlino decried the “homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church” in a letter to his flock of more than 280,000 on Aug. 18, suggesting the faithful develop a “perfect hatred” for wickedness and sin, giving them no refuge in the home or society at large.

Morlino’s five-page letter was sent to each of the 104 parishes in the diocese and published in the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Herald. In it, he condemned the homosexual predation by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 victims by priests in six dioceses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, reported last week by a grand jury. Morlino’s plainly spoken diagnosis of the crisis quickly spread across the internet.

“It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord,” Morlino wrote. “The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest. And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable.”

Morlino condemned the sexually predatory actions of priests and bishops as evil “that cries out for justice and sin that must be cast out from our Church.” He said the seeming acceptance of sin by some in the Church, and the cover-ups of scandal by others, must be met with just punishments and a clarion call to sanctity. “We must be done with sin,” Morlino said. “It must be rooted out and again considered unacceptable. Love sinners? Yes. Accept true repentance? Yes. But do not say sin is okay. And do not pretend that grave violations of office and of trust come without grave, lasting consequences.”

Morlino said it is important to describe the crisis for what it is, and not soften or obfuscate. “In the specific situations at hand, we are talking about deviant sexual — almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics,” Morlino wrote. “We’re also taking about homosexual propositions and abuses against seminarians and young priests by powerful priests, bishops and cardinals. We are talking about acts and actions which are not only in violation of the sacred promises made by some, in short, sacrilege, but also are in violation of the natural moral law for all. To call it anything else would be deceitful and would only ignore the problem further.”

The Church needs more hatred of sin and wickedness, Morlino said, citing Proverbs 8:7, “My mouth shall meditate truth and my lips shall hate wickedness.” The bishop said hatred of sin and calling others to turn from sin are acts of charity. He noted that this must not extend into hatred of sinners, who are called to conversion and penance through Christ and His Church.

… Morlino has also called on his parishes to reinforce reverence in the liturgy and restore a sense of the sacred. He asked all parishes to move tabernacles to the sanctuary, so the Eucharistic Lord is again the center of Catholic life. He also encourages Catholics to receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling, which was the longtime practice prior to changes brought since Vatican II. A number of parishes in the diocese have installed the once-familiar altar rails for reception of Holy Communion.

Morlino again stressed sanctity in his Aug. 18 letter to parishioners. “More than anything else, we as a Church must cease our acceptance of sin and evil,” he wrote. “We must cast out sin from our own lives and run toward holiness. We must refuse to be silent in the face of sin and evil in our families and communities and we must demand from our pastors — myself included — that they themselves are striving day in and day out for holiness. We must do this always with loving respect for individuals, but with a clear understanding that true love can never exist without truth.”

Morlino will preside at a public Mass of reparation for “sins of sexual depravity” committed by members of the clergy and episcopacy on Sept. 14, the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. He asked all diocesan priests to join him in observing the autumn Ember Days (Sept. 19-21) as days of fasting and abstinence in reparation for these “sins and outrages.”


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Fidelity, and Trust in God

I have been thinking a bit lately about ‘Fidelity’.  What does it mean to be faithful?  ‘Faithful’ means loyal, full of faith or trust; firmly and resolutely staying with a person, group, cause, belief, or idea, without waver, despite the circumstances.  However, we use it most when talking about a dog, not people, as we talk about a dog’s trust and love and one who is a ‘faithful’ companion.

Yet God asks us for fidelity; to trust in Him with a childlike trust.  We are called to be like children who trust in their parents.  Do this, and they do it.  We have lost that trustful obedience.  Is God asking that of us?

When we look at the first apparition of the angel to the children of Fatima,  Look at what he told the children.

He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say:  My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You. After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us: Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.

Notice that he did not say, do this until I am gone! Or, do this until you are older! Or do this until you consider yourself above these things!  Do this, pray in this way.  Similarly, we have the teaching of Jesus.  Are we so ‘adult’, so ‘grown-up’ so ‘intellectual’, so ‘liberal’ that we forget that God wants us to be faithful, just as He is faithful.  That means abiding by what He says, and tells the Church to do.  It does not mean changing the teachings to fit my own ‘idiosyncratic, subjective opinions, and sins’.  Remain true to God, His teaching, and His Magisterium as codified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  All other ideas and concepts are opinions, and are to be avoided.

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Church and State: Mandatory Reporting and the Confessional

On the 7th June, in the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, (and now in South Australia, starting on October 1st), it has been enshrined in law through the introduction of the Ombudsman Amendment Bill 2018[1] giving the State[s] power to compel ‘minister of religion, religious leader, officers of a religious body, an individual primarily in charge, or any person who provides services for the religious body’ to report ‘Reportable Conduct’ heard in a confession.

Confession, as outlined in the Explanatory Statement[2], as presented by Andrew Barr MLA, is not just within the Catholic Church.

Many of the religious institutions examined in Royal Commission case studies had an institutional culture that discouraged reporting of child abuse. This culture was often based on traditions and practices that acted as an institution-wide barrier to reporting abuse to an external authority. One of those traditions is the practice of religious confession, which is relevant to the adherents of Judaism, and other Christian churches including the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Lutheran churches.

… In the Australian Uniform Evidence Act jurisdictions – the Commonwealth, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory – a religious confessions privilege operates so that clergy can refuse to disclose to a court the fact or content of a religious confession, except where the confession was made for a criminal purpose: section 127 Evidence Act 2011.

The importance here is that in some ways, nothing has changed.  Yet the ACT Legislative Assembly has extended the ‘Reportable Conduct Scheme’ to include what is heard in Confession as it applies to the safe conduct of children.  The reasoning, and the attitude, behind this are laudable.  Yes, we must do all in our power to protect the most innocent, the vulnerable, and those without voice in our country.

However, the Bill has brought into being, not just the reporting of criminal behaviour, but the ‘reasonable grounds’ and ‘suspicion’ of ‘reportable’ behaviour, a lesser form of testimonial than ‘something that is criminal’.  Andrew Marr Marr MLA in his Explanatory Statement[3] explains what ‘reasonable grounds’ are;

Sections 863B, 863C and 863CA of the Children and Young People Act 2008 enable the head of a designated entity to request or provide reportable conduct information where they are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the information is relevant to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person. This reasonable grounds limitation protects and restricts the sharing of information and is necessary to protect an individual’s right to privacy, as it ensures that information can only be obtained and disseminated in the interests of an individual’s safety, welfare or wellbeing.

I am not a lawyer, and yet, it seems to me that the Law is already set in the words above, in the Evidence Act ‘confession made for a criminal purpose’. What has been brought into being with the Ombudsman Amendment Bill in the ACT is that ‘reportable conduct’ becomes a subjective assessment of wrongdoing, or innocence, by the person hearing the confession.

For priests, and other ministers of religion, such reporting strikes at the heart of religious freedom.  The ability to go to one’s Pastor, Minister, and priest, and be able to discuss things with them in camera without knowledge of what was discussed made public is fundamental to our religious freedoms.  Taking away the confidential and inviolable nature of a ‘confession’ between a penitent and their Minister, strikes at the heart of religion itself.  Who would go for spiritual counselling, confession, and aid if what you say can be reported?  Who would go to counselling if what they want counselling for is a criminal act? Who would trust a priest to keep under the Seal what they have heard within confession?

Speaking as a Catholic, a priest cannot break the seal for any reason.  A priest cannot divulge what is heard in the confessional even to save his own life, to protect his family, to counter a false accusation, or any other reason that people may think of, as reasons to divulge what is heard in a confession.  Perhaps a look into the past may help.  Historically, there have been priests who have been killed rather than reveal what they heard in the confessional,[4] St. John Nepomucene, St. Mateo Correa Magallanes. Fr. Felipe Císcar Puig, Fr. Fernando Olmedo Reguera.

Confession, or the Sacrament of Penance as it is known to Catholics, is considered to be a central tenet of Catholicism. The Catholic Code of Canon Law states that ‘The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason: Can.  983 §1’. [5]

In an article for the ABC, titled The Seal Cannot Be Broken: Priestly Identity and the Sacrament of Confession[6] Fr Richard Umbers (now Bishop) stated that

… mandatory reporting of crimes heard in confession would lead to an inevitable clash of Church against State. If, God forbid, a priest should ever be placed in the dock and inquiry made as to another person’s confession, the faithful priest will have no recourse but to be found in contempt of the very court he strives to uphold. Indeed, we have already seen this play out in the United States when a certain Father Kohlmann was asked to testify about a thief whom he had directed to restore stolen goods. The Protestant judge in the matter of People vs. Phillips[7] (1813) described the dilemma as follows:

“If he tells the truth, he violates his ecclesiastical oath; if he prevaricates, he violates his judicial oath. Whether he lies or whether he testifies the truth, he is wicked, and it is impossible for him to act without acting against the laws of rectitude and the light of conscience.”

Of course, when confessions were made anonymously, in a confessional, behind a screen and curtain, all of the above would be a moot point.  It is early days yet, and much has to be worked out between the Churches, and the States, on what is entailed, in the widening of the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

It is never easy being a Christian, and trying to follow the will of God.  However, in the end, we must all come to the realisation of who is in charge.

[1] http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/b/db_58071/current/pdf/db_58071.pdf
[2] http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/es/db_58055/current/pdf/db_58055.pdf
[3] http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/es/db_58055/current/pdf/db_58055.pdf, p. 3 of 8
[4] https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/these-priests-were-martyred-for-refusing-to-violate-the-seal-of-confession-44847
[5] Explanatory Statement http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/es/db_58055/current/pdf/db_58055.pdf
[6] http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/08/27/4075554.htm
[7] http://knowledge.sagepub.com/view/encyclopedia-of-the-first-amendment/n1007.xml

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