Father Z post on the story of Fr. Marcel Guarnizo who has apparently been suspended for respecting the sacraments and the rules of confession:

If a Quaker, a Lutheran or a Buddhist, desiring communion had introduced himself as such, before Mass, a priest would be obligated to withhold communion. If someone had shown up in my sacristy drunk, or high on drugs, no communion would have been possible either. If a Catholic, divorced and remarried (without an annulment) would make that known in my sacristy, they too according to Catholic doctrine, would be impeded from receiving communion. This has nothing to do with canon 915. Ms. Johnson’s circumstances are precisely one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching. Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.

Or to put it another way. If I present myself for communion as a Catholic knowing I need confession I am committing mortal sin, but the priest has no way of knowing that. If the priest however knew that was the case, then he is ethically obliged to withhold communion to not be complicit in Mortal Sin.

So what did Fr. Guarnizo know and when did he know it concerning the lady in question? Funny you should ask…

A few minutes before the Mass began, Ms. Johnson came into the sacristy with another woman whom she announced as her “lover”. Her revelation was completely unsolicited.

and was not all that polite about it either:

As I attempted to follow Ms.Johnson, her lover stood in our narrow sacristy physically blocking my pathway to the door. I politely asked her to move and she refused.

It sounds to me like we have another Sandra Fluke, a person who was looking for confrontation and even worse, was using the occasion of a death of her mother to do so.

Fr. Guarnizo nails it here:

Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.

Fr. Z in charity to the diocese says this:

Fr. G was subsequently put on administrative leave in that Archdiocese for reasons, so it seems, other than the lesbian/Communion event. More information is forthcoming and in justice I need to post it

I would be interested in hearing exactly what they are claiming is the cause but my first thought is this: The diocese is making the same kind of mistake that the Bishops did 15 years ago and more during the sexual scandals. They are making a decision based on fear of what people would think. In the previous example they hid illegal behavior to prevent the embarrassment of scandal what people would say or think and it led to disaster . While the is no civil crime or physical harm in play, absent evidence to the contrary (which I’ll post if it becomes available) one must assume that the administration is once again acting in fear.

One must never forget that there is only one reason to be Catholic, because it is true. And what does Christ say about that:

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.

And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

John 6:60-66

Christ never based truth on popularity, neither should his Archdiocese.

Update: Via commentator Lionel Andrades Ed Peters, who knows Canon Law a lot better than me, thinks I’m wrong here:

The chief norm requiring the faithful to prepare well for the worthy reception of holy Communion is Canon 916. Of its nature, however, Canon 916, dealing essentially with internal forum matters, does not (any more than do several other canons in the Code) lend itself to exterior enforcement by ecclesiastical authority. Canon 916 binds gravely in conscience and an accounting to God of one’s conduct under that canon (or at any rate, under the values it protects) will be owed by each Catholic at Judgment. But Canon 916 itself is not regarded as an object of external-forum enforcement by ministers of holy Communion.

In contrast, Canon 915 binds ministers, not recipients. Prescinding from rarely encountered excommunication and interdict situations, Canon 915 lays out several distinct conditions that must be simultaneously satisfied before a minister of Holy Communion may (and indeed, should) withhold the Eucharist from a member of the faithful. To justify withholding the Eucharist under Canon 915 according to its plain terms, the conduct in which a communicant perseveres must be obstinate, manifest, grave, and sinful. These conditions must be understood and assessed according to the Church’s canonical tradition, else, one is no longer talking about the law of the Catholic Church.

The whole thing is kind of a heavy read but the gist is that in this particular case the decision belongs to the recipient even if it involves sin, rather than the priest.

Read the whole thing but bottom line I’m certainly going to defer to Mr. Peters in a case like this.

Yesterday my youngest son received the sacrament of confirmation. In his homily Bishop McManus extorted the candidates to have the courage of their faith saying how hard it is to be a Catholic in the modern world. This is certainly true, it requires courage which is the root of most virtues.

I couldn’t help think of that when I saw this argument on Gay Marriage that is being made by Tim Muldoon:

My thesis is that Christians ought to let go of the legal argument about what states should call “marriage,” and simply model the radical call of Jesus to live “what God has joined together.”

His basic argument is that the legal fight puts the prohibition on the “freedom” door which gives sympathy to the other side. He further believes we should instead model our lives after Christ and make the moral case outside of the courts and legislatures.

The second part of the argument isn’t bad, after all we should be modeling our life after Christ anyway and we need to be reminded of it on occasion. Christ should always be our primary focus.

Let’s however take the logical extension to the first argument and substitute some words in that paragraph (in bold) on a different Catholic social issue:

My thesis is that Christians ought to let go of the legal argument about what states or the federal government does about “abortion,” and simply model the radical call of Jesus to live “what God has joined together.”

Run that through your head a bit and while you’re at it consider this argument of his as well:

Gamaliel’s insight was that new ideas that are not rooted in God eventually fade away, but new ideas that are rooted in God are here to stay.

I guess Gamaliel has the insight that Islam is definitely from God as is every other polytheistic religion and the reformation.

Part of being Catholic is to acknowledge specific truths and fighting for them. It isn’t easy, we will face ridicule, we will face condemnation, we will be called bigots and we will be excoriated by the media elite, but if you look at scripture you will find that it’s part of the job description.

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. John 15:18-24

It’s much easier to avoid the legal fight, you face a lot less grief, that is the temptation apparent in Tim’s argument, but I say there is no reason why we can’t make both the legal argument and the moral case that Tim Muldoon is calling for. Rather than running from these fights meekly we need to boldly make these arguments trusting in prayer and the Holy Spirit to lead us correctly in deeds, in argument and in Christian charity for those we disagree with.

What is it going to be?

Update: An important point I forgot to make. As I said there is nothing wrong with making the legal fight or the political one on social issues, in fact it is important. It is also vital that we don’t fall into the trap of making the fight more important than the faith that drives it.

In response to my post concerning my neighbor the Jehovah’s Witness Lisa Graas wrote an interesting post:

For two millenia, the Catholic Church has named countless saints. These are people we know to be in Heaven. It is important to note, though, that the Church has never once named any individual to be in Hell. There is a reason for that. God saves whom He will.

The saints are people who lived lives of heroic virtue. DaTechGuy’s neighbor demonstrated an act of virtue. He did something that was ‘saintly’. Is he going to Hell because he is a Jehovah Witness? I have no idea. Having said that, I also don’t know if Attila the Hun is in Hell. I do know that St. Augustine is in Heaven. I know that St. Ambrose is in Heaven. I know that St. Jerome is in Heaven. St. Maria Goretti, the Martyrs of Cordoba, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Gemma Galgani are all in heaven ….and so on, and so on, and so on. They were all Catholic. Even Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was Catholic.

That’s what we know for sure.

That is certainly true, it is also true by definition a Saint is a person who is in fact in heaven. There are a large amount of saints that we have never heard of or may never hear of.

She is also quite correct in the doctrinal errors of the Witnesses. I have regularly debated these errors with them when they come to the door and I let them in as I do with all the Millerite religions.

One must remember however that one of the requirement for Mortal Sin is an understanding of the sin, there is a difference between not knowing the truth and denying it. There is also the question of Baptism of intent as I wrote before:

The final method of baptism is called Baptism of desire and is explained here:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. emphasis mine

Thus a Muslim, a Hindu a Jew or a person of any denomination who does not know the Gospel of Christ or a native of Tahiti before the time of Captain Cook would all qualify assuming that they, seek the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it so in the eyes of the Catholic church anyone who does this IS a considered a baptized member of the church (although not in full communion with the Catholic Church).

Many non Catholics and non Christians are offended by this (as are some Catholics) then again some are offended by the teachings on adultery or on celibacy or holy communion or whatever. The church doesn’t change its doctrine based on feelings or polling..

Thus my friend across the street (assuming his Baptism is not considered valid) may in fact qualify as Baptized via this method.

All of this doesn’t change what I have said over and over: There is only one reason to be a Christian in general and/or a Catholic in particular. Because it is true and on that note there is no compromise, there is no equivocation.

This is an excellent opportunity to bring up my pastor’s excellent message from the Jan 16th bulletin on the subject:

Dear Friends,
John the Baptist makes a claim about Jesus which every Christian must affirm: “Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God.” Jesus is categorically different from any other great religious teacher because He claims for Himself Divinity, to be the fully divine incarnation of God on earth. Either He is delusional or we have to take Him at His word.

There is no middle ground. We cannot say He was mistaken in His core beliefs about who He was while at the same time assert that He is a great teacher. You can’t have it both ways.

There is a very important difference between saying all religions should be respected and all religions are the same. As Catholic Christians, we insist on complete freedom of conscience and religious freedom for all. That is not the same thing as saying all religion is the same. All religions have the same rights, but as Christians, we must assert that Jesus Christ is the unique Savior of the entire human race. In a world of intellectual relativity, where nothing is fact and all is opinion, that seems to be the height of arrogance. But there is also such a thing as Truth. Truth cannot be imposed or forced on anyone. We are called to be witnesses to the truth with love. We are called to affirm our faith in Jesus Christ and to make Him known.

It is the duty of every Catholic in particular and every Christian in general to proclaim the gospel of Christ. As St. Francis of Assisi said:

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words

Works for me.

Apparently there is a hospital in Arizona that is unclear on the concept of what being a “Catholic” hospital means as Fr. Z explains:

St. Joseph’s Hospital, run by the Religious Sisters of Mercy with the administration of Catholic Healthcare West based in San Francisco, at the okay of their ethics panel, did a direct abortion. They have also provided contraceptive services and, apparently, done other abortions

Unless you get your Catholicism from MSNBC you know this is what we in Catholic Circles call Mortal Sin thus the local Bishop has done what a local Bishop is supposed to do in such a case:

By virtue of my Episcopal authority as the Ordinary of the Particular Church of the Diocese of Phoenix, and in accord with Canon 216 of the Code of Canon Law, I hereby revoke my consent for the following organization to utilize in any way the name “Catholic”.
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ

As you might guess some of the usual suspects are up in arms:

“Catholic Healthcare West and its system hospitals are valued members of the Catholic Health Association,” said that group’s president, Sister Carol Keehan. Her remarks came less than 24 hours after the Bishop of Phoenix stripped one of those hospitals, St. Joseph’s in Phoenix, of its Catholic affiliation.

You might remember Sr. Keehan as the $800,000 a yr. Nun who helped back Obamacare and its abortion provisions, as I noted before there is considerable inflation since 29 ad and 30 pieces of Silver.

The article goes on to explain who is in charge here:

As for who truly “speaks for the Catholic Church,” the cardinal left no room for doubt: “The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them.”

That means if you want to be Catholic you listen to the Bishop and the church not to an organization contradicting them or a nun who has a flexible definition of the vow of poverty.

Fr Z bottom lines it:

You may be tempted to think, “Is that all the bishop can do? Remove this symbol? Remove the title ‘Catholic’?” But, had this been a Methodist Hospital, would it matter if the hospital lost its “Methodist” title? Would it matter if it kept it? No, because symbols are not important to Methodists in the way they are to Catholics. Catholicism is immersed in a profoundly symbolic world, like no other religion in history.

When a Catholic bishop issues a formal decree to confirm that you have stripped yourself of your Catholic identity, that is monumental. This is what schism smells like, friends.

Be clear: the administration of the hospital stripped itself of its Catholic identity and Bp. Olmsted confirmed their decision.

As for Sr. Keehan et/al they are certainly welcome to do what they want and say what they want and I’m sure the mainstream media and this administration will back and honor them for the rest of their lives…

…after that they’re on their own.

I think this is an opportune time to instruct non-Catholics on Marian and saintly prayer.

Here is the best online summary I’ve found:

* “It is forbidden to give divine honour or worship to the angels and saints for this belongs to God alone.”
* “We should pay to the angels and saints an inferior honour or worship, for this is due to them as the servants and special friends of God.”
* “We should give to relics, crucifixes and holy pictures a relative honour, as they relate to Christ and his saints and are memorials of them.”
* “We do not pray to relics or images, for they can neither see nor hear nor help us.”

True devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort also addresses this:

14. With the whole Church I acknowledge that Mary, being a mere creature fashioned by the hands of God is, compared to his infinite majesty, less than an atom, or rather is simply nothing, since he alone can say, “I am he who is”. Consequently, this great Lord, who is ever independent and self-sufficient, never had and does not now have any absolute need of the Blessed Virgin for the accomplishment of his will and the manifestation of his glory. To do all things he has only to will them.

15. However, I declare that, considering things as they are, because God has decided to begin and accomplish his greatest works through the Blessed Virgin ever since he created her, we can safely believe that he will not change his plan in the time to come, for he is God and therefore does not change in his thoughts or his way of acting.

16. God the Father gave his only Son to the world only through Mary. Whatever desires the patriarchs may have cherished, whatever entreaties the prophets and saints of the Old Law may have had for 4,000 years to obtain that treasure, it was Mary alone who merited it and found grace before God by the power of her prayers and the perfection of her virtues. “The world being unworthy,” said Saint Augustine, “to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her.”

The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in Mary and through Mary.

God the Holy Spirit formed Jesus Christ in Mary but only after having asked her consent through one of the chief ministers of his court.

That last part is significant. In the sermon for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Fr. Bob noted that the Angel Gabriel referred to Mary as “full of grace” even before the actual incarnation. That is very important.

When we give devotion to saint we invariably ask the to pray for us. (just as a friend might ask you to pray for them). Consider the actual words of the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary Full of Grace the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women…

Direct Biblical quote, no problem there.

…and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

That would also go without saying for any Protestant. No problem there.

Holy Mary; Mother of God…

Again simple fact. Mary is Holy, no question about that, and she is the Mother of Christ who IS God so no question there either.

…Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amem

Pray for us sinners. That says it all. We ask through this prayer that the one who was full of grace even before the Holy Spirit came upon her, the single person closest to Christ to pray for us.

If that doesn’t make sense I’d like to know what does.

A couple of days ago my son came to me saying its on the news that the Pope is now allowing condom use. As I was busy with show prep etc I didn’t have any time to check on it and I hadn’t seen it myself, so I told him to ignore the media and read the actual statement that the Benedict XVI made to see if that is what it actually says.

Later that day he came to me saying. “You’re right it not what the media is saying at all”

It hasn’t taken long for activists to try to spin what has been said:

British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell did just that in his reaction to the book, saying: “If the pope can change his stance on condoms, why can’t he also modify the Vatican’s harsh intolerant opposition to women’s rights, gay equality, fertility treatment and embryonic stem cell research?”

Forgetting the hateful and false hyperbole Mr. Tatchell manages to miss that the Holy Father has not changed a thing at all, as the Anchoress points out first quoting deacon Greg who directly quotes the Pope:

“The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from–provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.”

Big change isn’t it? Not quite, the pope he is quoting is Paul VI in 1968.

She then quotes the best post I’ve seen on the subject:

To the son who is a male prostitute, she advises, again, the Catholic teaching on human sexuality. She tries to explain it, but he cannot understand it and completely rejects it. He simply cannot get his mind around it. He is adamant that he is going to continue in his lifestyle, no matter what. When she realizes that she is never going to get anywhere with him on this issue, she advises him that if he absolutely insists that it must be this way, then he should use a condom. He agrees that he should think enough of the other person’s value as a human person not to intentionally risk AIDS infection, and she rejoices that he, at least, understands this much about human dignity. It’s enough for her to hope that it is spark enough for him to, as the Pope said, “re-develop his understanding” and come eventually to the fullness of the Faith. Again, as assuredly as she was with her other son, she is being a good Catholic mother.

It is contraception not condoms that have and always have been forbidden. As the Anchoress put it herself this time:

I think it is a very good thing that Pope Benedict has spoken about this issue via the book – it takes the whole matter out of the world of encyclicals and exhortations (which are often either unread or mischaracterized) and brings it into the light of the public square and open discussion. If it gets a few people to pay attention, smack their foreheads and say, “wait…you mean the church was never as unreasonable and inhumane as we’d been told?” That will be something, won’t it?

The Holy Spirit uses what is at its disposal for its own purposes, and moves as it will. This pope has been all about giving the Holy Spirit room to move and work.

This is all true but it doesn’t matter we will still see more HuffPo headlines not withstanding the actual truth.
I think the problem is the media isn’t actually interested in what the Pope is saying, they have an agenda and we WILL talk about this on Saturday and on our Christmas show. That being said Willie Geist dealt with it fairly on Way Too Early. I’ll see what Morning Joe has to say.

Update: Wow! very wow!