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(Camille Pissarro. Chennevières along the Marne. Source)
Here are two responses to the open letter called "Enough Is Enough!", signed by 19 dissident "priests" in the Province of Quebec.
The first is the only real Catholic reaction I know of in Quebec, whether by a Bishop or a Priest. The second is from Father Fastbabe, S.J., a Haitian Priest of Polish origin. (I prefer the second one.)
Note: The following response was published in the La Presse newspaper in Montreal, Wednesday March 1, 2006, on page A-19. The imperfect translation into English is my fault.
Fr. Denis Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., is an Opus Dei Priest (when he wrote this letter, he was at the Saint-Ambroise Parish in Montreal). He was my spiritual director many years ago, so I guess all my charitable advice and wise counselling finally did pay off! Seriously, he deserves a lot of credit for putting up with me, and doing his best to salvage what he could from my spiritual life.
In his priestly prayer, Jesus tells the Apostles: "I pray for them [my Apostles]. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours. [...] They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world." [Jn 17:9]
Jesus talks to the Apostles: they are not of this world; they will be the first Priests. He invites them to respect this "distance" which will let them associate themselves more with God, meditate God's Law in their heart and encourage the faithful, with which they are fundamentally different because of their ministry, to be "signs of contradictions" [Lc 2:34].
When the secular world forgets God explicitly (as when a person says he's an "Atheist") or implicitly (when we profess values which are not Christian), it's the proper task of the pastor to guide his faithful by his example and his words. Some ideas, concerning a sexuality which seeks only pleasure in a sentimental commiseration or concerning a so-called freedom to dissent which didn't exist with Jesus or Peter and Paul, are completely contrairy to the message of the Gospels, even if they are present in the world. I believe it's the Priests' duty to stand by Jesus, the Pope and our Bishops who have the courage to continue to insist "in season and out of season" [2 Tim 4:2] and to encourage our brothers and sisters to walk in a path of real holiness, and not to follow the beliefs of the times which cause real harm to the family and society.
Dear 19 fellow Priests, the world in which we live is sufficiently disrupted without adding to the sufferings of the Christian people the shame of seeing their Priests forget their priestly mission. I want to tell you that we the "other" Priests are far from thinking like you. Jesus told His Father: "I pray for them [the Apostles], but I don't pray for the world [the ideas adopted by the Pagans and the Pharisees] [...] Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. [...] And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth" [Jn 17:6, 19]. Truth seemed to exist in the times of Jesus. Is it possible that it doesn't exist anymore, that human nature changes, like you say... Nevertheless, the following day, Pilate also seemed to doubt the message of Jesus, and was wondering "What is truth?" [Jn 18:38]. Why turn our backs to it? Why not sacrifice ourselves a bit to bear witness to it?
Like many of my fellow Priests, I try to console everybody, whatever their present or past experiences. But I feel unable to start bargaining with God's Law which doesn't belong to me, and over which I watch like a treasure. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! [1Co 9:16]. You'd might as well ask the Lord to come back to clean his temple.
Father Denis Saint-Maurice
As a Catholic Priest, here is my official response to the recent open letter called "Enough Is Enough!", signed by 19 Priests in the Province of Quebec.
Firstly, some disclaimers:
- I am not a Bishop, therefore I will not talk about the disciplinary
aspect of this situation, concerning those 19 Priests.
- Just as it is impossible to play a hockey game inside a phone booth, it is impossible to solve all the problems discussed by those 19 Priests inside this short response. Please see my personal web site, www.jesus-eucharistie.org, for details.
Secondly, my personal position: I firmly believe 100% of the official teachings of the Catholic Church, including all those on homosexual attractions, same-sex unions, abortion, the contraceptive pill, etc. In order to be ordained a Catholic Priest, I had to swear before God and men that I would be faithful to all Catholic teachings. I signed that oath freely, and I will respect it unto death. If, for some reason, I changed my mind, I wouldn't pretend to still be a Catholic Priest! I would just change churches! It's just a question of honesty and sincerity with myself, and my parishioners.
Thirdly, my offer: I can explain to you exactly why all the teachings of the Catholic Church are right. That's my job, after all! If I were a competent plumber, I could fix any leaking faucet or any clogged toilet. I'm a Catholic Priest, and I can explain the divine truth and goodness of all the teachings of the Catholic Church. God loves you, and God founded His Church to transmit His teachings, so you could be happy! If some teachings of the Catholic Church seem bad, or mean, or unscientific, relax! You've simply been misinformed. Just send me an e-mail, and we'll go talk about it over a coffee.
God bless you,
Father Fastbabe, S.J.
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