Footnotes to Oct. 3, 1999 Homily: Usurpers of the Vineyard

*"Today, however, it seems necessary to reflect on the whole of the Church's moral teaching, with the precise goal of recalling certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine which, in the present circumstances, risk being distorted or denied. In fact, a new situation has come about within the Christian community itself, which has experienced the spread of numerous doubts and objections of a human and psychological, social and cultural, religious and even properly theological nature, with regard to the Church's moral teachings. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions. At the root of these presuppositions is the more or less obvious influence of currents of thought which end by detaching human freedom from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth. Thus the traditional doctrine regarding the natural law, and the universality and the permanent validity of its precepts, is rejected; certain of the Church's moral teachings are found simply unacceptable; and the Magisterium itself is considered capable of intervening in matters of morality only in order to "exhort consciences" and to "propose values", in the light of which each individual will independently make his or her decisions and life choices. (Veritatis Splendor #4)

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George Jonas (an agnostic who understand the Church better than some Catholics) writes "The Pope has no divisions, to borrow one of Stalin's phrases; all he has is moral authority, voluntarily acceded to him by millions of the faithful, based on two millenia of history.

The Pope is doing what he has been anointed to do. My opinion about this or that particular of his teaching is immaterial. It would be just as immaterial if I were a Catholic columnist. My job would still not be to teach him but to accept his teaching or, if I can't, to leave the Church." Don't Hijack the Church

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An excellent internet resource is Meeting Christ in the Liturgy by Fr. Cusick. Here is part of his reflection on this Sunday's Gospel:

The Church exists to teach the Truth. Those sin against the Holy Spirit and deny Christ who attack the charism of celibacy, the male priesthood, the ministry of the Pope as Christ's Vicar and our teacher in matters of faith and morals. These are treasures bestowed upon the Church from the beginning by Christ and cannot be denied or compromised.

The Catechism quotes a passage from the document Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council in this regard.

The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing. (CCC 755)

There is no salvation outside of the Church for those who commit apostasy, who deny their Catholic faith once having truly understood and embraced the Faith. To reject the true Church and her orthodox teaching is to reject Christ and His Salvation, for all graces by which he saves us come through His bride the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Roman Catholic Church. ' The Church...which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our mother', is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ 'loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.' It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly 'nourishes and cherishes.' (CCC 757)

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