Saturday, April 23, 2011

A bishop speaks on being "pastoral"

Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo gave an address at the 10th Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest co-sponsored by The Institute for Priestly Formation and Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Philadelphia, PA on March 18, 2011

Among many things he said the following on the governing/shepherding office of the bishop and priest:
The steps in this passage (Mt 18:16-17) are clear and Jesus is teaching us, but do we listen and follow his example? If this criteria had been followed with dissenting theologians, priests, religious and faithful in 1968 with the encyclical, Humanae Vitae, would we still be dealing with the problem today of those who dissent on contraception, abortion, same sex unions, euthanasia and so many other teachings of the Church?

One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called "right to abortion", "murder" in the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (58), and still be able to receive Holy Communion? The continual reception of Holy Communion by those who so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil, even more than simply dissent, only creates grave scandal, undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church and can be interpreted by the faithful as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have the responsibility to govern. If we honestly pray with the Gospel we can see that hesitancy and non-accountability is not the way of Jesus Christ, but rather it is a failure in the exercise of governance.

Bishops and priests, as an act of loving obedience to Christ, must return to a full exercise of the governing authority of Christ witnessed in the Gospel. If we do not exercise that authority, are hesitant to exercise it, or doubt it, then it only leads to the "father of lies" taking hold of the minds and hearts of the faithful, and their continuing to act in the ways of man and not the ways of God.
Read the full address here.

H/t: Dr Edward Peters

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