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(Tennessee) Father Breen Retracts Statements -- Saves Job
CMR ^ | 8/21/2010 | Patrick Archibold

Posted on 08/21/2010 6:34:23 AM PDT by markomalley

The Case of the Heretical Priest from Nashville is closing, we hope. Fr. Joeseph Breen posted a video on his website and committed multiple counts of video heresy. CMR picked up the video and the story went national.

Fr. Breen was given a choice by Bishop Choby of Nashville. Retract your terrible statements made in the video and abide by your promises not to do it again or you are gone. Father Breen chose to retract his statements.

Here is the official statement by the Diocese of Nashville.

Father Breen retracts statements, apologizes

In letters to Pope Benedict XVI and to St. Edward Parish, Father Joe Pat Breen has retracted and apologized for statements made in an internet video and subsequent media interviews that Catholics are not obligated to follow teachings of the Catholic Church as defined by the pope and bishops. In addition, he has agreed to no longer voice his private concerns publically or in the media as required by a document presented to him by Bishop Edward Kmiec in 1993.

The letter to the parish also indicated that he expects to continue as pastor of St. Edward Parish until Dec. 31, 2011.

Father Breen has shared the content of those letters with Bishop David Choby and the letter to the parish will be distributed in the next few days.

Bishop Choby offered Father Breen the choice of retracting and apologizing for his statements or face the process set forth for the removal of a pastor under canon law when a ministry becomes harmful or ineffective.

The offer came during a meeting on Aug. 19, a little more than two weeks after a video interview with Father Breen posted on the St. Edward Parish website received worldwide attention. It was the bishop’s second meeting with Father Breen about his statements contradicting Church teaching. Bishop Choby asked Father Breen to remove the video from the parish site on Aug. 6. The video was removed but copies remain available on the internet and have been viewed more than 14,000 times.

In the letter to the parish, Father Breen said “the meeting was cordial and fruitful.”

The terms of the 1993 ban put in place by Bishop Edward Kmiec prohibit him from making statements that disagree with the authentic magisterium of the Church.

Although the process to remove a pastor has not been used in recent memory in the Diocese of Nashville, it is used with some regularity in the worldwide Church.

“The role of pastor is particularly important as the leader and teacher of a parish,” Bishop Choby said. “The office is a direct link to the authority of the Church as instituted by Christ in the apostles and handed down through the popes and bishops. A pastor holds a public office charged with administering, teaching, and sanctifying the local community of the faithful. The Church expects him to work in unity with its authentic teaching as handed down through the pope and the bishops. It is simply wrong to state, as Father Breen has repeatedly, that one’s conscience frees an individual from the truth revealed and instilled in Church teaching. A deep understanding of Church teaching is, in fact essential to a fully formed conscience, and helps guide an individual in making the distinction between one’s opinions and a decision based soundly on the foundation of a rightly formed conscience. One who chooses to act contrary to Church teaching acts outside of the revealed truth of God’s will.”

“In recognition of his many years of good work among the people of his parish, I want to give Father Breen every opportunity to correct the errors in his teaching, and gracefully enter retirement,” Bishop Choby said, “but in any case, his recent public remarks could not stand.”
While I did call for Fr. Breen's ouster, I totally respect the Bishop's judgment in this case. Father Breen will be retiring in a year and the Bishop clearly wanted to give him an exit strategy that allowed him a graceful exit. If Father Breen abides his promises this time, I think the Bishop did the right thing.

May God Bless Bishop Choby and I pray that Father Breen really understands what he did wrong. What do you think?


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: catholic; fatherbreen
My e-mail to the bishop (Bishop@dioceseofnashville.com):

Bishop Choby,

I just read your diocesan statement on the Father Sheen situation. Thank you for standing up for Catholic orthodoxy.

Ad multos annos!

In Christ,

Mark O'Malley

I would encourage all Catholic FReepers to drop him a note of thanks and support!

1 posted on 08/21/2010 6:34:25 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

What were his heretical statements?


2 posted on 08/21/2010 6:40:29 AM PDT by spyone (ridiculum)
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To: spyone
What were his heretical statements?

Among others:

What pushed it over the edge is that he expressed those views not only from the pulpit but on a video prominently placed on his parish's website.

3 posted on 08/21/2010 6:49:49 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

I hope he can retire to some conservative monastery somewhere and get his faith back.


4 posted on 08/21/2010 6:51:43 AM PDT by NewCenturions
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To: spyone

Watch the tape. He is a breath of fresh air in a church that prefers stale air. He says God can speak to an individuals conscience and that individual should respond to Gods call. WHOA!! That’s not drinking the Roman KoolAid. Individuals can’t think. The Bible had married minsters but we must ignore that. Common sense may say that a person must restrain from having too many children per income/resources/etc. . . but common sense may not over rule Rome. Stuff like that. He wants to grow the church but he has been deemed outlaw. Fortunately for him they can’t burn him at the stake anymore just take away his paycheck/pension.


5 posted on 08/21/2010 6:58:29 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: markomalley

•Advocating for female ordination;
•Advocating for Church acceptance of contraception;
•Advocating for Church acceptance of divorce and remarriage-——————————————————————————————

I have little or no problem with any of those (not being a catholic myself) except for whenever possible a marriage should be saved rather than ended. It was not possible to save my first marriage, God knows, I tried but it was not to be.

As far as the other two go, I have NO problem with either of those two issues but it seems that if one is going to be a representative of a particular faith, you probably ought to support and defend the main tenets of it.


6 posted on 08/21/2010 6:59:11 AM PDT by Grunthor (My coffee creamer is fat free because I am not.)
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To: Grunthor
As far as the other two go, I have NO problem with either of those two issues but it seems that if one is going to be a representative of a particular faith, you probably ought to support and defend the main tenets of it.

That's the point.

As for divorce, Our Lord was pretty clear on the subject. The Church's position is actually not so much against divorce, but against divorce and remarriage.

Of course, as a non-Catholic, that wouldn't be your concern directly.

7 posted on 08/21/2010 7:04:04 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: BipolarBob

“The Bible had married minsters but we must ignore that.”

I understand your meaning however the Bible also spoke of idol worship. You do not advocate that, do you? Sometimes we type in such a manner that our words can be misconstrued.


8 posted on 08/21/2010 7:04:09 AM PDT by Grunthor (My coffee creamer is fat free because I am not.)
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To: markomalley

“As for divorce, Our Lord was pretty clear on the subject. The Church’s position is actually not so much against divorce, but against divorce and remarriage.”

So let me get this straight; if a Catholic was married and his/her spouse became a serial adulterer, an addict and abusive towards the fammily (my first wife) and refused to change, a divorce could be acceptable to your church BUT, the non-offending spouse is punished by never being allowed to remarry?

It smacks of muslims punishing the victim of a rape for the crime of adultery.


9 posted on 08/21/2010 7:08:01 AM PDT by Grunthor (My coffee creamer is fat free because I am not.)
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To: BipolarBob

Maybe you could extend an invitation for him to join your denomination then.

You’re welcome to him (unless, of course, he has genuinely repented of his heresy)


10 posted on 08/21/2010 7:11:33 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: BipolarBob

After reading your comment, I sincerely wonder if you are in touch with reality.

You wrote:

“Watch the tape. He is a breath of fresh air in a church that prefers stale air.”

Heresy and sin are not “fresh air”. 2 Tim 4:3

“He says God can speak to an individuals conscience and that individual should respond to Gods call. WHOA!! That’s not drinking the Roman KoolAid. Individuals can’t think.”

The Church HAS ALWAYS taught that we must follow our conscience. The Church has always taught we must also have a properly formed conscience so we’re not just kidding ourselves. Apparently you knew none of that. http://ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=conscience&s=SS

“The Bible had married minsters but we must ignore that.”

We do? One of my priests was married. So what? I also occassionaly work with a married priest who lives near me. So what?

“Common sense may say that a person must restrain from having too many children per income/resources/etc. . . but common sense may not over rule Rome.”

Your apparent lack of knowledge is amazing: “2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:”

“Stuff like that. He wants to grow the church but he has been deemed outlaw. Fortunately for him they can’t burn him at the stake anymore just take away his paycheck/pension.”

He’ll just lose his soul for teaching heresy instead. A touch of fame in the delusional minds of anti-Catholics at FR and other idiots seems like a poor price for eternity in hell.


11 posted on 08/21/2010 7:11:55 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: Grunthor

Can you show me a verse where Christ said divorced people should remarry or were permitted to remarry?


12 posted on 08/21/2010 7:16:28 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: vladimir998

“Can you show me a verse where Christ said divorced people should remarry or were permitted to remarry?”

Where did He say they couldn’t?


13 posted on 08/21/2010 7:17:24 AM PDT by Grunthor (My coffee creamer is fat free because I am not.)
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To: markomalley

Good for Bishop Choby!


14 posted on 08/21/2010 7:20:01 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Grunthor

Mark 10:9. Luke 16:18.

http://www.catholic.com/library/Permanence_of_Matrimony.asp


15 posted on 08/21/2010 7:22:35 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: vladimir998

Good one, I should have remembered that one. Thank God for 1 John 1-9.


16 posted on 08/21/2010 7:27:49 AM PDT by Grunthor (My coffee creamer is fat free because I am not.)
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To: vladimir998

Isn’t it funny how people miss or want to change the meanings of the verses they don’t like?


17 posted on 08/21/2010 7:28:11 AM PDT by tiki
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To: markomalley
Unfortunately Fr. Breen’s observations in the video were right on the mark, and could have been equally honestly made by any number of dedicated priests of Fr. Breen’s age and older. These are men who love the Church and care enough to be honest in spite of the risks. What is really sad is that such men, also committed to their service of the people of God, must compromise their integrity. It is a mark of the poor quality of the Church's current leadership, that such issues cannot be discussed openly.
18 posted on 08/21/2010 7:28:11 AM PDT by VidMihi ("In fide, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.")
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To: Grunthor
Dear Grunthor,

The rule that Jesus gave us is that one who divorces and remarries commits adultery.

In the application of that rule, the Church permits individuals to submit to the judgment of the Church whether a “failed marriage” was really a valid, sacramental marriage at all. Because obviously, if no true marriage was contracted, then one may marry - validly - for the first time after escaping the failed relationship.

A simple case of an invalid marriage would be one contracted through force or coercion. Shotgun marriages are not valid in the Catholic Church. If a person is compelled to marry, then he or she hasn't freely entered into the relationship.

Another simple case of an invalid marriage concerns those marriages contracted with a significant element of fraud. Thus, a homosexual who is in the closet who marries defrauds his/her putative spouse and vitiates her/his free choice to marry.

There are other grounds to declare a marriage invalid (or null), but as they get more complex, I'm less competent to discuss them intelligently, and perhaps, they may not be as readily discussed on a forum like this.

However, it is possible that in a marriage such as you describe, that the Church could determine there was no valid marriage in the first place.

But if a real, valid, sacramental marriage did take place, then the Church cannot gainsay the words of Jesus, and must uphold the bond of marriage. In such a case, the innocent party would be unable to validly re-marry in the Church.


sitetest

19 posted on 08/21/2010 7:28:21 AM PDT by sitetest ( If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: Grunthor
So let me get this straight; if a Catholic was married and his/her spouse became a serial adulterer, an addict and abusive towards the fammily (my first wife) and refused to change, a divorce could be acceptable to your church BUT, the non-offending spouse is punished by never being allowed to remarry?

Well...then we have to enter the subject of annulments. Did a genuine marriage exist in the first place? You may have genuinely consented to such a thing, but did your wife? Was she capable of doing so? Problems like serial adultery, addiction, and familial abuse don't usually pop up overnight (in many cases, as I'm sure your aware, the underlying factors existed for many years beforehand...such factors could very well have caused her to not have the ability to give her full consent)

The bottom line is that did Jesus say, What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder or not? The sole exception to that is if the spouse engaged in fornication (πορνεία)...with the strong implication that this referred to πορνεία prior to the marriage. (You will note the use of the word πορνεία versus the word μοιχάω - adultery)

Did Jesus say, But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication (πορνεία), makes her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, commits adultery (μοιχάω)?

The only way out of that is if one or the other spouse did not give (or was not capable of giving) genuine consent to be in a marriage as defined by the Church (i.e., exclusive relationship, consummated, open and able to have children).

Those are Jesus' words, those aren't the words of some Pope.

And I am not trying to condemn you...please realize that. I am just defending the teachings of the Church.

20 posted on 08/21/2010 7:29:39 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: Grunthor

Nothing in 1 John contradicts Christ. John specifically warns us against walking in darkness - sinful disobedience. That would include violating Christ’s command against divorce and remarriage.


21 posted on 08/21/2010 7:31:34 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: vladimir998

“Nothing in 1 John contradicts Christ.”

You are correct;

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

He is not contradicted here at all. I believe this particular passage to be one of the greatest gifts from God that there is in the Holy Bible. Especially since we are fallen man that can in no way be deserving of Heaven on our own and are all in need of His grace.


22 posted on 08/21/2010 7:38:01 AM PDT by Grunthor (My coffee creamer is fat free because I am not.)
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To: Grunthor
I understand your meaning however the Bible also spoke of idol worship. You do not advocate that, do you?

point taken. Peter had a mother-in-law, he was married. The Sanhedrin had a marriage requirement. There is NO biblical statement condemning married priests/apostles. No to the idol worship because that is condemned unlike marriage which was ordained by God.

23 posted on 08/21/2010 7:38:24 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: vladimir998

Can you show me a verse where Christ said that what a man does is what saves him?


24 posted on 08/21/2010 10:36:26 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

Pardon me for interjecting. I’m sure you will get several; the unfruitful fig tree comes to mind. Also when Christ spoke to the good, believing follower and told him he needed to DO more by leaving his family and following Him. The many times Christ talked about having to TAKE UP the cross and FOLLOW Him. These comments all highlight the importance of what we DO. Backsliders have a problem.

But I wanted to add these: In Revelations 20:12 we learn that in Heaven there is a book of life and the dead are judged by what they’d DONE (not believed, but done). We also hear in Revelations 14:13 that “their deeds follow them.”


25 posted on 08/21/2010 11:02:41 AM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: Melian

First off: Any idea that leads one to believe that a person has to earn any part of their salvation is saying that Jesus did not do a complete job by his death and resurrection. If Jesus didn’t fully earn our salvation for us and offer it to us through grace by faith then He wasn’t the PERFECT SACRIFICE was he.

Might I suggest you go read the beginning Revelations 14:13 and see who it was talking about in that passage. The 144,000 are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel during the last days. Put things in context before you use them to justify what you have been told.

Revelation 20:12
Again, go read the chapter from the beginning. Pay attention to verse 6 (Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.)
The chapter is talking about those that resisted the Anti Christ prior to the thousand year reign of Jesus after Armageddon.


26 posted on 08/21/2010 11:31:35 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

No, that’s not what I’m saying. Christ did do a complete job of salvation by His death on the Cross. His complete act allowed salvation to even be possible. Up until then no one was entering Heaven.

He made it pretty clear that one’s behavior had an impact on one’s salvation. He speaks about how narrow the gate is. His many teachings center on our behaviors. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples, obviously already believers, did not recognize Him until they took the action of breaking bread and sharing the Eucharist. They already believed but could not see Him as He really is until the celebrating of the Eucharist.

As I said before, the unfruitful fig tree is a good example of Christ’s teaching that we must produce good “fruit.” It’s not enough, according to Him, to be a beautiful, strong tree. We must PRODUCE.

The following passages show the insight behind Catholic teaching on works:

Grace can be lost through mortal sin: 1 John 5: 15-17, Rom 11: 21-22, Heb 10: 26-311, 2 Peter 2: 20-22.

The works of sin can still bring about eternal death: Mt 25: 31-46, Rom 2: 1-13, 1 Cor 6: 9-11, 1 Cor 10: 6-13, 2 Cor 5: 9-10, Gal 5: 13-21, Gal 6: 6-10 and Rev 22: 12-15.

When we take all these passages together, along with Christ’s parables and the Beatitudes, and Christ’s comments on hell, it becomes clear that God expects us to LIVE as we believe. We can’t just say we believe and not follow Christ in our daily life.

Thanks for your suggestion that I read more of Revelations. I’ve read them in their entirety many times. What I read in Revelations convinces me our actions are an integral part of our salvation.


27 posted on 08/21/2010 12:25:04 PM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: markomalley

This priest sounds like one of the generation ordained during the wacky 60s. It will be a very good thing for the Church when that generation of priests retires. My God richly bless the priests of that generation who DID live out their vocation in humility, obedience, and faith.

The new crop of young men in the seminaries are much more orthodox and this can only help our Church. In addition, we will be getting the wonderful, faith-filled transfusion from all the converts who were zealous and smart enough to find their way to us!

The winnowing out continues.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for continuing to guide our Church!


28 posted on 08/21/2010 12:36:33 PM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: VidMihi
Except for celibacy, none of those things are open to discussion for faithful Catholics.

Female ordination? Infallibly condemned by the ordinary magisterium, explicitly so in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

Artificial contraception? Condemned again and again by all Christians, not just Catholics, up to 1930. Can never be approved.

Divorce and remarriage? Condemned directly by Our Lord Himself in the pages of Scripture. Can never be approved.

This is really pretty simple. Men who can't explain, defend, and support these teachings should not only get out of the priesthood, they should have the integrity to go down the street to the Episcopal church.

I live in Nashville; Bishop Choby is my bishop. I support what he's doing, although personally I would have removed Fr. Breen, since this is far from his first offense.

BTW, apropos of this situation, I did a little additional research into Fr. Breen. Do you know that a couple of years ago they served the Eucharist like a party snack at St. Edward's? I mean they put the Precious Blood into a bowl, and the Hosts into a dish, and people picked up a host, dipped it into the bowl and communicated themselves?

That, to me, doesn't express a "love for the Church" or a commitment to the service of the people of God. It expresses contempt for liturgical law and a complete absence of faith in the Real Presence.

29 posted on 08/21/2010 12:57:06 PM PDT by Campion
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To: CynicalBear
Any idea that leads one to believe that a person has to earn any part of their salvation

Saying that unrepented grave sin sends someone to hell is not the same as saying that they have to earn their salvation, sorry. Nobody can earn salvation. God may permit you to throw it away, however, the same way a father can permit a son to separate himself from the family and walk away (cf the parable of the Prodigal Son).

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. -- 1 Cor 6:9-10

30 posted on 08/21/2010 1:09:27 PM PDT by Campion
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To: Melian

So you insist that we still EARN at least part of our salvation. I don’t.

I believe that if we are truly saved with “the spirit of God in our hearts” we will do good works because of the leading of the spirit.

The Bible tells me that when God forgives me of my since they are removed “as far as the East is from the West”. That means to me that they are still going away because you can’t measure that distance. If you start going East there is never a time when you start going West. On the other hand if you go North there comes a time when you are again going South so it is a measurable distance.

Now, if God says that and that I am “washed white as snow” how can He, after my death, bring them up again? Wouldn’t hat make Him a liar?


31 posted on 08/21/2010 1:17:46 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: BipolarBob

The man had a job. One of the job requirements was that he not teach something to be true that the Church teaches is not true. How long would an Apple salesman keep his job if he recommends that everyone buy a PC? If he wanted to protest Church teachings than he had a responsibility to become a Protestant. If you had a preacher in your church who told his flock that Jesus was a demon under the command of Satan would he keep his job?


32 posted on 08/21/2010 1:21:41 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ('“Our own government has become our enemy' - Sheriff Paul Babeu)
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To: None

So the priest was given a 5th chance. Seems it would be just as appropriate to throw vipers out of the priesthood for the good of the flock and justice.


33 posted on 08/21/2010 1:23:07 PM PDT by Sporaticus
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To: Campion

Who said “unrepented”? When we accept Jesus as our saviour we repent of our sins and ask forgiveness. That’s not something we would do without the indwelling of the Spirit. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour we are indwelled with the Holly Spirit, thus the term “born again”. The sins that I once did I do not want to do any longer but not because of anything in my but from the Spirit within me.

People who talk so much about the works are putting the works before the saving. I’m putting the works after the saving as it should be. If it weren’t then we would be able to “boast” about what we did.


34 posted on 08/21/2010 1:24:24 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: Campion
Let us not get so definitive about the so called “ordinary magisterium”. According to your interpretation the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX would be infallible. Not so. Consider the following from Bishop Dowling:

"Lest we do not highlight sufficiently this important fact. Vatican II was an ecumenical council, i.e., a solemn exercise of the magisterium of the church, i.e. the college of bishops gathered together with the bishop of Rome and exercising a teaching function for the whole church. In other words, its vision, its principles and the direction it gave are to be followed and implemented by all, from the pope to the peasant farmer in the fields of Honduras. Since Vatican II there has been no such similar exercise of teaching authority by the magisterium. Instead, a series of decrees, pronouncements and decisions which have been given various "labels" stating, for example, that they must be firmly held to with "internal assent" by the Catholic faithful, but in reality are simply the theological or pastoral interpretations or opinions of those who have power at the centre of the church. They have not been solemnly defined as belonging to the "deposit of the faith" to be believed and followed, therefore, by all Catholics, as with other solemnly proclaimed dogmas. For example, the issues of celibacy for the priesthood and the ordination of women, withdrawn even from the realm of discussion. Therefore, such pronouncements are open to scrutiny -- to discern whether they are in accord, for example, with the fundamental theological vision of Vatican II, or whether there is indeed a case to be made for a different interpretation or opinion.

At the heart of this is the question of conscience. As Catholics, we need to be trusted enough to make informed decisions about our life, our witness, our expressions of faith, spirituality, prayer, and involvement in the world -- on the basis of a developed conscience. And, as an invitation to an appreciation of conscience and conscientious decisions about life and participation in what is a very human church, I close with the formulation or understanding given by none other than the theologian, Fr. Josef Ratzinger, now pope, when he was a peritus, or expert, at Vatican II:

"Over the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism". (Joseph Ratzinger in: Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II ,Vol. V., pg. 134 (Ed) H. Vorgrimler, New York, Herder and Herder, 1967). Bishop Kevin Dowling C.Ss.R. Cape Town, June 1, 2010

35 posted on 08/21/2010 1:30:39 PM PDT by VidMihi ("In fide, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.")
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To: CynicalBear; Melian
People who talk so much about the works are putting the works before the saving.

I really don't know what you're talking about.

The Catholic Church is crystal clear that no amount of "works" ever earns anyone's salvation.

She's also crystal clear that unrepented grave sin sends someone who dies with it on their soul to hell.

Those are Biblical teachings.

And I have no idea why you think that either of those issues have anything to do with Fr. Breen.

36 posted on 08/21/2010 1:42:50 PM PDT by Campion
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To: VidMihi
According to your interpretation the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX would be infallible.

I never said anything about the syllabus of errors, and something that Joseph Ratzinger wrote when he was a young priest doesn't become somehow more authoritative than the words of any other young priest or theology professor by virtue of his election to the Papacy.

They have not been solemnly defined as belonging to the "deposit of the faith" to be believed and followed, therefore, by all Catholics, as with other solemnly proclaimed dogmas.

This is simply wrong, but it's not surprising coming from the pro-condom Bishop Dowling, who had to be disciplined by the Vatican much as Fr. Breen was disciplined by his bishop.

What I find highly amusing is Bp. Dowling lecturing the rest of us on our lack of fidelity to "the fundamental theological vision of Vatican II", over and above the teaching of men who were actually there, despite the fact that Dowling was not even a priest when Vatican II was adjourned.

37 posted on 08/21/2010 1:50:43 PM PDT by Campion
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To: CynicalBear

I guess I am confused by the notion that once you are “saved” through belief in Jesus as your Savior that it then doesn’t matter how many more sins you go on to commit, you’re still “saved.”

Once you know Jesus, know His desire for the way you should live, shouldn’t you live that way from then on? If you don’t, did you really believe? Was it a sincere recognition that Christ is our Savior? How could one tell?

Once you know Jesus, know His desire for the way you should be living, and still choose to backslide or sin, wouldn’t you be held accountable for doing what you know is wrong in Jesus’ eyes?

In fact, when Peter, a believer, slipped into error, Jesus called him a viper and told him to get away from Him. That’s a pretty strong reaction toward a believer. Peter, the believer, believed Jesus was his Savior. Still Christ demanded more of Peter. He demanded faith lived out correctly.

Jesus makes it very clear in that passage that He cannot be united with anything other than real faith- faith lived correctly.

This is, as I see it, the terrible flaw, in the “saved” interpretation. Lots of people backslide. Lots of people sin. All of us are imperfect. If we, as Jesus admonished us, “go and sin no more” once we are forgiven, I would agree with this notion of being saved. Clearly, here in the story of the adulteress, Christ was attaching a requirement to belief and forgiveness: sin no more. Act in a holy way from that moment onward. Actions.

But most of us cannot do that. We still sin. We believe but the flesh is weak. How can we reconcile Christ’s demand that, once forgiven, we sin no more/walk the way of the Cross/go through the narrow gate; with the notion that few of us can hope to that level of perfection?

Well, Christ gave us a way: the sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation/Penance practiced from the earliest times of the Church.

No one with an unrepented sin on his soul will enter Heaven. It is a place of spiritual perfection. God can only unite Himself to purity. What if one is a believer who is “saved” but sins and does not repent of the sin before he dies? Does he still get to go straight to Heaven to sit with all the saints when he wasn’t sorry for a serious sin? I think not.

Didn’t St. Paul himself say he was working out his salvation with fear and trembling? Why was Paul himself still voicing concerns over his salvation? He was definitely “saved.” Because Paul himself understood that accepting Christ as his personal Savior required more than just belief. Paul believed. But Paul did not assume that belief guaranteed him Heaven. Belief is the first step; the crucial step. But actions must follow. They are a sign of true conversion and faith.

In God’s covenant, He demanded signs of belief from His people: blood on a doorway, circumcision, keeping the commandments, etc. That was the Old Law. In the New Law, Christ too demands a sign of our new covenant with Him: our lives must be an example of Christ’s teachings. Our actions must mirror the New Covenant. We must take up our cross and follow Him. We must walk the road to Calvary just as He walked it. Actions.


38 posted on 08/21/2010 4:27:39 PM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: Melian

“then doesn’t matter how many more sins you go on to commit,”

Where did you get the idea that “it doesn’t matter how many more sins you go on to commit” ??

I said: When you accept Jesus as your Savior the Holy Spirit comes into your “heart”. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance you will not want to sin. You may, in your human nature slip and commit a sin but are immediately aware and ask forgiveness. Conversely, if you don’t have the Holy Spirit as your guide you don’t worry or maybe even care that it’s a sin.

“Jesus called him a viper and told him to get away from Him”

Jesus wasn’t talking to Peter directly but the Spirit that was controlling Peters thoughts.

“No one with an unrepented sin on his soul will enter Heaven. It is a place of spiritual perfection.”

So, you are positive that you have repented of absolutely all your sins? Not forgotten even one? Maybe in grade school or something that God sees as a sin and you didn’t realize it? What if, for example, you did something without even knowing it and forgot? There is no way for you to know everything. If you accept Jesus as your Savior and admit that the only way you could possibly be worthy of Salvation is to accept the fact that His Sacrifice IN YOUR PLACE is the only way then you will be saved. You then ask for forgiveness for ALL of your sins both of commission and omission whether you remember them or not. God knows all. That is what admitting that Jesus paid the price and His Sacrifice is sufficient for your salvation. He was the perfect sacrifice. You, or whatever you do, will never be.

When you say “actions must follow” I agree. But I believe that a saved person WANTS his actions to please God so will search for the right way to do things. The person who thinks that actions are a demanded or required will have a tendency to think they are better then another person or will feel like they “have been good enough” to go to heaven.
Remember that Paul also said that even my best works are but as rags.

Hope I have explained things a little better.


39 posted on 08/21/2010 5:03:40 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

Because Heaven is a place of spiritual perfection, we will go to Purgatory when we die to do penance for any sins we still are guilty of. Once we’ve paid to the last penny, we’ll be ready to be with the saints and God in Heaven.

I believe Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for salvation; I am not assured that my faith is sufficient.

Clearly Judas believed in Jesus as the Messiah for a while. We know the devil entered him after he became an Apostle. It was all the way in Luke 22:3. So, at one time, he was “saved” but most scholars believe he probably lost his salvation through his later actions and loss of faith. According to your explanation, he was still “saved” because he had a conversion experience at one time... no matter what he did later.

The conversion moment is fleeting; a lifetime of faithful living from that moment on is what lasts and is worthy of eternity.

Your assertion that the person who thinks actions are required will have a tendency to think they are better than others is not accurate. In fact, those who think actions are also required are often teased about all their “Catholic guilt.”

I really think Christ was talking to Peter in Matthew 16: 23. He rebuked him and said he was a scandal to him because he cared more about his desires than God’s desire. Nowhere does he mention a spirit of any kind. He then tells Peter that if any man wants to follow Him, he must DENY himself (change his actions/stop sinning), take up his cross (again, an action) and follow Him. (More action.)

In Mark 8:33 it says Jesus threatened Peter and said the same thing. No spirit anywhere in that chapter.

Finally, St. Paul says in Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. Work out your salvation. He was talking to believers. Why did they need to work anything out further for salvation? Because works/actions were a necessary component. Why with fear and trembling? Because nothing is assured.

This makes perfect sense to me.


40 posted on 08/21/2010 10:43:01 PM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: Melian

“Because Heaven is a place of spiritual perfection, we will go to Purgatory when we die to do penance for any sins we still are guilty of. Once we’ve paid to the last penny, we’ll be ready to be with the saints and God in Heaven”

So YOU have to pay for your sins! Because when Jesus said “thy sins are forgiven” He meant only some of them? Only the ones you were thinking of? Only the ones prior to Him saying that? I don’t remember Him putting a qualifier on that statement.

I KNOW that Jesus paid for mine and when I die I will appear before the Father as if Jesus were standing there because I will be going “in Jesus name” as he told me to do. My sins have been forgiven!! I trust Jesus totally!!! He was the perfect sacrifice for MY sins.

I’m sorry you think that Jesus sacrifice wasn’t good enough for ALL our sins. You can’t have it both ways. He either paid the price totally or He didn’t and you have to “take up the slack” by somehow paying for the ones He missed.


41 posted on 08/22/2010 8:52:46 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

When Peter denied Christ three times, he was forgiven by Christ’s death on the cross. But he still had to pay a price. After the Resurrection, he was publicly humiliated by being asked by Christ three times in front of all the Apostles if he really loved Him. Peter had to be cleansed not just of the sin, but of the guilt through penitent action and active affirmation.

It is the same with us. Christ redeemed us but we continue to sin. We are redeemed because we believe in Christ and God’s mercy, but we must still go through the steps, as Peter had to, to remove the guilt of that sin through penitent actions and active affirmation of our love for God. We can do it while we are alive, through Confession and penance. After we die, if we still have unreconciled guilt on our souls, we are sent to a place we can complete the process. This is Purgatory: the place we go to wipe away the vestiges of guilt and responsibility for our sin as we affirm our love for God and our belief that He will have mercy on us. Once we have “paid the last penny” and are cleansed of the guilt, we can be united to the wonderful purity of Heaven.

The Epistles are full of comments to people who, while they believe in Christ, are still being held to account for their poor behaviours. In fact, most of the epistles were written to correct believers’ behaviours and misconceptions. Why bother if they were “saved?” Because they weren’t exonerated.

There is a personal component to Salvation that requires action/conversion/obedience of us. Today’s Gospel about the Narrow Gate was a perfect example. In Luke 13: 22-30 we hear believers say they want in to Heaven because they are familiar with Jesus and have supped with Him and listened to Him teach in their streets. He replies that He “knows them not” and tells them to “depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.”

They knew Him and called Him “Lord,” but He did not know them. Why? Because their actions were sinful. They were “workers of iniquity” and the Master locked them out.


42 posted on 08/22/2010 9:37:40 PM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: Melian

“Christ three times in front of all the Apostles if he really loved Him”

Look at the Greek words Jesus used. The first two times He used the word Agapa which means an unconditional kind of love but Peter answered using the word Phileo or and emotional kind of love. The last time Jesus used the word Phileo which is when Peter appeared upset that Jesus had asked him a third time but this time using the word that Peter had answered with the first two times. Peter was not using the same word that has been translated love that Jesus was the first two times. There is much more to learn here from the different forms of each word used and the different commands Jesus gave to each answer Peter gave but not enough room here.

“There is a personal component to Salvation that requires action/conversion/obedience of us”

There is a very dangerous path taken with this concept. The thought that a person can, of his own accord or effort, atone for sins leads to the belief that one can earn, or be good enough, to please God. If one is to “pay” or “atone” for our sins here on earth it is denying that Jesus has already completely done that. If he did not, and we are still to do that, then His sacrifice was not complete. Of course it is true that there are consequences to our actions, thoughts, and emotions here on earth. At the point that we accept Jesus as our Savior and have the Spirit of God in us there is a separation between our earthly existence and our eternal or spiritual existence.

“. This is Purgatory: the place we go to wipe away the vestiges of guilt and responsibility for our sin”

Here, again, you are stating that Jesus sacrifice was not complete for the atonement of our sins. A concept, that states that WE must atone for the sins that Jesus sacrifice missed.

Purgatory is a word used to describe the place where those who died, who had obeyed all the Old Testament laws went before Jesus “redeemed us all” on the cross. Before Jesus death/sacrifice on the cross the souls of the faithful, under the law, went to Sheol or Hades. The souls of those unfaithful went to Gehanna which was separated from Sheol. Jesus went, when He “descended into Hell/Purgatory/Sheol” with the “keys of Sheol/Hades” to released those faithful to take them with him to heaven. The “holding place” that was Sheol was needed because Jesus had not yet made the perfect sacrifice. Once Jesus died on the cross that sacrifice had been made and there was no more need for a “holding place”. Today, because of the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb redeemed souls go directly to heaven.

Once again, I will state that to believe that a person needs to atone for his own sins is to deny that Jesus sacrifice on the cross was somehow not complete.

The last point you made was of people calling him Lord. Once again, the original word needs to be looked at. In England, people are referred to as lord. That certainly is different then when we call Jesus Lord. When a person said lord, lord, they were not saying the same as when we call Jesus Lord.


43 posted on 08/23/2010 8:12:33 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

If I say we have a personal responsibility for our behaviours and for atoning to God for our sins, it does not mean Christ’s sacrifice was not enough. It does not mean we can do it alone, without Christ. That is not what I said.

The door to Heaven had been closed to all souls prior to His sacrifice. He opened the door through His death and resurrection. It is our job, as revealed countless times in the Gospels, to choose the right path to walk through that door. We still have free will, even after we have the conversion moment and are “saved.”

We have free will to continue to choose to follow Christ every day of the rest of our lives. We are responsible for those choices for the rest of our lives. Christ’s words make it very clear that how people behave is still critical. We see this in Matt 5 when He speaks of casting off anything that leads you to sin or be thrown into Hell. Why even mention this if they were “saved?”

In Matt 5:19-20 we see that keeping the commandments is critical and we learn that if our justice is not greater than the Pharisees, we shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven. Clearly there are some who believe who will receive harsh judgement.

Finally, in Matt 5:22 He tells us that if we are angry with our brother we are in danger of judgement. Christ says whoever calls someone else a fool shall be in danger of the fires of Hell. He is talking to His disciples here; people who are believe in Him already. Again, clearly, our actions matter even when we believe in Christ as our Savior.

This concept is stated over and over in the New Testament. We are redeemed but we must choose to be worthy of that redemption every day. We must fight for our redemption and “work it out” in fear and trembling. Christ’s many parables highlight this also.

Why did He even tell us all these stories about how to be righteous if sin did not matter after He “saved” us? Why bother to tell us how to behave at all? Because our actions still matter after the moment we believe. Indeed, they matter EVEN MORE.

If we sin after hearing God’s Word, we are like the soil that got the good seed and took root but was plucked away by crows. The good seed, the Word, must be absorbed, nurtured, tended, and carefully grown within us. THAT’s what we are accountable for. If we believe the Word, certain actions MUST follow.


44 posted on 08/23/2010 9:12:21 AM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: Melian

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Eph. 2:9: No one deserves salvation. It cannot be earned by what the Bible calls “dead works” (Heb. 6:1; 9:14). Dead works include all religious activities, good deeds, or charity that one may do as a means of being justified before God. Faith towards God and what He has done through Christ Jesus is the only means of receiving His free gift of salvation.

To trust in any human work or effort as a means of salvation is to fall from grace and to sever one’s self from the Savior (Gal. 5:4). No one can be saved by the combination of grace and works, for they exclude each other (Rom. 11:6). You must be saved by grace through faith alone or your works must meet the standard of God’s perfection set down by His holy law (Rom. 2:13). “Therefore a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:16).

Eph. 2:9: God has designed salvation in such a way as to eliminate any boasting from man. If salvation was by works either partially or wholly, then man could boast. But grace and faith eliminate man’s boasting altogether (Rom. 3:27;). Salvation by grace brings praise and glory to God. If we could save ourselves, either partially or wholly, we would take the credit for it. But that is not the case. All the glory goes to God.

Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

If all our righteousness are as filthy rags, how could it be possible to atone for our sins


45 posted on 08/24/2010 5:09:49 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

The simple answer is that we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), and not by works. However, one has to remember that it is not enough to simply say “I believe”, and then do nothing.

The bible says, “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather he who does the will of my Father” (Matthew 7:21) Therefore, it must be assumed that works are indeed a necessary component of one’s faith. Too many people think that faith means giving God lip service only (”This generation honors me with their lips, while their heart is far from me”, Matthew 15:18), rather than actually doing good deeds for others.

Another thing to remember is that the Jews of Paul’s day had many observances of the law that they had to keep, like not eating pork, ritual hand-washing, not eating meat with blood in it, etc. Paul may have been referring to these ritualistic works when he used the term “dead works” (Hebrews 9:14). In fact, in Romans 3:20, Paul says, “Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin”, a very clear distinction between works of the law and doing good deeds as a result of your faith.

During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther took it upon himself to change the understanding of the Bible around to fit his own particular theology. Not only did he throw out seven complete books of the Old Testament and parts of two other books, he also implied that Christians are saved by faith alone, because of Romans 3:28, which states “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”, rather than the way it was taught for over 1100 years. He even inserted the word “alone” into Romans 3:28 when he translated it.

One has to wonder about the wisdom of changing the interpretation of the divinely inspired Word of God to fit your own theology, especially after 11 centuries. The only time you actually do see the words faith and alone together in a sentence is in James 2:24, where James says, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone”. (James 2:24)

Finally, I suppose Christ wanted atonement for our sins, since He set it up that way. He made Peter atone 3 times for the 3 denials. The early Church believed in the act of Confession (James 5:16; 1John1:9). Especially important is Acts 2:27 “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer the Holy One to see corruption.” God cannot be near corruption of sin so we must atone for it before reaching Heaven.

In Apocalypse 20:13 tells us the dead were judged according to their works. Clearly all these passages indicate the Catholic position is correct: works are important in salvation. They have an impact on your salvation. They are required by Christ. Faith is first; works must follow.

Hope that helps you understand the Catholic position. I am signing off this thread now. God bless you.


46 posted on 08/24/2010 6:25:20 AM PDT by Melian ("There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." ~L. Bloy)
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To: Melian

I wanted to say that I truly enjoyed our discussion. I do understand the Catholic position but disagree with much of it as our discussion has probably shown you.

Again, thanks for the great discussion, you are well studied and firm in your beleifs and I appreciate that and respect that. God bless!!


47 posted on 08/24/2010 7:01:02 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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