Article 5: Faithful or not?
On many points of morals, the Roman
Catholic hierarchy seems to be very much at odds
with most Canadian Catholics as the latter agree
with the use of condoms and oral contraceptives
as well as the «morning after» pill (even though it
probably causes a very early abortion) and consider
it is a woman's right to choose if she wants a medical
abortion, in the very least during early pregnancy, and
certainly if the woman has been raped or if her health is
seriously at risk if she continues with her pregnancy.
Furthermore, again contrary to the position of
the Church's hierarchy, most Catholics in Canada
accept that gay couples wed in a Civil marriage, that
consenting adult partners engage in any sexual act
they so wish, that couples live together and have
children out of wedlock and that couples divorce
Basically, most of them not only agree with the former
Canadian Justice Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau's dictum
«The State has no place in the bedrooms of the Nation»
but would add that the Church's hierarchy has no place
there either. They did and still do support the Roman
Catholic Pierre Elliott Trudeau's refusal to have the
Church's Magisterium dictate State policy on all matters
of sexual behaviour. They also approved the fact that his
stance was maintained and expanded by Prime Minister
Jean Chrétien, another Roman Catholic.
Most Catholics are tolerant of the sexual
behaviours of others as well as of their decisions
concerning abortion. They see it as a matter of
equality that gays and lesbians be able to marry
civilly just like them. They consider that behaviours
that do no harm to other
should be private
business while other behaviours should be legislated
in a way that respects the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms, a Charter that was included in the
Canadian Constitution by the Roman Catholic Pierre
Elliott Trudeau during his tenure as Prime Minister of Canada.
Why is the Magisterium so far from the faithful on these
subjects? Why does the hierarchy insist in interfering in
people's practices whether they are Catholics or not?
Why does it insist in telling people in minute details
what behaviour is permissible and what is not when it
comes to morals as well as Catholic ritual?
What is the proper rôle of the Magisterium?
Why was it established? The rôle of the Magisterium is,
as the word implies, to teach. But what?
Is it not there to teach Jesus' message? Catholics
know that their Church was founded by
Jesus Himself and not by Peter or Paul. What the
Church's Magisterium must proclaim in and out of
season is what Jesus said and did: nothing more,
but nothing less. This is why the Church has always
put so much emphasis on the Gospels. This is why
these texts are now proclaimed in the vernacular, so
that they be more accessible to all.
What did Jesus say about living out of wedlock?
Nothing. He told the Samaritan woman that this was
her status, but neither did He ban her from His
presence nor did He tell her off. Should not the
hierarchy and the Magisterium do the same? Are
they not to follow the example of our Lord and God?
What did Jesus say about homosexuality, fornication,
masturbation? Nothing. The only «sexual» subjects
He mentioned were divorce and adultery. Why? Because
divorce was the way a husband could dispose of his wife
as she was his chattel and
because it is cheating on your spouse, coming back
on your troth. For Him, in marriage, the two become
one couple and no one of the two can change that
unilaterally. Now I am not suggesting that Jesus
condones fornication. It is just not a great impediment
to the Kingdom.
Did Jesus ever refuse to be in the company of sinners?
No. Did He ever refuse to eat with them? No. Did He
refuse to give Himself to Judas at the last supper? No.
Did He tell us to follow His example? Yes.
Why is the Magisterium's ways always at odds with Jesus?
Why does it not understand that He came to show love and
forgiveness, not to point fingers at people, make them feel
like dirt, sinners who do not «belong» with God's people
as long as they do not follow the Law's prescriptions?
Jesus was hardly pleased with those of His contemporaries
who were trying to force such regulations
down others' throats!
The Magisterium and the hierarchy should remember
that the Pope is the «successor of Peter», not of Jesus.
Jesus as God is always right, but Peter? We have
examples galore of his mistakes:
he was even told off by
an itinerant preacher and no bishop!
God's Church is an assembly of very fallible people
and this is fine. God throughout history has worked
quite effectively with «normal» people. After all, He
does not need us to get the work done: He can do
it all by Himself!
We must not forget the example of the very first
Council, which took place in Jerusalem with Peter
and Paul in attendance and which is related in quite
some detail in the Acts of the
According to Luke, its decision, which started
with the sentence «For it seemed good to the
Holy Ghost, and to us»
necessary for a Counciliar proclamation,
was (1) not to impose circumcision
on the goyim who became Christians
and (2) enforce on them the abstinence from
food offered to idols, blood
(and so eat kosher) and from sex with
a prostitute (wrongly translated as
Paul gives a rather different account of this Council
in his letter to the
where he «replaces» point (2) by alms to the poor!
How come the accounts are so different? How is it
that Luke and Paul only agree on the uselessness
Paul was right to «forget» the question of blood:
this Counciliar decision was utter nonsense:
Jesus told His disciples to drink His blood and
so had abolished the kosher laws! So
why in God's name would these Council members,
including Peter the first Pope and all the important
Church leaders (bishops), make such a gaffe?
God must have had a good laugh, and decided this
would be a good example to remind us how fallible
and sometimes downright stupid the hierarchy and
Magisterium can be! It was also a good example
to show us that this mistake did not matter: sanity
prevailed in the end.
But there is more: Paul's use of the terms
«But of these who seemed to be somewhat,
(whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me:
God accepteth no man's person:)» and «James,
Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars» are
not at all flattering towards his Church's Magisterium
and hierarchy! He, no bishop but an itinerant preacher,
believed that he should not have had to report to them
in the first place, that he knew what was to be done
at least as well as they did!
History has played and still plays a
big rôle in the Church, especially
with the hierarchy and Magisterium. These
see themselves as the «spiritual» equivalent
of and equals to the «temporal» governments.
Very often there has been a symbiotic relation
between the «leaders» of both groups.
At the time of the «divine rights of Kings» it
was hardly surprising that there would be the
«divine rights of Popes and bishops».
The divine rights of Kings have bitten the dust
as democracies finally toppled aristocracies,
thanks in no part at all to the Church's hierarchy.
The divine rights of the Pope and bishops have
also largely bitten the dust where democracies
thrive. The «Faithful» have simply transferred
their allegeance from the hierarchy to Jesus
Himself. So they try to follow their conscience
in the light of the Gospel rather than the rules
put forward by the hierarchy.
While the hierarchy preaches that all humans
have a conscience and that God is able to talk
to every human through her conscience, it still
insists that she should follow its rules and
regulations rather than her own conscience,
God's voice in her.
They act as if they do not believe that God is
able to do His work without their indispensable
intervention! Is that pride or what?
Humility is something that each human needs
to learn every day of her life. Faith in God
stems from that humility: it requires letting
go of the ship's controls so that God can take
charge and bring us where He wants us to go.
Faith means trusting God's infinite love for us
and our fellow humans. It means following Him,
crucifying our ambitions, our need of control, to
our Father in Heaven, who will work as He pleases
through us if we just let Him. Glory be to Him forever!
Solemnity of Peter and Paul, Apostles, June 29th, 2004
1 Let me note here that an unborn
human is not a citizen according to the Canadian Law.
2 though He never condemned
the adulterous woman caught in flagrante delicto: He
only told her not to do it again! This is found in John 8:3-11.
3 «But when Peter was come to Antioch,
I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with
the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and
separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch
that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to
the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all,
If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles,
and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles
to live as do the Jews?» (Gal 2:11-14)
(All Bible quotes are from the King James Version.)
4 «And certain men which
came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said,
Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye
cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas
had no small dissension and disputation with them, they
determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other
of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles
and elders about this question... And when they were
come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church,
and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all
things that God had done with them. But there rose up
certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to
command them to keep the law of Moses. And the
apostles and elders came together for to consider of
this matter. And when there had been much disputing,
Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren,
ye know how that a good while ago God made choice
among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear
the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which
knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them
the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no
difference between us and them, purifying their hearts
by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke
upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers
nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through
the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved,
even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and
gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what
miracles and wonders God had wrought among the
Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace,
James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit
the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is
written, After this I will return, and will build again the
tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will
build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the
residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the
Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord,
who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his
works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my
sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from
among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we
write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of
idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled,
and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city
them that preach him, being read in the synagogues
every sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and
elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of
their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas;
namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men
among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after
this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send
greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in
Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have
heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled
you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must
be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no
such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being
assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto
you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have
hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who
shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it
seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon
you no greater burden than these necessary things;
That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from
blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication:
from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.
Fare ye well.» (Acts 15:1-29)
5 Acts 15:28
6 The Greek term «porneia»
means «copulating with a prostitute» while the term
«fornication» means copulation between unwed
partners. Copulation with a prostitute is not the
same as copulation between two unwed partners
as it implies that one partner pays for sex and the
other lives from it. A lot of unwed fornicate without
being paid or paying. A slight variation of this term
«porneia» is used by Paul in 1 Cor 6:9-20
where again it is translated by «fornicator» and not
«prostitute user» as it should.
7 «Then fourteen years after
I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and
took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation,
and communicated unto them that gospel which I
preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them
which were of reputation, lest by any means I
should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus,
who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled
to be circumcised: And that because of false
brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to
spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus,
that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we
gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the
truth of the gospel might continue with you.
But of these who seemed to be somewhat,
(whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to
me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they
who seemed to be somewhat in conference
added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when
they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision
was committed unto me, as the gospel of the
circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought
effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the
circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward
the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and
John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the
grace that was given unto me, they gave to me
and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that
we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the
circumcision. Only they would that we should
remember the poor; the same which I also was
forward to do.» (Gal 2:1-10)
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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 6th, 2004
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