In a cult of community, it's almost inevitable that a cult of personality
will emerge, sometimes with tragic results. In a 'cult' of community, we saw
Jim Jones arise as a charismatic leader who led them to their death in a mass
suicide. We saw the Heaven's Gate cult follow their 'charismatic' leader into
a mass suicide to meet their 'god' in a comet. Mankind has always done this.
Even Christianity is a type of 'cult' with Christ as our leader. In fact,
that's how the term Christian came about, named after the 'founder' of the
movement. (This was done as a mistake since a 'Christian' knew that the word
Christ was a title, not Christ's name.) However, almost as soon as the Church
was born, 'charismatic' leaders came to draw the faithful away.
"But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your
thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For
if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if
you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a
different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough"
(2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
The early Church saw 'Gnostic Christians' giving another gospel than the
one the Apostles taught. So pervasive were they that they led many astray.
St. Irenaeus (c.a. 180 A.D.), devoted volumes exposing their 'other gospel'.
Same sex unions (this were the notion of the early Church allowing them came
from), women priestess, etc. In fact, St. Irenaeus spoke how a 'lay' person
one day, might be a bishop the next.
Arius, a priest in Alexandria (256-336) taught that Christ was not God,
that there is no Trinity. So 'charismatic' was his personality, so persuasive
was his speech, that he led many out of the Church and into a 'new' church,
Arianism. No matter the Church condemned it, no matter Arius was
excommunicated. Sooner or later, they believed, the Church would come around
to their way of thinking. After all, they were teaching the 'true' gospel.
Pelagius, an Irish or English monk (355-425) taught that grace is not
needed to attain salvation. That Adam would have died whether he sinned or
not, that only Adam's children were affected by his sin (by bad example).
That is, there is no original sin, therefore no salvation through Christ's
redeeming death. This 'charismatic' person led many out of the Church.
No matter the Church condemned it, no matter Pelagius was excommunicated.
Sooner or later, the Church would come around to their way of thinking. After
all, they were teaching the 'true' gospel.
A German monk, Martin Luther, taught that it doesn't matter what we do on
earth, we are saved by faith alone, and that by that faith, our sins will be
covered by His blood as a clean white linen covers a pile of dung. "Inasmuch
as I know for certain that I am right, I will judge above you and above the
angels...whoever does not accept doctrine cannot be saved. For it is the
doctrine of God" (Martin Luther; "Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual
state of the Pope and Bishops"; 1522).
No matter the Church condemned it, no matter Luther was excommunicated.
Sooner or later the Church would come around to their way of thinking. After
all, they were teaching the 'true' gospel.
Many others can be named. Jansen, Feeney, the list goes on and on. No
matter the Church condemned their teaching, no matter they were
excommunicated, they were all teaching the true gospel. Almost worse than the
suicides of Jones and Heaven's Gate, these have committed 'spiritual suicide'.
Excommunicating themselves along with their 'charismatic' leaders.
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in
the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel-- not that there is
another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the
gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to
you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a
gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-9).
A priest enters a church in the Diocese of Rochester NY. The parish
numbers only 200, but swells to about 3,000. A success story? Fr. Callan is
a 'charismatic' personality. Over 10 years, he has gone his own way. He
'elevates' a pastoral assistant to an 'associate pastor' and has 'her' wear
liturgical garments and join him at the altar during Mass.
"But these encouraging and positive aspects cannot suppress concern at the
varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic
world: the confusion of roles, especially regarding the priestly ministry and
the role of the laity (indiscriminate shared recitation of the Eucharistic
Prayer, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing Communion while
the priests refrain from doing so)"
(INAESTIMABILE DONUM;April 17, 1980).
"Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate
the bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord"
Giving the Church's 'blessing' to at least five same sex 'marriages'.
Though "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity"
and "Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."
(CCC #2358) "They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual
complementarity. Under no circumstances can they (homosexual acts) be
approved" (CCC #2357).
At Mass, he would routinely invite non-Catholics to receive the Blessed
"Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the
Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic
mystery (ref. 1 Cor. 11:29) in its fullness,….It is for this reason that
Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible for the
Catholic Church" (CCC#1400).
Though the Diocese tried to persuade Fr. Callan to recant, to teach
authentic Church teachings, he refused. Subsequently, and sadly, he was
excommunicated. He left the Church no other choice.
A large number of his 'faithful' have followed him into excommunication.
So 'concerned' were they that at a service in their 'new' church (in a leased
building), Fr. Callan joked; "Something terrible happened yesterday, something
I've been dreading for months. The dentist drilled a hole in my tooth." On
Holy Thursday he plans to celebrate Mass (which he has been forbidden to do,
his Bishop removing his authority to do so). This may well mean he will be
dismissed from the priesthood entirely.
But, we see that Fr. Callan feels that " I know for certain that I am right"
(see Martin Luther) and that "In 10-20 years, when the Church changes, they'll
take us back."
It doesn't matter that the Church has excommunicated him, after all, he's
teaching the 'true' gospel.
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but
having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their
own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into
myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Pray for them, for in following a teacher who tickles their ears, they
have committed spiritual suicide - and they think little of it.
They don't know of as yet what they're going to call their 'new' church, but
they assured everyone that the word "Catholic" will be a part of it. We know, in fact, that this can never be for the marks of the True Church are missing.