DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     October 23-25, 1998     vol. 9, no. 208

GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE


    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns. In this issue, she touches on the fine line between acknowledging the sins of others and accusing, reminding all that we cannot hide our heads in the sand if what is being preached goes against God's Holy Church - whether they be priest or bishop, we all must be obedient and loyal to the Vicar of Christ as we see in her column WHAT DID OUR LADY MEAN? .

         Her column, along with columns by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. and Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv., provide effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.


WHAT DID OUR LADY MEAN?

          I’ve been thinking a lot lately about something Our Blessed Mother said in Medjugorje. She said that we should not criticize priests. To some this statement means being absolutely “mum.” But I’ve been asking myself if justice and charity are always served by being totally and completely silent ALL of the time. These are my thoughts.

          Certainly no one should EVER criticize PRIESTHOOD, the calling that God gives to particular men for the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. And certainly detraction, calumny and rash judgments are forbidden.

          We are living in very difficult times. Pope Paul VI said that the “smoke of satan has entered the Church.” Our Lady has spoken to Fr. Gobbi about the apostasy in the Church today affecting even the clergy, her beloved sons. What is one to do if a priest were to PUBLICLY proclaim something heretical?

          (It is happening!) Or what if a priest, by being ill informed, publicly speaks ill of another and ruins a person’s reputation? Or what if he publicly criticizes something that truly yields good fruit in the lives of many? Are we to remain silent under the pretext that Our Lady tells us not to criticize priests? A deeper understanding of her statement is in order.

          I remember years ago when the visionaries in Medjugorje asked Our Lady about a particular Franciscan who had been “expelled” by the local Bishop, Our Lady said that the priest was innocent and the Bishop was wrong in dismissing the Franciscan. Certainly Our Blessed Mother, though lovingly, criticized the local Bishop for his action. TRUTH is important to Heaven.

          I note, also, that Jesus said, “If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father.” TRUTH is important to Heaven.

          Jesus spared few words in His criticism of the Scribes, Pharisees and lawmakers, who laid heavy burdens on others, but walked about with a “better than thou” air. He called them “... whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones.” TRUTH is important to Heaven.

          And what about the Eighth Commandment that states: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor?” Are priests (as well as the rest of us) excused from this Commandment? Indeed not!

          Who said that all that is necessary for evil to continue is for good people to do nothing about it? Paragraph 2464 of The Catholic Catechism states: “The eight commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others.”

          St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: In justice, “as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.” The Catholic Church teaches that there is only ONE person on earth who is infallible. That is our Holy Father and ONLY when he speaks on matters of faith and morals. The implication is that ALL OF US have clay feet. We all make mistakes - even priests. It is not God’s Will that we be like ostriches with our heads in the sand.

          Justice and charity demand that truth reign and be promulgated. When a pubic wrong is committed, we are obligated before God to bear witness to the truth. This, however, must always be done with the greatest of charity, prayer and patience.

          Jesus said: “If your brother does something wrong, go and speak to him. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen to you, then take it to someone else. If he still doesn’t listen, take it to the Church.”

          Herein lies an adequate explanation of Our Lady’s statement. God bless you!


October 23-25, 1998       volume 9, no. 208
GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

DAILY CATHOLIC

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