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Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell: “The Saints don’t need Jesus” December 17, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Dallas Diocese, different religion, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Revolution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.

So, a reader apparently attended the Mass offered by Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe opening the “holy door” of the year of mercy for the Diocese of Dallas.  They kindly sent me a link to a video of Bishop Farrell’s sermon, posted on the Diocesan website.  I think they did so because they felt the sermon problematic.  I must agree with their surmise.

The comment in the lede is certainly dramatic, I’d even say shocking.  I’ll go ahead and try to contextualize it, by quoting the words preceding and following the quote:

And Jesus is there to forgive us.  The situation of our lives, perhaps, may be inconsistent with the Church’s teaching today.  But that does not mean that Jesus does not welcome us back into the Church. We are the ones, the sinners, Jesus came to save, not those, who are Saints.  The Saints don’t need Jesus. Anyone who considers himself free from sin does not need Jesus, and certainly does not need the Church.

I needed a moment to pick my jaw off the floor, and put my brain back in my head.  This sermon……it’s really messed up.

Wow.  I mean, wow.  What kind of ecclesiology is this?!?  I can try to be nice, and read into these frankly clumsy and very unfortunate words what Bishop Farrell is trying to say, which is that we all are guilty of sin, and all have need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.  Of course, such forgiveness is not handed out willy nilly to those who continue to sin unrepentantly, but only to those who exhibit contrition and have penitent hearts. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that points gets clearly made.  Bishop Farrell does later say we can’t go on sinning forever, that while Christ will forgive our sins at some point (????) we must stop.

My larger problem is this: Bishop Farrell never gets around to saying just how sins are forgiven. We never hear words like contrition, conversion, penance, Confession, or any of the rest.

But this statement regarding the Saints……whaaaa?  The Saints don’t need Jesus?  Everything in the created universe needs Jesus/God to sustain them in existence from one moment to the next.  But with regard to holiness, how do you think the Saints became saintly, Bishop Farrell?  Sanctity flows from cooperation with Grace, not from just being super awesome humans.  We hear much talk of Pelagianism from certain quarters today, but these comments reek of Pelagianism.

I am also amazed at the language tying Saints to the concept of sinlessness.  Virtually all Saints were incredibly cognizant of their sinfulness, and the degree of their unworthiness from the great torrents of Grace Our Lord showered on them.  They never pretended to be holier than thou.  They had heroic humility, that’s what made them Saints.

However, I’m not sure if a later bit is not even more problematic.  It speaks to the great abdication of duty that has riddled the episcopate as false, humanistic concepts of mercy have come to the fore.  Another quote:

We have to be compassionate, we have to be forgiving. How often we want to excommunicate people out of the Church, we want to put them out of the Church because their sinners or they’re public sinners, or they’re this or they’r ethat.  I don’t have a month go by where I don’t get a letter telling me to put such and such a person out of the Church because they are public sinners.  That’s what the Church is for, it’s to welcome those people back in.  We can’t be announced I’m puttin’ them out of the Church.  Welcome them back into the Church.

A fundamental error of protestant – and modernist – scripture scholarship is to take individual bits of Scripture as stand alone declarations, completely cut off from both context and the entirety of Sacred Scripture.  This is especially true of the Gospels.

That’s what Bishop Farrell is doing in this sermon.  He is sharing all the bits of the Gospel the world has always liked, the bits about endless mercy and forgiveness, communicating a sense that the Church has erred in the past when souls were excommunicated for grave public sin or promotion of error (ahem).

Also unclear throughout is quite what he means by “welcoming back,” this phrase used throughout the sermon – does he mean assisting at Mass?  And if so, does that mean these individuals guilty of what he terms “abominable sins” should, along with the other 90% else who haven’t been to Confession in years, receive the Blessed Sacrament?

What is entirely left out, of course, are those “hard sayings” of Jesus, which greatly modify the great truth of God’s Mercy by making it plain that receiving this mercy is dependent on our cooperation with Grace and our complete refusal to countenance any sin in our lives.  But for those who refuse this, for those who refuse to convert or who continue to sin, Christ has a much different message:

But if thy brother offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone.  If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more; that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.

And if he will not hear them, tell the Church. And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican.

Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in Heaven. [St. Matt. xviii:15-18]

As I pointed out quite recently, excommunication has been part of the Church since Apostolic times.  Excommunication of those who persist in obstinate public sin and/or heresy is a direct command of Christ.  Does Bishop Farrell believe that he is either above that command, or that it is no longer operative?  This has in fact been perhaps the definitive failure of the episcopate over the past 50 years, the manifest abdication of solemn duty with regard to safeguarding the deposit of Faith by excluding those who promote error or who give grave scandal through public sin.  

Bishop Farrell is doing something else throughout the sermon, which I pray is not intentional. He is actually spreading great confusion, conflating individual acts of private sin, which we all commit, with continual acts of public sin which continue even after counsel and rebuke.  Here the insidious nature of the episcopal failure to maintain discipline is truly revealed in its devious intent: most bishops refuse to correct those in error or grave public sin, and on that basis pretend, because the correction has not been made, that they cannot act to apply disciplinary measures such as denying reception of the Blessed Sacrament or even excommunication, which, once again, is not a “hard” or “cruel” discipline, it is a profoundly loving one whose intent is to bring the soul back to their senses, to reject their sin or error, and back into the loving bosom of Holy Mother Church and the life of Grace!!!!!

This is the fundamental error of the sermon: that protecting the deposit of Faith and avoiding the grave SIN of scandal among the faithful by applying the Church’s constantly practiced disciplinary measures is somehow being “judgmental” or “unmerciful.”  He applies the lesson of the prodigal son wrongly, once again conflating events mid-sentence: from a soul with great contrition who has stopped sinning and begged forgiveness of the Father and asked for permission back into His House, the Church, there is a mental/rhetorical switch to public sinners and heretics indicating no contrition and who continue in their public sin and scandal. These are two very different things.

Tragically, many in Church leadership have found it very convenient over the past several decades to pretend otherwise, as the world, and especially powerful Katholyc political masters, capable of doling out millions to Church coffers, have descended into lives of abject immorality, including the promotion of heinously evil policies.  Instead of opposing these evil acts with all the resources Holy Mother Church provides, they clothe their refusal to call these men to account – FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR OWN SOULS – with an aura of false virtue, contending they are being “merciful” and “non-judgmental,” while what they are really doing is failing totally in their duty as shepherds of souls and heirs of the apostles.  It’s the wolves in sheep’s clothing writ large.

This sermon gets a maximum of four problematics:




1. docmx001 - December 17, 2015

Just wow. Really. So all you need to do is consider yourself free from sin, and you no longer need Christ’s sacrifice in order to be saved? Both ends of this sentence make no sense, and certainly are not Catholic. But it’s the Year of False Mercy, so I guess anything goes. After Fr Z posted the other day about the dangers of unformed consciences, I tried to sum up my (disjointed) thoughts here: http://nonvenipacem.com/2015/12/16/year-of-false-mercy-hell-and-you/

DM - December 17, 2015

This man cannot turn 75 soon enough. The subtle damage he is doing will take forever to undo.

On a side note Tantum, is there any hope the new auxiliary Bishop Kelly in Dallas will be better? Anything good/bad anyone here can tell us about?

Tantumblogo - December 17, 2015

Meh. He was pastor in McKinney. There was a problem (female allegation, may have been false, don’t know). So they sent him down to the chancery. He’s been there ever since. He’s been the vicar general for quite a while. When we were having problems at the NO Latin Mass, he seemed to be a faithful functionary, little more.

I don’t know much about him. He’s been out of circulation as a parish priest almost as long as I’ve been Catholic. But I wouldn’t expect any miracles.

2. Brian - - December 17, 2015

I viewed a previous video link, titled “The Two Masses. The Mass of the Ages, side-by-side with the Mega-Church Mass.


At the end, it closed with this statement: “Not the same Mass; because not the same religion.”

If that is true, and I now think it is, (there was a time I would have fought that with every fiber) then the inexplicable becomes explicable.

This sort of talk no longer surprises me. It certainly firms up my defenses.

p.s. Love the “problematics”.

3. pjmmpjmm - December 17, 2015

May I respectfully suggest that perhaps he meant, not saints, but “saints”. Not the truly humble to whom God gives graces and mercies, but the proud, who think themselves pure and perfect, whereas God resists them.

“God gives grace to the humble, but he resists the proud.”

Perhaps he was popularizing our Lord’s “I came not to call the just [for no one is just in my sight apart from my grace], but sinners to repentance.”

Just suggesting…

Tantumblogo - December 17, 2015

I actually wrote a paragraph justifying his word choice at one point, but after listening to the whole thing, took it out. Maybe I was wrong to focus on that quote in the lede, the main thing is the manifest failure to make clear that mercy is not just a shower that falls on us from Heaven no matter how much we sin, how much we turn our back on God. It requires contrition, Confession, penance, etc. He left out the really important part of the message.

And I also have a problem with a sermon so badly worded that taking it on its face, it’s saying unsupportable things. So I took the apologia out. We should not have to dig deep and squint and look sideways to be able to say……”this is what he really meant! And it’s not so bad!”

Even granting your point, the four frowns remain for failing to ever mention Confession, repentance, et., al.

4. Therese - December 18, 2015

Astonishing that a bishop can be so stupid…

No need of Jesus = no need of God.

Even the Most Holy Virgin Mary calls “God, my Savior”.

5. Tim - December 18, 2015

“Astonishing that a bishop can be so stupid…”

Really?….ever heard of Cardinal “Bravo” Dolan?

Have a Merry Christmas!

6. The doctrinal inversion at the heart of the post-conciliar Church | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - December 18, 2015

[…] liturgy, false ecumenism, indifferentism, and the false mercy of the current pontificate. [And in certain episcopal sermons] They believe that the only love that matters is the love of man.  Yet the Council of Trent takes […]

7. Tim - December 19, 2015

I shouldn’t be but I’m in shock….unbelievable

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