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