Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blessed John XXIII: Patron Of Heretics And Schismatics?

If you are to believe Rev. Tom Sanford, then yes.

Sanford left the Catholic priesthood more than a quarter- century ago. But now he’s back behind the altar. He’s pastor of a new spiritual community, born out of his frustration with what he believes is the philosophical backsliding of the Catholic Church. Sanford started Blessed John XXIII Ecumenical Church around Easter, and he’s starting small. When he walks down the aisle to “We Gather Together,” three worshippers stand and sing along.

It's good to know that he's given himself the competency to judge the Church to have engaged in "philosophical backsliding." One of St. Francis de Sales arguments against the Reformers was to ask from where they derived their authority. A similar question could be posed to this man.

Yet Sanford and his flock say there’s a larger point beyond their small numbers: They have left the Catholic Church to become better Catholics.

Yes, and there's a larger point to that. In seeking to be better Catholics, they have placed their souls in danger.

Sanford says he couldn’t stay. He believes church traditionalists are trying to undermine 50 years of church reforms set in motion by the worldwide councils known as Vatican I and Vatican II. The final straw came early this year: the church’s decision to reinstate the original 1963 English translation of the Mass. Supporters say the wording better reflects the beauty of the traditional Latin liturgy. Critics call it clunky. More important, Sanford believes, it springs from a philosophical retrenchment, “and I couldn’t abide by it.”

Holy smokes. He left over the new translation! We speculated a bit on this in the past, but this is the first instance we've heard of somebody actually doing it. What hath consubstantiality wrought?

To go back to our subject line, though, we have to wonder if Sanford is remotely familiar with Blessed Pope John. This is the same affliction  we noticed with Joe Biden. We are therefore forced to ask the same question. Is Sanford ignorant, dishonest, or insane? The facade of Blessed John as some sort of Ecumenical Prince is annihilated if you read anything he actually wrote. Whether it's stuff from his private journal, his initial response to becoming pope, or the summons to Vatican II itself, Blessed John was far sterner than any of his successors in discussing the value of non-Catholic religions.

I leave the newly-spawned heretics and schismatics of this insultingly-named community a thought from the man they claim as their patron:

It is the will of God, the Church's founder, that all the sheep should eventually gather into this one fold, under the guidance of one shepherd. All God's children are summoned to their father's only home, and its cornerstone is Peter. All men should work together like brothers to become part of this single kingdom of God; for the citizens of that kingdom are united in peace and harmony on earth that they might enjoy eternal happiness some day in heaven.

Somehow, Pope John missed the memo about random priests appointing themselves as cornerstones.

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