Spirit of Rebellion Weakens Faith…

Spirit of Rebellion Weakens Faith…

Spirit of Rebellion Weakens Faith...

A deeply worrying spirit of rebellion runs through the Catholic press this weekend, following publication of the “consultation” of the laity by the Bishops worldwide, in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in 2014. Click on the picture to read the questionnaire, which includes questions about the pastoral care of the divorced and remarried, who may not receive Holy Communion. Being divorced is not, in itself, a bar to receiving the sacraments, but entering into a second marriage means a Catholic may not approach to receive the Eucharist. Coming hot on the heels of the various shocking utterances of Pope Francis since his election, this spirit of rebellion has taken legs.

Columnists, editorials, and correspondents in the letters pages of this week’s Catholic press positively ooze the spirit of rebellion which is now commonplace within the Church. In some circles, such arrogant rebellion is considered a sign of an “adult faith” – never mind that Our Lord instructed us to become as little children in order to attain Heaven.

Glasgow man – John Fegan – dripping in “adult faith” wrote to the Editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO) to explain that he received Communion despite being divorced (and we presume remarried, or there wouldn’t be an issue). Mr Fegan writes: “I will continue to do so regardless of what comes out of the Vatican.”

He goes on to describe his “pain” at (for more than 20 years) having his “right” to the sacraments taken away from him, arguing that “if you love your Faith as deeply as I do, that is a terrible punishment.” That’s slick: he fails to admit that his deprivation of the sacraments is a consequence of his own actions – NOT a “punishment” of the Church.

Of course, he throws in the usual confused, non-argument that if he’d murdered his wife and confessed it “with mock sincerity he would be forgiven if he fooled a priest but not God” clearly blissfully unaware of the fact that anyone confessing any sin has to be truly repentant, determined never to commit that sin again and do whatever they can to make up for the damage caused. So, wrong, Mr Fegan, Sir – the murderer you describe is NOT forgiven and absolved, and, indeed, is merely piling up coals of fire on his own head. So, that’s a silly argument. Doesn’t wash. However, assuming the conditions for an honest confession are met, then yes, the murderer will receive absolution and be free to receive Holy Communion, just as surely as those in on-going adulterous relationships – and any other unrepentant sinners – are not free to approach the sanctuary for Communion.

Blogger, Petrus, ever on the button, has replied to Mr Fegan and we hope he makes it into print in next weekend’s SCO.

Whatever, since I don’t think we’ve ever discussed the issues surrounding divorce and remarriage, we thought we might do so here and now. Oh, and there’s another reason. When we launched The Church of ‘Holy Father Francis’ thread to discuss the Bishops’ Consultation document, one of our bloggers (Eileenanne) complained that the headline was inaccurate. Well, after perusing this weekend’s papers. sold in Catholic churches across the UK, I doubt very much if she could find grounds to complain about the headline of this thread. For, make no mistake about it, there is a wicked spirit of rebellion abroad in the Church today, and it is self-evidently weakening the Faith of those who rebel against Catholic doctrine and God’s moral law.

Below, to kick-start our discussion, is Petrus’s response to John Fegan:

John Fegan’s letter entitled “I made my peace, and decisions, as a divorcee” ( SCO, 8th November) is emotionally charged. One cannot deny that divorcees place themselves in a difficult position. Interestingly, Mr Fegan does not mention if he has “remarried”. This is pertinent to understanding this issue and there is a danger of muddying the waters unless we are absolutely clear.

A divorcee who does not attempt to remarry can continue to receive Holy Communion. However, one who attempts to remarry, without having obtained an annulment, cannot. The Church is the legitimate authority to decide if the first marriage has been valid or otherwise. The individual is not free to make this decision for himself.

Mr Fegan should remember that Our Lord gave all authority to His Church, saying to His apostles, “He who hears you, hears me.” Divorcees must humbly submit to the Church before attempting to remarry. Yours etc.

Comments (39)

  • Frankier

    If Mr Fegan has re-married. then the only time he will have a `right’ to receive holy communion will be when he gets another divorce and enters into a state of grace by confessing his sins in a one-to-one with a priest in a confessional. No cheating is allowed by nipping into a penitential service and whispering a wee venial sin.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:33 am
    • catholicconvert1

      Hang on, so if someone gets divorced, without an annulment and does not get remarried, they can still receive Holy Communion? Is that because the Church marriage is still valid, but the civil divorce is not. I’m in the process of converting so the Church law on divorce is confusing.

      November 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm
  • Frankier

    In other words, in Mr Fegan’s case, he can’t receive holy communion after one divorce but he can after two.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:37 am
    • Lily


      I don’t understand what you mean – how can getting a second divorce help Mr Fegan or do you mean he should stop living as a married man?

      I completely agree about the spirit of rebellion. I see it all the time when speaking to other Catholics. They now think their own opinions are as good as the Church’s teaching. I think the fruits of Vatican II are to have created this spirit of disobedience and rebellion towards the Church’s teaching authority.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:20 am
      • Whistleblower

        If this man has attempted to remarry then he must obtain a second divorce. All this does is release him from the civil obligations he has to his new mistress. It is a clear indication that he is submitting to the judgement of the Church.

        November 11, 2013 at 11:36 am
      • Lily


        Thanks for making that clearer to me – I’ve never heard of that before. All I’d heard was the pope saying they should live as brother and sister. I never knew that about a second divorce.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm
  • gabriel syme

    Well done to Petrus for his swift response to this mans letter – let us hope it is published.

    The arrogance – or, more likely, ignorance – of the man is really staggering.

    Too many (most?) Catholics in this age think that their own opinion super-cedes or outranks the magisterium.

    The man claims to “love his faith deeply” but then shows his ignorance by claiming the results of his own actions are a “punishment” for the Church.

    If it wasn’t so sad, it would be laughable.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm
  • crofterlady

    I just saw the headlines in the SCO and there’s no doubt in my mind that the journalist in question seems to think that Catholic teaching is now up for grabs. So do many Catholics too, judging by their behaviour regarding the sacraments.

    I’m wondering if all these calamities around the world are part of “the chastisement” foretold by Our Lady of Fatima, tragic as it is to watch such suffering. When we have the Pope saying the things he is saying, then one cannot but wonder if the end is nigh!

    November 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    • Clotilde

      Guess you must be speaking about the Phillipines. Did you see that the province of Albay which would normally have born the brunt of the storm was spared from the worst damage as the winds there were much less. It was concecrated to the Immaculate of Mary by the local Bishop about a year ago. Wise Bishop.
      The government have been under pressure to accept the so called ‘Sexual Health’ from the usual western-aid providers. I’m not sure whether they had been implemented.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        I seriously believe that the Typhoon was a judgement on the Philippines for legalising contraception. I totally concur with Bp. Gerhard Maria Wagner, a Priest in Linz, who was nominated as aux. bp. by B16, who said that Hurricane Katrina was God’s wrath on New Orleans. It’s no coincidence that all the brothels and abortion clinics were destroyed. These make what is yet to come look like a spot of drizzle.

        November 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm
  • Frankier


    It isn’t difficult to understand. If this misguided person has indeed re-married, unless he has had an annulment and been allowed to marry again in church, he can’t receive holy communion and his parish priest should make that plain to him. To re-marry, he would need to have divorced his first wife.
    To reconcile with the church he would need to get a second divorce from his second wife.

    No wonder he loves his faith deeply if he is allowed to make up his own rules. It’s just a pity he hasn’t acquired the same deep love for The Blessed Sacrament.

    If these people keep getting away with ruling the waves, sorry, waiving the rules, then I might just send a letter to the Pope to see if it is OK for me to nip out and rob the nearest bank on the pretext that I am deeply addicted to the smell of cash. After all, I could manoeuvre my conscience into telling me that it is my right because the banks themselves have been doing a fair bit of thieving from me.

    As I have stated in the past, there are thousands of different denominations who provide the type of man-made services that would accommodate these people. They could tweak the rules here and there that wouldn’t incur the wrath of God even, so why don’t they join them? They can still get to call themselves Christians.

    Meanwhile there is only one Church that can give me what I desire, although it is getting more difficult by the day, so I can’t, unlike Mr Fegan, go anywhere else.

    It is high time that these dissidents were sorted out once and for all. If Henry V111 couldn’t get away with it then neither should Mr Fegan.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm
    • Lily


      That is a really excellent comment – It’s very very clear, and I agree with every word. I laughed a several bits, and I loved “if Henry VIII couldn’t get away with it, neither shold Mr Fegan”. I couldn’t agree more!

      November 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm
  • Frankier

    Thanks Lily.

    November 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm
  • Clotilde

    Well done Frankier for telling the truth which is hard to find these days in the conciliar church.

    The questionnaire reminds me of the way the Church of Scotland or the Presbyterians meet to work out what rules to make up to suit the changing habits of their faithful, whereby the people consult and vote on regulations like same-sex marriage etc.

    Can you blame Jo Bloggs if he receives Holy Communion in a state of sin if he hasn’t been taught about mortal or venial sin. Some priests (not all) know exactly what is going on and just turn a blind eye as they have done for years over contraception -( a priest once told me there was nothing wrong with it as “its just a physical activity!)
    It seems to me that this consultation is laying the way to having a vote on church laws like they have synods in the non-Catholic denominations.
    People pick and choose where they attend Mass depending on what the local church can offer and its not about loving the Mass and wanting to keep the faith.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm
  • scottish priest

    Petrus misses out co habitation – it is not only re marriage but also and perhaps more relevant is that living together excludes you from the Eucharist . Secondly, Canon law reminds us that a “scandal to the faith” is to be avoided and Mr Fegan certainly qualifies there. He is in direct disobedience to the Church and his priest is within his rights to refuse communion to him
    And finally.. this mentality shows a severe rupture in the understanding of the Mass. Jesus is fully present in His Word – the man if contrite and recognizes his situation will still receive spiritual strength from Word of God – in receiving the Eucharist in what Paul calls an unworthy state 1 cor 11 you bring a curse on your self or simply put – the Eucharist has no effect in that soul. Kind of like a non baptised person receiving communion deliberately in the name of equality – the Eucharist has no effect in the soul of that person only baptism allows the Eucharist to take effect

    In this culture of entitlement the man has no right to the Eucharist and his making peace is a silly solution- better guidance from a pastor would really help

    November 12, 2013 at 8:04 am
    • Whistleblower

      I don’t think it’s fair to say “Petrus misses out co-habitation”, Father. Co-habitation is not the subject of the letter. I’m sure Petrus felt it necessary to be crystal clear on the issue of divorce and remarriage. When responding to a specific issue it’s not wise to muddy the waters.

      The problem is that in the “mainstream” diocesan structures “good pastors” are like hen’s teeth. A high ranking Glasgow priest – perhaps the highest ranking under the bishop – has advocated allowing contraceptors, homosexuals, divorcees who have attempted remarriage, to receive Holy Communion under the false illusion that if you are welcoming and “merciful” (in good old Holy Father Francis style) they will amend their ways. Lunacy. How anyone, priest or layperson, could remain within that structure knowing that the lunatics are running the asylum is beyond me.

      Let me repeat what our editor said a few weeks ago – if you choose to remain within the diocesan structures you are NOT orthodox. You are a Modernist and part of the problem.

      Someone said earlier that divorced Catholics who attempt remarriage should live “like brother and sister” with their counterfeit spouse. I disagree. This is still a cause for public scandal. I know of a young couple who had a baby out of wedlock. They lived together but had separate bedrooms. Their priest (traditional) instructed the young man to go and live with his mother. It’s an occasion of sin and cause for scandal.

      November 12, 2013 at 8:27 am
      • Lily


        I mentioned “brother and sister” relationships for divorced and remarried who wish to reconcile, because Pope John Paul II spoke about living together as brother and sister in certain cases. The following is what he said, taken from a document of the Holy See on the divorced and remarried being allowed Communion:

        “A Unique Case. One final situation is that of those who have repented of their illicit union, but remain together for a serious reason, such as for the sake of their children. Catholic pastoral practice allows that IF their pastor judges that scandal can be avoided (meaning most people are unaware of their remarriage and consider them a married couple), then they may live together as “brother and sister” (without any sexual relations), and be admitted to the sacraments. If scandal can not be avoided, then they must either separate or refrain from the sacraments.”

        I know about this from a friend of mine who is in such a situation. After living together for years, one being divorced, they wanted to reconcile with the Church and due to the children, they couldn’t separate. They told their children the situation, and they told me and they told other people so as to avoid scandal. One thing they said to me when they told me was that they’ve never been happier, so it can work, although I agree it’s not ideal.

        November 12, 2013 at 11:39 am
      • scottish priest

        It is relevant to the letter as if the man is not remarried and divorced but cohabiting he is still not allowed to reeive Holy Communion – Since it is the most common problem among divorcees ti is central to any response

        November 13, 2013 at 8:39 am
      • editor

        Scottish Priest,

        If I may pour oil on potentially troubled waters, I think there is a bit of crossed wires between yourself and Whistleblower. I’m sure we all agree that the man is essentially cohabiting – if his wife is alive then his second “marriage” doesn’t exist – and Petrus would have considered that implicit in his response to Mr Fegan. That is, after all, the reason why the “remarried” cannot receive Communion: they are cohabiting.

        November 13, 2013 at 10:14 am
    • Lily

      Scottish Priest,

      I’m glad you mentioned co-habitation and I agree with everything you say but can I ask you if you ever mention it as a sin from the pulpit because I’ve never heard any of our priests saying that, one priest after the other over the years has not mentioned it at all in homilies. They seem to avoid talking about sexual sins altogether. I know the media say the Church obsesses about these thing and that puts priests off preaching about it but why not point out that the media is obsessing, the Church is just doing its job of preaching about sin?

      November 12, 2013 at 11:43 am
      • scottish priest

        In this culture it is very hard to speak about sin at all but yes I do mention it mostly since sexual sin is peppered throughout all the major characters in the Old testament so its a way of presenting it in a way that people can relate to. Priests are not put off because of what the media says they are put off because we live in very sensitive times and people will feel personally attacked .. say homosexuality .. that could be someones son who is struggling with it or is sitting there – the homily might not be the best place for that kind of discussion as there are too many things that need to be understood and in the time available its not always easy or even possible. Given the law of the land and how it is shaping up it will be illegal soon enough to mention it at all. Secondly, a Sunday morning with children present – people object and are not comfortable with that kind of material. I have found that in taking classes for adults whether RCIA or Scripture talks its easier to cover it there

        November 13, 2013 at 8:48 am
      • Whistleblower

        I don’t buy this “Sunday morning is not the place because of young children” business. My priests mention these sins regularly and use modest language, ensuring that most of the young children present wouldn’t know what he was talking about. People need to hear it from the pulpit on a Sunday. Goodness, there’s nothing immodest or troubling to say “If you are involved in a physical relationship and you are not married, please do not come forward for Holy Communion” or “If you are involved in a homosexual relationship, please do not come forward.” A very small number come through RCIA , when are the rest of the congregation going to hear that? If Jeanie objects because her son is living with another man, tough. With all due respect, scottish priest, we seem to have a priesthood without a backbone!

        November 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm
      • scottish priest

        Yes that’s great everyone stand up who is in a physical relationship or homosexual – now the whole congregation knows who is sexually active and who is homosexual – no that would be entirely inappropriate and wrong. Why not ask all those who are on teh pill to stand up or those who steal from their work place or those who lie continually or those who are commiting adultery – We don’t have the right to do that – public humiliation is not what we ought to be doing – As for priests not having back bone sounds to me like you need to get rid of your wish bone ! Since I have as most priests heard the confessions of most people there – anyone could feel there seal had been violated if we were to do what you suggest.you are sadly naive and pastorally clueless with all respect of course

        And as I have said often I do preach on all the areas of catholic life so in the words of our dear editor gerra grip

        November 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm
      • Whistleblower

        Now, now Father that’s not what I said. Where did I say you should identify, or ask any individual to identify themselves, who were in these illicit relationships? I didn’t. So let’s not let hysterics get in the way.

        All a priest has to do is say from the pulpit, using the plural pronoun, “Let me remind you all that the Church teaches if you are having a physical relationship outside of marriage or with someone of the same sex, you should not come forward for Holy Communion until you repent.” What on earth is wrong with saying that? The priest has a moral duty to say such things, especially in these terrible times. Young people contemplating a relationship and marriage need to hear this. Priests cannot hide behind “pastoral care” an false charity.

        Once you have read over what I have said I think you will realise what I’m saying is right. Think of all the souls placed in mortal danger due to the cowardice and neglect of priests. Awful.

        November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm
      • editor


        I happen to have it on good (independent) authority that Scottish Priest DOES preach on “all the areas of Catholic life” as he claims, so you’re preaching to the converted there.

        You are correct to argue for “generalised preaching” so to speak, however, and if diplomacy skills like these can get Mgr Cushley made an archbishop, surely I can get to be Blogging Administrator of the Year?

        Teachers have the same problem to deal with, since many pupils in schools (whether Catholic or non-denominational) are being brought up in “irregular” situations, so teachers have to find ways of explaining sexual moral teaching without saying, “which reminds me, most of your parents are living in sin, so get home and tell them to get to confession pronto!”

        It can be done, has been done – although I’m not sure it’s still being done, thanks to very weak-kneed Senior Management Teams who persecute teachers trying to do the right thing. I’ve known of teachers who have taught Catholic sexual morality – e.g. on homosexual unions – and been hauled into the Head’s office to be accused of “homophobia” following a complaint by parents. That teacher called the Head’s bluff and threatened to contact the Archdiocese if the parent was not sent packing, so no more was said on the subject. Shows you, however, that even a third-person, carefully generalised presentation of the Church’s teaching on just about anything is objectionable to the dissenters.

        November 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm
      • editor

        Scottish Priest,

        Interesting that you should mention lying and stealing. When I took up an appointment as Head of RE in a school in England some years ago, I was told that a large number of pupils came from homes where a parent had spent time in prison. It was tht kind of “environment.” Still, didn’t stop a Deputy Head stand up in Assembly and castigate the entire year group because someone had stolen a very inexpensive wall clock from a classroom. She even mentioned that they came from homes where thieving was the norm, but “it’s not the norm here so be warned.”

        Later, at a Department meeting about the new curriculum project underway, my proposal to include Catholic teaching on the Family met with loud opposition. Why? Because most of the pupils came from broken homes and were living in various “models” of family. Laugh? I didn’t know where to start 🙂

        November 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm
    • Frankier

      His priest is within his rights to refuse communion to him. I think it is about time that his priest was exercising these rights. Don’t you?

      November 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm
  • Frankier

    This (1.57 pm) was meant as a reply to Scottish Priest and not you Lily.

    November 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    The spirit of rebellion is only different in that now it is overt and is being openly demonstrated by the Catholic press. For years those in key positions, clergy and lay people, have been undermining the teachings of the church; whispering in corners, refusing to teach what the Church teaches; offering RCIA programmes that omit the basic tenets of the faith; delivering catechesis in schools that fudges the key issues; it goes on and on. The lack of integrity has been that they did not do the decent thing and leave a Church whose teaching they no longer believed but stayed and became the enemy within.
    Now, with what they perceive as a new dawn in the Church, they are emboldened. But they were ever thus.
    All I have ever known in my time as a Catholic is a Church casting eyes longingly toward the Protestant model. Bewildering! All the more as that model is failing badly.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      “All I have ever known in my time as a Catholic is a Church casting eyes longingly toward the Protestant model. Bewildering! All the more as that model is failing badly.”

      How astonishing to think that there are many Catholics like you who have never known anything but the “ecumenical church”. It’s a terrible state of affairs. I admire the converts who stick with the Church although they must have a struggle. It’s hard enough for cradle Catholics to keep faith with all that’s going on.

      November 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        Margaret Mary,

        I can tell you that the only thing making me continue with the conversion process is the sspx. If they didn’t exist, I would have stopped it. As for Uriah Heep, aka Pope Francis, I get embarrassed when I actually have to clarify what he says, and put spin on it, because the Pope is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Imagine that, a convert having to expound Church teaching.

        I can’t help but recall what Our Lady of Good Success said to M. Mariana in 1610. ‘The time will come when the one who should speak will fall silent’.

        November 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm
    • editor


      I completely agree with you that the dissenters are now emboldened to say what they really believe, in the current “liberal” spirit reigning in the Church. They are, of course, encouraged by the unexpected gift to them of a Modernist Pope. Now that we know that the Argentinian Cardinal came a close second when Pope Benedict was elected, it’s even more incomprehensible that Pope Benedict would resign and risk his “rival” being elected – which, of course, did happen.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:30 am
    • catholicconvert1

      In my RCIA group, whenever I press my Priest about something to do with sexual morals etc, he looks uncomfortable and tries to fluff the question.

      November 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm
  • Frankier

    I remember the days in the construction industry when anyone acting the same as these disobedient modern day Luthers wouldn’t have lasted long after 14.30pm on a Friday. They would have received enough money for their bus fares and bid farewell: to put it politely I think it’s about time the Vatican press started churning out a few thousand P45s as a priority.

    November 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm
  • westminsterfly

    Slightly off-topic, but maybe not. I am a convert. My sister is not Catholic, was brought up as nominal C of E. She married in the C of E. The marriage lasted only a short time, due to his appalling behaviour. There were no children. They divorced. He then went on to marry again, and had children by that union. He left that wife and eventually ended up with a single Catholic female, I believe she is Italian. I am aware they were co-habiting.
    For some reason (possibly because her parents are practising Catholics and wanted the daughter to be married in the Church?) he then sought to have his previous unions annulled by the Catholic Church, and gave the flimsy ‘psychological immaturity’ reason for the annulment. My sister, who couldn’t have cared less either way, refused to get involved in the process, other than formally state that she had never suffered from psychological immaturity, but stated if he wanted to accuse himself of that, that was his business.
    To cut a long story short, this serial adulterer had all previous unions annulled and married the Catholic party in a Catholic church. Maybe he’s even gone on to the next one woman by now, who knows. The whole thing stinks. Scandalous.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:03 pm
  • Clotilde

    Westminster Fly.

    I am wondering how he could have his marriages annulled in the Catholic Church if he had nevere been previously married in the Catholic Church. Definetly something very fishy going on there.

    And some still insist that the SSPX are in schism even though they are definetly not and would have no part in any such underhand business.’ Psychological poppycock!’

    November 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm
  • scottish priest

    The Annulment process is not for the light hearted. Westminsterfly and Clotilde what are the grounds for annulment what are the essential ingredients of a marriage??? What does teh annulment deal with?

    November 13, 2013 at 8:57 am
    • Michaela

      Scottish Priest,

      I think the annulment calls for evidence that there was no true marriage there in the beginning, which would mean that there was a flaw in one of the partners which prevents a free and willing commitment to lifelong marriage. I’ve met women who have married men who just drifted into the marriage. I’m sure most of their wives would be entitled to an annulment, as they presumed their husbands meant their vows as they did.

      November 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm
    • editor

      Scottish Priest,

      I suspect the man in the joke below won’t be applying for an annulment – he’s simply accepted his lot…

      Son: Is it true? Dad, I heard that in India, a man doesn’t know his wife until he marries.

      Father: That happens everywhere, son, everywhere! 🙂

      November 14, 2013 at 12:23 am

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