If The Church Sins, It Cannot Be Divineeditor
A reader in the Diocese of Galloway texted me, as follows, this afternoon:
“[I was shocked] when I saw the following announcement in a local parish bulletin today, advertising a penitential service:
The theme of the service is… A Church seeking forgiveness… This will be a non-sacramental service during which God will be asked for his mercy on the Church for the ways in which it has hurt, wounded and offended its members and the wider society. End of bulletin notice.
Yes, words always fail me, too, when I read this heresy being perpetrated at all levels in the Church. The above advertisement appeared in the bulletin of St John Ogilvie’s parish, Irvine, while the same advert, almost word for word, appeared in this bulletin as well.
It is, in fact, an article of Faith that “The Church” cannot sin. That the Church of Christ is holy, is one of the four marks by which we recognise the true Church: it is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Yet, they’re not teaching and preaching that in Galloway. They’re teaching the opposite. Parishioners in at least two parishes — St John Ogilvie’s, Irvine and St Bride’s, West Kilbride – are being taught that, contrary to essential Catholic teaching, “The Church” is NOT the Spotless Bride of Christ, but is blameworthy, guilty of sin. That is disgraceful.
St Francis de Sales has written brilliantly on this subject in The Catholic Controversy, so if you haven’t already obtained a copy, buy one now. Below is a taster…
“Was [it] not the true Church which S. Paul called the pillar and ground of truth and the house of the living God (I Tim 3:15)? Certainly; for to be a pillar of truth cannot pertain to an erring and straying Church. Now the Apostle witnesses of this true Church, the house of God, that there are in it vessels unto honour and unto dishonour (2 Tim. 2:20), that is, good and bad.” Source
Yes, of course there are good and bad within the Church. The members sin, but not Christ’s Church. The distinction is crucial, for if The Church, the Bride of Christ, is guilty of sin, then she cannot be “the pillar and ground of all truth” – she cannot be divine. Click on the image above to read the Catholic Encyclopaedia distinctions if you are not sure about the difference between the sins of individual members of the Church, and the holiness of “The Church” itself which is holy by virtue of its unique relation to Christ who is the Head of the Mystical Body – His Church.
Can it be that so many bishops and priests (and even Pope Francis) do not know that the holiness of the Church is an article of Faith, that is, in fact, a belief that is binding on the faithful? Or is there something mischievous going on here? Why would the hierarchy and clergy want the faithful to believe that the Church is guilty of sin? Why is this heresy being peddled all over the place, without challenge? Is it just that the clergy and hierarchy don’t know how to answer the legitimate criticisms from the media, atheists et al, of those members of the Church who have caused such scandal in recent years? Is that it?