Happy Feast of St John Ogilvie, Scots Martyr – But Do Scots Priests Believe In Sin These Days?editor
From Fr John A. Hardon SJ (RIP) Archives…
John Ogilvie SJ was born in Scotland of the nobility in 1589 and by that time Scotland had pretty well been lost to the Catholic Church so his up-bringing was Presbyterian. His father, to give him a better education than he could get in Scotland, sent him to the continent for education. Specifically, he went to France, which was the homeland of John Calvin – father figured, I couldn’t do better than giving him a good Calvinist education in Calvin’s own home country. Though to the father’s disappointment, the boy in school – this would correspond to high school – became concerned about his Calvinist up bringing; he wasn’t convinced that Calvinism was the right religion… So then, he continued his studies and finally became a Catholic at Lorraine in 1597. Click here to read more.
Today, when priests mention this great saint and martyr, it’s to play down the fact that he gave his life for the Faith because he knew it to be the one, true religion. No, say the modernists, John Ogilvie (like the great English Saint Thomas More) gave his life in the cause of “religious freedom”. Wrong.
Anyway, why are we asking the question “Do Scots priests believe in sin these days?” on this great Feast, of all days? Well, because on 8th March, a reader contacted me with concerns about the following message which had been distributed by Father Paul McAlinden, the Parish Priest of St Augustine’s church in Milton, Glasgow. Copied below, as it was originally written and distributed (with one minor typo corrected):
——————————————– A message from Father Paul —————————————-
If you are reading this message, you have either picked it up from the Church or it has found you
through the help of a parishioner, friend or family member. Whichever way I am delighted that it has
reached you. I would like to repeat the greeting on the front of the card that you will always be
welcome at our church and I hope and pray that you find it a place of support and warmth.
If I have never met you before, I very much look forward to welcoming you and
your family to our place of worship.
—————————————————— Mission Statement ——————————————————-
Our “Mission Statement” is located on two banners at the front of our church.
The third item of the statement reads: “We will offer support to one another, especially those
who feel excluded or unloved.” Sometimes, for whatever reason, there are people who feel
excluded from the church. This might perhaps be people who are divorced or separated,
people who belong to the LGBTQ+ Community, unmarried people who live together,
couples who have entered into a civil partnership, or people who have not been
involved in the church for many years.
If you have felt abandoned, neglected or excluded, we are sorry. We hope that you will accept
our invitation to join us. We look forward to seeing you. No matter which situation you
find yourself in, you are still part of our Parish Family. You have your own gifts
and talents which could enrich our parish in so many ways. Would you be willing
to share them with us? If so, please get in touch. (Ends)
I emailed Father McAlinden as follows:
Dear Fr McAlinden,
I would appreciate your clarification on the message of welcome / invitation to participate in the life of St Augustine’s parish, recently issued by you.
You specifically name groups who have chosen to live their lives in contradiction to the Gospel and the teaching of Christ’s Church – divorced & remarried/civil partnerships/cohabitees/LGBTQ+
Is there a reason why you did not make clear in your invitation that – of course – any participation in the active life of the Church (including reception of Holy Communion) is prefaced on the requirement to attend the Sacrament of Penance and return to living the life of grace, which means renouncing all behaviours and life-choices destructive to the Faith? Is not this crucially important and more appropriate for any such invitation from a priest, given that Christ said there is rejoicing in Heaven over one repentant sinner?
I would appreciate your early reply.
Father McAlinden’s reply:
Thanks for your email. My letter was simply a welcome to the parish and not to be actively involved nor to receive Holy Communion. For this to happen, it would require what you have suggested. I would of course encourage anyone who is not in good standing with the Church to address such issues.
Father Paul McAlinden
My reply to Father McAlinden:
Dear Father McAlinden,
Sorry, but your letter was much more than “simply a welcome to the parish and not to be actively involved…” Put together with the extract from your Mission Statement, it is very clearly an exhortation to public sinners to come to your parish, with the emphasis on putting right their “feelings” of being excluded etc. Public sinners exclude themselves. If I commit a mortal sin, I can’t say the Church has excluded me or made me feel unwelcome – such a wimpish attitude. I have decided not to keep God’s law. How can I then blame the Church for “excluding” me? The mentality is stupidity in the extreme, to say the least, and I don’t DO “stupid”. Anyway, I’ve copied both the initial message and the extract from your mission statement below, copied exactly as originally written. [See above].
I will be reporting this – with very biting commentary. We are all thoroughly sick of priests (and bishops) who are ignorant of the nature and purpose of the Church, which isn’t to make people feel good about themselves and other such nonsense. It’s about keeping them out of Hell and by your words copied [above], you clearly have not understood that.
Thank you for your prompt reply to my enquiry – I will be away from my computer for most of today, so if you choose to reply to this, I will respond at the earliest opportunity thereafter. And I will, of course, include any response from you to this email, in my proposed report.
Patricia [Note: no reply has been received].
A lot of Catholics – lay and ordained – are thoroughly sick and tired of the tail wagging the dog in the Church today. Those who really ARE on the “fringes”, who have excluded themselves from the Church through their prideful rejection of God’s law, are running the show. Just about every show, religious, political, social, you name it. Whether they are cohabitees, divorced and “remarried” or LGBTQ+ – these are those who must not be offended. And how come they’re on the “fringes”, “marginalised” blah blah? Simple. It’s because – like Adam & Eve before them – they think they know better than God. In that fateful garden, God told our first parents that He had given them this beautiful world to enjoy and each other for company – the only thing they were not permitted to do, was to make up their own moral laws. God had already attended to that, since He had created them and He knew their needs, physically, psychologically, spiritually and morally. He knew them better than they knew themselves. And they were happy with that single proviso, until they decided to go it alone, at which point their disobedience – probably in the area of sexual behaviour according to some Scripture Scholars – brought disorder into their lives and into the whole world.
There will be people reading this who are enraged at the idea of singling out one priest in the archdiocese of Glasgow for this criticism. However, he’s not really being singled out. Indeed. the push to publish this discussion is a result of a lot of anger within the Catholic community – certainly within the Catholic Truth community – precisely because Father McAlinden is not an isolated case, not one rogue priest, the exception rather than the rule. Far from it. There is widespread concern – among informed Catholics – about the dire state of the priesthood in this archdiocese. The not inconsiderable number of priests with partners (whether male or female) is causing immense concern, and this double-living, this brazen duplicity, hugely angers those clergy who are doing their best to live faithful priestly lives, devoted to the salvation of souls. So, share your thoughts – are you angry, too? Or is your anger directed more at the messenger (Catholic Truth) than the message? If you’re OK with duplicitous, dishonest and very worldly priests, let’s hear it. But make sure you have a rationale that will withstand scrutiny. Please and thank you!
St John Ogilvie, intercede for us all – especially priests – today.