Sunday, May 27, 2007


Far too often we hear folks claiming to be “devout Catholics” and nonetheless, dissent from the Church’s teachings. Can a person be pro-abortion or pro-choice and still be a Catholic in good standing? Under such circumstances, is one really practicing Catholic at all? The answer is obvious.

What about politicians who claim to be Catholic, yet, are pro-abortion or pro-choice and vote in that way? Often justification from this dissenting attitude is sought in situations such as the Church's condemnation of Galileo in 1633. In other words, if the Church was wrong then, it could be wrong now. My friends, this is pure nonsense. A study of the Galileo case, which we cannot detail here, reveals that the Church did not err doctrinally. Yes, Galileo was condemned. Yes, a few churchmen acted imprudently, as did Galileo himself. Yes, the Congregation of the Index, which made a judgment in this matter, entered the scientific field where it had no competence. But, there was no doctrinal error involved here at all. The Church’s Magisterium did not teach doctrinal error. Neither did Popes Paul V nor Urban VIII enter the discussion in any way.

Can the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church teach falsehoods in doctrine or morals? Absolutely not! Such a claim is utterly blasphemous. Why? The Teaching Church consists of the Holy Father, teaching the Universal Church in faith or morals. The bishops, teaching in union with the Holy Father, are also part of the Church’s Magisterium. As Vatican II put it, they teach with infallibility when they teach, “with Peter and under Peter.”

When the Church proclaims and defends the Sacred Deposit of Faith, which includes the Natural Law, she teaches in the Name of Jesus Christ and under the guide of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Catholic Church cannot teach error.

This is precisely the point of today's Solemnity of Pentecost. At the Last Supper Our Savior promised that He would send the Holy Spirit. "I tell you the sober truth. It is much better for you that I go. If I fail to go, the Paraclete will not come to you, whereas if I go, I will send him to you - - - When he comes, being the Spirit of Truth, he will maintain you in all truth" (John 16: 7, 13).

Our Blessed Lord founded the Catholic Church to carry on His work of Redemption until He comes again in glory. The Church's mission is the salvation and the sanctification of souls. Saint Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, insists that disciples of Jesus must have the "obedience of faith"(Romans 1:5). The recently published Compendium of the Catechism, question 25, affirms this very idea: “Sustained by divine grace, we (Christ’s Faithful) respond to God (His Divine Revelation) with the obedience of faith, which means the full surrender of ourselves to God and the acceptance of His truth, as it is guaranteed by the One who is Truth itself.”

If we render this "obedience of faith" to the faith and moral teachings of the Catholic Church we have the "sure hope" of eternal life. How can God demand that we obey false teachings? Thus we know we follow the truth when we render the “obedience of faith,” to the Teaching Church.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Life and the Truth. He is the Son of God and therefore He cannot teach error. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity and cannot teach error. As the First Vatican Council taught, God can neither deceive nor be deceived. To claim that the Holy Spirit would allow the Church to fall into error as it unfolds the Deposit of Faith is nothing short of blasphemy. One is not free to make God a liar!

Do not be deceived by those that would lead us astray from the teachings of the Catholic Church. Saint Paul denounced these deceivers to Saint Timothy: “They oppose the truth (and) with perverted minds (they) falsify the faith - - - Stay away from them" (2 Timothy 3: 5, 8).

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L .


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