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Author: Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 
Mary Mother of the Church – Same mother, new feast

Mary Mother of the Church – Same mother, new feast

Back in February of this year Pope Francis gave the Church a new feast day. Every year the day after Pentecost is now the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has urged priests to make celebrating this memorial a priority and he said that the readings the Church chose for this feast “illuminate the mystery of spiritual motherhood.” So I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on these readings and discover what it means for Mary to be our mother and the Mother of the Church. (more…)

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

Humanae Vitae: An anniversary is an awful thing to waste

Humanae Vitae: An anniversary is an awful thing to waste

“We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life. We find it difficult to present marriage more as a dynamic path to personal development and fulfilment than as a lifelong burden. We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them” (Amoris Laetitia 37).

This paragraph from Amoris Laetitia is one of the document’s more noteworthy and controversial passages. While most people focus on the end section about consciences, I would like to look at the first part in light of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s famous encyclical, Humanae Vitae.   (more…)

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

If you can’t keep the Commandments, it’s your fault! A defense of JP2

If you can’t keep the Commandments, it’s your fault! A defense of JP2

Last week I wrote an article about neo-Pelagianism that drew from the recent CDF document titled “On Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation.” I wanted to follow up that article first by drawing from Pope Francis’ brand new Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, regarding neo-Pelagianism and then compare what Saint John Paul II has taught on this issue with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis devotes an entire chapter of Gaudete et Exsultate to discussing two heresies that are present in the Church today, neo-Gnosticism and neo-Pelagianism, “two false forms of holiness that can lead us astray” (GE 35). Concerning the latter, he says:

“Those who yield to this pelagian or semi-pelagian mindset, even though they speak warmly of God’s grace, ‘ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style.’ When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace, deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added. They fail to realize that ‘not everyone can do everything…’”

(more…)

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

We cannot make ourselves holy

We cannot make ourselves holy

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently released a document “On Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation.” This document is concerned with what it calls neo-Pelagianism and neo-Gnosticism. Concerning the former it says:

“A new form of Pelagianism is spreading in our days, one in which the individual, understood to be radically autonomous, presumes to save oneself, without recognizing that, at the deepest level of being, he or she derives from God and from others. According to this way of thinking, salvation depends on the strength of the individual or on purely human structures, which are incapable of welcoming the newness of the Spirit of God.”

In other words, this neo-Pelagianism concerns the false idea that a person can earn their own salvation, metaphorically pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. This heresy denies that grace is necessary for sanctification it basically asserts that people are endowed with the ability to live a virtuous, sinless life, and they aren’t dependent upon God to live a life of holiness or to be saved. This also easily leads to a Phariseeism that says, “I live a virtuous life and obey the law, so if you aren’t doing that clearly you’re just more lazy or ignorant than I am.” However, like the Pelagianism of old, neo-Pelagianism is a heresy.

(more…)

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

Father Weinandy and Divine Obedience

Father Weinandy and Divine Obedience

[D]ivine obedience never prevents us from obedience to the Holy Father. Nay, the more perfect the one, the more perfect is the other. And we ought always to be subject to his commands and obedient unto death. However indiscreet obedience to him might seem, and however it should deprive us of mental peace and consolation, we ought to obey….St. Catherine of Siena

Father Thomas Weinandy is the former executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat on Doctrine and, up until a few months ago, a consultant to that same committee. However, back in November of last year, Fr. Weinandy said he was prompted by a sign from God to write a public letter to Pope Francis where he, as summarized by Crux, accused the Holy Father of:

  • Fostering “chronic confusion.”
  • “Demeaning” the importance of doctrine.
  • Appointing bishops who “scandalize” believers with dubious “teaching and pastoral practice.”
  • Giving prelates who object [to Pope Francis] the impression they’ll be “marginalized or worse” if they speak out.
  • Causing faithful Catholics to “lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

After publishing that letter, Fr. Weinandy was asked to resign from his consulting position at the USCCB. And in an interview with Crux, “Weinandy said his decision to write the letter was not easy, and resulted from what he regards as a moment of inspiration…[and] he has no plans to promote his criticism of Francis beyond the letter.”

His plans apparently changed because during a talk he gave on February 24th at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, Father Weinandy once again offered public criticism of the Holy Father. I hope to address some of the major errors in that speech that concern Amoris Laetita and Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.   (more…)

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

One sinner showing another sinner how to encounter God’s mercy

One sinner showing another sinner how to encounter God’s mercy

As you have probably seen, Where Peter Is has focused quite a bit on “papal apologetics,” that is, defending the Holy Father and his teachings from his critics. However, in my mind, the defense of the pope is simply the means to a greater end: loving the pope. In other words, we want to give thoughtful answers to people’s concerns about the Holy Father so that they can trust the pope more and be able to hear the wonderful things he says, because he really does say wonderful things. As I’ve said before, Pope Francis has inspired and challenged me, both in my personal life and in my professional ministry. I would like to share with you one of his teachings that I’ve found the most beautiful. (more…)

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

Pope Francis Comments on Sexual Abuse and Amoris Laetitia

Pope Francis Comments on Sexual Abuse and Amoris Laetitia

Crux reports:

Pope Francis has revealed that “regularly” on Fridays, he meets quietly with a group of survivors of sexual abuse, saying it’s important for him to hear their stories because “what they have been through is so hard, they are destroyed.”

The pontiff also said that clerical sex abuse is “the greatest desolation that the Church is undergoing,” one that expresses both the Church’s fragility as well as its “hypocrisy.”

The revelations come in a record released today of the pope’s meetings with Jesuits on his trip last month to Chile and Peru. The transcript was approved by the pope and released by Francis’s longtime Jesuit collaborator, Father Antonio Spadaro.

The director of the Vatican Press Office, Greg Burke, released a statement on Thursday confirming the meetings.

“I can confirm that, several times each month, the Holy Father meets victims of sexual abuse either individually or in groups,” Burke said. “Pope Francis listens to the victims and seeks to help them to heal the grave wounds caused by the abuse they’ve suffered.”

“The meetings take place with the greatest discretion,” Burke said, “out of respect for the victims and their suffering.”

Among other issues discussed in the two sessions with Jesuits, held in the Chilean capital Santiago and the Peruvian capital Lima, the pope also spoke about resistance to his reforms and to his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, saying he prays for those who claim to be in possession of true doctrine and who accuse him of heresy. The pontiff said he wouldn’t read the websites of traditionalist organizations, in order “to preserve my mental health.” 

Read the full story here.

 

Photo Credit: By Benhur Arcayan/Malatinszky (cropping) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person. 

Prayers for Papa Benedict

Prayers for Papa Benedict

Where Peter Is asks for prayers for our beloved Pope Emeritus. May he finish the race strong and receive the crown of righteousness.

Vatican News reports:

The Pope emeritus was responding to the many inquiries from readers as to how he is spending “this last period of his life.” Noting the “slow decline” of his “physical strength,” Benedict says in the letter that “interiorly, I am on a pilgrimage towards Home.” 

Aleteia adds more details:

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is suffering from a nerve disease, which is paralyzing him little by little, according to his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger…. According to Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, the illness of the former pope forces him to use a wheelchair more and more often. If paralysis reaches the heart, he says, “everything could finish quickly.” 

*Correction, Aleteia now reports:

Aides of the Pope Emeritus at the Vatican, however, said all of this is baseless. While acknowledging that the former pope, who turns 91 in April, does have difficulty getting around, they said he still takes a daily walk in the Vatican Gardens. His increasing immobility is due to age, not any neurological disease.

 

Photo Credit: By The Catholic news agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Katolička tiskovna agencija Biskupske konferencije Bosne i Hercegovine) (http://www.ktabkbih.net/info.asp?id=29227) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Fahey

Paul Fahey is a husband, father of four, and professional lay person.