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Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg in a Feb. 2 interview said current Church teaching on homosexuality is outdated. CNS photo/Stefano Dal Pozzolo

Sr. Helena Burns: Ignoring an earthquake in the Church

By 
  • February 23, 2022

On Feb. 2 an earth-shaking event occurred in the Catholic Church and barely a peep was peeped. Of course, we’re kind of getting used to the fact that the media often ignore major happenings that would be of interest to, oh, say, 1.2 billion people or more. And this was huge. Unpreceded. Shocking.

In order that your faith not be shaken (although you will hear about this soon enough), first a review of the nature of the Catholic Church and her definitive teachings. I direct you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church #74-100. The Church was founded and structured by Jesus Christ Himself to make all people and nations His disciples; to continue His saving presence throughout history via the sacrifice of the Mass and the life of grace in the sacramental system, following in His ways, and fidelity to the deposit of Faith. The Church was promised that her magisterium — the teaching office of the Church —would be free from error.

It stands to reason that Jesus would pretty much have to give us such an instrument, a vehicle through which the Word of God would be authoritatively interpreted for all time. Otherwise,  if you put 10 Christians in a room and gave them a slightly opaque passage from the Scriptures and asked them what they think it means, you might get 10 different answers, several of them conflicting.

For those old enough to remember the pontificate of John Paul II — let’s face it: we were spoiled. We had 26 years of basking in solid gold, inspired, faithful Church teaching delivered by a warm, energetic, charismatic, gregarious pontiff. He was then followed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (whom we already knew as the long-time head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), whose keen theology, lucid prose and gentle mien as Pope Benedict XVI blessed us. During these decades, there was hardly any ambiguity or confusion on settled matters of the Catholic faith. If some topic was a grey area, it was delineated as such, so even the murk wasn’t so murky.

So what the heck happened on Feb. 2? Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg, president of the European Episcopal Conferences, and relator general of the Synod on Synodality, made the public statement: “I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching (on homosexuality) is no longer correct. I believe it is time for us to make a revision in the foundation of the teaching.”

In 2020, he declared he was “open” to ordaining women as priests (an ontological and doctrinal impossibility). These two “hot topics” aside, what Hollerich is advocating is changing what cannot be changed by any bishop, cardinal, synod or pope. As you can see in the above direct quote — (the full quote, contains other fallacies) — the cardinal states that Church teaching is based on “sociological-scientific foundation(s),” which it is not. It is Divine Revelation which, of course, is also in harmony with natural law, because God is also Creator. The Church doesn’t follow the world, she follows God, “in season and out of season.”

Now. Feb. 2 was also the Feast of Our Lady of Good Success (an approved Ecuadorian apparition). These most unusual visitations of the Madonna (1594-1634) foretold the times we are living in, and should give us great hope for a renewed future for the Church.

Please keep reminding yourself: God has chosen me to live now. No matter what happens, no matter how dark and chaotic things get, Jesus and Mary will never abandon us.

“Through many dangers, toils and snares” the Church has already come. We already know how it all ends: “The world is passing away, along with its concupiscence, but whoever does the will of God remains forever” 1 John 2:17.

(Sr. Helena Raphael Burns, fsp, is a Daughter of St. Paul. She holds a Masters in Media Literacy Education and studied screenwriting at UCLA. Hellburns.com. Twitter: @srhelenaburns)

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