Friday, September 18, 2009
KENAI, AK -- Arius and Constantine. Luther and Prince Philip of Hesse. And now, Bergkamp and Menting.
Like these heretics and the authorities who endorsed them, Fr. Roger Bergkamp, OMI and Parish Administrator Margaret Menting are but the latest pair to teach and promulgate heresy at Our Lady of the Angels parish in Kenai, Alaska.
During a recent session for the "Generations of Faith" catechism curriculum at OLA, Fr. Roger denied multiple Church teachings on the Sacraments, notably the necessity of baptism for salvation. When a parishioner objected that these teachings were matters of doctrine, not personal opinion, Fr. Roger simply dismissed him and later told another parishioner that "I teach the Christian religion and I will not be bound by teaching only the Catholic faith." Upon being called a Catholic priest, Fr. Roger denied this title, saying, "No, I am a Christian."
Following up on the objections of these parishioners to Fr. Roger's behavior, Ms. Menting, in her role as Parish Administrator and head of the "Generations of Faith" catechism, circulated an email suggesting that such parishioners should "put away the Catechism and Canon Law for awhile. The catechims and the Doctrine are man made by the men of our church." [sic]. Ms. Menting then went on to propose "the Bible which does not change" as an alternative to Catechism and Canon Law. In doing so, Ms. Menting follows in the footsteps of the former administrators of OLA, Sr. Joyce Ross and Sr. Joan Barina, whose teachings and policies contrary to Canon Law are well-documented on these pages.
This blog will attempt to deal with each heretical teaching by comparing it with the Catholic teaching it contradicts; however, it is important to note that there is a common thread of Protestantism in said teachings. Fr. Roger denies the role of the Church and its priests in dispensing the sacraments and Ms. Menting denies the role of the Church as the authoritative interpreter and teacher of Sacred Scripture. Both of these denials are themselves doctrines that can be taught at any Protestant church in Kenai -- they are manifestly not authentic Catholic doctrines, and as such should not be taught at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church.
It should also be noted that Fr. Roger, by virtue of his priestly ordination, is especially entrusted with a responsibility to teach the authentic doctrines of the Catholic Church to the parishioners of OLA in accord with the Second Vatican Council: "Let [priests], as fathers in Christ, take care of the faithful whom they have begotten by baptism and their teaching." (Lumen Gentium, 28)
FR. ROGER'S THESES
1. "Jesus sharing in experience in my life is a sacrament."
2. "A person in the woods who wants to receive Jesus has, in that act of wanting, received Jesus, and that is a sacrament."
3. "Intentional communion (desiring Jesus) is a sacrament."
4. "If we are sorry for our sins, in that moment of being sorry they are forgiven, and that is a sacrament."
5. "Baptism is unnecessary for salvation."
Fr. Roger -- "Jesus sharing in experience in my life is a sacrament."
Catholic Church -- This thesis is subtler than it first appears. First, we should define what a sacrament IS.
In straightforward terms, sacraments are "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us...they bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions." (CCC 1131)
A sacrament, then, is the means by which Christ, who is "the resurrection and the life" (Jn 11:25) comes to His people, and it is efficacious - that is, a sacrament contains within itself, independent of our worthiness, that grace which is the life of Christ. In this sense, it would be true to say "Jesus shares His life in my experience of a sacrament", or even "Jesus, in a sacrament, shares in experience in my life."
However, Fr. Roger said neither of these things. In fact, he said that "Jesus sharing in an experience in my life" -- which would be the sum total of all experiences ever, since Jesus is God and by His Divine Nature shares in all experiences of everyone's lives (cf. John 1:3, Col 1:16-17) -- "is a sacrament." This of course leads to the absurd proposition that everything, so long as it is has been experienced by someone, is a sacrament.
To be fair to Fr. Roger, he probably meant "Insofar as I willingly invite him, Jesus sharing in an experience in my life is a sacrament." Although less absurd, this is probably even more heretical in its finiteness. Man holds no power over God, by will or no. Nor can man dictate the efficaciousness of God's grace. The efficaciousness of the sacraments is not attributed to man, but to God; or, more articulately, to God-made-man, the Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus, in His earthly life, established the sacraments as "'the masterworks of God' in the new and everlasting covenant." (CCC 1116) Inextricably bound to the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the sacraments are only available through the same Church, by the means of dispensation which Christ prescribed: the ministerial priesthood. This is, of course, what the catechism teaches:
"The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church." (CCC 1120)
While the priest says the words of consecration, it is the power of God acting through him (in persona Christi) that makes the bread into the Body of Christ. Likewise for the other sacraments -- the efficacy of a sacrament, which is part of its very nature, is the grace and power of God acting through His Church, which is His Body. No person may confect efficacy independent of the Church. The grace of God may act independently if and when a person invites Christ into their lives; however, this is not a sacrament.
Therefore, "Jesus sharing in an experience in my life" is not, in and of itself, a sacrament.
To be continued. Please pray for Fr. Roger Bergkamp, OMI, Margaret Menting, and Our Lady of the Angels parish.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Today Pope Benedict XVI released his Letter to Priests, in honor of the upcoming priestly year, and on the occasion of the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
And so we approach the end of the Pauline year, which Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated to celebrate the 2000th birthday of the consummate Apostle. With its conclusion, however, comes a new beginning - The Year of the Priest, beginning this Friday, June 19, on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The means to obtain the Plenary Indulgence are as follows:
(A) All truly penitent priests who, on any day, devotedly pray Lauds or Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament exposed to public adoration or in the tabernacle, and ... offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance, will be granted Plenary Indulgence, which they can also apply to their deceased confreres, if in accordance with current norms they take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. Priests are furthermore granted Partial Indulgence, also applicable to deceased confreres, every time they devotedly recite the prayers duly approved to lead a saintly life and to carry out the duties entrusted to them.
(B) All truly penitent Christian faithful who, in church or oratory, devotedly attend Holy Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal Priest, for the priests of the Church, or perform any good work to sanctify and mould them to His Heart, are granted Plenary Indulgence, on the condition that they have expiated their sins through Sacramental Confession and prayed in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. This may be done on the opening and closing days of the Year of Priests, on the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month, or on any other day established by the ordinaries of particular places for the good of the faithful.
The elderly, the sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes, may still obtain Plenary Indulgence if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, "on the days concerned, they pray for the sanctification of priests and offer their sickness and suffering to God through Mary, Queen of the Apostles".
Partial Indulgence is offered to all faithful each time they pray five Our Father, Ave Maria and Gloria Patri, or any other duly approved prayer "in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to ask that priests maintain purity and sanctity of life".
Please consider offering the graces attributed to the indulgence for our priests.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Hat-tip to Steve Ray's blog, which highlights an entire site devoted to Eucharistic miracles.
The Rev. Fr. Johnson Karnoor, pastor of the church where the Eucharistic miracle took place, recounts in his deposition: “On April 28, 2001, in the parish church of St. Mary of Chirattakonam, we began the Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus as we did every year. At 8:49am, I exposed the Most Holy Sacrament in the monstrance for public adoration. After a few moments I saw what appeared to be three dots in the Holy Eucharist. I then stopped praying
and began to look at the monstrance, also inviting the faithful to admire the three dots. I then asked the faithful to remain in prayer and reposed the monstrance in the tabernacle. On April 30th, I celebrated the Holy Mass and on the following day I left for Trivandrum. On Saturday morning, the 5th of May 2001, I opened the church for the usual liturgical celebrations. I vested for Mass and went to open the tabernacle to see what had happened to the Eucharist in the monstrance. I immediately noted in the Host, a figure, to the likeness of a human face. I was deeply moved and asked the faithful to kneel and begin praying. I thought I alone could see the face so I asked the altar server what he noticed in the monstrance. He answered: ‘I see the figure of a man.’ I noticed that the rest of the faithful were looking intently at the monstrance.
“We began Adoration and as the minutes went by, the image became more and more clear. I did not have the courage to say anything and I began to cry. During Adoration, we have the practice of reading a passage from Holy Scriptures. The reading ofthe day was the one from Chapter 20 in the Gospel of John, which narrates the story of when Jesus appeared to St. Thomas and asked him to look at the wounds. I was only able to say a few words in my homily, and, having to leave for the nearby parish of Kokkodu to celebrate Mass, I immediately summoned a photographer to take pictures of the Holy Eucharist with the human face on it. After two hours all the photos were developed; with the passing of the time the face in every photo became more and more clear.”
It is salient to note the Eucharistic martyrdom of the apostle St. Thomas in India, which Warren Carroll memorably recounts in his book The Founding of Christendom:
One day in A.D. 72 Thomas was praying in a cave on a hill called the Little Mount. Brahmins from the temple of Kali attacked him. One pierced his heart with a lance -- just as Christ's heart had been pierced [Jn 19:34], one of the wounds Thomas had demanded to touch before he would believe in the Resurrection [Jn 20:26-29].
For more on the Chirattakonam miracle, you can go to therealpresence.org.
And because this blog loves the Pope, here's Benedict XVI on the importance of kneeling and genuflecting:
...the spiritual and bodily meanings of proskynein [kneeling] are really inseparable. The bodily gesture itself is the bearer of the spiritual meaning, which is precisely that of worship. Without the worship, the bodily gesture would be meaningless, while the spiritual act must of its very nature, because of the psychosomatic unity of man, express itself in the bodily gesture. The two aspects are united in the one word, because in a very profound way they belong together. When kneeling becomes merely external, a merely physical act, it becomes meaningless. On the other hand, when someone tries to take worship back into the purely spiritual realm and refuses to give it embodied form, the act of worship evaporates, for what is purely spiritual is inappropriate to the nature of man. Worship is one of those fundamental acts that affect the whole man. That is why bending the knee before the presence of the living God is something we cannot abandon.
-- The Spirit of the Liturgy, pp. 190-191
Please pray that Our Lady of the Angels parish may imitate her brethren in India by instituting regular Eucharistic adoration and devotion.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Vatican City, Jun 12, 2009 / 10:38 am (CNA).- While celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi yesterday in front of the basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Benedict encouraged the faithful to nourish themselves with love of Christ in the Eucharist and warned of secularization within the Church.
In his homily, the Holy Father explained that though we are inadequate due to sin, we need to nourish ourselves “from the love the Lord offers us in the Eucharistic Sacrament.” Noting yesterday's feast, he said, “this evening we renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Such faith must not be taken for granted!”
The Pope went on to warn of the risk “of insidious secularization, even inside the Church” which “could translate into a formal but empty Eucharistic worship, in celebrations lacking that involvement of the heart which finds expression in veneration and respect for the liturgy.”
"There is always a strong temptation to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, allowing ourselves to be overcome by earthly activities and concerns," he cautioned.
However, reminded Benedict XVI, we must remember that in the Eucharist, “heaven comes down to earth, God's tomorrow descends into the present moment and time is, as it were, embraced by divine eternity."
During the Eucharistic procession which traditionally follows the Mass, he prayed, "we will ask the Lord in the name of the entire city: Stay with us, Jesus, make us a gift of Yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life. Free this world from the poison of evil, from the violence and hatred that pollute people's consciences, purify it with the power of Your merciful love."
Following Mass, the Pope participated in the Eucharistic procession that traveled along Rome’s Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major. While the Holy Father knelt in prayer in a covered vehicle before the monstrance, thousands prayed and sang along the route.
Viva il Papa!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
“Come Israel, thou jade of blue and gold,
Now laud the common calf of reason’s fire.
The mind transcends, so scorns the caster’s mold,
Enlightenment supplants cold Sinai’s sire.
“Behold thy priest, betrayer of the rood:
Inverts he Calvary with a turgid jest,
And Pilate in the bowels of Dante’s wood
Doth flap expansive wings to say ‘Quid est’?
“When priest and Pilate bind thy hands and feet,
When smiles and words and laws call evil good,
Then shalt thou bleat, and bleat, and bleat, and bleat,
And cackle I while thou art drowned of blood.”
So saith the snake; but goes he fore the fall
Our Lady’s heart will triumph over all.
Monday, May 11, 2009
From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy, published in 2000:
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Between stale draughts of homemade liturgical innovation, 'tis good to sip some salient words on the liturgy from the erstwhile Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI: