The intrusion of moral relativism into the Church continues on yet another front. This time it is courtesy of the Paulist Fathers. This priestly society of apostolic life was founded by Father Isaac Hecker and four other Protestant converts in North America in the nineteenth century. From their website:
The Paulists seek to meet the contemporary culture on its own terms, to present the Gospel message in ways that are compelling but not diluted, so that the fullness of the Catholic faith may lead others to find Christ’s deep peace and “unreachable quietness.” Paulists do not condemn culture, nor do they try to conform the Gospel to it. Rather, we preach the Gospel in new ways and in new forms, so that the deep spiritual longings of the culture might find fulfillment in Jesus Christ. To this end, Paulists use printing presses, movie cameras, and the Internet to give voice to the words of Christ – the Word Himself – to a new generation of Americans.
The Paulists define their mission as one of evangelization, ecumenism, reconciliation and interreligious dialogue. Much of their charism is centered on traveling throughout the country offering the Mass, preaching, and leading retreats and parish missions.
While the Paulists claim that they do not attempt to conform the Gospel to the culture, their recent statement regarding the Synod on the Family tells a different story. Taking a page out of the book of the most progressive delegates to the Synod, the Paulist Fathers now openly advocate for the Church to adopt the errors of the current age. Calling for a more inclusive notion of family they write:
“First and foremost, we think the very definition of “family” ought to be as broad as possible, allowing for traditional as well as contemporary models and cultural differences. While “families” are and rightly ought to be the core building blocks in society, the fact is that real families (i.e., household communities) come in all sizes, shapes, and configurations. The concept of ‘one-size-fits-all’ family ministry seems inadequate, outdated and insufficient. It seems to us that the Synod on the Family ought to listen to the peoples of the world – old and young, married and single, parents and children, those together as well as those estranged or divorced, straight as well as the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning community (LGBTQ). What are their joys and hopes? What are their griefs and anguishes? How might we, as the followers of Christ, help them the most? How can we help the human family and individual human families move forward – humanely, personally, interpersonally and spiritually?”
Mind you, this is their open letter to the synod, their contribution to the current ongoing discussion on the family within the Church. Their view, much like the secular culture, is to redefine the family, embracing the errors of a post-Christian culture. The boldness with which they advocate their recommendations is quite telling of the current ecclesial environment.
Moving along to address the “LGBTQ Persons and Gay Commitments” their statement continues:
“We Paulists find ourselves in the 21st century being called to open our hearts and our church doors to those of the LGBTQ communities. Lesbian women, gay men, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as those still questioning face many challenges: to figure out and accept their own sexual identities, to share their experience with family and loved ones, and to find their place in our society and in the Church. In a traditional theology or philosophy classroom, distinctions concerning human nature, sexual orientation and gender roles seem to be more or less easily mapped out. However, in modern medicine, recent genetics and gender studies, the halls of psychiatry and psychological counseling, in recent jurisprudence, as well as in the interpersonal lives and complexity of real LGBTQ people, these distinctions are less clear, less absolute, and undoubtedly in need of further study and theological discernment.
“It has been our pastoral and personal experience, that members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community are people of good will, deep faith, with an abiding sense of their own Catholicity who have probed the depths of their consciences in their desire for the sacraments. We urge those gathered for the Synod to consider the personal needs, sexual experience, and covenant commitment of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers with the utmost pastoral care and sensitivity.”
This is not the language of repentance, conversion and true mercy. This is nothing less than cultural capitulation and conformity to the false gospel of heterdox prelates.
The Paulists also touch upon the divorced and civilly remarried, advocating for Eucharistic sacrilege:
“When it comes to access to sacraments for such persons, we Paulists, consistent with our tradition, tend to side with those who emphasize that Jesus came as a healer, a physician for those who are ill and in need of care and nourishment. We urge the Synod to consider St. John XXIII’s admonition that the “medicine of mercy,” the Eucharist, is to be freely dispensed. Pope Francis points out that the Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. Medicine and food are meant to heal and nourish. We trust the power of the sacrament to do its healing work. We recommend finding ways to welcome more people to the Eucharist, not to exclude them. Once someone has been fed, they then have the sustenance to accept Christ’s way of life more fully in their lives.”
Notice the manner in which they speak of the Eucharist as a “medicine” for the weak, adopting Kasperite language, when it is mortal sin they are speaking of and not only venial sin. This blurring of theological lines is an assault on both the Sacrament of Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist. It is also completely lacking mercy, as those who receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin bring condemnation upon themselves according to Saint Paul (tragically ironic considering he is the patron of these very same Paulists).
It is unfortunate that this society of apostolic life, professing such erroneous views, are considered to be obedient and in full communion with the Church, while other traditional orders and priestly societies are either decimated, ostracized, or vilified while teaching eternal and immutable truths with clarity and without compromise.
Brian Williams is a convert who entered the Catholic Church in 2006. He is a graduate of Long Beach State University with a BA in History. Brian blogs on life, liturgy and the pursuit of holiness at liturgyguy.com. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and five children.