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Barbara Ann MacMahon-Firestone wrote:

Hi Mike,

I have a very sincere question I would like to ask you. Many different people from all over Canada have emailed me, so I am bringing this puzzle to you. Hopefully you can publish these questions and bring about some sincere, and open debate on this subject.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent some twenty years at the helm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  This enabled him to follow cases of sexual abuse. He is an extremely learned, intellectual man, who has penned some forty plus books.

Therefore one would ask:

  • Where is the so-called purification of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Where is the elimination of the "filth" that nests within it?
  • What has the Church done for all these abused children, adolescents, adults or whatever?
  • When will the brilliant, gifted, dear Pope Benedict XVI realize he is not living in the 21st century?

The followers of Jesus Christ, in the Roman Rite, need a leader who can inspire them. A Man who faces everything head on. We need a Pope who is of the People for the People consecrated by Jesus Christ himself.

Therefore I humbly beg this learned man to abdicate or resign. It happened in the 15th century, and it should and must happen now in the 21st century.

  • God bless and help all believing Roman Catholics.
  • God help and bless Pope Benedict XV1.
  • May Jesus give him the strength and nobility to do the RIGHT THING.

Please, as a woman who's faith has been the foundation of her entire existence on this earth,
I humbly request, Pope Benedict, please resign.

I thank you for considering my humble request.

Yours lovingly in Christ,

Barbara Ann MacMahon-Firestone, BA.,MA.

  { Why doesn't the Pope resign? }

Mike replied:

Dear Barbara Ann,

First, I question the sincerity of your question. I think you are holding on to a set of grudges I'm unaware of.

In one statement you give high praise to our current pontiff, yet in the next, ask him to resign.
Seeing you have some alphabet soup letters after your name, I'd also question how solid your education is. Some Catholics could file for mal practice based on the so-called 'catholic' education they have received at so-called Catholic educational institutes. {No offense to Bob and Mary Ann.}

Up until 2001, the responsibility for cleaning the filth from the seminary culture was the local bishop, not the Pope. [He has his own seminary to oversee in Rome!] It was in 2001 that the Venerable Pope Paul II asked Cardinal Ratzinger, (the future Pope Benedict XVI) to review all the files on these issues and HE WAS SHOCKED! (Source: The World Over, EWTN)

As Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said,

"It's not what the Pope knew; it's when did he know about this and what did he do about it when he found out."

All bishops are HUMAN and can bend to pressure and temptation like any human. They can subsequently make bad choices. Cardinal Ratzinger, as a local bishop, was just as vulnerable as any other bishop in the 80's and 90's. This is why we emphasize praying for our bishops and priests. Did they teach you anything about Satan or the devil in school?

I do believe he missed a great opportunity to address these issue at the homily in Vatican City on Easter Sunday, but I'm not in the Pope's shoes.

You said:
Hopefully you can publish these questions and bring about some sincere, and open debate on this subject.

The Faith is not about debate. The Faith is about believing what Jesus and HIS Church has taught for about 2,000 years!

You said:
Therefore one would ask:

  • Where is the so-called purification of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Where is the elimination of the "filth" that nests within it?

The purification of the Church can be found in EVERY Catholic Church on a Saturday afternoon.
Maybe they didn't teach you this. It's called:

the Sacrament of Confession.

Your disagreement is not with the Pope; your disagreement is with the Holy Spirit.
If, as you said: Your faith has been the foundation of your entire existence on this earth.

Why don't you trust the Holy Spirit to guide the Church correctly?

Only you can answer the following question:

  • Are you a believer?
  • Or a dissenter?
  • A believer believes through trails and tribulations and strives to understand during tough times.
  • A dissenter would say what you have said, to resign.

The pope can ONLY resign on HIS own free will. No one can force him to resign.

You can't equate the Presidency or the Democratic Republic of the United States of America with the Papacy. They are apples and oranges. Besides, I'm a Catholic first, then an American.

Barack Obama or any president is not the pillar and foundation of Truth for me. : )

In a similar e-mail, the questioner asked:


If the Catholic Church will not protect the most vulnerable among us from predation by priests why should anyone take seriously the claims of the Roman Church as God's appointed authority on earth?

I replied:

No one in the Church will EVER officially defend the horrific acts (if they are true; some aren't) that have happened to many of the faithful in our Church. No one!

What the main stream media, who has been bashing the Holy Father recently, has to remember is that the Pope's free will is not one free will with all the bishops he has appointed.

This is a childish, uncatechized view of free will.

Each PERSON has their own free will that they will be responsible for at their particular judgment.

Your reply: But the Pope is infallible!

My reply: Infallibility does not mean that the Pope's choices for bishops will always be the best. He could make some terrible choices or more probable, bishops that started off as holy bishops could be brought down by that bastard, the devil; someone the national news media doesn't believe in.

Infallibility is a NEGATIVE safeguard. It guarantees to the faithful that the faith Jesus entrusted to St. Peter and his successors to defend and safeguard, will never change. Example:

  • Our belief in the Trinity
  • Our belief in the sacraments
  • Our belief in the male priesthood
  • Our belief in a proper understanding of salvation and justification
  • Our belief in a proper understanding of "No Salvation Outside the Church."
  • Our belief in Heaven, Purgatory and Hell

will never change. Could they be clarified? Sure! but not changed. We want people to understand our Lord's Teachings correctly.

Infallibility DOES NOT guarantee that the Pope will always make the right choices on any  non-theological issue, like the assignment or appointment of new bishops.
He will always strive  to make the best choice, but he is not infallible on these issues. Infallibility just guarantees he will be prevented from teaching doctrinal error, not that he will always teach the best that can be taught, even theologically!

You should take the claims of the Roman Church seriously only if you want to take Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ Himself seriously.

Matthew's Gospel states:

And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew (RSV) 16:17-19)

There is only ONE Church that existed back then, that also exists today: the Roman Catholic Church.

In addition: Surprise!: It's not the Pope's Church; he is just the Prime Minister of the Church just as Mr. Gordon is the Prime Minister of England.

Queen Elizabeth reigns over the Prime Minister, just as [Jesus|the Holy Spirit] reign over the Popes, guiding them, YET respecting their free will do stupid, non-doctrinal things that can sometimes hurt the Church.

You should really read some Church history Tom. My favorite papal case was back in the sixteenth century. Pope Sixtus V had planned on officially publishing a [botched|heretical] version of the Latin Vulgate Bible.  This was the ONLY version Catholics were to use.

From Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid:

By now, expectation was at a boiling point. The news in Rome had it that the official promulgation would happen any day. Advance copies of the new Vulgate had been bound and delivered to all the cardinals in Rome along with advance copies of the bull officially publishing it. Everything  was now ready for the pope to promulgate the new version. Nothing could stop him.  All he had to do was take the last fateful step.

BUT, the next day, they found him dead in his bed due to a brief illness : )

He had been in excellent health, and was one of the more vigorous and active pontiffs in the history of the papacy. But as the last moment, it seems the Holy Spirit fulfilled, once again, Christ's promise that He would guide the Church into all truth. Advanced copies of the version were quietly withdrawn by the cardinals.

The bull announcing it, was never issued. At the request of the new pope, Gregory XIX, under Cardinal Bellarmine's supervision, a new commission was formed to carry out the revision of the revision.

Pope Fiction, Pages 250-251

Let me put it another way. I remember hearing about some Protestant observers who were overseeing the events of Vatican II.  One observer thought the Church was falling apart and appeared chaotic. He questioned a Catholic Cardinal on this and, paraphrasing, the Cardinal said:

We've been trying to destroy this Church [by our sin] for about 2000 years and can't; it's got to be divine.

For short:

  • each person has their own free will
  • Infallibility is:

    • a negative safeguard that nothing heretical will be officially taught and
    • does not guarantee the best appointment of new bishops

  • you have to separate bad behavior of the members of the Church from its official teachings

The ball is in your court Barbara Ann.

  • Are you a believer?
  • Or non-believer trying to bring down the Church from within?

Only YOU can answer these questions in your heart.

Mike

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Barbara,

I do understand your perspective, and share your desire for a strong stand to be taken. I myself wrote to John Paul II over 15 years ago about these matters, which he blamed on the press.
(the Communists used to [blame|label] good priests as homosexuals so that they would be ruined, so John Paul II tended not to believe such accusations). Pope Benedict has been the first bishop or Pope to take a strong stance against sexual abusers.

The incident in Germany does appear to be something that he did not exercise control over,
to the extent that he knew about it. It appears that he, like most clerics, was influenced by clericalism. However, since then, he has had to read many of these files himself and has been sickened. In many of these cases in the US and Canada, the civil authorities refused to prosecute, and they are getting a pass by the media.

Don't worry. Humans fail, but the Holy Spirit guides the Church. I think that the rage against the Pope now is misplaced, from people who not only tolerate but promote the same behaviors.

For instance, the Boy Scouts are condemned for not allowing gay scoutmasters, but the Church is condemned for allowing gay predators around young people, even as she is also condemned for not allowing overt gays to be ordained.

Moreover, many of the same groups that crucify the Church over tolerating abusers of adolescents want an age of consent of 12 for boys and the freedom to take 12 year old girls to get birth control and abortions without parental consent.

Mary Ann

Barbara Ann replied:

Dear Michael:

I certainly understand, and agree the Faith is NOT about debate!!! The behavior and cover-ups are NOT taught in the Roman Catholic Church. Contrary to your pontificating — I certainly do believe in the Holy Spirit, and in Confession.

However, there is something fundamentally wrong when the largest educated group of pedophiles are in the Roman Catholic Church. I do believe my rage against the Pope is misplaced — perhaps it should be against satan who is at work 24/7.

I understand that I have been unfair in my opinions, however, I shall place my trust in the
Holy Spirit, and hope and pray we Roman Catholics are blessed with a more worldly, and realistic Pontiff in the future.

I still believe that priests should be allowed to make the choice to marry or not marry
— the Apostles for the most part were married, and I believe this decision was made for economic reasons. That is just my humble opinion.

Thank you for yours,

Barbara Ann

Mary Ann replied:

Barbara —

I wish I shared your optimism that the largest educated group of pederasts and pedophiles was in the Catholic Church. The data won't have it so.

Other Churches have the same percentage, only they don't have the organization to move people around. School districts have more offenders, and they move them between districts regularly. Then, of course, we have Hollywood, which lauds Roman Polanski.

Mary Ann

Barbara Ann replied:

Dear Mary Ann:

Thank you for your prompt and fair reply. I shall ponder upon your words. However, two wrongs never made a right.

God Bless You,

Barbara Ann

Mary Ann replied:

You are right that two wrongs don't make a right and it is unseemly and wrong for the Church to point to the sins of others as if they made the sins of her churchmen any better.

The Church needs to do the right thing:

  • do justice and reparation
  • clean out the ranks, and
  • clean up the vocations process

We do need a Pope who will react like any father of a child.

I hasten to add, that Pope Benedict by all reports is reacting more like a father than previous Popes have.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Barbara Ann —

Mary Ann, my colleague stated:
The incident in Germany does appear to be something that he did not exercise control over, to the extent that he knew about it. It appears that he, like most clerics, was influenced by clericalism.

How about a counter argument:

What if, before 2001, there was a pedophile priest that Ratzinger knew about in his diocese and did nothing?

My objective reply:

Shame on His eminence, but like I stated in a previous answer, we have to separate bad scandalous behavior by cardinals and bishops FROM the Teachings guarded by the Holy Spirit.

As I side note, when the lector reads the Mass intentions at Mass, most of them pray for vocations first.  I don't!

I pray first, that the seminaries will be cleansed of bad scandalous seminary professors THEN I pray for vocations.

If that bastard, the devil, can destroy the seminary environment, he has succeeded in bringing down the spirituality of the Church in the United States and the world.

This is something that every single cardinal and bishop in the world has to perpetually watch for. Just because a Catholic seminary today is pristine and pure, doesn't mean a year from now, the bishop will find the same culture. This why Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration should be in EVERY Catholic seminary worldwide and why surprise Vatican seminary visitations will always be needed. 

RE: Married priests: We have married priests in the Roman Rite. All of the ones I'm aware of are converts from Anglicanism and Lutheranism. Married priests is a discipline and not a doctrine,
so while the Pope could change this, in my opinion, it is unlikely.

The priest then has two families he's responsible for: his physical family and spiritual family. Which comes first? It would just put to much weight on him as he would probably go crazy.

I've also heard Protestant ministers who are married say:

You guys would be nuts to have a married priesthood.

Just my opinion.

Sorry for the pontificating. If I open my mouth too much, colleagues like Mary Ann know how to put me in my place : ) LOL

Mike
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