October 2, 2023 Column Father De Celles

I’ve been out of town this last week, and I wrote this column before I left; so it may be a little dated. FDC

Candidate Forums. Remember that the Virginia General Election will take place on November 7, 2023. On September 21 we held a Candidate Forum for all candidates running for Fairfax County School Board. Seven candidates showed up: Mount Vernon District – Stori Zimmerman; Springfield District – Debra Tisler; At-large candidates: Saundra Davis, Cassandra Aucoin, Maureen Brody, Peter Bixby-Eberhardt, Linda Pelligrino, Ahmed Hussein. It was a very informative evening for me and the crowd of over 100 parishioners and guests. 

THIS COMING Thursday, October 5, 2023, 7 PM until 9 PM, we’ll have another Candidate Forum in the Parish Hall. This time we’ve invited all the local area candidates running for Virginia General Assembly. The following candidates plan to participate: Senate District 33 – Mike Van Meter;  Senate District 34 – Mark Springman;  Senate District 35- Mark Vafiades; Delegate District 15 -Marcus Evans and Delegate District 18 -Ed McGovern.

This is a non-partisan event, giving each candidate an opportunity to introduce himself/herself to those present. It is open to the public, and questions will be allowed, but since time is short and there are so many candidates, forum leaders will screen and summarize questions from the crowd. 

I hope to see you there at the Forum!

DAILY ROSARY. October is the Month of the Rosary. I encourage you all to pray the Rosary every day during the month and invite you join in the Daily Family Rosary in our church every day, Monday to Friday at 6:30pm, and Weekends after the 9am Mass. All are invited to attend. 

I ask that we all offer our daily Rosaries this month, including the Family Rosary in the church, for the intention that Mary intercede for and guide and protect the Church during the upcoming “Synod on Synodality.” 

“Synod on Synodality.” This Wednesday, Oct. 4, the first session of the “Synod on Synodality” begins in Rome, and will continue through October 28. Pray, pray, pray. 

Consider the concerns expressed by our friend Cardinal Burke. Here is an excerpt from an article in the National Catholic Register, discussing his comments in his forward to the new book, titled The Synodal Process Is a Pandora’s Box:

“Cardinal Raymond Burke, the prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, … praised the publication for addressing ‘clearly and comprehensively a most serious situation in the Church today’ which ‘rightly concerns every thoughtful Catholic and persons of good will who observe the evident and grave harm which it is inflicting upon the Mystical Body of Christ.’

“‘Synodality and its adjective, synodal, have become slogans behind which a revolution is at work to change radically the Church’s self-understanding, in accord with a contemporary ideology which denies much of what the Church has always taught and practiced,’ Cardinal Burke wrote. ‘It is not a purely theoretical matter, for the ideology has already, for some years, been put into practice in the Church in Germany, spreading widely confusion and error and their fruit, division — indeed schism — to the grave harm of many souls.’ 

“He believes it is ‘rightly to be feared that the same confusion and error and division will be visited upon the universal Church’ and has ‘already begun to happen through the preparation of the Synod at the local level.’ Only the truth of Christ, unchangeable doctrine, and the discipline of the Church ‘can address effectively the situation by uncovering the ideology at work,’ he said, ‘by correcting the deadly confusion and error and division it is propagating,’ and by inspiring members to daily convert to Christ.”

Strickland and Müller. A week or so ago Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responded to a question from kath.net (a Catholic news magazine in Austria) about Bishop Joseph Strickland (Diocese of Tyler) troubles. Bishop Strickland is known for defending the traditional doctrine of the Church and has been critical of some of Pope Francis policies and statement. It is widely rumored that he may soon be forced to resign by Pope Francis. This is an excerpt of Cardinal Muller’s very troubling/thought-provoking response:

“Yes, what is being done to Bishop Strickland is terrible, an abuse of authority against the divine right of the episcopate. If I could advise Bishop Strickland, he should definitely not resign because then they can wash their hands of innocence.

“According to the commandment of justice, a bishop can only be deposed by the Pope if he is guilty of something bad (heresy, schism, apostasy, a crime or totally unpriestly behavior), for example the pseudonym that insults God and cheats people of their salvation –Blessing of people of both or the same sex in extramarital relationships.

Arbitrary removal as bishop of a diocese in which a bishop is appointed by Christ Himself as its own shepherd undermines the authority of the Pope, as has historically happened with the undignified office haggling under the Avignonese Papacy (This loss of trust was one of the main reasons for the separation of Reformation Christianity from the Catholic Church and its hatred of the Pope, who, with his arbitrary actions, had put himself in God’s place).

According to Catholic teaching, the Pope is by no means the Lord of the Church, but only as Christ’s representative for the universal Church, the first servant of his Lord, who had to say to Simon Peter, who had just been destined to become the rock of the Church: “Get behind me (Italian Indietro, the true indietrismo), because you have in mind not what God wants, but what people want” (Mt 16:23).

The Pope has no authority from Christ to bully and intimidate good bishops, modeled on Christ the Good Shepherd, who sanctify, teach and lead the flock of God in the name of Christ in accordance with the episcopal ideal of Vatican II, just because they are false friends denounce these good bishops to Francis as enemies of the Pope, while heretical and immoral bishops can do whatever they want or who harass the Church of Christ every day with some other stupidity.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles