Do we strive to live in a pigsty or a palace? Do we desire to remain in our sins or seek holiness, which ultimately reflects our eternal home—heaven? A recent homily by Dominican Fr. Leon Pereira of Great Britain summarized (in less than ten minutes) the current state of many in the Church. Concerning the aversion to point out sin, Fr. Pereira states:
It’s like being the prodigal in the pigsty hungering, looking, envying the pigs eating the pods. And along comes the Church and tells you, “You know that your pigsty is actually a palace, it’s marvelous. Stay where you are.”
How did we get to the place where our Church seems to deemphasize holiness in place of… what exactly? Fr. Pereira, a one-time medical doctor, diagnoses the illness and offers the cure. In this article, I breakdown Fr. Pereira’s homily and expound on each point. For us lay Catholics looking for assistance towards eternal life, Fr. Pereira (and good priests like him) provide a shining light in an increasingly dark world.
Old Things in New Packaging
Chesterton said that orthodoxy was the only exciting thing in the world. And by contrast, heresy is boring because it rehashes old things in new packaging. Only orthodoxy captures the imagination and makes new beginnings and new ways possible in the Church. Also evil deforms and perverts the faith. Evil does not engender faith.
Orthodoxy means “right/correct belief.” Its excitement centers on the fact that it points to the truth as revealed by God to His Church. As we grow in orthodoxy, so too do we grow in our understanding of God. Conversely, heresy only seeks to deceive and take life. It does this by repackaging itself for each age. It deforms and perverts our faith, and by doing so, puts our soul at risk.
Fine As We Are
Heresy does not breed a new generation because heresy is contracepted and sterilized. Therefore, it seeks to propagate itself by commandeering and imposing itself on others, like a virus. We see much of this in the pre-synodal reports of certain countries. They clamor for changes to doctrines and morals. They claim holiness is an ideal rather, than a goal. They seek to accompany, by which they mean keeping people exactly where they are. What is sinful is no longer called sin. We are reassured that hell is not eternal or that it is empty. Holiness is not sought. We are fine as we are.
Thank you, Fr. Pereira! He perfectly states the fundamental issues concerning the Synod of Synodality, namely the watering down of the faith to the determent of souls. Holiness is not an ideal, it is a goal. It is a goal because heaven is THE goal. What does it mean to “accompany” others if we leave them where they are? Is sin now no longer considered sin? We are not fine as we are. We need help. All need grace and forgiveness. We need Christ.
Young Faithful Voices
In August this year, more than 500 young Irish practicing Catholics wrote to their synodal steering committee alarmed that the authentic voice of the young was being ignored a false conclusion had been reached. They noted, and I quote, “that church teaching needed to be re-formulated or changed in particular relating to human sexuality marriage and ordained ministry in order to match public expectations,” the young people wrote. And I quote, “as young Catholics, young faithful Catholics, we fully accept and joyfully embrace Church teaching and practice and do not wish for Church teaching to be changed or re-formulated. We humbly suggest that these emerging concerns are instead a call to communicate Church teachings better,” end quote.
Thank God for these Irish youth! Moreover, as someone who’s spent the last month researching and writing on the Synod of Synodality, these young people offer a ray of hope. These youth also highlight what the synod should truly focus on—better communication of Church teaching. The pre-synodal reports demonstrate a total lack of proper catechesis. For more on that specific topic, click here. More faithful youth need to add their faithful voices to those of their Irish brothers and sisters.
Are All Welcome?
We keep being told all are welcome, except of course when you’re not. We are told the Church must listen, but we don’t want to listen to you… The heretics of old at least had some courage. They were open about what they were denying. The modern heretics are more subtle. They will say, “oh yes, we agree with St. John Paul II. We reaffirmed Church teaching,” and then in the next instant they proceed to deny it in their actions. And they blame the Holy Spirit for all their errors.
Who is truly welcome in the Synod of Synodality? If one reads the Working Document for the Continental Stage, the answer becomes clear—not those faithful to Church teaching. It’s as if the Holy Spirit only speaks through those who dissent in the Synod of Synodality. But how can the Holy Spirit contradict Himself? Short answer, He cannot.
The Grievous Failure of the Authentically Pastoral and Loving
We are “a listening church” and “we must keep walking forwards.” Yes, listening to whom and where are you walking to? O Brave new Church that had such sycophants in it! These Illusions, these errors arise when we treat God as absent. Everything then depends on us, and we hijack God’s word for the sake of our passing whims. When we fail to love people enough, and properly, our error manifests.
How? By lying to them and blessing their disordered unions. By confirming them in adultery and fornication. By affirming their grave errors like abortion and rewarding them with communion without repentance. It is the failure to love people’s souls and a willingness to risk their eternal salvation and all. Why? For the sake of being inclusive and nice? For the sake of making myself popular? Aren’t I lovely? It is the grievous failure to be authentically pastoral and genuinely loving.
As our evangelical brothers and sisters say, “preach it!” Furthermore, Fr. Pereira hits at the heart of the matter—a failure of authentic pastoral love. It appears our pastors (and bishops) care more about a perception of niceness than the health of our souls. They care more about inclusivity than our inclusion in heaven. If an oncologist failed to accurately diagnose a patient’s cancer in fear of coming off as cruel, their patient would sue for malpractice. If our pastors do the same, we celebrate them for their “pastoral” approach.
The Faith Is NOT a Plaything
We have to become saints. The real God is not absent. We must come to Jesus. The devil cannot give life. Only Jesus can give us life new life. And the faith is not a plaything to twist to our own destruction. There is indeed a God in Israel, the church, and He is alive and active. And he loves us more than any defamation of the faith ever could. To him alone be glory now and forever in the Church and in heaven amen.
In his conclusion, Fr. Pereira offers a dire warning and hope. He directs the warning towards those who view the faith as a plaything. They must understand that to do so puts their own souls at risk of destruction. Fr. Pereia’s message of hope is directed at the faithful. Our God is living and active. His love is greater than any attempt to defame the faith. Amen, Fr.! Amen.
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