The Liberal Media’s Offensive and the Church’s Internal and External Enemies

Today, the Holy Church of God is like a fortress under a twofold and synchronized attack. As external enemies assail her walls and ramparts, internal foes weaken her defenses and promote discouragement and doubt, helping the overall attack.

Somehow, despite their differences and disagreements, both the external and internal enemies form a single fighting whole, as both are seduced by the “prince of this world,”1 “the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world.”2

“Whoever Sins Belongs to the Devil”

Indeed, as Cardinal Charles Journet emphasizes, in that which remains of holy in the souls of sinners,3 “they still cleave to the Church and are still within her. But in virtue of the mortal sin which has found its way into them and fills their hearts, they belong chiefly to the world and to the devil. ‘Whoever sins belongs to the devil’ (1 John 3:8).”4

Pope Benedict XVI underlined this reality in his homily at the solemn Mass on the feast day of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul at St. Peter’s Basilica:

If we consider the two millennia of Church history we can see that — as the Lord Jesus foresaw — Christians have never lacked for trials, which in some times and places have taken the form of authentic persecutions. Yet nonetheless, despite the suffering they bring, these do not represent the most serious danger for the Church. In fact, she suffers her greatest damage from that which pollutes the faith and the Christian life of her members and her communities, damaging the integrity of her mystical Body, weakening her capacity for prophecy and witness, obscuring the beauty of her countenance.5

Bishop_Januario_Torgal_Ferreira_1.jpg

Bishop Januário Torgal Mendes Ferreira, the Military Ordinariate of Portugal, who has repeatedly issued statements opposed to Catholic morals and teachings.

Helping the Church’s Enemies

While not judging what goes on in his conscience, we cannot fail to see the external actions and statements made by Most Rev. Januário Torgal Mendes Ferreira, Bishop of Portugal’s Armed Forces, which often oppose Catholic morals, as a powerful aid to the Church’s external enemies.6

The Portuguese prelate has just given an interview7 in which he favors homosexual practices even more than Vienna’s Cardinal Schönborn (who, unfortunately, has not clarified or retracted publicly his April 2010 scandalous statements on homosexual unions and divorced Catholics).8

In the United States, news of Bishop Torgal Ferreira’s interview was published on June 27, 2010 on the well-informed Catholic blog, Rorate Coeli with the meaningful title, “Portuguese Bishop: OK with men who ‘live’ with other men; for artificial contraception.”9 The story was also echoed in Hilary White’s article in LifeSiteNews.com: “Nude Beach Bishop OK with Gay Relationships.”10 Needless to say, it caused great scandal which quickly reverberated through Catholic cyberspace.

“I Agree With and Accept that a Man can Live with Another Man”

Asked about the recent approval of homosexual “marriage” in Portugal, Bishop Torgal answered that he disagrees with homosexual marriage but accepts civil unions. And he went on to make this astonishing statement: “I agree with and accept that a man can live with another man and that a woman can live with another woman.”11

“Does it not shock you?” the woman reporter asked him. The bishop’s answer was emphatic: “Of course not. The attitude I must have is one of respectability.”

Bishop_Januario_Torgal_Ferreira_2.jpg

Bishop Januário Torgal Mendes Ferreira: “I agree with and accept for a man to live with another
man and for a woman to live with another woman,” condoning the practice of homosexuality.

The prelate made it clear that he was not talking about a hypothetical and almost impossible chaste cohabitation of two men or two women with same-sex attraction. At the interviewer’s remark that “the Church welcomes homosexuals … as long as they do not practice their homosexuality…” Bishop Torgal Ferreira was ironic:

“Certainly a homosexual couple is not one in theory, right? And their affection is translated by this practice, this psycho-emotional fusion of the mysterious unity which is the human being.”

The reporter insisted: “And the Church needs to understand this?”

His answer was peremptory: “Understand it, yes. Sacralize it, no, because for the Church, love is a sacrament — matrimony.” And denying the principle of the universality of moral laws, he added:

“This is a very complex matter which must be well understood. And no institution can say whether it accepts it or not. Each case is a case.”12

Nudism on the Beach? “And so What?”

Consistent with this amorality, Bishop Torgal Ferreira also accepts other aberrations. Indeed, if the Church — the interpreter of natural law and Revelation — cannot objectively and universally condemn homosexual acts, then neither can She be opposed to nudism. Everything depends on the person’s subjectivity.

Accordingly, he goes on to justify nudism on beaches, noting: “People see me at the beach. Let’s imagine the following situation: [Someone comes up to me and asks] ‘So was that you lying there next to a topless woman?’ [I would say:] And so what? What’s the problem?”

Even worse than this absurd claim is the doctrine that the bishop presents to justify it. He says that “evil is in the way the world is understood … He who knows the world and adores it, sees it in a limpid and happy way.”

Thus, according to the prelate, the criterion for morality are not the dictates of Eternal Law and natural law, but to conform oneself to this world. That is exactly the opposite of what Saint Paul teaches: “Do not model your behavior on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and mature.”13

Bishop Torgal Ferreira also defended contraception and advocated changing Church structures in an egalitarian way. Earlier this year, he had criticized Pope Benedict XVI for condemning condom use in preventing the spread of AIDS.14

Cathedral_Lateral_Nave__Lisbon_499px.jpg Saint Paul teaches: “Do not model your behavior on
the contemporary world…that you may discern…what
is the will of God – what is good and acceptable
and mature.”

“I Have Overcome the World”

Christ’s fortress is His Church — One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic — engaged in earnest combat against those who, inside or outside, have allowed themselves to be seduced by “the rulers of the world…the spirits of wickedness.”15

Those within the Church who sin, especially those involved in the current sex scandals, provide the worldly with a pretext to attack not sin, with which the world is complicit, but rather the Church Herself who condemns the sin. Thus, intentionally or not, they become allies of the enemies of the Mystical Bride of Christ.

It is timely to recall that since the early times of the Church, dissidents in Her bosom have sought the support of the world’s powerful to force doctrinal and institutional changes in the Church. Today too we see an alliance — at least a de facto one, even if unintentional — between progressives and dissidents within the clergy and laity on the one hand, and liberal media on the other. And as the media provides dissidents with a podium to rail against the sexual abuses it continues to saturate society with the most graphic and degrading immorality.

We must not become discouraged because of scandals in the Church. Jesus warned us they are inevitable.16

Nor should we allow ourselves to be deceived by the media coverage provided to these dissidents. Let us continue to denounce those who, inside the Fortress, are playing the enemy’s game. However, let us never support the media’s anti-Christian campaign. The amoral and immoral media will not save us.

Let us turn, instead, to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the One from Whom salvation comes: “In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.”17

Footnotes

  1. John, 12:31.
  2. Apoc. 12:9. Satan is prince not of the physical world, created by God and therefore good. The “world” referred-to here means a disordered attraction for earthly things while despising heavenly ones; it is to turn this life into the ultimate end of man’s existence. As Saint John explains, “For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John, 2:16).
  3. The sacramental marks of baptism and confirmation and the theological virtues of faith and hope.
  4. Charles Journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate, Sheed and Ward, London-New York, 1955, Vol. I, p. xxvii.
  5. http://faithofthefathersbenedictxvi.blogspot.com/2010/06/news-vatican-information-service-0628.html.
  6. Cf. Luiz S. Solimeo, “Adding Fuel to the Fire: Church Authorities on Condom Use Feed Media Uproar Against the Holy See,” at https://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic
    -perspective/adding-fuel-to-the-fire-church-authorities-on-condom-use-feed
    -media-uproar-against-the-holy-see.html#footnote_anchor_7
    .
  7. Rosa Ramos, “Entrevista: ‘Concordo e aceito um homem que viva com um homem’” [“Interview: ‘I Agree with and Accept for a Man to Live with Another Man’”], June 26, 2010, at http://www.ionline.pt/conteudo/66412–concordo-e-aceito-um
    -homem-que-viva-com-um-homem
    .
  8. Cf. Luiz S. Solimeo, “Should the Church Change Her Position on Homosexuality and Divorce? Surprising Statements by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna,” at https://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/should-the-church
    -change-her-position-on-homosexuality-and-divorce.html
    ;
    “Communiqué Concerning Audience With Cardinal Schönborn,” Vatican Information Service, http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2010/06/communique-concerning
    -audience-with.html
    ; Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, “Cardinal Schönborn’s brave struggle,” 5 July 2010, The Guardian.co.UK,
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/jul
    /05/religion-catholicism-schoenborn-sodano-papacy/print
    .
  9. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/.
  10. Monday June 28, 2010, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jun/10062805.html.
  11. Rosa Ramos, “Entrevista: ‘Concordo e aceito um homem que viva com um homem’” at http://www.ionline.pt/conteudo/66412–concordo-e-aceito-um-homem
    -que-viva-com-um-homem
    . (Our English translation)
  12. Pius XII condemns this view: “Expressed in this way, the new ethics is so far removed from the faith and from Catholic principles that even a child who knows his catechism will realize it. It is not difficult to recognize that these morals derive from existentialism, which abstracts from God.”

    The Pontiff also explains that individual cases are contained in universal laws. “Precisely because of its universality, the moral law necessarily and intentionally encompasses all the particular cases to which its concepts apply.” Pius XII, “Nel Congresso della Federazione Mondiale delle Giuventu Femminili Cattoliche,” in Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII (Vatican: Tipografia Poliglota Vaticana, 1961), Vol. XIV, pp. 74-75.

  13. Romans, 12:2 (New Jerusalem Catholic Bible).
  14. Cf. Luiz S. Solimeo, “Adding Fuel to the Fire: Church Authorities on Condom Use Feed Media Uproar Against the Holy See,” at https://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic
    -perspective/adding-fuel-to-the-fire-church-authorities-on-condom-use-feed
    -media-uproar-against-the-holy-see.html#footnote_anchor_7
    .
  15. Ephesians, 6:12.
  16. “Woe to the world because of scandals,” Our Lord said. “For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh!” (Matthew 18:7). “And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come” (Luke 17:1).
  17. John 16:33.

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