Sunday, November 30, 2008

Benedict XVI is the Bad Pastor

Benedict XVI is the Bad Pastor and the Opus Dei priests who control him and the Vatican are bad shepherds first because they covered-up the tens of thousands pedophiles of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army and now all they do is cover-up the filthy wealth of the Vatican…like the money changers in the Temple of Solomon except it is today in billions of Euros scale….so as Christ cursed the Temple of Solomon, Our Lady of Fatima cursed the Vatican in the Third Secret of Fatima that is why they are afraid to release it.

We have been pointing out the - self-love or narcissism - of John Paul II in www.jp2m.blogspot.com and Benedict XVI in this weblog.

This book describes well Benedict XVI as the Bad Pastor and the Opus Dei priests and Opus Dei selected Bishops and Cardinals as Bad Shepherds !

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Discernment, Clericalism, & Ecclesial Authority
pp 18-21, “The Great Catholic Reformers: from Gregory the Great to Dorothy Day”, © 2007

“How is discernment related to ecclesial reform? Reform presupposes that someone has found the actions, teachings, or directives of an ecclesial authority to stand in need of reform. Reformers in the early Church understood discernment as the means for measuring their institutional leaders with their teachings. Since discernment is rooted in the scriptures as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it provided reformers with an ironclad justification for questioning their leaders. This notion of testing is consonant with the parable of the good shepherd, where Christ warns his followers to distinguish between His voice and the voices of thieves and hired hands (Jn 10:1-21).34

For the medieval Church, the thieves and mercenaries were frequently seen as the scriptural symbols or types for bad clerics. The applications of these types to ecclesial leaders was warranted by the pastoral epistles, which make it clear that it is every Christian’s duty to distinguish between true and false teachers in the Church. Gregory crafted his own justification for questioning ecclesial leaders from the materials he found in scripture concerning discernment.35

However, one must be careful not to confuse discernment with distrust. Discernment implies a critical openness that measures or tests what is being said or done. St Paul tells us to test everything, but it would be absurd to interpret such a statement in terms of distrust. Should we distrust scripture or Christ? A distrustful person does not discern because he or she has already made an assessment; therefore, the distrustful person is not open to hearing or receiving anything.

Gregory was concerned that bad bishops and pastors would lead people astray. He asked people to consider the implications of the prophet Hosea’s words for their own lives: “Bad priests are a snare of ruin for my people” (Hosea 5:1; 9:8). Bad priests and bishops are called a “stumbling block of iniquity” (Ezekiel 44:12), he continued, because no one does more harm than the man who has the title of holiness though he is actually evil. Bad clerics either lead people to imitate their sins or cause people to fall away from the Church. If the people have been armed with the sword of discernment, however, Gregory believed they could avoid being spiritually destroyed by bad pastors.36

In one of his early homilies, Gregory explained that in a discerning community these bad pastors are like the waters of baptism, which washes away the sins of the people and then flows down the drain into hell. Those who are discerning enter their heavenly reward purified by the work of even bad priests and bishops, in part by remaining steadfast as they see how priestly negligence is leading the clergy to perdition. In this situation, the bad clerics give an excellent illustration for the discerning Christian of what it means to “hasten to the torment of hell by their wicked lives.”37

Gregory’s works are suffused with points of discernment when it comes to the bishops, but there are three that were particularly important for reform movements aimed at the clergy. The three points can be framed in the form of the following questions: (1) Does the bishop exhibit purity of heart and exemplary conduct? (2) Does the bishop prefer the love and praise of the church to that of his Redeemer? (3) Does the bishop act like a servant or like a lord? As we shall see, these three questions could be reduced to one: Is the bishop humble?

What does it mean for the bishop to have purity of heart and what should be considered exemplary conduct? Purity of heart can be described as moving beyond self-interest. Gregory says this is important for a bishop because the office requires him “not to seek anything for himself, but to regard the good of his neighbors as his own advantage.” The ancient Church held that the route to purity of heart is through self-denial or asceticism. They believed asceticism is the athletic training Christians need in order to win the race and take our crowns of glory(1 Cor 9:24-25).38

Purity of heart is more commonly expressed in terms of holiness today. In addition to self-denial, Gregory believed holiness requires meditating on the lives of the saints and taking time to contemplatively read scripture. Because these practices and disciplines are concrete actions that people can see, asceticism was seen as a sign of the probability of holiness. If the bishop trains himself through ascetic and contemplative disciplines, he will not make self-interested decisions based on favoritism or concerns over prosperity and adversity. Such decisions, whether they are for material gain or advancement, can be legitimately criticized and opposed by the people of the diocese.39

Concerns over adversity and prosperity flow into Gregory’s second point of discernment, whether the bishop prefers the love of the church to the love of his Lord. Gregory wrote, “Often, indeed, incautious pastors, being afraid of losing human favor, fear to speak freely what is right, and, in the words of the Truth, do not exercise the zeal of shepherds, caring for the flock, but serve the role of mercenaries.” He explained that such men are not shepherds; instead, “they are dumb dogs who do not bark (Is 56:10).” These mercenaries do not stand up to defend their flocks from worldly and oppressive powers.40

Gregory describes this type of bishop or pastor as an adulterous servant of the bridegroom who wishes to take the bride as a spouse for himself. Because they fall into self-love or narcissism, they fail to correct the people who are important to them. One clear indication the bishop suffers from this form of rebellion is how he treats people whom he believes are powerless to act against him. Gregory wrote, “Indeed, persons who in their estimation can do nothing against them, they constantly hound with bitter and harsh reproof. They never admonish them gently, but, forgetful of pastoral meekness, terrify them in the exercise of their right to govern.” He said these men love themselves more than they love God and, worse, they brag about their merciless actions against those they despise. “They have no thought for what they should do,” Gregory continued, “but only for the power that is theirs. They do not fear the judgment to come.”41

Bishops who act like this and want people to remain silent about their leadership are witnesses against themselves, for they wish to be loved more than the truth. A good bishop, according to Gregory, takes the free and sincere criticism of his people as respectful recognition of his humility. An evil bishop, on the other hand, reveals himself to be a rebel against God, who put him in office for the purpose of service instead of tyranny.42

The third and final point of discernment, whether the bishop acts like a lord or a servant, is arguably the most significant of these measuring points. All bishops should avoid the trap of seeing the power of their rank in themselves; instead, Gregory said they should focus on the equality of their nature with those under their care. Bishops should find their joy in helping people, not in ruling over them. If a bishop focuses on his rank, Gregory said he would become conceited. This conceit will lead him to believe the praise of those who are under his authority rather than to inwardly judge himself. Gregory warned that such a bishop would eventually come to despise his people.43

Because of his ecclesiastical power, a bishop who falls into the trap of conceit, Gregory argued, assumes he has more merit and wisdom than those without power. The consequences for such a pastor are, according to Gregory, quite severe:

He thus brings himself to be the likeness of him about whom scripture says: “He beholds every high thing, and he is the king over all the children of pride.” He who aspired to singular eminence and disdained life in common with the angels, said: “I will place my seat in the North, I will be like the Most High.” By a wonderful decree, therefore, he finds within himself the pit of his downfall, while outwardly exalting himself on the pinnacle of power. A man is made like the apostate angel when he disdains, though a man, to be like other people.

In other words, the bishop who acts like a lord is a reflection of Satan and cannot therefore be considered a true hierarch, though he can still validly perform the sacraments. To follow such a bishop’s example leads to damnation. Gregory charged such bishops with ignoring Christ’s command: “Whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister; and he that will be first among you shall be your servant. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister”(Matt 20:25-28)”

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