Dear father Angelo,
Thank you very much for the answer you gave to my last email. I have another doubt that came to my mind while I was praying the Rosary. In the first weeks after my conversion, I used to take part actively in the needs of my parish; however, thanks to the formation I was receiving outside of my parish, it appeared, alas, that over there they taught a lot of things, but not the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Long story short: the use of contraception was accepted; the Eucharist was given to two remarried and cohabiting couples; they sent a lay religious of the Combonian congregation to bless houses … and I could go on.
I decided to change parish: all this was helped by my choice to relocate, but mostly I wanted to protect my ten years old child from that environment (he was once told by the parish priest that going to Mass every day wasn’t good for him since he was a child and therefore should live as a child). However, now I feel like a coward because I think at least I should have asked some explanations to that priest about all those things that were happening… In short, fraternal correction. At this rate, some of those parishioners will end up damning themselves.
How do you think I should have acted? Now I feel guilty.
The answer from the priest
- First of all, I’m sorry for the major delay in my answer. I came to your email only today.
- It was very disheartening to hear what happens in your parishes: through mortal sin, nothing is built and everything is destroyed. When a priest denies the seriousness of grave sins, it’s as he’s helping people committing moral suicide. John Paul II wrote in the apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia that sin always consists in a suicidal gesture because above all we hurt ourselves by separating from God. We shall never forget that sin is the first cause of people’s distancing from the Faith. This happens because sin in itself drives away from God.
- How true are the words used last April (2019) by Benedict XVI when he talked about “the collapse of catholic moral theology which made the Church impotent against those processes happening in society”. The processes he is referring to are secularism, the sexual revolution, etcetera…
- By applying these words to our case we have to say that the collapse of moral theology has made the Church incapable of attracting men to Christ. This clearly happens because sin in itself cannot draw anybody closed to the Lord. In fact, it causes the opposite. Sin was rightly defined by saint Augustine as “aversio a Deo” (distancing from God); in other words, it consists in turning away from God.
- Man can turn towards God only with an attitude of internal conversion and detachment from sin. One wonders if that priest you told me about talks in accordance with what Saint Paul said: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12, 9).
- Now talking about what the priest of the new parish you are frequenting said to your son (it isn’t good for you to attend daily mass, you should live as a child), what comes to mind is the life of Carlo Acutis: after he had received the first communion at the age of seven, from that day he never missed the daily meeting with the Holy Mass. Before or after the Eucharistic Celebration, he always tried to pause for a while in front of the Tabernacle to adore the Lord, really present in the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe if he had had a priest like yours, now we wouldn’t have a saint like him. The heroic level of his virtues has already been approved; once a miracle is acknowledged, Carlo Acutis will be proclaimed blessed before the whole Church.
- I think that the best fraternal correction you and your son could make now consists in persevering in your good behaviour: it will be more eloquent and effective for your priest and parishioners than any speech.
I will remember you and your dear son in prayer.
I bless you and encourage you to carry on this way.