A group of priests has issued a plea to all the world’s bishops to “reaffirm Christ’s teaching” in the face of today’s “pastoral crisis” in the Catholic Church.
Fifteen American and European clergy, including Father Gerald Murray, a frequent guest on EWTN’s The World Over program, highlight a resurgence of “gravely harmful moral errors” regarding the feasibility of living Jesus’ teachings, the nature of conscience, and the role of the Church.
With measured and respectful words, A Pastoral Appeal to the Bishops for an Apostolic Reaffirmation of the Gospel expresses the hope that “much of the damage” caused by this trend “could be healed or mitigated” if bishops were to “reaffirm Jesus’ teachings and to correct those errors with the full authority of your apostolic office.”
Doing so would “benefit those entrusted to your care,” they continue, and would “contribute greatly to the unity and well-being of the universal Church.” The priests warn that “without such assistance, this detrimental situation will worsen significantly.”
The priests’ appeal, signed on April 22, Good Shepherd Sunday, comes after frequent statements and actions from some of the hierarchy, theologians and even Pope Francis himself which many of the faithful believe question or even openly contradict the Church’s established teaching and pastoral practice.
Without referencing the Holy Father or any particular document, priest, bishop or theologian, the priests highlight a general “mistaken approach” which asserts that those who “commit objectively evil acts, and judge themselves subjectively free of culpability, must be allowed to receive Holy Communion.”
They argue that this can lead to the mistaken belief that, although certain behaviors are always evil, “in some circumstances those behaviors are the most realistic good that can be achieved or, indeed, are simply good.” Taken even further, they argue that this could lead to believing that such sinful “behaviors can be approved or proposed by God.”
“Christ’s life and moral teachings are thus presented as abstract ideals that must be adjusted to fit our circumstances, rather than as realities already attuned to free us from sin and evil in every situation,” the priests explain.