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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 27, 2016
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Nice Church


I am not referring to the Church in Nice, France but a Church that avoids speaking words that people do not like to hear but only what is good, meaning, the Church should always be nice.

During the Mass commemorating the 50 th anniversary of the sacerdotal ordination of Fr. Leon Orbista, my classmate in high school, Fr. Manuel Porquez spoke in his homily of the need for Catholics, not just priests, to speak even if it hurts. A real pastor must speak to correct.

Fr. Porquez message is no different from the point of many priests and bishops but there are influential voices within the Church urging that the Church should just be nice like a gathering of civic and social clubs. Well, the Church is not a club. It is in the work of saving souls, as Fr. Porquez emphasized. His voice and that of the following article only emphasize the universality of the Catholic Church and its doctrines as handed down through the ages.

I received some weeks back a transcript of the homily of an American archbishop published by the Church Militant. I quote extensively from the transcript because of its relevance to the prevailing situation in Philippines where speaking out is urgently needed. This article should wake the Catholics up to the realities that we must speak without fear. As Jesus said, “fear not!”

“One of the wonderful things about the Catholic Church is no matter how bad things get, no matter how many off-the rail bishops there are, Our Blessed Lord never lets the flame of faith be totally extinguished.

“In the midst of crazy talk we hear almost daily from bishops around the world, there are also the strong voices of other bishops announcing the truth. One such voice is from archbishop of Portland, Oregon Alexander Sample. His Excellency absolutely nails it in his weekly column in the diocesan paper from this week. Listen to this:

“'Many people have reduced being a good and faithful Catholic to being nice, tolerant and doing good works. They think if we do service projects for the poor and needy, and don't make any judgments about human behavior and sin, then we are fulfilling the Gospel mandate.'"

“We are pretty certain that His Excellency has already heard it from others, but allow us to add our Church Militant voice to those others and say God bless you, archbishop! God bless you for speaking the truth and putting it so clearly. A little bit earlier in his article he declares emphatically, ‘The salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church, must be kept before our eyes'.

“The salvation of souls. How often do we hear this language in the Church today? Not very often, I am afraid. And yet that is the very mission of the Church! Quick, get a communiqué off to Rome to create Archbishops Sample a cardinal and then, in the next conclave, hand out flyers to the other cardinals: "Sample for Pope! Sample for Pope!"

“This is the exact message we have been declaring out loud for a decade. The Church must get back on track with the work and mission that the Son of God gave Her to do: the salvation of souls. Everything, and we mean everything else, on the planet gets the Church's attention these days except the only thing that matters. Climate change, saving the whales, conserving electricity, immigration policy, gun control, civil rights for the homofascist crowd, everything related to earth, with next to no attention paid to the supernatural.

"The essential mission is spiritual, focused on bringing people to life in Christ. Throughout the Gospels Jesus speaks of the dangers of losing the gift of salvation, missing the moment of his redemption, and risking eternal punishment."

And this is exactly the problem in the Church today: the indifference toward the truth, which has allowed the truth to be substituted for by a lesser truth, and even in some cases a lie. And to re-emphasize what Abp. Sample said earlier, "Many people have reduced being a good and faithful Catholic to being nice …."

“And there we have it: that word, that diabolical word N-I-C-E, "Nice." This is all the Faith means to the vast majority, huge numbers of Catholics today.”

To many being a Catholic is just being nice.

Let's continue on Saturday.*



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