Fr. Larry Richards Apologizes to Church Militant

News: Commentary
by Simon Rafe  •  •  May 13, 2019   

A painful journey, a good destination

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As you may know, Fr. Larry Richards recently made some statements about Church Militant which weren't true — I am not going to rehash them. Father Richards details them in his video, where he apologizes for having said those things and says he was wrong to say them.

This video is being shared (on our website and also on our various social media outlets) and you are being encouraged to share it not only because it was the right thing for Fr. Richards to do, but also because we know he has received a great deal of criticism for what he said, and we at Church Militant would like that criticism on this matter to come to an end.

Church Militant accepts Fr. Richards' apology unreservedly. We consider this matter closed, and so should anyone who calls himself a Christian; that's the whole point of an apology, of contrition. Father Richards has done some great videos on confession that have helped a lot of people, but, to be perfectly frank, this video might be his best one ever. He "shows not tells" what Christian contrition and apology and reconciliation look like.

Clearly, we disagree on many things — but what we do not disagree on are the dogmas and doctrines of the Church. We believe them to be true, and we know Fr. Richards believes them to be true. There are, of course, many things of "prudential judgment" that are not doctrine, and good Catholics can (and do) differ on them. These things should never be raised to the level of doctrine or dogma, and should not be a cause of hatred, demonization or division among Catholics.

Good Catholics, so long as they agree on dogma and doctrine and don't try to add prudential things into that mix, can and do differ.

In that light, we extend an invitation — personally as myself as Chief of Staff, and corporately as Church Militant — for Fr. Richards to speak with us (publicly or privately, face to face, by phone or email or carrier pigeon or whatever) about any matters of the Faith, differences in prudential judgment or anything else he might like to talk about. (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess there are donors who would happily underwrite such a meeting because they've said exactly that about previous offers we've made to meet with priests with whom we've disagreed.)

Once again, we are sharing this video because Fr. Richards has done the right thing here and we want people to know that, not only so he no longer receives criticism for his previous wrong, but also because he has given a great witness here. He said some things that were wrong and he has apologized for them. We, the wronged party, have accepted that apology.

As I have said on The Download and elsewhere, the primary quality of the Christian is not "goodness" or moral perfection — it is contrition. We are all sinners; the best of us can be really bad. Father Richards has shown contrition very well, and this video is more than an apology; it is a good witness from a Catholic priest about what it means to be a Catholic man.

The journey might be painful, but the destination is good.


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