Liberal Monk Gives Church in Ireland 10 Years

by Trey Elmore  •  •  May 19, 2017   

Wants Catholicism to get with the times

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In a recent op-ed published in The Irish Times, Dom Mark Patrick Hederman, a Benedictine monk in Limerick County, Ireland, makes his case that the Catholic Church "has probably five or, at most, 10 years" to get on the same page with the culture "before being reduced to a tiny irrelevant minority."

Dom Hederman implies that each individual may have the liberty to bypass the Magisterium and decide privately what God's truths are, albeit, in modernist fashion, just vaguely enough to backtrack when called on it.

"It is not enough," he says," for the hierarchy or even the Pope to be in direct connection with the Holy Trinity. Always, it is each individual member in direct touch with the Holy Spirit and not simply in touch with HQ here on Earth."

Nevermind that the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) points out that the very etymology of the word "orders," the name of the sacrament, is connected to the power of governance (CCC 1537). The form of Episcopal ordination promulgated by Bd. Pope Paul VI refers to the power of governance conferred on a new bishop: "And now pour forth on this chosen one that power which is from you, the governing Spirit, whom you gave to your beloved Son Jesus Christ, whom He gave to the holy Apostles, who founded the Church in every place as your sanctuary, unto the glory and unending praise of Your Name."

Anyone who has attended the consecration Mass of a new bishop has heard these words. The CCC teaches that the roles of a bishop are to teach, govern and sanctify.

The op-ed contains so many deviations from the Catholic faith that a full treatment of each of the problematic statements would require multiple pieces. Let it suffice to take a quick look at a few of the gems Dom Hederman proffers.

"Whether priests are men or women, or both, we cannot have a situation where only priests can exercise power," he wrote. "The world itself is the universal religion that precedes all organized religions. Nature is the first Scripture wherein we read the word of God."


But the main thrust of Dom Hederman's piece, to which the rest of the bumper-sticker, leftist slogans boil down, is that tried and worn-out sentiment of anti-Catholics: "The Church must catch up with the times." In Dom Hederman's words, "If we wish to remain conservative and old-fashioned, at least let us not be sectarian and supportive of values and lifestyles which have been rejected by the majority of 21st-century people. Otherwise, we are categorized as out-of-date leftovers from a previous era."

Our Lord contradicted this sentiment in Matthew 24:35 when He said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Catholics believe that the Church is Christ's mystical body, and as such, She does not defect from Her infallible teachings. Saint Paul wrote in Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." And G.K. Chesteron in his essay "Why I Am a Catholic," turning Dom Hederman's argument against itself, said about the Catholic faith, "It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

It is difficult to nail down exactly what Dom Hederman means by his statement because he does not say explicitly exactly what "values" are currently out of date which render the Church "irrelevant," which is also left unclarified. He may mean that the Church should change her teachings in order to salvage the loyalty of young people who will otherwise defect to a religion that tells them what they want to hear.

The Catholic faith is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.

Firstly, the current state of affairs in mainline Protestant and now Evangelical churches in the United States and in Europe, which are tripping over each other to get on board with the latest evil fads, would seem to contradict that thesis.

Secondly, where Dom Hederman is getting his charge that the Church has "not yet moved out of the 19th century," is at best in the eye of the beholder and at worst false. The norm among pastors and bishops, as Church Militant has been emphasizing for years, has been to ignore or downplay hard teachings for which Holy Mother Church is accused of being too retrograde.

But of course, Dom Hederman isn't referring to the false "Spirit of Vatican II" as being what makes the Church stuck in the 1800s. That would be a nonstarter. He's apparently saying the Church isn't liberal enough for the post-modern 21st century, as is evidenced by his aforementioned radical opinions on the nature of divine revelation.

Thirdly, although not of least importance, the Apostles were commanded to teach all that Our Blessed Lord commanded just before His Ascension. The Apostles were not commanded to win a majority of the population, as Our Lord certainly didn't do with His Holy Passion, nor in His revealing of the Real Presence of His Own Body and Blood in the Eucharist. "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him" (John 6:66).

That the Catholic Church would ever fall out from mainstream of society seems to be the worst consequence Dom Hederman can imagine — rather than the infinitely worse eternal damnation of souls. It's absurd to claim that should the Church no longer be relevant it would be the fault of faithful Catholics not getting on board with modernism.

If a comparison of the state of the Church in hip, relevant, modernist Europe vs. Africa (holding the line against heterodoxy) is any indicator, the opposite of Dom Hederman's argument is true. As Church Militant has said repeatedly, the Church, particularly in the United States — but the same could be said for Ireland — has about 10 years to repent to avoid becoming irrelevant. To turn a phrase from a heterodox cardinal, Africa should, as such, tell us what to do.


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