This Week’s Ask Alice: Evaluating Catholic sites that are critical of the Vatican, the Pope, and the Church.



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She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
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Andy Asks: I’m not sure what to make of sites like this. Particularly this article. What’s your opinion?

Alice Answers: The article entitled, “The Apotheosis of Antichrist,” attacked Pope John Paul II as the Vatican was preparing for his recent beatification. Written by Br. Bruno Bonnet-Eymard, editor of “The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century,” Br. Bruno is a member of Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a small religious community founded by the late Fr. Georges de Nantes, a French priest, who was suspended a divinis by Apostolic Signature in 1966.

Rather than debate his diatribe against Pope John Paul’s character and sanctity, please consider the source (de Nantes) of these comments, many of which are scurrilous.

Fr. De Nantes hurled harsh criticisms against Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II when he accused them of heresy in his “Books of Accusation.” It was his “disrespect for the popes” that earned his suspension. The Catholic Counter Reformation, CRC, which Fr. de Nantes founded is deemed “outside the Catholic Church.” His fringe faction, “The Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart” which belongs to the CRC, was labeled as a cult by the French Commission on Cults in its 1995 report. In 2001, Fr. De Nantes was forbidden to celebrate, give and receive the sacraments anywhere, which is the highest penalty before excommunication.

It seems ironic that Fr. de Nantes, who wrote “Pope John Paul II had faith in man,” expects his followers to have blind faith in his own opinions against two Catholic pontiffs. Faithful Catholics are called to respect the Magisterium of the Church, a stance which seemed to have eluded Fr. de Nantes and his successor, Br. Bonnet-Eymard. The writings of both men seem reminiscent of Martin Luther’s Reformation ramblings.

As Catholics we are called to support the Body of Christ. Not divide it. Sadly, Fr. de Nantes’ legacy bequeathed his egotistical agenda to Br. Bonnet Eymard.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence Adds: Many of these sites are well intentioned, and may even be at least partially correct in some instances, regarding some issues … while others are totally outrageous and impossible to reconcile with either common sense or the one, true faith. Still, it’s often hard to tell one from another.

An alert, thoroughly educated and well-read Catholic can usually spot problem areas in a New York minute, while others may be easily led astray, and may even have their faith unnecessarily attacked and/or improperly tested.

Issues are often addressed in a way that combines the worst of two worlds: religion and politics. For most people, that spells nothing but trouble!

Best to avoid such sites unless you really need to go there … and you really know your faith, your politics, and your history. If in doubt, evaluate the content and demeanor of the website in light of common sense, common courtesy, and relevant Catholic Canon Law:

Canon 212.3 states: “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess,
[the faithful] have the right and even the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of the faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”

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“Robin Hood” Mexican priest in big trouble with his superiors

“Be Alert,” reads the Nov. 1 bulletin at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church in Los Angeles. “Father Raymundo Figueroa of the Diocese of Tijuana is in this area and is presiding at baptisms and first Communions for a fee of $180 per person. He is here without permission of his bishop.” U.S. churches don’t normally charge for the sacraments unless, as in the case of weddings, there are expenses such as musicians and flowers.

Simony was a common transgression in the Middle Ages, when simonists were condemned to hell in Dante’s “Inferno.” The modern consequences aren’t quite so dire, but in the most serious cases they can include a priest’s suspension.

Figueroa is suspected of organizing ceremonies from Chula Vista to the San Fernando Valley. Fifty to several hundred children at a time receive the sacraments in nonchurch settings, like parks and hotels, people’s living rooms and backyards. Instead of church choirs and organs, strolling mariachis provide the music.

“They just do it in people’s houses. You don’t need much. For baptisms, a little water. For first Communions, you just set up a table,” said Father Richard Zanotti of the Holy Rosary parish in Los Angeles.

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