Brother Andrew speaks out on the Catholic crisis

Brother Andrew speaks out on the Catholic crisis

Brother Andrew

Brother Andrew is a former member of the Society of Jesus who worked with Mother Teresa and later established a male branch of the Missionaries of Charity. Brother Andrew is no longer in charge of the Missionaries and now serves as a "roving ambassador for Christ" in Australia and abroad, giving missions and retreats, and writing and lecturing.

The following article is from a recent newsletter which Brother Andrew circulates to his thousands of supporters worldwide.

At the same time as Western nations have been declining and losing their drive, the Catholic and other great churches have lost their spirit and vitality to a large extent. In Australia do we not have to recognise that possibly 90 per cent of young people stemming from Catholic roots are no longer Catholic or even Christian?

At a time when our countries are in painful social collapse, Church spokesmen and women, to a large extent, have lost their vision and their secret, and merely echo what secular parties and professionals are saying.

Do we not have to recognise that what remains of the Church is at the point of splitting, if it has not already done so? Perhaps it would be a clarification to ask what Church I am speaking about. What Church do I belong to?

A recent article by Matthew Fox, who has a large following among Catholic priests and nuns, is entitled: "If I Were Pope." Sadly, I have to say that I do not belong to the same Church as Matthew Fox. If he were Pope, he says he would consecrate witches, gay and lesbian marriages, among other bizarre things. He would drastically restructure the Church into something totally new and different from what it has been for 2000 years; and Christ as the Bible presents him would also be gone.

A recently published letter signed by the superiors of religious orders in Australia struck a similarly sad note. It was a letter to the Archbishop of Adelaide who painfully had to retrace his steps regarding gender changes to language in official worship on instructions from Rome. The superiors' letter urged the Archbishop to press ahead in the matter. What struck me in the letter is the absence of any acknowledgement of the existence, much less the authority of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. The members of one order signing that letter have a fourth vow of fidelity to the Pope.

Such matters would be quite insignificant if they did not involve a Church quite different from what the Catholic Church has been for 2000 years, for myself, my parents, for saints like Mary MacKillop, Ignatius, Francis of Assisi, Dominic and many of our day like Mother Teresa.

When the authority of Peter the Rock, the Pope, is lost, then any preacher, priest, bishop, nun, smart manipulator or fundamentalist is as good as their power base, their money, their organisation, their scholarship.

Those religious superiors with their Australian Democratic Church are - I'm sorry - not good enough for me. I prefer to stay with their founders and foundresses, even with their mothers and fathers with their simple faith and goodness. It is for something more than the human and rational that my heart craves. Mere human secular religion is just not good enough. It is the difference between the call that the saints hear and the cards and credits that parties and academies issue.

Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae on sex and marriage was rejected by many Church voices in favour of an easier contraceptive morality. The Church was considered too demanding and restrictive. But 25 years of easy contraception have not led to health, harmony or happiness in marriages, family and sexual relationships. On the contrary, enormous strains, brokenness, abuse and breakdown prevail far and wide. We are at the point of a last gasp for sexual health and morality with the pitiful condom for safe sex - while wounded, insecure, cast-off women, children and men suffer as victims everywhere.

It is not by surrender to the mainstream nor to vote-catching popularity that health, healing and genuine freedom are found. Rather, the sad result is too often the slavery and sheep-like acceptance that we have - powerfully beamed at us by the mass media and education policies. While sadly, many priests, nuns and even bishops sheepishly echo the voices that differ greatly from the good news for the poor and liberty for the captives that Jesus proclaimed and died for.

The surrender to the "Great Lie" starts with something quite small. The Adelaide changes in gender language in the Creed are only one or two steps prior to the deletion of "Father", "Son," and the removal of anything judged by humans to be inappropriate for the Bible and the Word of God.

I, for one, continue to trust the Vicar of Christ as more reliable and guaranteed, even though pride, greed and sin can beset the business and merely human management of the Church.

New church

I am aware of standing before a choice: Do I submit to a new church that Matthew Fox [and others] brings with a totally new hierarchy, with self-professed witches, a new morality of gay or lesbian marriages - a Church that reduces Christ to what an academic Élite decrees him to be, a Church made up not of the poor, the meek and the lowly of the Beatitudes, but a Church designed, dictated to and imposed by a superior academic Élite that knows what the poor need?

Happily I have another choice. And I can only say that I choose the Church founded and built by Christ on the Rock of Peter to whom he gave the keys of the Kingdom and the power to loose and to bind on earth and against which he promised that the gates of hell would not prevail.

I choose the Church with the Mass as the holding centre of the Christian people, where Christ really transforms our ordinary bread and wine into a life of immense grace, even if it is hidden beneath the pettiness and grubbiness of my exterior.

I choose a Church that does not allow the Bible to be rewritten, added to or subtracted from according to the fancy or purpose of mere human scholarship or commissions. I rejoice in the light and life of the Gospel that shines in my poor darkness and shows me a beauty that sees all other things as real and valuable, but as essentially passing and incomplete.

It's a choice for the Good News that is not narrow, paralysing and exclusive like the angry exaggerations and ghettos that so often infect liberation movements sooner or later.

I personally have enough miserable, merely human choices to make where I have to vote or choose TV channels. For my Church I want one that is supernatural, established and guaranteed by Christ from his time. And that for me is wonderfully the Catholic Church of the saints and sinners with an unbroken line of successors from Peter, to whom he Himself entrusted the keys of the Kingdom.

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